Friday, May 27, 2011

Covenant Connection

Carol and I have been on vacation this week. It's been a wonderful week of rest and relaxation. This week was intentionally planned to coincide with the church schedule and our job schedules.

We just completed our first new member confirmation ceremony since March of 2008. What a joy it was to officially confirm family into the Urban Life Church.
When I say family that includes a nephew, second cousins, and a spiritual daughter that God brought into our lives five years ago.

I can't find the words to express my joy. I feel like I could burst into tears as I think of each person who has decided to identify their connection to the Body of Christ with us.

All I know is that we can do something great for God and these are people who can help us do it.

The ceremony ( was brief and straight forward. We only ask that each member promise to live a Godly life, read the Bible and pray. We vow, as leaders, to be examples for them to follow and to do all that we can to equip them to serve their families and one another.

Then we vow together to allow God to do something great in us, so that we can fulfill the vision to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes in the urban community.

Then we prayed for each new member and presented them with a certificate of membership.

I realize that I say this all the time, but I feel so strongly that God is preparing this church family for something wonderful.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

That Special Place Called Home

This past Sunday, we celebrated Mother's Day with family as well. Our attendance was very low at the Sunday Café, but we still moved forward anyway. It proved to be a very special God-ordained day.

Angela Hodges, wife and mother of two children (7 and 3) and second cousin to Pastor Carol, shared openly and honestly about Meeting the Challenges of Motherhood in the 21st Century. Then Carol continued the message by talking about the challenges she faced raising three teenage sons into adulthood. It was an outstanding message that came through both of them.

However, the best part was all the fun and fellowship that followed. The ministry sponsored the mothers of the church family for a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Harrisburg. Unfortunately, three moms, who had previously planned to attend, were not able to make it, so we’ll have to do something special for them at another time.

Yes, the food was wonderful, but the fun and laughter was even better. Big shout-outs: To Marilyn Walker, Chris Dennis, Maurice, Angela, little Maurice and Mayah Hodges, Ilecia Buckner, AJ, and of course, the Green clan. We shared a great meal and had even greater conversation.

After dinner, we sat in the hotel lobby and talked for more than an hour. We swapped stories and, for the first time, really got to know each other a little better. Many questions were answered for us and a deep longing in our heart was filled. You see, ever since moving to Harrisburg, what we have desired more than anything else, was to get to know our family.

Even though we seem to talk about the ministry and the vision most of the time, we really want everyone to be clear that none of it means anything if we don’t have genuine relationships. We are not interested in building a church made up of strangers and loners. This has to be about family, and since God sent us to establish a ministry of restoration and healing of families, it has to begin in our own family. After spending such quality time together, we are thrilled beyond words.

Something has been broken over our family. Something has been broken over this church. Whatever negative or demonic influence that had been set against us, God has shattered it. It’s funny that the breakthrough didn’t come by way of a powerful move in a church building. We experienced it by simply talking and sharing in a hotel lobby after a wonderful dinner.

When we returned home for the evening, we felt like we had been in a church service in which there had been a great outpouring of God’s presence. Even though there were no healing lines, we had a healing time. Even though there were no prophetic words, we were edified and encouraged. We have waited over six years for moments like this. If home is where the heart is, and if the heart is with family, then for the first time, we’re feeling that special place called home.