Positive Praying

What’s on my heart today? A message from our new pastor.

Calvary has been thrilled to welcome Pastor Jack Homesley and his wife, Kim. It’s not even been a week since he became our pastor, and God has already used him in an incredible way at our church.


On both Sunday and Wednesday night, he spoke on the topic of relationships and what we can learn about them in Philippians 1:3-11. One thing he said that really stuck out to me was this: “Whatever you treat with dishonor, you will soon begin to dislike. Whatever you treat with honor, you will soon begin to like.”

That’s a pretty simple truth, right? But, it’s so profound. It’s true for so many things- from the way you treat your personal possessions, to how you care for your own body, to how you maintain your relationships.

Another point that he made was about how we pray. For me, it’s always been relatively easy to pray for the people that hurt me, simply because I know that’s what I’m called to do. What’s not always easy, is praying positively for them. My aggravated prayers for these kinds of people often come out something like this:

God, change their heart. 

Help them to see how wrong they are, God. 

Make them learn their lesson and not treat me like this again, Lord.

It wasn’t until hearing this message that I realized what I’ve been doing. The truth is, that this is not at all what our prayers should be like and I was so humbled knowing that my prayers have not been what they should be. Instead, we should be praying positively for those that hurt us. Pastor Jack shared four simple ways that we can pray for people:

  • That they’ll grow in love (Philippians 1:9)
  • That they will make wise, Godly choices (Philippians 1:10)
  • That they will do the right thing (Philippians 1:10)
  • That they will live for God’s glory (Philippians 1:11)

It’s so easy to judge people by how far they still have to go instead of appreciating how far they’ve come. If we pray positively for them, God changes our hearts, too.

I’m so excited for the work that’s begun at Calvary. I plan to share lots of the messages that really touch my heart, so stay tuned! I love learning and growing in Christ with you!

Beauty out of Brokenness


I remember the first time I stepped foot inside Bethlehem Baptist. It’s resemblance to the church I grew up in was striking, the sun streaked through the stained glass that crisp, Fall morning, and I heard my at-the-time-boyfriend, now husband make that beautiful grand piano dance in a way you have to experience to truly understand. At that time, I had no idea I would be marrying that tall, charming boy there four years later, walking down that isle by candlelight dressed in white. No, I didn’t grow up at Bethlehem, I didn’t get baptized there, and I don’t know every one of its precious members by name, but it does have a very special place in my heart, it’s where I became one with the man God chose just for me. It’s in pieces now, just like the stained glass that we cherish so deeply, but I’m confident that Jesus is going to do amazing things through this tragedy, and make beauty out of this brokenness.

God’s Protection

It’s time for me to share a story. Some people dismissed the events I’m about to tell you about as “nothing,” and it may have very well been “nothing.” But next time, it may not be… and it could have changed from “nothing” to tragedy in just a fraction of a second.

A few months ago, as I was pulling up to church on Wednesday night for supper before prayer meeting, a car pulled over on the wrong side of the road across from the church caught my eye. When I got out of the car to go inside, I heard a rustling in the woods and saw a man wearing a masquerade mask standing in the woods, watching our church. Terrified, I called 911 immediately, and as soon as they pulled up, he ran to his car and sped off, clearly up to no good. They did catch the man a little ways up the road, but all they could fault him for was not wearing a seat belt.

I was shaking all over and something in my gut told me that something just wasn’t right, but what could we do? Prayer meeting began and I was sitting about midway up on the right side closest to the inner isle. About halfway through the service, I heard the double doors at the back of the church creak open, and as I turned my head, our eyes locked. It was the man in the masquerade mask, standing in the center of the isle at the back of the church. He was wearing a huge coat, his hair was disheveled, and his eyes were wild, darting from one side of the room to the other. He hesitated for a second, then took a seat a few rows from the back. My heart was beating out of my chest, and I decided that it was my responsibility to protect my family. I got up as calmly and discreetly as possible, walked out the back door, and called 911 again. He was back, they hadn’t stopped him, he had on a mask, he could have a gun. Help.

It only took a few minutes before the police surrounded our humble little church building. Our fearless leaders, Tony (youth pastor and associate pastor) and Josh (head of the deacons), who had been at Youth Meeting, had been alerted of what was going on, and came quickly, speaking to police, keeping the few people who were aware of what was happening calm, and letting the ladies working in the nursery know what was happening so they could get the children to a center room, and lock the doors.

During the service, Pastor Max was fearless. He stood bravely, behind the pulpit, and preached through what could have easily been his last sermon. The man in the mask moved from the back of the church up to the front during the middle of the service, making jittery movements, looking around, and fidgeting with the mask. It was the most terrifying moment of my entire life, and I watched through a window, as some of my precious church family in the pews began to pick up on what was happening. I watched as their eyes widened, then closed in prayer, asking God to protect us, and change this man’s heart if he had ill intentions.

After the service, I saw some people bravely greet him, thank him for coming, and walk away. He could have been an angel, for all we know, and of course we want everyone to feel welcomed at our church, but I don’t think he was. I think, sometimes you have to trust your instincts, and my instincts told me he came there to kill.

The police couldn’t just barge into the sanctuary and tell the man to leave, because technically he hadn’t done anything wrong, just suspicious. He could have just been crazy or mentally sick… or he could have been a gunman that changed his mind because he felt the presence of God. We will probably never know, but what I do know without a shadow of a doubt, is that God protected us that night, and He allowed us to see a glimpse of what people all over the world in countries that don’t have the freedoms we do in America face everyday. It was my worst nightmare coming true, and nothing mattered except Jesus. Yes, I knew that if I was to die that night, I would instantly be in the presence of the Lord, but it was so terrifying.

This morning, when I heard about the shooting that took place yesterday at the church in Charleston, it all came flooding back. I still remember every detail of that night as vividly as if it had just happened yesterday, and there will never be words to explain how grateful I am to God that He spared our lives. What happened in Charleston could have happened to us, and my heart goes out to the families dealing with the loss from this tragedy. It breaks my heart that we live in a world where evil is not only accepted, but embraced whole-heartedly, and everything seems to be tolerated except for Christianity.

It’s time for us, as Christians, to start speaking up, standing up for the religious freedoms that our country was founded upon, and sharing our stories.