Lent Prayer Devotional | Prayer: The Most Intimate Time With God

Theme: PRAYER: The Most Intimate Time With God

Scripture: Mathew 6:5-15

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standingin the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Reflection: In this passage Jesus gives a number of warnings. Don’t pray to be seen or for people to think of you as more holy than you are. Don’t keep on babbling as if the more words you use the more persuasive you are with God.  After instructing us how not to pray, he then goes on to instruct us how to pray. “Our Father” is how we start, and how crazy is it that we call God the creator and sustainer of all things OUR Father!
Jesus goes on to tell us to proclaim His Holy name, to ask for his kingdom to come, and for his will to be done here just like it is in heaven.  We are to ask him to provide for our daily needs, and to forgive us just as we are to forgive others because of his great grace. He also tells us to ask him to lead us away from temptation and to protect us from the evil one, Satan.
The question for me is,  “What is God’s heart in all of this?  What is his desire when we come to him in prayer?”
I just can’t get away from the beginning of that prayer, “Our Father”.  His heart is that we come with our heart, just as we are. After all, he knows us and knows what we need.  I can’t help but think that what he wants is for us to come to him in reverence, He is God after all, but in honesty and with our whole heart.
In sadness, joy, heartbreak and great blessing, in business and in rest, he wants us to know that he is a holy Father, and for us to want what his heart wants.  For a kingdom to come with many children and for our great King to rule it. It’s to this great King and Father that we pray to.
What gives us such a privilege to ask all these things from God?  As we prepare for the Easter season reflect on Jesus.  Jesus after all is the one that has purchased such an undeserved gift…. coming to God, “Our Father”. So put away every excuse, and pray to your Father and King from your heart.
March 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lent Prayer Devotional | Repentance: The 108 Degree Turn

hands praying with a bible in a dark over wooden table

Theme:   Repentance: The Spiritual 180 Degree Turn

Verse: Mark 1:1-5
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,  “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Reflection:  “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” (Martin Luther).  That sounds like such an odd statement in the ears of modern believers. There are actually some churches that never use the word repent because they think it too harsh. But repentance is one of the most beautiful concepts in the Bible if we understand it correctly. It means to recognize the path we are on is going in the wrong direction, and to turn and go the other way. What this looks like in practicality is that all through our lives we will come to realize that an action, an attitude, a behavior is not in line with the will of God (that would be called “sin”). When we come to those moments, what does God desire of us? To first, confess that sin—which basically means we are agreeing with God that what we are doing is wrong. Second, to express sorrow for the sin. And third, to turn away from it, and seek a new path. When John baptized in the wilderness, it was a baptism centered on repentance and the forgiveness of sins. What a blessing to come up out of that water knowing that you were free from your sins.

One of the joys of the Lenten season is that we slow down long enough to actually ask God to reveal to us where our lives are “off the track”. Let’s be honest: we aren’t always very good about recognizing our own sinful tendencies. And as we spend time in prayer, in the Word, and in self-denial/fasting, we open ourselves up to hear the Spirit of God’s voice in our hearts. Only when we hear God speak to us (no matter how He does it), can we then repent and start on a new path with our Father. And like the saints of old who were baptized by John in the desert, we too can embrace the forgiveness that is ours in Jesus.

March 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lent Prayer Devotional | Self Denial: Recognizing Our Chains

hands praying with a bible in a dark over wooden table

Theme: Self Denial: Recognizing our Chains

Verse: 1 John 2:15-17

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Reflection: 

We often sing the lyrics “my chains are gone, I’ve been set free”. Those are incredibly important words to remember– that in Jesus Christ, the penalty of our sins has been washed away by the blood of the Lamb. That’s the Good News! The “not so good news” is that we still live in a world and in a body full of chains. What are they? Anything that holds you back from fully serving and loving the Lord. Anything that has a grip on you that makes it hard to control. That is why during the Lenten season we practice the discipline of self-denial. When we “give something up” for Lent, what we are really doing is putting ourselves in a place where we learn to be lord of our desires (and not the other way around). The love of this world, and the things in this world, are constant pitfalls for believers. The draw is ever around us. Thus, during Lent, we lean on the power of the Spirit of God to help us gain victory over that which wants to own us.

So, this Lenten season….what are you asking Jesus to help you gain victory over (and eggplant is not a legitimate answer)?

March 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Maker Fun Factory VBS

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The best week of the summer!

New friends! Amazing experiments! Creative games! Lip-smacking snacks! Surprising adventures! Incredible music!

At Maker Fun Factory VBS, kids discover not only that God made them the way they are, but for a purpose too. Maker Fun Factory is filled with incredible Bible-learning experiences kids see, hear, touch, and even taste! Sciency-Fun GizmosTM, team-building games, cool Bible songs, and tasty treats are just a few of the standout activities that help faith flow into real life. Plus, we’ll help kids discover how to see evidence of God in everyday life—something we call God Sightings. Get ready to hear that phrase a lot!

REGISTER HERE

Contact: Katie.Brouse@DurhamE.org for more information or if you would like to volunteer!

March 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lent Prayer Devotional | Turn Your Mind to the Things Above

hands praying with a bible in a dark over wooden table

Theme: Focusing on the things of heaven, not the earth.

Verse: Colossians 3:1-2
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Reflection: Above all, the Lenten season is a time to readjust our focus. We get so caught up in the whirlwind of life, that our attention gets directed to everything but the most important thing. That’s why it is such a great idea to pro-actively make changes that force a different look at life for these 6 weeks. What it takes for any one person to follow the directive of the apostle Paul in Colossians, “set you mind on things above”, is a very personal thing. For some, fasting is very helpful in remembering Who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. For others, purposeful time in God’s Word, maybe reading books that we tend to shy away from (no, not just Leviticus), would be very beneficial. For others (like me), disconnecting from media is both a time saver and a refreshing way to keep my mind focused on the right things. So whatever it is for you, take some steps this Lenten season to join Jesus out in the wilderness (His 40 days of testing is what Lent is modeled after). It will refresh your soul and empower your spirit.

March 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

PASTORAL PONDERINGS: POLITICS

Closeup of an American "I voted" sticker placed on a navy shirt.

And He Shall Reign Forever

“Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:10). Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? As Christians we believe we are members of the Kingdom of God, and it is the only kingdom that is eternal. Nations come and nations go, but Jesus’ church will reign forever. And that is why we are called sojourners and aliens in this world (Phil. 3:20 and Heb. 11:13). And it is why we agree with Jesus when He said to Pilate, “my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). No matter what country or era we live in, God’s Kingdom will always come first. That is one of our great hopes as believers in Jesus.

So how do these great truths help us in light of the political season we are now living in? Let’s get honest….it is tough for an evangelical to navigate the current situation. I know many brothers and sisters in the faith who really wonder if they can vote this year—their consciences just can’t support any of the current candidates. And precisely because it is so difficult, we want to make sure that politics don’t in any way end up injuring the body of Christ. No matter how we feel about a candidate or party, that just cannot be allowed to harm our commitments and relationships in the church. If it does, we have surely gotten off track.

Practically how do we live this out when everything seems so volatile? First, we need to have the humility to realize that how we see things may not be exactly how God does. We all think we are representing Christ well in our political convictions, but we often fail to understand how different folks have different priorities in what they look for in a candidate or party. Our generational differences, background differences, educational differences, etc., all shape how we see the world. So for some issues of life and marriage are most important (Psalm 139, Matt. 19:4-6). For others, how the poor are cared for, and how justice is truly administered are at the top of the list (Matt. 25, Micah 6:8). Interesting thing is this—every one of those issues is something God is passionate about, and many of us search in vain for a candidate that encompasses the whole.

Beyond humility what is valuable? Well, if you ever catch yourself wondering how someone who disagrees with you politically could truly be a follower of Jesus….rebuke that thought immediately. We can make our case for why we vote the way we do, and it is fine to be passionate about our choices. But that passion has to always remember that we are Christians first, and members of nations, political parties, and states second. Don’t ever forget that in the end only one kingdom is left standing—The Kingdom of God.

October 25th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

PASTORAL PONDERINGS: SEPTEMBER

“and without faith it is impossible to please God. For those who come to Him must believe He exists and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

So a new year has begun (let’s be honest, our year starts in September, not January). I love the fall in New England, and not just because the weather is great and the foliage is gorgeous. I love the renewed start of things— the UNH gang is back, vacations come to an end, and we regather with a sense of energy as we look forward. We hope for new believers to be birthed, and for folks to take steps with God they have never taken.

But the fall also reminds me of the hardest thing we face…….will this be a year of faith? Let’s be honest (wait, didn’t I already say that?), the gifts we have as a church allow us to do a lot of pretty amazing stuff. We know how to pull off big events (years of pig roasts, outdoor services, etc). We know how to gather together in worship. We do community groups really well. But the fact that we have the natural talent/gifts to do this also means we have the potential of doing this in our own strength. Yes, it is actually possible to do a whole lot of “religious” stuff without God being anywhere near it. And that is truly sobering.

This is why faith is so important. When Jesus said, “truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” The real challenge for us will always be this, are we operating in faith? Put it another way, what are we doing that totally depends on God showing up in a powerful way? That is why we must always ask our own souls, am I really relying on God?

What does day to day faith look like? Well, it may be that invite that you have been fearful to put forth (like, “hey we are doing an outdoor service this weekend, want to come?”). It could be stopping the never ending political and sports talk, and instead discussing the wonders of the Gospel. Maybe it is serving the body of Christ or your community in a way you never have (and are a little scared to). Every one of these things could bring rejection, ridicule, or failure your way. Yes it really does take faith to believe God will be with you. But then, think of the benefits. Look again at the top of the page……God promises to reward those of faith who diligently seek him.

One of my prayers for myself and for the body known as DEC is that we would be a people marked by diligent faith.

September 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Outdoor Service

Why an outdoor service?

The staff at DEC wanted to provide a place where everyone could share in one service together. Providing two separate services at DEC is a necessity to fit everyone in the building, but those who attend first service may never meet someone who attends second service and vice versa. One of our missions as a church is to provide opportunities to build our community. We believe this is a unique event that will allow for our entire church body to build that community as we join together in worshiping our Lord.

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What should I bring?

This is not only an opportunity to build the community within our church, but this is an opportunity for you to invite a friend!

This is a “picnic style” event. We will only be providing seating for a small amount of people, so bring your lawn chairs, blankets, or whatever you plan to sit on for the service and the meal.

We are asking that you bring a side dish that could feed the amount of people you are bringing to the event to share. The church will provide burgers and hot dogs with all the fixin’s. We will also provide drinks.

We are also asking that you bring goods for Operation Blessing to help feed those in need in our community. When you come to the shuttle there will be a place for you to drop off your goods. Here is a list of goods that are needed:

Stuffing mix, canned gravy, canned veggies, canned cranberry sauce, brownie mixes, bread mixes, and gift cards to Market Basket to purchase rolls and butter, or gift cards to Golden Harvest in Kittery, ME for fresh potatoes, carrots and apples.

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Where do I park?

Wagon Hill can only hold so many cars. We are asking those who are handicapped or elderly to park at Wagon Hill while those who are able bodied take the shuttles. If you are parking at Wagon Hill there will be signs and parking attendants to show you where to park.

There will be a shuttle leaving from DEC and from Oyster River High School beginning at 9AM and continuing every 15 minutes.

The shuttles will resume after the service to take you back to DEC or ORHS beginning at noon and continuing every 30 minutes ending at 1:50PM.

If you are a UNH student the shuttle from UNH will bring you to and from this event.

DSC_2590What if it rains?

In the unfortunate event that it is raining we will provide information for you by the afternoon of Friday, September 8th on this page and our DEC Facebook page. A rain date is scheduled for Sunday, September 24th.

What else should I know?

There will not be an 8:30AM and 10:30AM service at the DEC building. We will only be meeting at Wagon Hill for the 10:30AM service.

This is a family friendly event. Please do not bring alcoholic beverages.

While Wagon Hill is a dog friendly park, we ask that you do not bring your dogs to this event.

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August 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

His Story: Jean-Paul

Drums conceptual image. Picture of drums and drumsticks lying on snare drum. Retro vintage instagram picture.

Jean-Paul Gauthier grew up in the Catholic church. He attended with his parents, went through confirmation, and lived a fairly normal child’s life. “I was an altar boy. I was in boy scouts, but I was a confused kid. I went through some normal kid crap. I was introduced to pornography at a fairly young age. It wasn’t like there was this fascination or addiction, it just became a part of regular daily life for me. It certainly became a factor later in my life.”

As he grew up he continued attending the Catholic church, but wasn’t really living the Christian life. He knew of God, but had not come to the understanding of how God could truly change his life. “It was like, ‘Okay. Who’s the next girl I can sleep with? Where’s the next party I can go to? I thought that was perfectly okay.’”

A few years after graduating college he got married. “I met a girl whose parents were married, mine were divorced. That was pretty attractive; she had parents that were married, they had a lake house, she was an only child and it seemed like this really great package.” During this time Jean-Paul continued to go to church. “I was a good Catholic boy,  walk down the center aisle, make sure everyone knows that I’m there. And then when I had kids, that was even better because now it was, ‘Oh look. Isn’t that wonderful! He’s bringing his kids to church.’”

An opportunity came for Jean-Paul to teach a confirmation class at his church. After being a part of the Catholic church from a young age, he knew that many of the kids in that class were likely coming to the class because their parents wanted them to go. So, on his first day he told the class that if they were there because their parents made them come, they could leave. Every kid got up and left. After getting all of them to return, he said “OK, I get it. You’re here because your parents made you.” He also told them that if they did not want to affirm their faith for themselves by the end of the class, he would support that decision. This caused a bit of an uproar in the church, which began a journey into Jean-Paul questioning the theology of the Catholic church.

Later on, Jean-Paul’s marriage began to fall apart. Since he was going through a divorce, he realized he could no longer teach confirmation because it was contradictory to what the church teaches. “I go to the head of the program and I say, I’m going to have to step down.’ And she goes ‘Wait. Why?’ and I said ‘Well, my wife and I are about to go through a divorce.’ And she said ‘Well…umm….well…maybe…’ and I started thinking ‘What? What do you mean maybe? This is what the church teaches and I’m about to go through this and you’re saying I can still teach?’” Once again he was left questioning the integrity of the church he was attending.

Jean-Paul continued through his divorce and his life continued to spiral. He was divorced, lost custody of his kids, stopped attending church, and he was losing all hope. “I made the mess. That’s really important to remember.” One Sunday morning, when he was working as a DJ for a local radio station, he got a call from a friend who asked what was going on, “You sound terrible.” Jean-Paul denied that anything was really wrong, but his friend asked him over for lunch anyway. Jean-Paul explained that he had to pick up a car, was planning to walk and just wanted to go home. His friend told him that his wife was on her way to church with the kids and she could pick him up and drive him. Jean-Paul told his friend several times he wasn’t interested and ended the conversation. Once he had finished his shift at the radio station, he walked outside and his friend’s wife was waiting to give him a ride. He reluctantly got in the car.

While driving home, he remembers God tugging at his heart to go to church. “I’m having an argument with God. He’s like, ‘I want you to go to church.’ And I’m like, ‘No.’ ‘Go to church.’ ‘No.’ ‘Go to church.’ ‘No.’” This argument continued until he found himself parked right in front of the church. “I thought to myself ‘OK God, you better have something to say!’ Can you imagine? Me telling God what to do.” He snuck in the back, side door, went up three rows and sat down. “Here’s where the freakiness starts to begin for me. I sit down in a pew and it’s dedicated to a Mr and Mrs Jean-Paul… the last name doesn’t matter, it’s my name looking back at me. I’m sitting there and I’m getting really weirded out by this. And then the sermon is about lost sheep coming back to the flock. Now I’m a mess. I’m bawling.” That began a chain of events leading Jean-Paul to give his life to Christ during an altar call at a Christian convention. “But my life didn’t change. I’m still sleeping with my girlfriend. I’m still looking at every skirt that walks by me.” Although he accepted the call, there wasn’t change in the way he was living his life.

A few years went by, Jean-Paul found himself at another church, teaching another class to kids. A situation came up causing issues in his heart with their theology which didn’t seem to line up with what he knew of God and he ended up leaving. Around this time, he was not attending church and he had a friend that was into sound just like Jean-Paul was. His friend suggested that they go check out DEC, because he was told they had a cool sound system. Jean-Paul drove by DEC many times on his route to work and was familiar with the church. Once he began attending he fell in love with the worship team and he decided to join as a sound tech. “It was there that my relationship with Christ began. The first hour of rehearsal each week was a devotional – studying scripture.” Jean-Paul realized that although he knew the Bible from his Catholic upbringing, he was not reading the Word. He began reading the book of John and that was when his faith started to change his life.

Now Jean-Paul, and his wife, Loretta, teach the Financial Peace University course at DEC. “FPU is a big part of our testimony now and why we’re so passionate about getting people financially healthy. Because it removes all of those barriers to your relationship with Jesus Christ.” Out of his passion for helping people become financially healthy, and his own personal success in applying the principles learned in FPU, he is also a financial coach and mentor. “The coaching aspect of it is that desire to be able to sit across a table with people…watching someone working their butt off after 9 weeks and come back to me at the end with tears and [they say] ‘We did it.’”

July 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

His Story: PJ

At the age of 13, Paul “PJ” Donahue started attending DEC with his mom and stepfather. Around that same time he also began drinking, which led to years of alcohol abuse. “When I was really young I would go to the soda machine. I was already fantasizing and romanticizing about drinking. I remember watching the Superbowl and there were constant beer commercials. I remember drinking soda, and Pepsi was a Bud. I was already off and running before I even started.”

During high school PJ spent much of his time playing music and partying with his friends. His passion for music later turned into a career as a drummer for several bands and a drum teacher for many students in the area. He remembers music and drinking being very separate at first. Most of his week was spent practicing, but he would be looking forward to the weekend when he could get drunk with his friends. “As I grew older, and had more freedom, I was able to make that more a part of my life. Music, partying, and alcohol, they go hand in hand. By the time it was my career, when I could go to work and I was expected to be a part of it [the party scene], it fit too perfectly.”

Years of partying and social drinking had gone by when PJ noticed a change in his behavior. “Somewhere along the way things started to change. I would drink on a Friday night and I would wake up Saturday and the first thing I wanted to do was drink more. Then that became the reality. It got to the point where I would come to Bible Study on a Thursday morning and I would be in the bar by 11AM. Drink all day. Drink all night. Be right back in the bar Friday.” Drinking with friends was no longer just a social call. Drinking was all he could think about.

PJ, along with his wife Jenn and daughter Molly, continued to attend DEC. “Usually Saturday night I would have a gig. I would come to DEC and put on the “Church PJ”. Always looked sharp. Nice button down shirt. Totally shaved. After shave. Mints. Hair perfect. On the outside looking like everything was together. You would never know. I would just sit there and think, ‘I just got to get through this hour then I can go to the gig and drink.’ I would not really listen to the sermon, but I would always watch the worship team. I envied them so much. I was super proud of them.” He was proud of the younger members of the worship team for the way they were serving and the heart they had for the Lord. He was so glad they were “sold out” for God, because he remembered what he was doing on a Sunday morning at that age. “When I was 24 or 25, I would wake up hung-over. Maybe in the bed. Maybe next to the bed. Maybe on the kitchen floor. Who knows? Maybe on someone else’s kitchen floor.” Although he was so intrigued by the members of the worship team, he wanted nothing to do with them. He did not want to deal with his addiction and he knew that if he joined he would not be able to hide it anymore.

After years of alcohol abuse, PJ had a gig that made him realize just how much his addiction had a hold on him. He had some drum students cancel a few hours before a gig in Concord, and he was left in the city just waiting to drink with friends before his gig. “I had a gig in Concord on a Thursday night. It was from 9PM-1AM or something. I had some students up in Concord and then I had a little break, actually too long of a break. I remember thinking to myself, ‘You can’t go in there and get a beer yet, because you know that once you start you will not stop.’ So I sat in the parking lot across the street just waiting out time because I knew once I started it was on.” It wasn’t long after that he decided to go into the restaurant and start drinking.

By the time he made it to his gig he was already drunk. “I remember going up to the bartender and she said, ‘You can drink all you want. It’s all free, but we have a New Hampshire law that you can’t drink on stage.’ And I was like, ‘Thank God! That will force me stop for like an hour. I just need an hour.’” By the time the gig was over he had been drinking for several hours and had to drive back home. His blood alcohol content was far over the legal driving limit. He stopped a couple of times along the way because he was having trouble seeing correctly and was afraid he might get pulled over. After a couple of hours he made it home. As soon as he got in the door he went into the basement and began drinking again.

A couple of weeks after that night he decided to go back to Alcoholics Anonymous and get some help. He had tried sobriety once before but was only able to stay sober for about 3 months. Around the same time, he also decided to join the worship team at DEC because they were in need of a drummer. He first contacted Danielle thinking that being a part of the worship team might help him in his sobriety, but he hoped he wouldn’t have to commit to too much because he had brunch gigs on most Sunday mornings. Shortly after contacting her he was put on the schedule to play once a month! This forced him to have a sense of responsibility, because he knew he couldn’t show up to rehearsal on a Thursday night or a service on a Sunday morning drunk.

Soon after joining the worship team he also began attending a Community Group. They were going through the book “Experiencing God”, which really helped him see what experiencing God was like for the first time. It helped him in his prayer life and taught him how to develop a relationship with God. “Prayer isn’t just a routine. It isn’t just something that you say. Church isn’t just something that you do and just go to get through and then you’re good. You have to start to seek God and ask God to reveal himself to you.”

After 2 months of being sober Danielle asked PJ to play a drum duet for the Mission’s Sunday at DEC, having no idea the internal struggle that was going on. “That’s a weird point in sobriety. When I first stopped drinking…that’s almost easier because you are so close to that turmoil and it is so fresh in your mind. When you get farther in sobriety you kind of forget how bad it was.” He was struggling with sobriety because it was so new and different, but he knew he could not go back because that would be even worse. He felt stuck and vulnerable, but he did not realize just how vulnerable he really was.

PJ came to practice with the rest of the worship team for Mission’s Sunday, and shortly after Danielle noticed something was off about rehearsal. In that moment she stopped rehearsal and prayed. She was feeling spiritual warfare and asked God to help them in their practice. “We had had so many problems, like technical problems. It was really weird. Everything was fine until I sat down to watch the worship team practice the other tunes. At the time I didn’t know what it was. I was just having these thoughts of, ‘Why are you here? They don’t even want you here. You don’t belong here. You need to pack up your stuff and leave and drink. You shouldn’t even be alive.’ I must have gone back on stage. That’s when Danielle prayed the first time. I remember Danielle prayed twice. The first time Satan used it to make it worse on me. Then he was like, ‘Now look! Now you’re not supposed to be here so much that you are ruining it for them.’” As the practice continued, PJ’s feelings were not going away.

PJ put on a brave face like nothing was wrong and continued to play the drums. Danielle had no idea what was going on in his mind, but she knew that the team was under a spiritual attack. So, she prayed again for the demonic spirit to leave practice. “Then Danielle prayed a second time. That’s when I knew that she felt it too.”

That night PJ went home and talked to his wife, Jenn, about what happened. She did some research to find out what spiritual warfare was and that was when PJ realized he had been under attack. “That was really cool that Danielle felt that. It made me look into it more. It made me think, ‘Maybe I’m not ruining it for everyone. Maybe Satan is threatened by what good can come out of it.’”

It has now been several months since that night at worship team rehearsal. Through help in AA, and support from the worship team and his community group, PJ has been sober for over a year. He has continued to serve on the worship team and has been a huge encouragement. Through it all, God has done an amazing transformation from a life of addiction to a life of freedom. “I believed in God. I always believed that we were created and the world was created. I can just see that by looking around. But as far as Jesus, I was a little more like, ‘Maybe? But, how do you know?’ I think often that when Jesus died the veil was torn and I’ve spent a lot of my life just trying to sew it back up. Once I humbled myself and just said, ‘You take it. I can’t do it anymore.’ That’s when things started happening…[when I was] driving home from Concord one night and hearing, ‘Jesus is your friend. You can talk to Jesus.’ And I just casually said, ‘Jesus, I love you.’ And I looked down and the license plate said, ‘Love you more.’ And when they did the baptisms and there was one after the other and I was on the team. I just felt like God was revealing to me another character of him. No matter how dark it gets, or how much stuff happens in the world and how lost everybody gets, and how out of control everything seems to get with shootings and everything, don’t forget for one second that He hasn’t got it right in his hand and He can win at any time, at will. He’s got it.”

 

PJ and Jenn

PJ with wife Jenn

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PJ with daughter Molly

June 21st, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments