SET FREE FROM THE PAST: AUDREY PETTY

SET FREE FROM THE PAST: AUDREY PETTY

By Dave Earley

Steve and Audrey Petty are a couple in the City Group that meets at our house every week. After the first Sunday of our new sermon series, PUSH (Prayer Until Something Happens), Audrey emailed me her story about how God is working in her life. Let me warn you, reading this might make you cry.

I am from the island of Fiji (an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island).

My father was the son of an Indian priest. His last name was Maharaj, indicative of the highest caste. He became a born-again Christian and changed his last name to Bernard, giving up his Hindu religion to preach the Gospel of Christ. He married a Polynesian girl, my mother, Esther, and the two of them helped in expanding the Christian movement in Fiji.  We initially had a good life by Fiji standards.

Everything changed, however, when I was six because my father passed away, leaving my mother with ten children. Suddenly, we were very poor and life was extremely difficult.

By the age of 13, I was preaching on street corners under the direction of a 70 year-old preacher. After church on Sunday, I would walk with my ukulele and my Bible for two hours (with no shoes) to remote Indian villages where nobody spoke English. I would sing, preach, and teach in Hindustani. I visited three houses each week, spending about an hour in each house.  Many people were powerfully delivered from demons.

Today, the church we established is still going strong under their direction.
When I was 21, I was hastily married to a man I barely knew. Everything was fine right up until the day we got married. That same day he told me that I could not be involved in church any more.
We lived very close to the church, and when I would hear the music from the church, I could only cry. He would beat me for crying. The beatings continued every day, even when I was pregnant. When I was 8 months pregnant with my fourth child, he beat me up so badly that I lost the child. He threatened to kill me if I told anyone.

I was like a prisoner
. He was very cruel. I lived in fear and had no self-confidence. After 12 years of taking his abuse and torture, I took the kids and moved out when he left to visit his native island of Rotuma, (A few years ago, we discovered that while married to me, my ex-husband also had a family in Rotuma, with a wife and four children).

Since leaving him, I have remarried and have a great marriage. My husband, Steve, is a former missionary/pastor that I met when he was working in Fiji. We have been together now for 20 years. He and

I have a good life here in the United States and have continued to serve God as He opens doors for us.
Even with a good husband, I wrestled with scars, fears, and anger toward my ex-husband. Several years ago, I was able to forgive him. I have learned to continue to let the joy of God and His peace flow through me.

But part of me was still in bondage to my past life.
Last month, I learned that my former husband will be retiring and wants to come to the United States.  He has always said that one day he will come back and kill me. Suddenly, the ugly memories of that past life, of the lack of self-confidence, of the abuse and fear, and of the pain, all flooded back.

That was until Sunday, February 8, 2015. Pastor Dave started a new series called P.U.S.H., or Pray Until Something Happens. One of the things I put on my list for prayer was to be set free from the past. I have prayed about this before, and have had some measure of victory over it, but it was always with me. My husband and I went Sunday morning and went back again Sunday night. The services were beautiful and powerful with a genuine presence of God’s Holy Spirit. God deeply touched me in both of those services and I felt the spiritual chains fall and the load lifted. I am now so free and at peace!!

That night, I had a very intense, graphic dream. I saw a demonic shape of my ex-husband come to me and start to abuse me. He pushed me against a wall and the fear came flooding over me. I was shaking with fear of him. Suddenly, in my dream, I remembered the services and the preaching and God’s presence. I shouted at him, “You have been defeated in the name of Jesus, and I’m going to pray until something happens.” As

I shouted this over and over, he fell right in front of me and passed out.
I immediately woke up. Now awake, I was still shouting and rebuking him out loud. This is something that has never happened to me in or after a dream. It was at that point I knew this was a confirmation of what I had experienced on Sunday: I have been set free!

I felt like I could climb a mountain! I am filled with an overwhelming joy!

I AM FREE! I give God all the Glory and Praise!”

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PUSH

PUSH
By Dave Earley

Starting February 8, 2015, we at Grace City began taking very seriously the promises of God. For the next eight weeks, we intend to PUSH forward as we Pray Until Something Happens.

We believe that the more we pray, the more God works. The more God works, the better everything will ultimately be.

The Determining Factor
Through the years,  I have found that I was not alone in my belief that prayer is the determining factor. Others have agreed. Slowly read their words:

When we pray, we are working with God to determine the future. Certain things will happen in history if we pray rightly. Richard Foster

Man has it in his power to, by prayer, move God to work in His own way among men, in which way He would not work if prayer was not made. E.M. Bounds

I don’t fully understand it, but I know that the more we pray, the more God works. The more God works, the better things end up being. On many levels prayer is the determining factor.

Prayer is Asking

While we generally use the word “prayer” to describe a variety of ways we communicate with God, at its core the meaning of the word “prayer” is “asking something definite from God.”

Matthew 7:7-11 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Effective Prayer is Stubborn, Steadfast Asking
Jesus told the story of a man who was shamelessly stubborn in asking his friend for bread, and the man relented because of the persistence.

Luke 11:5, 8 He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread…  I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

Jesus told this story with a clear purpose.

Luke 11:9 So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

What do you need from God?

What is it that you need from God? What must you see Him do?
We are making a list of things we must have from God and that we can ask Him for with full confidence. These things can relate to advancing God’s kingdom, seeing loved ones come back to God, getting a job, health needs, and decisions about the future. We intend to keep on coming to God about these things until He takes action and something happens. Join us.
Let’s see what God does as we
Pray Until Something Happens.

My Big Seven

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BUFORD MEREDITH: LIVING WITH PURPOSE

BUFORD MEREDITH:  LIVING WITH PURPOSE
By Dave Earley

Buford Meredith grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and had the privilege of experiencing Christ at a fairly young age. Through disability and divorce, he experienced rough times and ended up in Las Vegas looking for his purpose, as many people do.

For several years Buford struggled along, until a man in his apartment complex invited him to a Grace City Community Block Party at his neighborhood park. At the event, he met a lot of loving people who were not serving the poor to relieve guilt, but rather to make friends. He wanted to know more.   When he was invited to a Sunday evening church service at Grace City Flamingo, he came and loved it.

He recently shared that, “Before Grace City, I was lost. I had no direction in my life. I didn’t know what I supposed to do in this world or how to do it. I did nothing. I was depressed and angry.”

He continued, “Through Grace City, the Lord refreshed and awakened my faith. He gave me something I have not had since I was young. Jesus has restored my purpose and my belief. I now have a reason to life and a reason to love.

Buford has become an active member of Grace City Church. He serves every Sunday evening as our head usher. He also serves during the week in our Outreach Center sorting clothes and stocking dry goods.  In addition, he does a great job meeting the people who visit the center, interviewing them, and praying with them. 

I knew Buford was special only a few weeks after he started to attend Grace City.

He came up to me after one of our outreach events in his park. He asked if he could talk to me privately. I have learned that with poor people, what will happen next is they will tell you a sad story and ask for some money. After giving them the money, you should not expect to see the money again.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, I had given Buford enough money to cover his rent so he would not have to be homeless. So I was thinking, I am not going to give him any more money.

But this was different.
He pulled me aside and said, “I told you that when I got paid, I would pay you back.” Then he opened up his wallet and tried to pay me back!  I was so proud of him I almost cried.

Now Buford has found his purpose. He is a light who has a warm smile and a hug for everyone coming to church on Sunday nights and to our Outreach Center during the week. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The BX Is Born

THE BX IS BORN!
By Dave Earley

On Monday January 26th at 6 pm, the BX (Bible Experience) was born at Grace City Church. Sixteen eager students, two professors, and a gallery of others began a journey of learning the Bible and the Christian life.

One student is a Ph.D
. and a tenured professor at UNLV.  Two were homeless on the streets of Los Angeles just three years ago. Several are moms with children at home.  Three are buskers on the Strip, performing nightly for gratuities. One is a former gang member. Another is a former Mormon. Two had met Christ while in jail. Several are future pastors.

One of our students, Beth Dart, did not have the $500 for this semester’s tuition, books, and fees. But she strongly felt that the Lord wanted her to get in the BX in order to fulfill her calling to help other women not make the same mistakes she has made in life. So she enrolled anyway by faith. The day before the deadline to pay, unexpectedly she got a letter in the mail from her estranged sister. The letter told her that even though their father’s estate had been settled seven years earlier, an insurance company had just sent in money and some of it was Beth’s. Inside the letter was a check for $595!

The core of the BX is Bible and Theology. This semester, students will rigorously study the Old Testament from Genesis to the book of Esther. Along with weekly, interactive instruction with Dr. Tom Swanner, students will also read large sections of the Bible, listen to CDs and DVDs of teaching from Dr. H.L. Wilmington, the author of the curriculum, and work through a detailed textbook. In coming semesters, students will thoroughly examine the Old Testament, study completely through the New Testament, and also learn Theology.

Beyond that, this semester the students also will be studying Spiritual Formation with myself as the primary teacher. We will be working through a plan similar to the one I developed for Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. In coming semesters students also will have courses in Evangelism, Spiritual Warfare, Disciple-Making and Small Groups, Ministry Matters, and Christian Counseling.

One of the features of this unique program is that at its completion, a students will be eligible for 30 hours of college credit with Liberty University. This means a student can get one year of accredited college education at 1/10 of the cost.
This is just the beginning. We expect our unique program to grow in coming semesters.

Pray for us as we make disciples and train Christian leaders in Las Vegas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FROM SELLING DRUGS TO SHARING JESUS: SHANE BROWN

FROM SELLING DRUGS TO SHARING JESUS: SHANE BROWN
By Dave Earley and Shane Brown

Shane Brown (aka Pyrus) has become one of the key staff members of our Outreach Center. Shane grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. His mom gave birth to Shane when she was 15 years old.  This week, I asked him to share some of his story.

“Before I came to Las Vegas, I spent two years being homeless in Los Angeles, playing music for tips.  Soon my brother, Jeremiah, joined me. We went to non-profit organizations to get food, clothes, and other resources. During that time, I was able to see and experience how non-profits operate. Some friends told us we could make enough money to live on by playing music in Las Vegas. So we moved to Las Vegas where we were able to get a place of our own. We started spending every night playing music on the Strip for tips.

“Money was slow for me at the beginning, so I began selling marijuana for extra cash. I rationalized it as giving me an opportunity to allow people to get their ‘medicine’ at a lower cost. It also gave me money to help some of our homeless friends.

“I hooked up with Grace City Church though their UNLV Group and I ended up meeting Andrew Earley. We started a Bible study in his apartment.  My brother, Jeremiah, and I started inviting our homeless friends and preparing meals. People started hearing about what we were doing and began dropping off clothes at Andrew’s apartment. So we would go out every week after Bible study to distribute the clothes to homeless people on the Strip.

“That year, I decided to get baptized (I had been saved as a child in St. Louis.)  Dave asked me to stop selling marijuana. So I did and began to truly live out my walk with God. Trusting Him to provide was difficult in the beginning, but I have not gone without. God has continued to build my faith in this area.  My roommate at the time would bash me for reading my Bible and was very negative, so I eventually stopped coming home. I spent all of my time volunteering with the church as often as possible.

“Since I joined Grace City, my prayer life has drastically improved, I have been broken of many chains, and I have learned so much. I am now able to openly pray for and minister to others.
“This year has also been crazy because we opened Grace City Flamingo Outreach Center. All the systems were modeled after programs my brother and I participated in Los Angeles. Since June, we have been helping a lot of families and the homeless in South Central Las Vegas with food, clothes, and prayer.  We meet most of our clients at outreach events or through word of mouth.

“I have been stepping more into the role God has placed in front of me.  I now participate in various Grace City ministries.  I run setup team and drive the bus to pick up people for our services at the Flamingo Campus on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. I also drive the bus and lead worship for Middle School Youth Group.  I oversee donations of food and clothing on the distribution side of our Outreach Center.

“We have seen many healings and answered prayers at Grace City Flamingo Center.  A lot of our clients often come back to volunteer with us.

I am excited to see what God does over the course of the next few years. I definitely feel led to continue to partner with God in His work in Las Vegas. God is doing amazing things here and I am just glad to be part of it.  Every day God reveals more and more of His character to me. This is often through my family at Grace City. We continue to build up and disciple one another daily.  I feel something huge is coming.
“I am very blessed to be here. God has used my experiences in ways I never could have imagined. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue building the kingdom here in Las Vegas.”
If you love to see Jesus change people’s lives, pray for us.  Even better, take the next step and join the Grace City movement.
________________
You can download some of the music Shane plays on the Strip as a street musician for free at www.reverbnation.com/foranaudienceofone

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Every Church A Missions Base

EVERY CHURCH A MISSIONS BASE
By Dave Earley

We believe that:
Every believer is to be a missionary. The great Baptist pastor, Charles Spurgeon, once stated, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” Missionary statesman, Henry Martyn, said “The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” Jesus said, “As my Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21).
Therefore, every church is to be a mission base where the missionaries gather, receive training, rally, celebrate victories, and receive prayer and encouragement. Emil Brunner stated, “The Church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.” That implies that as the church ceases to be missional, it ceases to be the church.

Grace City is a Missional Church
Grace City is a missional church where we measure success by Monday through Saturday impact out in the community and not just the number of people who come into our building every Sunday.
We take the idea of being missional literally as all of our “staff” are self-funded missionaries whose role is to pioneer and lead the missional advances of the church.
In any given week, we go out to the schools, the neighborhoods, the parks, and the community to take the Gospel of the kingdom of God to the city. We pick up dozens of unchurched middle school and high school kids on our buses for Bible study on Tuesday nights. On Wednesday nights we feed and have a Bible study with several dozen people from the park.  We have an Outreach Center where we help between five and twenty families a day with food, clothes, and prayer. Every year we hold over a dozen large outreach events in the parks.

Since being in Las Vegas, we have partnered with others who are also trying to bring light to darkness. Some of our missional partners include Young Life, Christ for the City, YWAM, and Good News Clubs.
One of our primary partners is the Las Vegas YWAM Mission Base. YWAM (Youth with a Mission) is a huge, global, non-denominational, non-profit missionary organization with over 18,000 full-time volunteers in more than 1,100 ministry locations in over 180 countries. In Las Vegas, the YWAM base specializes in training others to minister in the areas of sex-trafficking, foster care, orphan care, street evangelism, and homeless ministry. The YWAM base is located in one of the worst neighborhoods in downtown Las Vegas.  The fourteen Las Vegas YWAM staff members are like our Grace City staff members, as they are self-supported missionaries as well.  They focus on training short term missionaries who have made a five month commitment – the first half in Las Vegas and the second half in a strategic place around the world.

We also enjoy seeing the Lord work through Good News Clubs.  A Good News Club is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship that focuses on a weekly, after-school meeting.  The agenda includes a teacher-led Bible lesson utilizing colorful child-oriented materials, as well as songs, Scripture memory, a missionary story, and review games. The purpose is to evangelize girls and boys with the Gospel of Jesus and solidify them in the Word of God.

In the last three years, the number of Good News Clubs in the public schools in the Las Vegas valley has tripled from 12 to 37, and the number of children being ministered to weekly has grown from 300 to 1500.  In the last year, Grace City has launched three elementary clubs and has added a middle school club this January.

Pray for us as we live on mission in the city for the city.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS: THE JACOBYS

FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS: THE JACOBYS
Dave Earley

This year I have made a commitment to glorify Jesus by sharing some of the stories of lives changed through our Grace City ministry in Las Vegas.  As we launch into 2015, let me tell you about Scott and Krystal Jacoby.

SCOTT AND KRYSTAL JACOBY

From the first gathering of Grace City Church – Las Vegas in June 2012, Scott and Krystal have been faithful.  Scott and Krystal, along with their three daughters Paige, Haley, and Savannah, rarely miss a Sunday service.  In fact, they arrive well before the service begins to pray and set up the Hospitality Center.  They consistently give 10% of their income back to God through Grace City Church.

Recognizing the importance of making guests and regular attenders feel welcome, Krystal has been leading the Hospitality Ministry during our Sunday worship services.   Scott has been a consistent fixture in Kidz City. They also began hosting a Wednesday night City Group for adults and a Tuesday night middle school group. During the two years Grace City Church has existed, they have been an encouraging model of dependable faithfulness.

STEPPING OUT IN FAITH

Before long, Scott and Krystal sensed that God had more for them. Scott had a longing to serve the Lord without limits. So even though he had a good job, Scott responded to the call to ministry, stepped out in faith, and went full-time as a missionary staff member of Grace City.

Scott quickly filled his days by joining the daily Morning Prayer meetings at our House of Prayer and became the coordinator of our Middle School ministries.  On Mondays, Scott began to meet with me for personal discipleship and training.  He started a Good News Club at his daughters’ elementary school on Tuesdays, as well continuing the evening middle school Bible study.  On Wednesdays, Scott took over as primary leader of their adult City Group.  On Thursdays, he serves at the middle school lunch time ministry (Watch Dogs) and at an after-school Bible study.

Scott also developed his personal prayer life.  He now says, “Prayer is how things get done.” Beyond that, he loves pouring his life into outreach.  “I discovered that if we want to reach people, we need to go reach them,” Scott says.
God has blessed them as their City Group multiplied and Middle School ministries have grown and flourished. Scott and Krystal say that their marriage has become stronger, as has Scott’s relationship with their three daughters Paige, Haley and Savanna.  In August, their faith was deeply tested as Krystal lost her job. But all along, God provided. Recently God gave Krystal a job she loves.
This past fall, Scott added to his list of ministries working with Child Evangelism Fellowship to help Good News Clubs get started in middle schools around Las Vegas.

Krystal and Scott can say along with the Apostle Paul:
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service
(1 Tim. 1:12)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment