WIN THE WEEK: Blog

I can’t Win the Day if I do not first win the morning. I get up and go upstairs to have my time with God. I need my Bible and cup of coffee. Psalm 16:5 reminds me, Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”

The first time I came to Harborside, Kurt was teaching on Exodus, and he said you can be in a storm and still be in the will of God. That was the beginning of my journey with God at Harborside. At Harborside I found great friends. I love how the church has become more and more diverse. It has helped me accept more people and learn from them. The women in my connect group help me, never give up on me and hold me up when I struggle with worry or fear of the future.

I know I don’t win every day, and that is okay. I just remember that there are no guarantees; we’re not guaranteed past today. The Apostle Paul never lost sleep over his past transgressions, so we shouldn’t lose sleep over not winning every day. Ultimately, God has forgiven us.

When I read the scripture, and observe throughout the day, I see the Lord taking care of me and the plans that he has for me. I see the way God has me in His hands. Every Monday morning, I meet with another woman from church and we pray for Harborside. After about three weeks of praying for the church we started praying for each other, and our children, and their churches. This prayer time encourages me tremendously. At the end of our prayer time we usually find a real peace. It is a great way to start my week.

I am learning that Winning the Day is knowing that I made a connection with God today. It doesn’t mean everything went perfectly, but it does mean that I connected with God. And that is winning enough.

Wendy Stutzel

The people who have been most helpful to me in my life pointed me to God. We all need people in our lives who help us win. We need people in our lives who remind us of the victory we inherit by just belonging to God.

My biggest obstacle is when I look around at other people and think that I am not as good as they are; or I think they are better than I am. I catch myself thinking that I need to be more like other people and less like myself. I keep forgetting my identity in Christ. I am learning that if I can surrender in worship, I feel I get released from all that. Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

In those moments when you feel most discouraged, God shows up even more. Understanding I am a child of God means I only need Him and His acceptance and not the world’s. Just wait on God. Have faith. It always gets better. Sure, sometimes it gets harder first, but just keep waiting. See and experience what God will do next. Then you are ready for a win.

Orlando Corteo

I win the morning by trying to wake up with positivity followed by scripture reading and prayer. I win the night by ending the day with a little bit of scripture reading and a lot of prayer. As I have grown in my faith at Harborside I found that I have a bolder spirit.

Over the last few years I have been a part of a ministry called Second Chances. Through this ministry, several others from Harborside and I go into local strip clubs and bring a message of hope, love and grace to the girls and other workers there. Last year there was another church who decided to picket outside one of the clubs where we often bring gifts and prayer. These picketers yelled at the girls and told them they are going to hell. This left the girls we had been caring for upset and confused. I personally don’t think we have to spend much time telling these girls they are going to hell because they are already living in their own personal hell. What they need is the grace, mercy and love of Jesus. When we showed up days after this other church picketed, the club bouncer opened the doors wide for us so we could come inside and be with them. The bouncer shared that when the manager of the club confronted the picketers he told them, “We already have a church who loves us, so get off our property.”

I have learned that the assumption that people want to live in their own sin is simply not true. People want something better. They want hope. It is every Christian’s job to tell others there is hope available and to help others walk toward that hope. By going through the Wildflower’s Connect Group, early when I first started attending Harborside, I learned how much of God’s love and healing was available to me. That group and what I learned while participating with other women in that group would probably be my most winning moment to date.

James 5:19-20 says, “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” I am learning more and more to be present in the moments with other people and to love them like Jesus loves them. When we do this, we win the day.

Desiree McElroy

I began attending Harborside at the age of five, but I did not really come consistently until my freshman year of high school. I try to win the day first by winning the morning. I do this by practicing spiritual communion with God. Winning the evening means looking back and seeing the God moments throughout my day.

I feel like I have grown a lot while being at Harborside, mainly because of the people that I have met. Griffin and Heather Gilstrap in particular have been incredibly helpful, encouraging me to step outside of my comfort zone and be bold. They have been my spiritual parents, in a sense. When I feel defeated, they are always there to build me up. Being able to talk about things in small groups have helped me a lot as well.

My biggest obstacle is being too busy. Learning to become more self-aware and recognize when I become spiritually dried up has been a good gauge of when I need to get back on track with God and his plan for me. I feel like when I try to take too much control, I end up losing the day. Taking the time to stop and repent helps me to win the day back.

One God moment for me was when He revealed to me the unforgiveness in my heart that I had harbored for my parents. Once I realized this, I was able to overcome it, forgive my parents, and love them more fully. This was a great moment for me, a stake in the ground even, where heaviness had been removed and bitterness stripped.

The only thing I would add is I used to give into the party scene in high school. I remember having all these holes in my life and feeling unfulfilled. Looking back, I have never been more fulfilled than I am now being here in this love for Jesus. For people going through things similar to what I have been through, I would encourage them with Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jacey Goodwin

I win the morning through prayer. When I wake, I try to remember to pray first. I like to pray for my day and the things coming up throughout the day. When I go to bed, I like to thank God and praise Him. I try to spend time thanking Him for what He has done throughout the day. I also know a few worship songs on guitar. Often, I will end the day playing those songs on guitar before I go to bed.

A few times I tried water fasting. For the entire day, I would eat nothing and drink only water. It was tough. Each hour was tough. When faced with temptation, I would claim strength from the Holy Spirit remembering He is living inside me and His strength is available to me. The closer I get to God, the more it actually happens and works.

I used to be very depressed. I did not want to take my own life because I knew that was wrong, but I would often pray for death. One day I started praying for community. Before long, I found community at Harborside. I found life in community and in worship.

The hardest time for me to win the day is in the afternoon. Morning and evening are easier times for me to remember to pray and be on guard. By middle of the day I might do or say something that ruins the rest of that day. What has helped is accountability—not being alone in my pursuit to win each day. People around me have caught me when I fell, even when I didn’t know I was falling.

Sometimes you have to win the day back. I remember one day when I lost the day in a big way. That night I fell to my knees and begged God for forgiveness. It was overwhelming to feel loved and forgiven in that moment. It was overwhelming to know that I did not have to live in guilt. I did not have to live in loss. Christ still gives us back the victory. People pray to not go through trials; but actually, we need to so that we can see God take us through it. Don’t be afraid to go into storms. That is where God does the saving. It may seem hopeless at first, but it will work out for something greater.

Colossians 2:6-7 says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

If you know why you’re trying to win the day, then that means you have won the day. In other words, if you know you’re living for God, then you have won the day.

Samuel Otero

 

I began attending Harborside in 1984, when the church was first planted. I joined staff in 1987, and have been on board ever since. When it comes to winning the day for me, it all starts with a morning devotional. If I don’t engage with the Word in the morning, I simply don’t win the day.

When trying to win the day, I think that self-discipline and time management are critical. Setting my mind to tasks and asking the Spirit to help me is how I best get things accomplished. When I was in my twenties, I seemed to have “lost the day,” so to speak, by falling away from my quiet times as well as the church. I began dating a young man who influenced me and encouraged me to return to the church and my personal quiet times, for which I am incredibly grateful.

As far as my winning moment, I want seeing Christ to be my biggest winning moment. I also consider God answering prayers, both big and small, to be winning moments for me. When I get an answer and I definitely know it came from him, that is a win.

One person who really helped me to win the day was my high school youth group leader, along with another strong student of the Bible who pushed me to attend a Bible study. 

Two elements to my faith that I have learned along the way are: do not hang around the wrong crowd because you will eventually become like them; and second, study your Scriptures because you really have to get to know God. I personally find great inspiration from Romans 8:1, which says there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,and Romans 8:39 which says, as believers, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Winning the day for me ultimately comes down to three points: learning as much about who God is and His attributes, remaining faithful to what his Word says and developing a character like the character of Christ.

Karen Hoke

My name is Alicia Herron, and I have been attending Harborside for about eight years. The ministries that have impacted me here at Harborside are the young adult groups, the married groups, and Harborside Moms as well. I started attending connect groups, and now I lead some of them; so I have grown a lot during my time here.

My story of faith really begins after high school when I began running to things other than Christ. The biggest thing now is the daily renewal of my mind, which puts me back on track.

Six different elements or practices of my faith come to mind pertaining to how I win the day. First, I have to win the morning by waking up early and having a set time with the Lord. Second, I try to pray while I exercise. Third, I try to listen to worship music throughout the day. Fourth, I make it a priority to memorize Scripture. Fifth, I have to have discernment “in the hour,” as I like to say. And sixth, I try not to let my feelings have too much control over my actions. Those are the ways I try to win each day.

My biggest obstacles in my faith are my pride and letting myself get in my own way. The ways I combat these are getting in the Word, being vulnerable with the Lord, and speaking to other leaders about these matters.

The people who are not afraid to say the hard things—the things I really need to hear—are those who help me the most in my walk with the Lord. The Holy Spirit, for accountability, is also important, of course. 

Romans 12:1-2 says, “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.”

Passages like this one help me discern God’s will and strive to win each day.

However, my true winning moment will not come until I am in heaven and get to see Jesus face to face. I like to think there is no final win until it is final in heaven.

Alicia Herron

We began coming to Harborside in 2006. We found the church to be very welcoming and positive, and we have grown so much while at Harborside. At first, church was all about the kids. Since then, we have grown closer in community with many in the church. Our favorite stories about Harborside would have to be the beach baptisms of our daughters, watching our kids grow, recommitting Karan’s life to Christ, and the mission trips that we have taken.

We start winning the day by winning the morning. We do this by reading the Bible for thirty minutes to one hour each morning. We win the night by thinking of God before going to sleep.

To us, winning the day means getting through the day without allowing the enemy to take over. Looking to God for peace is so crucial. The biggest obstacles we face when trying to win the day are fear and doubt about moving in the right direction. Distractions are a big obstacle as well. My biggest help in all this is knowing that God is there. The greatest winning moments of all for us are seeing people baptized and having deep conversations with the students serving in Student Motion.

Our mothers, David’s uncle and the several members of the Student Ministry church staff have helped our kids win the day on a regular basis.

We have volunteered with Student Motion, the medical team, and the safety team. Seeing the young men and women in Student Motion grow, read the Word, and love others as Jesus does have had a big impact on us. We have also been married for 26 years, after dating for only two weeks. Talk about a leap of faith!

1 Corinthians 14:26 says, “Beloved friends, what does all this imply? When you conduct your meetings, you should always let everything be done to build up the church family. Whether you share a song of praise, a teaching, a divine revelation, or a tongue and interpretation, let each one contribute what strengthens others.”

Karan’s mother passing away was difficult for both of us, but knowing that Christ was comforting them was momentous. We would tell people going through similar experiences three things: do not stop listening to God, have mentors to help you through things, and surround yourself with Christian friends.

David and Karan Moore

It’s Not Too Late To Join A Group

Our group leaders welcome new participants any week of the series.