It’s been a long time coming…but we’ve finally uploaded our wedding photos to Slide.com. If you want to see any of the pictures you can go to the website and view or download any of the pictures.
Most importantly we thank Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith for bringing Chris and I together when it seemed all but impossible. For holding our marriage together as we learn to grow together.
There are so many people to thank who helped in all aspects of our wedding. We are so grateful for our family and friends love and support, both now and then. Without it, our marriage would not be nearly as rich.
Thank you Donna and Jay Hoyt for standing with me in place of my parents. Thank you to the Silvestri family Denise, Pete, Travis, Reed, Alyssa, Scott, Susan and Danica for being there. Thank you Susan for taking care of my make up!
Thank you to my new family for taking me in…Ron and Carol, Cindy, Molly and Nathan, Kylan and Madison, Andrew and Amber, Hannah and Zoe and Casey too. I look forward to a lifetime getting to know you.
Thank you to Pastor Dave Dunn…for performing our wedding ceremony…you did a marvelous job and made it so memorable and personal. Thank you to Chance Conner who performed the songs for our wedding…thank you for sharing your talents on our special day. Thank you to our wedding photographer Sherry Hebestreit and Mike Farrel who did the audio and video for our wedding.
Thank you to Chris, my beloved husband. Thank you for marrying me and loving me, working through the hard times and laughing with me during the good times. I love you so much. You are a good man and I am most blessed by God to call you my husband. Love you Dub! Happy 1st Anniversary!
He sat in the pews among us
Heard sermons proclaiming God’s Word
Sang the great hymns alongside us
He was with us, but not of us
Sermons were heard
But his heart was not convicted
Hymns were sung
But there was no worship in his heart nor praise on his lips
He tasted the Bread of Life
But did not eat
He sipped the Living Water
But did not drink
His heart has become hardened
His ears accustomed to tuning out the Word of God
The Holy Spirit knocks at the door of his heart
But that knocking will one day cease
He has been enlightened, tasted and shared
In the goodness and mercy of the Lord
Yet he continues to sin
There is no sign of repentance
May he heed Your warning
That it is impossible for those who have fallen away
To be brought back to repentance
By Susan Bunts Wachtel
May 31, 2009
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
It was sobering hearing a Bible study taught by Pastor Dave Dunn on Hebrew 6:1-8. We all know people who sit alongside us in church that are not Christians. They hear the Word of God but continue unrepentant in their sin. Tuning out the warnings of the Holy Spirit.
There may be some who give the appearance of being a Christian, but there is no growth or demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit in their life. While there may be no overt sin, their hearts are far from God and they will one day walk away. They are in church, but not in Christ. Oh Lord, may they not presume upon Your mercy and but turn to You for forgiveness of their sin. Today is the day of salvation.
Oh Lord, may I examine my own heart, mind, will and actions. Measure them against Your Word. May I have ears to hear and a heart that is quick to repent and turn to You.
With the busyness of the holidays and a brief break from the usual Bible studies and church related activities…I have felt a silence from God. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been distracted…this servant has not had ears to hear.
This week…I’m starting to get back into my normal schedule…which includes a prayer meeting and a couple of Bible studies during the week.
In recent months…I was listening to Beth Moore’s Bible studies…and oh how God speaks to me through her personal and powerful teaching. But a few weeks ago…as I was about to pop in one of Beth’s CDs…and I thought “No…I want to hear the study of Luke”.
Shortly after Kindred Community Church became a church, our Pastor Chuck Obremski started a study in the book of Luke. That study lasted 87 weeks…and it is a phenomenal study. During the course of the study…Pastor Chuck was diagnosed with cancer…thus began his “cancer coaster”…and as a church we were on the cancer coaster with Chuck and his family. While I had attended the study live…I had forgotten how awesome that study was.
Going back and hearing it again…takes my breath away. Each week the Gospel was preached…and no one could sit in class and not hear of their need for a Savior and that the Savior is Jesus Christ. The word of God is so powerful and it transforms lives. It is with delight and awe I am listening the Luke study again.
Today…God in His sometimes not so subtle way…had a few messages for me.
As Chuck taught about the parable of the sowers in Luke 8…he brought it home by reminding us that we have to use what God has given us or it will be taken away.
“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. – Luke 19:26
When I heard that verse…I didn’t have to think how that applied to me. I knew immediately that the Holy Spirit was reminding me that God has given me a measure of faith. The question is…am I believing God? Am I exercising my faith? Or am I like the fool who buries his treasure? Make no mistake…faith is more valuable than all the treasures on earth…but only when it exercised.
When I fail to exercise my faith…when I choose to believe the lies of the enemy…then my measure of faith that God has given me will be taken away. Actually I will have surrendered it. Do you know any men or women of great faith? Do you find yourself admiring their faith…and wishing you had a powerful deep abiding faith like they do? Well God wants to make each of us great men and women of faith.
There is an issue in my life that has been one of the biggest areas where I struggle with faith. That’s with regards to being single. This is where I allow my hurt and loneliness to cause me to believe the lies of the enemy. That God doesn’t love me or care for me…and that He will never change my circumstances.
I see what’s going on around me in the lives of unbelievers and believers alike…and I hear Satan reminding me that God has provided them with a spouse…or has allowed them to live together outside of marriage seemingly no consequence to something that God has clearly stated is wrong.
It’s so easy to turn my inability to understand what God is doing…and His plan and timing into doubt and unbelief. But when I do that…I’m falling right into the hands of the enemy. I’m handing over the measure of faith that God has given me. Instead of shoring up my mind with scripture that reminds me of God’s faithfulness…I give in to defeat.
God continued His message to me tonight through our study in Revelation 12. Elder Dave Dunn reminded us that those who believe Satan’s lie that God is a liar…have abdicated their faith over to the enemy. It’s what he’s been doing since the beginning. He did it with Eve when he questioned, “Did God really say…?” And he continues to use that which has been very successful to this day.
There are times I’m a little slow on the uptake…so God made sure that He reinforced the message as I drove home from Bible study. I was listening to Chuck teach on four meaty verses.
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” – Luke 8:22-25
Now this is a story I’m very familiar with…I’ve heard so many times before. But I never heard this before, “Where is your faith?”.
Indeed…where is my faith God? I have surrendered it too many times to the enemy. I’ve believed his lies…that You don’t love me, or care for me and won’t act in my situation.
The other thing that struck me…is that the storm was stilled immediately. The disciples fretted and worried needlessly before they awoke Jesus. In nothing flat He attended to their needs.
It will take no effort for God to change my life and my situation. With just a word…He can rebuke the enemy and answer my prayers. The question is…where is my faith? In Whom is my faith? Will I choose to exercise my faith?
As Dave taught us tonight he said one thing in particular grabbed me. He said that God had used Paul so much because he had yielded, obeyed and submitted himself to God. Dave challenged us to do the same. God desires to use each of us greatly if we will but yield, obey and submit ourselves to Him. For me part of that is having faith and believing God even the storm wails about me…when the dark clouds obstruct the sun…and waves threaten to sink my boat.
Right now that stormy sea is an apt description of my struggle with faith. I’m like the father who cried out to Jesus, “I believe, help me with my unbelief.”
“Do you glorify God with your life?”
With the above question from Elder and Teacher Dave Dunn…I found the Holy Spirit giving me not just a nudge…but a good old whack upside the head. It kind of took me by surprise.
As we’ve studied the book of Revelation…God has brought forth lessons that I need to apply to my life. At times the Holy Spirit has convicted me…reining me in as I get off course.
But now that we are deep into the book of Revelation…chapter 15 talks about upcoming judgment of unbelieving people who have utterly rejected God. They are committed to living a life of utter depravity. While it’s not the very end of the book…in the timeline of the events in Revelation…it’s in the latter part of the 7 years of the Tribulation. So I wasn’t expecting God to get my attention on sin. Oh maybe the sin of not sharing the Gospel message as much as can and should with people in my sphere of influence. But conviction of my sin that’s on par with those facing God’s condemnation and destruction…now I wasn’t expecting that.
That’s exactly where God got my attention tonight. When Dave asked, “Do you glorify God with your life?”…I don’t remember if I looked up and caught Dave’s eye or whether I felt too convicted to glance up. But I did write a note in my Bible…I wrote down Dave’s very question.
Quite obviously…the answer is no…I don’t glorify God with my life…or least not as consistently as He deserves or as much as I should.
They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Do I glorify God with how I act, what I say and do and even think? Do I sing His praises from my lips regularly? Do I have a deep abiding peace and joy within my spirit which causes people to look to my Lord and seek Him? Do I fully trust Him, knowing that He alone is good and has a good plan for me that He laid before the foundations of the world? Do I trust Him in all circumstances? Do I trust Him to bring good out of evil and wrong that was done? Do I trust Him to execute His plan and promises that He laid out in the Bible? Do I act loving…not just toward those whom I love…but even my enemy? Am I burdened to pray for their lost soul…or do I prefer to complain about what they’ve done? Do I love the un-loveable? Do I seek to do good to them? Do I choose to worry about my circumstances instead of going to God in prayer knowing that He cares for me? Do I thank Him daily for all the blessings and provisions He has given me? Do I seek Him and to know Him better each day through prayer and reading His word? Is Jesus pleased to know me? Do I cause His heart to swell with overflowing love for me? Or am I like the family member that is put up with…because after all…they are family? Am I pleased to know Jesus? How, where and with whom do I share about my love for my great and magnificent God, Lord and Savior?
I’ve been a Christian for sixteen years now. While I came to Christ late in my life…I’ve had the privilege to sit under some wonderful Bible study teachers who teach the full counsel of God’s word. I am most blessed by God to attend a church I am most unworthy of, Kindred Community Church. I have fellow Christians which show me great mercy and love…and what it truly means to be a Christian. When I see them…I see a little bit of Jesus. I listen to God’s word daily through Bible study CD’s and sermons. I attend Bible Study and read God’s word regularly. Most of the music I listen to is Christian music. And yet…I can honestly say…that I don’t consistently glorify God with my life.
No better example of that…than my reaction this week as I heard of the unjust and mean treatment of an alcoholic towards his wife and family. My first response was a desire to beat him up. Next I thought how great it would be to dish back to him some of the demeaning and humiliating remarks he so easily delivers in his drunken state.
I didn’t think right off the bat we need to pray for this man’s salvation and for God to deliver him from alcoholism. My first reaction was not to lift up the wife in prayer and ask that God would give her wisdom and discernment on what to do.
I wanted to act in the flesh…and use my tongue to tear down and hurt a person…not lift them up in prayer.
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” – Romans 7:24-25
As I read God’s word, study the Bible and pray…the closer I draw to God. As I draw closer…I see all the more clearly my sin and unworthiness. Thankfully…my salvation is not dependent upon my good works…but on Jesus blood shed on the cross. Not just to cover my sins…but to take them away completely. In Him…I am white as snow. As a bonus…He has given me His Holy Spirit to dwell within me…to guide me and correct me.
Good gracious…the Holy Spirit has boat load of work left to do in this here unworthy sinner…saved by grace alone, through Christ alone. He should be getting some serious overtime pay for the work He has to do in me!