We Are Family!

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

“Wow! What is that?” This is a question I would sometimes ask myself in meeting another Believer for the first time. Upon meeting, there seems an instant joy, love and recognition in the Spirit that we know and love the same God: Jesus Christ. There is often a great excitement felt and exchanged upon meeting as we share with one another about our personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, how we have seen Him faithfully move in our lives and others’ lives, and how we see His Hand moving throughout the world. In these testimonial exchanges, there is a comfort and encouragement in hearing each others’ experiences from the simple to the supernatural; to know that we are not alone in how we have experienced God’s Presence in our lives.

While our experiences are unique, there are consistent threads of God’s proven character, faithfulness, love, mercy, grace, favor, and attention to detail over our smallest and greatest concerns woven through our testimonies. So when I say “Wow! What is that?” it is a feeling of this special affinity felt and shared among Believers. This special affinity, an inexplicable and sometimes hard to explain joy is felt that may cause us to desire to fellowship with such Believers for hours or all day long as we talk about our love for the Lord. Have you experienced this too?!

holy-spirit-fire-003

Recently, I lunched with one of the young ladies I mentor. She had moved to the DC/Virginia area from a small town in Northern California and in doing so, introduced me to her former mentor from California. Her former mentor was briefly visiting Washington, D.C., for the National Day of Prayer events and joined us for lunch. Immediately upon she and I meeting, the connection of the Holy Spirit was felt among us. I am Black, the two of them White, and you would have sworn by seeing us together that we were family or had known each other for a very long time. We could have tarried in our fellowship all day in great joy in sharing about the Lord, but we needed to drive my mentee’s former mentor to the airport for her return flight to California.

I am grateful that God knit us together as brothers and sisters in His eternal family—not always through natural blood as in our born family, but more importantly through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is through His Blood shed as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28) and our belief in His Name and Who He is (Galatians 3:26), that we are indeed brothers and sisters in God’s eternal, multi-ethnic family! How extravagant! As the popular 1979 R&B Sister Sledge song says, “We Are Family.” People ask, “Could we be that close?” I say through Christ Jesus, “Yes, indeed!” As Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This special connection and joy is perhaps felt more deeply among those who have developed a daily and growing intimacy with the Lord. There’s so much to share in our daily experiences when you have journeyed with Jesus for several years—when the more time you spend with Him, the more you see Him show up in your day. I have truly enjoyed great conversations and fellowship with my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ! I love them so much! I thank God for gifting us a foretaste of what we will experience eternally one day.

My dear brothers and sisters: It’s hoped that the outward display of our joy, love and sweet fellowship with Jesus—and with those who are not our natural brothers and sisters but our brothers and sisters through new life secured in Jesus Christ—will make curious those who say, “Wow! What is that?” Whether Believers who desire to deepen their intimacy with the Lord or those seeking to know the Lord, may our Christian fellowship be a witness of the amazing love in Christ flowing through His People. May the rivers of living water that flow in us by the Holy Spirit also pour into others so they may experience the Lord. And as we await Christ’s return, may what we hope for continue to be what we live for.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3, New International Version)

Love and blessings,

Nicole

Advertisements

You’ve Got Help, Don’t Go Alone

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. –Mark 6:7 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all -2 Corinthians 13:14. The presence and relationship with a fellow brother and sister in Christ is one that is of quintessential quality. For our spirits bear testimony to one another that what we hope for (eternal life) is being worked out day by day in Jesus Christ. This is why we gather on Wednesday nights for Bible study or Sunday mornings for worship service. For we consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the “Day” approaching. –Hebrews 10:24-25

No Christian has ever been called to “go it alone” in his or her walk of faith. Friend, the Christian life is often times tough! One might call us fools for Christ. For we work hard with our hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; When we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. – 1 Corinthians 4:12-13 Jesus Christ said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and forfeit their very self (soul)?” –Luke 9:23-25

The tragic part of this matter is that many of us claim to be Believers but not many of us are willing to be disciples. We like to think being a disciple is too overwhelming for us. It’s either our lives are too busy for the likes of Jesus Christ and this Kingdom of God or we don’t yet know that we don’t have to go it alone. Well if you’re worried about going it alone, take courage! Christ never sent his disciples out alone to spread the gospel and he does not send us out alone either. We see an example of when the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them two-by-two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” –Luke 10:1-3

Your Christian brother and sister is ready and willing to encourage you always and hold you up in faith. Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Amen

-Jason M. Alexandre

 

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the Great Commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the Gospel to be spread from person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

The Body of Christ: Come to Church

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” –Psalm 122 (New Living Translation)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

This scripture marks the excitement a Christian could potentially experience when coming to a worship service i.e., church. One might not see the importance of going to church regularly but it is absolutely essential and crucial to growing in Christ. At church you have the opportunity to witness and experience Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit through the fellowship with other Christian believers. For the Bible says, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”–Matthew 18:19-20 

Somebody said to me recently, “There’s a bunch of hypocrites in the church. I’m looking for the perfect church.” Well friend, the truth is if you’re looking for a perfect church you will never find one and miss out on wonderful blessings. If there was a perfect church, it would stop being perfect the moment you and I walked in. Instead we must do our part and seek to join the body of Christ (Church) in the process of maturing and becoming more like Christ ourselves. Then over time, although not perfect, that church will be perfect just for you.

We are all in this together. We ought to help one another. The gifts that God gave to you are needed for the body of Christ to continue functioning properly. No person is more important than the other in the church. “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” –1 Corinthians 12:18-26    

Friend, your presence is needed in the church. You are very important! Whatever you can do to further the Kingdom of God, he will honor you for it. The janitor’s position is no greater than the Pastor’s position! Serve out of a love for Christ and his people and you will find unspeakable joy and find the difference in a church experience than a staying at home worship experience. Amen. God Bless you!

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.