Thanks to some hard work by our Ministry Support Lead, Kendahl Hancock our 2022 Spring Newsletter made it into the mail on May 2, 2002. This is a bit later than usual but given all of our health challenges recently – WE’LL TAKE IT. As we cannot “snail” mail everyone, I’ve attached a copy of the front and back for you all to see, read and share. I hope you enjoy all the good things God is doing through Access-Life!
The day of COMPLETE VICTORY is HERE! HAPPY EASTER. :)
HE IS RISEN! He has walked the road, fought the battle, risen from the dead and conquered ALL!
Our prayer here at Access-Life is that we all rest, enjoy and walk in that VICTORY he has given us TODAY, tomorrow and EVERY DAY.
We hope you enjoy the attached artwork and verse I put together and may it encourage you in knowing we are always victorious because He has RISEN and is ALIVE.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
It can be so easy for me to take verses in Scripture like John 3:16 for granted. It’s a verse that I have been incredibly familiar with from a very early age. I can recite it completely without much mental effort. And while I certainly view memorizing scripture as a positive thing, I think I can sometimes forget how beautiful and impactful its words truly are.
I know God loves me. I do. In fact, I often point to this verse as a reminder of that reality. However, my actions don’t always match this mental catagory. I have a difficult time taking it from my head to my heart. Instead of reading a verse like John 3:16 and applying it to my own life, I often only apply it to the lives of others. God loves the whole world, God loves everybody. But does God truly and deeply love me? Sometimes I am not so sure.
This doubt in the divine love that Christ shows is ultimately sourced in my inability to see myself as someone who is worth loving and worth sacrificing for. But, I often am perfectly able and willing to see the rest of the world as made in God’s image, loved, and worth sacrificing for. I often allow my familiarity with my flaws and imperfections to override my familiarity with the truth that is found in Scripture.
I am learning that I can’t let my own view of myself hold me back from experiencing the love and grace that God always offers. I naturally will assume that I am not worthy of that kind of a divine gift. But, I have to remember that God’s love is just that, a gift that I am not worthy of. Coming to terms with the fact that I can’t earn God’s gift of love is hard for me. I often want to try to pay God back or show God that I was a good investment. But, that isn’t how love works. It’s not dependent on me or how I feel. I have to trust that God loves me regardless. I am just as worthy and deserving of love, not because of anything that I have done or how I see myself, but simply because of who God is. That is what I hope to cling to and celebrate as we remember what Christ did for all of us on Easter. May we remember what Christ did and see the beauty of a divine love that could never be earned.
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing
This is one of those Bible verses that always stops me in my tracks. Each time I read it, I almost immediately get quiet and begin to introspect. My internal dialogue becomes interrogative. Do I really believe those words? Do I trust that God is in my midst? Do I really think that God actually rejoices over me? Am I really worthy of all of the singing and exaltation? I know what the answers should be. I know how I want to answer, but oftentimes, my response to these questions isn’t very positive or adamant. I struggle to see myself as someone who is worthy of being divinely rejoiced over. I often can’t see why God would want to be in my midst.
As I was reading over the verse and mentally rehearsing what I would write about, one line in this passage kept jumping off the page and grabbing at my attention. I absolutely love the thought that God will quiet me with His love. As I traverse through times in life that are difficult and make me question why God would waste time loving someone like me, I realize that it is that same love that quiets the storms and ferocious waves of the chaos that I am fighting through. The same love that I often feel undeserving of, and try to push away as a result, is what I need to cling to tightest.
Something that I have been repeating to myself a ton lately is the fact that God’s compassion and grace towards me is much deeper than I could ever fathom. God is in my midst, not because I feel deserving or worthy of it, but because God’s love is simply that vast. God’s willingness to save, rejoice, and sing isn’t dependent on me. Rather, it all comes forth from an endless supply of grace, love, and compassion.
If you find yourself wrestling with any of the same thoughts and feelings that I have described, my prayer is that we would trust the love that God offers, and in times when that is a fight, may the chaos be quieted. God loves you. God sees you. God hears you. God rejoices over you. God exults over you with loud singing.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
As I have meditated on this verse over the last few days, I found myself struggling to figure out what to say. I ultimately kept coming back to a story that I’ve shared over various platforms in the past, and while that has caused me to hesitate from putting it down on this technological page, I think that it is a beautiful story that is certainly worth sharing today.
On the weekends that I would be with my dad as a kid, we would occasionally take the time to walk around the house together. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Chad, I thought you said you couldn’t walk”. And, yes, that is still definitely true and it is a big part of why this story is such an impactful one for me. Keep in mind that when I say “walking”, I am using that word pretty loosely here because this was not a pretty process! If anything, this time of “walking” would be more accurately described as a time of me gripping my dad’s hands as tight as I could as my feet helplessly dragged along the floor. It did not look all that graceful, nor do I think that it actually helped me get any better at walking, but I genuinely believe that it was truly one of the most beautiful pictures of the Gospel that I have ever encountered.
Walking with dad was always a struggle for me. The muscles in my legs simply were not accustomed to that kind of workload, irrelevant to how small of a workload that it may have been. My legs have decent strength, standing for a brief period of time isn’t very challenging on my good days. However, getting those muscles to work together and start the walking process is a completely different story. Certain muscles have a really tough time doing what my brain is telling them to do Walking takes a ton of effort and energy, as a result. It is an extremely uncoordinated and strenuous workout. Not only that, my balance has always been off, keeping my body upright has always been a challenge. With these two factors colliding, one could see how this time of walking was full of literal ups and downs. Despite this, in those moments, my dad was present, encouraging, and never let go.
Whenever I think back on the times that dad and I would walk together, I immediately connect it to the passage emphasized at the beginning of the post I love the reminder that God is with me and holding me as we go through life together. Just like my dad walked with me as a kid, God helps me and holds me up each and every day. And that love and compassion has been made available for each of us. Through all the ups and downs, regardless of how many times that we may slip and fall, may we all remember to cling tight to the hands of Christ. Life is not easy, difficulty is inevitable, but we can rest in the reassurance that we are never alone on this journey.
Merry Christmas, family and friends!
Leanne and I hope you all are enjoying this Advent season to the most and soaking up all the joy that only the birth of our Savior, Jesus can bring. :) It is a one of a kind season of expectation, hopefulness, holiness, humility, festivity and giving when we celebrate the moment God came to us. Yes, He came to save, heal and help us in our need and He is still here doing that every day of the year. What a gracious, good and wonderful God we have!
There are so many inspiring things about Christmas. The LI GHT, Jesus that came to earth, the LOVE of God that sent His only Son, Jesus, the GRACE of God that gives us hope through Jesus and the MERCY God extends to us all who will but believe on His immeasurable gift of Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. This year I am especially comforted by Emmanuel, which means God with us. As Believers God is constantly present in our lives, not just walking beside us but in us and surrounding us. What a truth full of peace and joy. It is amazing how when we awaken to this reality and become more aware of His presence things change.
I’ve actually been think and praying about revival a lot lately. Now, you may be thinking, what does that have to do with Christmas? Emmanuel is the answer. Check out this definition of revival. Revival is living with an awareness of God around us, above us, beside us, and within us. This leads to true worship which is filling our minds with thoughts of God, our hearts with love for God, and our mouths with praise to God.
So my prayer for me and you this Christmas is that we will let the awareness of Emanuel REVIVE our hearts and lives so we are constantly refreshed, faithfully walk in the light and love of Jesus, always believing and claiming His many promises and moment by moment allowing the precious Christ child to be our Overcomer, Way Maker and Best Friend.