The Monday After: Our Best For Him {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day and week, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. Because of your generosity, lives are being changed by God’s grace, and we’re able to share these stories with you here!

The Monday After Sunday, May 27 , 2013: Our Best for Him 

By Sheryll Belonga

Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?  Though many around you experiencing the same thing you are experiencing, you still feel all alone?

Upon praying about what God would have me write, He led me to His word.  I began to read where Pastor Kelly had started, which was in Exodus 33:1-6 and then went on to read verses 7-11 and stopped there.  In theses verses, we find the writer talking about the tent of meeting.

The “Tent of Meeting” was where people would go to seek the Lord.  When Moses would go to the tent of meeting to seek the Lord, the people would stand and watch.  They watched and they waited for a sign of God’s presence.  A cloud would cover the entrance of the tent and that let them know that God was there.  At the site of this, they would begin to worship.  The verse that stood out to me the most was verse 11, which says that the Lord was speaking to Moses face to face like he would a friend.

Have you ever had a chance to meet with God and just have a friend talk?  You don’t have to go into a closed environment for that to happen; it can be done right where you are.

In the midst of all that goes on around us, we should be able to enter into the tent of meeting, our own place of prayer with God.  When the worship team lead us into worship we can view it as a cloud coming down signifying God’s presence. But like Pastor Kelly mentioned, before you enter the doors your heart should already be prepared to receive what God has for you.

I don’t know about you, but I was totally able to relate to what he said about Sunday mornings being the most stressful time of the week.  And I believe that it is the most stressful because it is the devil’s way of getting us to lose focus.  He doesn’t want us to have an open heart and mind.  He wants to present us with any distraction possible that would get us to walk through the doors of the church with our focus anywhere but God.

Something I try to do when I get to my seat in church is to kneel down and pray; I enter into my tent of meeting.  I don’t remember when I started this habit but I have been doing it for many years now.  This isn’t always easy to do because I still wonder what people will think.  To help me to ignore that feeling I pray that God help me to not be concerned with who sees me or who doesn’t.  I don’t want to worry about being seen when I kneel to pray or when I stand to worship.  My desire is to focus only on God and this time that I have with Him.  I pray that God will remove any distractions and help me to receive what He has for me that day and that the message will speak to my heart.  I do this because I don’t want what happened before I walked in that door to continue to affect my spirit.  I want my spirit to be at peace and my heart open to receive God.

On Sundays my goal on is to be alone in a crowd, because at that time nothing else matters but Him.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

The Monday After: Life Together {Hyacynth}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. 

The Monday After Sunday, May 5, 2013: Life Together {Listen to the message HERE!}

By Hyacynth Worth

The first time it happened, I suffered mostly in silence, by myself.

After all, I’d told myself, I was only five weeks pregnant and sometimes losses happen.

Even though I was reeling inside, I wrote some of my feelings on paper, cried some major tears and assured myself that we’d try again.

But I carried the fear deep inside me.

And then it happened again. That time seven weeks. Still, mostly I ached and groaned and cried with just a few people who couldn’t bear to let us grieve as silently this time,  a second baby having gone into His arms just two months after the first.

When it happened a third time this past March, I couldn’t bear even the thought of going at it alone or even just leaning on a strong few. The loss of a third baby, this one so close to the second trimester, left me in a dark place.

Like a wounded creature who’d fallen in an unfortunate hole, I couldn’t muster the energy to even think about pulling myself out again. I felt broken — broken spirited, broken hearted and even broken physically, and there was no way I could muscle up and heave out.

So this time, I let many people in, people with whom I’ve been building a relationship intentionally. I asked for prayer, I answered phone calls, I responded to messages of help offers — I accepted the beautiful gift of an alive Church rushing to our aid.

And in that, I found new life in the words of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:

He is so sweet. And his hands are so big for 3 years old.

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

These past seven weeks, I haven’t been grieving and trying to heal alone in the darkness. And when I’ve been tempted to stay stuck, God has been gracious and sent me people who have noticed and cautioned me to turn back toward the Body of Christ. One of my close friends put it perfectly:

“We all get stuck in holes. But you’ve got to put your hand up so we can pull you out.”

Today when Pastors Joe and Bryan spoke about how God intended for us to live connected to each other, I couldn’t hold back my tears of thankfulness to God for His beautiful Church. I couldn’t express enough gratitude that we’d listened to His nudge to go deeper into relationships with people at Immanuel through Vantage Point 3 and other methods of connection. I heard His heart for us through Joe and Bryan as they spoke about the emerging small groups for this fall and thought anew about my friend’s words.

“… You’ve got to put your hand up so we can pull you out.”

It’s so true.

But first we’ve got to allow ourselves to put our feet in and step into the living waters of community with each other.

We can’t do life alone.

And, clearly, we weren’t ever meant to.

Last island hurrah for the year. Say it ain't so.

Hyacynth Worth is grateful daughter to the Perfect Father, wife to John and mother to two little boys and three souls she will one day meet. In between mothering and coordinating social media for Immanuel, she writes about grace, motherhood and living a healthy lifestyle at Undercover Mother.

The Monday After: Healing Grace {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day and week, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. Because of your generosity, lives are being changed by God’s grace, and we’re able to share these stories with you here!

The Monday After Sunday, April 28, 2013: Healing Grace {Listen HERE}

By Sheryll Belonga

When I was a young girl, I used to play a game where I would pluck the petals from flowers.  The goal of the game was for the last petal remaining to reveal that I was liked by a particular guy.  A silly game, of course, but it revealed where my heart was and who held it.  Sometimes if my fate didn’t  end well with that last petal I would pick another flower and do it all over again hoping the end would result in my favor.  I refused to give up until I got what I was seeking.

Although those days of petal picking are over, we all still struggle with being liked.  We want to know we are accepted.  We allow others to determine our worth and what we are able to do.  And in doing so we’ve allowed others to break us.  Some of those breaks are still present today.

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”.  Words can hurt deeper than anything physical because they attack our heart.

Pastor Joe’s message spoke to the little girl inside of me that has never stopped longing for acceptance.  She still wants to be liked by everyone because, after all, isn’t it the opinion of others’ that matters most? Acceptance by others means being valued, and if I am valued then I can do anything or so I’ve thought.  As I listened to the message, I was reminded that my way of thinking was all wrong.  We’ve been taught to live only for Christ, but sometimes we forget that.  In his message, Pastor Joe reminded me of what God thinks of me.

I am accepted!  Psalm 27:10 says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”  I have heard this verse many times but the meaning of it was missed.  It tells us that even if the ones who brought us into this world, those who should accept us more than anyone, that if they toss us aside, God is there.  God is where my security remains.

I am valuable!  My life was worth someone’s death, and not just anyone – but Jesus.  Now if that doesn’t shout valuable I don’t know what does.

I am capable!  The Bible says that I can do anything through Christ who gives me the strength, but the key is through.  You must go through Him to have strength but first you must know Him.  If you don’t know Him, that is have a relationship with Him, then you have no idea the strength you could possess.  If you have any doubts of your relationship with Christ talk to someone today.

I heard someone once say, “Live for an audience of one”, which means live to please God and God alone.  I must admit that is hard to do when feeling the acceptance of others can be so addictive, but with an addiction comes the desire for more.  I don’t know about you, but constantly chasing that high is a never-ending battle.  Isn’t it good to know that Christ’s acceptance is instant and unconditional?

I know it won’t be easy to change our thinking but we can, it will just take practice.  Pastor Joe gave homework for this week so here it is: everyday tell yourself that you are accepted, valued and capable.  Everyday practice believing what God says and let your belief influence your behavior.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.