Sunday, May 21, 2017

NOT IN VAIN - Happy Steadfast Day!

TODAY is the day I am choosing to CELEBRATE the LORD'S STEADFASTNESS and how He has been teaching me to be the same!
 
 
 
My labour (church ministry, retail management, etc) is not in vain. Period. Should someone attempt to suggest otherwise, I will point them to 1 Cor. 15:57-58. Jesus is faithful.
 
May is an important month for me. It was the month I began serving as a ministry leader in the church, 16 years ago. Back then I was a youth director teaching children and youths about prayer and the Word. I was just a young man.
 
Years have passed and I am now our church's Assistant Pastor. I've seen a generation of children grow into adults in God, and I helped to contribute to their development. What a special privilege and honour that has been... and still is! There just isn't anything better than this for me... raising spiritual children.
  God's faithfulness has shone through my wonderful church, Church On The GO. I continue with youth ministry, but over the years I have expanded my portfolio of ministry: I teach the Word to adults, lead in worship, run a ministry to Christian singles, and do other tasks as needed for the church.
It is a month that has much reason to celebrate. But for me, this day also has the potential to remind one of disappointments and loss. But I choose to remember and CELEBRATE the GOOD of the LORD over the unfaithfulness of people. I aggressively and assertively declare the GOOD of the LORD which HAS PREVAILED in my life, and continues to prevail! He has given me victory, and I choose to walk in that victory every day. Trials have come, and still do come. I sometimes fail and have to repent.
But the understanding that I already have victory over those trials has shaped my attitude as a whole. The Lord always brings me through each trial. He hasn't failed me. He is FAITHFUL. 
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
57 But thanks be unto God, which hath given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye STEADFAST, UNMOVEABLE, abundant always in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is NOT IN VAIN in the Lord.
------
By the way, that Greek word for "vain" is defined by the blueletterbible as "emtpy, devoid of truth, fruitless" and it is also defined as "without SPIRITUAL WEALTH." Well that is what we have been studying in church.... God's wealth is 3-D! Our lead pastor got a revelation of the Word from the Holy Spirit on this concept of wealth being triune or 3-D. It is: the spiritual wealth of God, character wealth of the soul, and natural/bodily wealth such as money and health.

The Lord has made me immoveable. I depend fully on Him and not on my own strength or ability. Thank you Jesus for this day. This is a good day.... it's God's day.
 
Here is a list of things I choose to CELEBRATE about the LORD'S STEADFASTNESS in ME!
 
1. The Lord gave me a church ministry in May 2001... 16 years ago. He has expanded it since then.
2. Nearly 22 years work experience in retail.
3. My recovery from being abandoned, and recovery from divorce. (Married May 21 2005, Divorced Oct 15 2009) I am HEALED. I have FORGIVEN. I have MOVED ON in Christ. (In fact, today, it took me more than HALF A DAY to even realize that this was my former wedding date.
4. My SINGLES ministry is ONLY POSSIBLE due to the loss in my life... the compassion and the insight and experience the Lord allowed me to have is invaluable when ministering to other singles, divorced people and widowers.
Happy Steadfast Day.


-CJA
Sun May 21 2017 1:39pm EST

Monday, May 8, 2017

Feel Isolated in Christ? You are NOT ALONE!

Matthew 10:42 English Standard Version (ESV)
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

1 Corinthians 7:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.

I want to encourage you: don't be afraid to walk your unique and holy path in Jesus. He calls you to it, and it will be an isolating experience, just as Bonhoeffer explains in his book "The Cost of Discipleship". Believe me when I say that I can RELATE to this!!



Yes, we gather in fellowship in local public churches. But that does not mean our individual paths in Christ will all look identical. We all seek to have the same mind in Christ and the same doctrine. But not every path in Jesus will be the same. 1 Corinthians 12 does a great job of explaining the diversities of callings and gifts in Christ. It is always the same Spirit. There is unity through diversity of callings and gifts. Not all people have to do the same thing in the body. In fact, in that chapter, Paul says that if everyone did the same thing or had the same gift, then the spiritual body would not be fully equipped!
Discipleship will cause you to feel separate. Indeed I know I feel separated and sometimes misunderstood because I don't have the same calling and walk as others. God equips us with desires that match the calling. So don't feel bad when you don't desire what other people think you should desire.
Remember the source of your desires.... it is God who changes your heart and determines what you will desire:

Psalm 37:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.

By delighting in the Lord and in what He desires, He will plant His desires in your heart and they become yours. This is what I believe the Psalm is telling us. Let God give you the desires of your heart. Then when you go to ask for those things, He will grant your desires, because they match His sovereign desire. And His sovereign desire for you is GOOD and HOLY. But it still will not be the exact same path as other disciples/Christians. Contrast the difference of paths between Peter and John in the New Testament. One was called to die on a cross, the other lived to full age while banished on a prison island.

 People want to put you into a cookie cutter. But you don't fit in the cookie cutter mold. And that's ok. God is using your set of unique experiences to further His kingdom of spiritual children. You don't have to fit man's cookie cutter. God shaped you with a different mold! He shaped you into the image of His Son! And Jesus did not follow man's tradition or Adam's natural path. He PERFECTLY did the will of His heavenly Father. And Jesus IS the LAST ADAM.
The FIRST ADAM had sinned, and had a natural family who also took on his natural sinful nature.
The LAST ADAM, Jesus Christ, is SPIRITUAL, and did NOT sin. He was SINLESS, yet He took on our own sin. He took it on, so that He could adopt all who believe Him as SPIRITUAL children!
Isn't that amazing? Read 1 Corinthians 15 for Paul's teaching on the First Adam vs. the Last Adam.

 Your path is unique and holy in Christ! Stay close to Jesus and stay obedient to His Spirit. Don't second-guess what God has already told you and shown you. Not everything that applies to other persons in the church will apply to you. Though your brothers and sisters in Christ love you, they may not understand God's will for you fully. It's ok. Just love them. Don't waste time defending your position. Since you are not sinning, you have nothing to repent of. There is no shame in following Jesus, even if it costs you personal relationships. And please don't assume they are wrong in their path. Don't assume everyone must walk exactly the way you do in your practical and life choices.

Be BOLD. Be yourself in Christ. You don't take up the cross of a different disciple. You take up your own unique cross for Jesus. And that cross will be misunderstood by some Christians. People don't mean any harm. So please be gentle and gracious with them.

God bless and strengthen you for the journey ahead, and remember, you might feel like me.... alone at times. Even though you feel alone, remember that you have JESUS with you and Jesus and the FATHER are ONE.
Jesus declared:
John 16:32 English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.

This is my reality. The Father is with me too, because I believe in Jesus, Love Him, and obey Him.

Jesus promised you and me:

Matthew 28:20 English Standard Version (ESV)
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Bless you!
Pastor Curtis

Mon May 8 2017 9:47pm EST

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Jesus is the Spiritual Body Builder

DID YOU KNOW?
Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body, is the spiritual "Body Builder"!
Are you on His side?



According to Scripture: Local Public Churches are Part of the Body of Christ!

Matthew 16:18b GNV
"...upon this rock I will BUILD my Church: and the gates of hell shall not overcome it."

Acts 9:31 GNV
"Then had the CHURCHES rest through all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified [a word meaning "built up"], and walked in the fear of the Lord, and were multiplied by the comfort of the holy Ghost."

Revelation 22:16 GNV
"I Jesus have sent mine Angel, to testify unto you these things in the CHURCHES: I am the root and the generation of David, and the bright morning star."

1 Corinthians 12:27-28 GNV
"27 Now ye are the BODY of Christ, and members for your PART.
28 And God hath ordained some in the CHURCH: as first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers, then them that do miracles: after that, the gifts of healing, helpers, governors, diversity of tongues."

You can be a sprititual "BODY BUILDER" too, in Christ!
1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV
"So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church."

Just like natural body builders, SPIRITUAL Body Builders (Christians) need faithfulness, fellowship, and repetition of the same spiritual exercises each week, as well as a healthy diet of the Word of God! No body part will thrive or increase in strength if it separates or hides or runs away from the Body. It will shrivel and eventually die. Creation teaches us that. No one in their right mind would cut off their own finger or toe for fun. So why would we cut ourselves off from fellowship? Each member of the Body is meant to stay in fellowship with other LOCAL parts of the Body and to THRIVE! In order to stay in fellowship, one must stay humble, slay their own pride, and overlook those unimportant issues that your fleshly nature "thinks" are important. Keep Jesus the Head, and His Body in view. What you do to your brothers and sisters in the local church is how you are treating the Body of Christ. Let us BUILD one another with the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit and with love and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV)
"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable."

Acts 2:46-47 (GNV)
"46 And they continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread at home, did eat their meat together with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and had favor with all the people: and the Lord added to the Church from day to day, such as should be saved."

Happy spiritual body building!
Blessings! Pastor Curtis

 Sat Apr 1 2017 3:33PM EST

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The next leg of the journey


This verse below has been a part of my calling for the last 17 years. It seems the Lord is bringing it more to the forefront now.
Habakkuk 2:2 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

I've been writing for years now. As the Lord shows me things, I write them. Lately, a prophetic word has been spoken over me a few times that I am to write a book. Maybe two or three books. Wait.... a BOOK??
That has caused me to think.
Unless the Lord shows me something, I really have nothing important to write! I'm just another nameless figure in a sea of writings. What could I possibly add? On my own, there is nothing I can add. There are plenty of good Christian authors out there. And I am lousy at sales and marketing. But if the Lord calls me and anoints me, then He must have something He wants to share with others through me. So I must be brave and face this challenge despite the feeling that it's been done before and I have nothing new to contribute to the world of books. I am content to write my little blog entries for my tiny audience. Yet the Lord seems to beckon me beyond that.
The following verse is helping me to embrace this call more:

 
John 21:25 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
25 Now there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose the world could not contain the books that should be written, Amen.
 
In other words, those books "SHOULD" be written, even if the world is already full of books about Jesus. Maybe God really does want me to write a book. I have put it off for so long. I didn't realize the struggle that would ensue. BUT.... ironically, here I am WRITING about my hesitancy to write. Funny how that works, huh? I'm ok typing out thousands of words about Christ, as long as it is in social media or in short blog entries. But I somehow freeze up when confronted with the mountainous task of writing a book.

 
See I've been writing my blog for over 7 years. And I have written many songs, many articles, many Bible studies. On the topic of the seasonal gift singleness, I have written over 70,000 words.
 In this way, I have been answering the call God gave me through Hab. 2:2. But a recent prophetic word was spoken over me that I am to write a book, possibly two or three. This has caused me to reevaluate my content and wonder if I have what it takes to master such a huge task. Yet in Christ I can do all things.
God is constantly helping us stretch our spiritual legs, helping us walk a little further than before. He does not want us to get too settled in the Way. The Way is Jesus. The Way is also a journey with Jesus. It seems now is the time for me to take the next leg of my journey with Jesus. I will push back all those soulish thoughts that make me feel unworthy of book writing. If Christ calls me to it, then Christ anoints me for it. That anointing, plus some anointed discipline, will be the only thing that gets me through this. Praise God.

Perhaps God is calling you too. He may be calling you into uncharted territory. You've not been this way before. You will need to depend more on Him to direct your steps. But if He calls you, He will anoint you for it as well! Blessings!
-PC

Sun Mar 5 2017 12:25am EST

Friday, February 24, 2017

Don't stop writing, even when people chose to misjudge you

Proverbs 18:13 Geneva Bible (GNV)
He that answereth a matter before he hear it, it is folly and shame unto him.

James 1:19 Geneva Bible (GNV)
19 Wherefore my dear brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.

Don't let the false judgements that certain individuals cast on you be a weight. Just bless them in Jesus' name, brush the dust off, and move on. Don't retaliate. Bless. And be joyful in the righteousness of JESUS, knowing that Jesus was also misjudged, misquoted, and was accused of saying things that He never actually said! If you stand on the Rock (Christ), and share your personal story, some people will panic because your story does not sound like their own personal ideal or their own journey in Christ. They may be tempted to assume you are wrong, when in fact there is nothing Biblically wrong with you.

Some people might answer you prematurely, before they TRULY hear (understand) what you are saying or writing. So please don't be discouraged by the odd ones who want to paint you in a negative light with a broad brush of generalization. That brush is not your identity. Your identity is in Christ alone. You are already justified by Christ, so you don't have to try and justify yourself to random people on social media. Yes those comments may be hard to hear at first, and emotionally upsetting.

But try to realize that they often have nothing to do with you. Most often I have found that the worst online criticisms usually come from people who have no actual relationship with you. They are just another person on social media. God bless them, but they are not your final authority. Only Jesus Christ (The Word) is the final authority.
 And you don't have to waste time debating people who have -chosen- to misunderstand you by jumping to premature conclusions. When giving a final account, you will stand before God only, NOT before these arm-chair theologians and critics.
Just remember the words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:44 Geneva Bible (GNV)
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies: bless them that curse you: do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which hurt you, and persecute you,"

And finally, please don't stop sharing your walk with Christ. SOMEone needs to hear your story and how Jesus has faithfully led you in His own righteousness. Please keep writing, walking, and encouraging others. You will soon be the balm that will soothe the pain of another. Blessings to you!!

Still learning and growing, walking and writing, in Christ,


- Pastor Curtis

The Man Who Appreciated Children: A Short Story

The Man Who Appreciated Children: A Short Story

Luke 12:51-53 GENEVA VERSION
Jesus said:
51 Think ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay, but rather debate.
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father: the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother: the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
 
There was a man who has spent nearly 16 years pouring ministry, love, teaching into children in his church youth class. They are the children of others who come to church. He has made an investment into future generations. He continues to do it for new children.
No doubt, though he may not see it, many of those children have grown up to be followers of Christ and have gone on to serve the Lord and make the world a better place.

And sadly, some of those older children from previous classes have grown up to block and/or unfriend him on social media.. and to distance themselves from him in person.... and it stings. But he still prays for them in Jesus' Name. It was Jesus that called the man to do that ministry. So that man obeys with joy and love. That man obeys despite the pain of loss. The greatest thing is when even one child can be taught the Word, be taught how to pray, and be taught how to follow Jesus and love Him.
That child may one day go further and do more than the man ever could.
 
That same man made the difficult decision, years ago, to marry a woman who had already told him that she is unable to have children, but wants to follow him in ministry. So that man made the investment of marrying her, and loving her in Christ with all his faithfulness and might. And he was completely satisfied to do so, with no regret towards not having children. After all, he never really had the desire to have kids of his own, even when growing up.
But when she decided to abandon him a few years later, and leave for her old life, it stung. In this case, childlessness became a tremendous blessing .... as children always suffer the most in a divorce situation. A divorce where there are no children is still painful, but at least the cut is clean and there are no kids stuck in the middle.

Because of all those things, that man had come to appreciate children. He may not have had his own, but he is fine with it, and loves to continue teaching other people's children in church and in the marketplace. He appreciates them, but does not feel the need to bring any of his own into the world. Since there are so many children here already in the world, there is much work to be done, spreading the Gospel to them. This is how he appreciates children the most; by sharing the GOSPEL with them as they come to class.

 He has endured a lot of heartache and has seen first hand how children often forsake those that love them the most. Some children do not. But many do, and it truly is painful for those who worked so hard to bless them and teach them. The man could not even imagine what a parent must feel about their own wayward child growing up and rebelling against Christ or against them.

So the man will continue in humility, seeking the Lord, repenting of his own shortcomings, and steadily climbing the steps of the Strong Tower, the Name of Jesus Christ. (Prov. 18:10) His heart is open to the Lord's gentle, loving, guiding and shaping hands. God could change him, and maybe He will.

Such a man will continue to serve in this capacity as long as the Lord sees fit. And he may even start to be brave enough... to write about it. He might become courageous enough to put these hidden wounds into the light for Jesus to heal and mend. And he will always appreciate children and the blessing they have already brought to him, and continue to bring to him.

 
-Story by Curtis J Alexander (c) 2017
 
[Originally Written Feb 20th 2017 2:17PM EST]


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Your Unique Path in Christ May be Misunderstood by Some

Some people may not understand your path, or how you came to be the way that you are. They may care about you and love you. But they probably don't fully understand you. And that's ok. You don't have to justify God's calling on your life to people, not even to loved ones. When you know the Lord has called you to walk a certain path, a road less traveled, it means fewer people will be able to follow you or understand you. You may even be walking alone with the Lord on such a road. And sometimes, you may not even understand that path yourself. Yet because you trust the Lord, you trek onward in Him.

Road less traveled - Photo by Curtis J Alexander (c) 2015

Don't panic and wonder what is wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. As you submit to Christ and let Him transform you from glory to glory, there will come a realization that it is GOD Himself who places the desires of His heart in your heart. And those desires may not line up with the things everyone else wants for you. You may be wondering why you don't want the same things they may be wanting for you. You prayed about it, you searched the Scriptures, and you yielded to God's sovereign will through relationship to Christ. Yet you do not have the same desires as those loved ones who care for you. I am not talking about sin. This is IN NO WAY an endorsement for any kind of sin. And I am not encouraging fleshly desires, or disobedience to Scripture. We must put our disobedience and our sin to death... and take up our cross and follow Jesus.

This is an encouragement for you to arise in your unique calling to serve the Lord.
The Lord has given you a different set of desires, a different calling, and it is just as valid and holy as any of the other unique individual callings He gives to those that are His. But just because some Christian disciples may have walked a specific path with Jesus, that does not automatically mean God calls you to walk the exact same path that they have.

So please don't second-guess yourself. Keep walking in the way the Lord calls you to walk... even if you do not seem to be understood by those who are close to you.

Jesus DELIGHTS in you.

Today as I prayed alone, I sought the Lord. I was seeking comfort for a recent disappointment. But the Lord showed me an encouraging vision. He showed me Himself, Jesus Christ, the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, interceding on my behalf to the Father in Heaven. On his High-priestly breastplate, was a precious stone.... that stone represented me. Jesus carries me and you close to His heart and He carries us to the Father in priestly intercession and prayer. He calls on the Father to move with FAVOUR in our lives. That is what the Lord showed me. Much of Christ's Melchisedec priesthood can be learned from Hebrews chapters 6-8.

So I want to encourage you.... you may be like me.... a precious stone of a different colour. You are unique to Jesus, and He bears you to the Father in prayer. Like the stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel upon the breastplate of the Levitical priest's clothing, Jesus bears us as precious stones on His own breastplate.

You are called to walk as an individual disciple, with a unique path. It may be a non-traditional path, but it is well within Scripture, and the righteousness and the will of God. You may have a unique calling, but you are still called to unite in fellowship in the family of God through direct relationship to Jesus and to His followers. All believers need a home church to call their own, for regular fellowship, prayer, the word, and accountability.

So maybe you are like me. You may be loved, and misunderstood by some people. You may be expected by some people to do certain things, but yet the Lord has not impressed you to do those things. They aren't necessarily bad things. But they are not the right fit for you. And you know it. Yet you keep trying to fit in. Well, the Lord wants you to not feel bad for being a little different. You can keep trusting Jesus to lead you.... even if it means you are loved and misunderstood by others close to you.

Your unique path of discipleship in Christ may be misunderstood by some. But it's ok. God fully knows you and loves you and guides you. Just keep following the Word of God and the Spirit of God in His righteousness. Be obedient to the Lamb, and see a great reward come in your life over time.

Blessings,
Pastor Curtis
Sun Feb 19 2017 9:59pm EST