Scared Spitless

by Kendra Williams

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom….I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”                                                                                                                            –1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul often boasted about his moments of weakness, and we all know why. But it wasn’t until this last year and a half that I’ve come to realize just how great a thing he was onto here. Somehow, at least for me, it’s easy to look at the Bible in an almost romanticized light: The disciples and apostles walking around speaking great words of wisdom, always knowing what to say and do, having the utmost integrity and confidence- in a way, the perfect Christians. People we’d go to (and do, in a sense) for advice on every subject. But here, Paul’s admitting to everyone: “I was scared spitless when I came to talk to you about Jesus. It freaked me out so bad, I was actually shaking and spoke clumsily. And yet that’s exactly what you needed: God’s power in a humbling moment, not my skill, or wisdom, or knowledge….so I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

How typical of God!!! I mean, this is Paul we’re talking about here! God took someone that could’ve said “No way! I’m not cut out for this!” and made a powerful tool that continues to affect people even today. See, here’s the key that Paul understood: We are the most effective when we feel the most ineffective, because that’s where we tend to throw everything in God’s lap and say “I can’t do this! Please, You do it!” That’s exactly the point God drives us to, just for that moment of utter surrender….Then, and sometimes only then, will He roll up His sleeves and say “Finally. Here we go!”

A simple truth? One you’ve heard a million times? Most likely. You’ve probably even experienced it from time to time. “Oh, it was so cool because God stepped in- right when I was at my wit’s end!” That’s what I’ve been experiencing for the last year and a half… I’ve walked into work day after day, terrified of not being able to handle situations or of missing opportunities to help the students learn something important. But God, in my complete weakness, will softly whisper, “Kendra…you’re not doing this shift alone. I am right here.” and without fail, the most amazing things happen. In fact, the time in my life that I felt the most inadequate was when He moved through me the greatest.  As strange as it seems, during that time I felt moved to start a prayer group at work that became so intense that the women’s floor took a turn for the better… and, in a round-about way, saved my life. So: I was a mess, at the breaking point, needing God desperately…and through that need, God moved mightily.

That was a strangely special season when I began to discover Paul’s secret. But do you know what was different about Paul? He intentionally lived at his breaking point, constantly in need of God, because he knew that’s what it took for his “wits” to get out of the way and God’s power to work freely through him on a day to day basis. Can you live like that? Can I? That is an extreme walk of faith! I’m coming to discover this about Jesus- He’s always, ALWAYS searching for your surrender, so He can work without hindrance. If you really want to live this life His way, be prepared to be scared spitless….and be prepared to be one amazed witness of His power in action.

The Word of God is Alive

by Shane Caskey

I’m about to share something with you that God has put on my heart. A way of thinking outside of the “religious box”. Did you know that we can all hear the voice of God? It’s not just for pastors, it’s for all of us. The Word of God is alive, active and powerful! The Word of God is not just a book. So many people are stuck on that idea. The “scriptures” are very important yes, but that is not the Word of God. It’s so much more than that. For those of us who belong to Jesus Christ, the Word of God is alive, lives within us and is written on our heart and soul. 

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human incarnate) (John 1:14). The Word that God speaks is alive and full of power (Hebrews 4:12; Acts 7:38; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit that we wield against the enemy (Ephesians 6:17). The Word of God is living water used to cleanse us (Ephesians 5:26).

The Book of Law (Old Testament) was written before Jesus came to earth. Joshua 1:8 says that we are to, “meditate in the written word day and night”. And it says that many times over and over again throughout the Old Testament. But notice that it changes in the New Testament AFTER Jesus came. In Ephesians 6:18, the Apostle Paul encourages us to continue to meditate on the Word day and night. But rather than saying the term “written”, Paul changes the word to “living”. We are to pray in the Spirit (who is not a book). The same Holy Spirit who is Jesus Christ who IS the Word of God day and night. And who lives inside of us? The Holy Spirit who is Jesus, the Living Word Of God (1 Peter 1:23; Revelations 19:13; Hebrews 1:2)! 

You will also notice that in Hebrews 6:5 it says that you can actually “feel” the Word of God or, as some translations say, “taste”. It’s hard to feel or taste a physical book internally isn’t it? But you can feel or taste what lives inside of you. Also, take a look at John 8:31-32 and tell me what you think when you read that. Where is Jesus now? He’s in heaven right? How else can we hear His voice, The Word of God through His Holy Spirit, unless He is living in us?

I’m not saying to not read your Bible. You need to!! The scriptures are very, very important and contain the foundation of everything we believe. We DO need to read it, memorize it and understand it. I’m merely trying to open your eyes to understanding something so much bigger and greater. We often wonder how sometimes a passage of scripture will come to our mouths and how we have wisdom which we don’t even know where it came from because it’s something we never saw or learned. But yet it’s there. Written on your heart inside of you! If you want power to destroy the enemy, focus on what’s inside of you. Meditate on it and listen. It’s been there all along. You need to take up the Sword of the Spirit and have your feet fitted with the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6). The armor we put on (sword, shoes, etc.), consists of different elements. That little thing we call a conscience inside of us IS God, the Holy Spirit. And if you listen close enough, focus and pay attention to what He is saying to you, you will finally be able to hear God speaking to you inside of you. He will confirm a lot of things, and it’s important to pay attention, through the scripture, through people, through your pastor, through the radio, through billboards, etc.. Wherever you are or whatever you are doing, pay attention all over the place. It all begins with the Word of God, the Holy Spirit  and Jesus Christ who lives within you. I hope this helps you to hear Him more clearly. God bless!!   

Hearing God’s Voice: How We Can Determine it is His and Not Our Own

by Sarah Itterman

The phrases, “God told me…” or “I believe God wants me to…” are not uncommon words which we hear many Christians claim today (and perhaps even ourselves at times). The question we must ask ourselves before coming to any conclusion about hearing God’s voice is whether we are truly seeking to hear from Him or whether what it is we are desiring Him to say to us. Every believer at some point has experienced that they thought they heard God speaking to them, but in the end it was apparent that it was not really God’s voice they were listening too. Understanding how to effectively listen for and recognize the voice of God is vital for us as Christians in our daily walk. Without this, our relationship with Him becomes diminished.

Submission to His voice is the greatest lesson we can learn. We must be willing to lay down our dreams and desires for that of His, trusting in His perfect will for our lives. The Apostle Paul stressed this firmly to the church in Corinth when he said, “to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)”. Another important lesson is to understand that God speaks to us in different ways; sometimes not in the way in which we would like Him to or think that He should.

One unique illustration which Loren Cunningham taught in his book, “Is that really you God?” Was the Axehead Principle. This is based on the account in 2 Kings 6. When Elijah asks the man whose axehead went into the water to point to where it had gone down, Elijah commanded the axehead to come up. In the same way, it is important for us to go back to the last time when we last heard the cutting edge of God’s voice.  Remembrance of what He said and when He said will enable us to look back and see what God has done in and through our lives since we last heard His voice. When we understand the direction which He has taken us, it will help us better determine whether He is speaking to us.

Another important lesson is that God will use those whom He has placed in our paths to guide us when making certain decisions. This has been very beneficial in my own life as in during different seasons those who have been mentors, friends or family have said similar things to which God has laid on my heart. When a position came up within our church for a leadership position, I was praying and seeking guidance from the Lord to see whether I should pursue it or not. Without me saying anything to anyone, six people who were leaders within the church approached me separately without the others knowing and said they believed that the Lord was saying that I should take that position. For me, this was a solid confirmation of the direction which the Lord was wanting to lead me in.

At the same time, when we receive opposition from those around us about deciding to go in a particular direction, this can be another tool which God uses to test us to see if we will be obedient to His will or not. During the time that I believed that the Lord was guiding me into the direction of church leadership, I received opposition from family members who were not believers who claimed that it would be a waste of time and that there were many other things I could be doing with my life. In a way, this encouraged me to want to pursue my calling to ministry as I understood that this opposition was a method of spiritual warfare as a test to see if I would be obedient to the Lord in this area.

Finally and most importantly, in the end it is our friendship that we have with the Lord which will define how we interpret that it is truly Him speaking to us. Often, we  tend to think of our relationship with God as one sided and that He is the one who is supposed to be in constant communication with us when instead He desires for it to be a mutual exchange of words. Sharing our lives with our best friend is what deepens and strengthens intimacy. As we develop this relationship, over time as we ask ourselves, “Is this you speaking to me God?”, the easier it is to interpret whether it is or not. If our hearts are in tune with His word, our ears will be also.


by Kendra Williams

It seems that whenever trouble comes, God is the first to be blamed… Why? Why is it that the very One to be there for us gets accused if something goes wrong? “Well, He shouldn’t let it happen.” Poor excuse. It’s angering that people find satan so intriguing, and then turn around and make God the scapegoat-blaming Him for what is actually satan’s doing. I think a lot of people visualize God differently than what He really is…me for one. For so long, I’ve seen Him as an angry, hating God just looking for an excuse to condemn me. He was always glaring at me, but loving everyone else. Over the past year or so, He has been showing me the real Him, and He is WAY different from what I pictured. I’ve dared to call Him Father, and that has become the dearest name in the world to me. “Father” is an extremely endearing name and yet calls for respect. He is my Father. When I see Him in my mind’s eye, He is looking at me with eyes full of tender love and compassion – a picture I hardly dared to imagine before. You see, God doesn’t want us to get hurt. But when we do, He can use it to our advantage by teaching us by it. There can be a lot of tough questions about why God allows bad things to happen. Here’s a neat analogy I once heard a dad say in answer to such questions:

” If my daughter falls and scrapes her knee that doesn’t mean I wanted it to happen. But I can be right there to pick her up and hold her when it does.”

And God is always there for us, to hold and help us when there is trouble. So often it may seem like He isn’t really there. Another analogy: do you ever notice that when there is fog it always seems to be just across the street, never right around you? And yet across the street you would see it around your own house. Sometimes it’s hard to see God in the middle of something tough. But when you look back, He’ll be so much a part of the picture that you’ll wonder how you never noticed. I have a wonderful loving Father who is and always will be there to comfort and guide me. He wants to be that for each individual person alive. Will you let Him be that for you?

The Watchmen

by Shane Caskey

A Watchman is defined as “one who looks out”, “one who spies, or “one who watches” according to Webster’s Dictionary. Another appropriate interpretation would be someone who is a prophet. “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed and stationed watchmen (prophets), who will never keep silent day or night; you who profess the Lord take no rest for yourselves (Isaiah 62:6).

Watchmen are responsible for protecting towns and military installations from surprise enemy attacks and other potential dangers. Their job is to literally keep watch and WARN people of impending threats. When people are going about saying peace, peace, but when there is no peace, God will give the watchmen visions of warning (2 Kings 9:17; 2 Chronicles 20:24; Jeremiah 6:17). They were commanded to blow a trumpet to get the people’s attention (Habakkuk 2:1-20). Sometimes they fill the role of being scouts. They become spies behind enemy lines, gaining insight to their tactics. They also keep an eye out for their friends who may be in danger (the gift of discernment is very important here). A blind or disobedient watchman leaves the people he is called to protect. OBEDIENCE is ultimately the ONLY course of action for a watchman.

Here is a list of other roles watchmen participate in:

  • They announce the start of a new day (Psalm 130:6; Isaiah 21:11-12)
  • They safeguard fields and vineyards during harvest time (Isaiah 5:1-2; Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1)
  • Prophets are appointed by God as spiritual watchmen over the souls of His people, including being in the trenches of spiritual warfare (Ezekiel 33:7; Hosea 9:8)
  • Watchmen URGE God’s people to live faithfully and warn them of the peril involved in falling away from the Lord and doing evil. They are to chastise those who fall away (Song of Solomon 5:7)
  • They also warn wicked people of the judgement and destruction that comes unless they turn from their evil ways
  • Just as in biblical times, watchmen bear a very heavy responsibility before God. If they fail to warn others as God has appointed them to do, his own life will be in danger and he will be held accountable for the sins of the people (Ezekiel 33:2-6)
  • Watchmen pray at all times in the Spirit. Keeping alert with perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18)
  • Watchmen will prepare ambushes for the enemy (Jeremiah 51:12) and seek to confuse them (Micah 7:4)
  • Watchmen are given revelation when the time is near for Jesus’s return (Jeremiah 31:6)

In conclusion, watchmen are blessed and highly favored by God (Proverbs 8:34-35). They are leaders among leaders because of the responsibility they have been given (Ezekiel 34:1-31; Isaiah 56:10). They are similar to the apostles having no earthly father, teacher or instructor. They are ordained by God, not man (Matthew 28:8-10). Finally, encourage your watchmen and fill them with joy. Not only does it benefit them, but it benefits you as well (Hebrews 13:17)!

Ash Wednesday

by Cassie Lynch

This morning I attended my second ever Ash Wednesday service. As I sat under the teaching of a dear friend, he beckoned us to take today and this lent season to shift our gaze to death, to ashes, to longing. For in this reflection, we recognize our desperate need of life, of growth, of fulfillment. Of Christ.

I slowly made my way forward to feel the ashen cross (a bittersweet symbol of an incarnate God who entered our death-bound world), to hear the words “remember you are dust and to dust you will return.”

As I waited, my heart weighed heavy. I realized that despite my attempts at intentional grief this year, I’d chosen instead to intentionally turn my gaze away. Instead of facing loss, I’ve spent 10 months trying to return. Return, to a time when death was an idea, not a tangible reality. Return to a time when I knew of death, but had never heard a last breath drawn. Return to a time when I knew that we would all one day pass, but had never seen the life vanish from eyes as a man turned into a corpse. And i’m sorry if this seems graphic, but I saw it. I saw death. I can now see the thestrals. And I hate it.

So as I sat this morning and I was encouraged to look at it, look at death, my skin crawled. I didn’t want to. I don’t like it.

But my friend was right. It is important that we look at it. Look at the mess! Look at the pain! Look at the brokenness! Look at the loss! Look at the depravity! Look at the death. For when we look at death, we can become aware of it’s defeater. Christ conquered death. But if I refuse to look at death. I miss it. I miss the great lengths our Lord traversed to conquer it.

So I’ve decided to look. From now until Good Friday I will look at death.

It’s only day one and I’ve already cried and raged against death. It took my dad. It took him from me and I had to see it at work firsthand. And as lent carries on I will continue to face it. And I know that as my longing grows, my craving for resurrection, so will grow my joy. Christ faced this wretched ash, but he defeated it. And though for now I have to face the pain and longing of loss, I know that one day I will stand face to face with my rescuer. And I will see my dad with life in his eyes, in his skin, in his smile.

But today I will look at the ashes. Today I will let the pain grow into gratitude. Today I will look at death.

What are You Doing Today?

by Shane Caskey

Question, what would happen if you died today?? You never know do you.

What if Jesus came back today, would you be ready? Or would you feel like there is more you need to do?

Some of us have what’s called a bucket list. Things we would like to do before we die. Skiing, skydiving, mountain climbing, travel to Italy, make a million dollars, white water rafting,…. I can go on and on. My point is, what should your bucket list look like as a follower of Christ? Very different, I think.

I believe God is gonna ask us two questions when we get to heaven:

What did you do with what I gave you (Talents, spiritual gifts)?

What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?

Our bucket list should look like this:

How many souls can I reach for the kingdom.

How many times can I praise God for all He is and all that He does.

How many people can I make smile today and make a difference in their lives.

How can I make my Father in heaven proud of me.

How many people can I invite to church with me today.

How many times can I hug someone that just needed a hug (with something so simple you may have stopped them from committing suicide).

How many people can I show the Love of God to.

How can I be an example (especially if you are in a position of leadership, lead by example) to people around me of what it looks like to live for Jesus (make people wonder and want to ask, what is different about you, then bammm perfect opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them).

I can go on and on, but you catch my meaning.

We need to wake up Christians. We need to quit being haughty and proud and think we are better than others. Even Jesus sat with sinners, but didn’t sin with them. At one time we were one of them. It’s time for us to get to work for God’s kingdom and quit being “pew sitters”. We need to start living our lives for God DAILY, and start making a difference in this world that’s getting worse. The devil is laughing at us while we sit on the sidelines just watching! I don’t like being laughed at, do you? God has given all of us all spiritual gifts. If you don’t know what they are, I encourage you to find out what they are and start using them for the Glory of God and His Kingdom.

Another question: What are you angry about?

Are you angry  that the world is becoming the place it is today?

Are you angry children are getting rapped?

Are you angry about the human trafficking going on right here in Atlanta Georgia?

Are you angry because someone stole from you?

There’s lots to be angry about. And that’s ok. Believe me, God is just as angry about these things. Learn to love what God loves and hate what God hates. He loves the people but hates the sin.

And we should be angry with Satan! He is trying to, with all that he has, to destroy our lives!! Lets get angry at the devil and fight back and get off our rear ends and do something-anything!! A friend of mine always said, “Don’t talk about it, be about it!”.

Some may ask, well what can we do to help? We need to get on our knees and start praying earnestly for those around us. Believe me, there is POWER in prayer. We need to ask God to unleash the legions of angels and go to war with the enemy around us as we begin to discern where the enemy is hitting. There are people all over this world crying out for help. I’ve also learned that the enemy doesn’t like it when we worship and sing to God wholeheartedly. He doesn’t like scripture either especially when quoted out loud from someone who really believes in what they are quoting. The bucket list above is another way to fight back.

I love you all! And I pray that God’s love and blessings be poured out on your lives! I pray that God places a hedge of protection around you as you begin to step out of your comfort zones and take part in trying to make a difference in this world. In Jesus’ precious and Holy Name I pray! Amen.


by Cassie Lynch

One of the most famous verses in all of scripture regarding peace and worry is Philippians 4:6. We hear it again and again. Be anxious for nothing. Be anxious for nothing. Be anxious for nothing. 

I want to pause for a moment and encourage you. This isn’t going to be an article on how to muster up the willpower to defeat anxiety. This isn’t going to be a verse pulled out of context and preached at you.

 “Be anxious for nothing,” This isn’t helpful. It’s not enough. We have to see more. 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.”

Ah. So the method here is prayer and petition. Prayer, which is as simple as talking to God. And supplication. One of the definitions of supplication is ‘to seek or pursue,’. 

So talk to God and seek him with thanksgiving. 

With a firm grip on his faithfulness and his goodness and his presence and his provision in life up until this very moment, let your need be made known to God. 

The word here for ‘making it known’ is the Greek word gnōrizō, which means ‘to know intimately’. In fact, it comes from the Greek root word for sexual intimacy. The idea here is this- making your need known at the most intimate level. Let him become so well acquainted with your need that it is vulnerable to him, exposed to him, laid bare to him. Get the need as near as possible, as voiced as possible, as seen as possible. 

This only happens if we step into his space. If we draw near.

This is not a casual passing prayer. This is not throwing a word in with the big guy. This is intimate. It requires relationship and nearness and exposure. 

And because of the work Christ did on the cross, that kind of intimate access is available to us. 

Jesus says, ‘come to me you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest!’ 

Jesus says, ‘enter my throne room of grace with confidence my child! The way has been paved!’

And in that intimate space we get to meet the Prince of Peace. 

In chapter 4 he says this peace that transcends understanding will guard your heart (what you feel) and your mind (what you think). 

Oh. You mean, the two parts of us that engage in this thing called worry? Yes. He’s going to protect and care for those parts of us when we get near and share with him our fears. 

Continuing in chapter 4, you’re going to notice that he says to focus on a list of things. Good things. But, when you pause long enough, you will learn that the list is all talking about one thing. Him. 

Dwell on Christ. Eyes on Christ. The power of the cross paves a way for us to draw near and we do that by sharing, but we also do that by keeping our gaze on him. 

What good does this do? 

Carry on, and we find Paul begins to talk about the secret to contentment – which is the opposite of worry. Now this may not come as a shock, but it’s worth noting: Paul says that the key to contentment is you must draw near to the Prince of Peace. 

Paul says, do you know why I can be content in the face of beatings and death threats and abandonment? I’ll tell you. Christ. In. Me. I can do all things because Christ is in me! Everything is going to be okay because I know who is in charge. He is with me. He is near to me. He knows me. He knows my circumstances. I can lose it all and I can still experience life abundant because he is the living water, he is my comfort, he is my fulfillment, he is EVERY SINGLE THING I NEED. 

When the storms and the questions and the concerns knock at your door, you get to stand and say that it’s all going to be okay because you are not alone in this and you are seen.

This isn’t a mantra you can beat into your head. It’s a deep conviction that comes when you seek the Lord gratefully to share your worries as your eyes stay locked on him. 

Let’s review. 

  1. Look at your life and note the goodness, let gratitude well up.
  2. Now, with gratitude in your heart and on your tongue, it’s time to get real. Dump your fears and feelings and stresses at the feet of Jesus. Be frank and honest. Don’t hold back. 
  3. Focus on his nearness and on his goodness as you lean on the Prince of Peace. Recognize that he is in you.
  4. Repeat until the peace begins to lift your eyes above the storm. Peace won’t be born out of denial, but out of a deep and authentic comprehension of who is in charge. (Spoiler, it’s the Prince of Peace and he loves you dearly). 

Lift Your Banners High!

by Shane Caskey

Lift your banners high! Blow the trumpets! Holy nations sanctified will be our battle cry!! I encourage you to listen to the Casting Crowns song, “Until the Whole World Hears”. Pay attention to the lyrics!

The revelation of repentance to a lukewarm lethargic (slow to move or act) generation is about to begin. It’s time for the Sleeping Giant (The Church/Body of Christ) to awake!

Could you imagine the possibilities of a united church on the front battline!! Standing together as One Body of Christ!! This is how the church should begin to awaken.

Maria Woodworth Etter believed God is upset with some of the churches today, because they refuse to allow the people to openly and freely express themselves to God ( I personally feel the Holy Spirit saying the same message to me as well).

If people can’t express themselves to God, then He can’t move upon them. Our church MUST have a fresh movement of God that affects the EMOTIONS. 

God’s presence begins to manifest in a church when believers commit to doing the following: 

  1. Cleaning the church (sanctuary). This involves anointing and applying the blood of Jesus to every doorway to keep demons from coming in
  2. Praying at the beginning of EVERY service. We need to ask the Lord to send heavenly warriors to escort any demonic forces that made it on the inside to be taken out.
  3. We then need to prayerfully invite the presence of Almighty God inside.

In this way, a real powerful service will begin!


by Sarah Itterman

TRUTH. Such a broad yet narrow word. The world we live in defines truth in ways which do not even make sense. The pure truth is slandered and demonized. The truth which they want everyone to believe is placed on a soapbox of lies and empty meaning. Truth is placed in the dark shadows. Anyone who goes in search of it risks much who find the answers. What truths do we deem necessary to undergo dangers for? What are we willing to sacrifice to unveil the curtain? Are some truths worth taking extreme perils for more than others? Truth is never easy to keep hold of. Perhaps that is how we know when it is worth everything, even our very lives, to find it. Few are willing to suffer the consequences, yet it is the few who grasp the truth who are set free. It’s not about physical freedom. It’s the spiritual freedom gained which provides the strength to carry on. What an honor it is to know truth and share this priceless gem to those around us!

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