Testimony Tuesday: Craig Suglia

God Gold of the day

First I want to say thank you to Joe Dean for letting me share what God has done in my life and is continuing to do now. It is still crazy to me how God has used a simple accountability question to Jordan to reach people for His glory. Just want to say how proud I am of my brotha Jordan for listening to Gods call on his life and how he has been SO COMMITTED to this and to watch it grow has been a joy to see.

Some things I have learned throughout my life and looking back is; God has always had a plan for me, one that is to prosper not to harm to give me a hope and a future (Jer 29:11) and something I was told by my Papa was to always keep my eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2).

My life started out from a very sad situation. My mom had 4 miscarriages losing 5 children in the process which led my parents to adopt. They had people in their church at the time rally around them in prayer in such a trying time. One family gave my parents some of the money to be able to adopt me and that’s where my life started. I was adopted at 4 months old from Seoul, South Korea. Right there looking back tells me God had a plan for me out of the millions of children and millions of parents I could have went to I went to a loving Christian home with 2 parents who loved God and loved me.

I grew up in church went every time the doors were open. At the young age of 5 I asked my mom how I could spend eternity with Jesus. I knew I did not want to spend forever away from Him and I certainly did not want to spend eternity with the devil. So I was saved at 5 and baptized when I was 8 years old. From when I was saved to 7th grade I was a “good Christian boy” I went to church, youth group, went the Christian school, well behaved, and I kept myself busy with sports. 8th grade came and I was going to public school and I knew it was going to be very different from Christian school so I wanted to make sure I got in with the “popular kids” and that is where I put my identity. That started the trend of me putting my identity in things that would not bring me true joy and purpose in life. To be honest it worked I was popular, but also led me to make poor decisions with smoking weed and drinking some at a young age to be “cool”. I took this same attitude to my new school (Christian school) in New Jersey when I moved in 10th grade and this time I put my identity in being an athlete. When things weren’t going as good as I wanted my junior year I put so much pressure on myself I turned to weed for some relief. I ended up getting caught and getting suspended for 3 months and being let back just to get suspended again for cheating on a test. That time in my life I was pretty low and turned to God for help, but at the time my relationship with Him was more like a genie I went to Him with my wants when I needed Him. So I stayed low key my senior year and just wanted to be done with HS because I had college soccer to look forward to again putting my identity in being an athlete. I ended up leaving the school I planned to play college soccer and transferred to North Greenville. Where I had no identity and I had to find one quick since sports were gone and I became a partier a started just living for the next time I was able to hang with my friends. That lasted all the way to junior year of college. I had just left the football team and really found no fun in partying anymore I really did not know what I was supposed to do. I started praying more and reached out to Jordan to keep me accountable in that and my hidden sins. From there my relationship with Christ became just that a relationship. I was beginning to figure out what was really important in life and I found my true identity I am a CHILD OF GOD. I won’t say it has been smooth sailing since then, but I rely on Christ in my situations now and have learned to “control the controlables” something my HS basketball coach saying thousands of times. This life and relationship with Christ is definitely a journey and yes maybe I would have changed some decisions, but God has had a plan for it and used it for His glory. So how I try to live my life now is to keep my eyes on Jesus, control the controlables, and know that God has a plan for my life.

Gold Nugget: “The Process”

God Gold of the day

‘Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. ‘

Psalm 66:8-12

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ‘

Hebrews 11:1

Meditation Monday: Don’t Overlook the Gospel

God Gold of the day

Today’s Mediation: Read Hebrews 9

Here are some questions to be thinking about!

  1. What stuck out to you when you read this chapter?
  2. What did you learn about Jesus here?
  3. What does it mean that Jesus died for our sins? What does that mean for you?
  4. What did you notice the difference being between this “old covenant, the way people used to worship and spend time with God compared to the “New Covenant” Jesus made for us?
  5. What are some of the rules it mentions people and the high priest had to do in the old covenant?
  6. What does it say Jesus did?
  7. What is our conscience? Why would we need it cleaned?
  8. Knowing what Jesus has done for you, all that He has died to give you, how does that make you feel?
  9. What do you want to do based on what you have learned today to serve Jesus in the coming week?

‘Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. ‘

Hebrews 9:1-28

Send The Gold!!!

God Gold of the day

‘It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” ‘

Deuteronomy 31:8

‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, ‘

Hebrews 10:24

Pain Train

God Gold of the Day

Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.”

-Kobe Bryant 

‘Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. ‘

Hebrews 12:3 

As you can see from the title today, we are spending some time this week riding the “pain train.” If you haven’t gotten on board yet, don’t worry there are plenty of seats left before it leaves the station. We had talked some about how pain is a good thing in Tuesday’s God Gold but I just couldn’t help but continue speaking on this subject because God has really laid it on my heart in challenges personally and what I hope will be challenges for you!

As you can see, I added a quote in today from one of the all-time great basketball players to ever play the game; Kobe Bryant. If you haven’t already heard, Kobe and one of his four daughters passed earlier this week so it’s a tough time for basketball fans and people all across the globe. I do ask that you would keep his family in your prayers in this time and moving forward because they have lost their father and one of their daughter in this tragic accident. Please take some time to pray for the Bryant family and another reason that led me to adding in one of his quotes is just the impact Kobe had on my life. He was one of the all time great basketball players but he was more than that. He was dedicated to bringing out the best in others on and off the court, and one of those guys that so many lessons can be taken from his life in how he handled himself, how he worked with extreme dedication on his craft to be the best he could be and how he went about his business in general.

One thing he mentions here is how pain doesn’t tell you to stop but it comes as a little voice in your head, bringing with it resistance of all sorts telling you to give up and give in. I know this voice all too well and as we discussed the other day, when we run this race God has set before us, we are going to experience pain, trials, obstacles and many moments of suffering! So when we get to actually running the race, and we feel, see and realize how hard this race really is, everything in us yells for us to give up, to simply stop. So we know pain is coming, what do we do when it arrives at our doorstep?

That is a question I have struggled with my whole life like most of us has. We are living in a world and culture that tells us pain is bad, and we should do everything we can to avoid pain and suffering at all costs. In result of that worldly thinking, that is why we have become “comfy Christians.” Instead of embracing pain like Jesus did as he endured the cross, embracing the pain for our salvation, we would rather waste our lives away sitting comfortably in church pews, doing just enough where we will still feel good about ourselves but not enough to get near any sort of pain. It hurts that I’ve lived this way and it hurts to think so many followers of Christ embrace pain in this same scared mindset everyday.

But our comfy, pain-free living in no way matches up with the truth of how this life with Christ is supposed to be; our main goal in this life of following Christ is undergoing a process daily of being transformed more into His image, and following Him in this ministry He has left for us, learning from His example and the ultimate goal is to live lives of impact for God’s Kingdom bringing salvation to the lives God places around us.

So as we see here in verse 3 of Hebrews 12, the writer places this verse here to remind us of the pain and suffering Christ went through because when we run this race God has set before us, we are going to face pain and suffering. So let’s hop off the comfy train that leads us to sitting on the sidelines of this race and wasting our lives chasing our comfort over God’s eternal glory. And let’s step onto the pain train, the train that Christ Himself traveled on. You see what’s hard about embracing the pain and hopping on the pain train is when we feel the pain and suffering that comes in this race, our mind and body says give up!! We begin hearing our mind saying, “just give up, this isn’t worth it and this isn’t working.”

But when we THINK about what Christ has went through we see the truth that puts all those lies to rest. To become more and more like Christ, we are going to have to face a much smaller dose of what Jesus faced, pain. It’s necessary in this race if we are going to run it in the way God has called us to, why? Because the truth is, as much as everything in this world and everything in our head tells us to avoid the pain, the pain is what moves us forward in this race. The pain Christ endured resulted in salvation for me and you, and Jesus has called us to endure the pain with Him, and guess what? This same pain produces the same result, SALVATION!!! As Kobe said, that little voice in our head tries everything to hold us back from embracing pain because it knows if we continue, we will CHANGE!!! Change may be uncomfortable and not fun at times but that’s what this Christian life is all about, leaving ourselves and our old ways behind and being transformed more into the image of Christ! This is the kind of change that saves us from our old sinful selves, this is the kind of change that overflows from our lives into others, where God uses the pain for His Kingdom’s gain as others are saved also when they see the truth being lived out before them!

This is why verse 3 is so crucial as we run the race God has set before us, when we feel like giving up we can look to Jesus’ example and see that;

  1. We are going to face pain and struggles in this Christian life
  2. When we experience pain, we know we are on the right train following the example of Christ.
  3. Pain is worth it, because it produces change, salvation in our lives and others

When it feels like this isn’t working and this isn’t worth it, remember the truth that verse 3 brings to us, of what Jesus went through as He experienced pain and suffering all for the result of salvation!!! Remember this so YOU WON’T GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP!!!!