In Loving Memory of Mark Lewis Gillming

Every year on October 8th the Band-Aid is ripped from our ever present wound. #44

Facing today is an in your face reality of the holes in our lives. I often get anxious dreaming of the family you would have had, the uncle our children missed out on, the son and brother that nothing can replace. 

Do you have a window in heaven? 

Do you see what an awesome husband and father your brother is. He carries your number on his arm, it cuts the pain as an armor of grief. The tattooed ink gives life to your memory. 

We carry your spirit and love for you on our lips daily by naming our son Mark, with the honor of your good name.  Kenneth’s quiet spirit and tender soul casts shadows on the gentle man you had become. 

Heather is a rare and virtuous women.  Her children are so beautiful. Oh the innocence and sweetness of life you’re missing. 

Your parents shattered and broken have carried their family through the years with dignity and grace. They are the unconditional foundation of love and integrity that few men find. 

Our tear stained cheeks turn a crimson red in October. 

Just this year you missed Amelia’s birth, making snow angels with Hattie, Jude’s first day of Kindergarten, Mark’s middle school graduation, Kenneth’s achievement of superior in band, Your Dad’s heart surgery, our family vacation, and the warm touch, sacrifice and delicious food your Mom always sets at every meal. 

We look for 44 everywhere. 

Does it get get easier after years of living without you? For most of us the pain moves deeper. We crave the moments where we would show you all the blessings we’ve seen, and to share the joy of our new born children and their lives.

We mourn the brokenness of a beautiful son stripped from the parents who righteously loved him. We’ve sinned, wept, torn, loved Un-abandoned and transformed. 

Jesus come quickly as you’ve promised, heal us and reunite us in our heavenly home.

-Monique Gillming

Worship Wednesday:  Preparing the Way

Front line spiritual warriors have a different mindset than that of those who are found on the backline. On the front line, you remember so keep record of your ammunition, keep your head down for combat, and keep watch on where your other fellow soldiers are at. In the back line, we wonder about what’s for dinner, what movie the group will watch that night, and when you will be released on leave again. I like to think that how we face problems in our life will reveal where we are found on the battlefield. 

With this is mind, lets look at what those on the front line are doing. They are preparing the way. They are carving a path to make the line to the Lord a more accessible. Let me explain. Better yet, lets let scripture explain. 

In Isaiah 60 we hear about the future of Israel. The first part of the chapter tells Israel the time will come to arise and shine when the Light of the World comes. We know that the Light of the World is referring to Jesus, God’s Son. It speaks of redemption of God’s people though the coming of Christ which has already happened in our time. 

Isaiah 60 goes on to say later about the New Jerusalem, “Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.”

Isaiah 62 says to us again, “Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.”

You shall call your walls Salvation. Salvation is our safety. It’s our shield from the realms of darkness. In the New Testament, the Helmet of Salvation does the same thing. It is a protection that God gives us that is not given to those outside the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

He goes on to talk about the gates of Praise. The gate is Heaven, according to the book of Revelation, is made of a pearl. Pearls are created out of irritation. That irritation, in the spiritual realms, is found when praise meets the challenges and circumstances in our life. We create the gate when we offer praise and worship in the difficult times in our life. 

Those are the front line are preparing the way for those who don’t know the Lord, to enter the gates and find Salvation. The battle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and evil powers of darkness. Praise builds a highway. A highway is an easy access and a clearer path from one point to another. By praising God, we change the atmosphere and we open gates where darkness can’t exist because of the Light of Christ. Those who are on the front lines are fighting for breakthrough and allowing those who follow to find an easier access to the Salvation that God has set aside for them. 

That’s a loaded concept, but essentially your testimony of breakthrough is designed to bring breakthrough for others when they hear it. Those who have never heard from anyone about Jesus will have a harder time finding their Salvation than those who hear the Word and are following the example of those on the front line as they imitate Christ.
Romans tells us that the Prince of Peace will soon crush Satan underneath our feet. Peace outside of the “walls of Salvation,” in the world, is the absence of something, whether it’s noise or war our whatever it may be. Inside the “walls of Salvation,” peace is the presence of God. 

Lord help us to praise You in all circumstances. Help us to honor you are the gift you gave us of salvation by leading others to the knowledge of your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to prepare the way through sacrifices of praise and of worship. Help us to find breakthrough to lead others into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. That you for the VICTORY. In Your name we pray. Amen

Chris and Amanda Barrans

Chris and Amanda are newlyweds from Matthews, NC. While they both have served in the church for many years, they are excited for this new season of ministry that they have been placed in. Chris is the worship pastor at Team Church in Matthews where he coordinates music for youth and adult services. His wife, Amanda, sings each Sunday with him. Together, Chris and Amanda have started a ministry called Cultivate- dedicated to nourishing, growing, and discipling those with a passion for worship leading. Their heart’s desire is for people to get to know Jesus on an intimate level and be spiritually overfilled. It is at that point that praise truly comes out.