This story was submitted by Chanel Hopkins. What an awesome testimony of God’s goodness! Submit your own story at pinevalleychurch.org/share-your-story.
As I am sitting in church this morning, intently listening to Scott’s sermon on “Order is Important” part 3, I am realizing that I have been doing exactly what he’s asking us to try for this year: Fall in love with God and then just watch all the wonderful blessings and changes He brings to my world.
In Scott’s message, he implored us to fall in love with Jesus, give Pine Valley one year to change our lives by loving God together each Sunday, connecting with the church in other ways — such as volunteering with our children’s ministry — or any of our other great programs that help others in need, go through the Growth Track, and become more active in the church going’s on and/or join a small group. He said that all of this would strengthen our faith, not only in God, but in our fellow believers by forming lasting friendships, prayer chains for those in need, teachings of God’s Word, companionship, support, and love.
Now, as I hear him saying this, I think back to when my faith was very weak and I was reminded of my own thoughts about such statements which sounded a little like this:
“Sure, the church wants me to get involved, attend every Sunday when my weekends are so short as it is, give money that I don’t have, volunteer my time (that I don’t have enough of as it is), to keep their church running! And supposedly my life will be better for all of this sacrifice I’m making!”
Well, I am here to tell you my testimony on why Scott couldn’t be more correct on what he tells us to do to find peace, hope, happiness and love through our Lord.
I have now been going to Pine Valley faithfully for a year, this February, and I have already done all of these things in this last year, right here at PVC, by choice. First, I started out small by going to Sunday services. The first sermon series Scott did was on “Relationships” and God spoke directly to my heart about my marriage through the whole series. Next, came the Growth Track. I wanted to know more about the church and how it operated and I knew, at that point, I wanted to become a member of Pine Valley, which the Growth Track fulfilled for me. Then, I joined the kitchen team on Wednesday nights and was blessed by the Lord even more by the wonderful friendships I’ve made in there. Not to mention being able to spend time with the kids of Bayfield in God’s house! Anyone who knows me knows I have a very special love for our children in this community. And volunteering in the kitchen on Wednesday nights just fills my heart to overflowing! Next, I joined a small group and I probably have gotten the most out of it. The friendships I have formed, the love we share with each other, brings me to tears of joy whenever I think about them!
All of these wonderful things have helped strengthen my faith in Jesus and our Lord.
Now that I have been here almost a year, I can look back on the huge changes I have made in my life because of Pine Valley! And just like Scott says, I have made all of them by choice! Willingly, happily because of my love for God! I don’t have to do it. I want to do it. It feels good to be making better choices in my daily life. I give God my “first” every morning now by reading the Bible before doing anything else. I try to be nicer, less judgmental, less negative, more positive, not only for myself, but those around me. And realizing I do not always have to be right, I just have to look to God for answers to conflict now. I am no longer trying to do it on my own! My total faith is in Him! And I am so much better off because of it! Putting my pride away and humbling myself to God has changed my world and I have learned how to do all of this at Pine Valley!
So, if you are like I was: cynical, judgmental and untrusting of “church folks”… I am here to tell you to just give God a chance. Come spend some time with us at Pine Valley and He will deliver you just like He has delivered me into the joy of His love! ❤️