ABOUT THE PASTOR AND CHURCH
Pastor Charles Darnell Leavell is a pioneer. He is the fifth of seven children born to Henry and Delilah Leavell in Allensville Kentucky, November 5, 1954. He is a pioneer because all his siblings live within minutes of our homeland while Charles joined the Navy and traveled the world. Charles is the father of two sons and two daughters and married to the former Caroleda Turner for nearly two decades.
Charles learned of his need of a Savior at the age of 5 when he became a member of Johnson Chapel Baptist Church. He sang in a family quartet and in the church choir that same year while learning more about serving Jesus. Charles graduated from Todd County Central High School with many honors and later joined the Navy. He was honorably discharged and was employed by the United States Postal Service in 1985. For the last 27 years Charles has been a distinguished employee leading a workplace ministry and Gospel Choir in many celebrations in Norfolk including the honoring of the thousands who lost lives on "911".
Charles served at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church under Dr. James Harris as a Trustee and was licensed in 1995 under Pastor Keith Cook. He served under Pastor William L. Davis Jr. until moving to Suffolk in 1997. He immediately became a community servant and joined New Hope Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. William Russell. Charles served faithfully until accepting the office of Pastor of The Balm Of Gilead in Suffolk. Pastor Leavell served there from 2000-2010 accomplishing great works before retiring to pursue a calling of a new work for God.
Pastor Leavell founded Open Hands Christian Fellowship in 2010 and following the leading of the Holy Spirit declares this year as the year of " Greater Works" Among the "Greater Works" theme for 2013 is the 2nd Anniversary of " Occupy Heaven ", our tribute service to area Postal Workers and a first for the area of Hampton Roads an appreciation and tribute service for the teachers and administration of Suffolk City School System scheduled for August 2013. This is only the beginning.
Open Hands is a Non-Denominational Christian Church with passionate worship and moving sermons filled with spiritual guidance for this "now generation". We are a small church that does BIG THINGS!!! We welcome all to come and use their God given gifts for the upbuilding of God's Kingdom. We believe the church should impact each community and city for Jesus. This year alone we held a benefit picnic with the proceeds donated to Officer James Winslow of Suffolk and a benefit concert for cancer victim Miche' Alston and this IS ONLY THE BEGINNING !!!! Open Hands is planning a community outreach service in 2013. It is our belief this outreach will impact our community and city in such a way, the city and world will be more Christ centered and a better place for our families today and forever.
We welcome you to our current location 909 West Washington Street in Suffolk, 23434 You may contact us at 757-539-5688 or 757-692-9740.
CONTINUED FROM OPENING PAGE.... WHAT DOES YOUR SEED NEED TO GROW?
We derive from the percentage of successful proudction of soil 75% did not produce; 25% did. Therefore how do we become part of the 25% ? The success is found in the statement by Jesus said in Matt.13:9 " He who has ears to hear, let him hear ". Those who were willing to hear would bear much fruit. Those refusing to hear would not bear any fruit. The fruit one bears is directly tied to the faith one has in their heart. Paul declares again from Romans 10:17 "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The seed needs cultivating and nurturing. This work is the responsibility of each individual wanting to grow and bear fruit. You and I must look at the things we allow to harden our hearts and hinder the "seed" or the word of God to grow in our heart. One barrier in our society is the inability to adapt to the change in our culture. We are not living in the period when Jesus walked the earth therefore we have to minister and live our lives in the time we live in. Case in point: during Jesus time the teacher sat and the listeners stood as evidenced by the scriptures. Today the teacher stands and the listeners sit. ANY ATTEMPT TO REVERT BACK TO JESUS DAYS WILL RESULT IN EMPTY CHURCHES !!!! Israel And New Breed sang " It's A New Season " and if we fail to seek God to reveal the season we are in, sowing could be in vain.
Simple and practical truths show us what is needed to make seeds grow. We need water. We need fertilizer. We need cultivation continuously and we need sunshine. I will only highlight sunshine because it has multiple effects. Sunshine is necessary. Our thoughts usually lean toward sunshine being only hot enough for something to grow. But sunshine in biblical terms also mean persecution. Extreme heat can cause death. The secret to enduring the scorching heat of persecution, suffering, sickness, poverty, broken relationships and the list goes on is: how deep are your roots? In Acts 8: 1-4 and Exodus 1:11-12 details when the people of God went through persecution, THEY GREW !!! Do not give up when times are at their hottest. Trust God. For a copy of the complete message contact the church at 757-539-5688 and know God wants you to do gretaer works. Jesus also promised us all the chance to prosper and have abundant life. Our duty is to prepare our hearts so the Word of God can grow in us. As He grows in us, we grow. As we grow God does greater works through us for His glory.
Be blessed. Pastor C. Leavell
" PUTTING THE UNITY BACK IN THE COMMUNITY"
CONCERT THEME: A MIRACLE FOR MICHE'
FEATURING THE NEW HORIZONS MUSIC MINISTRY
On Sunday September 30, 2012 Open Hands will hold it's 3rd Annual Unity In The Community Concert featuring nationally acclaimed New Horizons Music Ministry with roots from the V.A. Hospital in Hampton. Each year the concert focuses on a community concern and uses this forum to bring attention to it. This year the focus is to give love and support to one of Suffolk's very finest, Miche' Alston. Miche' is a 2007 graduate of Nansemond River High; A graduate of Virginia State University in 2011 ( Magna Cum Laude ) and a current graduate student of Regent University all while fighting a form of cancer with no cure. This cancer is seeking to destroy her limbs through amputation but Miche' is standing on the Word of God and believing by faith for healing and resisting the removal of limbs. For a moving testimony look on youtube for " The Miche' Alston Story." She is interviewed by Alveta Ewell and you will stand and cheer at her faith journey through the storms of life. She has weekly visits to John Hopkins for treatment and the costs of treatments, medicines and travel expenses have created a great burden for this inspiring young woman. Guest singers include Keith Ball, a recent Top 10 contestant on Sunday's Best and Tia Rachelle. They will sing to bless the " Miracle For Miche' Foundation". Open Hands invites all and ask you stay tuned for more info via our website and Facebook. The location for the concert is 810 East Washington Street R.A.W. Ministries Christian Fellowship. Pastor Robert Wilkins has offered his church as a show of support for the cause. Area churches and the community at large is expected to fill the sanctuary and our celebration will be incomplete without you. Please be there. All monies raised will be given to the Miracles For Miche's Foundation.
FAMILY FRIENDS & CO-WORKERS DAY PICNIC
On Sunday June 10, 2012 at 2pm, Open Hands Christian Fellowship will have it's first annual Church Picnic at the picnic grounds of New Hope Baptist Church, 4260 Pughsville Road Suffolk Va. 23435. There will be food, fun, games and fellowship. The Suffolk Police Dept. will be our honored guest as we salute them for their service to our city. Area merchants have donated gifts amounting to over $500 to be used as a fundraiser to raise donations for Suffolk Officer James Winslow. The picnic is free to all who attend but a donation of $10 is requested with all proceeds going to the Winslow family. For your $10 donation you will receive 10 tickets for the giveaways. Among the contributors are Red Lobster, Golden Corral, Firestone, Outback and the list of sponsors is STILL GROWING. Come out for a time you will not forget and a cause so worthwhile.
"OCCUPY HEAVEN APRIL 2012"
2011 saw the nation resort to the various "Occupy" movements. There was Occupy Wall Street which set off a chain of Occupy movements in cities across America. The design was to create enough noise that the business community and congress had to take notice and begin to hear the cries of the people and respond with help to change the current problems and find solutions.
The problem is no one came out to hear the cries of the people and no help was given. It is our belief at Open Hands that the Occupy movement has occupied the wrong place.
Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. In other words God is inviting us to "Occupy Heaven".
When the people of God come to the throne to seek help for the problems of the nation, He will hear us and come to see about his children. To " Occupy " means more than just to visit. It means we establish residence. It means being prayerful and dilligent in seeking His face for He rewards those who dilligently seek Him. The issues of our communities are manifold. Unemployment is high. Gas prices are higher. Companies are shutting down and the cost of living is on the rise. Children are dying at the hands of other children and these are just a few of the problems. The USPS is closing facilities nationally and locally and our earthly attempts to fight the battle to save our jobs and our communities have to be matched by our attempts to wage war in the spiritual for the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12 we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and wickedness.The prophet Isaiah wrote these words: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: ( Isa 9:6 ) His rule trumps all earthly goverment. We need to bring our requests to Jesus through prayer, praise and worship.
Therefore Open Hands is uniting with the Hampton Roads communities and area churches to have an afternoon of uplifting music, praise dancing and a powerful message of the power of prayer to invoke the presence of God as we flood the altar and kneel before the throne to " Occupy Heaven" on the behalf of a community and nation in need of help from heaven. Representatives from all across the Seven Cities will be participating in this worship experience. Rev. John Bradley from Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hampton will be the speaker. There will be soloist from Norfolk and Chesapeake. Praise and Worship will be led by a musical ensemble from postal employees from Hampton Roads. Praise Dancers will come from Norfolk and Suffolk. Ministers will come from Newport News via The Covenant Pastors and some suprise guest will be in attendance to bless the celebration.
We ask you to stay tuned to our website and look for information sent to your church and Civic League for updated information. The date is April 29, 2012 at 3pm. The location is the historic sanctuary of Oak Grove Baptist Church next door to their new edifice 2635 East Washington Street, a place large enough to accomodate hundreds of "Occupiers". I am Pastor Charles Leavell; Founder of Open Hands and you may reach me at 757-692-9740 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to be with us we request you unite with us in corporate prayer as have churches from Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina , Florida and our friends from Kenya and Haiti.
May God bless you and keep our communities and nation in prayer.
2012 SEEING THE VISION AND FULFILLING DREAMS.
God has been good to Open Hands in 2011. The accomplishments God has caused us to fulfill has inspired us to seek greater success in 2012. Only by God's grace have we endured the challenges and in the words of Maya Angelou " and still we rise ". The nation and the world has seen many struggles and hardships. Unemployment is at record highs. The politicians have fought harder against each other than for the people. Natural disasters have been epic including the tsunami in Japan and the wildfires in in Texas that refused to go out. Through it all we have arrived at the brink of a new year. It is with this reflection of what God has brought us through we look with great anticipation to the fulfilling of promises in 2012.
In Genesis chapter 37, Joseph told of the dreams God had given him. God caused his dreams to come true. In Joel chapter 2, the prophet talks of the pouring out of God's Spirit on all mankind resulting in dreams and visions being fulfilled.
Open Hands will walk by faith in the anointing and trusting in the promises of God this year as we will grasp onto the words God gave Joseph and Joel. We will see stages of His vision for His church manifested. We will also step out on faith and see dreams of His people come to pass.
We invite you to come join us this year and be a part of a dynamic move of God as we watch Him do exceeding and abundantly above all we can ask or think. Our first series of messages for the beginning of the year will come from the story of Joseph and the prophecy of Joel.
Join us for spirit filled teachings on how to flow in God's vision for your life and how to trust God to make your dreams come true.
TWO SEASONS FOR GIVING THANKS: THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS.
Thanksgiving opens the holiday season for "thanks" and "giving". The major difference between the holiday season now and yesteryear is the focus retailers place on shopping. So little is said about giving thanks and the emphasis is buying gifts for Christmas. Sadly enough we all seem to fall into the trap. We are approaching the end of the year and Christmas with so much to be thankful for. 2011 has been difficult for this nation but we have made it thus far and I'm thankful. There has been sickness and even death of loved ones but I'm still thankful. Many have lost jobs and finding work has been challenging but we still can be thankful. Many soldiers are coming home for the holidays and many will still be away from home but there is still reason to be thankful. The reason why is God is still good. The reason God is good is he gave us Jesus.
Jesus came down from glory to save and rescue me. For that I'm thankful. He came as a baby to the world he created to be a ransome for me and the world. He is the gift God gave to us. This gift was given to show us the true meaning of love. John 3:16 says God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son. The Son so loved the world that he gave his only life. Thanksgiving and Christmas should always cause us to reflect on what it means to give and what it means to give thanks. No matter what your life is like, be thankful. This reveals to God you have gratitude for what he has done. This causes him to bless you more as you show dependence on him to supply your every need. Your continued words of thanks and praise causes him to bless you more abundantly. As God blesses you please be mindful of those who are less fortunate than you for Jesus said in as much as you do to the least of these you do it unto him.
Open Hands wishes all a very blessed Thanksgiving and a merry and joyus Christmas. Celebrate the gift of Jesus and carry Jesus with you into the year 2012.
TALKING LOUD AND SAYING NOTHING
I PETER 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your advesary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: July 3, 2011 Happy 4th of July
The Godfather of Soul James Brown penned this hit in the late 70's describing the climate of the nation when the 4th of July was celebrated as the day of independence for the United States but the rights of people of color were still nothing to celebrate. To protest the 2nd class citizenship people of color was receiving from our nation he proclaimed all the promises were just a bunch of loud talk with no results or " Talking loud and saying nothing". It is hard to make promises when you are not empowered to keep them. The only one able to keep every promise made is Jesus the Christ. He died and was raised from the dead three days later with all power in his hand, able to do anything but fail. When Jesus speaks through His word, all things are possible. However there is an adversary we have who wants us to believe he has authority and power over our lives. We live in a society that the ones who roar the loudest and talks the most talk is respected the most and allowed to have their way. One woman screamed so loud prayer was taken from our school system. The Alternative Lifestyle Group demanding equal rights for everything including the right to get legally married, screamed so loud that our nation, which was founded on the Word of God, has began to surrender one state at a time though the ones screaming make up less than 5% of our population. These are examples of the devil roaring as a lion and we as the body of Christ have been mostly silent as if we are hiding to keep from been seen by the ones roaring.
We have to remember what God tells us in his word. " He is as a roaring lion" not actually a " roaring lion". This tells us Satan is "all bark" and "no bite" if you know who you are in Christ. The Word of God reminds us we are more than conqurers ( Roman 8: 37 ). We have power by the authority of God's Word. Satan has no authority over us when we speak the Word of God. Jesus was at his weakest when he had fasted for 40 days and was attacked by Satan. His only defense was the Word of God and it was enough as Satan had to flee ( Matt: 4: 1-11 ). Jude verse 9 tells us of the Archangel Michael in a dispute with Satan over the body of Moses did not become fearful of the " roaring lion " but calmly spoke " the Lord rebuke thee". Just the name of Jesus and demons along with Satan must flee.
The household of faith and the children of God must stand as Joshua and be courageous while keeping the word of God in your mouth ( Joshua 1: 7-8 ). The Word of God is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword and we should have no fear of Satan. We have not been given the power of fear ( II Timothy 1:7 ) and our power is in our tongue. Our duty as representatives of Jesus is to rebuke Satan and know no matter how loud he roars he is just " talking loud and saying nothing".
God bless you, Pastor Charles D. Leavell
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY OPEN HANDS !!!!!
God is good all the time!! I am recovering from knee replacement surgery and have had a lot of time to reflect on the past twelve months. The first Sunday in May 2010 marked the first time Open Hands Christian Fellowship met as a body of believers commissioned by God to fulfill the Great Commission given by Jesus to the church. We met at the Holiday Inn on Gum Road and it was the beginning of a relationship between Jesus, Pastor and people to do kingdom work for the King. Each week brought unique challenges one could only experience when starting a church from the ground up. We would move to different locations to continue our service to God and along the way our relationship with God and each other allowed us to experience some of what the early church went through when Jesus gave the command to the disciples. We had to raise money but God supplied. We needed a place to worship but God supplied. We needed relationships with other believers in Christ but God supplied. Everything we have needed, God supplied. We held ministry engagements to set apart our deacons and deaconess, choirs, officers and ushers. Each member has committed to abiding in the word of God, even at the expense of surrendering to personal change for the cause of Christ and for the ministry, so the ministry foundation would be laid purely on the standard of God's word. " On Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand". Luther Barnes wrote: "There were many who started out with me, but now they've gone astray". We have watched as many started out with us but have chosen to be where God can use them in another way. We have also stayed faithful and God has sent additions to our church family. We have enlarged our circle of churches to fellowship with and recently held our first community church fellowship with " The 7 Last Sayings of Christ". Our " Putting The Unity Back In The Community" was attended by a standing room only crowd. We held as our foundational scripture for the year: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" as we studied how important it is to have the mind of Christ when trying to establish His Church. Our foundational scripture for this year is Matthew 16:18-20: " Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail" as we teach on how all we do has to be with the knowledge that Jesus is the builder of the church. We are His instruments and tools used to build. We have one year in the process of progressing to the "mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus". For that I am thankful.
In concluding, I wish to give God all the glory and honor for seeing us through this first year. I thank God for each member of Open Hands. I am thankful for those who began with us and moved on to other ministries. Your starting with us was instrumental in getting us a great start. I am thankful for our officers for being steadfast and unmoveable. I thank our choir for hanging with me while waiting for God to send us a musician. I thank our youth for embracing the challenge of teaching our younger youth in Children's Church. Lastly I thank you for allowing me to be your Pastor. We are few in number but we are setting the standard for the kind of church Jesus said he would be returning to receive unto himself; a church without spot or wrinkle. My mission as Pastor is to serve as undersheperd for Jesus and to follow his word to the very best of my ability so HIS church would reflect HIM and HIS WORD.
CONGRATULATIONS OPEN HANDS CHRISTIAN FELLWOSHIP!!! I LOVE YOU ALL. WE WILL HAVE AN ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION TO COMMEMORATE THIS GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT GIVEN TO US BY GOD. UNTIL THEN KEEP ON PRESSING ON !!!!
"THE PUNCTUATION MARKS OF LIFE"
ROMANS 8:28 Sunday March 13, 2011
" And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose". ( This is an excerpt from Sunday's message)
We are going through a generational language change in our society and we all are drawn into it. E-mail, text messages and other forms of communication designed to cause us to use abbreviated words or just creating new spellings of words. Our desire to communicate complete sentences by using partial words is causing us to forget the value of punctuation marks. There are many punctuation marks ranging from colons; hyphens; parenthesis etc. I will just use four today: Question Mark, Exclamation Mark, Comma and Period.
The Question Mark is used to make the reader stop and think if the statement needs an answer before moving on to the next sentence. Paul writes "and we know". Life is filled with questions. The middle of "life" asks a question: "if ". The "if" in life means one is undecided on which way to turn. That is the clear definition of a question. How can one know all things work together when the" ifs" of "life"may lead you into making choices you're uncertain about the outcome? What do you do when you don't know what to do? You give your question to God and wait on the Lord to answer. Daniel waited 21 days but any question he had was answered. While waiting pray and read the Word of God for every question you ever face the answer is Jesus.
The Exclamation Mark is to express excitement or a way to say "WOW". When was the last time God gave you a WOW moment? Waking up this morning was a "WOW" moment. Your last breath was a "WOW" moment. Maybe we don't feel the WOW because we take so much for granted. I have a job;WOW !! I have benefits WOW !! I have a home and clothes WOW !! I have good health WOW !! When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all He 's done for me...... WOW !!!!! If you haven't had a WOW moment lately maybe you should count your blessings.
The comma is to make you pause and look closely at what was just read. A "pause" moment is when you meet that new love interest and they say they don't believe they should have to work. A "pause" moment is when your 17 year old introduces their new love interest to you and say please meet Tommy whose nickname is "SNAKE". Serious time for a COMMA. PUT IT IN PAUSE and think this thing over. There is a comma in God's Word showing us things work together for good to those who love God. Loving God is essential since His Word says " If you love me, keep my commandments". Loving God and being obedient to His word opens the door to blessings from heaven.
The period means the sentence has come to an end. Paul says our life has purpose. God has given us a purpose for life. When we have completed our purpose, we have come to the end of our sentence and we use a period. As christians we have a sentence in some ways similar to the sentence given to one incarcerated. One imprisoned is held captive and is not released until they complete their sentence. Paul said he was a prisoner for Christ ( Eph. 3:1 )and as believers given eternal life we are held captive in this world until we complete our sentence. Doing our "time" on earth we have to deal with sickness, sadness, sometimes lack of material goods and various trials. But one day God puts a "period " at the end of our sentence. At that moment our sentence is ended and we are released from the chains and shackles of living on earth in this mortal body. When our sentence is over we are given a new body to live in. When our sentence is over we don't have to worry who will pick us up at the gate for Jesus will give us a ticket and we will have a flight to glory; we will fly away.
Life just like English has punctuation marks. If we pay attention to them our understanding will be increased and our knowledge will cause us to have a better life and the period at the end of sentence will bring us joy.
January 2011 arrived in all it's splendor with celebrations worldwide. The world celebrated and the church celebrated. The new year allows time for reflection of all behind us of yesteryear. 2010 saw many famous figures pass away. 2010 saw the hottest summer and the earliest winter in recent history. 2010 saw unemployment rise and more people lose their homes through foreclosure. Last year saw gas prices continue their steady climb and the cost of trying to make a living got higher while the paycheck of the overwhelming majority went down. Many were challenged with sickness and other problems but nevertheless, you made it to see 2011. Regardless of what you went through: you made it. Because you made it and because I made it we should be "grateful". Grateful is a word used to express how thankful one is. It comes from the word grace which is God's unmerited favor unto us. Looking back and looking forward has no meaning unless we connect our past present and future to one who has been and will be with us always. Whitney Houston put it in a song " I look to you" meaning looking to God. When we look to God we have to first look to Jesus. Jesus has been with us as HEATWAVE put it " Always and Forever". His presence with us is preceded by His presence in eternity. Colossians 1: 15 explains it like this: he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.( NKJV ). Jesus has been in this world before the world was made; in fact it was Jesus who made this world according to John 1: 1-3. He created this world and everything within it, including you and me. Romans 8:28 declares all things work together for thr good. This sheds light on the truth that Jesus knows what we are going through before we start going through it. Furthermore if He knows our future ( and He knows ) then He has a plan for helping us get through whatever we face. Knowing this we can be grateful. Our journey is a faith journey. Our faith requires us to trust and believe our following His word and trusting His plan will bring us victory. Our faith in Jesus has carried from our beginning unto now. My gratitude comes from my watching Him make a way out of no way. He opened doors no man could shut. He provided for me when I had needs. When sickness came He healed me. When I was lied on He stood in my defence. All things were created through Him and for Him ( vs. 16 ). He created me for Himself. Your life and my life was created for Him. The church was created by Him for Him. For this reason, my life is not my own. When one receives something for them, it is used by them anyway they want. He gave believers new life and that life belongs to HIM. The way we display our gratefulness is to live our life for Hm through Him.
Join us weekly at 9am each Sunday as we seek the word of life from the Sprirt of life. Until then may God bless you. And just in case trials and problems arise: be grateful.
Pastor Charles Leavell
AND HE SHALL BE CALLED "JESUS".
A man was receiving a call with his new cell phone when the phone exploded in his ear. Blood was everywhere and his ear looked torn from his face. This occurred because he was being called. When my youngest had a nightmare years ago, I jumped from my bed and stumped my toe trying to get to her. She was alright but I wasn't. It took everything in me not to cuss. This came as a result of me being called. I accepted being called into ministry and with all the joy of serving God this journey has brought me, it has also brought many tears, heartaches, sleepless nights and many pains; all because I was called. As a child I was called by my parents and I had times when I called them. We each had a need making the call neccesary. Today the President called on congress to help the nation's unemployed, but they failed in their response. Someone called seeking a job with an employer, but that call got unanswered. You made a call and got a busy signal or someone called you and became the tenth call leaving a message. In a world filled with the technological advances that connects people all over the world in a moment, far too often the call fails to provide the caller with what they needed. Today more than ever we need our calls to be answered. The answer has to help whatever our need.
I call Firestone when I need help with my car. They specialize and meet my need. I call Pizza Hut when I need a meal delivered to me. They specialize and meet my need. When I rise each morning to go to my job, I call Jesus to help me get through the day. He is the best when it comes to specializing; He's a specialist in ALL THINGS. Isaiah proclaims throughout his prophetic writings about the coming Messiah. Isaiah writes He shall be called Wonderful. This simply means He is full of Wonders. Every need you ever may have might be too great for you to even describe. You are left to wonder. Have you called Jesus? He will fill your "wonder" completely "full". Do you now "wonder" what to do; which way to go? He is called a Counsellor. His counsel is better than anybody you can call because He knows the end at the beginning. Before you were conceived: He knew you. Jeremiah says He knows the plans He has for you. You can trust his counsel. Are you being tested by enemies and your strength failing. Isaiah called Him a Mighty God. His power is greater than any. There is none like Him. He is so mighty and powerful, He holds the whole world in His hands. He is Jesus;who Is and Was and Is to come which is why Iasiah called Him the "Everlasting Father". This guarantees He will always be with you. Have you called Him? If you call Him, the Father's presence will "last forever" never leaving you alone. He is called the "Prince Of Peace". Storms will come and go but Jesus being a " Mighty God" can say peace be still and your storms must obey. Have you called Jesus lately?
The scriptures proclaimed "He shall be called", JESUS. There is power in His name. Deliverance in His name. The Word proclaims all who call on Him shall be saved. No matter what the problem, when the name of Jesus is called, things change. This Christmas season, there is only name to be called who can do anything but fail. He is called JESUS. He is waiting to be called.
Have a blessed holiday season.
IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS
Thanksgiving officially signals the dawn of the holiday season. Thursday is filled with fun, fellowship, football and food; usually lots of food. Families travel from near and far bringing laughter and love into every home. The economic slow down has caused more families than ever to have need of assistance. Open hearted businesses like L&W Lawn Service reflected the true meaning of Thanksgiving by giving away hundreds of turkeys and other dinner trimmings to needy families. Many of the usual outreach agencies are already professing their shelves are empty. Unemployment is as high as any time in history and the dollar has no stretch left. Christmas day is now on a countdown and the question in the minds of many is reflected in a song sung by Tramaine Hawkins: " What shall I do". Despair sets in and a feeling of hopelesness takes up residence in your mind. Times like these may be new to many but I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in Phillipians 4:6,7: " Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Paul continues throughout the remainder of the chapter with words of encouragement concluding with : My God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus ( vs.19). The Word of God is our comfort when trying times come. God has promised us peace no matter what the trial. The most difficult thing to do when hard times arrive is to give thanks. We focus on the problems and when our focus is on the problem and not on God and His Word, we fail to give thanks. Giving thanks shows God we trust Him. Giving thanks shows we believe in Him. Giving thanks shows we remember all the times He has already brought us through. Giving thanks shows gratitude. How have you made it this far? Troubles come and troubles go and it is by the grace of God we have made it this far. What happens when you give thanks? First; a spirit of praise begins to fill your soul. When praise becomes your focus and not your problems, God fills you with His presence and joy overcomes your troubles. Paul began this chapter with "rejoice in the Lord". The hardships of life becomes a stairway to blessings if we just give thanks. No matter how hard times are they could be worse. Give thanks when things are good. Give thanks when things are bad. Know that God sees what you are going through and knows how much you can bear.
The Open Hands family invites you to come and worship with us at 505 Eola Avenue in Suffolk Va. 23434 at 2pm this Sunday ( Nov. 28, 2010 ) and 8am every Sunday afterwards and we will pray with you while using every possible means to be a blessing to you. Our contact info is on our website and we can be reached at email@example.com
. Keep your eyes on God and in all things give thanks.
Open Hands welcomes the New Horizon Music Ministry and the community at large to celebrate, commemorate and dedicate to "Unity in the Community".
The Hampton Roads community has suffered the tragic losses of some of our most precious gifts given to us by God: our young people. Each of the 7 cities of Hampton Roads have experienced the heartbreak of a promising young student to an untimely death and we at Open Hands are calling out to every facet of society to join together to pledge support of one another to stop the senseless killing of youth against youth. On October 31 at 4pm the concert will be held at The Western Branch Community Center with songs geared toward hope, joy, celebration of life and unity. During the half-hour intermission anticipated to be around 4:30- 4:45pm, we are expecting supporters of "Unity in the Community" to join in a brief salute to those who have lost loved ones to violence while also advocating a return to bringing oneness back to our communities by pledging a committment to reaching out to any and all who sense or feel a life threatening conflict is about to erupt. I personally hope to gain the confidence of every person joining us that day that they will reach out to me with their concerns about potential problems with their youth that could result in violence, permitting me to try and help prevent another tragedy to two lives. I speak as a Pastor, however the issues cannot be solved by Pastors alone. It is expedient for every element of society to join together. Open Hands is pleading for Ministers, City Officials, School Officials and Teachers, Law Enforcement Officials, all Media Representatives, Civic Organizations, Organized Labor, Businesses, Athletes of all ages including High School, College and retired Professionals. We are asking for all supporters to wear their favorite team jersey to the concert which is a common thread of unity for everyone regardless of age or gender.
We are trusting all will sign the banner pledging to put the "Unity Back In The Community" which is the first phase of our outreach to our teenagers/youth.The business community has been generous with donations and Norfolk Local#262 of the American Postal Workers Union and the Norfolk Branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers have provided support.We will also create a sign-up page on the website for supporters to sign up and keep abreast of the various future events. We will be joined by supporters from other cities in the 7 cities of Hampton Roads and we will network with the aspirations of all cities supporting each other. The other supporters in the "community " will be vital to the success of uniting our community as we try to provide alternative activities for our teens/ youth. Churches, Businesses, City Officials, Civic Organizations, School Officials, Teachers and Athletes will have valuable roles in putting the Unity Back In The Community and requests will be given to all and at some point your contributions will help change the community and change the world.
As we draw nearer to the date more information will be made available. We encourage you to bring the famliy in support of this celebration. We will serve refreshments and have " trick or treat bags" for our youth who will not have a full evening of trick or treating.
You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have comments seek us on Facebook as well as openhandschristianfellowship.net for other information about Open Hands and our upcoming events.
Thank you for visiting us and pray for us as we try to do all we can to bring "Unity" back to the "Community".
Pastor Charles D. Leavell
YOU CAN'T STOP ME FROM PRAISING JESUS
" Ain't No Stopping Us Now" was a huge hit for McFadden & Whitehead in the 80's as they were one of the groups creating the " TSOP " sound of Philadelphia. The tune was one of the theme songs for President Obama's historic run for the presidency in 2008. The up tempo tune sent a message of not giving up until the victory was secured. The message was clear: no matter what, don't stop until you've reached success. Too often our will to continue fades and the victory which was at our fingertips slips away and we feel like giving up. There is a story in the Word of God that assures us we will get the reward from God if we dilligently seek Him and praise Him in spite of our challenges.
The gospel of Luke ( along with Matthew and Mark ) shares a story of a blind man on the roadside hearing a commotion. Fred Hammond and Radical For Christ on the " Pages Of Life "CD wrote an awesome song from the passage of scripture telling the story in a song. The story is recorded in Luke chapter 18: 35-43. A blind beggar is beside the road and hears a commotion and when he asked what was going on, the response was Jesus was passing by. The blind beggar cried out " Jesus son of David, have mercy on me". The blindness caused him to have to be a beggar. However his blindness did not keep him from hearing about Jesus. A very important biblical principle is revealed at the outset: " faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God". Unable to see yet able to believe. We are told seeing is believing and yet real faith requires us to believe and trust in what and who we cannot see. Is your faith great enough to believe now for something you can't yet see? Hebrews 11 declares; " Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." The blind beggar displayed this kind of faith. This man had two strikes against him: blind and a beggar. The act of begging requires one to depend on others to give with the knowledge the gift most likely will never be returned. The beggar has to believe the one who hears him will also be openhearted to give to him. Great faith is needed because being blind, he has to trust that whatever given to him will be a blessing to him and not a curse. This blind man hears Jesus is near and cries out to the Son of David to have mercy on him. Calling him the Son of David reveals the beggar has been taught about the coming Messiah and he dsplayed faith in knowing Jesus is the Messiah. He speaks blessings into his life inspite of his present condition. He shows he has lived by faith and knows he is in the presence of the one who can make him whole. He can't see him but he believes. The blessing one claims when living without one of their five senses is the other senses become more sensitive. His hearing was so good he could hear a difference in the sounds of this day in comparison to the sounds of an ordinary day. The bible tells us , " faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Listening to Jesus requires us to tune in with a deeper focus. The Word says, " my sheep know my voice. " Hearing His voice makes the atmosphere feel different. The presence of Jesus near you changes the atmosphere. The air and all around you feels different. Just the presence of Jesus can change your whole way of thinking. His power fills the air and the impossible becomes a reality. However there are praise busters who try and suppress your praise. They look at you funny or whisper or move to another pew. They roll their eyes or take deep breaths sending a message you are annoying them. Maybe you have haters like the blind beggars who tell you to be quiet and stop giving God the praise. The blind man said get out of my way because I am not going to miss my blessing. I been waiting all my life and I'm next in line for a miracle. His example is the model for us. Don't let anybody stop you from praising God. Your praise gets God's attention. The blind man was willing to praise Jesus louder and more passionately than anyone else. As a result, Jesus asked specifically for the one praising Him the loudest. The faith shown by the blind man was rewarded by Jesus. He gave him his sight. The conclusion of the chapter finds the example of praise given by the blind man is now the standard for all as everyone begins to praise Jesus after the model of the man who received his sight. He got his blessing because he refused to let anyone keep him from praising the Lord. This story of yesteryear is just as true today. I know God is able to do anything but fail and because of that; ain't no stopping me now. I'm gonna praise Him forever.
May God bless and keep you. Don't stop praising Him.
Pastor Charles Leavell
A RECIPE FOR TRUST
Psalms 27:13,14 finds David expressing how he would have fainted if he had not believed he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
The report of the news today was " the recession is officially over". This contradicts what was told to me by the various businesses I spoke with today while gaining support for the " Unity In The Community" concert. Many spoke on financial restraints still in existence preventing them from being more generous in their gifts. The people I talk with still express challenges with making ends meet and putting something away for the future. This is the view from one perspective because at the same time all I have talked to are going forth as if they will be better off tomorrow. Stores are still selling and people are still buying. The principles of faith are at work even when things look tough. The present view makes one feel " faint " but " FAITH " is still in operation. I ask you; are you feeling "faint" or "faith"? There is a recipe for faint and one for faith. Quite simply, when one feels faint the body, mind and soul has a need to relax. We're often encouraged to relax even more. For good measure people will tell you to continue to relax unitl you feel 'better." The problem is no one has a clue on just how much "better" is good enough for one to get back to living a regular life. We appreciate the concern people have for us but we need to be careful we are trusting in what God says and not just what our friends or physicians say. We can get comfortable feeling "faint" and become so lax that lax becomes the norm and we fail to trust in the power of God to show us we can do all things through Christ who STRENGHTENS US!! David gives us the example of how to use God's recipe for trust.
David gives us 3 points to use for developing trust. A recipe has details for one to follow in order to cook something that will satisfy our hunger. If the recipe is followed, the end result should be the dish will taste as if it was cooked by a MASTER chef.
Point 1, Look Back: David begins the 27th chapter by saying The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The following verses detail how David is looking at what God has ALREADY DONE for him. Faith requires us to remember the goodness of God. The basic life requirements; air to breath, a heart that beats, eyes that open from sleep all are the simple things we take for granted but is evidence of how God has always been there for us. Wherever you are in your life whether rich or poor, sick or well, happy or sad you are still here. The Williams Brother sang, " I made it through another days journey, God kept me here". Looking back leads you to look to the present; point 2. David shifts with verse 4-6 talking about what God is doing now in his life. What has God done for you today? David says in the time of trouble he will hide me, then lift me, then set me up upon a rock. And now ( vs 4 ) shall my head be lifted up. This is the faith of David trusting God now because of what God did yesterday. The writer of Hebrews Chapter 11 says, " now faith is ".His gratitude is demonstrated by the offering of " sacrifice and praise". The bible teaches us God inhabits the praises of His people. If He inhabits your praise He can change your situation for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. If God has eveything and can do anything, what happens to your problems when you praise God and He gets in the middle of your praise and your problem? YOU GET THE VICTORY!!! This leads us to point 3; Look Ahead: Look back at what He has done. Look at what He's doing now and prepare for what He's going to do. David said he would have fainted,; but he was looking forward to God doing greater things. David knew " eyes have not seen nor ears heard..." and he was believing for greater works by God. Looking ahead requires us to do one thing: wait. It is hard to wait especially when we feel we need God NOW. We then have to remember we had to wait yesterday for what God did for us today. God is eternal and has already visited our tomorrow. He now loves us so much that He comes back to walk with us each day, giving us brand new mercies, brand new days, brand new strength, and everything we need to lived a blessed life one day at a time. When we use this recipe for trust, our lives take on the attributes of a building built by God. Each part of the building depends on following the design of the architect. God has designed us and designed a plan for our lives. The drawing requires us to trust each part of the design that even when we see the initial part of the drawing and the work looks a mess, trust God who sees the end at the beginning and know the finished product will be a MASTER PIECE.
. Be blessed.
Pastor Charles D. Leavell
BEING CONTENT WHEN YOUR WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN:
The battle of the bulge is one of the most difficult battles to win. Actually one may be winning and not even know or realize it. The reason why is we have to be patient and recognize it took time to put it on and it will take time to take it off. Trust me; it is hard to be content when you want microwave results. This is a small issue to many. Imagine the person waiting on a job to come through or getting the result of a test from the doctor. Or waiting to find out if your loan came through or if you will lose everything Think of waiting to hear from someone who lives in an area where a hurricane, tornado or earthquake was reported. That is a tough situation to be content in.
Paul writes in Phillipians 4:11-13 about being content no matter the state you are in; how to be full when you are hungry and how to be hungry when you are full and how to rely on God to help you do all things by His strength.
Looking backwards, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Getting strength has the idea of growing strong through a process of weight training. The process requires one to identify how strong they are and to begin lifting weights that are heavier than your present strength.This can try your contentment because when you need strength now, extra weight is not what you desire. In other words why am I going through this now when I still am going through my present trial. Remember; He is a very present help in a time of trouble ( Psalms 46:1 ). Please know, as in the story of " Footsteps" it is doing the time when you are at your weakest, He is carrying you. Knowing all your help comes from the Lord ( Psalms 121 ), should bring contentment in spite of what you are going through. Knowing this also should remind you the things you are able to do by His strength are endless; thus the words "I can do all things." This tells us how to be hungry when you are full and how to be full when you are hungry.
Paul uses a play on words much like the words used by Jesus, " the first shall be last and the last shall be first." Being hungry means one needs/desires food to eat. Being full means one needs no more food for hunger is completely satisfied. What is the only thing that makes you want more even when you have all you can stand and can make you feel full even when you are completely empty. The old gospel hymn " He Able" has the words, " try Jesus for He satisfies". Jesus, the Bread of Life, is the only one who you can never get enough of, keeping you wanting to have more of Him even when you are full and the only one who is enough to make you feel full when you have the smallest piece of Him inside you. This is how Paul could begin this 4th chapter with" rejoice in the Lord always". Whether you have a little of Him or overflowing in Him, the spirit of rejoicing is living inside of you. This keeps us content no matter what's going on in our lives.
No matter what state I'm in, I've learned to be content.
This is Paul's way of letting us know God is in control. It matters not what you are going through, God is able to see you through. Your problem is not a surprise to God. The challengs is waiting on God. We are commanded to wait on the Lord and be of good courage. The wait can be hard because your present situation may seem urgent to you. What is the answer to your prayer; "Lord help me to hold out." The answer is found in the words, " whatsoever state I am in." You can only be content when God changes your state. God changes your state. When He doesn't change your state, He changes you. While you are holding on, God intervenes and gives you strength. He intervenes and fills you up when you are hungry. God changes the situation or you and while He's doing this, you feel content. The only thing that has changed is your faith in God grew. You grew stronger and your trust in God to make a way gave you peace. When your world was spinning out of control and it seemed you were upside down, God gave you contentment.
Be blessed and we hope to see you soon.
Pastor Charles D. Leavell