igt sTORIES

ANTHONY SMITH

"I got the basic building blocks for my Christian walk with the Life Groups - Alpha and Discovery 101 (which is the membership course that preceded Building Antioch). Joy Hitchcock’s group on intercessory prayer and Scott Smith’s “Game Plan for Life” gave me building blocks in the maturity process. I discovered we are players in the biggest game in life – God’s on one side and Satan the other. And we have to know how to do the plays right. Two of the groups that meant the most to me were Not a Fan (but rather a follower of Jesus) and Fight (which gave me spiritual warfare tools to use to defeat Satan’s power in my life). I took these classes when I was having a particularly rough time in my personal life – they were quite timely. The Believer’s Authority, with Don Vitalle, added another layer to what I had learned in Fight. In When God, with Vicki Wilson, I learned that God is NEVER late – He has a time for everything (and He operates on His time). Finally, in Pure Praise I was sparked to go join the choir and serve on the Worship Team in a whole new way. Pastor Mark has mentored me in different spiritual aspects. He gave me transportation and a place to be here at Highpoint. He is a great prayer warrior and was there when I needed direction. He is a great leader on all the larger spiritual questions I could ask. He has shown me love in ways I could not have imagined."



CHRIS AND TERESA CARLSON

"We had been involved with a mega-church nearby, but were at a spiritual stand-still; we wanted “more”. Chris was out of work and finances were very tight. We had children to feed, and so we went to our church’s food bank for help, but were told that the food was only for members. Teresa said “I was baptized here, we pay for our child to go to your school, and we have been attending here for four years; how am I not a member?” But apparently, we were not considered members, so no food allowed. At approximately the same time, we attended a worship service that was very odd, and it was apparent there was some problem between the senior and associate pastors. So we went home praying to find a better church.

That very week we received an invitation in the mail from Highpoint to attend an ice cream social, so we went. We had never felt the Holy Spirit, nor heard God talk to us before, but the timing could not be mistaken. We were very warmly greeted, which made a big difference to us. And before we knew it, we had found a new church home. Both of us had really messed-up childhoods, and now God is showing us that our situations don’t make or break us if we can see the bigger (God’s) picture. We recently met a woman who was a new attender, also with a bit of a situation, and we were able to pray with her. The following week she came back and said she was planning to stay at Highpoint; so we are getting to pass it on. God takes a bad situation and brings good from it. We have the best pastors – understandable and idiot-proof, but in a smart way. Every Sunday is worthwhile. Highpoint made room for us. We hope it will always make room for others."



SHANDI BRADLEY

"Life Groups is a major reason I stayed at Highpoint. Being the body of Christ is all about community. I’m already saved. I could just buy a study and do it myself (although not as meaningfully as within a group). But we are privileged to be a Christian community and it is what we are made for; that is why I go to Life Groups – to find others to connect/become friends with in Christ – doing life together. In working with the youth I was able to really connect with some of the girls, and have also been able to minister to my own two sisters and encourage them in their path to knowing God. The main difference in my own life is that I’ve learned that the Lord is more concerned with our character than with blessing us with temporal things. (‘Shall I bless her with a car or with self-control? Let’s do self-control.’) He’s concerned with the eternal. He has displayed his grace to me by giving me things that cannot fade away – like patience, kindness, etc.

In Acts 4:13 and 17:6 we discover disciples who, with no formal training, turned the whole world upside down for God. People even said, “These men have been with Jesus.” My hope is that we can make that kind of an imprint on our community so that they (1) know we are here and (2) that we, too, have been with Jesus."