Access-Life “Merry Christmas”: December 24, 2021 – Emmanuel

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.

#JESUSISTHEREASONFORTHESEASON

Access-Life “3 in 3”: December 21, 2021 – THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT

The December #AL3in3 is here! Kendahl Hancock and I have a special guest, too: #ALROYALAMBASSADOR, David Browne. 🙂 He is here to help us share Christmas light with you.

Now this is no ordinary Christmas tree light, nor light from a star but #THELIGHT. Check out our ministry video to find out about this completely pure light that IS #CHRISTMAS!

Access-Life “Fun Fact Friday”: December 17, 2021 – Age is Only a Number

Hey, it’s Friday and time for our DECEMBER #ALFUNFACTFRIDAY!

Kendahl Hancock even has a special guest with her asking this month’s question as well as another nameless guest trying to give away the answer. :)

Be sure to email kendahl@access-life.org or call/text 3524559926 by midnight Monday if you think you know the answer for a chance to win one of two $20 fun, foody and festive gift cards. #CHRISTMASISCOMING

Access-Life Presents “Real Life” by Chad Van De Griek: December 16, 2021 – Dream Big, Live Bigger

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” 2Thessalonians 1:11

There is something so special about taking time to dream big. I wish I did it more often. But, the truth is that I’m not very good at acting upon the dreams and aspirations that I have, especially the ones that I believe have been placed by God. I want to dream big and accomplish all of the good things that my faith prompts me to do, but more often than not, I don’t. More often than not, I freeze up and then eventually talk myself out of pursuing the dream in my soul. I want to take some time to share some possible reasons why this is the case for me and hopefully encourage and challenge others in the process.

I am an incredibly realistic person, especially when it comes to how I view myself. I am someone who is keenly aware of my own weaknesses and flaws. They are almost always at the forefront of my mind. This is partially for self-preservation. I have to best understand what I can and can’t do so that when obstacles inevitably arise, I can be as prepared as possible. This is a good and helpful mentality at its best, but at its worst, it can lead to me only focusing on my weaknesses and obsessing over what keeps me from striving to accomplish what God asks of me. My view of myself is often defined by where I am limited, which leads to a huge lack of confidence. And that lack of confidence loudly proclaims that my dreams aren’t worth pursuing.

However, I have learned that this unhealthy mentality is simply the fruit of something that is much deeper. If I am truly honest with myself, there is a big part of me that simply doesn’t believe that I am deserving of the dreams and goals that my faith prompts me to do. I look at my desires and aspirations and genuinely think that I can’t reach them. Because of my own personality and painful scars from my past, I am almost always under the impression that there is someone who is better suited to accomplish the dreams that are in my soul. So, I freeze up, and I don’t pursue them like I know I should. 

When looking at trying to dream big in a healthy and Christ-centered way, I am learning that, like most things in life, it takes balance. For sure, it is important to know one’s strengths and weaknesses, but we have to make sure that we aren’t solely focusing on the negative or the things that we simply don’t like about ourselves. We have to honestly look at the positive and affirm those qualities as well. We can’t let an honest view of our weaknesses grow into insurmountable fears that keep us from what we are being prompted to do.

But even when we are struggling to have the confidence to pursue all that God is calling us to, it is so important to remember that God is with us in the midst of it all. We dream big anyway, not because we always feel worthy or deserving, but because we are in Christ and Christ gives us the power to accomplish all the good things that our faith prompts us to do.

Access-Life “East Tennessee Christmas Jingle and Mingle”: December 4, 2021 – It’s Back!

Did you hear the news? We were able to hold our first Christmas Jingle a Mingle [#ETNJA2021] for individuals living with disabilities since 2019!

That’s right, our #ETNOUTPOST lead by faithful volunteer, Beth Arsenault and SUPER Ministry Support Lead, Kendahl Hancock spearheaded the activity last Saturday afternoon and it was a big blast of #CHRISTMAS celebrating Jesus’ birthday at Jefferson City Christian Church. 🙂

#CHRISTMASISCOMING

#JESUSISTHEREASONFORTHESEASON

Access-Life “Fun Fact Friday”: November 26, 2021 – THE BIG WHEEL DEAL

The NOVEMBER #ALFUNFACTFRIDAY is HERE! Unfortunately, Kendahl Hancock is recovering from yesterday with a carbohydrate OVERLOAD being treated with TUMMS and COUCH rest. So, I’m stepping-up for a short cameo.

It’s a tough question but if you think you know the answer email kendahl@access-life.org or call/text 3524559926 by Monday at midnight for a chance to win one of four FOODY gift cards.

Access-Life “3 in 3”: November 23, 2021 – Blessings from God

It’s time for our November #AL3IN3. What do you think it is about?

#THANKSGIVING! That’s right I’m holding tightly onto the old pigskin and Kendahl Hancock is wearing a delicious looking turkey hat. However, is that what Thanksgiving Day is all about?

You better check out the video Leanne Goddard took to make sure you know the real scoop!

Access-Life “Happy Thanksgiving”: November 22, 2021 – Humility

Hey there Access-Life, Inc. family and friends,

Leanne Goddard, Kendahl Hancock and I [Doug] wanted to take a moment to send you a message of greeting and a prayer that each of you are blessed with the happiest Thanksgiving this year! We hope that each and every one of us becomes more aware of God’s light, love, holiness, goodness and presence surrounding, covering and enfolding us in the cusp of His hand of tender mercy and grace. In the sincere remembrance of these truths and God’s promises, may we all be blessed with the humility that truly draws us closer to God and his heart.

Once we come to this quiet place of gratitude, then may we be transformed into a reflection of Jesus’ pure light and true love that will change the world: more people saved by Jesus’ sacrifice, more people choosing Jesus over the world, more of heaven on earth and yes, real revival!

So enjoy the great gifts of God this Thanksgiving, let you speech be seasoned with salt and shine in a way that God’s kingdom will expand increasing the joyful blessings we each experience, giving cause for us to lift up even more thanksgiving to God. :)

Finally, the art I painted and the verse included are representations of my hope for Thanksgiving this year. I hope they encourage you all as they do me. HAPPY #THANKSGIVING AND MAY #GODBLESS US ALL THROUGH HIS ABUNDANT MERCY AND GRACE!

Guest Blogger Chad Van De Griek: November 11, 2021 – New Challenge, Same Solution

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

I graduated from college in the Spring of 2019. It was a huge accomplishment that took a lot of personal effort and a lot of help from those in my support group. When I reflect on my college experience, I can’t help but be extremely proud of myself and thankful for each and every person that helped me along the way. There were a lot of hurdles that I had to overcome before I could roll across the stage and get my diploma. And while there were times where I never thought it was possible, I did it. But of course, graduating isn’t just a finish line, it’s the start of a new beginning.

I felt decently prepared for life after college. There were the obvious hurdles that I had thought about and planned to metaphorically jump over, like finding a job (which, admittedly, can be difficult for a guy who can’t drive and has a pretty limited physical skill set). But then there were other obstacles that I wasn’t prepared for at all. And of all of these unanticipated struggles that came, there was one that I didn’t think would have as large of an impact as it did. I never realized how much I would miss it all.

I miss being a college student. I knew I would miss friends, professors, and mentors, which certainly is far and away the number one aspect of college life that I miss the most, but it’s not the only thing I miss. I didn’t realize how great living on a college campus was for me until I looked back on it all in hindsight. When I lived on campus, I rarely needed to use a car to get where I needed to go. I had relatively easy access to food, friends, my job, a gym to work out in, and almost anything else I needed. Everything was within pushing distance, which kept me in great shape and helped me enjoy the beauty and energy that permeated the campus. Sure, there definitely were days where my body was sore and wasn’t in the mood to roll everywhere, but I even miss that feeling. Not only did those days teach me how to listen to my body and care for it well, but I would be reminded that I was working hard and it motivated me to continue to give maximum effort and to work on my physical endurance And, believe it or not, I even miss going to classes and having school work every day. While I don’t necessarily miss stressing about getting assignments done on time, I loved how it all brought structure to my daily life. I always felt like I was productive and got stuff done each day. No, my time as a college student wasn’t perfect, there were a ton of triumphs, and a ton of lows. But as I reminisce, I see how my time in college helped me grow and develop as a human being. I didn’t realize what I had until it was gone.

My first year out of college taught me how I truly struggle when life transitions from one phase to another. I’ve never really loved change, but this was a whole new ball game. As I started my new life as a college graduate, I often found myself feeling really discouraged. I wanted to be back with my friends and support group that I had, I wanted to be back in an environment where most everything I needed was accessible, and I wanted to have a physical workload and a sense of structure to my day again. Without those things, I felt lost in many respects. I was incredibly unsure of myself and felt out of place once I moved back home. I got easily frustrated and felt unmotivated as a result. I didn’t want to make new friends, I didn’t want to be far away from my mentors, and I didn’t want to have to retrain myself to have to ask for a ride to get to work or to get food, or see friends, or wherever else I needed. Yet, that is exactly where I was. I felt like I was starting all over again and I hated it. I was stuck. I wanted to quit, and it was extremely hard for me to hold tightly to the dreams and aspirations that God had placed inside of me. But even while battling through those thoughts, feelings, and doubts, God still held me close and gave me what I needed in that season. And I believe that the same is true for this current phase of life that I find myself in.  

Life isn’t easy. Seasons change, expectations go unmet, and obstacles (both expected and unexpected) inevitably arise. And as a result, it can leave one feeling like I did after graduation: unsure, lacking in confidence and motivation, and wanting to quit. But, like the verse in Galatians talks about, my hope is that we don’t give up, we continue to do the best we can with what we have, and we cling to Jesus tightly. When we do, the truth of the verse will come to fruision as we will reap a great harvest of undisappointed hope, increased faith, deeper love and more. So we fight on because we know that God’s best is better than we can imagine and His love for us that is deeper than we could ever fathom. We all have a unique perspective and stories to share, and I believe that it is oftentimes our perseverance and reliance on Jesus that can make those stories and perspectives so much more colorful and impactful! 

Access-Life “Fun Fact Friday”: October 29, 2021 – Where in Florida?

What’s exciting, educational, and #AccessLife? If you guessed #ALFUNFACTFRIDAY then you are correct! However, you have to watch this month’s video AND send in your answer to be the real winner!

Speaking of #winning, FOUR people have the opportunity to each win a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card! You can be entered to win by calling/texting (352) 455-9926 or emailing kendahl@access-life.org. Join in and hear all about the #SunshineState! Hurry to be one of our FOUR winners and God bless