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The day after I picked up the November issue of The Church Guide, I was in my van distributing the paper in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake.  I had somehow managed to get through a disappointing October, and was PWD … Praying While Driving. I was seeking the Lord's help because I had just depleted my savings account in order to pay for an earlier printing of The Church Guide. It was my buffer because normally enough funds come in to replenish what was going out … but not in October.  I was asking God, “What do you want to do?  It's your paper, just let me know and I will do it.” I was then overcome by a powerful sensation of cutting the cord.  I don't know if you have ever cut with a brand new pair of super sharp scissors, but it is effortless … there is absolutely no resistance. That was the overwhelming sensation I felt, and I immediately knew it was time to cut the cost of printing The Church Guide. As I continued to drive, I continued to speak with my Father, seeking assurance and confirmation that I was really supposed to stop printing the monthly Church Guide. That was not at all what I expected to hear from Him that morning. If I had known earlier, I probably would have put something in the November issue that I had just picked up from the printers only hours earlier about the final printed issue. To not print The Church Guide went against everything I had believed up to that point. The Church Guide was an end-of-times newspaper. “Lord, I asked … are we at the end?  If we are, isn't it even more important that I continue to publish?” Truth be known, it was a lot harder for me to accept that I was to stop printing The Church Guide, then it was to continue to print and wonder how God was going to pay for it the next month. I was both troubled and relieved at the same time. As I continued to pray and speak to my Father throughout the day, He began to reveal that The Church Guide was about to enter a new day, a new season, a broader purpose and that it was going to be more relevant, more important, more timely … it was going to reach and touch more people … and it was going to take up more of my time.  I began to feel a sense of excitement, because the Lord began to fill my thoughts with visions of what The Church Guide was about to become. It was bigger, it was broader in scope, it went farther than Hampton Roads, it touched more people, and it would continue to minister to those who have no relationship with Christ. I kept to myself for a few days all that God was revealing to me. I then began to share it with some very close friends, partly for confirmation and partly hoping for encouragement. Some were excited about the changes to take place, others wanted me to do whatever I could to continue printing.  “What if you were to get the extra money you need right, now. Then would you continue to publish The Church Guide in print?” I thought about that.  There were plenty of individuals who still hadn't paid for past printings. There was a  significant amount of money floating out there. Should I continue to print, if all of a sudden it were to show up in my mailbox? I went to God in prayer … what if? God answered that He would support me in whatever decision I made. But then He added, “is it the money in the bank that drives you to continue printing?” No!  It's an end-of-time newspaper, I publish because there are still one million of our neighbors and loved one here in Hampton Roads that don't know Christ. There is still time to reach them.  I was then concerned that I wouldn't be able to reach them any more, if I were to quit publishing. But God eased my pains and assured me that that season had passed. I was about to enter into a new season where there were no boundaries as to whom I can reach, encourage, inspire, and share the good news of Jesus Christ. But I won't lie to you and tell you it didn't hurt deep down inside. And the devil began his lies attempting to convince me that I had been a failure. But that was short lived.  Almost immediately my phone began to ring, and I was getting emails from people who wanted to share with me that they had been helped or encouraged by The Church Guide. These calls were coming in almost every day … and I hadn't even told anyone that I was about to stop publishing in print. That was God reassuring me, that those were lies spinning around in my head. So I sought encouragement through the Word.  I picked up my Bible and began to search for scriptures  about quitting or stopping what I was doing. I couldn't find any. There was plenty about running the good race, not giving up, keeping the faith and relying on Jesus.  Lord I pleaded, show me a Word to bring me peace. He then showed me how to read between the lines…. I've written in the past how Jeremiah 29 is so relevant to me. God had a plan for me and The Church Guide.  He orchestrated my entire life, for such a time as this in publishing this end-of-times newspaper. When God created the heavens and the earth in the book of Genesis … He rested on the seventh day. This rest was not a physical rest, but was a rest signifying His work was finished. God was telling me as I read those words that this season in my life was finished.  Rest!  Be at peace!  Just as He would stop at the end of each day to review His work … He was telling me that “it was good.” Rest is an undescribable peace that only Jesus can give. He says, “come unto me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Rest is the closure that takes place because your work is finished.  Think about it.  After you put in a hard days work, you go home and rest. If you work out or exercise, after you complete your laps, or sets, or routine … you rest. It makes you stronger and ready for what you are about to do next. I am not finished with publishing The Church Guide … oh no … only in printing it.  The best is still to come.  That was one season; I'm about to enter into another. Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 tells us that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...” These past few years I've done all of that while publishing the monthly Church Guide. Based upon all the feedback through the years, it has reaped a harvest of inspiring others, encouraged those who were struggling,  helped those who were in need of assistance, healed those who were hurting, brought joy to those who were depressed, but more importantly … rescued many who were lost by sharing the good news of Jesus.  The angels rejoice. The vinedresser is pruning the printed version of The Church Guide from the vine. The ministry is about to get bigger, stronger, and healthier as I continue to abide in Him … and rest before moving into this next season. John 15:1-27 is very encouraging. I am looking forward to the new fruit this media ministry is about to bear … “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…” Every aspect of our life is a season, and there is a purpose for those seasons. If you are like me, there are seasons you didn't want to go through. Pruning hurts, but through those seasons you learn some mighty important lessons. The Word says it builds character.  It makes us stronger. Stepping into a new season brings new changes. Change is inevitable. We either change with the world, or we change with God. In order to change, we have to quit doing what we've been doing. I’m finding that knowing when to quit and doing so takes every bit as much courage and quality of character as it does to never quit. Think about the Pharaoh of Egypt, if he had quit pursuing Israel and allowed Moses and the Jews to leave, his son would have lived and he wouldn't have lost his army. And if the Israelites had quit worshipping idols, they would not have spent so many years in exile serving the kings of foreign nations, or wandering the desert. If you hadn't quit relying on your own strengths and your own knowledge, you would never have come to know Jesus as your Savior, and be blessed with His grace, mercy and salvation. In Matthew 10:23, Jesus admonished His followers to flee to another city if they were being persecuted in one city. This wasn't cowardice; it was the smart thing to do. Of course there are other times in the Bible and in life, when there was or is no alternative or no place to run.  Like when someone is forcing you to deny Christ. It would be better to die than to deny Jesus. As Kenny Rogers used to sing in The Gambler, “you've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run.” I've got to listen to God. He's telling me to walk away from what I've been doing and walk into something even greater. Stepping into a new season brings new challenges. When I transformed The Church Guide from a twice-a-year glossy advertisement into a monthly Christian newspaper a few years ago, I didn't have a clue what a Christian newspaper even looked like. Sure, I was familiar with denominational newsletters, but what was I to include in an independent, all- denominational, non-denominational contemporary Christian newspaper. Well I clung to the vine, and the vinedresser fed me the knowledge I needed to gradually create the newspaper it is today. I had twenty years of experience working for The Virginian-Pilot (little did I know at the time that God was grooming me), so I knew how to put out a newspaper, and God showed me what to put into it. He's continued to equipment me, teach me, give me knowledge, and bless me. I am now able to build websites on my own. I'm mastering social networking. I have a network of friends and colleagues willing and ready to write articles, provide advice, share their expertise, etc. … all in preparation of where God is taking me next. God's created an overcomer. I'm ready for this next season of The Church Guide. I pray you will continue to support this media ministry; read it online often; share it with your friends; and contribute information and ideas that will make it a blessing to others. Thank you for reading The Church Guide...
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