Welcome to the Praise Report and Outreach Forum for New Life Apostolic Church of Watkinsville, Georgia. Our goal is to lift up Christ with testimonies and praise reports while reaching out to the lost and dying souls in our area with a positive message about our Lord Jesus Christ! God is moving in his church in these last days with a mighty outpouring of his spirit and a great harvest. We hope you're encouraged and uplifted by what you read and observe on this website. Thank you for visiting with us!
Reaching out to the elderly citizens of our country has been one of the forgotten ministries. The word of God tells us to honor and respect those of our society who are senior and older for they are precious in the sight of God. Many old and respected Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, and elderly people are at times the forgotten of our world. In the Old Testament, Moses wrote numerous times concerning the laws of God and wrote the following concerning the elder saints:
Leviticus 19:32 (New International Version) 32 Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.
This was followed in the New Testament by teachings from Christ as well as the apostles. See the following scriptures written by both Peter and Paul below:
1 Peter 5:5 (King James Version) 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
1 Timothy 5 (King James Version) 1Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
The members of New Life Church very much believe in the concept of honoring our senior citizens (see Brother Jacob left). From these wonderful saints of God come a wealth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. As the ancient philosopher once said, “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. I want to honor, respect, and learn as much as I can from these great warriors of the faith. We as a society do not want to have to repeat some of the hard lessons learned by those who have already been there.
It is such a pleasure to go to the Parkwood Facility in Snellville, Georgia once a month to bring joy, happiness, and the spirit of worship and praise to these people. It is good for them to be in the presence of the Lord at least once in awhile to revive their spirits. Under the direction of Ms. Cheryl Ward, many churches are allowed to bring a Christian service to the patients who want to participate. This past Saturday, the outreach team of New Life invaded Parkwood Homes armed with songs, testimonies, bright smiles, and the word of God. An audience of some forty people including the outreach team praised, worshipped, and prayed. The precious Glory of God descended for a brief moment giving the people much needed relief from the pressures of life. The following members of New Life were there to give their best for Christ: Susan Bruce, Brenda Garner, Mercer Cox, Chris Greenwood, Howard Hammond, Zach Hammond, and Scott Strawn. Jackie Self was in attendance with her father Bro. Wallace (pictured above).
The service started with prayer and a praise medley consisting of upbeat courses such as Praise Him, Bless that Wonderful Name, Jesus’ I’ll Never Forget, Coming Down, and It’s Bubbling. We heard testimonies by Susan Bruce and Brenda Garner and a great testimony by Chris Greenwood. Then Mercer Cox sang the old song “He touched Me” and Scott Strawn sang the Gaither tune “The Family of God”. Mercer and Scott sang their songs in a trio format with the help of the old gospel pioneer Bro. Wallace who grew up to be a great song leader in a West Tennessee church. Following the song service, Scott gave a message called “Remembering Joseph” bringing to light how we all have to remember that we are on a journey with Christ at the lead. We have to trust him to bring us through every trial and test and know that God will never leave us or forsake us. We ended the session with prayer for two in the congregation as Zach Hammond and Chris Greenwood went forward to lay hands on the sick. God moved in a mighty way. Thanks to all the team from New Life and to Christ for helping us have another great service and move of God! To God is the Glory!
April 22, 2010 was a night to remember for the University of Georgia campus ministry known as “UGApostolics” as they presented an outreach theme of REACH OUT ROCK OUT. This consortium of young Christians from various church backgrounds were excited to present a night of worship and praise at the historical chapel right in the heart of downtown Athens. The following bands or musicians were asked to perform on this evening of united worship and praise:
DRIVEN – from Stockbridge, Georgia
NEW LIFE DASH BAND – from Watkinsville, Georgia
PHILLIP SCOTT BAND – from Covington, Georgia
Along with WILL TAYLOR SMITH from UGA
This group’s goal was to present Christ in a non-threatening way to the university community in an effort to reach wayward souls on this beautiful college campus. The night was crisp, cool, and clear as various members of the outreach team invited guests to participate in the service. The evening of praise was started by the group from Stockbridge known as DRIVEN. Their testimony in song was presented primarily to an audience of one, Jesus Christ. The upbeat songs gave way to an acoustic set by a great young man, Will Taylor Smith, whose lyrics and song writing ability was highlighted by the song referring to himself as being “Over-rated”, speaking of our flesh in its desire to be seen and heard. We are nothing without the presence of the Lord. Then the NEW LIFE DASH BAND from Watkinsville, Georgia took the stage. The crowd of worshipful Christians put their hands to heaven and sang along with Zach Hammond as he led them in some worship sets meant to gain audience participation. The king of glory was praised in reality as they gave way to the final group.
This final band was a professional Christian Rock band known as the Phillip Scott Band. They are from the Conyers and Covington area. They completely rocked the house with some powerful songs culminating with the intense ballad “R U Gonna Stand Up?”. The band’s leader and minister, Scott Peacock, gave a wonderful devotion concerning how young Christians will face all kinds of peer pressure and reasons to give up in their walk with God. However, they must be aware of the enemy’s devices and stand for the right principles and morals. The night ended with a solemn move of God and was finalized with prayer for each other in the audience. Another successful night of music and outreach had been accomplished! To God be the Glory! In his Service, Scott Strawn
The first part of December 2009, my wife and I noticed a swelling on Timothy (pictured left before the cancer), our 8 yr old son’s temple and we took him to his pediatrician to get this checked out. We were sent from there to have an MRI and CAT scan done. After a couple of scans they told us that they were not experts at reading the scans but they certainly didn’t see anything to be worried about. After a short while they were told to do more scans from different angles and they were nice enough to show me how the machine worked. The CAT scan they were performing showed something they didn’t see at first. I will never forget the look on the young lady's face as she scrolled the mouse cursor back and forth over the mass showing the other tech without saying anything. I felt something was going on but did not want to admit that there was even a possibility that something bad was happening.
Our pediatrician was scheduled to call us the next day after the scans were read. It seemed like he would never call, so my wife started calling the doctor after lunch to see what was going on. He finally called with the worst news a parent could ever receive. He related to us the words of the radiologist: “it looked like malignant cancer the way the mass was attached to the muscle”. I was at work when my wife Deane called to tell me this. She was upset like any mother would be and to be honest, I really don’t know how I made it home. Being the man of the house, you feel that you are supposed to be the strong one in these kinds of situations. This type of news could not have come at a worse time. I felt that I was at an all time spiritual low. I would love to tell you that my faith was never tested or that I never had a doubt that we were going to get through this, but I am human and felt the normal fears that any parent would feel.
We then had to go to the Scottish Rite Hospital for more testing. By now I was thinking that this was all a mistake and was hoping that these doctors would find this out and everything would get back to normal. This did not happen because these specialists saw the same results as did the doctors in Athens. The next step was to have a biopsy done to determine exactly what type of cancer it was and what types of treatment where available. By this time, it had been about two weeks and our son Timothy still did not know what’s going on. He just thought that he was going to see more doctors about the bump on his head. On the day of the biopsy, the Bishop from our home church, Rev. Douglas Hammond was in the room with my wife, Deanne and I. When they brought Timothy back to the recovery room, the doctor came in a few minutes later to tell us that he had gotten enough tissue for them to determine that it was not malignant but definitely cancer. This was not what I wanted to hear and was upset. I remember hearing Bishop Hammond say “don’t let the devil trick you, son”. Those few words may not mean a whole lot to you but they were exactly what I needed to hear at that time.
The time was drawing near that we were going to have to tell Timothy (pictured left with doctor) what was going on. I didn’t know how I was going to tell my little young man that he had cancer. It was just recently that we both had committed to fifteen minutes of prayer each night. In our experience, we had prayed for a lot of people with cancer. God had healed some yet others had passed on. I still worried about how was I going to tell him? Just a couple of days later, we were to meet with his doctor at the Scottish Rite Hospital to schedule his treatments. As we arrived at the clinic and were getting off on the fourth floor the elevator doors opened up, we saw a big sign that said “AFLAC Cancer Center for Children”. This was just one more thing that I did not want to see or hear, the dreaded word “cancer”. Timothy still didn’t say anything about the sign! He had to use the restroom so we both went through a hallway looking for it. As we came out of the restroom, there were pictures of kids battling cancer on the wall. These huge pictures were placed about every ten feet down the hallways. Most of the kids in the pictures had no hair due to the treatments. Suddenly, my son stopped to look at one and I could see the look on his face as he pointed at this one particular child. His look was one of asking me, “Daddy why am I here?” I will never forget this as long as I live. I didn’t know what to say because there was this hurt inside of me that I can’t explain. I think God spoke to him as he saw the hurt in me and he knew his Dad didn’t have words to say anything. He then started smiling as he continued to pointing at the picture and he said, “Look Daddy, you can’t even tell if this is a boy or girl with no hair can you?” as we both laughed and walked back to the waiting room.
Later on that day, the doctors came in and told us that he should be fine after about three and a half years of treatments. Timothy found out on this particular day that he had cancer and he never looked worried. He told us that God was going to take care of him. As we were praying that night, I heard him asking God to remove the cancer from his body and to please touch all the people that were praying for him. I thought that this action was very mature of him. For him to still be thinking of others after finding out that day he had cancer, amazed me. I know that he has a lot of faith when he prays. With recent scans showing that the cancer was not only on his temple, but in his ribs, throat, and liver, the treatments were to start on December 29th of 2009. This was just two days after he turned nine years old. (See picture left: Timothy with Miss Georgia and with Tennessee Vols football players)
All of the treatments have gone very well with very little or no sickness from the chemo treatments. A couple of weeks ago when he went for his second PET scan at Egleston Hospital, this scan showed no sign of cancer, PRAISE GOD!! I am so thankful to be a part of a praying church that is being led by such a wonderful Pastor, Tim Hammond (pictured right with family). I don’t know what I would have done if I had not been in a good church. We have such a loving church at New Life in Watkinsville and everybody has shown so much love and support through this ordeal. I am much closer to God than ever before. Please don’t wait for something like this to turn you around or wake you up. Be prayed up and ready because as the word says it “rains on the just and the unjust”. We never thought we would be going through a trial such as this but we are going through it with the help of Jesus Christ. We are going to be a lot stronger and closer as a family when we get on the other side of this test. Please continue to pray for Timothy. I continue to believe and know that God is good all the time! He always has been there and always will be, no matter what we go through!
A purification process can have many forms. In many primitive religions, a ceremonial cleansing was often performed in a river or stream. In the Christian church, a very common sacrament used in various forms is baptism. This sacrament was performed primarily in the New Testament as we do not see the word baptize or baptism in the Old Testament until the coming of John the Baptist. The dictionary according to Webster states the following about baptism:
“a baptizing or being baptized; specif., the ceremony or sacrament of admitting a person into Christianity or a specific Christian church by immersing the individual in water or by pouring or sprinkling water on the individual, as a symbol of washing away sin and of spiritual purification”
We know that baptism is derived from the Greek word “baptismos” which is symbolic of “burial”. Here at New Life Church, we are excited to experience the precious life giving blood of Christ in the waters of baptism. We believe in the sin remitting, almighty powerful name of Jesus Christ which has all power and authority to purify the dark red stains of the old sinful carnal nature according to Acts 4:12. God is still moving in the world today as was prophesied in the book of Joel Chapter 2. As the scripture states, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh” and this has been happening since the day of Pentecost (ancient Jewish holiday celebrated 50 days after Passover) was fully come in Acts Chapter 2. As the following scriptures bring to our attention, it is not the actual water that saves us but our faith in Christ who saves us and gives a brand new nature:
Romans 6:4 (King James Version) 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Colossians 2:12 (King James Version) 12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
1 Peter 3:21 (King James Version) 21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
We recently celebrated the baptism of Gary Johnson in our church in Watkinsville on March 7, 2010. His wife Brenda (pictured below left) and their children had been members of our church for almost two years. Gary is currently serving in the military in the Navy and had been overseas until just recently. Brenda had gone through some great spiritual growth and was set ablaze by God’s Holy Spirit over the last several months. Needless to say, Gary was quite amazed about what God was doing in her life and wanted to experience the same wonder, working power of God. A few Sundays ago, after an hour long bible study, Gary was baptized in the precious name of our Lord and became that very new creature! (Pictured left: Steve Russell performing baptism) Since that time, Gary, Brenda, and their family have relocated to Oklahoma but are still experiencing the amazing power of God in their new location. They have since found a Spirit Filled church and God is continuing to bless them greatly! Keep this family in your prayers as there are great things in store for them. God Bless the Johnson family! (See picture below) In His Service, Scott Strawn
This was not just another Monday night in March for the young men’s bible study group from New Life Church in Watkinsville, Ga. On this night, several young men got together with a common goal in mind, fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ by reaching out to the lonely desperate souls of Athens, Georgia’s homeless population. This growing problem in America is moving across social and racial boundaries. With the recent downturn in our economy, job loss, foreclosure, and financial collapse has reached the very heart of the United States. Needless to say, even in a small college town such as Athens, there is an alarming growth of homeless citizens. There are those whose lives have been wrecked by alcohol, drugs, and sexual promiscuity, as well as average, normal citizens whose lives are wrecked by unemployment and job loss. The church members of New Life Church do care and do have a burden for people’s lives who are affected by these horrid conditions. As the body of Christ, we do know that God does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, gender, or religious preference. God sees all peoples on the earth and according to scripture “he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” as written in John 3:16. These photos are from the Athens Banner Herald showing many of the homeless people of the area.
With this in mind, Chris Greenwood, Blake Miller, and Zach Hammond set the stage for an historical occasion by New Life Church, a night of giving and searching for the hurting and lonely souls of Clarke County. With these awesome young leaders of young men, the van left New Life Church on the night of March 22nd armed with survival packets containing clothing such as coats, shoes, and shirts, bottled waters, first aid kits, and other non-perishable food items, along with a host of young men from New Life’s youth department. From 7:30pm until 9:45pm, a search began in downtown Athens starting on Clayton Street, Baxter Street, and Hawthorne Ave. until the homeless began to appear throughout the downtown area. The young men began to minister to these souls with physical help and through words of encouragement of love and compassion! Out of some twenty prepared packets, some eleven or so were actually given out. Christ was truly alive in the lives of these youthful Christians as they ventured into an area where they had never been. Each one felt truly rewarded by seeing the smiles on the faces of these eleven recipients of God’s grace. The return trip to the church that night was one of rejoicing and excitement as each one spoke of the lessons learned throughout the evening! The scripture in Matthew 25 shown below was evident in the night’s activities:
Matthew 25:31-46 (King James Version) 31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Thanks to the great support of the saints of New Life, Pastor Tim Hammond, and the outreach department for such a great night of fulfillment and reward! God Bless! Scott Strawn
(Pictured below from left to right are: Chris Greenwood, Blake Miller, and Zach Hammond.)
We had an awesome meeting on March 25th last month. Our crowd was slightly off due to being a weeknight service but those attending were moved by God's presence in a mighty way. Those from our team attending and participating were Scott Strawn (pictured left), Mercer Cox,Chris Greenwood, Susan Bruce, Brooke Mitchell, and Lauren Strawn. We started with prayer and then with a easter theme in mind we sang the inspirational hymns of "The Old Rugged Cross" and "There's Power in the Blood". We were blessed to have Susan Bruce (pictured bottom left) sing the Gaither song "The Blood will Never Lose Its Power" and a powerful ballad sung by Brooke Miitchell "Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone". Lauren provided her skills with the piano and was used mightily while playing those great hymns. Bro. Mercer Cox (pictured below right) teamed up with Bro. Wallace (pictured below left) to sing the old song "I can't even walk, without you holding my hand". Bro. Wallace seemed to enjoy the moment. Chris Greenwood gave an awesome testimony on the life of Enoch. His spoke of the coming day when God's people will certainly be translated from this life to the next in a very positive message.
I closed out with a message called "The Real Message of Easter", which I related that message of Easter was indeed the resurrection of Christ. Without Christ risen from the tomb, our religion is in vain according to the Apostle Paul. But we all know that he is risen. We closed out the service with prayer for three individuals: Bro. Wallace (just had operation), and two others. One man was weeping and said he had turned back on the Lord but wanted to rededicate his life to the God. Mercer, Chris, and myself prayed for him as he prayed to God. I believe he felt the presence of the Lord greatly. We returned to Watkinsville after a stop in Loganville at the McDonald's and we all rejoiced as we sipped Micky D's teas, ate junk food, and journeyed on our way. To God be the Glory!! I was very encouraged and feel like pressing on the next time we get together. God is great and greatly to be praised! The worship team is pictured below from left to right: Brooke Mitchell, Lauren Strawn, Chris Greenwood, Susan Bruce, and Mercer Cox.
New Life Church of Watkinsville, Georgia was so excited to host our first annual Good Friday Concert on April 2, 2010. This extravaganza of worship and praise was performed before the God of Glory, a heavenly host of angels, and an audience of over three hundred people. The artist slated to perform through their musical arts were: Ryan Johns Band, David Huff (formerly of David & the Giants), The NLAC choir, and the NLAC drama and performing arts team. The Oconee County facility is a first rate facility and God's presence filled the 500 seat amphitheater. From the opening act to the last, people’s hearts were overjoyed with anointing and power coupled with the gospel message of hope through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Ryan Johns (pictured right) opened up this concert of praise with four contemporary songs from his upcoming album (to be released later this year). His awesome song writing talent along with masterful tracks paved the way for the Lord to receive our praise and worship. Then Bro. Mike Wilson from Tennessee ministered in a different sound, Southern Gospel. A touching rendition of great heartwarming songs saturated with an anointing straight from heavens gates gave the audience much anticipated hope in the resurrection. Following the NLAC drama and arts team, a Gospel Contemporary musician known all over the US, David Huff (pictured right), formerly of David & the Giants sang a number of power ballads ending with the hardcore “Run to his Mercy”. David has an unbelievable talent to write and compose music, but his testimony is what brings such power to his ministry.
The night ended with Sis. Dorcas Hammond and the hometown NLAC choir with four amazing songs such as “I’m Forgiven” and the “Power of the Cross”. Several first time guests dotted the crowd of worshippers with tears of joy as we finished the night with “Sold Out”. The choir along with Mike Wilson (pictured left - on keyboard) did a couple more verses as the crowd urged them on during this encore. A “shoutin” spirit was about to give way to the rapture as people clapped and sang along with the choir! Pastor Tim Hammond ended the night with an invitation to visit our church in Watkinsville. Visit us at http://www.nlac.tv/.
New Life Church wrapped up the last of its sessions on March 27, 2010 at the Oconee Jail facility. Scott Strawn, Steve Russell and Chris Greenwood were thankful to be able to go and witness and share the love of Christ once again. We want to thank Blake Miller, Zach Hammond, Steve Russell and Chris Greenwood for their work at the jail on March 20th. Pictured left are Chris Greenwood, Scott Strawn, Zach Hammond, and Steve Russell. On an average, we averaged about seven to ten male prisoners in our services each Saturday. Our approach was somewhat different this year as we felt led to have a more personal approach to ministering to the men in jail. Christ told his disciples that “if we have not done it unto the least of these, we have not done it unto him…” when speaking of reaching the homeless, destitute, imprisoned, and hungry. We received feedback a year ago from some of the prisoners who said they appreciated and liked our approach. We found many of the men in the jail to be Christians who had gone astray and were using this opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and start afresh and anew. We also found some who were not interested in hearing about the precious message of God’s love and sacrifice on the cross. However, we did not feel defeated or dismayed for the message of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We were the “mailmen” who planted the seed and will soon see the fruits of our labor in new souls coming to Christ! New Life was gracious in their giving as we purchased New Testament bibles to hand out to the prisoners as well as reading glasses for those who could not see to read. It is awesome to be a part of such a great ministry team. New Life thanks Scott Strawn, Steve Russell, Chris Greenwood, Zach Hammond, Mercer Cox, and Blake Miller for their sacrifice of love to reach out to the Oconee County Jail. We also want to thank Ms. Marie Mitchell at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Department who was so gracious in working with us to let us come and minister. To all God fearing Christians, please remember to pray for those unfortunate souls who have made mistakes in their lives and are repaying their debt to society! The New Life Jail Ministry Team is shown below (from left to right): Steve Russell, Scott Strawn, Chris Greenwood, Zach Hammond, Mercer Cox, and Blake Miller.