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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV


Let’s talk about courage. When courage dies, creativity dies with it. We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. This is common knowledge; sometimes we just don’t know what to do about it. Let me list for you some of the many ways you might be afraid to live a more creative life:

  • You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or-worst of all- ignored.

  • You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it.

  • You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.

  • You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously.

  • You’re afraid your best work is behind you.

  • You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back.

  • You’re afraid you're too old to start.

  • You’re afraid you’re too young to start.

Goodness. This is only the top of the list and as you can see… fears can become a bottomless pit and a depressing one. Let’s just wrap this part up by stating that everything can be scary!


Please understand that the only reason I can speak so authoritatively about fear is that I know it so intimately. I’ve experienced so many things from my childhood to now that would have me very comfortably sitting in a corner watching others live their lives.


Over the years, I often wondered what finally made me stop being so afraid. A lot had to do with growing up, learning, and securing (within myself) my identity in Christ Jesus. But mostly, I think it was just this: I finally realized that my fear was boring. I somehow figured out that my fear had no variety to it, no depth, no substance, no texture. I noticed that my fear never changed, never delighted, never offered a surprise twist or an unexpected ending. My fear was a song with only one note - only one word, and that word was STOP!


This means that my fear always made predictably boring decisions, like a choose-your-own ending book that always had the same ending: nothingness. True, the volume may vary from person to person, but the song itself never changes, because we were all tricked with the same basic fear package of being afraid of the unknown. But there’s nothing particularly compelling about that. Do you know what I mean? Fear is a deeply ancient, old trick of the enemy, but it isn’t especially smart.


We fixate so much on fear as if it is the most interesting thing in life. When in fact, it is the most mundane thing. It’s time to realize that we have creativity living within us that is original. A personality within us that is original. I have dreams. You have dreams, perspectives, and aspirations that are original, unique, and given to us by our great creator. But my fear was not original. It is something that is just mass produced, available on the shelves of any generic box store. And in truly thinking about it… That’s the thing I want to build my entire identity around? The most boring instinct that I possess? NO. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). It’s time to remember who God called us to be.


May the Lord bless you with dreams of remembrance. With new dreams, with tactical steps and measures in how to move forward. May you be obedient to these steps no matter what others may say or what you may even say to yourself. May your creativity be inspired, set on fire, and burning for what God has called you to do. Favor. Grace. Gentleness. Freedom. COURAGE.


Blessings to you,

Cheri Leight

Media Director at The Tabernacle


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Shalom Aleichem Beloved,


While spring may not officially begin until March 20, we have always felt like the new season truly started with the celebration of Passover, Good Friday, and Easter. However this year, even more so, we have truly felt that something new is being birthed both in the hearts of our family, as well as in the Spirit. As we dig deeper and chase after God’s heart for this season, we wanted to pause and share something that has been sitting heavily in our spirit.


From his grimy cell on Babylon’s death row, King Manasseh looked back on years of unspeakable crimes—worshipping the sun and stars in the Lord’s own temple, shedding the blood of innocent people, sacrificing his own sons to idols. He realized his high-handed rebellion against God had brought him nothing but pain. Then he looked up to the God of his fathers and cried out for help. Interestingly, the Bible does not tell us what King Manasseh told God. Instead, it simply tells us how he prayed. “In his distress he [King Manasseh] sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so, he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV)


Humanly speaking, even God’s holy prophets must have thought King Manasseh had gone too far for the Lord to bring him back. After all, his sins had led the kingdom of Judah so deeply into idolatry that they believed the Lord’s judgment on the nation could not be cancelled. Manasseh’s despair over his wickedness could not bring back to life the people he had killed and the families he had crushed. Yet, because of God’s forgiveness, King Manasseh could come into God’s Temple a forgiven man. Freed from Babylon and given another chance to reign, Manasseh took big, bold steps to show his repentance was real, tearing down pagan altars, restoring the Temple, and worshipping the Lord publicly.


Beloved, if we want to be entrusted with the revival we are seeking; if we want to see God move like never before on this earth, then we need to take a pause and examine our hearts, minds, lives, and spirits for the idols we have cluttered into the space reserved for the Lord. To take it a step further, this self-examination needs to be a spiritual discipline repeated so that we might steward the full measure of God’s glory that He is seeking to pour out.


Caite and I are believing for the youth and our family to step into a season where we cultivate a space that does not need a tidy up, it does not need a spring deep clean, it does not need to be re-arranged. We are believing for a Tabernacle that dances on the idols smashed beneath our feet as we wholeheartedly follow in Manasseh’s footsteps, crying out for God to move.


We ask you, Lord, to come saturate our lives, hearts, and minds until there is room for nothing but the weight of your glory and presence in our lives!


In the love of Christ,

Matthew & Caite Kunkel – Tabernacle Youth Ministry Directors


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On a recent long-distance drive, I played the Book of John from beginning to end on my Bible app. For over three hours, the Gospel of John laid out the depth of the plan of God from “In the beginning was the Word” to the final directions with Peter to “feed My sheep.” Included in this Gospel is the poignant story of Jesus’ last week as told in John 12-20. I am looking forward to revisiting these chapters during this Passion week. The greatest impression from my drive was the overlying lesson of love from the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is no wonder that we often tell someone to start with the Gospel of John when they are new to the faith.


“In the beginning was the Word” and “the Word was made flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:1&14. The living Word is Christ; the Messiah. In the days leading up to the triumphal entry, Jesus began to reveal more of His Person as Messiah. Fearing a repercussion from Rome, the leaders of the Synagogue were on edge as the people began to rally around Him. Just days before, Lazarus was raised from the dead. Two blind men were healed. Miraculous news spread quickly. Then Jesus made His appearance in Jerusalem riding on a donkey; the beast used by kings in times of peace. The people rallied and the shouts of “Hosanna” rose as the people put their robes on the streets and the children waved the palm branches.


I can’t help but wonder what the surge of the crowd felt like that day. The people were ready to have change. In their sphere, the next natural step was a King like David who would rule and set their earthly lives to order. This King would be different. This King was the King of Kings and His Kingdom was one of spiritual and eternal significance. Quite often humans have seen the workings of God in a one-dimensional sphere and God purposes His actions in a deeper dimension that has far wider and far deeper effects. His ways are higher and deeper.


The people on the streets that day did not have the knowledge of the cross and resurrection that would come so soon after this incredible entry. The disciples went through the motions of their last week with Jesus only to reflect later on the revelation and depth of the Gospel that had been played out before them.


I would encourage all of us to take time to revisit the Gospels this week. The story of our faith is an incredible journey best reset by a visit to the place where faith was set in motion. At the cross, the sacrifice was complete and so was our redemption. The purpose of the Messiah was finished.


John captured it in John 1:14, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


Blessings,

Pastor Sharon Baldwin

Preschool Ministries

Southwestern Daycare Director

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3210 Southwestern Blvd.
Orchard Park, NY 14127
716-675-2888

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