Reasons to Hope


November 10, 2018 - Big Enough

Big Enough
My last Blog was 9 months ago. I couldn’t see much impact through it and
decided to take a break from writing it, until now. I’ve been busy and
started focusing on other areas of the ministry. God has made it plain to me
that the monthly blog is important to the work He is doing through me, and
that he doesn’t have to use me, He chooses to use me. Every single
moment of my life is in His hands and is because of Him. If it reaches one
person, it belongs to God, if it reaches 100 people, it belongs to God. You
see God IS big enough to do great and mighty things. I will never know until
He is ready to reveal to me.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty
things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3

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December 23rd, 2017 - Shepherds Watching the Flock

We have all heard the story of the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20, how they received the honor and blessing of being the first to greet God's Messiah when Jesus began his redeeming work on this earth by becoming a man through a humble birth in a manger.  Shepherds performed the hard and thankless task of caring for every need of the sheep, and instead of royalty they were chosen to receive the Lamb of God.


Israel's leaders were their shepherds symbolically, and they were warned by God that their failure to care for the flock would require God himself, the "True Shepherd", to intervene.  According to Ezekiel 34:1-10 Israel's shepherds were eating the best parts of the sheep and keeping warm with their wool,  but not feeding the sheep.  God calls them out for not strengthening the weak, treating the sick, setting broken bones, regathering the scattered, or looking for the lost.  Through the remainder of chapter 34 God promised he would come to remove the false shepherds, judge between the rams and the goats and install his shepherd David to take care of his flock.


Jesus Christ is the true shepherd.  His coming as God in the form of man made him the only one who could offer himself as the sacrificial lamb to pay the price for the sins of man and still deliver righteousness to mankind in fulfillment of the law by his death on the cross.  His resurrection delivered the promise of eternal life for those who believe in him.


This passage has really convicted me, and I pray that it calls out to you as well.  We, as Christians, are serving in representation of the True Shepherd Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  We have taken the name of the True Shepherd but have we taken up his cross?  We claim the name of Christ but do we strengthen the faith of the spiritually weak with encouragement in God's word?  Do we treat the sin-sick with the gospel?  Do we set the broken bones of those who stumble with love or leave them stranded with our judgement?  Do we gather the scattered who have fallen away with a gentle nudge of the staff, a loving arm, and a kind word, or do we care enough to go out of our way?  Are we looking outside of our own pasture to find lost sheep and bring them into the safety of the fold?


We too are shepherds in the darkness of a world of perils.  Our Messiah is coming again and we will have the blessing of being gathered by the angels to meet him.  I believe we are closer to the coming of our King than the baby in a manger.  Will he find his shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night?


May God be glorified in your life as we celebrate the arrival of the Lamb of God and look forward to the returning True Shepherd!


Brian Dempsey
Guest Blogger

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November 28, 2017 - We Must Die To Live Again

This month has brought me to my knees many times. I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy. The entire month I’ve been being lead to share God’s mercy with people thru life events. We lost a friend to the Center of Hope this month to addiction from overdose. As this tragedy was happening, I realized we must die in sin to be alive with God. This young man gave his life to the Lord about 6 months ago and was doing great but fell back into the lifestyle for a short time which ended up costing him his life on Earth. I told his dad that his son is in Heaven now because he became a child of God when he met his savior that night at The Center.  


2 Corinthians 5:7 says …Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold all things are become new.
I am thankful, that because of scripture, I know my friend is in Heaven and is with our Heavenly Father to live for eternity. God has blessed my friend, and He can you as well.


Will you let him in?


Romans 6:11 (NKJV)

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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October 23, 2017 - Eyes Are Useless When Our Hearts Are Blind

What do you see in today's world? Broken hearts, broken souls, or even lives that seem lost forever.  Some say they will never change or they aren't worth it.  So here's my question... If we see these things and don't reach out with compassion and love to help their situation, are we saying they don't matter?

Maybe we are saying it's not my problem, or someone else will handle it.  Seeing the world today makes me wonder, are we truly seeing all these things but or hearts are blind to caring for others thru compassion, sharing God's love and reaching out to see what we may do to ease the pain?

Now for those of you thinking, I understand some folks don't want or can't expect help.  But what about the ones who want help but don't reach out because of judgement?  How about sharing with them that God never wants my perfect plans, He wants me, the imperfect me.

He wants my heart open to give someone hope and to show them love and joy thru Him.  His heart beats for the broken.  If we cling to the Spirit of God,  we will begin to see it is not by sight, nor by might, but by the Spirit of God.

Open your heart to those hurting and lost; show them how God loves them today, yesterday and in the future days.   He will stop at nothing to hear our broken calls.

So I ask you to close your eyes right now, so your heart can see again.

Proverbs 4:23 

Keep Thy heart with diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

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September 21, 2017 - Broken and Beautiful

September 21, 2017 - Broken and Beautiful

Hi, Kim here, I asked Mike if I could write this month’s blog. Hope you enjoy it!


While on vacation, I was walking along the beach searching for sea shells. I kept finding all of these broken shells. This thought kept coming to mind. They may be broken, but they are still beautiful.

God wants us to be broken, to come to him humble and seeking Him.

Like these shells I kept finding, they are broken for a reason. The parts that are broken off have become tiny particles of sand that create the beautiful shore lines at the beach.

When you become broken, it’s to take those parts and make something beautiful out of them. Turn your broken heartedness over to God and He will lead you to your beautiful place.


Psalm 34:18

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

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August 18th, 2017

Your Mess Can Be Your Message

This month has been a roller coaster of emotions for me.   So many lives seem to be taken over by addictions of all types.  Drugs seem to be on the top of the list for most families in our area.   Whether you are an addict in recovery or a family member, it affects us all in one way or another.


I've seen kids lose parents.  I've seen parents lose kids.  I've watched complete families split over the addiction and hate that creeps into the hearts of the people involved.


In the last week I've seen recovery of 24 hours, 17 days, 45 days, and 10 1/2 months, and witnessed a sibling open her heart and home to a sister, and seen how she smiles when she talks about her.


I have begun to realize that recovery is a road that most will never travel; not due to the lack of  wanting to be clean; but the reality that most will continue to judge them for their past.  I for one am tired of burying our friends and family due to addiction.  I've cried to many times over the death of life and family values.  We all are addicted to something and it is time to make sure you are using your influence to help others to see their limitless potential through Christ.  What they can be, how they can grow, and what they can do to impact others. We have the opportunity to extend Grace!


That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:7


But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 4:7

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July 24th, 2017 - Battle Buddies

Yesterday we visited the soup kitchen in Beckley, WV for our Sunday.  We minister there one day per month.  One of our volunteers was talking with a couple of guys from the Fellowship Home, which is a recovery center for addiction.  As Mrs. Myra was talking with them they shared that they are roommates.  She explained that when she was in the service she also had a "Battle Buddy".  That's somone you never leave behind, no matter what.  Someone you'd die for because you love them that much.  As I set there listening (and you know that's hard for me!) the looks on their faces were priceless because they got it.  They were each other's "Battle Buddy" in their current stage of life.  I felt the presence of God at that moment amoung all of us.  God was moving and we got to be a small part of it.  I've scheduled to meet them one day this week to talk with them some more, and I'm excited to let them witness to me again.  So all this got me thinking, who's my "Battle Buddy"?  Mine is a man who was with me the day I received the free gift of salvation, who showed me how much he loved God, who did the little things for people that meant a lot more than he could ever know.  I understand that the battle is not ours, but the Lord's.  Mr. Bob Creed because of you sir I have a "Battle Buddy".


Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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June 20th, 2017 - Sufficient Grace

The month of June brought many changes to the folks of West Virginia, including my own.  We had just lost my wife’s mother and things were changing in our personal life.  A mission team from Chattooga Tennessee which included around 25 people was staying at the church and was excited to do God’s work.  None of us had any idea how all of our lives were about to be changed forever.  June  23, 2016 a call came in around 4:00 A.M. from then chief deputy Mike Fridley asking if our mission could gather up all toiletries and dry blankets, socks and clothes we had.  We loaded up and answered God’s call to help.  As I got to the Church in Ansted (Ansted Baptist) I was in shock.  I drove in to a make shift shelter full of people, as they were coming off buses wet from head to toe, I stood in awe from the amount of people who came to help.  I walked into the sanctuary where some were sleeping and trying to rest.  I started to cry.  My heart hurt and I realized it was time for me to get these folks what I could for a little bit of comfort.  The rest of that day we handed out soap, shampoo, towels, socks and deodorant.
The next week we decided to take those kids from Chattooga to Rainelle to minister to God’s people thru his word and by delivering any supplies we could get to them.  That day I watched teenage kids pray with adults who had lost everything.  That day I watched God guide us thru streets that looked like war zones so we could share His promise.  I witnessed women in our group pray with young mothers and kids.  We gave out cleaning supplies, water and Bibles.  This day we praised God in an area that was destroyed beyond repair in some cases.  Not for the buildings but the people, God’s grace was there in the middle of the storm.
I meet so many people in the next weeks who changed me.  We travelled to Clay and other parts of Greenbrier County to help where we could, but Rainelle brought me many friends from shelter workers to survivors.
In those days I realized taking time to be with God is the best place to find strength to press on.   Someone once wrote those who walk with God love to help with the needs of others.
We are able to do these things because of God’s grace, nothing added nothing taken away, His grace is perfect.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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May 12th, 2017 - What is love?

1 Corinthians 13


With Mother's Day approaching I can only think of how blessed I am.  Today I ate lunch with my mom and sister for my birthday.  As I sat there I begin to think about how my mother's love for me has been unconditional all these years.  The part that I'm most impressed about is how she never stops loving us. A true love. The kind of true love that has always been shown, even when I made it hard to love me. The scripture tells us love should be indispensable, it says love keeps no record of wrongs, it's not boastful or proud, not self-seeking, it also protects, always trusts and remains faithful.


Just think about how God loves us. All the ways listed above and so many more.  He gave his son for me and you to have eternal life.  God says love is patient and love is kind.  I say God is love and I love God.  Please tell someone today you love them. God has given you that blessing today.  Don't waste it!


I love you Mom!

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April 16th, 2017 - Jesus Has Risen

Matthew 28

 1  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

 2  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

 3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

 4  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

 5  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

 6  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

 7  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

 8  And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

 9  And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

 10  Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

 11  Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

 12  And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

 13  Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

 14  And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

 15  So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

 16  Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

 17  And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

 18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

 19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

 20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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March 14th, 2017 - Don't Be Timid

When serving God don't be afraid to share what's being laid on your heart.  I recently was in a battle with the devil over some prayer issues.  He had me running scared about sharing my love of God and not expressing what God had laid on my heart.  With God on my side I have no reason to be afraid.  He is my protector, He is my shield.  In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, "For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us love, power, and self discipline."  1 Peter 4:10 reads, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in it's various forms."  God's grace... think about it.  Grace with nothing added to it is perfect.  Let's go out and be bold and courageous as we work for Him. God loves you and is fighting for you and with you today!

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February 14, 2017 - God's Footprints

Where do you see God's footprints in your life?  For many years in my life I could't see it.  I tried everything even as a saved man I couldn't see them.  I began to realize the reason I couldn't see Him was I wasn't looking.  I wasn't willing to deepen my relationship with Him because I didn't want to change.  I knew His goal was a personal relationship with me.  I knew Jesus died on the cross for my sin.  I knew God loved me unconditionally.  So why couldn't I see His footprint?  I couldn't see Him because I was broken, I was ashamed, I thought God had given up on me.  I couldn't quit being caught up in myself.  Then one day someone shared a simple phrase that changed my life, "God uses broken people like me and you to fix broken people like me and you".  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  The Paths He speaks of are those footprints I ran from for so many years.  I encourage you to seek His face.


God bless you all,

Mike

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