A FRESH YES

pic of expired labelsCleaning out my pantry, I noticed a lot of things in my stock pile has expired.  The reason for this is because, when I purchased these items, based on the super deal or coupon I had, the excitement of the savings caused me to get more than what I would have, if there was no sale or savings.  Sometimes, what this looks like is a storage of a bulk load of salad dressings, can goods, chips, crackers, etc.  What then happens is, days turn into months, the months turn into a year or years and because of my stock, things expire- lose its freshness or cease to be valid or fresh, become out of date, no longer useable, old, not good, you get where I’m going, right. 

As the year of 2018 made its exit.  It too has expired.  Sure we may have experienced some fun moments, but there is a great majority of us, that have had some major horrific experiences.  Not just one year, but years of painful moments, trials and tribulations.  As we enter into a new year, my goal is to help us approach it and go through it, by offering a word of encouragement and hope. 

Recently, I was speaking with another sister in Christ and I began to share my WALK with her.  I explained my fears, my heartbreaks, my rebellious moments and all.  I’ve come to realize that following God is not summed up with my first answer to the call.  That first “yes” only afforded me many more opportunities, in which I would have to answer “Yes.”  Let me explain.  My “yes” to salvation was just for that.  Then I had to answer, “Yes” to the call of ministry, which opened up other opportunities for more Yes’.   I had to say “Yes” to be a Pastor and now, I find myself in another place, where God is requiring another “Yes” from me!   Got it?  Anyhoo… from that conversation, I found myself speaking to another person about going back to their old life, and another one, tired of standing and another one beat up from the journey.  These stories are filled with pain, doubt, regret, disappointment in their self and God.  Most of these women are filled with pain because they feel like they have failed as a Christian; failed as a minister; failed God.   Anybody else here?  I understand and I want to share another person’s journey with you, in which I pray give you what you need to claim your victory and take your joy back.

Peter was one of Jesus’ beloved disciples that was full of zeal, daring, fearless and full of faith.  I mean, out of all the disciples, he had some amazing experiences.  He walked on water!!!  Out of all the disciples, he was the first one that received the revelation of who Jesus really was, and he also was the only one that professed his undying love for Christ, when he utter the words, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”- Luke 22:33  These are the words of a person who is sold out, dedicated and committed, on fire, full of life and energy, bold and fearless, focused and more.  Does this sound like you, at least, at one time on this journey?   As the story continues, we find this same Peter, who was once fresh and vibrant, defeated at his own denial of knowing Christ, because of fear and the pressures of life.  Can you relate?

We all start out fresh, full of life, faith,  hope, dreams, goals, expectations and somewhere along the way, the days turn into months, and the months turn into years and life happens, loss happens, dreams fade, faith and hope dwindles, goals seem harder to reach, and when we look at ourselves, we realize we have lost our freshness.  Our YES, is no longer as solid or as strong as it first was.  Instead of our Yes, being a sure Yes, it has turned into “a maybe or a sometimes” or for some of us, just like Peter, “No, I don’t know Jesus; No, I don’t trust Jesus; No, I don’t (whatever that is) anymore!”

The good news is, you’re only one YES away from turning things around.  All God needs is a fresh- a new, not tainted, not soiled or spoiled, never heard before, YES!  A FRESH YES!  Let’s see what this looks like.

John’s account of Peter’s experience is so inspiring because, it gives hope to all who have ever fell, lost hope, lost faith, denied the power of God or even knowing Him.  Here’s what happened…After Peter’s denial, Jesus was indeed crucified, buried and resurrected, just as He had prophesied.  After the resurrection, Jesus finds Peter back at the same place he found him the first time; back fishing. (John 21) How many of you have went backwards or back to things or places that Jesus pulled you out of.  Then this is going to bless you.

Jesus has a conversation with Peter and asks, “Peter, do you love me?” and Peter responded with a YES!  At this moment, in the conversation, Jesus didn’t recall the mess up, the failure, the weakness, the lack of faith, the inability to stand or anything like that.  None of that didn’t matter.  It was in the past.  It was old news.   All He wanted to know at this very moment, “Do you love me?”   In the moment that Peter could say the words Yes, this was a profound restoring moment.  Peter’s “Yes” replaced the old, expired “Yes.”  No matter what he did or didn’t do, is no longer of importance today.  All that matters is today.  A fresh yes is sweet repentance.  A fresh yes replaces the expired, damaged, flawed and expired.  And behold…all things are new.  You no longer work from the dry place, but from a fresh and renewed place.  Even your regrets and disappointments are expired, and just like with all expired things, those things are discarded and no longer valid.  God is no longer concerned with those things.  The only thing that matters today is your answer to the question, “Do you love me?”  “For if you love me, you will do (whatever I have asked of you).  I’m not worried about the failures, the mistakes, the weak moments, and the low moments.  All that matter is NOW,” says The Lord!

So now to answer the question, that requires a fresh yes.   For some of us, A Fresh Yes, will be restoration.  For some of us, it’s the next “Yes” for the next shift, level or elevation.  The word “Yes” is simply agreement coupled with action.  This one word holds the key to your future and your purpose.  It releases movement, progress, growth and so much more into your life.  You are not bound by the past, only the refusal to give Him A Fresh Yes!  Happy New Year!

Blessings,

Pastor Clarissa

TAKING NEW STEPS

Processed with VSCO with s2 presetWelcome to the WALK (Women Appointed to Lead in the Kingdom) and my new blog- I AM NOT A FEMALE PASTOR.
WALK in itself was created to be an encouragement, inspiration and support to women in ministry and leadership. This blog is simply one of the pieces to the puzzle of my vision.

If you don’t mind, I would like to share a brief history of how this ministry came to be. My first year in ministry proved to be very challenging and often times I didn’t have great support or many that could understand my struggles. As a woman, new at pastoring, I had questions, but hardly received the answers I needed. I was often the encourager and inspirer, but didn’t have anyone to encourage or inspire me. I sought help but found none. I joined other groups, but still didn’t find what I was seeking or needing, which is the purpose I created WALK! I took the first step in getting flyers made and launching the Facebook group in November 2015.

WALK was never designed to just be a Facebook group. There are many facets to this ministry, however, I have been slow about taking the next steps. You know how it is sometimes; we get busy with ministry, being a parent, being a wife or work and school, and we fail to take the next step of the journey. Sometimes it’s fear or not knowing how to move forward. After a while, you will look up; another year has passed, and you realized you haven’t moved forward. You have been stagnant or can we just be real honest here and say the ugly P word- PROCRASTINATE- to be slow or late about doing something that should be done. Whatever the reason, we have to become bold enough and confident enough to take that next step.

I will admit that sometimes, taking new steps can be scary. These steps are similar to those of a baby learning to take his or her first steps. You see others doing it and you want to do it too, but it’s hard to let go of whatever or whoever you’re holding on to for security and just go (who wants to fall, right?). Sometimes we stagger and stumble a little bit, but eventually, just like a baby, if we are persistent, we will find ourselves moving right along; maybe not as good or as fast as others, but at least we are moving and a major accomplishment has been made.

For me, this blog is me taking my next step in moving forward in what I KNOW God has assigned me. What about you? Are you taking those steps in moving forward in your goals, dreams and ordained assignments? If not, have you narrowed down your reason as to why? Yeah…I know that sometimes it’s hard to be honest with yourself, but it is the key to eliminating excuses.  When we’re honest with ourselves and God, most times, we find the reason is us.  We must be able to narrow down and pin point where the problem lies, so we can know what to focus on.  No matter what the reason is, I want to help you overcome those challenges, fears and more. I want you to succeed and be empowered in your WALK!

With that being said, I want to share with you what you can expect. It is my desire to provide you with inspiration, encouragement and valuable teachings to help you on your journey as a woman in ministry and leadership. I’m committed to showing up weekly with experiences, lessons learned, prophetic messages, helpful tools, resources, and more! I pray that you will find these postings to be helpful, edifying and impactful.

Remember, the steps of a good woman are ordered by the Lord…all she has to do is WALK!

Pastor Clarissa Johnson