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Posted by on in Pastors Blog

Good Day Family,

When I was a child, the word "listening" was synonymous with obeying. Listening meant doing what you were told. I can remember hearing my father say "listen to your mother," which always meant do what your mother said. When the Children of Israel were in the wilderness with Moses, God revealed God's self with thunder and lighting and smoke and trumpets and frightened the Israelites so much that they told Moses that they did not want God to speak to them anymore. They told Moses that if he would speak to them that they would listen. If you know their story, you know that that promise did not last long.

Why is it that we find it so difficult to obey the voice of God? I once heard a sermon entitled, "When Self Gets in the Way." It was one of the most profound messages that I have ever heard on disobedience. Responding to our selfish wants and desires is one of the greatest obstacles to our obedience to God. We ignore or forget what God wants...what God has said and respond to the voice that is in our own heads, telling us to satisfy our wants and desires first and foremost. This is always problematic because this is when self gets in the way of God's will, God's purpose and God's plan.

Rather than responding to self, why not seek God's will, plan and purpose for our lives? Though God's plan may not offer immediate gratification, in the long run, it will bring about ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction. Make your decision today to listen to God...to obey God's will and to follow in the path of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the pathway to real happiness and genuine peace and it can be yours today by simply listening to God. Are you listening?

With an attentive heart,

Pastor J. M. Hurst

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Hello Family,

What makes you mad? What are the things that upset you creating disequilibrium in your life? Is it injustice or the insensitivity of others? Is it the greed and avarice that causes a small percentage of the world's population to control the vast majority of the world's wealth while millions around the globe suffer sickness and hunger? What makes you angry is really not the issue. How you handle your anger is what is most important. How do you deal with the matters, issues and people who cause you to become angry? How do you deal with those things that infuriate you, causing your blood to boil? The Apostle Paul taught the Ephesian Church not to allow their anger to be a cause for sin. This is good counsel because it instructs us not to get caught up in the negativity of others.

The answer to addressing our anger is to find constructive and creative means of responding to those things that provoke you. There is no value in becoming angry about injustices and doing nothing to try and correct them. Often people use the excuse of powerlessness as a reason for their apathy. In reality, if we stand by and watch injustice while complaining yet doing nothing, we are equally as responsible as the perpetrator. You can become a part of the solution by speaking out against wrong and striving to correct it through appropriate means and channels.

When you simply accept injustice without complaint you are implying that you are satisfied with the way things.

I want to suggest three methods or strategies that can help to correct injustice. Speak. Use every possible method of communicating about the injustice that you see. Be clear, honest and forthright in your communication. Act. Take all available steps to right wrongs and correct injustices that you see or experience. Your inaction is participation in the injustice. Pray. God has the power to correct any situation if we have the faith. Remember, prayer changes things. If you believe in God's power, God can fix the situation. Speak, Act, and Pray. You can become the change that you desire.

In the Spirit of Justice,

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

 

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Good Day Family,

Prayer is the foundation of the Christian life. It is the believer's means of speaking to and hearing from God. Medical studies have proven that there are significant benefits for those who pray, including a greater sense of well-being, reduced stress and clearer thinking. Other studies have shown that those who pray are happier, healthier and more successful in their endeavors. When you think about it...it makes sense to pray.

Clearer thinking alone is reason enough to pray...even for those whose faith is tenuous. When our thinking is clear, we plan better and we make less impulsive decisions. Clear thinking helps us to make good choices. It has been said so often that "The choices that you make today will determine the choices that will be afforded to you tomorrow." Making good, well thought out choices leads to successful outcomes.

Unfortunately, far too many of us rush into decisions and choices without careful thought and prayer. When we take the time to think and pray before we decide, we make better and more informed choices. What important choices are you facing today? Be prayerful, thoughtful and careful, and with clear thinking, you will make good choices that will be in line with God's will for your life.

Prayer and clear thinking go hand in hand. The blessings of clear thinking can be yours today. Choose to pray!

In a Spirit of Oneness,

Pastor J. M. Hurst

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The Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in us, with us and through us as we do God's work. The Holy Spirit is known as the third person or part of the Triune God - the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the promised presence that Jesus told His disciples would be with them always. Author Elizabeth Alves suggests that the Holy Spirit is one of the three voices that speak to us each day: The Holy Spirit, the enemy, and our own voice. Attuning our ears to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit is an important step toward spiritual maturity.

The guiding voice of the Holy Spirit is necessary to living an effective Christian life. Many Christians are overtaken by carnality...the lust for the things that are not of God, because they do not attune their ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit and seek to be obedient to what they hear. Obedience is key to our walk with God. When we are obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit, we will find that our lives are in line with the will, purpose and intention of God. The Holy Spirit wants to lead and guide you into all truth, just as Jesus promised.

The Holy Spirit wants to be your Advocate... your Comforter... and your Guide. The most powerful and important aspect of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, is that reality that the Holy Spirit will never leave us nor forsake us. The Holy Spirit will be with us forever. There is no friend or family member who we can count on to keep that promise, but the Holy Spirit can. Pray today for God to fill you to overflowing with His Spirit and watch and see what God will do. You will never be the same!

In the Spirit,

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

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Meditation is consciously listening for the voice of God as we ready ourselves to be obedient to that which we hear. The great psychiatrist Carl Jung once said, "Hurry is not of the Devil, it is the Devil." If we ever hope that we will be able to experience God at a deeper level, we must slow down our pace and quiet our lives. It is only in doing so that we will be able to hear the voice of God and focus on God's word.

Spending time in meditation causes us to go into the deep recesses of the spirit. It takes us to a place of consciousness where cell phones and iPads cannot take us. It is there that we truly find our oneness with God.

We must "still and quiet our souls" as the Psalmist writes so that in the sacred stillness we may hear from God. Take time to listen silently for the voice of God. God will speak to you as never before and the blessing will be enormous.

With a listening heart,

Pastor J. M. Hurst

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Hello Family,

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)

Distractions abound today. Social media, email, YouTube, television, text messages, and iPods are just a few of the distractions all of us have succumb to in the last five minutes. Multi-tasking has reached it’s zenith in our everyday lives. And, I believe that these modern day conveniences have become our greatest hindrances to our devotional life.

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus speaks of prayer and getting alone with God. He commanded that we go in secret to our closets, or our rooms to commune with God. Yet, if you continue in the same verse He says “shut the door.” It’s not good enough to enter the confines of the prayer closet if the door is wide open.

This reference to the prayer closet might certainly mean a physical closet, with a physical door to be shut. And we should find a place of solitude such as Jesus did. Jesus went to the mountains, His prayer closet was somewhere alone communicating with His heavenly Father. So, Jesus’ prayer closet wasn’t a physical closet with Sunday’s clothes hanging nicely from their wooden hangers.

Our prayer lives, and times of devotions are suffering because we have the door standing open. Distractions are getting the best of us because we refuse to shut the door to them. How many of us take our iPhones with us to pray? How many keep our laptops open while we study? How many of us text during our times of devotion? I believe we need to shut the door to every distraction to our devotional time. Let’s get our devotional lives in order. Let’s enter the privacy of the prayer closet and shut the door behind us. And when we do that are empty vessels will filled to the full.

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

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Hello Family,

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different Christian churches all over the place? There are large churches and small churches. There are diverse churches and mono-cultural churches. There are churches largely made up of young people and churches with aging congregations. If we stop to ask ourselves the question: "Why so many churches?" I think that we will find our answer in the definition of the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church is to win souls for Christ...to build the dominion of God on earth and to expand Christ's transformative teachings to places where they have yet not been heard.

In spite of how many churches you see as you travel up and down the streets of the city, there are still thousands upon thousands of people who have yet to embrace the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: hence, the need for all of the churches. Each believer has an individual responsibility to spread the message of the Gospel wherever we go. We must do our part in helping to save the lost.

Now, I know that there are many people who may not feel comfortable doing one-on-one evangelism, but please remember soul winning begins with prayer. Pray for the person or persons who you would like to win for Christ. Pray for God to bless them and bring them into the fold. Then do whatever you can to show love to that person to let them see that they are valuable to you and to God. Then finally, share your faith with them. Invite them to church, to Bible study, to Christian activities going on at your church. And then trust God to do the rest.

Soul winning is the purpose of the church, but never forget that the church is not a building or an institution. The church is the people...the gathered body of believers. The church is you and me.

With a zeal for evangelism,

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

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Dear Family,

Love is the heart and soul of the life of faith...God's love for us, our love for God, and our love for one another. In fact, if we examine God's word, we will see over and over again the clear instruction to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus instructed His disciples with these words, "By this will all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Love is the greatest power possessed by humanity. Love has the power to overcome hatred. It covers all faults...that is...if you have enough love in your heart toward God and toward others, it is greater than any sin that one can commit.

Paul spoke profoundly and poetically of love in his first letter to the Corinthians when he said, "It (love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." This is the character and quality of Christian love. Love enables us to be and to do the things that God asks of us, because that is the power of love. Love enables us to overcome our prejudice and our biases. Love enables us to move beyond our fears thus allowing our actions to be motivated not by fear but rather by love.

How deep is your love for God? How profound is your love for others? How deeply and profoundly do you feel and experience God's love for you? As you meditate on these questions, think about God's amazing sacrifice for you on a cross. Think of what Jesus suffered, and know that you are loved!

Empowered by his love,

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

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Greetings Family,

A few years ago, I traveled to Curacao to do some Evangelism work. The first few days of my sojourn on this beautiful island was an immersion into the diverse cultures that were represented by the people that resided on this island. I studied the people, the languages, the food, and the politics.

Immersion is becoming engulfed in something, to the extent that it has a lasting effect on one's being. This was indeed the case for me. There were things that I learned and experiences that I had that forever changed my life...experiences that I did not expect and could not have anticipated.

This is what it is like to be immersed in God...in God's Word, God's Spirit and God's Power. When we are immersed in God's Word it changes us and reshapes us in God's image and likeness and aligns us with God's will. When we are immersed in God's Spirit our daily reality is changed by being engulfed in the super-natural. We experience the power of God in an all-encompassing way. We feel a profound connection to the eternal, and we live in a posture of amazing peace and grace. Who would not want to experience something so awesome? Many people, because they see the Spirit-filled and Spirit-led lifestyle as a lack of control, out of fear of the unknown, reject the possibility of such a deep connection to and immersion in God.

What are the things in which you are immersed? Is it your family, your friends, your job or your pastimes? Whatever it is, if it is not God, it cannot deliver the fulfillment, growth and satisfaction that God can. Why not seek and immersion into the presence and power of God? Why not seek to be engulfed in God's Spirit and God's word? There is no greater existence than to dwell in the presence of the Most High God. This blessing can be yours today. It's time to be immersed!

Wrapped up in the Spirit of God,

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

 

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Greetings Family, When I was a kid my mother would always instruct me about my behavior as I left the house with these words…”remember who you are.” These words were both reproof and reminder that there was a certain expectation of me…a certain behavior that was acceptable and that was not acceptable. As I heard these words, which I often did not want to hear because of my plans and intentions for the day, I was reminded of what was right and wrong, and these words confirmed in my mind the expectation was that I would do the right things.

Doing the right thing is not always the easiest route to follow. In fact, it is most often the path that requires more courage and tenacity of you. However, the right path always ultimately yields the richest blessings. I remember, many years ago, hearing old preachers and deacons pray about “giving up the wrong for the right.” That meant that the Christian journey requires us to turn from the wrong alternative to select that which is right and pleasing in the eyes of God.

Everyday each of us must make choices. It has often been said that the choices that you make today will determine the choices that will be afforded to you tomorrow. Indeed this true. It is therefore important that we do the right thing each day..that we make the right choices so that new avenues of opportunity will be opened up to us. Decision-making is the skill that is required for you to be able to make right choices. A good friend once lamented, after a person he knew in authority made a wrong choice, “Doc, it’s really unfortunate that people don’t realize how the choices that they make can affect other people’s destinies.” It is certainly true that our choices not only impact our lives but the lives of others. The weight of this reality is tremendous.

Do the right thing. Make the correct choice. Choose the better path. It will not only bless you, but many others for generations to come.

 

I Choose Christ,

 

Pastor J. M. Hurst

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Greetings Family,

Selflessness is the most Christ-like of all Christian characteristics. It is the sacrificing of one’s own needs, desires and goals for the good of another. It is a rare commodity in this day and age. Our world seems so self-focused that people can hardly even think of sacrificing even when it is for their own good. Two generations ago, sacrifice was the order of the day. Most people saved their money rather than living from pay check to pay check and most people’s goal was to work so their children and grandchildren could have a better life.

So much has changed about our world and about how many people think. Hence, selflessness has become a rare trait. But, in reality, selflessness should be the norm for those who call themselves children of God. Sacrificing self is what Jesus’ life and example teaches us. We should never be so self-focused that we become unwilling to sacrifice to help someone else.

When was the last time you made a real sacrifice to benefit someone else? Is selflessness one of your personality traits or are you so self-focused that you cannot even envision the idea of self-sacrifice. Take the time to do a selflessness inventory and, as you do, reflect on the undeserved sacrifice that Christ made for you. As you do, I’m sure that you will see more ways that you can selflessly give or act for the benefit other.

In prayerful reflection,

Pastor J. M. Hurst

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Hello Family,

 

There is extraordinary power in the human will. In fact nothing significant in life can be accomplished without an act of the human will. Somebody must decide that there is a certain direction in which to move and then others will follow. It is the same in your life personally. Each individual helps to determine the shape and direction of their lives by conscious acts of the will.

 

For the believer, this is equally important. God wants to do miraculous things in, through and with your life, but you must be willing to allow God to move. This is what free will is all about. It is our ability to say yes or no to what God would like to accomplish in our lives.

 

What are the things that you would like to see happen in your life, in your community or in the world? Do you have the will to begin it and to see it through? Are you willing to allow God to have control of your life and to do whatever God wants to do? Remember it all begins with an act of the will.

 

What will you do?

 

With a surrendered will,

 

Pastor J. M. Hurst

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Greetings Family,

 

Have you ever had a day when it seems that there was just one roadblock after another to your progress and your agenda? Have there been times in your life when it seemed that all of the doors were shut in your face, and as the old saying goes, "You could not win for losing?" Well...if you have had these experiences or if you have been through these times, then you are like the rest of us. All people experience difficulties and challenges at one time or another in their lives. It is how you handle these experiences that determines how effective, meaningful and focused your life can be. It is in those times that we need to be most surrendered to God and God's purpose and plan for our lives.

 

So many people live their lives solely focused on accomplishing their vision or the plan that they have determined for their lives. Eventually, these people come to a point when they begin to question the meaning of their lives and whether or not their living has had any value. Unfortunately, many people come to this point of questioning far too late in the journey. and they end up living the rest of their lives regretting the path that they have taken and the things that they have done. I have often said that life is too short to live without joy and too long to live with regret. You do not have to continue on a path that does not lead to blessing and fulfillment in your life. You can have a life that is filled with joy and peace and love. All you need to do is surrender you will, your desires and your plan to God's will, God's desires and God's plan for your life. I promise you...doing this will open up doors of opportunity in your life and set you on the pathway to living the life that you love.

 

It really is simple: if you are living your life in line with God's purpose for your existence, you will love the life that you live. You can do it! You can have it. You can live the life you love!

 

With Jesus Joy,

 

Pastor J.M. Hurst

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Hello Family,

 

Did you know that there is no problem that God cannot fix, no pain the God cannot heal, and no chasm that God cannot bridge? Every day, I hear people talking about what cannot be fixed, what cannot be changed, and what cannot be done. This negativity is an act of surrender to the enemy and an evidence of a lack of faith in God. If we believe in God, then we know that God can bring the high place down and raise up the lowly. If we trust in God's word, we affirm that God can fix that which is broken and renew where there seems to be no life.

 

God has blessed me to see the mighty works of his hands both in restoration and in destruction, and it has taught me that it is God's desire to bring restoration and rebirth into our lives. This message is written for somebody who has experienced loss and pain in their lives. In these challenging times, that's almost all of us. But, what I want to share with you today is that God can rebuild your brokenness. God can, God will, and God desires to restore to you everything that the enemy stole from you. God will restore you just like God restored Job and your later situation will be greater than you former.

 

Someone reading this today needs rebirth...you've been going your own way all your life and it has left you empty and alone. Now is the time to give it all up to God. Jesus and only Jesus can give you new birth. He can give you a new start... a new beginning...a transformation in your life. The change that you have been waiting for is right in front of you. Why not today? Why not be restored? Why not be reborn? Why not become the man or the woman that God is calling you to be? Why not have the life that God desires for you? Restoration and rebirth can be yours today. You need only to ask of the Lord and God will deliver!

 

With restored heart and a reborn spirit,

 

-- Pastor J. M. Hurst 

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Selflessness is the most Christ-like of all Christian characteristics. It is the sacrificing of one's own needs, desires and goals for the good of another. It is a rare commodity in this day and age. Our world seems so self-focused that people can hardly even think of sacrificing even when it is for their own good. Two generations ago, sacrifice was the order of the day. Most people saved their money rather than living from pay check to pay check and most people's goal was to work so their children and grandchildren could have a better life.

So much has changed about our world and about how many people think. Hence, selflessness has become a rare trait. But, in reality, selflessness should be the norm for those who call themselves children of God. Sacrificing self is what Jesus' life and example teaches us. We should never be so self-focused that we become unwilling to sacrifice to help someone else.

When was the last time you made a real sacrifice to benefit someone else? Is selflessness one of your personality traits or are you so self-focused that you cannot even envision the idea of self-sacrifice. Take the time to do a selflessness inventory and, as you do, reflect on the undeserved sacrifice that Christ made for you. As you do, I'm sure that you will see more ways that you can selflessly give or act for the benefit others. In prayerful reflection,

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b2ap3_thumbnail_InterfaithFlyer.jpg

On behalf of the Russell and William Families several faith groups representing the City of Cleveland will be conducting a city-wide prayer service on Tuesday evening (Jan 15th @ 7:00 pm). We will come together in prayer in order to mend hearts and to pray for the city. We are hoping that coming together in prayer will bring us together as a community and will shun any negative impact from irrefutable outrage.

 

Below you will find the copy of the letter I received from Michelle Russell, sister of one of the victims in the police shooting that took place in early December 2012. We are asking that as many of you along with representation from your congregations will plan to be present. If you have questions you can contact me.

 

City-Wide Prayer Coordinator

Pastor Dr. Jerome Hurst

Southeast Seventh-day Adventist Church

Phone 216-662-3080

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Williams-Shooting-2.jpgHello All,

My name is Michelle Russell and I am the sister of Timothy Ray Russell, one of the shooting victims of the 11/29/12, CPD-Shooting that left my brother and Melissa Williams dead. I am emailing several pastors throughout the city today, in order to request a city-wide prayer for the Russell & William Families and for the City of Cleveland & East Cleveland; for everyone involved in this horrific event. I will need assistance to coordinate this prayer, therefore I am reaching out to the men of God that reside in this area to call for a city-wide prayer; all churches praying that God will help the families involved and that he will help us to get to the truth of what actually happened on November 29th.

I would specifically like to pray that God will be with the city in a special way. This thing has the potential for straining race relations; there seems to be a division between races. I feel that race did play a role in this, but we can't allow this to become a white and black issue, but a people issue. All Christians should be coming together in prayer and praying that the truth will be revealed no matter what it turns out to be. I feel we need to pray that God will be with the city and that he would touch the hearts of the people.

So many comments and allegations are being made and it is hard to read a lot of the stuff that is being said; I realize that prophecy is being fulfilled, according to (KJV) Matthew 24:12 "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Nobody deserves to be shot and killed the way Tim and Melissa were. It seems to me that many people feel that they deserved to die because they did not pull over, but nobody knows why they did not pull over; maybe they were in fear of their lives maybe they couldn’t pull over, due to shots being fired at them. We do not really know what happened to start the chase, especially now that this new story about Officer John Jordan pursuing after them that same day, moments before the deadly chase took place. What I do know is that the story about the gun and using the car as a weapon is not in alignment with my brother’s character, therefore I do not believe the story to be true. There are so many questions that cannot be answered because both Tim and Melissa are both dead. Only God can make sure the truth is revealed. Please let me know if you will be able to assist me with the city-wide prayer. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Michelle Russell

Tagged in: healing shooting
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Hello Family

 

When you come to the end of a year, there are often many emotions that you experience. Sometimes there is joy, because of the challenges of the year past, and because of the hope that you have for yet a new opportunity to do things differently. Sometimes there is sadness, as you reflect on the things experienced or lost in the previous year that cannot be done over, regained or repeated. Often there are feelings of expectation of new possibilities, new challenges, new blessings and new adventures in the year ahead.

 

Here is the greatest gift that those who trust in God possess: that we serve a God of new beginnings. No matter what has happened in the past...no matter how grim the outlook, we can always begin again. It is so often said, "Where there is life there is hope." Indeed, this is true with God. With God, the end of a year is the threshold of a new beginning.

 

As I look into the New Year that is ahead of us, I am enormously excited by the possibilities of promise, the opportunities of service and the bountiful blessings that God has in store for all who walk in God's glorious light. Why would we do anything other than to live surrendered to God's will and guided by God's Spirit? The end of this year is your chance to prepare yourself for things that you have never experienced before...God's unlimited possibilities for you. The Apostle Paul taught us aptly how to face the future with these words from the third chapter of his letter to the Philippians: "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus."

 

In Joyous Anticipation,

 

Pastor J. M. Hurst

Tagged in: Happy New Year
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Hello Family,

 

Have you ever stopped to think about how impatient we can be sometime? Most of us don't want to wait in traffic, much less wait for God to move. Instead we complain about our situation...about what's going on around us and all of the things that are wrong with our lives. We are dissatisfied with who we are, what we have and where we are on life's journey. This dissatisfaction and complaining does nothing to fix or change our situation.  In fact, it actually makes it worse, because our attitude has a great effect on how we handle difficulties and manage challenges. 

 

Here is an important fact to acknowledge - nothing in life happens with the wave of a magic wand.  Lives are built, works are accomplished and fortunes are made...brick by brick.  Stop looking for the quick fix or the magic pill that can take you from where you are to where you want to be in your life.  Things like that only happen in Oz (where the wizard lives).  Your goals will be accomplished, your dreams and visions realized and your destiny will be reached by hard work and perseverance. 

 

I have never been the kind of person who spends my time waiting for my ship to come in, for the lottery numbers to come out, or for someone to die and leave it all to me.  I know that I can have whatever I want if I am willing to work and sacrifice enough to have it.  By the way, I'd rather build something brick by brick than have it dropped in my lap, because I learn so much in the building process. 

 

So it's time to get started.  What are you going to build?  What are you going to change?  What are you going to fix?  Be patient...and do it brick by brick.

 

Building my blessing,

 

--

Pastor J.M. Hurst

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