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Following the Will of God even when it hurts

May 3, 2010

Over the next little while I am going to spend some time looking at the amazing book of Philippians. But before I dive in I wanted to find out a bit about what is behind the book, to get the back story, to set the scene for my learning.

I discovered that Philippians was written by Paul to the people of Philippi, a city in eastern city Macedonia.  Paul travelled to the city in 49 or 50 AD, on his second missionary journey. With him on the journey were Silas, Timotheus, and Luke.  And he made the big journey as God told him to. As it says in Acts 16:9-10

During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.

And in visiting Philippi Paul took the gospel outside of Asia Minor for the first time and into Europe, beginning the worldwide spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ!

And the very first convert in Europe is Lydia, a pagan cloth seller. After giving her life to Christ and along with her family being baptised, Paul started a church with Lydia in her home.  As it records in Acts 16: 11-15

We sailed straight from Troas to Samothrace, and the next day we arrived in Neapolis. From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony in the first district of Macedonia.We spent several days in Philippi. Then on the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to a place by the river, where we thought there would be a Jewish meeting place for prayer. We sat down and talked with the women who came. One of them was Lydia, who was from the city of Thyatira and sold expensive purple cloth. She was a worshiper of the Lord God, and he made her willing to accept what Paul was saying. Then after she and her family were baptized, she kept on begging us, “If you think I really do have faith in the Lord, come stay in my home.” Finally, we accepted her invitation.

And Paul wrote the letter to the church in Philippi to encourage them in their faith, to inspire them into complete dedication to the will of Christ, in spite of any pain or suffering they might experience.

And after church yesterday I found myself yet again thinking about the point of church and getting bothered by the lack of people who go to church.  In reading about Paul and his ministry in Philippi I realise something:  Paul shared the Gospel and then started a church and in doing this he displays the deep connection between sharing the Good News and being the church.  As I think through this I can see that trying to run a church without actively sharing the Gospel within the surrounding community is like trying to run a car without petrol: eventually you will run out of steam and stop.

In my experience of church the focus is on running services and caring for those already in the church, but actually I can see the need to also be focused on the surrounding community, on sharing the love of Jesus.  What is your church like in this?  Do they encourage evangelism?  How do they do that? Feel free to leave a comment below.

But it is about balance!  Paul is also interested in the church members in Philippi which is why he wrote the letter. And it is his motivation for writing it that really hit home for me.

He wrote the letter to inspire them into complete dedication to the will of Christ, in spite of any pain or suffering they might feel.  And this is something I am really struggling with myself right now, to accept the will of Christ particularly as accepting Christ’s will is causing me great pain.  Paul knows that one of the biggest issues facing Christians is to accept the will of Christ in all matters.  I want to follow my will, my desire, but this is plain wrong.  I must submit myself to the will of Christ, and push through the pain.

I praise God for my journey into His Word and His will!


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  1. Kathy permalink

    How do you feel about Home Church?

  2. Nan Vroman permalink

    Wow, I can’t believe you are starting to study Philippians! Started reading Phillipians yesterday in morning personal devo time, went to a chorale concert last night in which the book of Phlippians was focused on, and now your blog on this book.

    Guess the Holy Spirit really is trying to direct me to spend time right now in this letter of Paul’s!

  3. I am struggling with the same thing about following God’s will through pain. I have an illness that causes me great discomfort at times and makes it hard to function. I have been given great strength from the Lord but there are times when I say why me, or I go my own way looking for help from people instead of going to the Lord first. Then I am struck with how much Jesus suffered for me and I complain!

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Donna, It is discouraging when we want to do so such and then we cannot. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and often become frustrated. The gift is that we are now free to do other things such as pray, write letters to the sick, study the Bible. It helps me on a “bad” day to reach out to others by focusing on what I can do, rather than what I cannot do. God’s peace.

      • Annette permalink

        for those with CFS or fibromyalgia, look into a treatment called: Meyers Cocktail or IV Nutrition Therapy… its worth looking into and could be your avenue toward complete healing. God is Good

  4. Lynn Sicard permalink

    the church I attend goes around the neighborhoods with a mini bus picking people who want to go to church. They also do things like adopt a block where they go and spend the day helping people clean up their yards, clean their houses or whatever needs to be done all the while talking to the people about how much Jesus loves them. They ask nothing in return for the work done. If the family wants to come to church they’ll gladly pick them up.There’ also other things they do as outreach too.

  5. Sister Pam OP permalink

    This is one of those moments of synchronicity. Last night I read the entire book of Acts and Philippians. I was impressed with Paul’s immediate response to his vision. He didn’t wait around, check to see if he had enough money, check his planner. He just went with his friends.

    Then, he went to the river, not a temple, to pray. Who did he pray with? He prayed with and preached to the women, a rather unacceptable thing to do. This led to the first conversion of a European.

    These “irrational” acts formed the church of Philippi, Paul’s favorite church.

    There are lessons here for us. Follow the vision. You may end up somewhere unexpected and not meet who you expected, but preach anyway. The person you convert may be your biggest supporter. The going isn’t easy, but the results are great.

  6. Lynn Sicard permalink

    Donna, I know you’re struggling, but God can use you in whatever condition you’re in. I know, because He usrs me, and I have COPD with emphazema and can only walk about 20 feet before I have to sit down and catch my breath, and for over 2 years, my legs would hurt so much I had a hard time walking any distance without crying. But I kept praying to God and asking others to pray and I wouldn’t give up as I knew it was not Gods will for me to suffer so. And it’s not His will that you suffer either. Don’t give up hope Donna. When in pain pray, and ask others to pray also. Post prayer requests on sites like praying people, and send e-mails to everyone in your address book asking them to pray. That’s what I did, and on Febuary 15th of this year, I awoke with no pain in my legs. Believe in miracles Donna, and believe in God Who is the worker of miracles.

    • Donna N. permalink

      Lynn Sicard: Your message did my heart good. No, I don’t have a physical condition…but it did my heart good to hear how God healed your body. Praise His name!

  7. I’m dealing with this currently. I live in a house with a woman who said she was of the Lord but all her life does nothing to celebrate Him. She lives in worry, its the story of Martha and Mary, well I’m the one seeking His word while she worries about cleaning up (stupid stuff-excessive and extreme). The house is pretty clean but she doesn’t mop or sweep which I do. It’s a demonic force that pulls on her to not be the way God has asked her to. She knows the scriptures but chooses not to follow His will due to the pain. I accept the pain and have been going thru a warfare because of it….You should see the way the spirit in her looks at me….Praise God for strength to fight this war, He’ll win the battle!

    • Donna N. permalink

      Kweli Hayes: Not everyone thinks or acts the same as you. Maybe through your eyes she’s acting a certain way but in reality it is not that way at all. It’s only the way YOU have preceived her to be. Pray and ask God to show HER to YOU through HIS eyes.

  8. Jaimee Northcott permalink

    I got to a church that is right beside university, so we have a night service, and its a real easy way to invite students, because its at 7pm on a sunday, what else are students doing at 7pm on a sunday? and there is also a christian group on campus, called student life, they are really amazing thay do heaps of outreaches! like everyday across campus, they also go out on thusday nights (student drinking night down here) and we go outside one of the main pubs, and set up singstar, or wii, and show people love, and show them you can have heaps of fun with out alcohol. and if the conversations goes in a good direction without forcing it to, you can start talking about Jesus and what he did for us!! it is such an amazing experience!! most of the churches that have a good student population join student life on every 3 thursday of the month. And i have just started going to this or the last few weeks because i think it makes a huge difference and gives me a chance to see my class mates in a non learning situation and to be able to discuss what i believe. (the majority of my class would be out on a thursday night)

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Jaimee,
      We do the same thing in our church and it is so joyful! We also make a meal every Sunday evening that we share with everyone there. It is like the early church sharing life together.

  9. Judy Yates permalink

    I am thankful that my church is very aware that there are hurting people all around us and we have many, many outreach ministries to help. We have a food pantry to help those who are without jobs to feed their families. We have an “Overcomers” class to minister to those who are struggling to overcome addictions to alcohol, drug, and various other addictions. We invite the community football team to our church to have dinner on us and fix a full course meal, just to show them we are interested and love them. We participate in helping other community outreaches by baking pies, cookies, etc. to help with their outreach programs. We LOVE people, not just our church family, we LOVE all people, whether they ever come to our church or not. We just want them to know somebody does care. We are “HIS” hands, let us go about doing good as “HE” was our example.

  10. Kelly permalink

    my church has done a beautiful job of reaching out to the community…”showing God’s love in a practical way.” we pass out free bottled water on the 4th of July serve a hot breakfast once a week to the poor, offer recovery groups and griefshare. As far as growing up those in the church, we have discipleship training classes and knowing the voice of God, prophetic classes. The only thing i wish were different is the way the church, as a business, is run. it seems to have a corporate feel, that has caused many people who work there to leave or be seemingly completely exhausted and not well cared for.

  11. sheryl permalink

    Here is the church I attend:

  12. Steve Gill permalink

    The one thing that is so useful to me in this passage is that “Lydia” said “If you believe that I really love the Lord God then come stay at my house”. In a moment I wonder who was being used by God more. Lydia’s faith shows that God is in control. Just baptized she makes the “move” to show God’s grace and love. This is the biggest act of Worship we can do. I love my church and yet they don’t help me at all with my gift to be an evangelist in the streets of my town. In fact, they have discouraged me in many ways. That brings me to this point. When we read about Phillipians, we must first realize how far our “man made religion” has taken us from the center. We must get back to this simplicity with the Gospel. You are right Mark about “balance” with coming and going. He is a God of perfect balance. BUT, millions of Americans live in the Comfort of opening up there doors on Sunday thinking that the lost are going to bust down those doors. We need to be wise and let God lead us into the streets. I see God really doing a work with you Mark. Let yourself get immersed in the uncomfortable. That’s where you’ll find Jesus throughout the Gospels.

  13. Joshua Lung permalink

    I have been blessed by your bible quotes and your blog. Would also like to share one of my devotions here – How to make our life count?

  14. Deena Barnhart permalink

    You asked about evangelism and I am happy to report that our church is active in evangelism. We are encouraged to invite out neighbors and smile everyday because you never know who may need that smile and who may be willing to ask you about the Lord that day. We spend time in our community with home visitation and activities where everyone is invited, not just our church family.

  15. Angela Brydon permalink

    Phillipians is great I love chapter 2 when Paul speaks of shining like stars in a lost and corrupt world.

    However my own church reflects Marks words above “As I think through this I can see that trying to run a church without actively sharing the Gospel within the surrounding community is like trying to run a car without petrol: eventually you will run out of steam and stop.”

  16. Osho seun permalink

    To God be the glory.

  17. Lisa permalink


    God has lead me to a wonderful Bible church. We have members who go pick up children to attend when their parents won’t. We go to a local senior home and give worship service to shut ins. We send tracs in with our household bills when we pay them and we try and spead the Good News wherever we go. We are Blessed.

    I appreciate your words on doing God’s will even when it’s painful. I am not in physical pain, but pain of the heart.

    My husband of just over a year has had a lifetime of alcohol addiction, was put in jail due to violating his parole by drinking. Seperated 8 months until his parole was over, he wrote letters of how he wanted to live a life without alcohol professing to know that he needed to be a good Christian leader of our family. He said he wanted to start a faith based recovery home for other addicts, wanting to become a minister. I put compete faith in his words but when he returned home his actions said differently and he has since deserted me and my 10 year old son who loved him. He went to a friends home whose wife has caused problems for us in the past.

    I have found out that he has lied to me about his past, his goals for the future and used God as a tool to keep me supporting him financially while he was away, telling me things he knew I wanted to hear but never intended on following through with his words.

    I truly believed God lead me to my husband for me to help him. Apparently, he doesn’t want the same Godly life I do.

    Knowing that divorce is not an option, I am left in financial difficulty, a wayward husband and left trying to figure out what God’s purpose was for all of this.

    My heart is heavy as I want to do God’s will but struggle with the ties of this marriage.

    Please pray for us.

    • Lisa you very much have my prayers. God bless, Mark

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Lisa…. Your transparency is beautiful. Do not be alarmed by your husbands actions. Have faith, for I dishonored my wife in our marriage and she had “every” worldly reason to divorce me and didn’t. Her faith in me turned me to Christ for good and I know that your husband is no different than me. We all have failed at some point in time in our lives. The breadth of his failure is relative to the breadth of His Work for God. When he truly comes to God…. WATCH OUT…. because it will be glorious. If we can’t have faith that God can do this for your husband than we might as well quit…. and I don’t know about you…. but I’ll never quit believing in my GOD. He is ALWAYS faithful to act on my behalf. He just NEVER does it my way…. or in my time.
      Lisa…. Your Husband WILL be that man who he told you he’d be. Keep the faith. Pray on your knees for him today. It shall be done!

  18. Mark, God bless your conviction. I pray whatever your struggling with God will deliver you. I just stayed up last night until 1am watching again, the story of Paul. What an amazing man of faith. But keep in mind, he saw Christ. Imagine the conviction the world would have (as Christians) if we all had a personal experience with Christ? But, as with Thomas…..BLESSED are those who have not seen, yet they believe. And that is what I live by. I know Christ IS! I know it in my heart. But regarding the church, you are right. I am born and raised a Catholic but can not bring myself to attend any longer a Catholic service. I am 44 and only in the last year have I begun to truly know and understand the word of God through reading the bible ON MY OWN. The church is no longer preaching. The church is all about money and little aboout faith. I do not say this about all churches…but for many. I believe todays Christians need to go back to our original roots as the apostles did. Study together….in small groups….and do acts of good will….in small groups. The church has been badly tarnished and I believe that the true followers of Christ will take it upon themselves to make change. I enjoyed this blog and will be back more. I do believe we are living in the last of the last days and an urgency has laid itself heavy on my heart to see …redeemed those I love…and perhaps those I do not even know..while there is still time. God bless. Jennifer

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Sister Jennifer…. Thank you. God has me sending this message directly to you. I have been seeing the number 444 for the past several years and when I saw your email I had to reply. It’s May 4th and you are 44 years old. WOW…. and what you said was right on line with what God has worked in my heart for the past 6 years. I grew up in the Episcopal Church and we learned alot of what Catholics Teach…. BUT…. what I really want to say to you now is that I side with you on your learning from the Word. You are my sister. Let us walk in love together and agree that Jesus Christ is the one and Only son of the one TRUE GOD. Hey, we go to church together now. Amen to you and Amen to your growth and walk with God. He loves you.

  19. Jamey Goins permalink

    We are a home study family. It saddens me that churches arent more welcoming, and they are almost offended if you “try them out”. I may sound nuts, but something in my heart tells me that the former walls of the church must come down, and all people of those churches need to reach out openly to everyone in a nonjudgemental way. God is everywhere! I balance my witness carefully approaching each person in a different way according to their demeanor, and personality. My biggest fear is to push someone away from God. So should be the churches. Show the people the love first, not the judgement. God will put that on their hearts as they grow with him, we all know this. I believe a revolution is coming in the sense that religions are losing their stronghold, by their own seclusion, but God is making a comeback! I choose to worship at home, because I dont need a religion, I need God. Jesus’ was Judiasm, if any. I have a feeling there are many more like me out there. We need to reach out to the imperfect like Jesus did.

    • Steve Gill permalink

      I have had the exact same feelings and yet I still call my church friends and I love them. I loved your response to this lesson. Keep the faith Jamey. Keep doing that balancing and Have No Fear over it because your desire to make sure that you are giving something the RIGHT WAY for each personality is a “wise” and “wonderful” choice. To God Be The Glory.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Jamey and Steve,
      Many churches are fortresses instead of sanctuaries, but that is not true for all churches. I wish you could join us on Sundays at 5pm. You would find what you are looking for. There is a movement washing over Christianity to return to the ways of the early church. Read Michael Green’s book, “Thirty Years that Changed the World”.
      Or, look at the Fresh Expressions website. You may not realize it; you are on the cutting edge of something grand. There is a church out there for you, and by church, I mean the people who are the body of Christ. A church is not a building, it is a body with Jesus as its head. God bless you in your work. Keep us posted as to what God is doing in your life.

      • Steve Gill permalink

        Sister Pam….
        I always enjoy your words. I’ve been kicked out of my house. I’ve lost my house. I’ve seen God’s grace. I’ve been healed from an addiction. I’ve been given certain gifts after Baptism. My life is so focused on Christ…. but yet during my best moments, I still am far from Sainthood. The gift that The Lord gave me is perception. A woman once laid hands on me and called me Eagle Eyes. I trust no man unless they are putting all there trust in The Lord. I see that you are a woman of faith. God is building up His Church everyday and it extends way beyond the walls of any building that I’ve seen. I am meeting true believers on Street Corners and they are easy to spot now. Like I said in my posting “I Love My Church” (I’m talking about the building of believers that I am at). By the way, I didn’t chose this Church. God confirmed that I was to go there. But I don’t think that we are doing anything the way God wants us to as a building. Me on the other hand…. I can’t live without knowing what God has planned for me today. We have to stop programming and stop planning. God is the planner and most of the time God’s is very different than what a whole bunch of Corporate Planners can come up with. I’m not mad at all. I know what is going on and it doesn’t surprise me one bit. I will keep smiling and I will keep knowing that I have a God who has it under control. I love you Sister Pam and I hope that you will continue to encourage these wonderful soldiers on here. I see many that will benefit greatly from this ministry. There is much work to be done. I have barriers all around me…. but I see God busting them down one by one. The Lord is mighty and just like he met the woman at the well…. we need to meet the Lost where they are…. far from our building. I here people on this post talking about what there Church does…. like a list of things they’ve accomplished. We can do more and anyone who is reading this knows (cause the Holy Spirit will show you this truth) that it’s not the things that we can point to that matter. It’s the things that every believer is doing when no one is looking. Peace be with you Pam. I know where the real church is…. we’re having it right now!

  20. Nicole Griffin permalink

    My Church at the moment does nothing per say. If we do do something it’s because I bring the idea up, I get the okay from the Pastor, then my family and I plan it, implement it and clean up behind it. A lot of times my Pastor comes for support. It gets to be tiring, I become frustrated because it seems other’s don’t want to work in the community in which our church sits. I love being in the community, but often get no support. So I go help at a friends church who does things, but I feel guilty and sad because I want to do it with my church. My Pastor pushes Evangelism but no one but my family seems to bite! I don’t know what to do.

  21. I suffer from Gout and cramps in my Hands and Feet,Jesus says :if you never have any pain,how will you know what I suffered for you?”with this in mind I can praise Him and thank Him for all He does for me and then my pain is lessened.I love my church and we have several our reach programs for our community.Glory Goes to God and my saviour Jesus Christ

  22. theresa jones permalink

    Hurting thru the pain hmm…I just asked myself this morning and GOD why do I know YOU hear my prayers and speedly answer exactly the way I ask for others healings and instantly they are delivered or healed, while some arent. LIKE A best friend that has been thru so much pain, now dieing of cancer, or my grandson that has CP it is baby steps healing which I AM GREATFUL…just wonder sometimes….yes I agree we need to take the church to the streets cause the people that are truely hurting will not come…

  23. Stacy Briles permalink

    Wow, I have to say how amazing God is! We started to study Philippians at our church last Sunday as well as refering to Acts 16. When I opened my e-mail this morning it just made me realize how God really is working hard right now. Our world is crazy and God is trying to get His people to open up and reach out to the lost of our world! I am reading a book that our pastor asked us to read, You Were Born For This, by Bruce Wilkinson, it is an awesome book helping us find ways to ask God to let us help Him do every day miricles for others! I want God to use me, and my pastor is doing everything to show us to be useable to God, he is amazing man of faith and the words that come from him, I know God is speaking through him, he has a heart for the lost and I love him for who he lets God make him to be!

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Stacy, Thank you for the book title. It’s on my reading list.
      God’s Peace

  24. Joanne Maybury permalink

    I am encouraged by many of the comments here. God is working through his willing people. My church is good in many ways, but we expect ‘them’ to come to us. And frankly, sitting in this oldish building with uncomfortable furniture, singing hymns with outdated words and tunes, not talking to one another, why should they? Then I’m reminded of something I learned a long time ago: don’t pray for others what you’re not prepared for the Lord to do in you. So, it starts with me.

  25. I attend a church in Southeastern Georgia in the US. It is a small town about 45 minutes NW of Savannah, which is on the coast. Our church is large and sometimes large churches tend to lose focus on what is important, but not this one. Our pastor is actively involved in missions and regularly takes our church members who are willing to go on trips. He came back from one trip with an inspired way to reach out to our community. We then planned our “Love Out Loud” day. We had over 400 members sign up to spend a Sunday after church reaching out to the community by helping to clean yards of the widows, deliver food to those who were working at local businesses, visit nursing homes, paint the inside of the local boys’ home, pay for loads of laundry at the laundromat, wash cars, and check engines. All of this was done wearing T-shirts that read “Love Out Loud” on the back and the name of the church on the front. We had the wonderful experience of sharing Christ with our community, it gave us a great bond as a body of believers as well.

  26. Andrew Michels permalink

    My church does this program called Evangelism Explosion or EE for short. Basically it takes you through step by step on how to share the word with other people. Its pretty simple and it is even divided into a short outline. The only problem with it is it takes a massive amount of devotion (about 15 weeks) which is why some people (like myself) can’t do it. Wether it be because of their job or other issues etc. Also growing up through grade school I remember doing something called the 30 hr famine basically raising money or food for the shelters around the local community. We go door to door asking for canned foods which opened the door to share God’s word

  27. Kara Pittman permalink

    Mark, it is interesting that you write on this. I feel as if this is where the church gets it all wrong…I believe as the church we are not to focus so much on inside the walls, but instead what is going on outside the walls of the church. In the Great Commission we are called to go and make disciples of all nations. This can not happen if we leave it up to missionaries alone. God desires for His people to build relationships with those who do not know Him. To show others LOVE first through our acts of service for them…the witnessing with a Bible in hand will come later. Christians have received such a negative focus…we are a “click” that won’t let others in…we are judgemental of others, when we ourselves struggle with sin daily. I wrote a letter to all the local churches in my community (but failed to send it to all of them) encourging them to get out in the community and build relationships. Show God’s love through acts of service. The vision God placed on my heart is to see churches go outside the walls of the church on SUNDAYS (the exact day that non believers think we set aside for ourselves and building our personal walk with God) and go out into our community and serve others for no other reason but to show them we love them. What a way to get someone asking questions…why is this church out serving meals to the homeless on a Sunday morning instead of being in church? why is this church washing peoples cars on a Sunday morning instead of being in church? …etc. It shows people we care enough about them and love them enough to serve them on our day of rest. If I was a non believer I would want to know why someone was doing this…and if someone was to ask, THEN your door has opened to talk about the fact that we love because Christ first loved us. Great message today Mark!!!

    • Steve Gill permalink

      Great Post! Keep the faith and just keep loving all people Kara. The ones that are supoosed to hear your voice crying out in the wilderness will listen. Don’t let those who are LOST teach you something you know is wrong. You are right. Stick to those feelings that are guided by the Holy Spirit. To God be The Glory.

  28. LarrytheWrightman permalink

    We are so blessed to have the Word spoken by a great teacher pastor.
    The love he has for each and every person is amazing!
    I ask for your prayers for Rev. Glenn Erwin.
    Last Thursday he had a super bad day–his best friend has terminal cancer. Also Glenn’s bi-vocational workplace has had 50 deaths in the last 2 months. He is a safety guy and deals with the injured and the families from these incidents. It is wearing real hard on his mind.
    Keep the faith! Larry

  29. Terri Monn permalink

    Keep up the good work, Mark – please don’t be discouraged. You are providing much more right here than you will ever know. God bless. Thanks for the Phillipians study, by the way!

  30. David permalink

    If your church is focusing only on the needs of the current members and is not reaching out, it will eventually die. The country club approach to church is not what God intended. We are commanded to make disciples, and if we are really disciples we will go out and make new disciples who will then go make disciples and grow God’s kingdom – an endless circle.

  31. June permalink

    We need to study the life of Christ in Matt. Mark, Luke and John. Then go to the book of acts and see how the apostles followed His teaching in telling them what to do when he left the earth. Acts 2: chapter tells us how the New Testament church was established, how Paul and others were converted. The whole book of Acts tells how each of the churches were established by Paul in many of these locations.

  32. Gretchen Mitchell permalink

    I live in San Diego, CA, USA and I go to a wonderful church where it is preached, taught and lived to go out into our communities and “Do Something”. Our Pastor is Miles McPherson, a wonderful, Godly man and I am so grateful to God for leading me to this church and this wonderful body of people. It’s a “mega church” but I truly feel at home here and have learned so much more about God’s word since being there.

    Thank you for this daily blog! God has spoken to me a few times because of what you write =)

    God Bless you and your family!

  33. Jim Russell permalink

    There is a critical reason for submission to Christ, one that will be acknowledged all too readily by the willful, proud, or arrogant. How can one carry out the will of God if one cannot sense the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Pride is like noise, and as noise can obstruct hearing, so can pride obstruct sensing the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and thus obstruct doing God’s will. When we are meek, humble, and contrite, we are not willful, not noisy. We can sense the Holy Spirit’s guidance better and follow more closely the doing of God’s will. Submitting to God all that we are, and all the gifts that we have been given, is final acknowledgement that we are not the best leadership for that persona and those gifts. We give up all that, and turn them over to Christ, who then uses them to do God’s will, as we meekly follow the Holy Spirit’s instructions. To others, it will look much the same, same face, same voice, but the difference is the management. The new management is the best.

  34. Scott permalink

    Following the will of GOD even when it hurts!…As relevant today as in the time it was written, for some, this is how we learn.

  35. Kris permalink

    I am also dealing with the pain of following God’s will. My husband of 17 years has left me and our 4 children and is “in love” with another woman. I do not feel like divorce is God’s will, I have been standing for my marriage when all I want to do is move on and get over the pain. Every time I feel like this I see or hear something that makes me think God is wanting me to wait on my marriage. This is very hard for me and our children, but I am trying to put it in God’s hands and let his will happen.

    Thank you, Mark for the encouraging words on Facebook every day, they always seem to be what I need!

  36. This is a wonderful. We studied this book in our adult bible study class on Sunday mornings. It amazes me how God’s Holy Spirit connects us. I will be following along with you, for I am sure God has more for me to learn. We also have had home group studies with a study guide (book) by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King, called “Experiencing God”. One of the things it impressed on me is exactly what Paul does. He doesn’t count his money, or make travel plans. He heard God’s voice and joined God in God’s work, knowing that God would take care of ALL the needs and details. Henry Blackaby states…”God is always at work around us, we just have to join Him.” We learn to join Him, by knowing Him. We know Him, by experiencing Him. I think if you haven’t already done so, you would enjoy this book. It is design with video for church group study, and is based on evangelism. I know you are already joining Him in His work, but you may find their views refreshing and enlightening, and encouraging to what you are already doing. May God continue to be with you and you with Him. 🙂

  37. Carla Johnson permalink

    My husband has osteopersis and in January had to quit working. We went through a nightmare of waiting for something to come of getting dissibility and finally after 7 weeks with no paycheck he decided to go on S.S. So now we have an income every month,but we are playing catch-up with bills. I have a job now,but it is temporary. I know God has a plan for us. It is hard waiting to see what that plan is.

  38. gloriadelia permalink

    You wrote, “I want to follow my will, my desire, but this is plain wrong. I must submit myself to the will of Christ, and push through the pain.”

    So true! I tend to treat God/Jesus/Holy Spirit as my genie in a bottle. My prayers “Here’s my plan, now bless it!” sigh…

    Here’s to “His Word and His will” ! Gloris

  39. Mike permalink

    I was wondering if I should be concerned when I just don’t get it. I pray very much, very sincerely. I emerse myself into scripture night and day. I gave up many worldly vices. I tithe. I work hard to say, do and think the right things. I try to block out all evil in my life. I help others when I see they are in need. It’s difficult trying to feel or know anything from The Lord with so many influences contrary to rational thought. Am I just being impatient, hard headed or what? I believe and ask for the Lords guidence always. Yet, I hear, see, and feel nothing that is leading me. Am I doing something wrong, or maybe I’ve got stuff working against me subconsciously that I’m not even aware of hindering “the process”? Thanks…

    • Hi, Mike,
      Sometimes I just need to fast. Faith-wise, it’s like cutting through butter with a hot knife, for me anyway. Do others agree?

      On my blog, Gloriadelia, there’s a bunch of fasting links on the right hand side and if you click the word Fast or Fasting in the topic cloud there’s a lot of encouragement from my own experiences.

      Hope this helps.
      I’ll be praying for you. Gloris

  40. Joanne Heatley permalink

    Hi Mark!

    Following God when it hurts is so hard. Today I had to be on my knees in prayer to not react to severe provocation, but to remain walking in the Spirit knowing that God was there with me and would give me the strength i required to endure patiently and then forgive without any apology being given or even thought needed.
    I spent some time in worship and God was faithful of course but it was still hard. I know He is transforming me and it hurts but my prayer was and is to be transformed into His likeness. Change can be hard but I know the fruit will be good and knowing that helps.
    The spirit is willing but the flesh fights back so!

    Our church reaches out to the community by singing worhip songs in the market square which is very popular also by invitng friends to services and holding Alpha courses. I pray God make me bolder in my witness during my daily life x

  41. I live in Camden N J. and I belong to community baptisit Church. and my pastor David King, HE is a man of God. Pastor Taught us to take what he teach’s us out in the community because that ‘s where it belong, we can not keep it in the Church, He says take it to the souls out side God Bless Every one

  42. Denise permalink

    I am currently discerning a call to the priesthood in the Episcopal church. Doing what God requires of me even when it’s painful has truly resonated with me. It has been mostly struggle, but yet I must persevere. As part of the process I am interning at another church. I was given the opportunity to lead an adult Sunday education class and given full reign to choose the topic. Based on the bishop’s call to evangelism, I decided to use the book The Mystic Way of Evangelism by Elaine A. Heath. It was a nice way I think to tie in my mystical nature to the purpose of evangelism. I have always felt that being given the gift of mysticism is not just for my own benefit. This book gave me some new ideas in which to share.


  44. My home Church is awesome Mark. We just signed on as a Host site for Angelfood Ministries and hoping to reach more of our community and with God involved you can’t go wrong Amen. I am a new Christian of about a year now and was Baptized . My life has has been full since I excepted him. I am into his Word daily and I even started writing personal daily praises of Thanks and confessing sins and WOW!!! I’m more alive at 44 then I’ve ever felt THANK YOU JESUS PRAISE THE LORD!!! YOU ARE SO WORTHY OF MY DAILY PRAISES PLEASE CONTINUE TO DWELL WITHIN ME FATHER.. AMEN

  45. karen nece permalink

    i am so blessed 2 b a part of ur journey deeper into God’s Word. having a life application (niv) Bible my favorite part is 2 read who wrote the book, why thry wrote it and not only when but to whom.this book of the Bible started me on a great journey when i was n a Bible study and we were on chap 4. after learning how Paul had discovered how 2 b content n all circunstances God spoke 2 me n a profound way. He led me to pray that i might learn to b content n all circunstances. and yes ur right the next day i lost my high paying positon as a computer drafter and could not find other employment n my field bcuz i was over qualified. so since i was nvoled n the seniors ministry as well as the youth ministry and the singles ministry i decided since i knew so many people i would start a house cleaning business. but i coudn’t make myself chg what others were charging as i considered it as a ministry as well. anyway my 1st job i learned very much spiritually since i felt i should do all thingd 2 the glory of God when i cleaned intensely God showed me how a magnificant home where very wealthy people lived had the most need 4 deep cleaning with my loyal toothbrush. this taught me that i must remeber 2 follow God and not judge a person by how they look but by their heart. this n itself came 2 b a ministry as i got 2 know these friends even better and would come early n the morning 2 pray with them and share with them what god was doing n my life which eventually led 2 them sharing more how they wanted 2 get closer 2 God and further away 4 their need 4 status, money and material things. n our church at the time i was a prayer partner with a friend who was going thru “experencing God”. we had many out reach programs 2 b a part of. praise the Lord i haad the oppurtunity 2 b involved n the planting of new churches like the Korean baptist church, where i had the privilege of attending a special service 2 mark their 1st yr. it was great to listen 2 their pastor preach n Korean and 2 observe their cultural differences from our church and the African American chuch we helped 2 start n the Black Student union house on campus. oru members worked side by side when it came time 2 build the actual church when the student union house was too small. also every monday night we would go visiting people who had filled out a request 2 knnow more. i learned that it was very tough 2 dress as an average person n their situation when i was being persecuted by those who wore suits and dresses. but they finally realized that Jesus met people where they were not intimidating them by looking as if they wouldn’t fit n at a church with so many wealthy people when they didn’t have the means 2 dress “churchy”. praise the Lord things chg’d and as others felt God lead them 2 apply His Word 2 there life and live fully dependent on Him they dressed and acted more genuinely caring and loving 2 those we went 2 visit. well i may i gone past my word limit. God bless u and those u minister 2..pressing on……..karen

  46. gloriadelia permalink

    This goes along with what I was going to post on my devotional blog today. So I’m quoting you. I’ll refer my readers back to here. Gloris

    Here’s a link:

  47. Our Church is very missions minded! It is such a blessing to see god’s people and His finances go out in the world and preach the Gospel. The church is alive and moving, growing in every aspect. I consider it one of the greatest blessing of my life to be a part of this ministry. I would love to go on a mission trip but my health is not great. Still praying though. Thank you for sending this to me! IUt gets me back on track when I’ve been on facebook to long!

  48. Patricia Raper permalink

    Dear Pastor Rod,

    I really enjoy reading your devotionals, as well as Joni’s page.

    I have received both strength and knowledge from your web-sites.

    You were talking about reaching those in the community around the church. Our Pastor tried for several years to do outreach around the church but it wasn’t effective.
    Prior to him coming to the church a former Pastor “sinned” and the word got out to the community and the people now don’t want to attend their. Most of our people drive from other towns to attend.
    Current Pastor has a heart after God like David did in the Bible. It is a shame people don’t forget about others failures.
    My church is a good church with good people but pray that somehow we can have an outreach to others.

    Thanks for your encouraging teachings.

    God bless,
    Sis. Patricia

  49. Elfi permalink

    We are also a small church, yet, and have started by impacting our community with a food bank. There has been a lot of positive “go-ahead” by our council and we hope and pray we can be a blessing to many people. God bless!!! Elfi

  50. Pat permalink

    Greetings Mark,

    I am so happy to be one amongst the thousands who follow along in your Journey. I really appreciated your comments and insights today. I too am one of those sojourners who are going through painfull times of surrender to God’s will and not my own. It can be oh so painful when the flesh is being pruned especially when I have done it “my way” for most of my life even though I had a born again experience at a young age. However it is encouraging to know that there are others struggling with the same thing. It lets me know that I need to continue the good fight of faith.

    Blessings, Pat

  51. Dava Unglesbee permalink

    We belong to a rather large church. Sunday is for preaching the Word to equip and strengthen the believers. During the week there are Bible studies for men, women, teens. After school homework club and mom’s club in the poorest community in the area. English classes are offered, free. Two or three times a year we have a clothing give away. Four times a year the deacons have a car clinic for single and divorced women to have their cars checked over. Once a month, communion Sunday, there is a mercy offering for those in need – those in and out of the church. We run a food pantry, are a drop off point every other week for perishables to be obtained by the needy. Each fall we fill at least a hundred backpacks and send them to the local schools to give to those in need. Then there are all our international missions. These are the things I can think of right now. Our pastor and elders want us to be a beacon – to the believers,to the community, to the county, to the world. I love this church!

  52. yurnell permalink

    Wow this comes in a timely manner. I’m sitting in my hotel room in beautiful hawaii not really wanting to go out. In wounded in my flesh but more deeply in my spirit trying to fulfill the will of God. He’s been silent through it all but as I lay here and receive healing for my mind ‘ body and my spirit I can here him in the gentliness of my thoughts not invading them but as a stabdard that confirms me. I’m not ready to grab hold of it yet for I feel I’ll be yet running again and I my flesh and will wants more than what I know He’s going to give. The words I hate the most. My grace is sufficient for the. I have offened wondered God do you even care obout me and how I feel!!!

  53. Angela permalink

    My church is great………… love it god bless you

  54. Angela permalink

    Thank you for sharing this particular message. I have recently decided to stop picking and choosing certain parts of my life to give to Christ, and have given it all to Him. It’s been extremely difficult to sacrifice my own selfish desires for God’s will, but this really inspired me to stay strong in following Christ. It’s extremely comforting to be reminded that we all struggle with this from time to time. Thank you for the encouragement!!

  55. Claythomas permalink

    i want to follow God’s will for me at any cost but i cant figure out his will for me and i cant tell if God is talking to me or if it is my imagination

  56. fran permalink

    hi mark,
    i enjoy your writings, yes letting go of self and self will, crucific
    tion, it hurts. i am a member of an awesome church, here in texas, we care for each other and the world. on a personal note, i know hurt, pain, almost beyond bearing, my life has been far from a fairy tale story, i have been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit for almost 30 years, My, Lord and Savior remains faithful, i just do not understand alot of the why’s in life. my salvation is sure, heaven is real. this has been the hardest 9 months of my life, you see it should not be but it is, Our Father chose to take my 27 year old son home July 5, 2009. i have experienced anger, when you think i would be gloriously happy, my son adam is in heaven, but i will not be able to touch, kiss or hug him until i am called home. i cry alot, i have asked the Lord to help me with the anger, and to continue to grow me up, and He is i know because He hears and answers his children. i have been poor, molested, beaten, domestic violence, and this i say is the worst pain i have ever experienced in my life. i just want to say I still love you my Lord and Savior, Jesus, and glory to the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Father God, your daughter Fran still loves you, and I thank you for the harvest of souls, and I look forward for my Groom to come and take His Bride, we His Body…………………..I love you Jesus and I thank you for what you gave to save us from permanent seperation from You, and the ones we love.

  57. Lydia Reyes permalink

    I belong to St Bartholomew Catholic Church in Miramar Fl. We have alot of good ministries. We have a food pantry to help the needy. There is a food ministry that goes out to feed the Poor. We have prayer groups meeting during the week in english, spanish and creole. So many different cultures meet on a regular basis. No church is perfect but there is alot of growing in the walk with God there. We just have to say yes to God and participate in joining others in helping with the work of God. We have to be the feet, hands and voice of God to all. Inside and outside of the building we go to worship. I thank the Lord for the pastor ,Father Paul Vuturo who is doing such a great job tending the flock. I feel to tell all that it does’nt matter where you worship as long as it is a group of people on fire for God. The guidance of the holy spirit works in all places ,we just have to be open to it. That is the true church of God. Love and Peace to all.

  58. Christine Gomez permalink


    Thank you for your encouraging words. I wanted to leave you a note to say that after many years of “church hopping” my family and I have found our home. We started going to Iglesia Baptista Betel 2 years ago. (wow time really has flown!) Our church was very small only about 100 people. In the time that I have gone to this church we have outgrown our building twice!! We are currently renting out a high school auditorium while we construct a new building. Last Sunday our numbers were close to 1,000!!! My pastor (Dr. Elmer Fernandez) not only preaches at my church, but also at another church right after our service. During the week he is literally all over the world!! On top of conferences. He never ceases to amaze us. He has truly let God lead him and use him. The amazing thing to me is, he will still find time to counsel, answer his phone, and help anyone he comes in contact with. One of those pastors who isn’t afraid to tell the WHOLE word of God, and not just what people want to hear!! His way of thinking is “just one more soul!” but one more is never enough!! You never know when your last day here on Earth is, or when the last day your friend, neighbor, co-worker, enemy, mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son……. When we stand at judgement how many people will say to us….”You knew!!! You knew, and you never told me!!!???” We have to remember not to be ashamed, embarassed, scared, or whatever we tell ourselves our excuse is!!! We are living in the end times, and even if we aren’t, we are living in OUR end times- because we never know when our end will be!!!

    God Bless,
    Hermana Christine Gomez

  59. Lily Thomas permalink

    Thanks Mark for confirmation on what it looks like and feels like to follow after the will of Our Lord and God. Though it is difficult we press on because the need for others is greater.
    My church life is 50% Catholic where I strive to bring the knowledge and character of Christ into the wide open spaces and the rest is 25% Calvary Chapel, word by word and precept upon precept teaching of the Word and the other is praise and worship at an awesome Christian church, and through the the night while in prayer my mp3 is loaded with teachings by Dr. Vernon McGee and Pastor Joesph Prince reminding me always of His abundant Grace.
    God bless you and your journey and thanks so much for sharing your life.

  60. Jessica permalink

    I have been reading your journey for a while now and I am grateful for your insights and teachings from GOD’s word. To be completely honest I have not been to church in a while and I am really struggling, I am having a hard time recognizing Gods will or maybe I am just in denial, submitting to the things that I think are right may cause me great anguish… I have not spoken to GOD in a long time, I would love to have that relationship with my father/creator/lord, I would love to have some guidance.

  61. i pick a book study for a period of time, say job which am studying now.sometimes i just pick a verse depending on what am praying for.

  62. Allen permalink

    Hey, How excited! we recently began to read the book of Philippians in my Bible study group in our local church; something wasn’t clear about Lydia; some who read from NIV thought, she imported fabric from Thyatira and others with different Bible versions thought she had her origins from there. Thank God for your Bible version for its clarity; I will share this finding with my friends today.God bless you and yr ministry. Allen

  63. Leonard Joseph Anthony permalink

    I agree. Very few churches are concerned about sharing the good news with the surrounding neighborhood. If they say they do , see how many actually do it.The churches are all about maintenance of what christians they do have. of course , the feel good gospel they preach does very little to inspire their members to follow the great commision.

  64. Karen permalink

    Our mission statement is, Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ. I think we are meeting that goal well but it’s sometimes difficult to instill that value into new believers or Christian’s who have been used to “spectator mentality” of church.
    We need to be active participants, so much so that if the church disappeared, the poor would weep! It’s not just up to those who “Lead” we are all called to meet the need whenever it is presented to us.
    We are in a prime time in history to step up and meet the needs of the community we are each a part of with he gifts God has given each one of us for His divine purpose.

    Sunday the day to get our “selves” emptied out to God, filled up with the Holy Spirit, so that we can be poured out and overflowing on others who do not know Him during the week!

    What an Adventure God has awaiting for you each time you walk out the doors of your church! The sign should read;
    WELCOME TO YOUR MISSION FIELD! pray for divine appointments and you will be blown away. God makes life exciting!

  65. Becki Frost permalink

    Hi Mark. I have really been enjoying your teachings. I go to a church called Word of Life Christian Center in Bozeman, Montana in the States. We have several university students who attend and they actively reach out to others on campus and in the marketplace in general. In addition one of our associate pastors has a thing called “Treasure Hunting” on Friday nights. Basically anyone who would like to be involved can join anytime. They meet around 9:30 and spend 30-45 minutes in prayer to listen to where the Lord would lead them and then they discuss what they heard and break into smaller groups and go to the different places and find people to pray for and people to encourage and share the Love of the Lord with. I have gone a few times and it is truly amazing to see how the Lord can use even me to reach the lost. We basically got the idea after watching a video called “The Finger of God” and also Bethel Church in California does something similar and have been very successful at reaching out. Praise God that He will use even the once broken to reach out and make an impact in this world.

    God Bless You!


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