A “Thankful Thanksgiving” in Chicago . . .

A BIG SHOUT OUT to Praise Chapel Chicago, 

Pastors Zac and Altethea Williamson along with their wonderful congregation provided a Thanksgiving Banquet for the homeless and hungry at Praise Chapel in Chicago. 

 

This picture represents the best of humanity—the best of the Church.

“Friday  night November 16,  we hosted our second annual “Great Banquet” for the hungry and homeless at Praise Chapel Chicago. I (Pastor Zack)  snapped this picture as the team of volunteers prepared to selflessly serve those less fortunate.

They not only prepared, but served, prayed for, loved on, laughed with and in a few cases, cried with strangers (that quickly became friends).

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to serve and/or prepare food—all 37 of you! It was because of your love, grace, and sacrifice that many seeds were sown and 20 people responded to the invitation to come to Jesus.”

This is what happens when God’s people commit to the vision and unite in love.”  Pastor Zack

Praise Chapel Fellowship is so blessed to partner with such great pastors and congregations as this one in Chicago. Thank You Pastor Zack and Altethea and all who served this Thanksgiving meal with such love. 

Larry Neville –

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Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How You Feel #4, Javie Solis’ Story

I want to share something that’s very, very close and dear to me, that’s the sensitive topic of suicide.

I am learning that more people than I ever imagined have been confronted with suicidal thoughts. It is extremely important to me because I am one of those people that has had a relationship with suicide.

As a pastor and church leader, and as a Christian I have my ups and downs like many normal people do. Just this morning was a downer to me. I started the morning arguing with my wife. I felt like my kids were driving me crazy. I felt completely overwhelmed. I just woke up like that. Whether it’s lack of sleep or things on my mind, those things do get to us.

Depression is very patient.

It will sleep in your life thirty years from when you were born. It may sneak up on you ten years from now. Depression is tied with the spirit of fear. Maybe that is why Paul told his son in the faith Timothy, “God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind” (1 Timothy 1:7).

The devil will wait for that perfect time to give you a Spirit of fear.

When I was twenty-one I felt overwhelmed with school, with my family, with my finances, with my life choices. I felt overwhelmed and in that moment satan went right into my ear and said, “Hey, there is a way out, give your soul to me.” At that time I listened to his voice.

Then in my time of desperation, when I did contemplate and when I did act that way, when I was going through my death moment, I heard one thing and one thing that was very clear. It wasn’t audible yet it was almost a physical sound. It was almost a jolt into my spirit and right into my heart. It was the very thing my best friend Ken told me two weeks before I tried to commit suicide and that was, “Jesus loves you.”

My best friend and I were altar boys at the same Catholic Church.

My parents were very religious, but yet I still went down this path.  It was there that the Lord became real to me. The Holy Spirit manifested into a reality and he spoke into my life and he intervened.  The one thing I remembered was, “Jesus loves you.” That was the reality.

I don’t believe that depression is something we can cure with drugs or medicine. Don’t take me wrong, medication can help especially for clinical depression, therapy can help, accountability partners can help. Yet, many of those who commit suicide have sought help in these areas.

I’m not the only pastor or even the only Christian that has had these thoughts. Some of you guys might be victims of, or had family members who have committed suicide. You might have tried to commit suicide or you know somebody that knows somebody that knows somebody that did or has tried.

Suicide is a Spirit

It’s not an emotion, is not a feeling. It’s a spirit and the spirit goes into our hearts and distorts our views of reality. It distorted my view of my reality of who I was. It tried to rob me of who I really was destined to be. It elevated my anxiety and elevated my thoughts of, “I’m not good enough.” It elevated my weakness, and it made me contemplate those things.

One thing that I’ve learned and I’m still learning is to master the filtering of my thoughts.

Second Corinthians 10:5 says: “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” So here are my thoughts:

1. Treat your Mind like Private Property

Your mind is an open battlefield, and you have to treat it like it’s private property. Let me say it again. Treat the thoughts of depression like they are trespassing on your property.

2. Check Every Thought by the Word of God

“The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple” (Psalms 119:130).   We must ask: “What does the word of God say?” If our thoughts are contrary to the word of God they are wrong. God is always right.

3. Develop a Life of Prayer

What I’m telling you is something that I’m in the process of learning right now. Making it a habit to submit my thoughts to the word of God. To develop a life of prayer that’s almost automated. I might not seem like it, but I always have some kind of prayer going on in my mind. Smith Wigglesworth the great evangelists and preacher said, “I don’t care to spend 15 minutes praying. I pray every 15 minutes”

4. Always Remember that Your Life has Purpose

When it comes to these thoughts of suicide, I’m learning that my life has purpose. You can’t throw away what doesn’t belong to you. If you feel those thoughts of the enemy rampaging in your mind and overwhelming your thoughts, I want to tell you that, “You have purpose!”  “You are loved.” There is an anointing over you. There’s a gifting in your life. Jesus desires to commit himself fully to you and to have you be fully committed to Him.

This is what I taught myself,  “I will not die, but live, and I will proclaim what the Lord has done” (Psalms 118:17). We are meant to live and God offers life fully. God gives life abundantly.

For you who are hurting or been victimized or have these thoughts from the enemy. I want to tell you this, you have life and it goes beyond your years on this earth that you’ve lived and will live. God loves you and there’s a purpose for you.

So be blessed in Jesus’ name,

Click here to hear the entire testimony and message.

Jovier Solis
Evangelist Praise Chapel Rancho Cucamonga

Larry Neville
Larry@praisechapel.com

If you are feeling Overwhelmed, depressed or have any thoughts of hurting yourself, please seek help now.

Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How you Feel #3

Acceptance

Acceptance covers such a large range of feelings for everyone. From the time we enter our first day of school as a child until we take our last breath, our life is filled with the question of acceptance. I can remember my first day of school; I was left by my dad in this big room with about thirty kids and a woman I didn’t know. The feelings I felt in that room didn’t last long, but I would face my own insecurities and the need for approval again many times in later years.  Throughout life we are required to interact with other humans in many different kinds of settings and for many of us the need for approval becomes overwhelming at times – especially if we have a difficult time accepting ourselves.

The fact is, I am not perfect. I began my journey in this life with imperfections. It seems like life has made it an aim to point out all of my imperfections and to make sure that I know how imperfect I am. The only comfort is the fact that no one is born perfect nor lives a perfect life. The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What I need is unconditional acceptance. You don’t find that very often, if not ever, during this journey of life. That is why the best and really only starting point for acceptance is knowing and understanding that we are accepted by our Creator. “We can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place” (Hebrews 10:19-20 NLT).

In the Old Testament the Most Holy Place was where God’s presence was and only the High Priest could go in. “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him” (v.21).

Nothing that you have ever done or that’s ever happened to you could ever cause you not to be accepted by God. Why? Because of the blood of Jesus Christ you are accepted by God and accepted in God’s family.

One of the tags the world tries to put on the church is that we are judgmental and not accepting of broken people. That is so untrue. God’s house is a place for  everybody and anybody. We have always said that the church is a “hospital where sick people are being healed.” It is a “body and fender shop where a bunch of wrecks are being worked on.”  The church is a place for me, for you, and for all of us. Here are a few things the Hebrews writer gives us:

1. You are Welcome in God’s house.

Hebrews 10:21 says, “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.”  We are welcome in God’s house. That’s where, Jesus says, we are brothers and sisters. Have you ever heard the phrase: “He ain’t heavy. He’s my brother?” To brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, you ain’t heavy.  You have a need?  Hey, we can help.  Hebrews 10:22 says, “For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”

Someone else may look at you or me and see only our flaws. But when God sees us he sees us  through the blood of Jesus. God told the Prophet Samuel “God does not look on the outward appearance. He looks on the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7) You are accepted by God no matter what.

2. Become an Encourager to others.

The Hebrews writer continues with, “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love” (10:24).  Create new ways?  In other words, I can’t stay in the place of feeling unaccepted, alone and isolated.  If I am willing to move out of my place of anxiety, depression or hurt and find  creative ways to encourage someone else.  How will that help me? Oh! You will be surprised how encouraging someone will awaken new life  within you.

3. Spread a little Love around.

A country  songwriter said it like this,
Sometimes this crazy world can make us all feel bad
I sit and watch the news and just get mad
We need to stop and smell the roses in the ground
So get out today, you spread a little love around

Talk to a neighbor, volunteer a favor
Help out a stranger when his car’s broke down
Give your wife a kissin’,  when your kids talk, listen
It makes a lovely sound, spread a little love around

4. Just start by Getting Together with someone.

“This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward . . .”  (v25).  So,  “don’t pull away.”  Please, do not neglect meeting together.  Get with someone today. See what God will do for you in return.

Listen to the audio messages, Overwhelmed here. 

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Larry Neville