This morning as I woke, my mind was filled with a childhood memory. I remembered those nights when Mother & Daddy would get a quilt out of the closet and say, “Let’s go outside and look at the stars”. Sometimes it would be with a cup of homemade ice cream and sometimes with a glass of Iced Tea or Dr. Pepper. Most of the time it was just them, a quilt, and me. We would lay down on the quilt looking up at the beautiful heavens and start commenting on the beauty and wonder of it all. Inevitably Daddy would talk about heaven and how “of the increase of His government there shall be no end”. It always made me want to go there. I remember thinking that if God could speak all of this into existence then He can surely take care of me. Mother & Daddy was always quick to point out that this great God that made this incredible sky loved me and cared for me more than His creation. An aha moment indeed! I still believe the same today. Maybe that’s why the memory filled my mind this morning, to remind me that He hasn’t changed. He’s still just as great as He was when I was just a child! He still loves me and cares for me more than all of creation! If he can make that beautiful sky and put all the stars in place, He can surely take care of anything in my life that needs attention.
🎶God is bigger than all my problems, bigger than all my fears; God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see. He’s bigger than all my questions, bigger than anything….!🎶
🎶Bigger than all the giants of fear and unbelief! Bigger than all the confusion! Bigger than ANYTHING! God is bigger! 🎶
As I stood on the platform of Christian Life Center in Stockton, CA this past Wednesday night being presented to our Western District conference as the newly elected Ladies Ministries President, memories flooded my mind. It was in this same facility that my husband, Nathan and I were preaching a revival 31 years ago. We were in our 4th week of revival when we received the call from Landmark Pentecostal Church in Texarkana, TX asking us to come preach and consider becoming pastor. My husband told Bishop & Sis. Haney about the call and he said, “that’s wonderful. Just promise me that if you get voted in as pastor that you give me 2 more weeks of revival”. Of course he promised him that. We went and preached in Texarkana, came back to Stockton and continued in revival. The Tuesday night that the church was voting the Haney’s had us over to the house and Sis. Haney fixed vegetable tacos, as only she can do. Delicious! Funny how you can remember things so many years later. We were just finishing up dinner when the phone rang and Sis. Haney summoned my husband to the office saying it was Texarkana calling. She then proceeded back into the dining room and began walking/running, praying & speaking in tongues in between saying to me, “I know you got the church! I feel it in my bones”! Bro. Haney was taking care of Angela who was a little girl at the time. 😊 When Nathan came out from the office and said we had been voted in, we all had a Holy Ghost good time. The next night at revival service when Bishop introduced my husband, he said, “church I am not bringing you Evangelist Nathan Hurst to this pulpit tonight but I now present to you, Pastor Nathan J. Hurst”! Applause and whoops and hollers ensued. God blessed our ministry in Texarkana and then called us to Hollister, CA and He continues to bless our lives. However…
The service at district conference on Wednesday night, May 22, 2013 will always be indelibly printed in my mind. The reason? Because not only was it a good day for me but the most important part of this day & night was that our son, Nathaniel James was ordained as a United Pentecostal Church Minister. Nathaniel was only nine months old when we preached that revival 31 years ago. As I looked at him standing at the altar a full 6′ 5″ tall strong man, my minds eye could not help but remember him at that same altar (in my arms as a baby) many years ago. And, here he stood with his beautiful bride, Sara, by his side, an anointed man of God. A man being blessed by the presbytery. Presbyter John McDonald laid hands on Nathaniel & Sara and anointed them. He was my Dad’s assistant in Fresno, CA when i was just a little girl. My heart was a little overwhelmed with the goodness of God! You just never know where life will take you and how God will bless you when you are completely sold out to Him!
If someone can actually have a favorite scripture from the word of God, mine has always been Proverbs 3: 5-10. Trust in The Lord! In all thy ways acknowledge Him! Be not wise in thine own eyes! Honor The Lord with thy substance! Then, all the promises of this scripture can come to fruition in your life.
I give God praise for His bountiful blessings in mine & Nathan’s life! HE has been mighty good to us!
Before you bombard me with, Christmas is a pagan holiday and that it was “created” by roman pagan traditions, I already know all the arguments. I know that Jesus was not born on December 25th. I know that all the gifts, wrapping paper, crowded malls, Santa Claus, reindeer, etc. have nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas. However, I love Christmas! First and foremost because Jesus did come as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and this is when we choose to celebrate that fact. Secondly, I love Christmas because, there is no other time of year that you can hear songs such as, “Mary, Did You Know”, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, The First Noel, Away in a Manger….on the radio, in malls and stores everywhere. All of these songs and hundreds more declares to everyone that Christ came! Third, I love The giving spirit this time of year. I love the good times with friends and family at get togethers, banquets & dinners. I love seeing the delight in a child’s eyes when they open that special gift. I love seeing the delight in my grown children’s eyes and even my husband’s eyes when I give them that special gift on Christmas Day. And ALL of this is brought about because HE came! That’s the reason for all the celebrating. Whether or not He came on this specific date or even in this season, the world is once again faced with the fact that Jesus was born because we celebrate Christmas. That’s why I celebrate! Because He came, I have life and that more abundantly!
The following is an excerpt from Ziig Ziglar. He says it well:
CHRISTMAS! A Reason to celebrate!
You see, I believe it’s worth celebrating that Jesus came to earth—His birth signaled hope for all mankind. I believe that as he lived out a perfect life before God and mankind, he showed that he truly was God’s Son. And I believe that by giving his life up on a cross, he completely paid the penalty that my sins—and yours—deserve before a holy God. And it was made possible because of that first Christmas.
How could I not believe in Christmas? Because Christ was born as a baby in a manger, that’s more than enough reason to celebrate Christmas for what it is—a joyful occasion. I’ve experienced forgiveness of my sins and have the assurance of eternity in Heaven!
This caught my attention this morning so I wanted to share it with you. I just reprinted it exactly as it was written. Please don’t be offended at me if there is something on this list that you dislike. I think we should be “seeker friendly” and all, however, how about let’s just “Give them Jesus”! He’s the one that is going to make all the difference in the world anyhow. Jesus! In our services, outreach programs, youth programs, Sunday School, on the bus routes, music department, in the warm handshake of welcome, etc., “I Give You Jesus”! In all of His power & glory! That is what will change a visitor’s heart and make them want to come back to our churches.
Editor’s Note:Sometimes we spend too much time asking—and answering—the wrong questions. In this post Perry Noble helps us get back into the shoes of the unchurched. Here are ten things unchurched people are probably not asking about your church:
1. “What do you do to disciple people?” (This question is usually asked by people who want to “microwave” spiritually, not understand that they themselves actually became mature in the “crock pot.”)
2. “Who is speaking this weekend?” (They usually don’t care about the WHO…it’s the WHAT that matters to them.)
3. “Are you reformed in your theology?” (Most of them have no idea what in the heck this means!)
4. “Is your church spirit-filled?”
5. “What version of the Bible do you use?” (Many unchurched people don’t even really know there are different versions!)
6. “What denomination are you affiliated with?”
7. “How many different activities can I sign my family up for in order to add to the insane schedule that we already have?”
8. “Does your pastor teach exegetically through the Scriptures?”
9. “Are there lots of crosses and pictures of Jesus in your church?”
10. “Are you guys pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, or partial trib?”
I shot this picture when I was just about to get on 101 N from Highway 25. January 26, 2011. The hills turn a beautiful emerald during the winter. It is beautiful. The temp yesterday was 70. :-) Yes! I’m enjoying winter.
The following thread is what has been happening on my facebook page the past few hours. Someone suggested I copy and paste it here on my blog. I thought it a great idea so here it is. I hope everyone receives a blessing by reading the great testimonies posted here.
You just never know. One of the men we baptized on Sunday is a result of the very first park service we had where we baptized his children. He came in contact with some of our people this past week and he remembered them from the park a few years back. He was ready for salvation and came Sunday, was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. You just never know what your efforts will produce.
Jason West 2 weeks later, a Family came knocking on her door downtown San Jose, and said she won the Free Bible, but she has to have the Free Bible Study that goes with it. 31 years later…here we are. I thank God for people that put time and effort of putting together that booth and sat that booth for hours, for a single mother to eventually push a 2 year old in stroller past it, and be drawn to it.
Ronda C Hurst Bro. Jason, That is incredible! Those folks’ crown will be full of stars. Heaven will be such an awesome place, just to see and hear the testimonies of how many people are saved because someone set up a peanut brittle booth at the fair and offered a free Bible Study.
Okay, Jason got me to thinking……..When my grandmother (Layne) received the Holy Ghost way out in West Texas (Mountain Top), she was the only one to receive it in that revival. The Lord spoke to an old time preacher man (Wilkins) to go …out there and have a revival. There was no church. He just went out and started preaching. My grandmother was touched and repented. She was so desperate to receive the Holy Ghost that she began to fast because she said that food didn’t taste good. My grandfather was an incredible cook and a Southern Baptist. He was so angry that she was under so much conviction and not eating that he fixed a meal of Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Biscuits, Cream Gravy, etc and set it on the table and called for the children (Dean, Scoper, Murray[my dad], Doug and I can’t remember if Don was born yet) to come to the table and eat. He called for Grandma too. They all came, ready to eat. Grandma approached the table but when she stood there and looked at the food she began to cry and said she couldn’t eat. “What do you mean you can’t eat”, Grandpa said. She replied, “I want the Holy Ghost”. At that moment, she fell to the floor under the power of the Holy Ghost, speaking in another language as the Spirit gave the utterance. She was ecstatic! Grandpa was furious! Eventually, he received the Holy Ghost too. My dad (Murray L. Layne) received the Holy Ghost in a hog pen that they had cleaned out and scrubbed to make a prayer room.
Even though some may say that was not a successful revival, I must differ. If Bro. Wilkins had not obeyed the call of God to go then my Grandmother may never have heard the gospel truth. And, consequently my dad would not have heard the call of God on his life. Not to mention the countless thousands that his ministry has touched through saints and ministries that were under his. Including: Keith (his son), Linda (daughter) married to Wendell Elms (both sons are preachers of the gospel). Myself (daughter) married to Nathan Hurst (our son is a preacher of the gospel and our daughter is married to a preacher of the gospel). Karla (daughter) married to Gene Holley (both sons have a call of God on their lives). Like I said, Heaven will be an incredible place to see the many souls whose lives were changed simply because ONE man answered the call to go to West Texas and hold a revival and ONE lady received the Holy Ghost and this precious truth.
Do you think I’m going to give up?! Well, think again. This Truth and my heritage is way too precious to me to allow anything in this world to stop me from entering Heaven’s gate!See More
Sister thank you for sharing with us this great testiimony…I am a product of your father’s ministry, received the Holy Ghost in his church 1965 and have been preaching the gospel for 40yrs.
Your grandparents were very good friends with my …parents when we lived in Fresno and I remember many an evening visiting with them. What wonderful people they were. I remember Pop Layne testifying of how God had saved him and delivered him from coca-cola, among other things. Precious memories and their finger prints are on my life. I too have a precious heritage…again, thanks! God Bless…See More
Ok so after reading the testimonies here goes. Thirty years ago the church I was saved into used to go out every Saturday and knock on doors and offer free bible studies. They each took maps of part of the city with their route in yellow …high light. The men who had our area felt as if God told him to go off his highlighted route and to knock on our door. That day he spent 3 hours with us, my husband and I, telling us of the one God message. We did take the bible study, got baptized and received the Holy Ghost and I will never turn back!!! The wonderful thing is I found out later that my grandpa was a oneness preacher in the UPC and that my mom was raised UPC but because she was backslid and estranged from her heritage she raised us Catholic. Still God remembered the prayers of my grandparents, that I’m sure they prayed and brought, eventually, all of the grandchildren to baptism and allowed each of them to receive the Holy Ghost.See More
Ronda C Hurst @Rene, That is so awesome! Holy Ghost Inspired witnessing is the best! What was your grandfather’s name? The Lord stored your grandparents tears/prayers in a bottle and when it was time He poured them out on you. Your testimony brought tears of thankfulness to my eyes.
How many times have you wanted/needed a word from the Lord and opened your bible and received just that. A word from the Lord that carried you through another day, another hour, another minute! Those times are too many for me to even tell. However, not too long ago I was having a very restless night (thank you Grandma for this “disease”). I tossed and turned. I had gotten up several times. I wandered around the house for a while. I went back to bed, only to toss and turn and get up again. This time I went and tried to sleep in the guest bedroom so as not to disturb Nathan, who was sleeping so soundly. UGH! I slept soundly for hours only to wake up, look at the clock and realize it had been about 25 minutes. So, up again! Downstairs again. I had already prayed, so if you’re wondering if the Lord was trying to get me to pray, I had already prayed. Believe you, me! So, now I reached for the Bible to see if He wanted to speak to me through the word. I opened it up to begin looking for scripture that would possibly be that “special” word, straight from God and read; “And to you who are troubled, REST with us,” Well, I sure did like that part. But then it went on to say, “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” Okay! I immediately began praying, Lord Jesus come quickly! If You are trying to tell me that I’m not going to receive any rest until you come, the please come NOW!
I know many of you have had something like this happen. It is just comical to me. I believe the Lord must have a sense of humor and probably had me open my Bible right to that verse for me to read that night. I got really tickled and I just imagine HE was laughing at me too.
The Lord didn’t come back that night to give me rest, so now I just pray for a few hours of sleep each night when I go to bed. Lord help! Do I dare ask for “A WORD”?