Monthly Archives: June 2014

An Undivided Heart

The 86th Psalm is a prayer written by David, Israel’s most lauded ancient king. As a psalm, it was presumably set to music though both the tune and the context in which the song was sung have been lost to history. But the beautifully vulnerable words remain as David cries out to Almighty God, the redeemer and restorer of souls. I will have more to say about all that this coming Sunday as Portico Church gathers at The Palace. In the interim, I’m asking you to, specifically, pray about and dwell on one phrase in Psalm 86:11 in which David asks God to, “…give [him] an undivided heart….”

This is the question I am asking you to ponder, “What divides your heart?” That is to say, if your heart isn’t fully devoted to the things of God in all circumstances and at all times, what divides it? Is it one primary thing? Is it a host of “smaller” things? Is it sin? Is it something which left unchecked may become sin? Is it guilt, failure, ambition or greed? What is it? What disrupts your focus on God and your ability to wholeheartedly worship Him in every place and in every situation? Ok, I know that turned out to be more than one question. I can guarantee you, though, if you will wrestle honestly about the division in your own heart, you will be far better prepared to hear from God when Portico Church gathers this coming Sunday.

I hope to see you this Sunday. In the meantime, I leave you with the words of 1Timothy 1:17, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

by Randy Impson

 

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The weight and depth of “Death to Life” for me

Portico Church,

 

This is a post I’ve been dwelling in most of this year and finally, through prayer and others wisdom, have the courage to express. Having just wrapped up a recap of our “Death to Life” motto it’s a perfect time to post. For myself this is simply a way to express the gratitude I have for our church as I am an example of what we’re about. God has orchestrated so much in me from conversations, dates in time, gatherings, music, and so much more. I am, and will always be, a changed Man of God because of Portico.  

 

Several years ago, I believe when Portico went from being the initial college ministry it began as into transitioning into Randy’s leadership, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to attend a service. This was, of course, when it was meeting in the old building. Shortly after I had the privilege of joining one of our very first Community Groups. Even though the group ranged from 6-12 to 15-25 people on a weekly basis I’m sure if everyone came to the group at least once we may have had 50-60 people there! This group jump-started many friendships that I still have today. And being I was only in high school at the time didn’t matter, everyone still loved and accepted me as one of them. It’s been exciting to see how groups have changed and developed through the years and the blessings they’ve been for others because of what started in this group.

 

To highlight and bring attention to what God has done specifically in my life and continues to do here are my thoughts:

           

First and foremost I would not be who I am in Christ if weren’t for the teaching and leadership of Randy and our teaching team. Their level of communication of the scriptures has been of upmost deliverance in the person and work of the Gospel and who Jesus Christ is in me. It exemplifies my personal studies and communication with the Lord in prayer each week.

 

– I live in Monroe because of our church.

After having experienced my share of moving growing up I firmly believe I live in Monroe because of our church and my parent’s blessings for me. This is in addition to the job and the jobs I’ve been blessed to have, of course. With my sister and most of my family living in Texas and with other close family up North I know my families living here is completely by God’s choice. Now that I’m on my own the intensity of this subject matter and Portico’s blessing over my life is even greater. God has taught me that the actual environment in which you live does not have to dictate the setting you live it in – Home truly is where the heart is. (If you’d like to hear more about the crazy story that brought my family and I here, I’d love to share)

 

– I sin less

– Whether it is usual sins we all battle with as followers of Jesus or ones that are more personal to me. It is through our weekly involvement together that God is endowed in me more which is reflective in my own and individual pursuit of Godliness and righteousness.

 

– Relationships

            I believe the friendships that have birthed from Portico will last my lifetime. God has used me as a one whom is “well beyond his years – in maturity” as some say, to learn and to teach also, in difficult and deep conversations with friends. I, therefore, have been blessed and God has used me to be a blessing. I may do better one-on-one but friendships through Portico have impacted me greatly whether in groups or one on one.

            These friendships have helped me get through tough times throughout my life through prayer and conversation. They’ve walked alongside me when I need them. And they’ve essentially been those people I surround myself around from week-to-week when hanging out, sharing a meal together, and getting to know one another.

            Community Groups (Give it up for The Justice League!) have been a huge blessing to me the past year, along with those I’ve been apart of in the years past. To be honest, as primarily an introvert, I’m always a little nervous launching into a new group and this generally continues for the first several weeks – but God has truly broken down the walls in my heart and allowed me to share and get to know people better. Groups have facilitated my growing deeper in Christ, through the scriptures and conversation and much more.

 

– Music

            For me, playing guitar has been the energetic release I often need each week, a display of who I am but much more than this, it has created in me a heart for leading others in worship. Being apart of a band that gets to hear a church sing back, cry out, and pray from the depths of their souls, is like nothing else. And whether this is quietly seen in someone sitting in a chair or standing, it’s an amazing period of time for someone. Christ is even deeper in their bloodstream at that time. To know that how we play often dictates how God wants to communicate to you in our corporate worship setting and knowing that this will effect your own weekly lives, is heavy. It often makes me even more of a nervous perfectionist, but what calms me is grasping the same presence of the Holy Spirit that’s upon you, is also within the band and me. 

 

– Sound & Tech

Working with Jason and others in the technical avenues we have, has allowed me to pour out gifts and talents God has given me, in helping guide our weekly worship gatherings and other events. In addition, in understanding the weight he and I carry and knowing technology is at times fleeting to us and can interrupt a service, I have learned to hold fast to God’s control. It still fascinates me to know I can walk away from a service and point out all of the tech flaws in my mind mentally but then the week after, hear reports of God’s awesome goodness in the room. I’m quickly reminded it doesn’t matter what we use to portray God’s presence, how expensive or sufficient the gear is, God can still move within our hearts. Even if we had all the smoke and lasers – and I’d be frustrated at the idea if we did, it doesn’t matter; God doesn’t need the “stuff”. He needs our hearts and he could work within us, even if we were working without a sound system. He is all knowingly sufficient.

 

I truthfully hope my example helps generate a sense of strength over how we as a church can be a blessing to others. We speak constantly about being missional and though I agree with this, I also would claim to say that being missional is a feature that must be within our church too. Know that you’ve played a part in that for me and will continue to. I am a living embodiment of our purpose, as a church.

 

-Nick Boudreaux


Justice Counseling at The Palace

Three years ago I was praying about having a prayer ministry at Portico. As I prayed an idea popped into my head about offering counseling at Portico, but I quickly dismissed it as I didn’t have the time or resources to pursue it. Years later, that quick vision has turned into reality.

During the last Hub, I shared some about my story of starting Justice Counseling, LLC. It has been amazing to see God move in my life during this new adventure. God is refining my own character and growing my boldness in the process of starting this new ministry. I help strengthen families and marriages. I want to see people experience healing and grow closer to God. Justice Counseling fits Portico’s theme of moving from death to life. My counseling experience includes helping parents use effective discipline and build relationships with their children. I help families navigate through marital conflict, grief, and loss. Families and individuals also heal from difficult experiences such as physical and sexual abuse.

I am looking forward to seeing families grow by serving them through Justice Counseling. Here is how I could use your help!

1)     Share with others that there is counseling available at The Palace.

2)     Come talk to me! Ask questions and get more information for others.

3)     Like Justice Counseling, LLC on Facebook.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement!

Elizabeth Justice
318-953-1291
justicecounseling@gmail.com