The Abandoned Life is a Fruitful Life

So, my brothers (and sisters), you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. Romans 7:14
Paul says it so well. When we abandon our lives to God, then they no longer belong to us. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But do our lives really belong to God or are we holding on to parts of it? Every area of my life where I am putting my will above His is like a branch that bears no fruit. Jesus says in John 15 that if we will remain in Him and allow Him to remain in us then we will bear fruit. Remaining in Him is the goal of the abandoned life - surrendering myself to Him. Jesus goes on to say in John 15 that every tree that bears fruit, He will prune so that it will bear more fruit. You may find yourself in a pruning season right now. God may be doing some cutting, but it is all for your good and His glory. He wants to produce much fruit in our lives and He can only do that when we allow Him to prune us. Now, I'm not much of a gardener, but I have talked to women who are and they shared some very important purposes of pruning. One purpose of pruning is to make the tree fuller. Another purpose is to make the tree grow in a certain direction. Still another purpose is to make the tree stronger. If we apply all of those reasons to our lives on a spiritual level, can you see what God hopes to accomplish when He prunes us? His purposes are the same - to keep us growing in the right direction, to make us stronger, and to make our tree bear more fruit. I know we are right in the middle of the Christmas season, but I encourage to take some time during this busy season to do some soul inventory. Are you producing much fruit for Him? Are there areas where your will is still dominating? Jesus gave everything He had to follow the will of His father. Are we willing to do the same. If so, then we will be like a tree planted by rivers of water and our leaf shall never wither and everything we do will prosper. (Psalms 1 paraphrased)


The Abandoned Life IV - The Faith Factor

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I took a little break myself and that's why I didn't update last week. I pray that our study of The Abandoned Life is speaking to your heart. The last time we met together, we talked about how faith plays an important part in our Christian walk and how it is a key weapon in our fight against fear. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith requires that I believe even when I don't see the answer. Isn't that where our worries and fears overtake us? When we can't see the path clearly in front of us, we begin to worry about what might happen. If we are not really trusting and believing God in an area of our life, no matter how many Scriptures we quote or how much praying we do, nothing will change. Ultimately, we will not abandon our lives to God if we don't fully believe that He knows best and that He can be trusted. Unbelief then becomes the battleground. Every place where we allow unbelief to reign is a place ripe for taking by the enemy of our souls. Oswald Chambers says it like this, "Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the Word He puts in us? Is it the devil? No, it is the cares of this world (Matthew 13:22). It is always our little worries. We say, 'I will not trust when I cannot see' - and that is where unbelief begins. The only cure for unbelief is obedience to the Spirit. The greatest word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon." When we truly follow Christ with our WHOLE HEART, we will be free to trust Him and obey Him in all circumstances. We will no longer be ruled by fear, but we will be ruled by love (I John 4:18). How do I know if I have truly placed my faith in God? Well, here's a short little test.
F - Am I FOLLOWING God wholeheartedly?
A - Am I AWARE of God's purpose for me?
I - Am I INVESTING in God's Kingdom?
T- Am I THANKFUL in all circumstances?
H - Am I HONORING God with my actions, thoughts, and attitudes?
I encourage you to take some time and answer these questions honestly. A life that is 100% abandoned to God is a life lived by faith, and a life lived by faith is a life God rewards (Hebrews 11:6).


The Abandoned Life III - Putting off Fear

As we continue to look at what it means to abandon our lives to God, we have found that there are certain things of the flesh we must give up in our goal of total surrender to the Spirit of God. One thing that must go is fear. Now, I'm not talking about fear of God. Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The original language calls this type of fear eulabeia and it means having the utmost respect for someone or something. That's healthy fear that recognizes the holiness of God and His awesome power. There is another kind of fear, and it is unhealthy in every way. Webster's defines fear as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. It is this type of fear that Satan uses to keep us paralyzed and ineffective in our Christian walk. God's Word is very clear in Psalms 27:1 when it says, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? In Romans 8:15 we read, For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Satan wants to keep us in bondage to our fears while God wants us to walk in freedom - freedom from fear. We live in uncertain times and it would be easy to give in to all kinds of fear, but God has called us to walk in truth not fear. The truth is that God has given us armor to help us in our fight with the enemy of this world - the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, shoes of peace, a breastplate of righteousness and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. One of the most powerful tools we have as Christians to combat fear is God's Word. When we quote Scripture we are taking the sword of the Spirit and slaying the spirit of fear. I encourage you to take some time this week to research the word fear in Scripture. Write down the verses that speak to you and keep them with you as a constant reminder. Remember Satan would like nothing better than to paralyze you with fear and keep you from fulfilling God's purpose in your life. Don't let fear have the last word. Keep your eyes on Jesus and reject the spirit of fear!


Putting off the Spirit of Fear

Well, the week is almost over and I am just getting to our weekly devotional. I wasn't in Sunday School on Sunday, but I heard it was a great lesson on hospitality. Thank you to Cassandra King for teaching the class and blessing the ladies. This week, we will pick back up with our series on The Abandoned Life. Here's a thought as we prepare for Sunday's lesson. Do we have more faith in our fear than we have faith in our God? I had to reflect on that myself when I first read it. When I entertain fear in my life I am actually putting my faith in the thing I fear. Fear is a crippling, paralyzing emotion. It can keep us so entangled that we cannot move forward with God. If we are going to fulfill the purpose and plan God has for us, we must put off the spirit of fear. Our God is bigger than our fear and when we put our complete and total faith in Him, fear begins to lose its grip on us. We are going to look at the spirit of fear more in-depth on Sunday. Until then, meditate on this verse and note the personalization, "God has not given ME a spirit of fear but of peace, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:7


The Abandoned Life II - Embracing Forgiveness

As we continue to learn about abandoning our lives to God, we come to realize that there are certain things we will have to abandon in our pursuit of Him. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that we must “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” One of the most entangling sins I know of is unforgiveness. It can literally grab hold of a heart and wrap it up tight with bitterness and resentment. Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” God’s Word is clear that to forgive is to walk in obedience to Him and to harbor unforgiveness is to walk in disobedience to Him. If we are to reach our goal of 100% surrender to Christ, we must choose to obey His Word in all areas. While it seems almost impossible at times to forgive others for cruel and careless behavior, forgiveness is always God’s perfect plan for us. Choosing to forgive is the only way to free ourselves from bitterness, resentment, and hatred. Christ gave us the ultimate example when he asked the Lord to forgive those who crucified Him, for “they know not what they do.” How can we do any less? No matter how deeply we have been hurt, we must choose forgiveness. Choosing to forgive does not absolve another for their wrongdoing, not at all; however, it does allow me to leave the consequences with the Lord. I no longer have to be judge and jury in another’s life because I am free to let God do His work in the situation. If the body of Christ is ever going to reach its maximum potential, we must begin to let go of old (or new) grievances and begin to reach out to each other with love and forgiveness. Remember we don’t forgive for the sake of someone else, we forgive for the sake of Christ. When we come to the place where we are truly willing to let Him forgive others through us, then we are moving in the right direction on this path to living an abandoned life.


The Abandoned Life - Fixing our Focus

Starting this week, I will try to post a weekly devotional that will incorporate our Life School lesson. I hope that it will encourage you in the faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Living a life that is recklessly abandoned to God requires us to fix our focus - not on problems or people, but on one person - Jesus Christ. If we use the analogy that was given to us in Hebrews,our life is a race. What kind of race is it? Certainly not a 100 meter dash, no, it is a cross country trek. It is a race to be run with patience, perseverance, and endurance. We often find ourselves hurrying through life and wonder where the time went. No doubt, you have many demands on your time, but remember what Jesus told Martha, "only one thing is needed." If we fix our focus on Him, then all the other things that try to distract us will not seem quite so important and demanding. As we run this race, we must view our family, our friends, our jobs, our churches, everything through the eyes of Jesus. Can you think of a more focusd person? From his birth to his death, he remained single-minded. For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross despising the shame. What was the joy set before him? YOU WERE! He wanted free, uninterrupted, unbroken fellowship with you and he knew his death & resurrection was the only way to secure it. That's focus! Nothing mattered more than obeying the will of his father. As we begin to live our lives in the same way with single-minded determination to obey the will of our Heavenly Father, we will be free to give our lives over in complete surrender to him. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can live a life of reckless abandon - a life that can say with the apostle Paul , "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8. Amen!


New Addition to our Site

We have added a Dates to Remember section on the right side of our blog. We hope that it will help keep you informed about upcoming events, so that you can plan accordingly. As always, if you have any questions, please contact Stacy at 770-867-8888 or churchwinder@windstream.net.


Life School Update

We will be finishing up Kay Arthur's Teach me to Pray this Sunday. It has been an awesome study! Over the next few weeks, we will be learning about The Abandoned Life. No workbooks, no videos. We will have some guest speakers and we will also take time to wrap gifts for our Yargo friends, participate in the Happy Birthday Jesus! party, and share testimonies. On January 4th, we will start a new video-driven study called Can We Talk? by Priscilla Shirer. Join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30AM in the Fellowship Hall. Hope to see you there!


September's Ladies Night Out

Our September Ladies Night Out will be Tuesday, September 30. We will meet at the church at 6:30PM to go to the Savannah Room at the University of Georgia. All ladies are invited to attend.

Sunday Life School

Lord, Teach me to Pray started on August 31 and we are excited with our new setup, our new name (Life School), and our large attendance. If you have not joined us yet, we would love to have you. This Sunday, September 14, we will meet in the sanctuary at 9:30AM to hear from Murray Tilles, the director of Light of Messiah Ministries. We will meet back in the Fellowship Hall on September 21 at 9:30AM to continue our prayer series.


Record Attendance in Sunday School

We had a huge turnout for our Ladies Sunday School this past Sunday. What an awesome sight to see so many ladies show up to preview our fall Bible Study line-up. As one lady pointed out, having food didn't hurt our turn-out at all!! We are excited to be offering three different studies that will start this September. Our facilitators did a wonderful job of previewing our selections and now it's your turn to sign up. Sign-up sheets have been placed in the church foyer and will be available until the end of August. Our Sunday night study will be Elizabeth George's A Woman after God's Own Heart. It will meet from 6:00-8:00PM Sunday evenings starting September 21. Cindy Clark will serve as facilitator. On Monday nights starting September 8 we will have two studies running from 6:30-8:30PM. You can join either Staci Eldredge's Captivating or Beth Moore's Stepping Up. Cassandra King will facilitate the Captivating study and Gloria Stancil will facilitate Stepping Up. Call the church office at 770-867-8888 if you would like more information.


Dinner at Dominick's

Our Ladies Night Out for August will be Tuesday, August 26. Meet at the church at 6:30PM. We will enjoy dinner together at Dominick's in Lawrenceville.

Sunday, August 31

Our Ladies Sunday School class will begin the study, Lord, Teach me to Pray by Kay Arthur on Sunday, August 31. This is a dynamic five week study that you will not want to miss. Our Ladies Sunday School class begins at 9:30AM each week in the Fellowship Hall.


Sunday, August 17

All ladies are encouraged to join us during the Sunday School hour on August 17 as introduce our new fall Bible study offerings for women. We are excited to to offer several different evening studies this fall. Our facilitators will be sharing a little about each study and dates and times will be given. Light breakfast will be served. Sunday School starts at 9:30AM.



Gracefully Encouraging & Mentoring Sisters
God's Word tells us that we are to teach and encourage women younger than us. What a need there is for this, but God knew that and provided for us. However, God's plan included our cooperation. He instructs us to do this for each other. We each have something to offer someone else, and we each need something that only a sister in Christ can give. With this as her vision, Gina Libbin has put together a mentoring program for our ladies. Please prayerfully consider being a mentor to someone. You can make such a big difference in the life of another woman. If you are in a season in your life where you could benefit from this, please allow someone the blessing of helping you. To learn more about the G.E.M.S. program and/or to sign-up, contact Gina Libbin at 770-868-5739.

Summer 2008

This summer in our Sunday School class we will be learning from Beth Moore as we watch her Wednesdays with Beth DVD. We started last week with "When Life Has You Paralyzed". We will finish that DVD teaching up this week and then begin "Filled to the Measure", another 2-part series. We will also be hearing from members of our class as Tiffany Bradley and Pam Casper will be sharing their testimonies in July. On August 3 we will begin a new study in Sunday School. As we finalize the plans for that study, I will post that information.


Father's Day Breakfast

The youth are hosting a Father's Day Breakfast on Sunday, June 15. They will begin serving at 8:00PM in the Fellowship Hall. Even if your dad is no longer here, come and enjoy this time together. All funds raised will go towards the youth summer camp at Indian Springs. After breakfast, we will laugh with Chonda Pierce as we finish watching her latest video.


Ladies Breakfast

As we kick-off our summer Sunday School program, we will have a special breakfast on Sunday, June 1 beginning at 9:00AM in the Fellowship Hall. After breakfast, we will view Chonda Pierce's latest DVD release. All women are invited to join us for this time of good food and refreshing laughter.

Extraordinary Women Conference

August 8-9 Griffin First Assembly in Griffin, GA
Friday ~ 7:00 - 10:00PM
Saturday ~ 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Speakers will include Thelma Wells, Carol Kent, Angela Thomas, Lisa Whelchel, and Karen Kingsbury
Cost is $39.00 per person if we register 10 or more ladies before June 20th. Call the church office or see Stacy Pennington if you are interested in attending.


Ladies Night Out for May

We will meet at the church at 6:30PM on Thursday, May 29 for our Ladies Night Out. Hope to see you there!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2008 Women's Seminar. I am excited to tell you that we had participation from over 30 different churches and one decision for Christ not to mention many who recommitted their lives to God. I am overwhelmed by God's continued faithfulness to this ministry. Thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes and all those who helped in the preparations. God bless you!


2008 Women's Seminar

Our Sixth Annual Women's Seminar will be held on May 2 & 3. Registration is $35.00 and includes Friday night dinner, Saturday lunch, and tote bag. Call the church office to register or find out more information.

Ladies Night Out

Join us each month as we get together to eat, talk, and most of all laugh!
This month we will meet on Tuesday, April 29 in the Fellowship Hall at 6:30PM to eat and help with preparations for the upcoming Women's Seminar. Hope to see you there!

Deeper Still Conference

The Deeper Still Conference featuring Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer is coming to Atlanta on June 27-28. The cost for the conference is $75.00 plus hotel and food. We have reserved 20 tickets and six hotel rooms for this weekend. If you would like to attend, please call the church office at 770-867-8888 or see Nancy Pennington. Deadline to reserve a ticket is May 27.

Sunday School

We invite you to join us in Sunday School at 9:30AM. We meet in the Fellowship Hall and are currently studying Walking by Faith by Jennifer Rothschild. To learn more about Jennifer's story and ministry check her out on the web at http://www.jenniferrothschild.com/.