Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Church Values – 10 Values Our Church Must Have

Church Values – 10 Values Our Church Must Have                       

Excerpts from the sermon of Dr. Harold Adams,
    Radford Worship Service, Radford, VA, March 18, 2018 

A man was walking through a field and came across a valuable coin. He then buried it, went home and sold everything he had so he could buy that field. 

A field -- on the Blue Ridge Parkway - Photo by Connie Wohlford

This little story is a parable Jesus told in Matthew 13:44. Jesus likened the discovered treasure to the Kingdom of Heaven.

That man placed so much value on the treasure, he was willing to give up every other possession he owned in order to obtain that one thing. 

In a recent sermon, our pastor, Dr. Hal Adams, used Jesus’ “Parable of the Hidden Treasure” to illustrate how people assign value, whether it be to living beings, like family members and pets or to inanimate objects, like houses and cars.

Throughout his sermon, Pastor Hal eloquently talked about values and their importance in the daily life of every person. Our value systems determine how we spend our thought life, our energy, our time, and our money.

Pastor progressed in his sermon, talking about the values we should have as followers of Jesus. He then focused on values we need in our own church, Radford Worship Center.

The core of Pastor’s sermon was to emphasize the values we should have as a church—in our own church. He said, “Our values as a church will determine what we accomplish here. … What we value is also going to affect The Great Commission.” 

Pastor Hal then gave us his list of values for Radford Worship Center. I believe other Christians, especially church leaders, might find his list helpful.

Ten Values that make a difference in fulfilling or not fulfilling the vision, purpose, and commission of this church:

1.      We will regard Jesus’ deservedness, importance, and worth above all things. This must be inscribed on our hearts. God values people so we must value people. 

2.      We will honor Christ and the Church with integrity. We need to have the right heart—we must be honest before God in excellence and moral principle.  

3.      We will give up the things we love for what we love most. We do that every day. It’s an honor to sacrifice for God. We need to love what God loves. 

4.      We will believe all people are important. If we do this we’ll be willing to give up what we need to give up in order to please God. 

5.      We will do anything, short of sin, to reach people who don’t know Christ. For us to reach people no one else is reaching, we need to do things no one else is doing. 

6.      We will be contributors, not consumers. Our church must consist mostly of people who contribute not simply consume. 

7.      We will lead the way with intentional generosity. We need to truly believe it is better to give than to receive. 

8.      We will be faithful to things we value. If we value our spouse, we’ll be faithful to him or her. If we value God, we’ll be faithful to Him. If we value The Great Commission, we’ll be faithful to do our part. 

9.      We will always bring our best. To drag into worship service after staying up until 4 a.m., watching sports or the entire season of “The Walking Dead,” is not bringing our best. In essence, that says, “Now I’ll give God what’s left.” Let’s give God our very best. Excellence honors God and inspires people. 

10.  We will have fun! We have much to thank God for and we’re winners. The loosing team never celebrates a loss.  Let’s celebrate the love and goodness of our God! 

Today’s Tweets: “What we value determines what we will become.”

                       “Our values are the engine that brings fulfillment.”

Know that Christ values you. That’s why He died for you.

To get the most from Pastor Hal’s message, watch the video of him delivering this valuable message.  He calls it “Values.”  Please watch it all the way through, including his powerful prayer at the end.  I pray you are blessed and ministered to. 

Here’s the link:

©Copyright 2018 Connie Wohlford

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mix the Word with Faith and Trust God <> Part 3 - How did I begin writing books?

Mix the Word with Faith and Trust God <> Part 3 - How did I begin writing books?

My writing journey has been a faith walk. 

Many people have asked me how I began writing books. I’ve always enjoyed writing but never expected to write anything someone else would want to read. 

In November 2011, while writing a story about Jesus' birth, to share with my grandchildren, God spoke to me, in my spirit, and said, “I want you to publish this.” 

I sat straight up and said, “God, I have no idea about how to do such a thing.”
I explained to Him that I knew nothing about writing and publishing a book—that I didn’t have an illustrator—that I didn’t have money for this—and on and on. 

Have you ever tried to explain something to God? ---How silly!

I also tried to tell myself that the idea was all my imagination. 

While writing that story I decided I wanted my grands to also know the other things that happened to Jesus as an infant. Those stories are hardly ever read or told and I wanted my grandchildren to know them. 

And beyond that, I wanted my grands to know there are more amazing stories in the Bible than what they learn in Sunday School. I want them to fall in love with Jesus and value God’s Word!

I finished writing that book and called it Joy Comes to Bethlehem

My second book would tell about what happened to Jesus when He was eight days old.  What was that? He was circumcised.

I was anxious about the idea of writing a children’s story about Jesus’ circumcision but was confident God would help me work it out—and ya know what? He did! The book is titled, His Name Is Jesus. Don’t worry, I didn't even mention the word, circumcision.    

The third book would be about one of my favorite Bible stories. 

Side note:  I didn’t learn these stories in Sunday School. I learned them when I started reading my Bible on my own!

This third book was about the amazing occurrence when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple to be dedicated at forty days of age. Simeon and Anna recognized Him as Messiah, just as God told them they would, many years earlier. This book is titled, He Is The ONE.     

I wanted my grandchildren to know these things about Jesus. 

Oh, and when our grands and I read that first story together, one of them (from each of the two families) said, “Granny, you should publish this.” I don’t think I would call that confirmation but it sure made me feel good.

SO—back to my conversation with God. I did finally tell God that after the holidays, if I still felt like I had heard from Him I would get onto the task and He was going to need to lead me step by step.

January 2012 rolled around and I knew beyond any doubt this was something the Lord was telling me to do. I also knew that if I didn’t do it, I would be disobedient. That was something I didn’t want to be a part of.

All along the way, much prayer went into the idea of publishing and I with confidence in God's assignment, I proceeded.

I knew I needed an artist, so I prayed.

I knew I needed a publisher, so I prayed.

I knew I needed some money, so I prayed.

I knew I needed Guy’s approval, so I prayed.
(Guy is my husband.)

My first idea for an artist was Molly Keller. I’d known Molly since she was a toddler. I knew she was a Christian, that she had a college degree in art, and I had seen her work I had seen. But I had doubts about whether she would be willing to do illustrations for a book for me. Would she want to go to all that trouble for a book written by a no-name-writer? 

I called her up; told her about my story and she said, “Yes.”

I nearly cried and offered praises to the Lord. As it turned out, Molly had recently quit her baby-sitting job in hopes of pursuing her art career and she had no jobs lined up yet. Perfect timing! God knew all along.

I took her a copy of the manuscript; she read it and her children read it. She called me and said, “You’re a good writer.” Those were such encouraging words. It was the second time someone had ever said that to me—music to my self-doubting ears. 

Meanwhile I continued to pray about the publishing aspect. Before talking to Guy I needed some idea of what cost would be involved. 

While checking email one day, an advertisement banner appeared in my inbox. It said, “Get your Christian children’s book published here.”

I hesitated for a moment but then clicked and was taken to the website of one of the largest publishers of Christian material in the world. I was comfortable that it was legit and after speaking with their representative on the phone and reading their material I decided to go with them.

I had already decided I wanted to self-publish so the books would be in print before my grands were too old to enjoy them. (Trying to get published can take years or simply never happen.)

So—I had the manuscript, the artist and the publisher. Now I needed to get Guy’s approval and figure out the money part—both of which I knew would not be easy. But I was confident that if I had not missed God, and He had really called me to do this, He would make a way. I continued to do what? --Pray.

I asked God to provide the opportunity and tell me when and what to say to my dear husband.

The time came and I said it. Without a lot of detail, I’ll just say Guy’s answer was a resounding “NO--absolutely not!” and he got up and left the room.

I sat on the couch with tears welling up, yet not surprised by his response. I know my Guy. And I know my God. So, I was confident it wasn’t the end of the story. 

Instead of whining, begging, badgering or manipulating, I talked again to my Heavenly Father and tossed the situation into His capable hands. After forty plus years of marriage to Guy, I knew those other responses would come to no positive end. I was confident God would change Guy’s mind. I’d seen it before.

Two days later Guy brought the subject up saying I could use the money we had in a certain account and go ahead with it. He added. “When the book is done, you’re going to have to get some books to sell in order to get your money back. Have you thought about that?” 

I said, “Yes.”

He continued, “I don’t know where you’re going to get the money for that.” 

I didn’t have the answer either but I just knew God wanted me to do this and He had all the answers.

The process I embarked on was scary and nerve racking. But I was confident in my God. I had enough of God’s Word in me to know Him and I had a history with Him. I was mixing His Word with my faith and trusting Him to help me see this through.

Over the next few weeks and months Molly painted wonderful watercolor illustrations for my book and I arduously worked out the details with the publisher.

Molly said I didn’t need to pay her until I started selling the books which was a huge blessing to me. Also, her painting was taking much longer than she expected, which was a little frustrating to me but I understood and didn’t put pressure on her. I reminded myself it was all in God’s timing. 

The next part of this story is the most amazing part of all ... and sad. As I told you, I knew I would be needing to buy a number of books once they were ready for printing. And I genuinely didn’t to know how I would pay for it. But, ya know, God knows all things. God knew all along where that money would come from.

On March 17, 2012 my precious friend, Jo Ann died—unexpectedly. None of us saw this coming and all her friends and family were flabbergasted. 

Jo had no children of her own and was like a second mother to me. I was one of the beneficiaries in her will. The very week that I needed to pay for the books was the very week I received the first installment of my inheritance. It was just over the amount I needed, including money to pay Molly. That was a great blessing to her.

I was blown away. My husband was blown away. I’m still blown away. 

That was the seed money that God provided. Over and over again God never ceases to amaze me.

I later published two books which tell a couple of the many rhinokaroarus stories I have told my grandchildren through the years. These are unique animal stories, each with a moral. 

My father, Rudy Edwards, made up that crazy word, rhinokaroarus. Therefore those books are dedicated to him. 

And my most recent book is a daily devotional titled, I Declare God’s Word Is True

A couple years ago, during my Bible study time in the mornings, I started jotting down Bible truths and promises that were meaningful to me. I felt lead to put some of them into the form of a little devotional. For each day of the year (any year) there is a Bible truth, a supporting statement and a Bible reference. 

Each one is a brief power-packed word of encouragement for the day.

So, in my experiences in writing books, articles, blog posts, letters, etc., I mix God's Word with my faith and trust God. 

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

In other words—They heard the Word preached but it did not benefit them because they didn’t mix it with faith. So, when we mix the Word with our faith we have the wherewithal to trust God. 

We have lots of reasons to trust God. But the main reason is this—
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

©Copyright 2018 Connie Wohlford

If you're interested in purchasing my books or would like book description information, please contact me via email: author@conniewohlford.com 
His Name is JesusHe Is The ONEYou're A What?! Make It A Happy Day -  $10.50 each. 
I Declare God's Word Is True - $6.50.
Minimal charge for shipping - Sales tax is added in Virginia. 

Reduced prices on multiple copies. Inquire if interested.  

Joy Comes to Bethlehem is sold out - I plan to do a second printing as funds allow.