Tuesday, September 9, 2014

White Bears and the Pursuit of Happiness

The below article was written by Katherine Landrum and republished with her permission.

White Bears and the Pursuit of Happiness

This past year, I've been so focused on trying to be happy... trying to appear happy for others, trying to be happy about my circumstances, (because, at least they're not as bad as others)... just trying to convince myself to be happy.  And then, I would feel guilty when I could not think myself into happiness; when I couldn't pray hard enough, believe hard enough, or quote enough scriptures, to make myself happy. I felt like a failure; like I had let God, myself, and everyone else in my life down. 

I tell you, it's exhausting!!! 
Then, several weeks ago, I listened to a sermon by Pastor Ron Macey. He said, “We don't have to always be happy with our circumstances, happiness is dependent upon the external. But, we can have joy regardless of our circumstances, because joy is internal, it comes from The Lord. And, as long as we have joy, we'll have the strength to go on, until we are happy again.”

A few days later, I was talking to Bro. Stephen Collins, and I told him, “I'm going to be ok.” And he replayed “yes, you will be. But, it's ok not to be ok.” And, as simple as that statement was, it was very liberating for me. 

I realized, it's foolish to try to force myself to be happy, when life as I know it has been reduced to sand; when I, as I know myself, have been reduced to ashes. 

I stopped trying to pretend to be happy. I stopped trying to convince myself that I was ok. I realized that I was expending so much energy on trying to be happy, that I had lost my joy. And we know, the joy of The Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). So, I surrendered my pursuit of happiness to God, and I started praying that He would restore to me the joy of His salvation (Psalms 51:12). And, I started growing stronger.

It wasn't until I stopped trying to 'not think about white bears,' that I stopped thinking about them (see article, "Paradoxical Effects of Thought Suppression"),

This was not a new revelation to me; but sometimes, in the throes of a dark storm, you lose your way, you lose sight. Sometimes, you have to be redirected to the landmarks, to the lighthouse on the shore. Sometimes you just have to be reminded: “You don't have to be happy. You don't have to be ok.” As long as you have joy, joy that can only come from God, you'll have the strength to keep going on, until you are happy again, until you really are ok. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Are You Saying to Yourself?

What are you saying to yourself today? Take a look at the sermon highlight below from Pastor Macey and see how what you say to yourself can affect how God moves in your life!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Transfiguring Power of Prayer

And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
 Luke 9:29

What a day this must have been when Jesus was transfigured during His time of prayer, it moved Simon Peter to desire to never leave the mountain. During our time of prayer, we need to ask ourselves, “Who are we attempting to change?”  I would venture to say that most of our praying is trying to change circumstances, or perhaps trying to change those around us, but that is not what happened when Jesus prayed on the mountain. In Luke 9:29, the scripture says “the fashion of HIS countenance was altered.”  I fully understand what has been said through the ages that prayer changes things, and that is so true. But if we spend our prayer time, pushing for God to change others, we miss an opportunity to identify with our Lord…HIS countenance was changed by prayer.

In our rush to see our prayers answered, by God changing others or altering our circumstances, we miss the transforming power of prayer, on ourselves! Modern day Christians miss the lesson of what God wants to do to with us when we spend time alone with Him.  Yes, prayer can change people around you, but God has ordained that the change begins with you. The wife is the reflection of her husband. If he wants a different wife, he has to be “altered” in prayer so that the wife can reflect his change. Moses face glowed after being in the presence of God, the change was oblivious to all those who looked upon him. If we pray and stay with Jesus until WE are changed, those around us as well as our circumstances will be altered. God did not design prayer for us to use to try and alter those we want to change, but rather to change us to be more like Him.

Instead of praying for everyone else to change so you can be happy, pray for God to change you, so through your altering by Him, others will be affected for Him. Go to your closet of prayer today, ask God to transform your life and see how the world will look when you leave His presence. It’s time to stay at Jesus feet until we are truly changed into His image.

Pastor Ron Macey has served as senior pastor at Royalwood Church for 30 years. He has a heart for our community and this is evident in Royalwood's mission: Reaching, Teaching & Serving. Follow Pastor Macey on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Throughout the month of November, Royalwood Church is focusing on prayer with our 30/30 Challenge: Pray 30 minutes a day for 30 days.  Prayer, along with the Word of God, is one of the absolute necessities for living a Christian life.  It is as necessary to our spiritual well being as food and water are to our physical health. Simply put, your relationship with Jesus is defined not by your church attendance, church involvement or ministry, but by prayer.  By the consistency of your communication with Him.  It's important that we know Him and it is especially important that He knows us! (see Judgement Day)

Communication.  This is a word that is oft misunderstood or worse misrepresented in our world of posts, tweets and vines.  True communication cannot take place without at least two parties. And those parties must be qualified as a speaker and a listener. And at some point in the conversation, they must swap roles; the speaker must become the listener and the listener the speaker.  This communication, when practiced frequently, will soon transform into a relationship.  It's easy to confuse prayer with speaking to God, petitioning God or even worshipping God.  Big news break here: The most important element of prayer is listening.  In sales, we have a saying "I never made a dime talking."  Despite a salesperson's natural tendency to speak, it's listening to our customer that helps us understand what they need and how we can best help.  Let's face it, if God and I are in the same room...who really needs to be speaking anyway?  It would probably benefit me to hear what my Father, aka King of the Universe, has to say about my life.

Let's be clear...I am not saying that we cannot make our petition known to The Lord.  How awesome is God that He has made Himself available to us and we'd be crazy not  take advantage of that.  We all pray for health, direction, deliverance from trouble and more.  But there is a dimension of prayer that we often forget that simply focuses on striving to know God more, to be more like Him.

What comes out of our mouth is the least important part of prayer.  With praise, worship and collective prayer at church, crying out or verbalized prayer is absolutely necessary.  So many times I have been lifted up and encouraged by my Pastor's or another saints prayers.  However, in personal, relational prayer it's not what we say that God really pays attention to.  It's the lips of our heart that He really hears.  When we pray out loud  we can almost become fascinated with our voice. (You've all heard that person in the prayer room!)  We can lead ourselves to emotional heights and depths simply by listening to ourselves, our plight and our needs. When Solomon prayed to God for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people of Israel, God's reply was "...Because this was in thine heart...Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee."  God looked beyond the actual words that Solomon prayed, saw the intentions of his heart and that is why He answered his prayer.

Such a topic as prayer could not be completely understood or explored by a single person or blog. However, being raised by praying parents and in a praying church, prayer has always been a part of my life.  Until a few years ago, I never truly appreciated the impact that personal and reflective prayer could have on my walk with Jesus.  Several years ago I began to pray about a very serious situation.  I was disturbed in my spirit to a level that I have never experienced. I prayed earnestly and desperately every day for several weeks.  I was going early in the morning to the church and praying for at least an hour, sometimes much longer, and could find no relief in how I saw and felt about this situation.  I found myself struggling to sleep and even eat.  God HAD to intervene in what I saw happening.  

One Monday morning I got to the church around 5:30 in the morning to continue my spiritual warfare.  I knelt in the prayer room and began to petition God again.  The Lord immediately spoke to me in the clearest fashion, "Why don't you just pray about PJ?"  A very cool and "closed in" feeling overcame me and I recognized that I was in a secret and special place with God.  I was right at His feet.  Over the course of about two hours I saw clearly my humanity and how lost I was without His grace.  I began to see images of Calvary and The cruxifiction.  I could not help but repent again of all my sins.  I literally became undone.  Through tears and shaking all over I thanked The Lord for dying for me, for saving me.  He began to show me the many times I had lost my way and how He had lovingly and patiently steered me back onto His path.  I prayed as earnestly that morning as I did the night I received the Holy Ghost at 8 years old.  I cried like I had never cried before and thanked Him like I had never thanked Him.  This went on for an hour or so and I left and went to work. I returned Tuesday morning, again to pray about "the situation" and the same presence was there and I again was thrust into a place of repentance, reflection and humility.  I don't have to try very hard to be moved to tears, a good old fashioned baby dedication will get me going.  But that morning I literally cried my eyes out.  Co-workers thought that I was becoming sick because of the condition of my eyes!  This continued on for 5 days straight.  I didn't have to work it up or build momentum, God just ambushed me as soon as I walked in the door....every day just as fresh and overwhelming as the first.  

Friday morning I began to wrap up my "humility" session with Jesus so I could head to work and I realized that I had not thought of "the situation" for a few days, not once.  Walking to my vehicle my mind hesitantly began to mull over this predicament again.  I literally stopped in my tracks.  The most amazing thing had happened.  I could barely recognized this crisis that had worried me sick.  Circumstances and people that had caused me so much concern I now viewed with complete peace.  What I saw as so cloudy, dark and ominous I now saw clearly and with faith.  Here is the awesome part, the situation had not changed one bit, I had!  In fact, I realized that I had wrongly judged the situation. God spoke to me at that moment that I was now seeing through His eyes.  I had been diligently carrying this situation to Him in prayer, holding it tightly in my arms, wanting His intervention, wanting an answer.  All the while, the Lord had been meeting me at the same place of prayer desiring to touch me and to change me but He couldn't get past the thing clutched in my arms. Even in a posture of prayer, He was unable to do anything with me.  By bringing me back to Calvary and the foundation of His grace in my life, God helped me to lay down my concerns and remember what was most important.  Me and Him and Him and me. 

Contrary to popular belief, a large part of your personal prayer should be about you and your life.  Relationship with God manifests itself in many ways in a Christian's life but the greatest is change.  Not of doctrine or beliefs, but change in ourselves.  We can't truly stand in His presence and remain the same.  We cannot sincerely pray for His touch and not expect a transformation.  My favorite prayer in God's word was prayed by Jesus in the Garden "let this cup pass, but nevertheless not My will but yours."  He loved us so much, despite His fear and discomfort of what was to come, that He submitted to divine will.  What a great example for us to follow in our prayer!  Too often we want the situation to change, never once considering that it is we who might need to be changed.  Romans 12:2 is a reminder "..but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

My intentions with this blog is not to teach anyone how or what to pray but simply to challenge you to consider your prayers.  To think about the intentions of your heart or what you want to accomplish in prayer and most importantly what does God want to accomplish in you through prayer?

Here are a few pre-prayer conversations that I have with God that help prepare my mind for prayer.

"How do You see me?"
"Are you pleased with my life?"
"Am I becoming what you intended me to be when you saved me?"
"Am I looking at this situation as You would?"

As I am writing this at 20,000 ft headed to Missouri for work, I am moved again to find that special place in prayer that God can speak into my life and change me.  I hope you feel it too!

PJ Dial is a husband, father and servant of Christ. He grew up in Royalwood and is involved in several aspects of ministry including Praise & Worship, Anthem Student Ministries and currently serves on Royalwood's Board.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Royalwood Church Fall Festival - This Saturday. Oct. 26th

We are so excited about the Royalwood Fall Festival this Saturday, October 26th from 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm and we want you to be there!  There will be lots of family-friendly activities, games, free food, and a costume contest (no scary costumes please)!

We are also hosting an auction in the gym from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm. There a lot of great items such as: 

  • Family pack of Royal Tailor Concert Tickets (includes 4 tickets, 4 backstage passes, 4 tee shirts, and an autographed poster).  
  • Handmade quilts
  • Christmas decorations
  • Autographed sports memorabilia , caps, and pictures (even a baseball autographed by Yogi Berra)
  • Children's Picnic Table (handmade by Pepe Salazarescobar - A MUST SEE)
  • Purses
  • Gift Certificates for various places
  • Retractable Awning
  • Personal services - such as Tax Preparation, Children's Haircuts, Photo Sessions, Piano Lessons, Voice Lessons
  • And MUCH MORE!

You can view all items up for auction and bid online now at www.32auctions.com/royalwood!

We hope you can join us. For more information, please visit our website or call the church office at (281) 458-2102. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Royalwood Church Auction - Now Live!

Royalwood Church is hosting an online auction! We have many fantastic auction items include silver, glass and china collectibles, art, gift certificates to local business, autographed sports memorabilia, handmade quilts and MORE!

The online auction starts October 12th and ends at out church fall festival on October 26th at 4:00 pm. See an item you want now? You can take advantage of the "Buy it Now" feature and win it immediately!

Visit www.32auctions.com/royalwood to view all the great items up for sale and bid now!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Quitters Never Win!

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
 Luke 4:16

This event of Jesus going to the synagogue occurred after He finished the fast in the wilderness. The scripture describes His fast as Jesus “being forty days tempted of the devil”.  Following those 40 days of the enemy working on His mind, the devil continued to tempt Jesus 3 additional times.

But Jesus did not let these temptations keep him from doing what He was supposed to do.  After the fast and subsequent trial through temptation, the Bible tells that He did the same thing that he was used to doing - "as his custom was" - and that was to go to the synagogue and teaching.

This is just a simple thought that I hope will provoke you to think about what you need to do when the enemy has come against you with everything in his power.  I have seen many people just quit coming to church when temptations or trials come their way.  What we must do when this happens, is to get up and go about the Master’s business.  

Whatever God has called us to do or whatever work we have put our hands to in the kingdom of God, we need to continue doing.  Adversity should not cause us to quit!  We must remember that day in the boat during the raging storm that Jesus spoke the words, “Peace, be still!”  He is still the Master of the elements and every situation in your life but when you quit, you take away his opportunity to give you a miracle.  Continue to go to church, continue with your prayer and personal devotion time so the Lord can show His power. 

I know we have all heard the cliché, “Quitters never win!”  This statement is so true in our walk with the Lord! Job was the king of adversity but we know that in the end he had more than the beginning because he did not ‘throw in the towel’ but continued on being a vessel for the Lord’s use.  Soldiers in the army of Christ, we must keep on doing what the Lord did!  When the enemy sends adversity your way, pick up your weapons and continue doing what you are accustomed to doing and head back into the battle!

Jeanna Macey is married to Pastor Ron Macey. She is the Chorale Director for Royalwood and serves as Advisor to Royalwood's various ladies ministries. Follow Jeanna Macey  on Twitter