"The purpose of my ministry is to illustrate to believers that earnest effort to change our behavior is not the key to spiritual growth but through recognizing our own Pharisaism God can transform our selfish, prideful and self dependent character into humility through grace, truth and time." "...the Purpose" The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; goals; aim. Several years ago, God put a vision in my heart to start a music ministry sharing the Gospel with singing, trumpet solos, and my testimony. But I didn't understand the purpose of my ministry. In my effort to build a ministry that would have a positive impact on the body of Christ, I become absolutely frustrated. That's when God stepped in and not only reached out to help me identify my purpose, but He also taught me how to expand my ministry on biblical principals. In developing a 'Statement of Purpose,' I have grown to understand how God can take those very insignificant events in my life and make them noteworthy. I've reached deep within my spirit and found those things that I had concealed and brought them into His light. Because I have focused my energy in identifying who I am in Christ, audience members will be able to focus on the message that I will share and they'll exchange their dark areas for the light of His truth. "...of my Ministry" The act of serving; ministration. One that serves as a means; instrumentality. As I sought to identify the focus of my ministry, I struggled with the unknown. Not knowing when or how God would use this ministry brought me a great deal of confusion. After all, every other artist had a sense of direction. That's when the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am not suppose to lean on my own understanding but to trust Him in all I was called to do. So I surrendered my confusion to Him and began to embrace the difficult process of identifying how God was going to use me through this ministry. As I lean on His understanding, my perseverance will challenge the audience to trust in Him more than they have before. As I express a fresh and timely message, born out of my personal experiences, the audience members will be encouraged and come to a deeper relationship with Christ. "...to Illustrate" To clarify, as by use of or serving as an example or comparison. It's amazing how Jesus was able to captivate His audience with the parables that always ended with a simple but profound truth. Through laughter and tears, Jesus grabs our attention and fascinates our hearts as we recognize the truth that resonates in our lives. When reading His parable about the talents, I was astounded at how that truth came to life; I was challenged to use my talents! As I share with the audience the images from my past, they will be taken back to the images of their past. Then, as my music and testimony ministers to their hearts, they will confront their past and be driven to lay their despairs at the foot of the cross. "...Believers" The unified church body, brotherhood, and family who call upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I don't have the privilege of knowing the exact date, but, I do remember that I was six years old when I had asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. It was the fear! Not the fear of God or furious flames of hell, but the fear of uncertainty. As a young child who was unsure if his family could survive the unpredictable turmoil, I was in search of hope. That fear, in connection with the hope in Christ, gave me a clear perspective of who Christ had called me to be. It has been through my relationship with Christ that I've come to trust this community of believers called the 'Church.' And through this relationship, I am able to bring a fresh and new message to the audience that says that God loves us unconditionally and that He wants to meet us at our needs. With this message, the audience will see His compassion and they will long to know Him as Lord and Savior. "...that earnest Effort" The use of physical or mental energy to do something. A difficult exertion of the strength or will. We were on a camping trip when I decided to take a little time for myself and enjoy a good book. I nestled up next to the campfire and started a book titled '12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.' When I ventured into chapter three, the comfort of that cozy campfire began to subside as the Holy Spirit gripped my heart. I was stunned as I read my life story. I learned that changing our behavior does not cause us to grow emotionally and spiritually. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that in my 'masquerade' I was denying the power of the cross. When people hear my testimony about denying the power of the cross, they will realize how they have denied that same power and will turn their affection back to the glory of the cross. "...to Change our behavior" To cause to be difficult. To give a completely different form or appearance. Until God had reached me around the campfire, I was convinced that if I changed my ways I would grow spiritually. All this time I had been depending on myself and not the Creator of the Heavens and Earth. I had failed to realize that nothing was too hard for Him while I was denying the power of the cross! I resisted and denied my need for His help until I remembered the sacrifice Jesus made for me. It was like the time when I felt ashamed of neglecting Him, so I decided to read as many devotionals as I could. My feeble attempt at becoming that proverbial spiritual sponge! Then I recognized that only God can change me, make me, and mold me as He wanted. I began to experience a level of spiritual maturity that I could have never attained on my own. When I share this truth with the audience, the blind will see that He is the source of our sight, and the lame will be healed, leaving their 'crutches' behind. God's presence will reveal Himself to the audience in a way that they have not experienced and they will continue to desire His presence. "...is not the key to Spiritual Growth" The process of growing. Development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form. Anchored at the campfire, I had learned that my spiritual growth was completely dependant on God alone! I couldn't help but to think of a recent Sunday morning service where I acted as if everything was all right when actually I was struggling with changing myself. I was so ashamed! I had been hiding in my masquerade! But God's love reached down to me at the campfire and embraced me in a way I had never experienced, and I began to understand that I needed to focus on Him. When I share with the audience about my masquerade they will identify the masquerades in their life and surrender them to the power of the cross. Then, they will begin to learn and understand that our spiritual growth is a gift from God. "...but through Recognizing" To know to be something that has been perceived before. To know or identify from past experience or knowledge. The reality of how changing my ways denied the power of the cross convicted me around that campfire. It was like when my car broke down and left me stranded. I felt helpless! Nothing that I had done or could do would help me to recapture my failures from the past, except to surrender them at the foot of the cross. My faults, failures, and sins were all laid before Him at his feet and I learned that this changing process does not come all at once, but rather in small portions as God grants. Just as I was convicted, the Holy Spirit will enter in and begin to grab those audience members who are under the same presumption that I was. Then, as I share in music and my testimony, the audience will realize their denial of the power in the cross and will surrender their faults, failures and sins. "...our own Pharasaism" The doctrine and practices of the Pharisees. Hypocritical observances of the letter of religious or moral law without regard for the spirit; sanctimoniousness. I had not only come to realize my faults, failures, and sins, but I was also convicted about my attitude. As I pondered over my feelings, I asked myself 'How do I grow spiritually?' The answer soon came as I read that "just as the correct mixture of sunlight, water, air, and soil nourishes a plant through it's seed, shoot, bud and adult states, we also need ingredients to help us grow." As a child growing up in the church, I recalled how I had been receiving those ingredients all my life. I had been taught these ways as a Christian, but I had not lived them. In my shame I found hope, and my hope was in the glory of the cross! When I share this message the audience will identify with the struggles I had faced and they'll understand how their attitudes need to be placed at the foot of the cross! As they surrender their faults, failures, and sins, they'll experience God in a way that they have never before, and they'll begin to see God's miraculous works in their lives. "...God can Transform" To change markedly the form or appearance. To change the nature, function or condition. Nestled around the campfire, I could feel the flames and heat of the 'Refiner's Fire' forging His craftsmanship within me. In my acceptance and understanding that changing my behavior does not cause spiritual growth I began to immediately feel strongholds being pulled down. It was much like that moment in my life when I had realized that I needed to rededicate my life to Jesus. When I finally realized that I had not been living for Him and went to the altar, a sensation of freedom and renewal poured over me. It was that same sensation that captured me again as the 'Refiner's Fire' broadened my view and softened my heart. When I share my testimony, the evidence of my transformation will be unmistakably obvious. The audience will see for themselves the wondrous power of the cross and they will step out and seek the Lord for what awaits them. "...our Selfish" Concerned chiefly or only with one-self without regard for the well being of others. Arising from, characterized by, or showing selfishness. Up until I read that book, I thought that I had everything well in hand. I had been spending all my life trying to do the right thing, behave the right way, and yet there was no deep sense of emotional connectedness to God. I had thought back to some recent Sunday services where my Pastor had shared about the life of the Pharisees. As I learned how they too fasted, tithed, and praised God the same way I did, I realized in my shame I was a Pharisee! Then God's truth entered in, embraced me, ministered to me; and I recognized that I needed to become a steward of my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. As I share in music and testimony, the audience will be challenged to examine their hearts and will recognize their see if they are a Pharasaism! When they do, they will make their confession and be renewed as a steward over their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. "...Prideful" A sense of one's own proper dignity or value. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in one's work, achievements, or possessions. I was confident that I was walking in the will of the Lord but did not realize how pride had entangled me and began to swallow me whole. I was absolutely confident that I didn't need others in my life and that I could conquer about anything on my own. But when God revealed to me my misconceptions I learned that without God and those who He had placed in my life I couldn't accomplish anything at all! My pride had swallowed me up, and for that I was condemned! But God's grace had embraced me. As I share with the audience, many will be compelled to identify their struggles in pride. They'll understand that by surrendering and humbling themselves to God, they will come to be more dependant on one another and will grow into a more unified church body. "...Self-dependent character" Contingent upon yourself. Relying or requiring the aid from only yourself. After throwing a few more logs on the fire, I come to realize that I wasn't as dependant on others who were walking in the faith as I should be. In fact, I was relying totally upon my self. It was typical me. It was like a time when I started my second recording project without reaching out to anyone for advice. I had decided to record the vocals, guitar, bass, and horn parts myself; having very little assistance from others who were available and more capable. Thank God that He showed me the resources that He had placed before me. When I started the process and used the resources available the tracks sounded 100% better than the rough drafts. It was then that I realized that the production would have been so much worse if I didn't realize how self-dependant I really was. I was humbled when the Holy Spirit revealed how throughout my life I've denied the divine intervention of God. Through my music and testimony, God's people will be able to identify and understand that when we surrender ourselves to Him, we receive His grace and mercy, and grow to be dependant on Him and those He has placed into our lives. "...into Humility through grace" The quality or condition of being humble; lack of pride. As I was confronted with my selfishness, humility settled into my spirit. Continuing with my life's chapter, I recognized that while I was God's enemy, He reconciled me to Him through the death of Jesus! The pieces of this enormous puzzle of my life were falling into place. I was understanding the love and compassion that God had for me. Truth was speaking to my heart and I was becoming more spiritually mature than I realized. I was defeated, so I surrendered my failures as He wiped the tears from my eyes. I surrendered my wants, my desires, my needs... and He stooped down to meet me. In this moment He reached out as I learned humility! When I share with the audience, my testimony will resonate with the sounds of humility and the people will be transformed into a new creation as they approach His throne with confidence and accept the blessings awaiting them. "...Truth and time" Conformity to fact or actuality. Fidelity to an original or standard. When I had finished reading my little 'crazy maker,' I learned one important thing; 'truth is structure.' It was a profound statement as I could now see that I really didn't have any structure in my life as I believed. All my life I had been living for myself, while denying the power of the cross. I couldn't understand why I wasn't growing spiritually. It was when I had reached the end of this awe inspiring chapter that truth came into my life and revealed to me the power that sets you free! As I struggled through this chapter, I wrestled with God up and through the last paragraph. Then in surrendering, I had felt relieved that God had revealed to me my shortcomings and allowed me to lay them down for the power of the cross to overcome. As the audience examines their hearts, they will come to understand that when they surrender their shortcomings, faults, and failures, truth will be found in His unfailing love!