2.28.2016

My Favourite Sermon

creeping my man as he practices his preach

Looking at my sweet little families future Mark and I have felt God call Mark to continue full time ministry. We would be happy with whatever God calls us too but we both have felt strongly that Mark should continue to pursue ministry opportunities [on top of his full time job in ministry already].

One of the opportunities Mark had was to preach at our church and the end of January. Mark's preached in a lot of different places and venues but this was a first to our congregation whom we adore and love working for and with.

I was pretty nervous. I had in my head that if it went so poorly and he couldn't get through his notes that maybe we needed to pray harder about hearing God's voice, but I knew 100% that wasn't going to be the case and that was fear speaking.

I sat in the second row, so proud listening to my man speak. I've shared on this space before but this past season has been discouraging for us ministry wise and at times we weren't being encouraged by anyone but only feeling pushback every day. It was beyond refreshing for Mark to be able to preach and the Holy Spirit spoke through him so clearly.

The moment we got home I jumped into his arms [pregnant belly and all] so excited for Him and so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity.

My man can preach! .... but hey I'm his wife who is so in love with him so I am totally biased. But I'd love for you to listen. He is preaching on Matthew 4.

Listen to the sermon here

You will be encouraged and challenged I am sure:)

Here are some of my favourite quotes from his preach

"God will never be the agent of temptation of your life. God will allow you to be tempted, but God will never be  the agent of your temptation"

"God's business is in humility"

vs 6 - Satan takes a passage (Ps 91) and twists it. We need to know our bibles. Satan is the dirtiest snake oil salesman out there.

"Satan offers Jesus the kingdom without the cross. Satan offers Jesus the easy road out."

"We learn that God's word is powerful and that God's word is sufficient."

"the two most powerful beings in the universe fight using God's word - even deuteronomy"

The bible is sufficient: Jesus didn't use bible plus lighting or bible plus fireballs. God's word was sufficient for Jesus to defeat Satan. God's word should be sufficient for us as well. We use God's word plus. God's word plus my own strength.

Satan meant this whole ordeal for evil. Satan meant for God's son to fall into sin. Instead we see:
1) we have a great high priest who has been tempted in all things, yet without sin. He can empathize with us [hebrews 4:14]
2) Jesus Christ in sinless perfection, taking the long road to the glory of God the Father. As He interacts with Satan and was truly tempted He stayed on the path for the love of God the Father but also for the love He has for us, for humanity.

Hopefully Mark gets the chance to preach some more. I will make sure to share them on this space when he does!

Listen to the sermon here

Happy Sunday!
Maddie

2.15.2016

Purpose in Hardships - Guest Post by Tessa



I am so thrilled to let my baby seester share her heart with you. What deep lessons she will share as she writes from years of pain. Watching her deal with this pain has been so hard- we all just want it to go away so bad! We have been praying for healing for years and will continue to pray. Can I ask you to pray for her as you read some of her story? Tessa is one of the least complaining people I know despite all the pain she endures on a daily basis. So strong and brave. I love her so much and know you will be blessed as she testifies how God is still working despite pain and hardships. - xo Maddie.

Hi there sweet people,

My name is Tessa Charnuski and I am Maddie’s youngest sister. I have never written a blog post before but thought I would just share with you what the Lord has been teaching me over the past couple months. I hope this post will encourage each one who reads and draw you closer to the Lord.


I am 20 years old and just recently had to come home from university due to health complications. I have been battling a neck concussion for 5 years now. I was attending Liberty University down in Virginia and studying Psychology with the hope and dream of one day becoming a Christian counselor. If you’ve never heard of Liberty University, it is the largest Christian university. It truly is a dream school and I was beyond blessed by having the privilege of attending. With all of this being said, the Lord has another plan for me. I came back to Canada the beginning of November and started back up waitressing. In between waitressing and doctors appointments I don’t have much on my schedule. This has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the way of allowing my body to rest and heal and just allow myself to “be sick” without having a huge to-do list and feeling overwhelmed. It has also been a curse by the amount of boredom felt and loss of purpose.

The Lord has used this time to teach me numerous lessons. I like to describe the phase of life I’m currently in as the desert. A desert is dry, scorching and hard. This accurately describes how I’ve been feeling these past couple months. Having to leave your dream university and all of your amazing friends and come back home to a life of complete unknown has got to be one the of scariest things I’ve ever had to do. I prayed a specific prayer before leaving school telling God that my trust was completely in Him and I was just going to follow His leading for my life. I still pray that pray today. The verse I am holding onto is found in Proverbs 3:5 and it says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” I honestly have no idea what I am going to do with my life but I do know that my trust is completely and utterly placed in the Lord.



If I had to narrow down the past couple months into one main lesson that the Lord has taught me I would say patience. I have no idea what I am doing with my life at the moment but the Lord has shown me that it is so ok. In today’s generation, everyone wants to know everything about their lives and what’s next. I have a hard time believing that the Lord has everyone to know everything at each moment in his or her specific life. God does however call His disciples to trust in Him and He promises that He will never leave nor forsake us. What a beautiful and hopeful promise that is! The Lord has amazing plans for each and every one of His disciples and all we need to do is be open and ready to walk this crazy adventure with our Lord!


I am so excited to see the path that the Lord is preparing my heart for. It has not been an easy past couple of months. One thing however, no matter what may be going on in each of our lives, God is good and on the throne.

With love,
Tessa

2.08.2016

Introductions


How do you normally introduce yourself? I know that sounds weird but think about it for a second.

Most times I say "Hi, I'm Maddie" and cut it off there. Other times I try to smile really big and then right away I am thinking of another question to ask so the conversation doesn't get awkward.

Go a bit deeper with me [promise I am going somewhere with this]. If you had to write a short bio of yourself what would it include? What would you say? How would you define yourself? Would you focus on outward accomplishments, family connections, education?

When reading the bible the authors often introduce themselves. Many times I skip over the first verse but they have so much importance. Look with me at a few of these introductions.

For example

Romans 1:1 
"Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God"

1 Corinthians 1:1
"Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother"

James 1:1 
"James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ"

1 Peter 1:1
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen"

Revelation 1:1
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John"

I am challenged today to think about what I would say in my bio. If I am truthful, honest and raw this is probably what I would say most days:

"I'm Maddie, I'm not good enough, not pretty enough and feel like I let down God on so many levels each day. I strive to be good wife but I really don't like cooking or cleaning and this thought of being a good housewife and helpmate often makes me feel like a failure. I don't have a set out career, I only got an arts degree and I have no idea where my next season will be. I have all these crazy dreams and have no idea how they practically look or will play out. I'm terrified I'm going to be a bad mom and let God down if I can't model Christ properly to our baby boy. I can't really go on fancy vacations or travel, or buy nice clothes because we just don't make that kind of money and I worry about our finances. I worry about the money. Most days I can introduce myself as "Maddie, the worrier." & I know that is not of Christ, so then I feel bad that I can't get over these worries. 

I know if I really introduced myself like that the person probably would be extremely awkward and walk away, but it is scary how often I walk around thinking and believing this bio without ever saying it. I think it, I feel it and walk in it but dare not to say it aloud.

But how sad is that?

Jesus died for me to introduce myself as His. Chosen. Stunning. Valuable. A bond-servant. Set-apart.

and yet I am cheapening the gospel when I introduce myself as any other way, whether I verbalize it or not. 

I am taking baby steps. Reflecting on the above passages I want to practice speaking these introductions over my life in Jesus name. This week I am waking up introducing myself as "Maddie, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, chosen, redeemed and ready to do God's will."

You are worth so much. Jesus died for you to be set-apart and deeply loved. Jesus adores you and calls you His child if you follow Him and turn from your sin. He offers freedom to our weary souls. He gives us purpose and eternal life.

I often wonder for myself: what if I truly lived in the freedom Jesus  already died for? What would that look it? How different could I be for God's glory? It encourages me so much to work to that, not in my strength but in God's.  To speak life over who I am, not doubt. Then my mind wanders to what if we as Christ's kids would all live in that freedom? How would my local church look? How would Elmira look?

It excites me and I long for all of us, to introduce ourselves as loved, valued and have extreme purpose.

I'm going to work towards living out my introduction, my bio. I hope you are too:)

xo
Maddie



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