Posts Tagged With: spirituality

Calling all Connector Group Leaders!

What is a Connector Group Leader?

A Connector Group Leader is an individual who invites others to fast with him/her. This simple, yet powerful gesture is a wildly effective way to help others draw closer to God.

Last cycle 34 of you signed up to be Connector Group Leaders. Some of you asked family and friends, while others fasted with co-workers, deacons boards, and ministry teams. It doesn’t matter the group, whoever God is calling you to, JUST DO IT!

I’ve been meditating on the following scripture for the last week or so. Continue reading

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Moving Forward

moving-forward

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Singles Ministry of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden this past weekend. I shared with them the 3 Heart Attitudes that hinder our forward movement: Discontentment, Desperation, and Disobedience.

During the session I shared personal examples of how my full surrender to God has advanced me. As a single I dated all the wrong guys. Finally–when I got to the end of myself–I surrendered my dating life to God and about 6 months to the day I met Andel, my soulmate and destiny partner.

Here’s another example. During the final year of my doctorate I needed to complete a year long internship in order to graduate. I worked hard to find an internship in my preferred location (Maryland). Please note that I wrote, “I worked hard.” To my horror, I didn’t get an internship in Maryland after months of applications and interviews. Finally, I put up the white flag and surrendered my choice of internship placement to God. Within a day I was appointed to the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium. It turned out to the perfect internship for me! Continue reading

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Cycle 5 of Surrender 2013 Begins February 18!

Reminder: Start the Pre-Fast Preparation chapters no later than Monday, February 11. These are the first 5 chapters of The 40-Day Surrender Fast. Visit www.surrenderfast.com for more information and to order your copy of the book.

Surrender Fast - Lent

 

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Cycle 4: The Pre-Fast Preparation Starts Today!

Today marks the first day of our Pre-Fast Preparation period for Cycle 4 of Surrender 2013. Are you excited?! I know I am. There is an expectancy in my spirit. God is about to show up and do something amazing; He’s about to make the impossible possible, and set straight that which we have made crooked.

God doesn’t need a lot of time. He just need willing vessels who are OPEN to His plan. That is what the Surrender Fast is all about: giving  your life in totality to Christ. Turning it ALL over to Him and watching Him move as only He can.

Prepare your heart to receive from the Lord His goodness, peace, and joy. Expect Him to show up today in your situation and minister to you His wisdom and guidance. Although this is just the Pre-Fast, God is near to you and He wants to commune with you. Continue reading

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Surrender Fast 2013 – Are you in?!

Most of us want to know God’s plan for our lives, but we’re not always sure how to find it.

Do you know that God can dream a bigger dream than you? For years I thought I had it all together; my life was planned the way I wanted it. But when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 the journey back to health allowed me to re-evaluate my plans. In fact, I learned that my plan was nearly the polar-opposite of what God had in mind. Now I am living His bigger dream; the one he had planned for me from the foundations of the earth.  And it feels great!

What about you?

Are you living God’s bigger dream? If you find yourself frustrated and discouraged all the time, I would guess you are not. Continue reading

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Out of Order: Lessons from a Neglectful Wife

Okay I’m being dramatic, but I must admit, I’ve been guilty of not putting Andel first.

Of course during our engagement it was all about him. And maybe even the first couple years of marriage—not sure—you would have to ask him. But then came kids, work and ministry obligations and he began to play second fiddle.

We have a good marriage so suffice it to say I didn’t do any of this intentionally; it just sort of happen.

It’s funny how those who are supposed to mean the most to us are quickly relegated to the “I’ll get to you when I get a chance” category when life becomes all about us.

I wasn’t aware of the severity of my behavior until a recent disagreement with Andel that got me to thinking. We were visiting friends in North Carolina. The host cooked breakfast. I feed the kids then ran off to the Post Office. When I returned all the food was eaten and Andel – fast asleep – had missed out. Continue reading

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Surrender the Replacement

I am on Day 21 of a corporate 21-Day Fast sponsored by Fusions Ministries. I am  designated their “scribe” which requires me to keep a log of all the written testimonies received during the fast. One testimony in particular left a lasting impression on me. The Faster wrote:

The Lord delivered me over 20 years ago from sexual lusts. However while feeling prideful and smug, God revealed that I had just transferred the sexual lusts to other things: eating, shopping, watching unholy programs, and movies. Even to the point of recording programs while attending Bible Study. I thank Him for this revelation and repent by abstaining and deleting programs from my DVR.”

Wow, that bold testimony started me thinking about all I had “surrendered” and if I had indeed surrendered those things or replaced them with other affections. Sadly some things have been replaced.

For example, I stopped watching TV in 2011. I have been so proud of myself and quite judgmental, at least in my mind, of those who are victim to television’s pull. But since doing this 21-day fast I realize TV was simply replaced with more time on the internet, particularly social media.

However, even that outlet was unavailable to me during our 21-day fast. So instead of spending more time with God (outside of my 1 hour in the morning) I replaced my loss of TV and social media with snacking.  Yes, I am the queen of mindless distractions but I need to stop because when these activities are engaged in inappropriately they become idols.

But God said, “You shall have no other god before me” (Exodus 20:3). Rhonda Hughey writes, “Anything that competes with our love for Jesus can become a substitute for our affections and worship…The church is in danger of continuing to give token devotion to God on Sundays, while assimilating to our culture’s idolatry during the week.” (Day 20 – Loss of Our First Love?)

Where do you spend most of your time? What things do you treasure? The Bible reminds us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

This may all seem like “too much” or “over-kill”. You may be thinking, Doesn’t God want me to enjoy life? Of course He does. He told us, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).

But His idea of abundant living is the polar opposite of what the world tells us is abundant living. Case in point, Eve had it all: joy, peace, a wonderful husband, the Garden of Eden…she had it all. Yet she readily traded it all in for what seemed better, but in the end it led to death.

Today the enemy is out to trick us too. He knows that if we surrender it all to God that our lives will be far more than we ever imagined: joy overflowing, peace that surpasses all understanding, wholeness, and victory over our every circumstance. So he keeps tempting us with lifeless substitutes so that we reject the abundant life that God has promised.

God has so much more for us if we would just give up our idols and seek Him without distraction. Like Donald Lawrence sang, “Let’s get back to Eden and live on top of the world!”

My pray today is that I surrender and not replace.

How about you?

With God all things are possible,

Celeste Owens

P.S. Sign up today for Surrender Fast 2013. Forty days and a surrendered heart will change your life!

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The Lord Will Make a Way Some-HOW

I’ve been reading the story of Nehemiah who was instrumental in rebuilding the dilapidated wall of Jerusalem in just 52 days! It was a monumental task but God somehow worked a miracle. I am so encouraged by his story and others like it.

My friend Michelle Ruth Jones of The Time to Fly Foundation, a non-profit that helps women, is also a trailblazer. About a month ago her organization was the recipient of a $25K media grant. She said of the grant, “Only God and my prayer buddies know the tears I’ve shed from the weight of the growing work…yet the Holy Spirit has repeatedly said ‘Daughter, hold on TRUST Me’”.

Pastor Mark Batterson wrote on his blog these profound words, “When God gives a vision, He makes provision!” Both Nehemiah and Michelle were burdened with tasks that were bigger than them, but they succeeded because they believed that God would make a way somehow. They also prayed and moved into action when God provided the means. Michelle didn’t hear about the grant until 48 hours before the final decision was to be made. God doesn’t need a lot of time, He just needs willing vessels to do His work.

What huge task(s) has God laid at your feet? Will you pick it up? Don’t concern yourself with HOW it will get done; in faith do ALL God is instructing and He will work out the how.

If you are in a season of transition or need to refocus on the plan that God has for your life, join us for Cycle 4 of the Surrender Fast to begin December 31. There is an introductory video on the Home page. Please encourage your family, friends, and church congregations to join us for this life-changing experience!

With God all things are possible,
Dr. Celeste

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Testimony from Surrender Faster Cherie

I was a part of Cycle 3 that just finished, and I’m so grateful and thankful to have participated! I surrendered TV watching and replaced that time with scripture and devotional reading and prayer. I was (and still am) DESPERATE to hear from God, to know His will, because I’ve felt like I’ve been flailing along, stuck in a rut, disappointed, and frustrated with doing things under my own power, instead of really REALLY hearing from God. I felt like God was silent. I realized that He wasn’t silent; I was drowning out His voice with the “noise” of mindless TV watching and not focusing on reading and learning His Word. I feel BLESSED and just wanted to THANK YOU for leading us through this fast. I have found that I want to continue my “routine” of prayer/reading/scripture/meditation and continue surrendering EVERYTHING to Him. Now I go straight to The Word when negative thoughts creep in and discouragement knocks on my door (instead of wallowing in discouragement).

I want to keep surrendering and fasting! I now feel like surrendering a LONG LIST of things/behaviors: mindless shopping/spending, bad foods, lack of sleep, envy, and most of all, people-pleasing. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew! But I feel like this fast CHANGED ME, and I’m so grateful. I look forward to the next cycle this December!

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Life After Surrender 2012

How’s life after the Surrender Fast?!!

Rather you did 1 or all 3 cycles this year I pray your life will never be the same.

I also pray that your time with the Lord was fruitful. That you regained your focused, renewed your passion for His agenda, restored some relationships, found peace, got some rest and received all God intended to bestow on you.

It has become abundantly clear, at least for me, that surrendering is not simply for a moment but a lifetime. For that reason, I seek to remain in a constant posture of surrender. What does that look like for me on a daily basis? It involves carving out personal time with God, humbling myself before God and men, releasing my will in the areas of diet and exercise…In other words, seeking and submitting to God’s will in every area of my life. Continue reading

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