Praying Without Ceasing

Praying Without Ceasing

Praying Without Ceasing

March 23, 2018
Caryn Jacobs

Have you ever prayed for something and not received an answer right away? Debbie experienced a long period of praying without ceasing and forty years later the answer finally arrived.

Debbie was raised in a loving home with parents who were believers. However, she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders at a very young age. Her father worked long hours away from the home. Her mother was very ill, and she had three younger brothers to help take care of. She was responsible for being a caregiver and did not have time to just be a kid herself. Debbie felt alone and afraid.

At nine years old, Debbie was invited to spend a Friday night at her grandmother’s house. This was a huge relief and a welcomed break from the burdens of taking care of her siblings. Her grandmother was an amazing cook and Debbie knew she would let her choose what she wanted for dinner. She made her the best pinto beans and cornbread and that alone enticed her to stay the night. Saturday morning, she was asked if she wanted to spend another night. Debbie was reluctant to say yes because this meant she would have to go to church on Sunday morning, but getting to choose what she wanted to have for dinner made it easier for her to agree to stay another night. That evening she was told to go get cleaned up as they were going to church for a Saturday special service. Debbie thought, “Church tonight AND tomorrow?” Soon after, they were sitting in a church pew listening to a male quartet. Debbie confessed, “I don’t remember the name of the group; but I still know the words to the song that moved me.” She remembers hearing, “Don’t try to tell me that God is dead. I just talked to Him this morning. Don’t try to tell me He’s not alive, He lives within my heart. His Word is always by my side. He brightens up the way. Don’t try to tell me God is dead. I just talked to Him today.” Debbie said those words moved her so much that she walked down the center aisle and accepted Jesus. She knew she would never be alone again. Just knowing Jesus was with her helped her get through the tough times at home.

Debbie met her husband Jeff in college. She confided that being so young, she simply asked if Jeff was a believer and his positive response was acceptable to her. She did not dig deeper to find out details of Jeff’s walk with Christ. When she realized her husband was not a fully devoted follower of Christ, she began to pray daily for him. After moving to Arizona where they did not know anyone, Debbie once again began to feel alone. She knew her husband believed in God, but did not have an interest in attending church. At this point in her life, she found herself feeling like she was not enough and in a deep pit with no ladder to get out. She heard God say to her, “You are enough.” Debbie made a commitment to start attending a church in Tempe so their two children would grow up knowing the same Jesus that she knew. Debbie met several women at this church who helped her get connected there and later those same women became her mentors.

Meanwhile, Debbie’s marriage was struggling and her husband confessed that he did not want to stay living in their home. Though she prayed for Jeff daily, she felt it was not enough. She found a verse, 2 Chronicles 1:7 “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” and realized then that she was not praying specifically enough for Jeff. Debbie started praying prayers that were more specific for her husband and asked God to save her husband and their marriage. Once again, Debbie knew she was not alone, as she knew God was with her and had blessed her with a great group of women for support. The morning Jeff was set to move out of their home, he told her that he just could not do it. They worked on many trust issues and their marriage eventually pulled through.

Two years ago, they moved to Gilbert and started attending Compass. They heard the invitation to join a Rooted group and Debbie was immediately ready to sign up. In the car, she took a deep breath and asked Jeff if he had any interest to sign up with her knowing that when she had asked in the past to attend classes with her he would say, “No.” But he agreed to go this time, which completely surprised her. That first night when they described how the group would work, everyone could tell that Jeff did not want to be there but he kept attending. He even attended one night when Debbie could not make it. There was a change in Jeff that Debbie had not witnessed in the past. After week five of Rooted, Jeff secretly made the decision to be baptized. He had not told Debbie, but he had confided in both of their children and their Rooted facilitator, Don. Decision Weekend, Pastor Brian Jobe called all those who wanted to be baptized to come forward. Debbie said, “I looked down and saw that Jeff did not have his shoes on and he was handing me his keys and his wallet.” Jeff took one look at Debbie and her heart was full of joy for her husband. Debbie knew that after praying for her husband for forty years, her very specific prayers had finally been answered. Don took Debbie up to the baptism area to watch this spectacular event up close. She admitted, “The closest I have ever felt to Jesus was when I watched Jeff accept Christ as his Savior from the side of that pool. The look on his face as he came up out of the water was a look of peace that I had not seen on his face in forty years!” Jeff admits, “During Rooted, we had discussions that opened my eyes to God. I’m grateful for Debbie sticking it out all those years praying for me, it was a life changing ordeal.”

A New Captain

A New Captain

A New Captain
January 18, 2018
Caryn Jacobs

After tragically losing her mom to cancer when she was 13 years old, Adella turned to boys, alcohol, and drugs—hoping she would get the attention of her father. She was the youngest of three kids and was lonely and terrified. She confided that she just wanted to be invisible, and the use of drugs and alcohol seemed to hide the pain. She admits it gave her a false sense of normalcy in the chaotic life in which she was dealing with. She wanted to stuff the painful memories away and hide in her own misery.

Before her mom passed away, and when Adella was younger, her mom faithfully took her to church every Sunday. She remembers hearing the stories about Jesus but did not understand how to have a personal relationship with Him. After the death of her mom, her dad decided to move the family to a small town and they tried to move on with their lives. Adella was troubled and sought attention from boys. She became pregnant, and delivered her first child by the age of 16. Her father forced her to give this child up for adoption. Later, she had two more children from different fathers. When those children were just 2 and 4 years old, Adella met her husband. She was working as a bartender at the time and looked up to see a nice looking man get off his Harley Davidson wearing chains and all the motorcycle gear. She was smitten and married him even though she knew he was in trouble with the law and was addicted to heroin. He gave Adella heroin as well, which provided her “daily fix.” This continued for close to twenty-five years. Adella always tried hard to hide her addiction from her kids. She knew they would be mortified if they knew the truth about their mom.

Sadly, she realized that she had turned her back on God her whole life—she always thought she was strong enough to sail her own ship without His help. Adella knew she had to get clean but did not know how. She decided that she wanted to meet some new people that would be good influences for her, and she started attending church. She even hosted her own Bible study at her home. This did not please her husband and it caused marital issues.

Over time, Adella experienced excruciating back pain and had developed large wounds on her thighs caused from heroin usage over the years. Her daughter took her to the emergency room. She was told the wounds were Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This also affected her bones and a surgery took place that caused paralysis from her waist down. Adella even slipped into a coma for four days after one of the several surgeries to repair damage. After spending four months in the hospital and two years of physical therapy, she slowly started to recover. She went home to start picking up the pieces of her life and started working with a counselor. Damaging problems had developed between Adella and her husband and she felt her marriage was hopeless at this point. Six months later her husband became ill and passed away. She confessed, “I started to realize the miracles that I had experienced and wanted to know why I was healed and saved.”

Adella was encouraged to visit Compass Christian Church in September to witness the baptism of her granddaughter. She remembers standing there hanging on to the seat in front of her when Pastor Brian Jobe called all those who believe in Jesus to come forward and be baptized. She heard a voice speak to her. This was the Holy Spirit saying, “Let me care for you. Let me take your pain from you.” She had not heard this voice before and she did not want to take the excitement away from her granddaughter’s baptism, but she reluctantly walked forward and was baptized. As she was drying her hair with a towel, Adella turned around and saw her daughter was soaking wet—she had followed the call to be baptized as well. All three generations were baptized that day!

Adella revealed that God is now working with her to restore her relationship with her other two children. She explained that being baptized allowed her the freedom to let God begin to work in restoring her relationship with them. She now believes in the truth and sees evidence of God’s work in her life daily. Adella has a new captain of her ship. She confided, “I am so happy to finally let Him sail the ship as I know I am not strong enough to do it alone.”

To learn more about baptism and Compass Christian Church we encourage you to attend a Discover Compass class. For more information, visit compassaz.church/discover

Taking a Discipleship Journey

Taking a Discipleship Journey

Taking a Discipleship Journey_1200x630

November 17, 2017
Caryn Jacobs

When people first become Christians, they are on fire for God and are thirsty for knowledge of Him. Sometimes after some time that desire and close relationship with Him can become lukewarm.

Averie was in a dark place where anxiety, depression, and hanging around the wrong people affected her daily life. At 26 years old, she would wake up every morning feeling miserable—had no self-compassion, and inner turmoil was tearing her apart.

She was raised in a godly home with two loving parents and she remembers having everything she ever wanted growing up. Her mom was always involved at church or in other religious organizations, and often invited Averie to join her. She accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptized when she was twelve years old. Shortly after, she tried out a junior high school ministry and did not feel welcome. Most of the girls at that church had known each other for a while and did not make her feel as though she fit in. This gave her a bad feeling towards church in general, and she decided that it was just not for her. As she got older she became less interested in attending church. However, she would go to Christmas and Easter services with her parents though, she still did not have the desire to get involved. Averie confided that she was thankful that her mom did not force her to attend each week and did not judge her for not going—instead her mom continued to invite Averie to church regularly.

A few months ago, Averie’s mom signed her up for a 10-week discipleship program at Compass Christian Church called Rooted. She told her mom that she did not want to go at least three different times, but finally agreed that she would give it a chance. At this point Averie knew she was missing something in her life and was not sure if she even believed that God was real. She was scared that everyone would be more knowledgeable about the Bible and was sure she would feel out of place. She truly felt uncomfortable going, yet still agreed to do it.

Averie started Rooted and quickly became friends with others in her group. She still had so many unanswered questions, but was learning more each week. She became excited to participate in the Prayer Experience. She convinced herself that after the Prayer Experience a life change would take place and all would be perfect. She felt sad and letdown when this expectation was crushed. When she confessed this to her Rooted group, she was pleasantly surprised when they did not judge her, but rather embraced her with kind words and love. Averie is grateful to be a part of this amazing group and now feels confident that they will always be there for each other.

Before Rooted, God did not cross her mind at all. Surprising herself, Averie actually wanted to do the program’s homework and now reads her Bible daily. She feels safe, secure, and more at peace in her life than she has in years. “She now has a renewed, enthusiastic, knowledge of her relationship with Jesus,” revealed her mother Carrie.

Averie’s Rooted group continued on to become a life group after the program concluded. “It is exciting to wake up every day and know that I have deep friendships that I have never had before.” Averie added, “There’s no other feeling than knowing when you are having a rough day that there is Someone there that has a plan for your whole life. You can talk to Him about anything! It is amazing how much more at peace I am. Rooted has honestly changed my life in all the best ways. Frankly, it is scary to think about where I would be if I would not have participated in the program.”

To learn more about Rooted click HERE.

A Woman’s Journey from Buddhism to Baptism

A Woman’s Journey from Buddhism to Baptism

A Woman’s Journey from Buddhism to Baptism

October 13, 2017
Caryn Jacobs

Being raised in Taiwan as Buddhist, Ya-Wen was obedient and would light incense every morning and every night for her family. Then one day as she was lighting incense the thought came to her, “I wonder what happens to me when I die, and why do I even have to die?” She was the youngest of five kids and obeyed the rules that her family had in place—as a good Buddhist girl she did whatever her parents told her to do. Ya-Wen worshipped Buddha because she knew she had to, but somehow knew that there was a god out there that she did not know. She was able to keep this a secret from her family for a long time.

Ya-Wen went to a Christian high school in Taipei, Taiwan because it was a highly sought after school, though her family did not believe in Christianity, they wanted her to have a good education. Once a month the high school would have what the students considered a concert where they played music and sang religious songs. Ya-Wen felt emotions while listening to the songs that she had never felt before and could not understand why. Her friends asked her if she was crazy. But each time she heard the music that was played it touched her heart and the same question came to her when she was younger, “Why do I have to die?”  Ya-Wen was curious and even though she knew she was disobeying her parents, she decided that she would sneak out of her home each week to attend a Christian church that her friend attended in Taipei.

Over time Ya-Wen slowly learned that God loved her. She became hungry to learn more about the truth and read the Bible every time she went to church. She learned that Buddha was crafted by human hands and knew that it was not good to worship something other than the one true God. Ya-Wen did not want to outwardly disobey her family so she continued to light the incense daily and go through the motions at home even though she knew it was not right. After graduating from college, her family suggested that she visit her sister who was living in the United States. She met a Buddhist man there and married him because she felt that was what she was expected to do. Her husband did not support her attending the Christian church but she knew in her heart she must. They had a son together and she was determined to take him to church as well. She was baptized by way of sprinkling at this church in Philadelphia. Ya-Wen went to visit her family and explained her faith many times. She prayed daily for her family and their salvation. One of her sisters did not even talk to her for three years.

After moving to Arizona, Ya-Wen’s marriage fell apart. She found herself searching for a new church to attend. She found a Chinese Christian church that she attended for a while. She was able to understand the services better as they were in her language but did not grow spiritually at this church. Ya-Wen started church shopping again and found Compass Christian Church. She met a friend who started to pray with her every night and would sing the song “He Will Make a Way before praying for her family. When she visited her family in Taiwan the last time, this friend called to pray with her. Ya-Wen invited her mom to pray with her and she did. Her mom attended the Christian church with her in Taipei, and her older sister even prayed with them as well. Ya-Wen’s prayers are being answered daily.

Ya-Wen recently attended Discover Compass and made the decision to go all in and be baptized by immersion. She now is comforted by the fact that she knows that she will be with God when she dies. She confided, “Life is short. He can quickly take your life. In your heart you know He is there and you just have to really know who God is. He wants us to turn around and tell everyone about Him.”

To learn more about Discover Compass click HERE.

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