Thursday, July 24, 2014

From I can't live without you to I can't live with you!


Hebrews 13:4a NLT

Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.


Lately, I've been interacting with a lot of engaged and newly married couples. It is fun to watch the union of two people who want nothing more than to be together. In those stages, individuals seem to feel like they can't breathe without the other. Our focus can be entirely on the other person and during single life, individuals often feel like life will be incomplete if they do not get married to that person who has captured their attention and their heart.

As relationships continue, a transformation in this mindset can occur. Often, you see married couples who want nothing more than to be apart. In those stages, individuals seem to feel like the other person is smothering and suffocating them and impeding their ability to breathe. Focus seems to shift to self and during married life, individuals often feel like life will be incomplete if they do not find a way out of the marriage and away from the person who once captured their complete attention and total heart.

What a drastic change!

So, how do we avoid this transformation from feeling like you can't live without your person to feeling like you can't live with your person? Here are 3 suggestions:

1. Keep your connection. 
  • Stay connected spiritually - Pray together, read the bible together, do church life together, build each other up spiritually and encourage your person's spiritual growth. These activities keep Christ as the central focus of your marriage. Chances are much greater with the pursuit of Jesus as a shared goal in your marriage.
  • Stay connected emotionally - Share thoughts, share feelings, share reactions, comfort each other, work to bring joy to each other. Communication is essential. Communication kills conflict and communication keeps you connected, so develop strategies to ensure healthy communication in your marriage.
  • Stay connected physically - Remember when you couldn't keep your hands off of each other when it was leading to sinful activity? Now it is time to keep your hands on each other. Don't let the bedroom lose its passion; it's up to you to keep the passion in your relationship. Part of the pre-marital intrigue with sex is that you're breaking the rules... and for some reason (mostly, our sinful nature), that can feel exciting. Once you're married, you have to incorporate new ways to bring excitement into your physical connection.  
2. Build in some space.
  • Marriage doesn't mean you stop having a life; it actually can, and should, enhance both of your lives. You just have to find ways to make sure that your individual lives are helping fulfill the shared goals of your merged life. You are indeed living for your person, but part of living for that person involves some self-care and progress towards your individual goals as well. Your person won't be happy with you if you aren't happy with yourself. 
  • In marriage, you spend a lot of time together. In order to keep that time as something you both look forward to, you have to build in some time apart. Give your person something to look forward to - your person can't ever miss you if you never go away. In fact, if you never go away, your person is going to begin to dread seeing you coming. Develop a hobby - spend some time with the right friends - go after a positive pursuit that your person can support - spend some time with yourself. I always tell people, every now and then you need to take yourself on a date. If you don't like spending time with you, why would anyone else? 
3. Don't stop trying. 
  • Whatever it took to get your person, it will take double to keep your person. Make every effort to make your person's life better. If you sent flowers pre-marriage, send more flowers during marriage; if you took each other out on dates pre-marriage, do more dates during marriage; if you kept yourself looking good pre-marriage, don't start looking a mess during marriage. Successful marriages require determined effort.  
  • In marriage, there is a new golden rule - Do unto your person as they want you to do unto them! Love your person the way he/she wants to be loved. Love shifts and it takes effort to keep up with the changing demands of your spouse. What your person needs during marriage may be something totally different than what was needed before marriage. Don't get frustrated and stop trying to keep up with new needs - keep trying. You won't always succeed, but you need to always try. Discover, what Chapman calls, your love language - and, the CURRENT love language of your person. Once you discover it, speak that language to your person. Whether words, acts, gifts, time, or touch - speak their language. (For more information on Chapman's love languages and to take the love language assessment, visit http://www.5lovelanguages.com/)
Prayer: Today, I pray for the success of our marriages. Marriage is sometimes challenging and frustrating, but it is also beautiful and rewarding. Lord, help us to experience the best of marriage and to overcome the pitfalls that attempt to steal the joy of our marriages. Give us strategic ideas to make our marriages successful. Empower us to be successful in our pursuit of good and healthy marriages and help us to always glorify You through our care and love for our spouses. We ask for your help; we thank you for our opportunity; and we believe You for our success. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.  

Contributed by: Pastor Razel Jones



Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Language of Leaders

The Language of Leaders:

For all leaders going after success, check your progress against these important leadership steps towards actualizing any vision:

1. Know your vision. 
  • Where are you going? What are you doing? What problem are you solving? What need are you meeting? 
2. Develop a strategy to accomplish the vision. 
  • How are you getting there? How are you doing it? How are you solving it? How are you meeting the need?
3. Get buy-in into vision and strategy.
  • Find out who is with you - not just who is there, but who is down for the cause. 
  • Who wants to go where you're going - do what you're doing - solve what you're solving and meet the need you're meeting? 
4. Get to know your team.
  • What talents, skills, and strengths do the people surrounding your vision bring to the table? What does each individual specialize in? What can you ask her to do that will end in success? What shouldn't you ask him to do so that he does not fail?
  • Show them the real you so that they will open up and show you the real them. Authenticity is comfortable around authenticity - realness respects realness. 
5. Learn what motivates yourself and your team and provide the motivation.
  • What is it that makes you want to keep moving forward? Feed that to yourself. 
  • What is it that makes your individual team members want to keep moving forward? Feed that to your team.
6. Strategically align your team's individual talents with your corporate strategy. 
  • How can what your team members specialize in help get your vision where it is trying to go? 
7. Celebrate small victories.
  • What went well? 
  • When a piece of the vision takes shape, make it a big deal. 
  • When an individual successfully applies their talents to the strategy, make it a big deal.
8. Measure progress and give feedback balanced with grace & truth. 
  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we keep doing?
  • What should we stop doing?
9. Correct issues and keep it moving. 
  • What is the poison trying to attack your strategy? Remove it.
  • What is the bottleneck? What's making progress come slowly? Open it up. 
  • Have tough conversations. 
  • Make sure that leaders are leading - if they're not, correct them or remove them.
  • Find the root cause of the issue - ask "why" repeatedly to get to the root cause of the issue.
10. Never give up - actualize your vision!  
  • Success isn't easy or everyone would have it. 
  • Work hard, then put in hard work. 
  • When you want to stop, start.
  • Quit quitting - stop stopping - give up on giving up - do not not do!
  • Keep going until you see in your reality what you saw in your mind. 

Contributed by: Pastor Razel Jones

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Stop sinking and start floating.

I am enjoying the summer. In addition to trips to the beach, a lot of grilled food, and sun on a regular basis, one of the highlights of my summer has been taking my one and a half year old daughter to her weekly swimming lessons.

Disclaimer: I am a preacher and EVERYTHING becomes a potential sermon. 

So, while in the water, her teacher gave her the first water toy to play with and it floated on top of the water. Her assignment was to put her face towards the toy and blow bubbles while getting the toy. Then, the second water toy was distributed - it was about the same size, but this one did not float on top of the water - it sank towards the bottom of the water and her assignment was to submerge her whole face in and try to go get the sinking toy. 

It made me think - why do some of the toys float and some of the toys sink? 

Weight: The simple assumption to make involves the weight of the toys.The heavier the toy, the more likely it is to sink - seems logical, right? But, the weight alone can't be the only factor. After all, I weigh much more than the rubber shark my daughter was playing with, and I am able to float in the water instead of sinking like the toy. So, the answer is not weight. So, there have to be other factors.  

Design: The way the objects are made has to affect the flotation ability. Density is absolutely a factor affecting the ability to float. Science teaches us that if objects have dense, closely-packed together molecules they tend to sink, while loosely packed molecules have less density and tend to float. Another design consideration is if there is air inside the object, it is more likely to float. Upon further thought though, if it were only a matter of design, there would be no need to have my daughter in lessons - she would just float and swim based on design alone. I have seen a lot of people in the water who are full of air and have the same design that I have, but they tend to sink rather than float. Therefore, design affects the ability, but the answer has to be more than just design.  

Faith: It's not weight and it's more than design. I've been told that any human is designed to be able to swim, but what keeps us from swimming is fear. In order to float, a person must believe that they can and get rid of their fear of drowning. Once relaxed, we're less dense and we naturally float; but, in order to relax, we must believe in our ability to float.

Matthew 14:28-31New King James Version 
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Today, someone reading this is facing some situations that look intimidating. You have to make a decision - will I jump into it or will I run from it - will I have fear or will I have faith - will I sink or will I float? You are designed by the Master craftsman; you are designed to float - not to sink. Psalm 139:14 declares that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. We serve a God who always causes us to triumph. Even when it looks like we're losing, there's some winning that's going to come out of it. So, I say to you today: 

1. Trust your designer - God crafted you. 
2. Trust your design - you have skills talents and abilities that are unstoppable.
3. Relax - enjoy the float. 

Floating is relaxing, but in order to enjoy the relaxing, you have to relax. Today, I challenge you to let go of your doubt; let go of your worry; let go of situations that are beyond your control. All of those things cause you to feel like you're sinking and even drowning. Let it go and enjoy the float!

Pastor Razel Jones

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Take the test!

Multiple choice: Select the answer that best describes your reality.

A. Things will never get better.
B. It could be worse.

A. You might as well give up.
B. You have no choice but to keep going.

A. God will never remember you.
B. God will never leave you. 

A. My way always works.
B. God's way always works.

A. I do all things well. 
B. God does all things well. 

A. It's all about me. 
B. It's all about Jesus.  

A. I treat myself better than anyone else treats me.
B. He treats me better than I treat myself. 

A. I should complain. 
B. I should praise. 

This is the simplest test you could take - all the answers are the same. Yet and still, we often choose the wrong answer. Today, I want to challenge you to choose to B who God says you are - victorious, more than a conquerer - an overcomer! Hold on to what you know - don't let go!

Contributed by: Pastor Razel Jones

Monday, August 26, 2013

Not so random acts of kindness

August has been an incredible month! Our focus has been on outreach and on impacting our neighbors close by and around the world. Whether visiting the local nursing home to spend some time with residents, giving an encouraging word and sharing songs or sending ties to South Africa, or Rock(ing) the Block - providing school supplies, food, fun, inflatables, worship bands and more to our community free of charge, or giving away money to the community, we have enjoyed being a blessing to our neighbors with not-so-random acts of kindness! We are blessed to be a blessing and I'm so blessed to be surrounded by people who are willing to take church outside of the 4 walls! The Overcomers of Victory Life Christian Ministries are amazing - they don't flinch at the challenges presented to them and they give 100% to make sure that God is pleased and that the Victory Life vision is actualized! Now, we move into September - what has impacted you during Outreach month and how do you plan to continue the not-so-random acts of kindness in your own life?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Flow

Summer Flow has been great so far! Summer Flow is May-August and it is: One Hour, One Season, One Word – Summer Flow, One at 1!

I have enjoyed the variety of ways service has been opened: spoken word, dance, song, focused prayer. God has certainly been blessing us in the area of the Word. It's amazing how much can happen in one hour - it doesn't take God a long time to flow and He has shown that this summer.  

I'm excited about the upcoming series from Deacon Jessica Robinson in July. Jessica is indeed a phenomenal speaker and challenges us all with God-inspired interpretations of the Word of God. We are in for a treat - don't miss Summer Flow - July!

Friday, March 1, 2013

We have Deacons!

It has been a while since I've posted on here, but I wanted to come talk a little bit about what has been happening at Victory Life!

We have Deacons!


I'm very happy to present Deacons Cedric Wicks, Jessica Robinson, and Darius Ganzie! These three have been faithful to the ministry since the 1st year of Victory Life. 

Deacons at Victory Life are charged with:

  1. Taking care of the church
  2. Being faithful in attendance
  3. Being faithful in tithes and offering and support of ministry
  4. Being knowledgeable of Word
  5. Living the Word & taking care of their families
  6. Having a desire to serve

These individuals went through observations, interviews, and written biblical testing and were found to be ready to serve in the office of deacon. They have been faithful to the ministry, growing in their relationships with God, supportive of leadership and committed to the vision and mission of Victory Life Christian Ministries. On the Sunday of our Newness 2013 conference, their roles became official and they were anointed for the office of deacon. We are honored to have these three stand as leaders at Victory Life and we look forward to what God is going to continue to do in their lives and ministries. Congratulations on this great charge!

Below is more information about deacons for those interested in learning more:

Definition of DEACON

: a subordinate officer in a Christian church: as
one of the laymen elected by a church with congregational polity to serve in worship, in pastoral care, and on administrative committees

Some scriptures about deacons:

  1. Romans 16:1 [Personal Greetings ] I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. Romans 16:1-3 (in Context) Romans 16 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  2. Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons :Philippians 1:1-3 (in Context) Philippians 1 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  3. 1 Timothy 3:1 [Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons ] Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 1 Timothy 3:1-3 (in Context) 1 Timothy 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  4. 1 Timothy 3:8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 1 Timothy 3:7-9 (in Context) 1 Timothy 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  5. 1 Timothy 3:10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 1 Timothy 3:9-11 (in Context) 1 Timothy 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  6. 1 Timothy 3:12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.1 Timothy 3:11-13 (in Context) 1 Timothy 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations

Deacon
The original meaning of this word is an attendant, assistant, helper. It is sometimes translated minister, that is, servant, as in Matthew 20:26 2 1 Corinthians 6:4 Ephesians 3:7. Deacons are first mentioned as officers in the Christian church in Acts 6:1-15, where it appears that their duty was to collect the alms of the church, and distribute them to such as had a claim upon them, visiting the poor and sick, widows, orphans, and sufferers under persecution, and administering all necessary and proper relief. Of the seven there named, Philip and Stephen are afterwards found laboring as evangelists. The qualifications of deacons are specified in 1 Timothy 3:8-12.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Newness 2013 - 4 years of ministry

We are excited about our upcoming celebration - Newness 2013 - celebrating 4 years of ministry as Victory Life Christian Ministries!

  • Friday, January 18 at 7 p.m. - Pastor Jermone Glenn (Revolution Christian Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI )
  • Saturday, January 19 at 6 p.m. - Pastor/Prophetess Doriane Parker-Sims (Kingdom Life Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m. - Prophetess Kelly Crews (Kelly Crews Ministries, Cleveland, OH)

We will also have special musical guests including Nate Glasper on Saturday & Ryan Robertson with us at the Sunday service.


Visit the facebook event page to learn more or email victorylife@victorybr.com!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Unfortunate Ability

Today, I just have a thought that I want to share with you. It is a thought that I woke up with this morning and I feel the need to share. Many of us struggle with an unfortunate ability and even tendency to settle.

We had big dreams, big initiate goals, big hopes for our future, big vision - plans to end up in a certain kind of house, career, relationship, church etc. but as life has kept going and we didn't see what we envisioned come to pass, somewhere along the way, we have reasoned in our minds (or perhaps, we have entertained the enemy reasoning with us) and have become convinced that what we once saw, will not be. Therein, we have become complacent and comfortable with the idea of settling for less than our vision.

To settle is to accept less than. In financial terms it has to do with compromising in a way where you tend to accept less than what you were owed in order to make sure you walk away with something rather than nothing. But, I believe deep within yourself, there is a part of you that cries out to God saying, Lord, I want everything you have for me! I believe there is a remnant of people who exist who would say, I want God's perfect will for my life. I'm lonely right now, but I would rather wait on the person God has for me than find myself, once again, trying to make something happen and settling for less than God's plan for my life. Don't let anyone tell you that is selfish. If God has given you a vision of your future, that is your movie preview and you need to use that as a baseline and guidelines for what/who you will accept and give a chance and what/who you should just let keep walking past your life! Settling can cause the plan of God to be interrupted in your life!

We've all done it before. We've been living in an apartment for 8 months and we know it's time to have our own house. We make our God-inspired list of our "have to haves" - what we know we need in a house - Lord, I need 2 bedrooms, an attached garage, air conditioning and a safe neighborhood, I'll be flexible about everything else, but I need that - then, 4 more months pass by and an opportunity finally presents itself that has 1 bedroom, a detached garage and a box fan in the window, but it is in a safe neighborhood... It is at that point where we must decide, will I wait on my vision or will I settle! Once we grow tired of waiting, many of us change our "have to have" lists midstream. We even have this interesting ability to focus in on the 1 thing that's right, instead of the 3 things that are wrong. Well, I know it's missing a bedroom, the garage is detached and there's no air conditioning, but it sure is a great neighborhood; I would hate to miss out on this neighborhood. So, we settle... and then become angry with God every time we're reminded of what we don't have. Well God... I had company come over today, where are they supposed to sleep - I only have one bedroom... Lord, it's raining and I have to walk from this garage to this house, I told you I wanted an attached garage. Lord, it's HOT in here; I'm so tired of living like this. We actually get frustrated with God for decisions we have made. He never told you to settle; in fact, He showed you a vision of what you need.

You can change the example to anything - I've been in an uncomfortable spot for quite a while now and I know God wants me to move into a better position. Make the God-inspired list of the "have to haves" - determine what you need and what you can be flexible with and then wait on the Lord. There's the part where it gets challenging - how long are you willing to wait? What if He doesn't deliver in your time expectations. Will you keep on waiting or will you settle? Will you wait on your vision or will you settle?

Yes, there are some things you should be willing to compromise on, if it's something that was only produced from your thoughts, your mind and God didn't really have anything to do with it... but, if God has a plan for your life, don't compromise, don't waiver and don't settle. Don't miss the full extent of what God has for you by settling because of impatience and discomfort! They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength! (Isaiah 40:31).  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Consecration Progress


Leading up to September, I believe the Lord spoke to me with instructions about a unique Consecration. In August we studied about the Whisper of God in Connect and the teaching led us to a discussion of the Spiritual Disciplines. Armed with that inspiration and leading, we jumped into the Spiritual Disciplines Consecration in September and have continued it into October!

We keep progressing and are turning up the levels of the Consecration and we keep experiencing the supernatural favor and flow of God in our lives, in our services, in our relationships, in our circumstances. Wonderful things are being ushered into our lives through this Consecration. Welcome to the Outpour! 

I just wanted to stop and reflect and get your feedback on how the Consecration is going so far from your perspective. Tell me about your experience: What's the most challenging part? What's the easiest part? What's the most rewarding part? What have been the benefits of this particular Consecration in your life to date?

I look forward to hearing from the participants about this journey so far. Keep on keeping on - God has greater things in store for you!