Purpose and Walk in Faith

Back in February 2014 I published my testimony and walk of faith up-to that point after being saved in January 1988.
That Blog is: Testimony
The purpose of this Blog is to inform you of more recent events in the past 8 months in my search for purpose and re-establishing my walk with my Lord Jesus Christ.

Since Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) entered all our lives in March 2020, our household in particular has been extremely careful.
My Wife Arianna has less than 50% lung capacity and Dragon-in-Law Eva has been through so much medically, including surviving Breast Cancer, Internal Surgery, and 2 Hip Replacements in the past few years.
Most of our local church interaction from March 2020 to August 2022 has been online via Google Meet, YouTube, and Zoom. Arianna & I did try going back in person a few times in that time period, but then Covid would either spike or come close again to our congregation.

Our local church is Ironworks Pike Community Church. We started visiting in September 2014, and became members about a year later.
In that time I have been active in church leadership, but the one role that I look back on fondly was teaching the Teen & College Age Class on Wednesday evenings. Such a wonderful time of bonding with young lives, teaching them from my knowledge and mistakes.
A few of the students informed me that their favourite series I took them through was "What not to do!". It started off as an attempt to teach apologetics, but soon became a class on how to act as Christians online, what the New Age is, and what Cults teach.
I also took the class through a study on the Apostle Peter, and the books of Romans and Revelation.
Arianna also taught pretty much the same class, but on Sunday mornings. Her speciality was the Old Testament. She is infamous for taking them through the book of Joshua.
We would often take the class to our home for times of video game playing and discussion.

Of course all that came to an abrupt stop with Covid, and us not being able to meet in-person for quite a while.
When we did go back to meeting with the church in the building we realised that the class really was no more. Many had moved on with their families and the older ones were now young adults with lives of their own. Actually heard today that one of them got married last month.
Arianna and I did wonder what our ongoing church purpose was going to be.

What had been stable in our lives over the years was that we run a Christian Sanctuary group where fellow believers in Jesus Christ may hangout sharing prayer requests and life together.
Over the years this group has been on IRC & Newsgroup from early 2000, MeWe for short while, and now on Telegram for quite a few years. If you want to know more just ask me.
Arianna meets with ladies from our church virtually on Google Meet on Saturday mornings. This includes ladies who have moved away, even to Iowa of all places!

As well as praying much about our given situation I must admit to checking out more local in distance church meetings to see what they had to offer, and what we may offer them.
In my own head I knew I was searching for a way to get back to teaching teens again.
Did look at a few churches online (as you do these days), but only actually visited two.

The first was Motion Church, that meets off Leestown Road, same major road that we are connected to.
As well as seeing an active youth group, one event that caught my eye was that they have a men's group that meet on Saturday morning for breakfast, fellowship, prayer, and study. For years I was part of a men's group (not single church based) that met at Panera on Saturday mornings.
Did not get that far though as I found the church to be far too Pentecostal natured in theology and practice than I was comfortable with.
Arianna agreed with my report.

The second is CenterPointe Christian Church
Arianna was saved at and baptised by Bedford Acres Christian Church, Paris, Kentucky when she was a young teen, visiting with her Grandparents.
We were married in that same building in June 1999. The last to do so by Bedford Acres before they moved buildings.
The CenterPointe building is quite literally between our house and my workplace. It is that local.
So after checking them out online, I visited a couple of times.
I was highly impressed by their teen class. On one visit I sat in with that class of over 20 youth experiencing their Student Pastor work with them, to be told that many were away that week.

Noticed that CenterPointe offered virtual D-Groups (Discipleship) as well as in-person groups that met in homes.
In August 2022 I signed up for the D-Group that meets on Saturday mornings at 8:30am. This timing works well for me.
The group is now on our second season, having recently restarted after the holidays. I am enjoying meeting with these few men on Saturday mornings sharing our lives, discussing our Bible reading, and praying for one another.

Next group I joined (before actually signing up for) is their Wednesday 7:00am prayer meeting at the church building.
Like I said, this is actually on my way to work.
Funny story is that that the website stated it was at 6:00am, so one day I turned up before that time and wondered where everyone was. Got ready to drive away, but a guy drove into the car park and told me it was now at 7:00am. He was a neighbour that was going to breakfast before attending the prayer meeting. So glad he caught me.
Have been blessed by these pure times of prayer. Not just praying for that church, but also Ironworks Pike, and all Bible believing & teaching churches in our area.
The guy that leads this group is a wonderful man of prayer, whose full-time day job is working the dock at a carrier company. What I love about this is that the church elders and pastors that attend the prayer meeting as able are not the ones running the group. They pray with us.

Before the end of 2022 I saw that CenterPointe were asking people to sign up for reading through the Bible together.
I signed up on the YouVersion Bible app. The reading we are doing together is based on the Chronological Bible, which has been quite educational.
One great aspect of so many participating in this reading together is the "Talk it over" section where you may leave your own notes on the chapters read. I have been learning from others.

Arianna & I had been praying and discussing together for months, and had set ourselves a soft deadline of New Year to decide on our church future, as to where our Lord wanted us to be.
She had been observing the CenterPointe Sunday morning meetings and brought at least two items to our discussion table.
1) The CenterPointe teaching is good and wholesome, but was not as deep teaching as our Pastor Jack Brooks has been giving us at Ironworks Pike.
     To be fair, Jack is a great expository Bible teacher. I have told him this directly many times.
     Go to Ironworks Pike Community Church YouTube Stream and listen to him!
     We believe most of the Bible teaching of CenterPointe is through their groups.
2) Ironworks Pike focuses more on traditional hymns for the "worship" time, whereas CenterPointe is a lot more contemporary.
     (Recently I have been asked to be one of the "worship leaders" at Ironworks Pike. I agreed to "chair meetings".)
For these reasons, others, and through our prayer time we decided not to move our church membership.

On the same day as our ultimate discussion and prayer time, something happened which swayed me.
Since attending Ironworks Pike I have been attending a Stay Sharp Theology Conference hosted by the Allegheny District of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) when able.
Normally it is hosted by Waterdam Church, Canonsburg, PA. However the last pre-Covid conference I went to was in February 2020, hosted by Substance Church, Ashland, OH.
There was no conference in 2021, but they met back in 2021. Since our household was safeguarding I did not go. Pastor Jack Brooks went on his own that year.
Here is the events page for Stay Sharp 2023 that I went to this year.
In December 2022 the EFCA Allegheny District released a video: Join Us For Stay Sharp 2023
At the 15 second mark you will see Pastor Jack Brooks meeting with a church group. That same group from Crossroads Community Church, Edinboro, PA is also seen at the 24 second mark.
This is a group that have became good friends over the years, and I missed them last year. It was so great meeting up with them again last week.
It was my seeing them on the video, and the wanting to attend the conference again this year, that inspired me to stay with Ironworks Pike and the EFCA.

At the start of this book blog I mentioned "Purpose" as part of the title, and also that I had been searching for a church based purpose in my life.
I truly believe my Lord Jesus Christ for now has closed the door on youth work for me, although I am praying He opens that flood-gates at Ironworks Pike!!
Rather the purpose He has given me is through volunteer keyboarding work for MissionAssist.
That story is explained in this blog: MissionAssist: typing in tongues
Update to that blog is that I have now passed training, and have been working as part of a team. Have typed out 2 chapters of Matthew and all 4 chapters of the book of Jonah in a language foreign to me.

As well as the Saturday Morning D-Group, Wednesday Morning Prayer Group, read through the Bible in a Year plan, and MissionAssist Keyboarding, I added one more Christian based recurring event in my life:
On shown on their Prayer page CenterPointe are involved in 24 Hours of Prayer.
Once a month the hours between 12 Noon Friday and 12 Noon Saturday are allocated hour units which one may sign up for.
I first requested the 24th hour at 11:00am on Saturday 21st January 2023. When I turned up for my time I discovered that the Senior Pastor had the time before mine. He showed me around the Prayer Room, pointing out reminder signs, prayer requests, and postcards which you may write to people saying you prayed for them.
That hour was indeed a sweet hour of prayer dedicated to my God. I did spend the last 20 minutes walking around the building praying in every room or area.
I was late in signing up for February, and when I did there was 4 slots left, with only 1 which actually worked for me. That was at 4:00am!!
So on Friday 17th February I set my alarm real early and went to the building for that time. It was again a most excellent hour of prayer, but unsure if I want to do that time again.
When I went to sign up for March, I noticed that the Prayer page actually listed all the months of 2023. I have now signed up for March to December at 6:00am.
This time will work well for me, as I will get up, drive to the building and room for this hour of prayer, drive home after 7:00am, enjoy breakfast, then join the D-Group online at 8:30am. What a wonderful way to start a weekend!

So, that's my report on where I am with my purpose and walk in faith for my Lord.
Life is good and busy in Him.

Peter Paterson - SolusSpider


Spider-Man standing in a storm

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