Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saturday, April 19th - Crosswalking Evangelism

So the weather is looking great for THIS SATURDAY'S Crosswalk.  We're thinking we'll meet at Northgate Mall in Durham around 12:30.

This will be an excellent visual for the community for the upcoming Easter holiday.  We will be reminding the folks of the Resurrection....the real reason for the holiday.

Dean has been known to go for 6 or 8 hours straight, but please do not feel obligated to stay that long.  You can come and stay as long as you'd like.  We may move from place to place, so if you do not make it by 12:30 and want to know where we're at, just give me a call on my cell phone:  919-224-7038.

Hope to see you there!

Melissa

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Upcoming Week

We have been having a wonderful time of fellowship at our house on Friday nights at 6:30 pm.  If you are in our area and want to join us, please do.  We would love to have you.  We always have some (charismatic) praise and worship, prayer, testimony sharing time, a message from the Word or book study, and then snacks and fellowship.  Tomorrow night we're doing some open discussion on how Satan works to squeeze the life out of us and I'm making some triple chocolate Ghirardelli brownies.......yummy.

Tomorrow also marks the start of a great 'Easter' book that we'll read in our home this year.  It's called "The Final Week of Jesus" by Max Lucado.   I'm very excited to be able to share the real meaning of this holiday with my kids this year.  (Thanks for the book Minette.  You donated it a few years ago when you cleaned out your book room!)

Saturday we have our weekend food pick ups and distributions.  And Saturday also is the ladies tea with June Evans from 2pm to 4pm at Bethel Christian Center in Durham.  This is definitely going to be a wonderful time of fellowship and exhortation!  If you've never heard June speak, now's your time.  You won't regret it!

Tuesday will be jail ministry for Dean and Terry.  I know that will be a great time of ministry, as usual, and I hope to have a blog post to update everyone on how the Spirit moved in the pod.

Wednesday will be mid-week church, and I am STOKED.  Last week I was able to begin a study with the girls in the youth group on sexual purity.  I was so excited when Michael asked me to fill in and start the study.  This is one of my big time passions....reaching teenage girls and letting them know that God has a BETTER way than what the world demands of them.  Many of you know my story....my past....my pre-Jesus life.  I was the poster child for sexual impurity and I paid the price.  I can't wait to get together with the group of girls again and share my experiences from the heart, coupled with the Truth of the Word. 

John 8:31-32:  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Miss Jean (a member of our ministry) holds a children's Bible study in her home on Thursday afternoons.  I hope to be able to help her out with this as she talks about the resurrection of Jesus and the real meaning of the Easter holiday.  I think 'Jesus' (aka Dean) is going to do a surprise visit to the kids to make the story a little more real and exciting.

And then the following Saturday will be the Crosswalking Evangelism outreach for April.  WE NEED YOU!!  There is strength in numbers and we promise you will have a great time.  Even if it's only your first time, your faith will be strengthened.  We will probably be meeting around Northgate Mall area, beginning there, and just going wherever the Lord leads.  As this event approaches, please be in prayer that we will have divine appointments, and that we will walk in the Spirit so that we can be effective.

Until next time....

Loving Radically Through Christ,

Melissa

**Save the date - Saturday April 26th - Bull City Outreach Ministries Open House**

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food Ministry - Guest Post

As some of you know, we have a weekend food ministry that we've been doing for a couple of years now.  We got started with this ministry with Bull City Outreach Ministries.  Terry graciously allowed us to take part in his food pick ups and we were able to offer the same type of ministry in Southern Granville County that he was offering through his ministry in Durham.  After his food pick ups were cut off, we were able to make contact with a grocery store in our area.  Now every weekend we get food pick ups from this local grocery store.  We sort, clean, separate, organize and distribute this food into boxes for families in the area that need help.  We try and find families that are struggling for a season and are not already getting governmental assistance.  We also use this as an evangelism tool.

We have been helping one local family for a little over a year now.  Here is their story:


*****

Hi readers.  I wanted to take a moment to share my story.  

This has been the most challenging year and a half of my life.  I was injured while helping my boss of 15 years, as he neared the end of his battle with cancer, and his 6'3' size was no match for me.  I thought I'd pulled my back and knees.  At the time, I was working at a newspaper for a decade and a half, while teaching Zumba classes 3 nights a week.  I continued trying to teach with braces on my knees and back.  Then it became crutches.  Then subs.  Then I gave up my business and the joy of my life that I'd worked so hard for, as I could no longer barely stand.  

I went from one sports orthopaedic surgeon to another.  By the time I reached my 3rd opinion, I'd already had two normal MRIs and undergone 3 mos of PT, both in the pool and gym, without progress.  My right knee swelled a week after my boss fell on me.  I didn't think to file workman's comp since his family was now dealing with him in hospice, and didn't want to cause further stress.  Plus, what's $50 copay for a one time deal when I'll just take ibuprofen and get on the heating pad and be better in a week?  Well, I never thought it would turn into something much much bigger.  So, by my second $1000 MRI and PT 3x's a week at $50 a pop, still puzzling orthos, rheumatologists and internists, I informed my deceased boss's wife I was filing workman's comp  since I couldn't afford the financial burden any longer.  She then fired me.  

Rich was already on unemployment after losing his job, and benefits ran out.  We were without an income for 5 months and me and my two girls were going hungry and when Rich's son with Downs visited, he eats like any other teenage boy and we would go without..  We fell between the cracks of not qualifying for any aid, including Obamacare.  I felt so helpless that I was still on crutches 8 mos after the injury, no resolution on a diagnosis, and no way to work.  

Shortly after being fired, my mother got sick and passed away a month later at 68.  She was in the ICU for a little over a month and had arrested and been resuscitated twice.  I found out she was hanging on with the hopes of making it to her two year date of life insurance becoming payable to leave me something.  She died 3 weeks before it had reached it's date after I gave her permission to go home and that I couldn't bear to watch her suffer and we'd be okay.  She passed 24 hrs later.  I wasn't prepared for the profound loss.  It consumed me.

No child support, no job, no income, no mobility; and two children to feed, I was anything but okay, as I had reassured my dying mother with a smile of confidence before bolting out of the ICU to cry..  

Finally my 3rd opinion doc diagnosed me. I was shocked.  Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) was the verdict.  Most people are not aware of this monster, but it is more common than MS and affects children, women and men alike.  It is the MOST painful disease of the medical profession's McGill Pain Scale, ranking more painful than natural child birth or cancer of amputation minus anesthetics.  I was beyond shocked.  I was angry and depressed. How could this happen?  Why me?  Would I end up having a leg amputation like the admin of the RSD website?  Or end up in a wheelchair for life like the 14 yr old on 20/20 and CNN?  This disease naturally also has the highest suicide rate because who can stand 24/7 unbearable pain?  My children have given me a reason to fight, although I'm bed bound now 90% of the time. This once active gardener, world traveler, scuba diver, baker, zumba and dance lover now has almost no quality of life.  

I met Melissa in my classes.  I then found out she had a ministry.  I was always the giver, the volunteer, the rescuer.  Now I had to swallow my pride for the sake of my children and reach out to her for help.  Her and Dean came to our aid.  I am now waiting for disability, after my first denial and appeal, and expect to have at least one more, followed by a judge ruling.  It could be another year or two or more.  Rich has finally found work 3 days a week, but we're so in debt after being without income for over 5 months that it may take us a year or two to pay off the credit we lived off.  My compressor blew and we've been without heat or AC the whole winter.  Now it's getting hot.  But we don't have the money to fix it since credit cards are maxed out.  Who ever thought the small gesture of helping a man walk to his car would turn into a lifetime of pain?  I'm so grateful for Melissa and Dean's help.  My children are fed, and that's one less thing to worry about in what seems to be an avalanche of trials.  They have delivered food to our home when we couldn't make it there.  We live off of what they provide and I'm in tears as I write this, thinking of the days when my children complained that there wasn't anything to eat.  I will be forever grateful that at least tummies are full!!!  We have come to know and love their family and I just can't say enough about what they've done for ours. 

 Thanks for reading my little saga (lol while crying).  

For more information on RSD, visit:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaTlI6bfF64 (video on YouTube of the 14 yr old) or see http://rsdfoundation.org/
 
THANK YOU PADGETT FAMILY FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS!!!
Jill, Rich, Erin, Ivy, and Mason <3


*****


There are many other families in our area that have been helped by this aspect of the ministry.  I wish I could share all of their stories. 

Two members of our ministry, Marcia Rowland and Jean Nine, handle the Sunday pick ups and distributions.  I know for certain that they help between 5-10 families every Sunday.  These ladies are essential to our ministry and expand the window of opportunity with all the people that they know.

If you feel led to help with the food ministry in any way, please let us know!  We can always use food donations, grocery store gift cards (for families that need specific items that we do not receive), and gas station gift cards (for the weekly pick ups and deliveries). 

Thank you, as always, for praying for us.  Please keep this portion of our ministry in your prayers as well.

Loving Radically Through Christ,

Melissa

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mardi Gras Mission Trip - Part Three





Recently I posted a 'guest post' by Jeff and you were able to read about some of the specific individuals that he ministered to at Mardi Gras.  Each team member has their own list of people that they were able to talk to and I wish I could share them all.  Together I bet we talked to HUNDREDS of people.  You wouldn't believe all the different types of people we were able to talk to.  Can you imagine standing in the middle of the pit of hell for hours each night and being able to talk to person after person about Jesus and Scripture?  And we weren't dragging them over to talk to us....they came willingly and started conversations!!

Yes, some of the conversations weren't a bed of roses.  Yes, we were cussed out, made fun of, pelted with beads, mocked, had drinks thrown on us, and thought of as stupid.  But those moments are just part of the territory.  We can't expect the forces of evil out there to embrace us.  The darkness despises the light.

Did we go down there expecting this type of treatment?  Of course.  Do we like it?  Not really.  But will it deter us from reaching whom God has set before us?  No.  Is sharing Jesus and planting the seed of Truth worth the little bit of suffering and persecution we put up with?  Absolutely.

Although we have yet to go through what Jesus or His disciples did, you can see from the Word that this suffering is not to be despised when it is used for His glory.  It should actually be expected when we are living a fully committed life.  I could try and type up something persuasive, and get you to see why we feel the persecution and suffering is needed and beneficial, but I think the Scriptures can speak for themselves :)

Suffering

Mark 10:39 - Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.

Romans 8:16-18 - For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

Philippians 1:28-29 - Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.

2 Corinthians 4:9-10 - We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-6 - And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. 

2 Timothy 4:5 - But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

1 Peter 2:21 - For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

1 Peter 3:13-14 - Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

1 Peter 4:12-14 - Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.  So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

1 Peter 5:19 - Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Persecution

Mark 10:29-30 - “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution.  And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

2 Corinthians 12:10 - That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2 Timothy 3:12 - Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.


These surely aren't pretty topics....if we're truly honest, we probably just want to get saved and love people and have a happy, prosperous, comfortable life until Jesus comes back.  But how can we overlook everything that is talked about in God's Word?  How can we read this and think that it doesn't have to apply to us?

Jesus tells us plainly:

Luke 14:27-29 - And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

Until Part 4.....

Loving Radically Through Christ (and totally examining myself for shortfalls after this post),

Melissa
 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Durham County Jail Ministry - 4/2/2014

Last night Terry and I went in to the 4B Pod at the Durham County Jail.  We go every other Tuesday night to minister to different pods.  There was a guy that Terry and I both knew named Tyrone.  Terry had ministered to him quite a bit on the streets, and I had talked to him before in another location.  He had just been arrested and put in jail again.  I began to talk to the guys about living in a cycle of sin, and if they had been in and out of jail during their life and it was their constant cycle, then that pretty much showed who they were at the present moment.  As Terry and I continue to minister, Tyrone began to cry.  He spoke to the other inmates about the truth of the Word that was being preached.  He also admitted that he knew the right way to live but had gotten continually caught up in the sin.  He was very remorseful and repentant and said that he had cried out to God.  He knew that he needed to submit all to Christ and that would be his only true way out of this lifestyle.

Another man spoke up and said that he had been listening to what had been said about living in a constant cycle, and he admitted that it had been the constant cycle for his life since 1979.  He said there were instances where he had cried out to God and really gotten serious for about 3 years, but one night he had a dream about doing drugs and it began to draw him back in.  He went right back to the drugs and the cycle started back over.  But he didn't understand why God would allow that to happen to him.  We replied that it wasn't God that tempted him because God doesn't tempt anyone with sin, and that it was Satan that came and tempted him.  We explained that as long as he was in this body of flesh, he would have to contend with this battle.  We explained how we have to resist this temptation.  I said to the man that I guaranteed that the night he had the dream that the devil was tempting him with the drugs, but the Holy Spirit had also been leading him and giving him a way out.  The man admitted that, and I continued to explain that he had the way out but he made his choice.   

James 1:13-15 - And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

We asked the guys which ones were saved, and all of them said they were, but two said they were backslidden.  So we asked them about being backslidden and what that meant to them.....if they were still saved or if they had fallen away and were no longer saved.  Terry asked them if they would have went to heaven or hell, and both believed that they would have went to hell.

We discussed further how to break those cycles in their lives.  I discussed the addictions I had in my life and how I never thought I'd overcome them.  I explained how you have to get to the point where you humble yourself before God and truly repent of it and DAILY die to the flesh in that area.  It's not just something you do one time...it's an everyday thing.  Everyday we have to submit to God and resist the devil and resist the flesh.  Just because we're saved doesn't mean the fight is over and we have to stop resisting the devil.  A lot of times people try and resist the devil before they've humbled themselves.  That's not what the Word tells us to do though.  It won't work like that.

James 4:7-10 - So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

We also talked about the following passage and how it applies to their cycles of sin:

John 3:19-21 - And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

People won't stop their sin because they love it more than God.  We have to get to the point where we hate the sin.

The real key to it all is the relationship with Jesus Christ.  You can't let that relationship slip.  You can't just have a part-time relationship and expect things to go like you want them to.  You can't overcome things without living it 100%.

Many of the guys talked about various different things, which is somewhat unusual.  They are usually quiet.  But we had a great time of ministry and look forward to the next time.

Living Radically for Jesus,

Dean

Upcoming Outreach Evangelism Opportunity

Now that the weather is nicer, we are ready to get out-and-about and get busy with the evangelism!  There is nothing more important in a Christian's life than to share the Gospel and the Truth with the world.  So Dean is planning a crosswalk/evangelism outreach on Saturday, April 19th.  This will correspond with the traditional Easter holiday. 

We would like for everyone who loves evangelism to join us.  We would also like everyone who is the least bit curious or interested in seeing how this type of evangelism works to join us.  We promise that you will not leave disappointed, nor will you leave the same.

We will continue to do these monthly (or more frequently) during these warmer months - so if you can't make this one, you can still make another one.

Please email us or give us a call if you want more information or would like to confirm that you're coming.  We will decide on a meeting place and time as it gets closer.


Loving Radically Through Christ,

Melissa

***The Bull City Outreach Ministries open house has been rescheduled to Saturday, April 26th from 12 to 5.  Please see www.bullcityoutreach.org for more details.***

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Acquire the Fire

This past weekend I was asked to drive the church van to Greensboro for the youth group event, Acquire the Fire.

Who would have thought I'd have more fun than the teenagers?

I had such an amazing trip and got to bond with most, if not all, of the teens that went.  I went with the mindset that we would have at least one or more "Melissas" there....yes, I mean me....the teenager that only thought about myself and what I wanted - the teenager that you had to watch every second because I was constantly trying to get into something that I wasn't suppose to - the teenager that pretended to be one thing to the youth pastor, but completely different to my friends.

But I did not encounter that at all.  I went with the most respectful, well-mannered and mature group. 

Yes, they had fun.  Yes, they were goofy and silly at times.  Yes, they rocked out to the bands that caused me to have a migraine.  But they also prayed fervently, worshiped wholeheartedly, and listened intently.

I was also able to have a few great, meaningful conversations with my buddy Jared about being "in this world but not of this world" and what it really means to follow Jesus and not just put on the label of His name.

I'm excited to see how God is going to work in their lives in the future, and I'm anticipating ministering to them (and with them) in the near future.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Melissa

1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT) - Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.