This is a super long post so I suggest you get a cup of coffee, hot cocoa, whatever and read to your heart’s delight. God is at work. Since our youth have come back from Resurrection many of them have been convicted to share their story in writing. In this post you will read of God’s most amazing grace through these youth. I am so blessed to call them all “friend!” Some of the FB comments are from “older” youth- like myself. 🙂 So, sit back, read, enjoy and give thanks for the harvest that God has given us at FUMC Hillsville/OOTBWC. There’s more coming-so make room!
Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been – Relient K
i just wanted to say i’m sorry. i became someone i never thought i would. in the past three years, i’ve had dramatic changes in my life. i’ve fallen flat on my face, been lifted up, made amazing friends, and amazing friends left. my life has taken twists and turns down roads i didn’t even know existed. i’ve followed the wrong road signs, and the wrong advice. i’ve done terrible things to good people.
i’ve been that girl that you look at and say, “oh my gosh, she actually goes to church?” “i’ll bet she sleeps through the sermon.” i’ve also been the goody-two shoes that everyone hates. i’ve been the introvert, the nerd who knows all the answers, the weird girl who doesn’t talk, and the loud, annoying girl.
i’ve been through so much, but so little at the same time. i’ve spent years without any true best friends. i never really learned how to trust. i was insecure and i felt unloved.
but God changed all of that. He brought the most incredible, honest, trustworthy friends that anyone can have into my life, and i feel so blessed to know them. they have all changed me in their own little ways, showed me new aspects of life, introduced me to new ways of thinking, and they love me for exactly who i am. people say they wouldn’t be here without their friends, and that rings true for me, too. (i love you guys!)
my life has never been as great/amazing/fantastic as it is right now. because right now, i am completely full of God. He has not taken me by surprise; i knew He was there. i just finally gave into Him. i finally gave him my whole life, which is an amazing, unmatchable feeling. and now i can see that there is no getting used to God. how could you? i mean, the creator of the entire universe taking the time to care about me? it gives me butterflies.
no, my life isn’t perfect. my life isn’t smooth sailing or easy going. being a 16-year-old girl isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be. i say stupid things, make dumb decisions, and i’m still a knucklehead, as Adrian would say. but God loves me anyway, and He’s chiseling me down to my core, where He is, where my love for everything and everyone is slowly coming out of hiding. i’m getting choked up just typing this, thinking about what the future holds.
i have no idea where i’m going in this life. i don’t know for sure what i’m going to do when i get out of school, or where i’ll be three years from now. i don’t know what God has in store for me, but if God wants it, i’m all in, even if it’s something i never would have expected. He made me, i think He’s got a grip on what He’s doing. and for once, i feel like i am exactly where i’m supposed to be, and whatever happens next is supposed to happen. i’m on the right track. God is leading me and i’m happily blindfolded.
when i stopped believing in myself, it left more room to believe God knows what He’s doing.
I am completely and utterly in love with my Heavenly Father. Nothing in the world could make me change my mind. I dare you to try to change my mind.
I’m so at peace with God I feel like I’m in a trance. I feel like I’m weightless.
I want this whole world to know how happy I am that He is in my life.
He’s in every breath I take. He’s on the tip of …
Construction office? I think not
I’ve never been a morning person in any way shape or form, but tomorow, I will be. Tomorow is Sunday. I’ll wake up, throw on some clothes, jump in my jeep, and make my way to Main Street in Hillsville. I’ll find a place to park, and hurry from my vehicle into the warmth of the old Dixon Construction office.
Inside I’ll find not only a warmer place to be, but warmer people. The kind of people who are thrilled to see you, even (and especially) if they’ve never met you in their entire life. I’ll be offered coffee or hot chocolate and encouraged to make my way deeper into the building towards the ever growing sounds of music and laughter.
My journey will lead me into a room filled with dozens of chairs, dozens of smiling faces, and the presence of someone none of those faces can see. There will be people from all walks of life greeting each othe happily, just like old friends. Social barriers will be broken, and all judgement put aside, as everyone’s attention is drawn to the front of the room.
I’ll find a seat among my closest friends, a group of “misfits” that have found a place they belong together. The lights will dim and the band will hit the stage…..
Tomorow morning, at 9:30, I’m going to the new Out Of The Box Worship Center. A place where perfect people are forbidden, and an open heart is the only thing you have to bring along. No dress code, no cover charge, no fancy windows, and no dusty choir books. Just real people, a real worship experience, , a real purpose, and a real God.
Now I’ll bet you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “Oh great, another group of people to tell me how to live my life.” or maybe, “I’ve been down this road before, and I’m not going back to Fire-and-Brimstone-ville.” Well I’m writing this to tell you that’s the complete opposite of what’s happening at 516 North Main Street. What is happening, is a gathering of people who are passionate about the God they serve, and who are working on a “fresh start” together in Christ.
I could type on for days and not run out of things to say about this place. It’s an experience one can only understand by seeing it first hand. So please, come and be a part of something awesome in Carroll County. Come and join myself and others in having a “fresh start” with a Saviour like no other.
This past weekend I took a trip with a bunch of friends down the road to Gatlinburg, TN for Resurrection 2011. This noe is going to be a bit of a “walkthrough” of my experiences, observances, and enlightenments. It’s going to be quite lengthy, but I garuntee you won’t regret giving it a read.
The first words the keynote speaker for the weekend (Adrian Despres Jr.) said to the 4,000 people gathered in the convention center Friday night were “Hello, my name is Adrian, but my wife’s name is Lisa.” He went on to describe and praise his wife and had every married man in the room to the same thing. Throughout the rest of his first message, Adrian explained that going through suffering for something you were passionate about was entertainment. Now I’m a fairly simple minded logical guy, this concept had me stumped from the get go. It wasn’t until our youth group’s devotional time back at the hotel that night that I figured out Adrian was telling us we should enjoy suffering for the things we’re passionate about.
Sacrifice should a big part of any Christian’s life. Whether it’s something as simple as tithing on Sunday mornings, or as difficult as giving up a meal so that someone who is hungry can eat. Without sacrificing these things we fill our lives with, we can’t make room for the awesome things God has to offer us! Sometimes as Christians we have to just let God “Bring The Rain’ in our lives, because through our suffering, we are made strong.
Saturday morning we were all introduced to a kid by the name of Chris (I believe that was right but if not then the name doesn’t matter anyway) who had struggled with lukemea his whole life. We watched a video of him speaking to a group of students. The most memorable thing I heard him say was “I’m not afraid of dying, I know where I’m going when it happens. What I am afraid of, is you guys that don’t know where you’re going.” Here was a teenage guy standing in front of hundreds of his peers saying he wasn’t afraid of his life ending, instead he was more concerned about the people who didn’t know where they were going when theirs did. What if we were all a bit more like Chris? What if we all cared so much for others, that we feared for their eternal destination more than our own?
The big kahuna. Adrian began this session by placing 4 chairs on the stage. The first chair was for Christians who were on fire for God and were sharing his word and trying to lead others to him. The second chair (henceforth refered to as the “vomit chair”) was for Christians who had gotten comfortable in their walk with God. Vomit chair Christians are the people who are “more worried about their roast burning on Sundays than they are about people burning in hell”, they typically have a self-centered mind set. The third chair was for those people who tend to say “I’m a good person and I don’t hurt people. That’ll get me into heaven right?” (the answer there is a big fat NO) These people don’t realize that the only way into heaven is to ask God’s forgiveness and ask him to come into your life. Then comes chair number four, the people who know God is real but choose to ignore it, the other group that wouldn’t be headed up stairs after they die.
Adrian invited people in the third and fourth seats to stand and ask God for salvation. At that moment I watched hundreds of people stand up and thousands of tears begin to flow. Can you even comprehend that? Hundreds of souls escaping the clutches of hell in a matter of seconds!
He proceeded to encourage these people to migrate towards the ends of the room, and asked the second chair people to stand. He told us (yes I’ll admit I was sitting in a pool of vomit) to find somewhere to just lay down on our faces and pray…..this is where it gets personal folks…..
I hit the ground hard and began to pray. The holy spirit was so heavy in that room it felt freezing even though it had to be eighty degrees with that many bodies in it. I began to pray and ask God to pick me up out of the rut I had fallen into and set me on fire for him again. I’ll never forget one of my friends coming and laying beside me and praying for me. “I have never seen a man with this much passion for sharing your love through his gifts.” That is what my friend told God about me….Around a year ago I began feeling a call on my heart by God into worship ministry. I hadd struggled with that concept ever since…..I began to sob at my friend’s words and everything around me seemed to fall silent. I began to hear a whispering voice quoting all my favorite verses about worship. Like I said earlier, I’m a very simple minded logical guy, God was the only logical explanation I had for what was happening. The voice sorta trailed away and I heard Adrian’s voice above all the others in the room saying, “If you’ve been wrestling with God over his calling in your life it’s time you submit to him.”
Ladies and gentlemen I can tell you right now what I’m going to spend my life doing. On Friday night I had shared with my group that sometimes God let us fall flat on our backs so that we would be forced to rely on him to pick us back up. If you’ve read this and you’re not sure which of those four chairs you’re sitting in but you’d like to know, stop what you’re doing right now find a quiet place and lay on your face humbled before God. I garuntee you’ll figure it out real quick. Don’t wait for God to let you fall on your back, speed up the process by laying down yourself.
Confessions/This is Me
I’ve recently joined the wonderful world of blogging here on facebook. In light of this I’d like to take a few minutes to introduce myself.
Hi, I’m Brandon. I’m your average 17 year old guy. I love music, friends, food, and other typical teenage things. I am a Christian who has felt the call of God on his life. Worship is my passion. It is my refuge, my strength, and my happy place. By calling myself a Christian, I bring upon myself a certain set of standards that are automatically imposed on my by the people I am around. These include a clean mouth, willingness to help others, a total lack of “bad” music on my iPod, a completely holy personality in general. In other words, perfection is expected of me.
I fail miserably every day to uphold these worldly standards placed on my life. Just like every other person in the world I struggle with addictions (not to illegal things), sexual desires, the need to fit in and be accepted, and maintaining a generally moral and upright reputation. By this world’s standards I am far from what a Christian should be. This does not mean I am not one.
As a Christian I do not live by the world’s standards, I live by God’s. He doesn’t ask me to be perfect, He just asks me to try. He asks for my love and that is all. My relationship with Christ is just that, a relationship. For most of this world, Christians are “The keyhole through which God can be seen.” Despite our best attempts, none of us are perfect. We are all sinners in a broken world, but by his grace we are forgiven. He loves us so much He looks past all our flaws and sees us as His “perfect” creations.
By becoming Christians, we offer ourselves to God frozen in blocks of immorality. By asking His forgiveness, we invite Him to come in and chisel away all the sin we have fallen into in this life. Like all great works of art, it takes time for us to emerge from our proverbial stone prisons as the masterpieces He created us to be. I am here today as a person covered in my own sin, and he is here to wipe it all away.
I am Brandon Winesett, and I am a Christian.
Just a normal building.
Build years ago with no idea what was in store for it.
New carpet, lights, flat screen tv’s, a stage, God.
Something is different in Carroll County. Not a bypass or a restaurant, but a sign.
On Main Street in Hillsville there was a sign that read “9:30 Worship Service. No Perfect People Allowed.”
You walk in, greeted by hand shakes and smiles. Laughter and hugs. Greeted by a force only God could hold.
Migrating deeper into the building you find a room with chairs, instruments, computers, more people, and that force of God.
I sat in my seat waiting for the clock to reach zero then we all stood at the same time, but for what reason. There wasn’t anyone there that seemed important enough to stand for.
Hands began raising in the air. Who were they waving at?
Smiles crawled across their faces. What made them so happy?
Tears started to slide down their cheeks. What was so touching?
I looked around and thought to myself, “How could God not be real?”
This morning I left my heart at Out Of The Box Worship Center. I wanted to leave my whole self, but they began to lock the doors. There was talk of a “Fresh Start” and songs about finding God, coffee, cookies. Who wouldn’t want to stay there? Then I realized, I can’t hide this experience to myself. I have to tell you! I have to share it with the world. I have to invite and hand out the love that I saw!
This morning, I didn’t experience church. I experienced God. I saw Him. I felt him.
And I want you too. I want you to be apart of this revolution. Please. Join me.
Out Of The Box Worship Center isn’t just a church. It’s a connection to life. It’s my connection.
Please ask me about it. And please share this.
WARNING: JESUS CHRIST. VERY ADDICTIVE. TAKE AT OWN RISK.
God is in my heart.
God is in my head.
I feel as though God has filled every nook and cranny of my body. It’s pretty sweet 🙂
As you read this, I am relaxed. I feel as though I have not one worry in the world. Sexual temptation is gone. The pain this world bring with it is gone. The only relationship I am concerned about is the one I have with Jesus Christ. I am literally at peace with everything.
Every time I look at something, whether it be an object or a problem I just see God. Nothing else.
I get the feeling that I’m floating in the air somehow. My body is here on earth doing what is suppose to. Going to school, eating and drinking, talking, and all that jazz. But my mind, my soul is not here. It’s with God, just hanging out 🙂
I never want this feeling to end. I love having a soft heart without worrying about it getting hurt or it hurting others. I love feeling so close to God that it is like you are hugging Him. I love that all the worries are gone, just disappeared. I love this drug, some call Christ. He made all this happen.
My body sees all that goes on here on earth and tells it to me. Amazing talents my friends are showing, the praise of God by so many, and works that God is personally doing here. I’m so impressed. I can hear God telling me “Evan, this is how it should be. All for me.” This causes my heart to rejoice even more. I just don’t want it to end.
Then I realize that I miss my friends. I miss laughing and goofing off together. I miss the pictures and the memories. So what if I found a balance? What if I could hang out with God then come back to earth to tell them what God showed me?What if…..I could bring them with me?! 🙂 They could meet God too!! Who needs this world and all of it’s ways? Who needs the pain that God didn’t make us for? Who needs the fear of what happens next? Who needs it?
Who needs God?…..Me.
Come with me on this high, I like to call Jesus Christ. Just be careful. You might not want to come back 🙂
Colossians 3:2-“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Keep it real.
I love you
That Bald Guy 🙂
The Most Influential Person In My Life
My passion for God burns extremely intense, but at times that fire loses energy. A person has been placed in my life who somehow manages to keep that flame lit inside of my heart. My pastor, Ronnie G. Collins, has an influence on me like no other. We were brought together by an act only God could of put in place. There was a hole in my heart that needed to be filled by a person with plenty of love and understanding. This man also possessed a blazing love for Christ that I had never laid my eyes on before. At the times I did not realize it, But Ronnie G. Collins was going to change my life.
For most of my life, I did not have a father to run to in times of need. There was a hole in me that needed to be filled by a father figure. It is human nature for a guy to have the hunger for a male figure to be there to love and care. At many different times I would start to get close to potential father figures, but I never felt there was a real and pure love. That somebody had to help me in pain and be able to listen to all I had to tell him. During this time of desolation, God was up to something. Without a father, my love for Ronnie is even stronger. Being close to him somehow brings me closer to God and in the end that is what really matters. To be close to God.
For three years, I attended Blue Ridge Fellowship Church. During this time I felt as though something was missing. My heart was struggling with itself. Then one day I was invited to the youth at First United Methodist Church, also know as “Out Of The Box.” With an uneasy stomach I made my was to a new experience that would later become my life. On that Wednesday night my life would begin to change. I had saw the bald man around, but I was finally introduced to Ronnie. For some reason I was drawn to him immediately. With my calling to preach, there was great interest that sparked between us. God had pushed me to begin attending “Out Of The Box” to be closer to Ronnie. From this point on, I would have a mentor.
One of the main reasons I am so close to Ronnie is his love for Christ. I am honestly in awe of what he is able to do for God. With the help of God, Ronnie has brought revival to the Methodist church, along with saving hundreds of people from sin. He has managed to inspire youth to live stronger lives for Christ. There is a fire within him that Satan just can not put out. Though he has lost family throughout his life, Ronnie’s love for the lost can never be contained through pain. Nothing ceases his passion for God which makes me want to give my entire life to Him as well. Ronnie makes me want to represent Christ and work as hard as I can for the Kingdom of God.
To this day, Ronnie is still my mentor. My hope is he will be for the following years as I go to college. As I grow older, I will grow closer to Ronnie and Christ both. He will continue to teach me how to truly live and I will continue to listen. Ronnie will always be the strongest father figure in my life, right behind God. I will never forget the night he told me, “Evan, I consider you to be my son.” Even though Ronnie and I were brought together through rough circumstances, God usually works best when we are broken. I am and will always be extremely thankful for this man God has placed in my life. Each day is a new day in which he will impact my life, spirit, and walk with Christ. I never knew one person could change your life so drastically, until now.
A Simple Sentence
“I love Jesus, and I want to be passionate for Him!”
Why, oh why I ask was it so hard for me to say those eleven little words? I remember sitting in that chair in that jam packed convention center litterally at war with myself. Fighting, wrestling, and gritting my teeth, I sat in my seat. Yes, sat. I didn’t stand up; I didn’t open my mouth; I sat and watched as people all over the room popped up like jack in the boxes saying that statement, but I could not make myself do it.
I reasoned with myself, how can I say that if I don’t really mean it. Those eleven words were one major commitment that I was frankly, terrified to make. So, I sat quietly and hung my head in shame. I knew I was supposed to say those words, but I couldn’t do it in front of so many people and not really mean it. How could I let myself committ to this life of suffering when I knew I wasn’t going to hold myself to it.
Lips sealed, butt in seat, I rationed and reasoned until Satan won. Adrian started counting. 10…… “Stand up!” My concious said, but I sat. ………….. 9 ……………… “Just stand up!” and again I ignored it. ………………. 8………………. “Stand up! Just stand up!” ………. I remained seated………. 7…………… Adrian encouraged the shy people to stand. “But I’m not shy,” I told myself “Well stand up then,” I answered myself………………. 6…………… yep, I was still in my seat……………….. 5 half way there. “It is way too quiet now. Everyone will stare.”………….. 4……………… “You are running out of time. Just stand up!” But I just couldn’t make myself. Those words terrified me…………….. 3……………. “Do it.” ………………………. 2…………. “Last chance.”…………………….. 1………………..
I missed my chance. My butt remained glued to my chair. My lips never parted. My head hung in shame. Why? Why couldn’t I do something as simple as standing up for my God? How could I let myself sit when all I had to do was stand? I’m not really shy. It’s not like it was anything major, but I didn’t stand up. I didn’t tell the Lord I loved him. I didn’t committ to being passionate. I didn’t make a promise that I was afraid of keeping. And I regreted it with every ounce of my being; with every blink of my eye; and with every breath of my unworthy lungs. The weight of my guilt, the shamefullness of my ridicule, they all pressed down on me and I hated that seat. I hated my legs for not pulling me up. I hated my mouth for not shouting his praise. But most of all, I hated myself for letting my brain talk me out of making a committment that I wanted to keep.
I wanted to cry as I heard Satan going “YES! At least I stopped that one!” And I knew that I had listened to Satan.
I gave Satan a reason to rejoice, and I still regret that. But now, this is me setting things straight. I know there is nothing I can do to change taht moment. It is gone and I missed it, but from now on I say,
“I love GOD! and I want to be passionate for HIM!”
Satan, you might have one that one battle, but you will win no more. For I now know that pain is okay. Pain just means that I am suffering and suffering is a-okay with this girl. I am living passionately for the one who forgives me even though I am unworthy. Forever and always I will stand and say, “I love God, and I want to be passionate for Him!”
FACEBOOK CONFESSIONS-a conversation started by Brandon Winesett
My confessions… (please do one of your own)
by Tonya Hortenbery Williams on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 11:02am
I am divorced .. I have had many bad relationships…I have made some terrible choices..I am not patient …closed off to others for fear of being judged…crushed and broken…
Now: married to a man who is right beside me in church… making good, healthy relationships…praying to make better choices …learning to be patient …opening up and letting people in…letting Jesus put me back together.
God bless the broken road!
I am a Christian. I am saved by grace. That grace covers all of my daily imperfections. Here are a few: stubborn, impatient, selfish and judging. I have many addictions-FB, technology, and food to name a few. I have also been released from addictions-alcohol, nicotene and using bad language. I am a Christian saved by grace. Thank you Lord for washing my sins away everyday.
I am on fire for God! Don’t wanna be in fire later…
Not to mention all the benefits.. life is SO much more with God in it.
Why stay in your own worldly misery? That’s satan stealing your happiness!!!!!