My name is Warren Allen and I am a member of Relentless Church. I moved to this hidden jewel of a city, Greenville, which I now call home; just over a year ago. From the moment I moved here, every step that I’ve taken has been one of faith. And as with any faith walk, your faith is typically challenged externally while occasionally being silently questioned internally. Through all of this, it’s vital to my Christian walk that I hear GOD and HIS direction for my life. One of the ways this is accomplished is first through my personal prayer life, which if I’m being honest I don’t always spend as much time as I should praying. The other, is through receiving spiritual nourishment from my church, enter Pastor John Gray.
It’s clear that Pastor John has his finger on the pulse of the Holy Spirit, due to his ministerial accuracy when he preaches and teaches to the congregation. His sermons are always multifaceted in both nature and delivery. They are often powerful and thought provoking, all while being delivered in a certain swagger that only Pastor John Gray can deliver. That swag consist of Pastor John’s ability to deliver his sermons with genius comedic timing, yet laden with spiritual bombs and wisdom, all while being armed with divine timing. His latest series “Love & Happiness” proves to be no exception, as it has been both light hearted yet impactful.
Pastor John kicked off the series with the opening part, entitled “Loved at First Sight”. As a single man, I felt this first part of the series hit home for me on several levels. For starters, it dealt with both ideologies on singleness and something I pray to experience when GOD says it’s time, married life. An example of this would be Pastor John’s sage advise to all singles that “surface may move you, but it cannot keep you”. Remembering that looks aren’t enough to sustain a long and lasting relationship is a step that sometimes I think we as people miss. Acknowledging that someone is attractive is fine, but solely basing a relationship off of this…is not. Secondly, it addressed common missteps that befall some married couples such as putting too much emphasize on their spouse and forgetting that GOD is their one true source. “Don’t deify your spouse, expecting them to make you whole”. Lastly, it touched on GOD’s view of humanity and how HE first loved us. This was addressed in a priceless gem Pastor John elegantly dropped “GOD is the answer before you knew there was a question”. I’ll just leave that last one there and let it sink in.
Ready for Part Two!
After releasing revelatory knowledge from the previous message, Pastor John then decided to double up and come back with part two of the series. The intriguingly dubbed “Apples & Oranges”. This part dealt with the differences not only between men and women as a whole, but more so the differences of individuals whether man or woman. In addition, it addressed how those said differences collide with each other in totality and how two (one apple, one orange) can truly merge into becoming one in the covenant of marriage. Coming primarily from the book of Genesis with verses such as Gen. 2:7, Gen. 2:15-24, the message’s core stemmed from the first man and woman..Adam and Eve. Pastor John makes a statement early in the message that sets a tone and gives a base for the rest of the sermon. Referencing Adam and Eve he stated “Two individuals, one common purpose, two sets of needs, one GOD in common.” Just as Adam and Eve were two different individuals with different needs and also abilities, so is any husband and wife in their relationship. I personally found this message to be not only informative but also relatable. At first glance one might ask what does a single man take from a message on marriage and relationship. Well, as Pastor John said “singles can glen wisdom from this message” so they can gain understanding before courtship. Not to mention the raw reminder of “being married doesn’t cure loneliness” a common misconception that needs swift correction in the minds and hearts of many. Pastor John also touched on the authority that we all have to name everything in the garden of our lives, just as Adam named the animals in the garden of Eden.
Most notably, I took away that people like apples and oranges are different with different thickness to their skin, such as humans defer in the thickness of their relational skin. One person may be an apple, with a thinner more sensitive skin, while another may be an orange. An orange has thicker hide and may not be as easily accessible to its citrus core, more work of unfolding layers is required with an orange. As people we should take the time to learn who we are, whether single, dating, or married. This message shows us that knowledge of one’s self is vital to the growth and sustainability of any relationship.
A Love & Happiness Take Away
Lastly, the end of the series “Cross your Heart” made its recent debut. It’s here where the series had me do an internal check. Is your heart right? Questions that provoked internal dialogue filled this message, such as “What’s in you heart?” and “Who has your heart?”. Pastor John also broke down the nature of a “cross”; a cross is an intersection. For the believer it’s an intersection of the eternal and temporal, an intersection of both repentance and salvation, an intersection where Heaven meets Earth. As the message continued so did my understanding of the instruction that was being delivered. Crossing your heart also means to pick up your own personal cross so to speak and crucifying your own flesh so that the glory of GOD may be further produced in your life. This one challenged me as much as it enlighten me, both of which I believe are good things.
I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. It has touched on both love and happiness in their respective individual meanings and how we as christians deal with these emotions and ideologies versus the actual biblical view of these emotions and how GOD demonstrates his love toward us. I feel empowered, informed, and more personally aware after this series and I look forward to experiencing more of GOD’s true forms of love and happiness.
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