SEEKING GOD 2022 A CHURCHWIDE SPIRITUAL REVIVAL

            In the last couple of years many unforeseen spiritual attacks may have caused some believers to lose intimacy or feel distant from God. We, the leadership of the Waterbury Church of Christ, want to encourage you to join this spiritual revival as we “Seek the presence of God.” Our objective is to grow deeper in our relationship with God and with each other, to recommit ourselves to the great commandment and the great commission, and to strengthen our faith and fellowship as a body of believers.

Over the next few weeks, we will challenge ourselves to spend more time in prayer and fasting. One of the best ways to experience the power and presence of God is through prayer and fasting. It is about being intentional in our daily pursuit of God to get His attention and be more intimate in our relationship with Him. We need focus less on the physical aspect of our lives and make room for the Holy Spirit to operate, and we can accomplish that through prayer and fasting.
More to come!!!


I Love You All
Donny Pierre

SEEKING GOD 2022

            My 4-year-old son, Andre, and my 13-year-old, Jamal, love to play video games together. I am so grateful to see them enjoy each other’s presence and have fun together as brothers. However, sometimes they can be so focused on their game that they fail to pay attention to anything else. My wife and I would try to call them and get their attention, but they would not respond. Sometimes, they’d even say “Yes dad, we’re coming,” but half hour later they are yet to step away from their games. They are so busy and passionate about what they are doing that they fail to pay attention to their parents. When we must wait on them to pay attention to us, we get impatient sometimes. Frankly, the more we must wait for them to leave what they are doing and come to us, the more frustrated we get.
            Beloved, sometimes I think our relationship with God is just like that. God has been trying to get our attention lately, and many of us have not been listening. First, God should not have to get our attention, we should willingly “SEEK GOD” every day of our lives (Ps 105: 3-4). However, many of us have been so preoccupied with the things of life, the worries of life, and enjoying the pleasures of life that we have not been “SEEKING GOD” as we should. We must be more intentional about SEEKING GOD every day of our lives, because when we fail to do so we become more vulnerable to the weapons of the enemy. The longer we fail to diligently seek God, the longer we fail to listen to God, the more exposed we are to the schemes of the devil.
            In the Bible, God intentionally withheld the rain or His blessings from His people because their failure to diligently SEEK HIM and pay attention to His Word (1 Kings 16 – 18). God also withheld His favor and protection over His people allowing their enemies to defeat them, because they did not SEEK HIM nor heed His warnings (Read the book of Judges). Beloved, God is trying to get our attention. He is calling for us. Are we listening? Let’s not be so preoccupied with the things of life that we fail to listen to God and heed His warnings. “God rewards those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11: 6).

After much prayer and meditation, I feel both compelled and convicted to share with you what I believe our spiritual goal should be this year: “SEEKING GOD 2022.” The elders and I want to both encourage and invite the Waterbury Church of Christ on a spiritual revival this year to grow closer to God as we grow closer to each other. Many things happened these past few years that could have alienated us from the presence of God or keep us away from our fellowship as a Church. “SEEKING GOD 2022” is about strengthening our fellowship and growing deeper in our relationship with God.

I Love You All
Donny Pierre

Why You Need Hope

   I read this article called “The remarkable power of hope” from psychology today. In the article, the writer talked about this experiment that was conducted back in the 1950’s by the late John Hopkins College professor “Curt Richter.” This experiment was conducted to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship within a certain environment. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned them back to the water. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours and did not drown. Why? It was not because they were given a rest, nor was it about the controlled environment being better than that of the rats who died. They swam for 26 hours because they suddenly had hope! The researchers found out those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such amazing power for unthinking rats, how much more important I hope to human beings. We all need hope to push forward in life, especially during the difficult times.
            the sad thing is, there are many people in the world, in our community, and even among Church goers, who are living without hope in their lives. And the reason why I know this for sure, it’s because the bible says in Ephesians 2: 12, a life separated from Christ – a life without God in it – is a life without hope. And a life without hope is a life without motivation and encouragement to keep moving forward. Christian hope is not “wishful thinking.” it is the kind of hope that is not based on human knowledge nor expectations, it is the kind of hope that is deeply rooted in the word of God. Paul says in Romans 5: 5 that hope does not disappoint. when your hope is in Jesus you will never be embarrassed. Doctors can give false hope, lawyers can give false hope, government can certainly give false hope, friends and family members can give false hope, but when God makes a promise you can take it to the bank because He is good for it. Hope is the anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6: 13 – 19)

Love you all,
Donny Pierre

Lord, Save Me – I am Drowning


JESUS walking on water is one of the most popular stories in the Bible. Jesus defied the laws of gravity and not even Sir Isaac Newton could explain this awe-inspiring phenomenon. When Jesus saw His disciples’ boat taking water and being tossed around in the middle of a storm (Matt 14: 22 – 33), He decided to walk on water and meet them where they were. Jesus broke the laws of gravity to deliver His disciples from a horrible storm. As He got close to the boat, Jesus said “Don’t be afraid, I am Here.”

Although, we all know this story as “Jesus walking on water,” it’s important to remember that Peter also walked on water that day. Thinking it was a ghost, Peter said “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Without hesitation, Jesus commanded Peter to come on the water, and he did – Peter walked on water just like Jesus. Can you imagine the look on the other disciples’ faces watching Peter taking one step after another going towards Jesus on the water? Yes, eventually Peter started to sink when he shifted his attention away from Jesus to focus on the storm around him (v 30). Peter, as he was drowning, cried to the Lord for help: “Lord, save me.” Lord, I am drowning out here and I am not going to make it.

Maybe, some of us feel like we’ve been drowning lately, drowning in debts, emotional pain, physical pain, marital problems, parental challenges, etc. Some of us might even be struggling with our own faith or the lack thereof. No matter the storm, we must remember Jesus is always right there with us; however, we must not shift our focus away from Him and magnify our problems. Jesus knew Peter had enough faith to walk on water and not drown in the middle of the storm. Jesus did not calm the sea, nor did he rebuke the wind to make things easier for Peter, but He commanded him to walk on water with the wind and the waves raging around. That’s when our faith can shine the brightest, in the middle of the storm. As long as Peter had faith and kept his focus on Jesus instead of the storm, he would’ve made it without drowning. Beloved, let us hang on to our faith and continue to keep our focus on Jesus. However, when we feel like we are drowning, we do not be afraid to cry out to the Jesus: “Lord, save me – I am drowning.” Jesus will stretch out His hand and catch us.

Love you all,
Donny Pierre

Don’t Be Afraid, I am Here

In Matthew 14: 22 – 33, we read the story of Jesus’s disciples travelling on a boat by themselves while Jesus was spending time alone on a mountain praying. Eventually, they found themselves in a middle of storm being tossed around by the wind and the waves, and Jesus was not with them in the boat. What should have been smooth sailing became a nightlong battle. Certain storms in life can be very unexpected. Sometimes, we expect smooth sailing through life only to find out there is a storm brewing in the horizon – a storm that we are ill-equipped or ill-prepared to deal with (an illness, a financial struggle, a pink slip, a divorce, the death of a loved one).

The disciples have experienced storms in their lives before, and back in Matthew 8: 23 – 27 they went through a storm with Jesus on their boat. During that storm, they thought they were going to die only for Jesus to get up from his sleep to rebuke both the disciples and the storm. During the storm in Matthew 14, Jesus was not in the boat with them physically, but He was always aware of what was going on – He could see them in the storm (14:24-25). I can only imagine the kind of conversation the disciples were having during that storm. Maybe, they were thinking, “Where is Jesus when you need him. Last time, we made it through the storm because He was in the boat with us. Now, He is not – what are we going to do?” Beloved, no matter how dark it gets in life, no matter the storm we may be going through, rest assured that God knows, and He is able to act on our favor at the right time. Let us not lose faith and let us always hang on to our hope in Christ Jesus.

 When Jesus saw them in the middle of the storm, He did not guide them out of it just yet. Jesus started walking on the water and met them where they were. Jesus may not always bring us out of difficult moments and the challenges we face in life right away, but He can certainly meet us in the middle of them all. Jesus said, “I am here, do not be afraid.” I know it looks bad, and it does not seem like you are going to get through it, but “I am here, do not be afraid.” I know the odds are stocked against you and this storm been raging on for a while, but “I am here, do not be afraid.” Beloved, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the power and the presence of Christ in our lives to remain strong in the faith during the storms of life. The best ways we can be reminded of his power and presence are through the reading of scripture, prayer, and worship. Jesus is here, do not be afraid.

Grace and Peace,
Donny Pierre

Prayer Gives Us Access to God

The Bible says, “Never stop praying,” (2 Thess 5:17) and all throughout scriptures we can clearly see the significance and power of prayer. Phillip Yancey says, “Prayer is a declaration of total dependence on God,” (Prayer: Does it make any difference). In other words, the life of a Christian must be a life of total surrender, especially in prayer. However, I cannot help but wonder if there are times in life when we are most likely to totally surrender in prayer than others.
       Mr. Yancey shares a story in his book on prayer about an interview with a Chinese pastor who spent decades in prison because of his faith and ministry. “Every year that pastor led hundreds of people in a prayer commitment on the bank of a river, and everyone present knowing that the act of baptism may well lead to their own arrest and imprisonment.” “What can Christians in the rest of the world do for you?” Mr. Yancey asked the Chinese Pastor, and every time without exception he responded: “You can pray. Please tell the church to pray for us.” I know his answer sounds like a Christian cliché – something we usually say in response to any difficult situation and uncomfortable question coming from another believer. Please, keep me in your prayers – something most Christians say to verbally acknowledge their belief in God’s ability to respond to their current situation. Indeed, it is a powerful statement. However, I want us to challenge our prayer life this morning: How much faith do we really have in that statement? You see, when the Chinese pastor asked Mr. Yancey to pray for them, they had completely surrendered everything unto God. Their own lives were at stake knowing that getting baptized into Christ could very well be their last day of physical freedom, but a new day of freedom in Christ Jesus. Mr. Yancey said, “I have since learned that Christians who have no access to earthly power truly believe prayer gives them access to a greater power.” (Prayer: Does it make any difference, page 117)
  With everything that’s been going on these last couple of years, I really hope we, believers in Christ, have gotten closer to God in prayer. Where else can we go but to the Lord? We have access to the greatest power in the universe: “The throne room of God’s Grace.” We need to take advantage of that, because we have no power to face all the storms and challenges of life on our own; therefore, let us stay in prayer and call on God who has all the power in the world to accomplish His good will in our lives (2 Chronicles 20: 12)

Grace, Peace, and Love
Donny Pierre

Trusting God in the middle of the Storm

Several years ago, I remember being at a conference when the speaker asked several people in the audience to come on the stage for a team building excercise called “trust fall.” A “trust fall” is when a person deliberately falls backward without looking, trusting a group of people behind them to catch them. When the speaker asked people to volunteer for this icebreaker, I did not go up there because I did not know the people who were supposed to catch me. It is hard trusting people you don’t know with your life, and I did not know for sure if they were strong enough to catch me or if they would willingly choose to let me hit the floor. Several people volunteered, and when I saw the team catching those falling backwards one after another, I started to believe that maybe, just maybe, I could’ve done it. It was a good team building exercise and I certainly learned a few things about trust.
           Beloved, we can trust God wholeheartedly to catch us when we fall. We can trust God because we know who He is. The Bible says in Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” My hope is firm because of what I know about God, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that God is able” (2 Timothy 1:12). In Acts 27, while everyone aboard the ship had given up hope and preparing to die, Paul trusted God to see him through the storm. He trusted God because he knew God was and still is a man of His word. Before the storm, while Paul was still in Jerusalem, God promised him that he would make it all the way to Rome to testify for Him (Acts 23: 11). So, in the middle of the storm, although Paul knew they were about to be shipwrecked and lose cargo, he trusted that God would deliver them because of the promise He made. Paul did not know how, and he certainly did not know when, but he believes when God makes a promise, it will come to pass. God is more than able to keep all the promises He’s made to us in the Bible. We can believe and trust God to see us through this pandemic or whatever storm you might be facing because He has a history of keeping His promises. The Bible says in Numbers 23: 19, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Do you believe in that? Do you trust God? Beloved, when going through any storm in life, it’s important for us to recall the promises of God so that we can trust He can and will see us through it. 

Grace and Peace to you all,
Donny Pierre

What do you want me to do for you? Luke 18: 35 – 43 Mark 10: 46 – 52

The other day, I went to see my doctor and the person at the front desk asked me one simple question with a smile on her face, “Good morning, how can I help you today?” It was easy for me to answer this question because I went there with a specific goal in mind. I did not have to give it much thought, l didn’t have to scratch my head trying to remember why I was there and what I needed help with. I was able to tell them exactly what I needed help with.

          In Luke 18: 35 – 43, we read the story of Jesus healing Bartimeus who was a blind man. During those times, people with blindness were considered outcast and they often found themselves begging for living (John 9:1-3). When Bartimeus heard Jesus was in town, he knew the Son of God could heal him – he had faith that Jesus could give him his sight. It is highly likely that Bartimeus has heard of all the miracles Jesus was doing throughout the land of Palestine. Remember, Jesus’ reputation of being a healer or miracle worker preceded him – many followed him because they wanted to be healed of their various diseases (Matt 14:14, 19:2, 21:14, 12:15). Although there were some who tried to stop Bartimeus from getting to Jesus, he did not stop screaming His name. He knew Jesus could help him, and his tenacious faith was about to be rewarded. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” It is hard for me to believe Jesus did not know what Bartimeus needed from Him. However, I believe Jesus offered him an opportunity to express his faith which played a role in his healing process (Luke 18:42). Without hesitation nor a shred of disbelief, Bartimeus said, “Lord, I want to see.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

   If Jesus were to ask you and me the same question today: “What do you want me to do for you?” Would you be ready to answer this question? What would you ask for? Would you have to think about it or would you have a list of demands ready to go. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6 to present our requests to God through prayer and petition. Whatever it is we want God to do for us, we can present it to him in prayer; however, we must have faith that God is able and trust His will in the process. Just like Bartimeus, we need to be tenacious and intentional in our prayer life, because there might be daily hindrances to keep us away from accessing the throne room of God’s Grace (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus already knows our needs and the desires of our hearts. However, through prayer, we can boldly and confidently tell Jesus what we want him to do for us and expect His will to be done in our lives.

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY

Donny 

Living A Transformed Life Romans 12: 1 – 2

The Book of Romans, written around 56 – 58 AD during his 3rd missionary journey, is considered to be Paul’s “Magnum Opus.” It is the apostle’s greatest body of work. If Paul were an artist, Romans would be his masterpiece, because it is his most influential epistle in the Bible. Many of the beloved verses disciples of Christ have memorized over the years are from the book of romans, such as Romans 8: 28 and Romans 12: 1-2. Let us focus on the latter: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
          In Romans 12: 1 – 2, Paul is teaching his audience how God can transform the lives of those who are saved. God wants to change you into a better and more mature version of yourself, but two things are required of you: a) Salvation into Jesus Christ through water of Baptism (Rom 6: 3 – 5) which is a prerequisite to living a transformed lifestyle, b) Surrender your life into the hands of the potter (Rom. 9: 20 – 21). For God to transform your life into what He envisioned (Jeremiah 18: 1 – 4, 29:11), you must be born again (John 3:3) and willingly relinquish all control over to God – Trust His vision and process for your life because it is a good one (Jer 29:11). The Potter has a clear vision in His mind of how He wants to shape your life and what He wants to mold you into, and this delicate process requires complete surrender into His hands. This godly transformation does not occur over night, but it is a lifelong ongoing process that starts with the renewing of your mind. To transform your life, you need to first start by changing the way you think because your mind determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). The thoughts you entertain in your mind, good or evil, eventually influence your emotions, your behaviors, your actions, and your overall way of life. Second, to transform your life you cannot keep imitating the behaviors and pattern of the world around you. Several times in the bible God encourages His people to be different, to be unique by following the footsteps of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2: 21). Love like Jesus – Forgive like Jesus – Obey like Jesus – Be gracious like Jesus – Be discipline like Jesus – Work hard like Jesus – Sacrifice like Jesus – Pray like Jesus – Be faithful and hopeful like Jesus. This ongoing godly transformation can only happen when we become less and less like ourselves and more like Jesus Christ (John 3: 30). God is in the business of transforming people’s lives into the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ.

I love you all,
Donny Pierre

THE “I AM” STATEMENTS OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN

In John’s account of the Gospel, unlike the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), the apostle presents 7 formal and direct “I AM” statements of Jesus, each containing the words “I am” and a predicate: I AM the bread of life (6:35), I AM the light of the world (8:12), I AM the gate (10:7,9), I AM the good shepherd (10:11,14), I AM the resurrection and the life (11:25), I AM the way and the truth and the life (14:6), and I AM the true vine (15:1,5). Another “I AM” statement is implied in John 4:10-14, “I AM living water. Each statement is meant to reveal Jesus’ Divine purpose, power and identity to his audience, which is the purpose of the Gospel according to John.
          The words “I AM” echoes loud and clear God’s profound response to Moses’ question in Exodus 3: 13-14, “ Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

          John intentionally used the sacred divine formula for the name of God, “I AM,” because he wanted his Jewish audience, who were remarkably familiar with the prophet Moses and the Torah, to make a connection between Jesus and God. Hence why he wrote in John 1:1-14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

          The very opening statement of John’s account made clear the purpose of his writing: to reveal the Divine nature of Jesus’ identity. Throughout his Christological discourse, John presented about 7 miracles of Jesus and each one of them was meant to create an occasion or opportunity to communicate the self-revelation of God. Not only His miracles, but John also wanted his audience to see how Jesus’ teachings were a precursor to His Messianic revelation. For example, Jesus healed a blind person in John 9 and said to His audience, “I AM the light of the world. Jesus resurrected Lazarus in John 11, and said to His audience, “I AM the resurrection and the life.” Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in a village in Samaria, asked her for some water and then said to her, “I AM Living water.” Jesus was walking on the sea of Galilee when the apostles who were on a boat saw Him and got scared, He said unto them, “Do not be afraid; I AM.” Only the Great I AM can walk on the waves of the sea (Job 9:8).
          Jesus wanted and still wants everyone to know who He is and how powerful He is so that we may believe in Him and have eternal life. When the Samaritan woman left Jesus, she went into her village and told everyone about Jesus. The Bible says many more Samaritans sought after Jesus because of her testimony (John 4: 41-42) and eventually believed that Jesus is the savior of the world. Is Jesus the savior of your life? Because He wants you to know today: “I AM the savior of the world.” Jesus is the one we all need in life – the one who can help us in our time of needs – the only one who can save us from this wretched world. Jesus is THE GREAT I AM.

I love you all
Donny Pierre