Grateful for His Grace

#NOLA I had an amazing time in NOLA with our Grace Bible’s Mission Trip Group. To be able to go sightseeing with such a fun group, enjoying the artistic richness of this city, was a joyful event. We had spent long hours on the drive over to NOLA, but we were still at the very surface of getting to know one another. It was a blessing that we were able to meet and make new friends as we were getting to learn more about one another. I pray our friendships will continue to grow in Christ Jesus.

#reachglobal

Woking alongside everyone associated with ReachGlobal and getting to know the homeowner of the house we were assigned to paint was extremely inspirational. Shout Out to Dorinda Bogran for getting us settled in, to Ernie and Jessica Schutte for being so cool, to Bud and Lois Riska for making me feel at home, to George and Sylvia Fleetwood for being so kind, to Ryan Kling for sharing your story and leading us with great humility, to Gabby Hosick (AKA: Strawberry) for wooing all of us into your arms with laughter and honesty, to Mallory Wendling for your encouragement to serve with your overflowing compassion, to Victoria Davis for sharing your story and leading on our last day with such grace, to Jessica Przybylski for sharing your story and opening up your heart to us, to Tristan Grecu for your high-caliber style of teaching and of course your sense of humor, to Bailea Barwick for your genuine hospitality and your ability to spread light through your smile. I pray for God’s will to continue in all of your precious lives.

#reachglobalBuilding a relationship with the homeowners made everything worthwhile. It was a delight to meet Samson “Skip” Alexander, his daughter Joanne Alexander, and his niece Keisha Lockett. I learned that after Katrina, it took this family about two years to return to their home. Samson shared the devastation he witnessed and how grateful he is to still have his family. Joanne and Keisha shared how the comforts of everyday life such as being able to bath and sleep in a comfortable bed, in the privacy of a home, was lost after Katrina. Gratefulness, poured out of our hearts as we held hands and prayed together for all that God has provided and continues to provide in our lives.

#learnbabylearn

LEARN BABY LEARN are words spoken by a true intellectual man. If you would like to learn more about Samson “Skip” Alexander, I encourage you to Google his name and LEARN BABY LEARN. It was an honor and privilege to listen and pray along side Skip. May God continue to place people in my life that lead me to open a book and or use my cell phone for educational purpose. I’m sure this would include scrolling through Samson’s Facebook page.

#outcry #NOLAThe Outcry New Orleans concert was beyond my heart’s desire! Being able to give praise and worship alongside numerous fellow Christians is so uplifting to one’s soul! I pray that our vertically lifted hands may also extend horizontally in serving one another through Christ. Heavenly Father, thank you for leading me in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. To God be the Honor and Glory!

I could never have imagined the boundaries God would break down in order to bring us #NOLA #ReachGlobalcloser together. It was a blessing to share how the grace of God has brought healing into our lives. What a glorious feeling it is to know that we are God’s righteousness in Christ Jesus. Holy Spirit you are welcomed in our lives. I pray for God to continue bringing us closer together and leading us to bring others into this beautiful body of Christ.

Just give me Jesus

IMG_6830

 

Tomorrow morning I leave on the mission trip to New Orleans with an amazing group of people who I have been getting to know and will be connecting further with over the next seven days. It is a blessing to be part of both the Big and Small Church.

I have realized as this date has been approaching that I have given much power over the wants in my life. Wants like: a comfortable bed, eating whenever I feel like it, taking naps, unlimited access to the internet, long hot showers, being a couch potato, etc. I pray for God to help me let go and let His will be done in my life. I would rather God have power over me, than any of my wants. May God sooth my heart knowing that my family is always in His hands and that He is most definitely going to take care of them while I’m gone. I can be somewhat of a control freak when it comes to my family, so this is going to be a stretching period for me to say the least.

The love, kindness, and support you’ve given me has been a blessing; therefore it would bring great joy to my heart if you would join me on this glorious journey by praying the following:

  • That I can let go and let God do
  • To Know that my family is always in God’s hands
  • Courage to share God’s love with the people I meet
  • A God honoring attitude that is willing to honor others above myself
  • Growth in my love for God and in the depth of my relationship with Him

 

To God belong Honor.

Connectedness

Connectedness

I so kindly recieved the book STRENGTHS FINDER 2.0 written by Tom Rath and used the access code provided within the book to take an assessment test of my strengths. My results were as follow:
1) Connectedness
2) Learner
3) Restorative
4) Belief
5) Input

*Connectedness
It’s not surprising that even at this very moment I’m wanting to connect with those reading my blog by sharing some of what I’ve been learning through connecting with Grace Bible’s One Ministry and Edge Team. This year’s summer directors are Bella Quintero and Eric McNeely. They have been truly instrumental in sharing the word of God in leading, modeling, guiding, and equipping leaders through the love and word of God. A special thanks goes out to Tim Rowley, our Youth Pastor, for giving me an opportunity to learn from those who have learned from him through God’s love and spirit.

*Learner *Beliefs
Here are some key points I’ve learned over this summer’s FOUNDATIONS SERIES.

  • A Season of Change. No matter the circumstances or the seasons we are in, being high or low, it’s important to reflect and process these experiences knowing that we have a faithful and just God. We can always trust in God. His word tells us so.
  • DOCTRINE: Worship. God created us to worship Him alone. Our lives can get so busy and wrapped up in this world that we create idols for ourselves and forget about God. We have a daily choice… Jesus or the world? Worshiping God goes beyond singing, it should be our way of living to honor and glorify God.
  • PRAYER. Being able to communicate with Our Heavenly Father through prayer is a true blessing. It’s so important to be honest in our prayer life with God. Our sorrows, fears, joy, or concerns can all be brought to God. To know that no matter where you are in your relationship with Jesus Christ, you can lay it all down to the Lord in prayer. It was a blessing to listen to Rob Garza and Jacob Paulson give a teaching on this part of the series. The video clips gave us a clear visual of different circumstances in which people pray. I loved how the Psalms were emphasized during the teaching.

How to pray:

  1. Know in our hearts that we are talking to God.
  2. Ask according to God’s will.
  3. Pray according to your needs.
  4. To be a Christian is to be a little Christ living in a state of forgiveness being able to go to God in joy, sadness, grief, or even in anger.
  5. God is powerful and is able to deliver us from evil and to help us overcome the desires of our flesh.

We were given a handout asking specific questions to guide our prayers. Receiving this part of the teaching series was like no other. Not only did we learn that we could come to God despite any emotion we may be experiencing and taught how to pray… we were all spiritually led into prayer that very night. Amen, Amen, Amen.

  • Church and Community. We need to be confident knowing the truth that God promised never to leave us, nor forsake. Such a beautiful blessing to listen to Steve and Karen Paulson teach this part of the series. This part of the series was pretty serious. Listening to the truth that to forsake the Church, His Bride, His Family is to forsake Him; really struck a cord in my heart. It wasn’t any easier to hear that to forsake our home church is to forsake the lost in our community and is to forsake Him as well. It’s hard to believe that anyone would forsake God, but the truth is I myself had idols and had forsaken God for many years. The working definition provided for idol- is something we love more than Jesus and won’t give up for the sake of our relationship to Him, to the Church or for the sake of the gospel. The Paulson’s provided a list of why believers forsake the Church and the Churches role in that. I love the scenarios they provided for practical application and discussion within our small groups. Truly grateful for the truth received.
  • SCRIPTURE. Everything you do is a direct reflection of what you believe, so there really is no such thing as a hypocrite. Your beliefs have to change, before you can change. Right Beliefs equals right actions. It was a sweet blessing to listen to Bella Quintero teach this part of the series. I love her quote, “If Scripture is the sword with which we slay sin and temptation… most of us are walking around with pocketknives.” Scripture is God’s very words to us. Scripture is useful for daily triumph, getting to know Jesus, walking in daily freedom, equipping the Saints to participate in God’s redemptive work in the world, and for knowing the message of SALVATION. I loved how she stated, “Whoever’s approval you are trying to get has power over you… Lets give God all the power over us.” Bella also provided a handout emphasizing the importance of memorizing scripture, praying scripture, meditating on scripture, and visualizing the scriptures. A list of scripture verses were also provided for selection. We were all enthusiastic over the practical applications taught and encouraged to carry a sword instead of a pocket knife. Praise God for His word!
  • Thanksgiving. We should all have a heart that is oh so thankful for all that Christ has done for us. May we all be truly grateful for having been received into an unshakable Kingdom, therefore allowing us to worship God wholeheartedly with reverence and awe. Remaining thankful during difficult circumstances is often a challenge, however we can remain hopeful because of Jesus and His promises. Let us pray to peacefully walk in freedom with Christ. I feel blessed and thankful to have received this teaching from Eric McNeely. Listening to him passionately express that his encounter with Jesus changed him from the inside out and quoting scripture from his heart was both moving and inspiring. I loved when he stated, “There is no application needed to be filled out in order to be accepted by God.” It was interesting to learn that in Hebrew the word Thanksgiving can also mean confession. The Psalmist would cry out to God and Job trusted God more than his portion. Paul exhorted us to see that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18). God is faithful in every way. God is for us not against us. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10). Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4). To God belong Glory!

*Restorative
Rob Garza and Bella Quintero gave a teaching on HOW TO LEAD A SMALL GROUP: A DISCUSSION ABOUT DISCUSSION.

It’s a given that we should always begin in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us all. Yet, I hadn’t realized how I truly felt when a question was asked during small group and there happened to be an “awkward silence.” Although restorative is part of my strength and there are many good qualities that come from it, I do have a tendency to be a fixer-upper. I’m so grateful that Rob and Bella both modeled wonderfully on how to lead a small group by putting their discussion into practice. I learned to teach what Jesus taught, facilitate a discussion that allows students to arrive at the truth themselves, Listen carefully to be able to ask good guiding questions, and to know your audience (wouldn’t want to speak to them in Christianize). I loved how they encouraged us that we can take our time with questions prepared for small group discussion by stating… “You’re married to the TRUTH, not the small group guide.” So blessed to have an opportunity to hear this teaching.

*Learner *Input
God willing I’ll be led to share more of what I’ve learned and give input where needed.

To God All the Honor and Glory!

Salt and Light

The salt and light shared by those who are full of Grace preserve God’s word thus bringing hope to all in need of an influential Christian voice empowered by God. I am grateful to the Lord for adding salt and light to my path with many brothers and sisters in Christ. Recently, the Lord added a person who brings warmth into my life with the light that shines oh so brightly through their never-ending kindness. Every friendly hug received is a remembrance of God’s unfailing love and the power to lift someone up even further than ever expected. What I’ll miss the most, before my friend heads back home, is the joy expressed every time they recited the truth and promises provided to all of us in scripture. When the time comes to say goodbye, I pray for God to sooth my soul and remind me that we are all one in the body of Christ and can never truly be separated. As for now, I pray to continually be grateful for the time given. May God continue to add salt and light to all our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Christian’s walk makes a difference

Patty #1challenge2k14

Patty Gonzalez on the right hand side of this picture is an awesome friend of mine. We have been attending the same bible study led by two amazing women’s group leaders for about 3 years now. I can remember recognizing Patty in this picture posted on social media and wondered, “What could Pat possibly be doing surrounded by trash bags while holding on to a dirty box?” After further review, I learned that she had attended Challenge 2014 in Kansas City with Grace Bible’s High School Youth Organization (The One Community). Already permeated with inspiration from my eldest daughter’s spiritual uplifting attending her mission trip in 2013, I was overwhelmed with joy at how God had also prepared Patty’s heart to do His work away from our own city. Little did I know then that God was working on me with every Christian walk that was shared with me during my journey in learning who God was through his son Jesus Christ. It’s amazing how a Christian’s walk can truly make a difference! Praise God for His goodness!

God is Good

FullSizeRender

Dear Friends and Family, I’m writing this letter to share how God had been orchestrating a song of freedom in my life. Last year was a difficult period of refinement, learning to be still and trust God despite the challenging circumstances I was going through. Praise God that His peace allows me to walk with assurance; where He leads me I’m now able to follow and grow in faith like never before. Drawn to His word, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer with Grace Bible Children’s Ministry. I am unable to count the number of times I’ve been moved by witnessing these little ones worship and praise God. Overwhelmed by His presence, I now have a desire to serve in the mission field. Filled with encouragement of how my eldest daughter was spiritually boosted from attending her first mission trip two years ago, I’m excited to share that I will be attending my very first mission trip this summer from July 25th to August 1st with our youth group. We will be working alongside an organization called EFCA Touch Global, rebuilding homes in the city of New Orleans in communities that were severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Together we will be sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people we encounter, as we help with construction and in the building of unity through fun-filled activities. I’m looking forward to the development of lifelong friendships from sharing in this experience and I pray that you too would be part of what God is doing in New Orleans. I’m so grateful to have you in my life. The love, kindness, and support you’ve given me has been a blessing; therefore it would bring great joy to my heart if you would join me on this glorious journey by praying the following:

  • Courage to share God’s love with the people I meet
  • A God honoring attitude that is willing to honor others above myself
  • Growth in my love for God and in the depth of my relationship with Him

God is Good and His love endures forever. If you feel in your heart to give towards this mission trip, follow the link at the bottom of the paper. Your contribution would be greatly appreciated. To God all the honor and glory. Upon my return from the mission trip, I pray God will give me the words to express all that He has done and will be continuing to do in New Orleans. The work that God does within our hearts is so worth sharing with those who mean so much to us, and you my brother and sister in Christ mean the world to me.

Many Blessing,

Yanira Solis

Link to Give:

http://www.tinyurl.com/missionNOLA