Monday, 9 March 2015

Reckless Abandonment

Recently I was reading a book called the Young Lady In Waiting and was reminded how important it is to abandon ourselves to Christ. We say that we are Christians but are we really abandoned to Christ? Do we fully give up everything to follow Christ? Do we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him?

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11 (NKJV)

The word 'abandon' means to leave completely and finally, to forsake utterly, to desert and to yield oneself without restraint or moderation.  Abandonment is the surrendering of everything to gain the One thing, to gain Jesus. It is not about forsaking the world so that you could gain rewards, that is a part of it but abandonment is about fully pursuing Jesus. It is about having Jesus as our only priority and our only focus. 

Being fully abandoned to Christ means that we have a strong and a passionate desire for Him, that we have a desire to please Him and to do His will. Being fully abandoned means that we surrender everything to Him whether it is our dreams or our worries. When we are abandoned to Christ, we allow the Holy Spirit to have the preeminence in us. Our flesh no longer has dominion in us. 

Abandonment is saying yes to God. When we say yes to God, we don't consider what other people may think or say. We recklessly go after God. We recklessly say yes to His will and His promises. A lot of times, we over think before doing something. Usually when we do this, we don't really think that what God is saying is right or true. We try to analyze it and put it into our own human understanding but this can't work. There are many things that God will tell us to do that we don't understand or are not in our comfort zone but we have to trust God. We have to recklessly go after the things of God and forsake our own reasoning.

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26 (NKJV)

Denying ourselves calls for us to take up our cross, to crucify the flesh, to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When we give our lives to Christ, we are telling Him to have complete control and to take over. We are saying 'I give myself away so You can use me'. Abandoning may not be easy but it is worth it. It's going to be worth it! When we lose our lives for Christ, we find it in Him because in Him is eternal life.

When we recklessly abandon the world and say yes to Christ, we are gaining more than we could ever imagine. We are gaining eternal life with our Bridegroom God. Let us seek to abandon everything so that we would gain Christ.

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him in His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Guest Post : Fulfilling the Call of A Youth Leader

Being a youth leader is an experience that some of us may have in the future and an experience that some of us are currently in. My close friend, Darlene Gardner gives some encouragement to current youth leaders and aspiring ones. I hope that you will be encouraged to step out into that place of leadership.


Let the words of my mouth, and the mediation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my strength, and, my redeemer. (Psalms 19:14). To begin, I want to express how grateful and honoured I am to share from a maturing leader’s point of view and to lead God’s chosen people into the promise land. Now, in Moses’ day, the task or the call rather of leading the Israelites was not easy and even with great courage, I say, leading youths in particular, of this generation into the promised land is a great mandate and one that demands you as a leader to live in deep intimacy with God by constantly pursuing Him. This chapter of my life will be long remembered and I know that my life is changing, for my best days are here and even though the process is hot like fire, I continue to be pressed, shaken and beaten but remain resilient for that is when the gold is most refined.


At the tender age of 15, I felt like I wanted to know about this Jesus that everyone in my church was talking about so I went to convert’s classes and then publicly declared that I want to serve God by being baptized. Then, at age 18 going on 19, right on my bed, I felt a bearing down or this constant bubbling deep down on the inside of my stomach, it felt like something great was being birthed on the inside (spiritual birth) and I was beginning to understand more what it means to be saved, freed and redeemed from my sins. I began to develop a genuine first love for God, a Love that convicts me when I am wrong, a Love that says, “you’re beautiful even when you can’t see it and a Love that cries out every day, “I need you Darlene Gardner, I need you to fulfil My purpose here on earth.” That awakening and that truth that draws you to love God and desire a change on the inside only come from the Holy Spirit and I thank God for Holy Spirit. 

Moreover, the experience of me being spiritually pregnant with a word from God (Jeremiah 1:1-17) was one that was very painful but as I began to release that word and to speak, the pain reduced a little bit and the atmosphere changed and I felt as though I’ve accomplished something great, it’s like giving natural birth to a baby, even though I never did, and during the intensifying pains of labour, all the mother wants to do is just release and when that baby finally comes forth, the atmosphere in the room changes and everyone is astonished by such beautiful creation. I say all of this because this was just one of many experiences that God gave me in 2011 during my college years. This was a prime time of my life and I was almost snatched by the enemy and could have been drawn off- course but God, but God, but God kept me and used this time of my life to allow me to make a covenant with Him that I have kept until this day, not to say that I haven’t made any wrong choices but God convicted me and I was opened to hear from Him and received His ongoing corrections, strength and wisdom each day. 

After this shocking yet beautiful experience, God said to my youth leader then, to allow me at age 19 and just starting undergraduate studies, to lead our youth ministry for only 8-9 months. Now, this didn’t make much sense at all because normally you have to lead for an entire year or more and I was getting ready to leave the country to pursue my studies in lovely Barbados. However, I was obedient to the call and I led for 8-9 months exactly and God did some awesome wonders all for His glory. All I can say and will continue to say is that God is real since I have encountered Him for myself, no one has to drill that in me because His love became real to me, Darlene Maria Gardner. 

In August of 2012, a transition took place and I went to study in Barbados for 2 years. I was like, “God is this the right turn?” God may not have answered right away but every day while I was living in Barbados for 2 years, God proved to me that being there was very much so the right turn at the right time. Yes, in just one second, one minute, one day, 8-9 months, 2 years, God has done some supernatural things in my life but I had to have had faith in Him. I say to people ever so often that my experiences in Barbados (BIM BIM) went far beyond obtaining a degree. I have gained a love and devotion for my God and there is no experience in this universe that can be compared to that. During those 2 years, God continued to mould me for the serious call of a youth leader. One that should never be taken for granted. God used various avenues such as, immediate family support, great friendships, the family of God - the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), church family and even some random person walking on the street that I did not know but God would have sent my way. From 2012-2014, I will summarize those 2 years by using just one word, unforgettable. I thank God for keeping me through this season of my life because I could not have done it on my own. 

I have shared my own, real experiences with you first because that is what we overcome by, the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies. Now, the words that I’m about to share with you are some of the words that were imparted to me at a Youth Leader’s retreat and I deem them very fitting to this article. 

According to Knight Denise, a Youth Leader must possess five key characteristics; the first being, he or she must be a Christian that is; one who loves God and lives in daily connection with Him. The second characteristic being; he or she should have a servant heart, one that constantly strives to help others and remain humble. Remember, Christ did not come to be served but He came to serve, even giving the ultimate sacrifice, His life (Mark 10:45). Thirdly, a youth leader should have the capability to lead. When God calls you into Youth ministry, He will equip you before and during the process. Fourthly, you must be responsible as a leader and work constantly to keep your youths incline to the word of God. Lastly, a youth leader should be a positive person, one who can find the good out of every situation. 


Knight continued by saying, a Youth leader should practice these 5 R’s to be effective in ministry. These are as follows:
1. Recharging everyday to the number one (1) source who is God.
2. Reading the word of God and other Christian materials that would increase your knowledge about ministry on a whole.
3. Relating to your youths by spending quality time with them so you can build trust. Get to know them not just on the surface but from deep within.
4. Reaching out constantly to your youths and letting them understand that God loves them and once they pursue Him, He will connect to them. A leader should seek to mould disciples who will go out and disciple others. (Matthew 28:18-20).
5. It is absolutely necessary for a youth leader to find time to just Relax. You have to balance and spend time with yourself and God or you will burn out. Allow God to pour into you so you can intern pour back into others lives. Don’t take on more than you manage and remember ministry starts at home so your family comes first and then ministry. 

In ending, I can definitely say that I bless God for all my previous experiences, however, there is nothing that can be compared to the present. I do hold fast to the belief that the choices you make today, starts affecting you even before tomorrow starts because you would have already made that choice so seek God before you do anything in life or even before you answer any call to ministry. Develop a strong prayer network of brothers and sisters in Christ who will help you to pray and call forth your destiny. I choose to stay humble and keep growing in Christ as I learn to walk each day and that is something that we as believers should all seek to do as well. 

As I reassume this call of Youth leadership in 2015, I just give over everything to God because if I try to lead in my own strength then I’ve failed to try in God’s strength and that’s when the journey becomes overbearing so I say to you, ask God for His strength, don’t be afraid of the call, don’t doubt because we are no longer slaves to fear but just answer the call and ask God for His help, that will cause you to fulfil that particular calling in your life purposefully. Just do it!! 

Just trust God without borders. I leave you with two of my favourite scriptures which imply that I should just do it, whatever it is according to God’s word, Just do it Darlene. The first scripture is Matthew 6:33(KJV) - But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. The second is Ecclesiastes 12:1(KJV) - Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. Amen!

Thank you for reading. God bless you. 

I extend special Thank you and much love to Trisha Carter who had the confidence in me to write this article for her blog. God bless you Trisha my love.