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5 Reasons Why I Love The Local Church

Scotty-Prayer

As Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago put it, “The local church is the hope of the world.” While I agree with this statement I have to take it a step further. Jesus Christ is the hope of the world and the local church is the vehicle in which God uses to bring hope to a destructive and evil world.

I want to focus on 5 reasons why I love the local church and why I believe in it so much. The 5 reasons I list are not in specific order but are all of equal importance.

1. Community

A community, according to the dictionary is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common; a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. As followers of Christ, being in community with other believers is vital to growth. Learning to walk with Christ can be difficult.

When God called me to live a life for Him at the age of 17, transitioning to this new lifestyle of Christianity was not easy for me. I began to meet young people my age living for Christ but I thought they were all weird. I didn’t understand them. I am sure they thought the same of me. The fact I thought they were weird; it drove me to not want to hang around them. I had an egotistical view towards life. If others didn’t fit how I lived and how I thought, then I didn’t want to be around them. Sad right?

Being in community for the past couple of years has allowed me to open up about what I am going through, share my thoughts on life and on Scripture, have fun with people that are walking this walk with Jesus, spend time with people who are struggling to walk with Jesus and are trying to find their way in life. The best part about being in community is I am loved just for being me. Not my credentials, what school I graduated from, how well I play basketball, etc.…. I can be me. The next person can be them and we can enjoy each other’s company being God’s children. J

2. Discipleship

Out of community should come discipleship. The Bible is clear on discipleship. Jesus modeled it. His heart was centered on discipleship. He spent 3 ½ years discipling 12 dysfunctional men. Walking by their side, speaking into their life, teaching, praying, forgiving them, helping them see life from a different perspective. That is the core of discipleship

Speaking truth with grace and love is what Jesus did. He often offended people, but at the end of the day He was calling people to walk into truth. To walk, live, love, think and talk differently. Discipleship brings change and pushes the individual to one, be real about where they are in their walk with God and two, to do something about it.

3. Worship

There is something about the coming together of hearts. Hearts that are full of life, hearts that are broken, hearts that are healing, hearts that are in need of restoration, hearts that need help, hearts that need encouragement, hope, love and peace.

The local church is a gathering of a community of hearts all looking for something. It is through worship that hearts engaged and respond. Worship is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t matter your background, race, ethnic group, social status, or economic status. Any and everyone can sing praises to the God of the Universe.

4. Preaching

Preaching is essential to our walk with God. It is necessary. God uses His messengers to get to the hearts of His people. It’s beautiful how a person can walk into a church feeling down, out, depressed, go through worship, hear a word, receive prayer and walk out of the church with a different approach towards life. God is so good!

There’s something about hearing a good word. As a kid growing up, going to church to hear a word brought excitement to my life. God would use the messenger to speak an applicable word to apply to my life. A tailor made message that I could sit in and with until the following week. It still wows me to this day!

5. Prayer

Prayer is modeled all throughout Scripture. Prayer is a time to commune with God. Prayer is a time to communicate with God but also to listen from Him and what He has to say. Prayer should be the engine that drives the church. Prayer invites us into relationship with the God that created the entire Universe. Just think about that. God wants to hear from you but He also wants to speak to you.

Prayer, for me, has always been at the top of my strengths list. I look forward to praying for people as well as praying with people. The local church has to be a praying body. Prayer helps us discern what direction we should go in as a body but also helps us hear from God on how to pray for others within the church, our community, our nation and world.

“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11.

Jesus Christ is the foundation of the local church and the hope of the world. If we as Christians are not connected to a Bible believing, Bible teaching, Jesus centered, Gospel centered, truth seeking, discipleship focus, missional driven, worshiping, praying church then we need to pray God takes us from the place we are and lead us to the place where we need to be physically, emotionally and spiritually!

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Eat the Fruit. Become Like God.

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The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:4

Here, in this text, we have a conversation going on between a woman and a serpent. The serpent is known to be cunning, sly, deceiving and mischievous. (Genesis 3:1) The woman is known to be a helper. (Genesis 2:18) She is created by God from dust and from the rib of a man name Adam. (Genesis 2:21)

Something unique is unfolding in the beginning of chapter 3. Verse 1 says, the serpent says to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Notice that this is the first thing the serpent says to the woman. What this tells me is the serpent already knew what God had told the woman, (who will later be named Eve) and her husband Adam; Which was not to eat of the tree of life. The serpent was plotting on Eve and her nonchalant husband Adam. (I’ll talk more about him later)

Lesson 1: The enemy knows what God has spoken

I am sure in your life today, God has spoken and gave specific order(s) for you to follow. God may have called you to ministry, called you to serve locally in your community, called you away from certain people, called you to break it off with someone, called you to a job, called you to do something you didn’t want to do, etc. You get what I am trying to say. God has spoken specific order to your life that the enemy is aware of and guess what? Just like the serpent in Genesis 3, he is plotting to distract you from the order God has given you to follow. (Don’t let this scare you!)

Lesson 2: The Lie

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) Eve knew the order she received from God. She and her husband was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam who later communicated to Eve if they eat of the this tree they will surely die. (Genesis 2:17) That was God’s order. After the serpent spoke the words, “You will not surely die” to Eve, she saw that the tree was good for food. That it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of it’s fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)

You may be thinking… Where was Adam when this conversation was taking place? He was right next to Eve! Adam the first man ever created, role was to tend and keep the garden. (Genesis 2:15) In other words he was to cultivate (work) and protect the garden and his wife. Adam knew the orders from God, he knew his role, he knew his calling so why did he stand by and do nothing when the serpent was spitting game to his wife?

Think about the calling on your life. Think about the command God has given you to live out. If you are not walking out your calling, are you allowing someone in your life to deceive you? Are you listening and believing a negative voice in your life? Is there something or someone in your life that looks pleasing? Are your desires all about you and your success? I’m sure you know the answer why you are not totally surrendered to God.

Lesson 3: Respond to His Call and Obey

On the big scheme of things God has called you to live a life for Him. Adam and Eve knew their calling but they allowed a distraction to come in their midst and lead them to disobeying God’s call. Before you go on and say, “If I were Adam and Eve, I would have never ate the fruit from the tree of life,” first examine your own life. If you are like me, you do things God does not approve of, say things that are not of God and think thoughts that are ungodly. It’s in our nature to fall short, to be tricked, to be deceived. It’s easy to cast blame on why we are the way we are but we need to take ownership of our own faults and realize we are like Adam and Eve. We need forgiveness, we need mercy and we need God’s grace to live out the call on our lives.

You are in His hands!:

God wants you and I to live a life for Him. It is clear, since the beginning of time we were created to worship God. We were created to live for Him. We were created to live out His glory and Kingdom on earth. Each of us has a calling and an order to live out. God has designed us all to have an unique purpose while here on this earth. Adam and Eve, were to cultivate the land, be fruitful and multiply. Even though they fell short, God still forgave them and blessed them.

Don’t eat the fruit. Don’t listen to the lie. Reject and rebuke the serpent’s voice and keep your ears towards the voice of our God. His voice will never steer you wrong. You can overcome the battle you are in.

Trust, believe and have faith that the God of the Universe loves you and has forgiven you of your faults.

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God Writes Love Stories

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As I sit here and reflect over the past year of my life, I am reminded that God is one amazing Author. First off, the greatest love story ever written and told is the love story of Christ and His bride, the Church. I love what Ephesians 5:25 has to say about love. The text says, “Husbands, love your wife, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” When I read this Scripture, which, I have been doing for quite some time now. This Scripture breathes life into me. It allows me to join hand to hand with God on how to give myself up in order to love.

“Husbands, love your wife, just as Christ loves the Church.” The focus and question here first should be, “How does Christ love the Church?” Lets see, Christ took on the wrath of all humanity, became the mediator between God and man, took a brutal beating, even until the point no one could recognize Him, drugged a rugged cross to a hill top, had nails driven through Him, scrutinized, mocked and humiliated all so you and I can receive salvation. Wow! When we think about the greatest love story ever written and told, you and I should always share the love of Christ.

What’s so amazing is, God is writing all of our love stories. In this season of life, I am celebrating my love story. Her name is Jasmine Samarco. Jasmine and I’s love story is unique. It’s imperfect. But at the same time, it is beautiful. It reminds me of Christ relationship with His bride, the Church. As followers of Christ, we know how to make our Christian journey a tad bit difficult. Even though we can be difficult, Christ love doesn’t change. This is Jasmine and I’s story. We have been through many ups and downs but through it all our love has not changed. In fact, we understand how to love each other better because of what we’ve been through.

When you think of your love story, what comes to mind? Are you excited God has the pen in His hand? I know I am. I got tired of trying to be the author. When we allow God to have authorship of our lives, God goes before us. I am reminded of Ephesians 2:10. The text says, “For we are His workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we may walk into them.” That’s love my friends! God already has something set up for us. All you and I have to do is get in alignment with Him and allow Him to write the story! Sounds simple right? We know it can be complex at times so here are 5 practical steps to join God in writing your love story.

  1. Submit your heart to God. – Proverbs 3:5-6
  1. Seek forgiveness of past hurts and pains. – Ephesians 4:31-32
  1. Trust His plan for your love life. – Isaiah 12:2-5
  1. Be patient. – James 1:2-4
  1. Grow in your walk with God. Singleness is a gift. – 1 Corinthians 7:1-9

I’m excited for the journey we all are on. Life is all about the process. For those of us that have become followers of Christ we are all in this process called, sanctification. Sanctification means to be set apart. It means to be set apart from one’s old life, to be set apart from the world, to join in union with God and to be made more like Christ. Each day we should be striving to become more Christ like. Eventually as we leave our earthly bodies behind and leave this world we will become totally righteous, separated from all evil. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 John 3:2)

My friends, that’s mega love! No more pain, worries, stress, hurt, death will ever bother us all because of the love of God!

This is the hope. As you continue to journey with God, learn from Him, go through ups an down with Him, experience His love, grace, mercy you will learn how to love and communicate with Him better than you do now.

I believe it’s time to give God the pen!

Book and pen

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J Scott’s Story…

The Beginning:

I’m from a family of 7. Two brothers, two sisters, and a Mom and Dad. Big family for the small households that we stayed in. We grew up in poverty. Food stamps, welfare, getting clothes and food from the Salvation Army. I remember year after year not having Christmas like the rest of the kids in the neighborhood and the kids from school. Having to lie to everyone about what I didn’t get and telling them that I will get it when income tax came for my Mom, but around that time is when she would catch up to all of her late bills. We would be satisfied whenever we received the chance to have a new pair of shoes, a new shirt and pair of jeans.

Life for the Samarco’s hasn’t been the easiest, that I do know. One Christmas I remember receiving one gift. Some Christians from a church bought my family and I all some gifts. For some reason I receive a red wings hoody and that was it. I was grateful for the gift I received, until I went with my Mom over her friends house. One of the kids there stole my hoody. Here I was, the only gift I receive for Christmas, now stolen. Oh, was I ever heart broken. I cried at night for days.

Don’t let me get started with school shopping for the new school year. Ha! That was a joke right. All the parents would go out and splurge on their kids when we would always hope for our Mom to hit the lotto to get us something. We would cherish what we had in the summer and keep our shoes clean the best we could. We would borrow clothes and shoes from our friends in the neighborhood. I use to feel dirty and ashamed wearing the same shoes and clothes from the past school year into the new school year. I never got my hopes up. I knew  eventually the time would come around to get new clothes. I would take the $100 my Mom would give my brothers and sisters and I and make it stretch. I would come out of TJ Maxx or Marshalls with about 6 items feeling like I was on top of the world and people at school wouldn’t be ready for my fly! 🙂

In our household there were two to three people in a bed room. Girls in one room, the boys in the other. Man, were we happy when we moved into a house with a basement and 4 rooms. We didn’t know how to act. The basement was like a magical theatre to us. From making houses (using sheets as tents), to wrestling matches, basketball games, video games, hide and seek, dancing, screaming, fighting; you name it we did it in the basement. We were some fun, bad, active kids. We made the best out of that basement, even though we fought each with other everyday. I guess this was our way of showing love. We didn’t know any better but we probably fought more than any regular family. Someone from the outside looking in would probably think we hated each other.

Another area in our household that was a struggle for us was keeping food in the refrigerator. When the government cut our family off food stamps we were struggling from check to check to buy food. It’s hard to keep a fridge stacked with food when you have 7 people in a house hold and on welfare and all these bills to pay. I use to hate not having any food. We relied on making bologna and egg sandwiches, toast with butter and syrup, noodles, corn flakes with tons of sugar to make it taste like frosted flakes, beans and hot dogs. We had to make it work with what we had and we survived off of these food items.

Being a Samarco you have to have a tough mentality. I saw my Mother work her butt off for years and years providing for her family. I remember, waking up in the middle of the night to hear my Mother crying because of how tired she was, or how depress she was to work 2 weeks straight, plus double shifts to see her check evaporate on the same day; Having to pay all the bills and thinking about how we were going to eat as a family. My Mom use to always make it work some how. I remember my Mom waking me out of my bed on plenty of nights to a hot meal. I don’t know how she did it but when it was time to find a way to feed us, she did. She made sure we ate on every holiday. She always found a way to cook for us around those times. She would go down to the Salvation Army or to a church if she had to, just so we can try and be a normal family. We might not had meals every night but we did have meals around the holidays.

My Mom is my motivation. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have made it this far in. She is the strongest person I know. She could have been gave up providing for us but she continues to have an unconditional love that is not seen in many people on this earth. Her passion for her children drives me to be the best that I can be in life.

My mom and I

The Game of Basketball:

What saved me from a lot of trouble growing up and brought joy into my life is the game of basketball. People don’t know how much or how far a basketball can take a person in life. From my Dad putting the ball in my hands, to me receiving a full scholarship to play basketball in college, basketball has allowed me to make lifelong friends, travel the country and pay for my undergraduate degree.

At first, basketball started off fun and games but then it became my life. If it wasn’t for the game of basketball I would not have been overlooked for being poor. I look back and reflect on how people looked at me differently because I could shoot a basketball into a hoop. People weren’t quick to judge, well maybe your skills but not me as a person. The fact I can play the game of basketball well, people gave me money, bought me things, such as shoes and clothes, and even food when I needed it.

I didn’t start being known and popular until I got to high school and started showing others what I could do on the basketball court. I remember being cut from a few travel basketball teams and looking back now out of all the people that made the teams over me I made it the farthest in my basketball career. I realized, not making those teams made me stronger and made me work harder to become better. Once I realized I could go to school for free from playing the game of basketball I knew it was time to take my game to another level.

Earning a scholarship to college to play basketball didn’t happen overnight. In high school I was not heavily recruited. I receive some letters from schools but they were all NAIA and Division 3 schools.  I received one Division 1 letter my senior year. They had let me know they were interested in me and that was the only time I heard from them. After my senior year of high school I was not offered a scholarship to play basketball in college. I ended up going to school about a hour away from home. My tuition was covered by grants and loans.

At the college I was able to red shirt. Meaning, I practiced with the team every day but did not travel nor play in games. Sitting out my freshman year was a great decision for me. It allowed me to work hard on my weaknesses, adapt to the collegiate level style of play and learn the ins and out of college.

After one year at the University ,a good friend of mine, my assistant coach from high school, slash my mentor got a job at a junior college close to my hometown. When he got the job he gave me a call and offered me a full scholarship to come and play. Prior to the season at the new school I worked extremely hard to elevate my game. Playing at a junior college, a player can only play there a maximum of two years since it is a community college. I knew I had a lot of improvements to make if I planned on transferring to another college. Improving on my game, working on my weaknesses, gaining confidence was something I was able to do at the community college.

The biggest blessing came when I received a call from Perry Watson from the University of Detroit. He offered me a Division 1 scholarship. I would have never thought in a million years I would play Division 1 basketball. Hard work, determination, sacrifice and the desire to become the best basketball player I could be opened a major door for me.

After playing a year at the University of Detroit I ended up transferring to Pikeville College. My basketball career at U of D came to a one year end. Perry Watson, the coach that offered me a scholarship to play at Detroit had resigned and retired. The college hired a new coach. During the course of the summer of 2008, the new coach decided to not grant me my scholarship for the following year. This led me to continuing my education and basketball career at Pikeville College. Now, known as the University of Pikeville. Pikeville College is located in Pikeville, Kentucky. A beautiful small town in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. At Pikeville College, I was able to excel in athletics. I went on to becoming an All American and achieving many goals I set for myself as a basketball player.

While living in Pikeville, Pikeville became a place where I both lost my identity and also came into my identity. What I mean is this: I became the person I always wanted to be on the basketball court but I also became the person I did not want to be as far as living for God. God placed a calling on my life at a young age. For many years I ran from the calling out of fear and confusion. I didn’t know what to do with the call God had placed on my life. It was hard for me to understand. I didn’t know who to talk to so I kept it to myself and fought against it. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I brought a lot of headaches, heartaches and heart breaks upon myself and those closest to me.

Living in Pikeville, Kentucky made me realize God was in control and He was not done with me regarding the call He placed on my life. The most important aspect of my life is that I am able to serve the Creator of the Universe and live a life for Him. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had not been for God’s grace and mercy upon my life. I didn’t always understand this way of thinking but I do now.

My Spiritual Journey:

Around the age of 6 my Dad began taking my family and I to church. We began attending a Baptist church along with a few of my aunts and uncles on my Dad’s side of the family. About a year or so after we began attending this Baptist church, myself and my brothers and sisters and I all got baptized. The only one in my immediate family who did not get baptized was my Mom.

I remember being in the front row before the whole church responding to the pastor’s questions about Jesus. I didn’t truly understand what we were doing but I knew it was a good thing. I thought that’s what people did to join church and go to Heaven. This experience was my first personal encounter with God.

My second encounter with God came around the age of 12 at a Vacation Bible School. One of my friends from the neighborhood invited me to go with him. I had no intentions on going until he said on the last day of the VBS, the church was giving away a free bike. That captured me. I didn’t have a bike at the time so I thought of my chances to win to be high. Little did I know, God had different plans for me.

The minister there had all the kids engaged daily in the Bible and in his teaching. After going home the first night, I told myself I have to go back the next day. Thursday came. At the end of the night, the minister asked all of the youth to come around the altar. He began to speak on who Jesus was, why God sent Him to the earth and the power He wants to give to us. He said Jesus wants to give us a power to help us live a life for Him. The minister told us to draw a door around our hearts. He told us to ask for forgiveness; ask for God to forgive us for all of our sins and to ask God to enter into our hearts. Then he taught on repentance and led us to repent of our sins. He then told us to shut the door, lock it and throw away the key.

The minister then begin to talk about this great power and gift called the Holy Spirit. He explained what it was and that we can receive it too. He then talked about the gift of speaking in tongues, that once you receive the Holy Spirit, if it is God’s will something new will be birthed in you. He sounded out how it would sound and said he was going to come around and lay hands on us and once he laid hands on us we will receive this gift of God’s power if it was God’s will for us.

If you could imagine a 11 year old boy excited and nervous all at the same time, that was me. I truly didn’t know what was going on or what to expect but I believed God so I stayed in line and waited for him to come to me. I remember as he started to come down the line. I started to hear different voices and sounds to utter throughout the room. He continued to come down the line and my heart continued to beat faster. My friend who invited me was to the left of me so once the minister got to him and I heard him begin to speak I now knew it was my time to receive what God had for me.

He got to me and told me to close my eyes. He laid his hands on me and instantly a fire stirred up in me and something overtook me and I began to speak in a new dialect. I remember trying to stop it and speak in English but I could not. I was astonished that God was doing something new in me.

After this encounter and leaving from this wonderful experience on this day I truly knew that Jesus was powerful and real. Even though I didn’t win the bike, I had received the best gift anyone could ever ask for. I had Jesus power living inside of me!

After this experience and venturing off to high school is where this gift/power that I had living within me died down. The church I grew up in never spoke about the gift of tongues and the power of the Holy Spirit. The people that I shared my encounter with God with didn’t believe what I experienced to be true. For many years I though that maybe I indulged in something crazy. I knew what was birthed and I knew how real the experience was but I didn’t know what to truly think of it because I didn’t have proper understanding.

During high school is where life and the enemy got the best of me. I began to smoke weed everyday, drink alcohol, fornicate, lie, cuss, disobey my parents, skip school, etc.. I was far off from living a life for God. Around the age of 16 is where life got the hardest for me. I knew the life I was living wasn’t right. I grew up and went to church every Sunday. I knew the teachings of God. God was requiring me to live Holy, so every time I would sin there was a conviction some where letting me know this isn’t the way God wants me to live.

Going into my senior year I remember crying out to God all of the time, asking Him to help me or to send someone my way to lead me to Him. My senior year of high school came. I was a varsity basketball player and we had received a new assistant basketball coach. One of the first conversations I had with our new assistant coach was about God, the gifts of tongues, the Holy Spirit and his church. I couldn’t believe that I ran into someone that had spoken in tongues before. I knew He has to be an answer to prayer.

Senior year, I continued to wrestle and fight with God. As bad as my life was, as depressed as I was, I still did not want to let go of the life I was living. I was 17 and I felt I would be missing out on life if I walked away from the way I was living. I continued to drink, fornicate, smoke and live a life of sin. God continued to beat on my door. It got to the point where I said enough is enough. I was tired of crying and I was definitely tired of running from Him! I couldn’t do it my way anymore. I gave up and I gave in. I was tired!

After the basketball season on March 8th, 2005 I gave my life, my everything over to God and totally surrendered! Everything that I was searching for in the world, I knew I had now found in Jesus. All of my sins were washed away. I felt peace, joy, and happiness. I knew the decision I made was the right thing to do because I was tired of letting the enemy win and get the best of me. God had been drawing me since I was 6 years old and finally I gave up fighting.

It’s been over 9 and one half years now I have been walking this walk with God. It hasn’t been the easiest walk but by God’s grace He has kept me.

 

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My Journey to Ministry:

Going into the year 2012 God placed a heavy burden on my heart for God’s people and ministry. I began to pray, fast, to read His word daily and search Him for the direction He was leading me in. In the first few months in 2012 I found myself praying for others more than I ever have. I found myself witnessing to people with boldness and not caring who was around. Something had changed in me. I suddenly came alive for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the midst of this new beginning I was faced with some tough trials and tribulations. Playing in my third year of basketball professionally, I was faced with walking away from the team. I couldn’t understand why things were not working out for me on the team. I had worked so hard to become the best I could be as a basketball player. For the first time in my life I found myself not receiving any playing time on the basketball court. I know this may not sound like a big deal but for a person who is use to having the “green light” this was a big deal to me.

After spending time one night in my prayer closet God revealed to me, that my walk with Him was now bigger than basketball. He had called me to be an example of the Kingdom of God, to be a witness for Him and to share the Gospel. I continued to pray for the burden for God’s people and ministry.

In March, by God’s divine path I bumped into a Pastor. We set a meeting to hear each others’ story. I shared my life story and testimony and he shared his. He shared his vision for the church he was leading and the story of the church. We both knew that the meeting was a “God moment.” He offered me an internship at the church he was leading. The church is called Overflow Church and it is located in Benton Harbor, MI.

I began my internship May 1, 2012. Since starting my internship I have seen the move of God in a number of different ways. After 7 months as an intern, on January 1, 2013 I joined on staff at Overflow as the Young Adult Director. I went to Honduras on a mission trip for the first time as well as preach my first sermon during the course of the first year.These are just tidbits of the works God has done and is doing.

I am currently the Youth and Young Adult Pastor. I lead a young adult ministry called Untitled Lounge. I am in seminary at Wesley Seminary pursuing the Master’s of Divinity degree. God willing, I will be finished with the degree in 2016. I am an Adjunct Instructor at Lake Michigan Community College. I am going on my third year as an instructor.

Since devoting my life to the local church, God has allowed me to grow in tremendous ways. I still have so much room to grow. In fact, I will never stop growing and it excites me to know I am going to grow and learn to be the best I can be for Him. I am blessed to say ministry is a beautiful thing. I never knew how God would open the door to ministry but He did. It took for me to learn the hard way but through all of the hardships they were all lessons to help me grow and see Him in new ways.

Preaching

My Love Story:

One of my greatest joys in life outside of my relationship with Jesus Christ is my wife Jasmine Samarco. On May 24, 2014 I had the amazing opportunity to join hand to hand with Jasmine and become one. I’ll just say this: It is truly a blessing to have a help meet. Someone that compliments you, makes you better, loves you and cares for you. There is nothing like the love of God coming together to be shared between two individuals who’s hearts are set on loving Christ and people. Its a beautiful thing!

Let me throw this out there. Our love story is imperfect. It is full of pride, hurt, selfishness, immaturity, lack of communication, miscommunication, jealousy, envy, lust and pain. Let me explain to you why…

We first started dating in 2007. We were in a relationship from 2007-2009. On and off from 2009-2011. Apart from each other from 2011-2012. Got back in a relationship January 1, 2013. Engaged May 24, 2013. Broke up in August of 2013, back engaged November 2, 2013 and married May 24, 2014. Quite impressive right? 🙂

People are messy. I know I am. Whenever two sinful people with sin nature come together to try and be in relation with each other, there has to be death to each others way of doing life. It took us a long time to figure this out. We are still learning this and walking it out. God is so good though. He knew our hearts, what we wanted and where they desired to be and that was with each other. He allowed us to receive counseling, a lot of prayer and work out our problems one step at a time. This was not easy at all but God’s grace is so powerful.

Love was never meant to be complicated. It’s the people that make love complicated. Love is kind, gentle, patient, sweet, strong, passionate, caring, understanding, selfless, unconditional and every other adjective slash description that can describe love. Most importantly, love is God. If two people hearts are set on God, then they can work through their mess. Jasmine and I are living testaments of this. We are walking out our mess and sharing it as a message! Now look at that! 🙂

Picture on our honeymoon

I am truly thankful for this journey God has me on. I am looking forward to sharing so much more with you. I pray my life and walk with God can be an encouragement to you. If you ever need prayer, someone to talk to, someone to cry with, laugh with, please feel free to reach out. I will do my best to make myself available to you. God bless you. I love you and I am praying for you!

Thank You For Reading!

Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”