New Fruit for the New Year, 1/6/19

We all start the new year thinking of the concept of new and what the new will be like. Usually it’s on our minds so much during the new year season that we even entertain the idea of a new year’s resolution. We may resolve to lose weight, read more, keep our home tidier, or to spend more time with God in the coming 12 months. However, not everyone has always had the same outlook. In Ecclesiastes 1:8-10 King Solomon openly writes that “what has been is what will be,” “there is nothing new under the sun,” and “it has already existed in the ages before us” (HSCB).  So, what is really “new” about a new year?


As Christians, we remember our pasts and we are grieved by them, but we are able to have hope because God’s mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:19-23). This is not referring to new as “different,” but rather, “refreshed.”  Just like how we wake up some days feeling “like a whole new person,” we aren’t really a different person, but we are refreshed. We should all look ahead with expectation and anticipation as Paul spoke about in Philippians 3:13-14. There is something much greater waiting ahead, than what we’ve experienced in our past. God is bringing forth something new, He is making a way in the wilderness; even while it may seem that we are walking through a “dry season” or “desert land” He provides the rivers that will allow us to keep pressing on to the new that He has in store for us (Isaiah 43:15-20).


In Ezekiel 47:1-12, we read of a river that flows from the temple, bringing nutrition and life to the plants and animals that use it for nourishment. We are promised new fruit in verse 12, but we must understand that this new fruit is not  material things, or possessions. In fact, Luke 12:15 warns us to guard ourselves against greed because our lives are not found in the things we own. The more we get, the more we tend to want, and contentment won’t come until Christ is present in our lives. Rather, the new fruit that we read about in Ezekiel 47:12 is the seeds that we have planted, as a church, in the hearts of the unbelievers; it is the harvest from what we have planted and watered. However, before this promise of new fruit can be fulfilled there are some things that must align.


First, we should recognize that the temple/tabernacle in the Old Testament is the only place where God dwelt among His people. So, we can understand that the priests and Levites needed water supplied to the temple for ceremonies they would perform/take part in. But, there was no water at the top of the hill, so, the water would need to be piped up to it for their supply. Next, we read that as the water flowed out of the temple it grew gradually deeper until it was no longer tread-able, but only swim-able.


There are a few examples of symbolism in this scripture. First, the water. The water was life-giving. Jesus tells us in John 7:37-39 that the Holy Spirit is the living water (post-Jesus-being-glorified). So, it is obvious that the water found in Ezekiel 47:1-12 represents the Holy Spirit. Next, we come upon the temple. The temple represents us as Christ-followers. Here, is where the Holy Spirit is drawn to because of our worship. It is also where the water is used and worked with, as in our own lives, here is where we should put the Holy Spirit to work. We should be living, breathing, walking examples of what God wants us to be like. Then, the water flows out of the temple. This is representative of how the Holy Spirit should be working in our world. The Holy Spirit is not meant to be locked inside and hidden, it is for us to share with everyone we meet. When we share the Holy Spirit with the rest of the world, we harvest new fruit for God’s Kingdom. The more we share, the more we harvest. As we saw in the passage, the further the water flowed, the deeper it got, and the more that grew and prospered because of its presence.   If the river stops flowing, there will be no new fruit. 2 Corinthians 3:6 tells us, that God has made us ministers of the Spirit that gives life. We should be saturating Earth with so much of the Holy Spirit that the only option anyone has is to swim in it. When water is unable to flow, it sits stagnant; the longer it sits stagnant, the worse it will smell and the more pests it will attract.  The same goes for the Holy Spirit. When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to flow, the more “pests,” or sin, we will attract. Finally, the new fruit. The new fruit presented in the scripture is representative of those we aid in coming to Christ. The more water, the more vegetation and life. The more Holy Spirit, the more healing and life.


How will the Kingdom of God grow through you in this coming year?


Jeremiah 17:7-8 “The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.”


He Knows My Name 2/25/2018

Luke 19:1-10 tells the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector. At the time tax collectors were considered to be the worst of all occupations. They took from the poor to essentially feed their own extravagant lifestyles. This didn’t stop Zacchaeus from wanting to see Jesus, though. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so badly that he climbed a tree because he was too short to see around the crowd. Jesus saw him in the tree and told him to come down because He was going to  stay at Zacchaeus’ house. Now, by human standards, Zacchaeus had nothing about him that was worth saving. However, as we all know, Jesus befriended even the lowliest, but that’s not what’s important about this story. Jesus called out to Zacchaeus in the tree, by name. He knew his name, and He knows ours, too.

Moses was an 80 year old shepherd who had killed an Egyptian and fled; he went on to save the Israelite people from slavery. Paul threatened murder against the disciples; even while that was happening, he received salvation and went on to write several books in the New Testament. David was considered to be “a man after God’s own heart” despite his affair with Uriah’s wife while Uriah was at war. Even worse, David wrote Uriah’s death warrant when he was unsuccessful at hiding what he had done. Despite the wrong in each of these individual’s lives, God used them. He chose them even before the foundations of the earth were formed, just as He chose you and me.

There is no sin that is so great that it could separate us from God. He sent Jesus to Earth to pay the price for our sins. Jesus took a punishment he didn’t deserve to save people who didn’t deserve to be saved–that’s how much God loves us.

So, I want you to do me a favor. Read the title again, out loud. Understand this: God knows you. He knows your name, the number of hairs on your head, and everything else about you. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He knows what your tomorrow holds. He knew you before the foundation of the earth was formed. You are His child, you belong to Him, and He loves you and will use you to fulfill His purpose.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit 2/18/2017

It all begins with desire. As followers of Christ we must desire more of Him and the gifts that are offered to us through the Holy Spirit. In John 14:26, Jesus states that the Holy Spirit will teach us and be a reminder to us of His teachings. However, if we look at 2 Timothy 1:6 we are told that some have ceased producing fruits because they have deviated from instruction. Our faith journey is often referred to as a fire within us and just like a real fire, you have to feed it to keep it burning. Sometimes the fire will die out, but if we wipe away the ashes and stir up the hot coals we can reignite it; the fire that is started within us once we accept and start believing is the same way. By just stirring and feeding the hot coals we can reignite our passion for Christ. However, saying we desire more of God does nothing; our actions speak louder than our words.

1 Corinthians 12:2 states that we must be transformed so we can discern what is good, pleasing, and the perfect will of God. We are led to idolize worldly things, whatever is important to us, but this must change once we become believers. The Holy Spirit strives to bring man into reconciliation with God which is achieved with the gifts. These gifts aren’t optional or reversible to believers. They are distributed as He wills (often determined by how badly we want it). They serve to bring unity and life to people and they are all given by God for the good of all (1 Cor. 12:4-7) and to glorify Him. There are 3 main categories of the gifts:

  1. Ministerial
  2. Motivational
  3. Manifestational

Beginning in Ephesians 4:7-13, we are introduced to the ministerial gifts to which only some people are called. We can think of these in relation to the five fingers on a hand:

  1. Apostle= thumb
    • teaches all other ministries because he/she gets along with others in the ministerial gifts
    • brings unity among the other ministerial gifts
  2. Prophet= index finger
    • points out the direction to and not to follow
  3. Evangelist= “the long middle finger”
    • involved in lots of outreach often to the ends of the earth
    • calls others to the body of Christ
  4. Pastor= ring finger
    • “married to the flock”
    • loves and cherishes the followers of Christ, keeping up with the day-to-day aspects
  5. Teacher= pinky
    • very detail-oriented

Next, Romans 12:3-9 describes the motivational gifts. All believers have at least one of these gifts which are based on ones’ talents. They use each person’s personality to serve one another. The motivational gifts are as follows:

  1. Prophecy
    • Prophecy is used to speak against compromise and evil and to restore relationships
  2. Service/Ministry
    • A person with this gift is driven to meet others’ needs through love and acts of selflessness
  3. Teaching
    • This gift is used to uncover and research the truth
  4. Exhortation
    • The exhorter is motivated by seeing others succeed and grow in spiritual maturity
  5. Giving
    • The gift of giving is exactly what it sounds like, this person uses resources to meet the needs of others through giving
  6. Leading
    • Leaders are good at delegating tasks through analysis of others’ talents and abilities
  7. Showing Mercy
    • This gift is sensitive to the emotional and spiritual needs of others; these people demonstrate compassion, understanding, and love easily

Finally, we return to 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 where we read about the manifestational gifts. These are given by God to secure the church against the devil and they represent the coaction of human personality and behavior working with the divine powers of God as one. There are nine manifestational gifts in total that can be separated into the following categories:

  1. Revelation
    • Word of Knowledge
      • this is the Holy Spirit giving us knowledge about things that we have no way of knowing based on our own understanding
    • Word of Wisdom
      • this is the ability to apply the word of knowledge in order to solve the problem you are dealing with
    • Discernment of spirits
      • this refers to one’s ability to discern between demonic, angelic, and human spirits in order for one to receive deliverance when necessary
  2. Power
    • Faith
      • this is a gift that grows the more we get to know God; the more faith we have in Him, the more we are able to do for Him
    • Healing
      • this gift is exactly as it sounds, the Holy Spirit working through us to heal others of disease, illness, or sickness; this doesn’t have to be a full-time ministry, but can come on any believer at any time
    • Miracles
      • this is God working through believers to reveal Himself to people through the impossible
  3. Inspiration
    • Prophecy
      • this is the receipt of a word from God for someone else
    • Speaking in Tongues
      • this is the ability to speak in a foreign language one has no prior experience using
    • Interpretation of Tongues
      • this is the interpretation/understanding of tongues that have been spoken by oneself or another

In conclusion, God has a variety of gifts He wants to bestow upon us as believers, but none of these gifts have any meaning without love first (1 Corinthians 12:12-21). Additionally, we are only a working part of a whole that won’t be completed until Jesus returns, then there will be no more need for them (1 Corinthians 8-13). They are to be used for the strengthening of the church (1 Corinthians 14:26) and should be desired for that purpose, not out of jealousy (1 Corinthians 14:12). They are necessary for battle in spiritual warfare, without them the struggle will be much greater. Finally, there is only one way to receive the gifts; they cannot be earned or merited, only gifted as God chooses. Understanding, flowing with, and using the gifts are essential for the end of time.

Our actions will always speak louder than our words.


Other sources used:

Holy Wind, Holy Fire, Holy Spirit 2/11/2017

“Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.” Acts 2:4

Acts 2 illustrates the very first Pentecost–the very first day the church existed. On that day, 3,000 came to the Lord because of witnessing the work of the Holy Spirit.  Two gifts of the Holy Spirit were demonstrated–speaking and understanding tongues. The Holy Spirit had come upon the apostles and they began speaking in tongues. But, each person hearing them understood them in their own language. Remember that in Acts 1 Jesus told the apostles that they would receive the Holy Spirit and would witness to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). But, at that time there was no Bible to refer to; all they had to help them be witnesses was the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is the 49th day after Easter…every year. Oftentimes Pentecost is viewed as a one-time event that took place in biblical times and is described in Acts 2:1-21. However, Pentecost is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon believers; an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. So, it is obvious that it isn’t a one-time event. In fact, Pentecost is a celebration of such events and a reminder of Jesus’ promise of God’s presence within us rather than the event itself since the event itself can happen at any time.

Many of us wonder what the Holy Spirit has to do with our everyday life. Paul answers this question by describing the Holy Spirit in 3 ways:

  1. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness- Romans 8:26
  2. The Holy Spirit sends us spiritual gifts to equip the church for its ministry- 1 Corinthians 12:4
  3. The Holy Spirit reshapes our character and temperament- Galatians 5:22-26

Ultimately, the Holy Spirit transforms us (when we allow Him to) and works through us to make the kingdom/promise of God a reality. We as believers must be willing vessels to work for God toward transformation. Typically this transformation results in our service to others. However, there are four other functions of the Holy Spirit (known as the P’s of Pentecost at King’s Church):

  1. Power
    • The Holy Spirit is the power of God’s love at work redeeming and transforming the world
  2. Presence
    • In John 14:18 Jesus states that He will not leave us as orphans; referring to the Holy Spirit coming upon all those who believe.
    • The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us and our lives
      • We tend to take after our parents and God as our Father in Heaven is no different. We have Holy Ghost power within us.
  3. Peace
    • When the Holy Spirit descended at the first Pentecost all history/tension between Jews and Gentiles was wiped away.
    • In John 20:19-22, Jesus says to the disciples, “Peace be with you.” and “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Illustrating to us that the Holy Spirit and peace go hand-in-hand.
  4. Purpose
    • The Holy Spirit doesn’t act erratically, He has a purpose for us.
      • Our purpose is to go out into the world to baptize, to make disciples of all nations, and to preach forgiveness of sins.
    • We are to live life in preparation for the day of the Lord through repentance and faith–leading to transformation within us.

We can describe and experience the Holy Spirit in many ways, but we must also recognize the Holy Spirit is present with us and works through us in many ways. But the Holy Spirit has none of the aforementioned functions if we don’t have faith in God’s continuing presence within us, if we don’t allow Him to work through us and transform us.

And that’s the HOLY SPIRIT, BATMAN!!!!

Baptism of the Holy Spirit 2/4/2017

There are two baptisms that should be taking place within the church: the baptism of repentance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Taking a look at Matthew 3:11, John the baptist explains that his practice of baptism by water is an outward expression of one’s repentance of sins. However, Jesus will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.  By being baptized by water, the individual is agreeing to turn from their sins and to start living a new, righteous life; but when Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and we begin to live life in a way that embraces God’s gifts for us. As we all know, Jesus came to serve and his service to the church didn’t end at the cross. He extended his service by sending us the Holy Spirit to prepare and equip the church to make disciples of all nations. In fact, in both Matthew 7 (verses 15-20) and John 15 (verse 8), Jesus explains that we will know his disciples by the fruit they bear. Acts 1:8 says that we will receive power with the Holy Spirit and will become witnesses to the ends of the earth. When we get baptized by the Holy Spirit, our life changes entirely.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes with a wide variety of gifts that God has to offer. In my experience, among the most common are the gifts of speaking in tongues and of healing. However, there are far more than I could even list. In fact, in John 14:12, Jesus states that we are capable of performing all the same works as He did and even greater ones. Of course, these gifts are possible only with the help of the Holy Spirit. As demonstrated throughout the Bible, including Acts 19: 1-6, we read of the works of the Holy Spirit. Once filled with the Holy Spirit, we should desire more of God and His affection; we will start to speak/create/resurrect life. We are called to do more! Acts 2 illustrates another Holy Spirit encounter: Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, tongues of flames like fire rested on each of them and they began to speak different languages (speaking in tongues). We must be willing to embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit, wholly, not just ask for those we want at that time. No one ever asks for only $200,000 of a $1 million gift, why should this gift be any different? Unfortunately, not all of us accept the gifts the Holy Spirit has to offer because we are still holding on to something else.

Acts 8:14-17 describes a situation in which Peter and John prayed over the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit since they had received the baptism of repentance prior. Although the Holy Spirit dwells within us from the day of our acceptance, there are many reasons we may not be feeling His presence in our lives. Of course, the reason we don’t feel the Holy Spirit’s presence is because of sin. 1 Corinthians 18-20 explains one such example: sexual immorality. Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in and we are supposed to behave in such a way that demonstrates this. Therefore, the more sin we have in our lives, the less the Holy Spirit is able to work within us. Any time we submit to sin, we are submitting to Satan and therefore are turning our backs on God. But, we don’t have to submit to sin! God will not allow us to be tempted without also providing us at least one way out. We have free will, but free will can also get us kicked out of God’s presence. In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus tells us that we have forgotten our first love and to repent and return to our first love, God. Everything we give up for God and everything we do for God, will be rewarded in Heaven. That is why in Jude 1:20-25 we are told to build ourselves up in faith and prayer, and to save others by snatching them from the fire. We are equipped and prepared to save others from the fire; we just have to accept the calling.

The Little White Church

The year was 2006, as I stepped into the little white church on the corner of Washington and Front I was a nervous wreck. I was 11 years old and this was my first time ever walking into that church… by myself. I woke up at 9:30 and left my house to make the short walk to King’s Parish at 9:50. It was summertime and the air was fresh. I had a feeling it was going to be a good day, but when I entered the church I didn’t see the familiar face of my great grandmother and I became even more nervous. There were a grand total of 7 people there, including me. The six people I would later learn to be James, his wife Bonnie, Harold, his wife Sandy, Wayne, and his wife Katie. Katie led worship that morning and when we split into classes, I was taught by Bonnie. James was the pastor and my great grandmother, Mary, was the senior pastor (meaning she would fill in whenever James couldn’t preach). I went to church for about a year, then stopped going for a while. It was hard being one of only five other youth attending church on a regular basis. However, the next summer, I found myself once again sitting in those pews.

The following summer, I was 13, my great grandmother approached me and asked me if I would like to teach the little children. My class would consist of our youth in elementary grades. She told me to pray about it and to let her know so, I went home shared my excitement with my mom and dad and I prayed. The following Sunday, I accepted the position and I didn’t know it then, but my journey with God had officially begun. Occasionally my younger cousins and my brother would accompany me to church, but when they didn’t I had only 3 students in my class, and that was on a good day. I started teaching in a closet. The desk for the kids was small and it folded up against the wall. on the opposite wall there was a painted on chalkboard interrupting the off-white color that spread across the rest of the room. There was a door that led outside of the church immediately to the right of my classroom door and I would try to take the kids outside as much as possible because I knew it could get crowded in the classroom and they could be quite loud, oftentimes disrupting the sermon in the sanctuary. All of the supplies I needed fit into a small tote that my grandma Peg gave to me. She had provided me with my first set of pencils, paper, crayons, etc. Everything I needed to teach my little class of three. They may have been my class, but they were the ones who taught me most of the time. I started teaching without much Bible knowledge to begin with and I quickly learned that teaching others really helped me to learn too. In fact, my teaching abilities have expanded beyond Sunday School and now I use it to study for my college exams.

I taught at the little white church for about 4 years before my world got flipped upside down; I would no longer be attending services at the little white church. We were moving. We moved to the bigger white church on the corner of Main and Lightner my Junior year of high school. I hated that church at first, it was bigger and not nearly as personal as our previous church had been. I soon realized that I had lost sight of the real reason behind going to church; to learn about and to praise God. Then it happened. James announced he was leaving. The congregation was wrecked, no one had a clue what to do, our church had grown since the move and none of us knew how to preach besides Grandma Mary, but she was always so tired that we didn’t want to burden her with preaching. So, we went through an awkward period where random preachers would come in on various Sundays until we had found the one. His name was Joseph Reidling, my uncle. He began preaching in February 2011 and I was so proud of him; he had come a long way from where he was and although nobody believed it, he had changed. I had also gotten my parents to start attending church just a short while before he came on and although they too struggled to believe the change, they gave him a fighting chance. However, one-by-one the congregation that made me, as a teacher, possible left. I felt lost, but God knew what He was doing because, as they left more and more new people came in. It was like 5 new people for every 1 that had left. The growth in the church amazed me. The little congregation was all I knew, but I soon learned that there was a world waiting for me beyond my own comprehension.

November 2011, it finally happened. My boyfriend of 3 years finally stepped foot into a church, my church. No, he didn’t burst into flames at the door like he believed he would, but something even greater happened, a transformation. He started going to church with me and my family on a more regular basis and got saved in January 2012. God was doing great things and I was right there in the front row witnessing it all. Still, there was some trial and error. Uncle Joe was just learning the responsibilities of being a pastor and the rest of us were just along for the ride, fulfilling our duties as they needed.

It’s now June 2016, and I am faced with yet another move. I have been attending King’s Parish for about 10 years and I am scared. I don’t want to fall into the hatred I had for my current church building. I want to continue to trust God and to know that He has a plan just as Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I now the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” I still continue to have this battle in my head between the voice of my own self-pity and self-righteousness and the voice of God. While all the changes take place that are necessary for growth in His kingdom I still find myself saying, “that is my church, I have been there the longest, I deserve to have a say in what happens.” But, I must remain strong in the Lord and trust that he has a plan, because when we moved to the big white church in 2010, I never though in a million years that my class size would grow from 3 (reminder: that was on a good day) to at least 10, on average. Besides that though, I’m no longer the only teacher, my husband (yes, the boyfriend I referred to earlier) is now the youth pastor and is teaching the high school class. We are now going on about 4 years teaching alongside one another. Although I may be hesitant about the move, Proverbs 24:16 reminds me, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” So even though I may need a constant reminder; the journey continues.

Just a Reminder

Yesterday as I sat scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, I came across a video. This video was of a young man with a full bottle of alcohol in his hand. He proceeded to chug the entire bottle until it was empty. However, this incident isn’t what truly caught my attention; what caught my attention was his necklace from which a silver cross hung. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have come to the realization that the cross has become more of a fashion statement rather than a declaration of faith, but when I see things such as the scenario presented above, I know things have gone too far.

Being a Christian many people would think that I am anti-alcohol, but I’m not. In fact, anti-drunkenness is more of my descriptor. The Bible says that Jesus turned water into wine and that he drank with the Disciples, but never, not once, does it say that he ever got drunk. Therefore, in my opinion, drinking for a buzz is alright, but when you drink so much that you can’t recall the night’s events, vomiting, or are passed out drunk, there is a problem. It was clear to me that the intentions of the man in the video were to get drunk, why else would someone want to chug an entire bottle of alcohol?

So, as I sat there dumbfounded by his choice of accessories I began to wonder, when the cross became such a symbol of fashion rather than faith? The cross is a symbol of sacrifice, love, and forgiveness. I wear my cross necklace daily because it reminds me of God’s love for me and the rest of the world. I don’t know where the young man from the video stands in his walk with God, but I pray that he knows the true meaning of that symbol that hung from his neck in that video and I pray that God forgives him for this particular action along with the rest of humanity that chooses to proclaim their faith in such ways.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑