Good morning! Grab a coffee, settle in, and let’s catch up.
If it’s nighttime and you’re just now getting time to read, skip the coffee. Will you need caffeine to get through this post? No. And we’re offended you asked. Get your ice-cream, but don’t you dare turn on Netflix yet. I’m half kidding.
One weekend. Two very successful trips.
If you haven’t heard, our Ministers and saints are hitting the interstates going back and forth between churches building unity and bringing fellowship, encouragement, and Bible teachings. God’s Church is on the rise and on the move. Literally.
Question and Answer sessions from both meetings are here. They’re coming up—after a couple other things. Don’t give me that look.
ONE. NEXT TIME YOU PRAY FOR THE MINISTRY.
I’m struck by the diversity of gifts and talents God has given our Apostle and this Ministry and how they meet the needs of all the churches to keep everyone going forward. Maybe we forget to count being under God’s Ministry as the greatest blessing. These men work and labor hard and keep their eyes on us. God is our strength and source of life, but the ministers are the ones who are stuck with us on earth. Good or bad. They are there when we’ve got it all together, when we’re frantically trying to patch something together that is falling apart, in our complexities, in our simple-mindedness, when we’re coming undone, or at our strongest. They are who we call to sit up and pray for us or our loved ones in time of need. They study, study. They say the right words (sometimes just hello). They teach scriptures that change us, that give hope, and ones that heal. They live by faith, and have a reserve for us when we fall short. They remind us that God can achieve what we didn’t think possible and promise He will show up when we least expect it and in unexpected ways. And then they pray really hard. That is one job.
TWO. DON’T BE GIVING GOD THE SIDE-EYE.
Remember that service? You know the one. Elder knew it was time to shape up on the spiritual side of things. When he says he’s pulled some all-nighters because God’s dealing with him, it’s a sign to listen up closely.
God called Elder to lead His church. With that calling came responsibilities and being accountable, which means he has to answer to someone wayy higher up. In wisdom, Elder watches for things that create a vacuum for the old man to thrive. If he lets some things in, more would come knocking.
Letting standards drift too far away doesn’t sit well with God either, who wants a people who are like Him. We discovered it is doable to put some things aside for the Lord. After all, we lived. Now we have a chance to live more, and more, and some more. Eternally.
WHAT DID THE MINISTRY SAY?
Ministers spoke up to support our Apostle and to exhort the congregation to get behind where God is leading. In case you’re new around here, The Church at Onslow was born and raised in God’s truth, values, and virtues. It’s weathered storms and stood tests of time. Our ministry holds up the hands of God’s man just as high when things are tough as they do when everything’s easy. Unity that starts from the top bonds the entire family.
WHAT’S HAPPENING ACROSS THE BODY OF CHRIST?
A lot. But for now we’re talking about the Indiana and Atlanta weekend travels.
WHAT IF I DIDN’T GET TO GO?
Glad you asked. Two Bridge contributors, John Shepard and Shereta Wright, are answering questions and filling us in on the highlights, so you can read about these recent fellowships from the comfort of your living room (you’re welcome).
WHO WENT WHERE?
INDIANA: B. Doug Nobles and S. Sandy Nobles. Also, B. John Shepard, S. Rachel Shepard, B. Dylan, S. Leah, and B. Nathan went to visit physical and spiritual family.
ATLANTA: B. Jim Gibbs, S. Joyce Gibbs, B. Everett Gavin, and S. Kendra Gavin.
HELLO, CHURCH AT CONNERSVILLE.
SO B. JOHN, WHEN DID IT ALL START?
“For Connersville, I should probably begin with Friday evening. Though it wasn’t an actual church service as some people would recognize, it most definitely was a service of the church. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have read the past several editions of The Bridge, the last one in particular, you already know that fellowship is code for . . . yep, you guessed it, FOOD.”
“Once the word went out that some brothers and sisters from North Carolina were headed up to Indiana to mingle spirits and exhort each other, the excitement began to build. There were already services scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday morning, but why wait? I mean, it was Friday evening and everyone had to eat anyway, so we headed over to a familiar restaurant, and before long the entire back room was full. Not just full of people, but full of laughter, chatter, and good times with the people of God. Oh yeah, and the food was good—almost forgot about that part.”
SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT TIME. WHAT ELSE?
“It sure was. By the time Saturday evening rolled around, everyone was pumped up and ready for service. Brother Gill started us off with prayer and thanking God for what we have. He encouraged us to “get in” and let the Lord have his way. With a couple of songs to settle everyone, that is exactly what happened. Brother Nobles got up and as everyone who knows him will agree, he is well-capable of bringing us the Word of God as it should be, sincere and heart-felt.”
YOU LOOK SO FAMILIAR. DON’T I KNOW YOU?
Not a pick-up line. John just wanted to add this one thing before he continued:
“A few of us were able to watch a video of Brother Nick Gruick at Brother Gary and Sister Sharon Richardson’s house Friday night after dinner, and we couldn’t help but recognize a lot of Brother Nick in Elder LaFleur. The Elder has stayed true to that foundation and not been afraid to raise up a Ministry under his direction, and because of this, we can see a lot of Elder LaFleur in Brother Nobles. I know, it makes you want to say Amen out loud, doesn’t it?”
WHERE WERE WE?
“Back to Brother Nobles’ message. He taught that the Body of Christ is a spiritual family and the spirit of it is singular according to Ephesians 4:4, and that no matter where you are by location, you have to have that same spirit in order to be recognized as the Body of Christ. He summarized this spirit with the word charity mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13, though not that charity this world refers to when using two days per year to help those who are in need materially. This charity identifies a family of a different kind!”
THIS COULD GET REALLY GOOD.
It did! As if that service alone wasn’t enough, guess what happened afterwards? Ding, ding, ding, you guessed right again. More food, I mean fellowship. This time it was pizza and more memories to be made at Brother Gary and Sister Sharon’s home. As Brother Nobles mentioned, we don’t just go to church, we are the church. This kind of fellowship is proof of that.”
THAT’S HUGE, ACTUALLY.
“Yes, and Sunday morning got even better as it picked up right where Saturday night left off. Brother Nobles was able to go more in depth describing characteristics of that One Spirit. Forgiveness, loving one another, forbearing one another, and preferring one another were just a few of these characteristics. After Brother Nobles was finished, there were a few testimonies from God’s people that confirmed the Lord truly had His Way in Connersville, Indiana this weekend.”
JUST WOW. IS THAT ALL?
“No. When the service was over Sunday morning, you could still see the spirit of the Body of Christ in action. Brother Anthony and Sister Sherri Browning donated some fresh fish and prepared it the way I think fish should be prepared. Fried 🙂 Mix that with some good potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, and hush puppies and you’re setting things up for some good fellowship.”
A WIN, WIN.
“Thanks to Brother and Sister Gill and the Church at Connersville for working together to serve that meal and for your exceptional hospitality. Keep up the good work. What a wonderful weekend!!”
Thanks, B. John, and We Love You, Indiana.
AND NOW FOR SOME SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY.
CHECKING IN WITH OUR GEORGIA FAMILY.
Hint: This sister, whose smile lights up a whole room, is here for the Atlanta Q&A. Sister Shereta, our readers want to hear more about that weekend in July. Let’s do this.
YOU’VE BEEN FRIENDS THIIIIS CLOSE FOR HOW LONG?
“The Church at Atlanta received a special visit from four very amazing people last month. Brother Jim Gibbs, Brother Everett Gavin and their wives came to be in service and in fellowship with the saints here in the Atlanta area. It was a wonderful weekend of encouragement, ministering, and reminiscing. We have known both couples for over twenty-four years, and it’s a blessing to be joined with such faithful people of God.”
WE’RE SEEING AN IMPRESSIVE LINEUP. TELL US MORE.
“During Sunday’s service, Brother Wright, our local pastor, opened up with Ephesians 4, where the Apostle Paul was explaining why God provided a ministry for the saints. Everything God does has a purpose. And one of the principal reasons God provided a ministry is to teach, uplift and instruct His people. Just like the ministers traveled from place to place in the Old and New Testament, the ministry of God will travel during this present day to different assemblies by the leading of the Spirit for the same reasons.”
GREAT OPENING. THEN WHAT?
“Following Brother Wright, Brother Gavin delivered a message emphasizing the importance of allowing the Word to move you in a way that produces a closer relationship with God and His people. And with that closer relationship, there are genuine emotions of gratefulness, joy and appreciation to God for adding us to the Kingdom. The Word should not only encourage and instruct us, but It should also produce a Godly love for Him and His people. He spoke from Matthew the fifth chapter where Jesus taught about what it takes to truly take on His Spirit which, in turn, will bring us closer to salvation, which is the ultimate goal.”
WHY DO WE KEEP HEARING THAT THE CHURCH IS NOT A BUILDING?
Because, 500 miles away. In Indiana, Brother Nobles was showing that we don’t just go to church—we are the Church. Meanwhile down in Atlanta during the same weekend, Brother Gavin was teaching a message that God’s Church is about a people, not a building.
WELL, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.
“Brother Gibbs rose and spoke about the price we gladly pay while reaching for salvation. As we learn more about God’s Word, it will change us. But, we can’t simply ‘learn’ our way into Heaven. We have to take what we learn and apply it to our lives knowing that the changes in our mindset will please God.”
“He shared Matthew 13th chapter, and spoke about the seeds we sow into ourselves and others. It is so important to sow Godly seeds and let the Seed, which is the Word, be planted in us so when we hit those bumps and bruises that are appointed to us—that good seed will rise up within us; it will feed us and heal us and allow us to keep traveling on the right path.”
OBVIOUSLY, GOD IS DOING A MIGHTY WORK IN ATLANTA. ANYTHING ELSE?
“Yes. Brother Gibbs also preached about the importance of the Holy Ghost which helps us digest the scriptures. It also helps us become more pliable to receive the truth of God’s Word.”
BECAUSE WE LOOOOOVE FELLOWSHIP AND FOOD, THIS ENDING GETS TWO THUMBS UP.
“After the service was over, we all made our way to Brother Wright’s home for food and fellowship. It was so rewarding for the newer saints to sit and hear the testimonies of the visiting couples about what their walk with the Lord has been like. Godly wisdom and encouragement was sliced up right along with the fried chicken, beans, mashed potatoes, and pie. None of us wanted it to end.”
YOU HAD ME AT PIE.
cough, I meant fellowship, cough.
THE BEST PART?
“The Church at Atlanta received many blessings during that visit, and we look forward to many more in the future.”
Thanks, S. Shereta. We love our family in Georgia, but we don’t like goodbyes. Until next time?
MESSAGE TO OUR READERS AND FRIENDS WHO FOLLOW US ON THE BRIDGE
Thank you so much for supporting us. We’re grateful for your grace as we navigate through trying to create a positive resource for God’s people. Feel free to stop by for a word of encouragement, hang out with us and know you’re not alone on this journey, or catch up on the latest or something you missed. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Speaking of the Latest . . .
Did you know some of our young people are in Atlanta this weekend!?
We don’t want you to miss it either, which is why we’ll make sure you get the story. I’m working on a special guest contributor, too. See ya back here soon!