Interruptions Part 3 :: Transitions

life interruptedIn part 3 of Interruptions I want to help us understand the upside to getting past stagnant seasons. Just like tears are water for your garden to grow, there is a relationship between pain and progress. And, if you want to transcend those situations and people who want to shut you down and cut you off life support you have to be prepared to say and do some things you wouldn’t normally say or do. Notice what Acts 4:8 says:

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

How does Peter pull this off? Don’t miss the power of the Holy Spirit to give you what you need when you need it. Peter doesn’t have to get a seminary degree to construct his response. He doesn’t have to be a subject matter expert to craft his response. He’s not a PhD, nor a M.Div. When he was faced with the religious elite trying to challenge what God was doing through him, all Peter needed was what Jesus promised in Luke 12:11:

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

And guess what? That’s all YOU need to. When you face an interruption in your walk with God that’s when it’s time to stand up for the God who wakes you up each morning. That’s when you have to open your mouth and acknowledge for God I live and for God I die. That’s when the prayers in your closet become your praise from the rooftop because interruptions are your opportunity to stand or sit. When life throws a Sanhedrin at you, that’s your opportunity to be moved or to be marginalized. You can walk or wither. You can move forward or fall backward. Interruptions are transitional. They’re designed to ensure that your faith ends up in a better place than it began.

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john Girton square photoJohn E. Girton, Jr. (aka Pastor G) is a success coach and motivational speaker who brings empowerment and entrepreneurial expertise to every audience. Pastor G shares life lessons and biblical jewels to help people reach their full potential.

As a former instructor of Journalism and Telecommunications at Ball State University and Tennessee State University and a business owner for the past 20+ years, Pastor G remains on the cutting edge of technology and is seen weekly on his Ustream channel and at the virtual ministry he and his wife founded in 2008 www.thelovingchurch.org and johngirtonspeaks.com.

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Interruptions Part 2

life interruptedIn part 1 of my series on interruptions I asked the question, “How do you handle interruptions in the midst of living for a higher calling?” The bible helps us to understand how to approach seasons in our lives where people challenge our motivation and even challenge what we fell called to pursue. It’s especially difficult to navigate these moments when the people who are challenging us are those who we “think” love us.

So, I wanted to help those who are fighting these very voices right now. I want you to be able to see in Acts 4 how to answer the question, “What comes out of you when your motives are questioned and you’re encouraged to operate like everyone else?”

Note that the bible says in Acts 4 verse 5-7:
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”

So, don’t get it twisted. It’s clear by the very words of Jesus Christ that you should expect interruptions. Don’t be amazed and stall thinking “Why is this happening to me?” There will undoubtedly be times in your life, when you feel most secure in God’s directions when people who you would think know better will make it their jobs to find reasons to shut down what God is doing through you. These are people who don’t understand how God is moving. Jesus himself said this in Luke 21:12-19:
12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me.”

[I LOVE THIS STUFF] Watch this folks, here’s the good news:
14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

In other words, Pastor G is trying to give you a reason to make up your mind TODAY not to worry TOMORROW about what people are going to do or say to try and interrupt where God is leading you. You don’t even have to wreck your brain over how to win the argument with ’em. You don’t have to construct a Facebook reply or a tweet. All you have to do is trust that when folks close to you seek to challenge God’s outcomes pray for them and STAND FIRM. Why, because in the end GOD WINS! And guess what, as long as you’re on His team you win too.

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john Girton square photoJohn E. Girton, Jr. (aka Pastor G) is a success coach and motivational speaker who brings empowerment and entrepreneurial expertise to every audience. Pastor G shares life lessons and biblical jewels to help people reach their full potential.

As a former instructor of Journalism and Telecommunications at Ball State University and Tennessee State University and a business owner for the past 20+ years, Pastor G remains on the cutting edge of technology and is seen weekly on his Ustream channel and at the virtual ministry he and his wife founded in 2008 www.thelovingchurch.org and johngirtonspeaks.com.

Everything I Know About Racism I Learned From the Church

Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany view towar...

Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: This original article appears here: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/169959-christena-cleveland-know-about-racism-i-learned-from-the-church.html?p=1

Note that I’m including this article on my blog for conversation and dialogue only. I’m not one to judge someones experience or suggest that this article represents the experiences of all. This is for all of us to examine ourselves as well as our role in God’s overall plan.
Editor’s Note: The author’s experiences within the church can be painful and difficult to read about. However, we believe these are reflections the Church needs to hear. Please take time to read and process the author’s story. Before reacting too quickly, we encourage you to listen and reflect upon the implications this might have for your ministry context.Every summer, my mom would sign us up for vacation bible school (VBS) programs at local churches so we could experience God in diverse settings. The summer I turned six, we attended VBS at an all-white church in a neighboring city. During recess, my brother and I were so engrossed in our tetherball game that we didn’t hear the teacher calling us to return to the classroom.

Exasperated, she yelled at the top of her lungs, “Get in here, n*ggers!!”

Being six and all, I had no idea what the word n*gger meant; I just knew that it referred to me and that it was negative.

I ducked my head in shame and ran toward the classroom. The teacher’s words violently contradicted the VBS theme “God loves all the children in the world,” and made me question whether God’s love was meant for me too.

The church taught me that God’s love is only for the white kids.

When I Learned that All Black People Rap.

Many people recall junior high as a dark and stormy stage in their identity development timeline. But as one of two black girls in my class at my Christian school, I had the unenviable task of figuring out who I was and where I belonged while surrounded by a sea of white classmates who only interacted with me long enough to ask to touch my hair.

Feeling different and excluded, I signed up for choir class, hoping to find a place to belong.

That year, the Christmas musical script unironically called for a “Rapping Angel” who rapped Luke 2:14.

Without holding auditions for the part, our choir director (with obvious support from my classmates) cast me as the rapping angel, saying, “You can do it, right Christena?”

Nope, I couldn’t.

MC Hammer, I was not.

But since I did not fit in with my classmates, I was desperate to prove that I belonged to another relevant social group—namely, black people. So I went along with our director’s decision and now have the distinction of being the most woefully miscast Rapping Angel in the history of cheesy Christmas musicals.

The church taught me that I belong nowhere—not even in the tiny stereotypical box that they tried to stuff me into.

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