secondary banner will go here
side banner will go here

Pastor's Blog

Publish Date: October 20, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

The River of Living Water is Flowing and the Waters are Running Deep

He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in--a river that no one could cross.   (Ezekiel 47:5 NIV)

Recently, after a time of studying the Word and Prayer the Holy Spirit spoke these words into my spirit, "The River of Living Water is flowing and the waters are deep!" Immediately I understood these words to be a prophetic statement of Braeswood Church's destiny.

As we continue the timely sermon series, Dig a Ditch, we will prepare ourselves for the awesome flow of the River. To wade into the River ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep of to swim into the River that is too wide to cross is our individual decision. As for me, I am going for a swim.

I know that the provisions of God are greater and more awesome than I will ever be able to experience. Even so, I will seek the most from God confessing that He will always be MORE THAN ENOUGH for me, my needs, wants and desires. Praise the Lord!

Join Donna and me for services this weekend. We have chosen to dig ditches all over the valley. Now, as the waters are flowing, we are prepared to receive His all. The River of Living Water is flowing and the waters are deep! Will you join us?

In an Atmosphere of Faith, Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: October 13, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Become the Answer to Someone's Prayer

How often does someone have an opportunity to be the answer to prayer? Actually, YOU can be the answer more than you might think.

At this very moment someone is praying that a messenger would come to their nation, city or village to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ. This happens around the world every day. They may not know to ask specifically for Jesus, but they ARE searching for truth. Someone today is seeking answers to real questions and concerns, real needs. You know that Jesus IS the answer, but who will GO tell them about Christ.

You may not be able to GO, but you certainly can SEND someone. This is exactly what mission support is all about. Every offering you give is an opportunity for someone to hear about Jesus. I heard someone once say, that a second after you enter eternity you will be grateful for every cent you gave towards missions. I completely agree.

You may not be able to GO so consider the opportunity to SEND by making a monthly mission's pledge. Someone will be glad you did.

In an Atmosphere of Faith, Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: September 8, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

A New Spiritual Atmosphere for the U.S.A.

But now bring me a harpist." While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha {16} and he said, "This is what the LORD says: Make this valley full of ditches

I recall the moment I heard of the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11. As reality began to sink in, we open the church, the prayer chapel and sponsored special times of prayer for the mass of people who were looking for comfort and solace. People who had not been to church in ages suddenly felt compelled to seek God. But just as quickly as people came in, they went out.

As we stand at the threshold of the tenth anniversary of that terrorist attack we see a nation in dire need of a spiritual awakening. What I have come to believe is that we need a nation with a NEW SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE!

This Spiritual Atmosphere does not come because those outside the church discover the need but because we as the church MAKE IT HAPPEN. A spiritual atmosphere of a nation doesn't come because of a catastrophe, or we would have it now. We have seen earth quakes, floods, hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters. We have witnessed death, war, calamity and human suffering unparalleled in my lifetime. Yet there has been no Spiritual Atmosphere change.

Why? Because our Spiritual Atmosphere will change when we, THE CHURCH, begin to think more of GOD then we do of ourselves. Spiritual Atmosphere will arrive when we care more about what GOD says and what GOD desires than what WE think or what WE want.

Before Elisha prophesied, he called for a change of atmosphere. The arrogance, fear and circumstance that surrounded him would not dissuade him from speaking God's Word. He acknowledged that an Atmosphere of Faith in the Living God would change the circumstances of the very people who were helpless to change their own circumstance. He changed the atmosphere by calling for a minstrel.

Join me and others at Braeswood Church who are changing our Spiritual Atmosphere. Join us as we seek the Lord with all our hearts. Be a part of a group who revere his presence more than His blessing. Join us as we set our hearts upon things above and not things of this earth.

Join Donna and Me as we make ours an Atmosphere of Faith everywhere we go and in every circumstance we face.

In an Atmosphere of Faith, Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: August 11, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Student's Encouter with God

Chad Stafford Sunday's Guest Speaker

 
Pastor Donnie, Pastor John and I agree, Braeswood students must have an ENCOUNTER WITH GOD.

Every event, every trip, every class and every chapel has at its main purpose to challenge our students to encounter the power, love and grace of an awesome heavenly Father.  Every student ministry staff member is just as committed.

This weekend our guest speaker, Chad Stafford, is equally committed to leading our students and our church to a Godly Encounter.   He will be ministering to our students this Friday and Saturday night in the Fellowship Hall .  Along with anointed and challenging messages will be fun and dinner served to all who attend.  Additionally Evangelist Stafford will minister in all Sunday morning services.

Chad Stafford is the lead Pastor of Coastal Church in Daphne, AL, which opened its doors in January of 2010. This exciting church has a commitment to change their culture by reaching the next generation with a passionate and relevant message of Jesus Christ.

He earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies and Theology from CentralBibleCollege in Springfield, Missouri. He has coached on the collegiate and high school levels, winning 7 state championships in both baseball and football. He is the author of two books, Fresh Start: A guide to powerful, personal quite times with God and 40 Days With The Holy Spirit. In addition to his serving as Pastor, Chadalso serves as a consultant to churches, youth groups and businesses.

 Parents be sure to invest your students by bringing them to the services Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 PM. On Sunday the students will join us in the sanctuary for a glorious service.  I believe this investment will pay dividends for years to come.

 Join Donna and me as we pray that every student will Encounter the power and glory of God.

 We Love You and Our Students,
PS
 



Publish Date: August 1, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Welcome Minister of Worship Pastor Zeke Listenbee

Zeke Listenbee

 

I am please to announce that we have invited Pastor Zeke Listenbee to join the Braeswood Church Leadership Team as Minister of Worship. 

Pastor Zeke, his wife, Cintia and their two children, Zion and Zekia come to us from North Carolina, where he served a Worship Pastor at New Covenant Church in Clyde.  Pastor Zeke also served Peter's Rock Temple Church of God is Christ as Music Director.  Pastor Zeke is an accomplished song writer, composer and producer.  His passion is leading people into the presence of God.

Cintia Listenbee is a journalist and professional blogger. She learned the importance of prayer growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cintia graduated from Rust College with a double major in Broadcast and Print Journalism. She has a Masters of Arts in Journalism from The University of Mississippi.

Pastor Zeke, Cintia, Zion and Zekia will join Braeswood on Saturday and Sunday, August 20 & 21, where Pastor Zeke will be leading worship.Prepare your hearts for a NEW and EXCITING Encounter with God.  Braeswood is poised for Great Spiritual Renewal.  I am hungry for His presence and He is hungry to reveal Himself to us. 

Please consider inviting a friend or neighbor to join you in worship this Sunday.  I will continue my teaching series, Dig a Ditch.  People have committed or recommit their lives to Christ every weekend.  Two weeks ago we discovered that Change Requires a New Spiritual Atmosphere and Location does NOT Determine Spiritual Atmosphere.

Donna and I are looking for you this Sunday!

We Love You!
PS
 



Publish Date: July 23, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Endurance

(The following are excerpts from the E-Journal of Lori Banning Moon dated August 25, 2010.  Lori graduated from this life on Friday, July 15, 2011 after a long battle with cancer.  Lori is the youngest sister of Pastor Stephen E. Banning.)

Well, it's been a while since I've written anything.  You'd have to know me well to know just how out of character that is for me.  Since I was a little curly-headed girl who knew how to make words, I've been writing.  Stories.  Feelings.  Journals.  Poetry.  Lyrics.  Whatever it was, it always came from my heart and through my hands onto the pages of a beautiful leather-bound journal (thank you, Shelley!), a scratch of paper, or the screen of a computer monitor. 

Lately, though, the words haven't flowed through my hands.  They've flowed from my heart through prayer.  Prayers cried out in the morning, when the house is quiet and the only thing that rings in the air is the sound of my own voice calling out to Him, prayers offered throughout the day as I move through the activities of life, and prayers whispered in earnest as I wait for sleep to envelope me.  When I contemplated this change in me, I thought it felt like I was in survival mode instead of truly living each moment with fullness and purpose. 

Then it occurred to me.  This. Is. What. Endurance. Is. 

Endurance.  The dictionary defines it like this:  the ability or strength to continue or last, esp. despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina:

So there it was:  the reason that I found things difficult to define with words other than those offered to my Heavenly Father.  I am enduring this trial of the physical, but He renews my strength daily and there is a gratitude that I feel for that which I can only express fully to Him.  It's beyond words.  I'm not unique to this experience of endurance.  There are many, many people who are enduring trials right now.  Endurance is covered in the scriptures.  It's old as time, but comforting to know that God is pleased by how we choose to handle it and trust Him in the midst of it.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment [as seen from God's eternity], is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

 "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  (Romans 5:1-5)

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

"...count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience [endurance]. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  (James 1:2-4)

"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:3-5)

Endurance isn't a particularly engaging subject.  Everyone wants their problems solved in 30 minutes - you know, like the way a sitcom wraps it all up quick-quick.  But endurance is the long-haul.  The long road that nobody really wants to travel.

 And yet . . . I am convinced that true faith and trust are learned on that long road.  Spiritual maturity is picked up along the way, too, because endurance isn't for babies or wimps.  There's good, difficult lessons to be learned on that long, long road, but oh boy, are they priceless!
 



Publish Date: July 15, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Maximum Impact Environment

 Several years ago I introduced the concept, Maximum Impact Environment, defined as that place God has strategically placed you in which you have the greatest potential to make the maximum impact for the Kingdom of God.  This strategy identifies the greatest opportunities for our taking a stand for the Lord including our homes, places of employment, neighborhoods, friends, schools and universities, to name but a few.

With school beginning soon, I want to encourage every student and parent to embrace your Maximum Impact Environment and be a light to the world.  The Bible challenges us to, "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew NIV).  You have the power of heaven backing you and the Holy Spirit inspiring you to think, speak and act as missionaries wherever you go.

Every school is a mission field.  Every pupil is a potential follower of Jesus.  Every school event is an opportunity.  Let us each decide today that this school year will be one marked by our submission to our divine mission.

Let’s embrace our Maximum Impact Environment this academic year and pray that hundreds of students will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Students and Parents, Donna and I love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: July 7, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

I Chose Praise

I have taken a stand, and I will publicly praise the LORD.
(PSALM 26:12 NLT)
(The Following was an article I wrote July 09, 2010.  I believe it is a fitting Article to repeat.  Please enjoy).

I have heard, mainly from those who have little understanding about the Word of God, that Christians should keep their faith in the church.  Some say that it is inappropriate to talk about the things of the Lord outside the church...too radical.  WOW!

I completely disagree.  It is important to not be arrogant or self-righteous, but HOW can I separate my faith in God from EVERY part of my life.  For me that would be impossible.  Jesus IS my life.

The other day while going to lunch I found a great parking place.  I praised the Lord.  After looking for a lost item and upon finding it I praised the Lord.  After finding a good deal on a specialty item in the department store I praised the Lord.  Too radical?  I think not! God is my provider, healer, defender and hope.  How can I NOT praise Him?

Donna and I have taken a stand.  When good things happen we WILL praise the Lord...OUT LOUD!  Not to make a show, but to let people know...GOD IS GOOD...ALL THE TIME!

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: June 24, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Public Praise

I have heard, mainly from those who have little understanding about the Word of God, that Christians should keep their faith in the church.  Some say that it is inappropriate to talk about the things of the Lord outside the church...too radical.  WOW!

I completely disagree.  It is important to not be arrogant or self-righteous, but HOW can I separate my faith in God from EVERY part of my life.  For me that would be impossible.  Jesus IS my life.

The other day while going to lunch I found a great parking place.  I praised the Lord.  After looking for a lost item and upon finding it I praised the Lord.  After finding a good deal on a specialty item in the department store I praised the Lord.  Too radical?  I think not! God is my provider, healer, defender and hope.  How can I NOT praise Him?

Donna and I have taken a stand.  When good things happen we WILL praise the Lord…OUT LOUD!  Not to make a show, but to let people know…GOD IS GOOD!

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: June 16, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

My Dad is My Hero

There are many types of heroes today.  There are sports heroes.  There are military heroes.  There are police and fire fighter heroes.  To some teachers are heroes.  Occasionally there are even political heroes.  Some heroes make huge sums of money while others make practically nothing.

As I have stated many times from the pulpit, my dad is my hero.  He graduated from this life almost eight months ago.  While I miss him dearly, he made an indelible mark upon my life.  I would like to tell you why.

My dad is my hero because he was a man of integrity.  Dad always made sure that what he said lined up with the way he lived his life.  Growing up under my dad's preaching I can testify that what my dad said from the pulpit was the way he lived his life.  It was never a performance for him.  What the congregation heard him say on Sunday was the way he lived the rest of the week at home.  I never saw my dad cheat anyone.  I never heard him lie to anyone.  My dad never dishonored my mother, his children and most importantly his heavenly Father. My dad is my hero.
My DadMy dad is my hero because he gave his life for something in which he believed.  The ministry was something more than just a place to earn a paycheck; it was his calling in life.  People were more than a number or means to gratify personal ego.  He genuinely loved those he served.  The church was more than an institution; it was the Body of Christ.  Finally, God was more than just a distant, obscure, tolerant heavenly being.  God was a personal Father, loving and worthy to be loved.  My dad is my hero.

My dad is my hero because he invested in people.   His main concern for those that God placed in his charge was their spiritual well being.  I observed that people were the better for having known my dad.  His passion for people was not for what they could do for him, but for what God could do for them through him.  The heritage of his life may not be wealth or fame, but it will be the love and admiration of the people who knew and loved him.  My dad is my hero.

Finally, my dad is my hero because he was a man of love.  He constantlyDad Preaching expressed his love for my mother (my other hero).  His expression of love for mother with a tender kiss and hug was never the exception, but the mainstay of their relationship.  To this very day, I can still hear my dad telling me that he loves me.  When I married Donna, he loved her, as well he all his "in loves", in the same way he loved his children.   Every day when we would see each other we would embrace.  My dad is my hero.

Fathers, Always Remember, Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: June 13, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Pentecost Sunday

 That repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem . {48} You are witnesses of these things. {49} I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."  (Luke 24:47-49 NIV)

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.  My message for Pentecost Sunday is The Relevant Work of the Holy Spirit Today.  Our celebration will be more than just an observant of a historical event.  We honor the Holy Spirit in every service.  It is certainly not uncommon for the gifts of the Spirit to be manifest in our services.

Our vision statement reads, Braeswood is a Spirit-filled, passionate and multi-cultural community of believers committed to leading people into a dynamic, growing, and contagious relationship with Jesus Christ.  Central to the fulfillment of this vision is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the church and in the personal life of every worshipper.

We believe in the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the service, but most importantly in the daily life of the Spirit-filled believer.  Too often Spirit-filled believers give most attention to specific gifts of the Spirit because they find expression in the corporate worship setting and then only by a few special worshippers.  Even casual studies of the gifts reveal that they are not for a few but for all.

Central to the work of the Holy Spirit at Braeswood is our willingness to release and operate in the gifts of the Spirit daily.  Whether we at home, work, school or wherever, the Holy Spirit and His gifts are working within us.  It is the acceptance of this premise, releasing of the will of the Spirit within our hearts and minds and a willingness to walk by faith that will produce within us a power for living.

God's power is not for some day, it is for THIS DAY.  Nothing releases His power like yielding to the work and will of the Holy Spirit.

Donna and I Plove You,
PS
 



Publish Date: June 6, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Living in Power

That repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. {48} You are witnesses of these things. {49} I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."  (Luke 24:47-49 NIV)

Our vision statement reads, We are a Spirit-filled, multi-cultural community of believers committed to a personal relationship with Jesus and each other, growing in Faith through God’s Word, and reaching the people of southwest Houston and the world with a message of hope and life through Christ.  Central to the fulfillment of this vision is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the church and in the personal life of every worshipper.

Ours is a church that believes in the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the service, but most importantly in the daily life of the Spirit-filled believer.  Too often we have given the most attention to specific gifts of the Spirit because they find expression in the corporate worship setting and then only by a few special worshippers.  Even a casual study of the gifts reveal that they are not for a few but for all.

Central to the work of the Holy Spirit at Braeswood is our willingness to release and operate in the gifts daily.  Whether we at home, work, school or wherever, the Holy Spirit and His gifts are working within us.  It is the acceptance of this premise, releasing of the will of the Spirit within our hearts and minds and a willingness to walk by faith that will produce within us a power for living.

God's power is not for some day, it is for THIS DAY.  Nothing releases His power like yielding to the work and will of the Holy Spirit.

Always Remember, Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: May 30, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Consider Summer's Potential

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

Summer is here!  Children are out of school and some parents are already out of their minds.  The summer months are usually filled with family activities, vacations, trips and wonderful adventure.  Summer is a time everyone enjoys.  Summer has great potential!

Consider Summer's Potential for our attendance. There are people waiting for an invitation to attend your church.  Research reveals that many people WOULD visit a church if someone would invite them.  While our sanctuary may be full, we still have room for more.  This summer could very well bring Braeswood's greatest harvest.  The potential is here.  People are awaiting an invitation from you and me.

Consider Summer's Potential for our finances.  While people around Houston may be suffering from financial stress, we at Braeswood will continue to experience God blessing our finances.  God takes no vacation from blessing His children, and we take no vacation from our commitment of the tithe.  God's financial blessing do run concurrent with school or with seasons.  God's blessings are an every hour, every day, every month, and every year promise.  While the economy may suffer, God's economy suffers no lack.

Consider Summer's Potential for our lives.  I believe this will be a summer of revelation.  We will study the Word, pray the Word and live the Word.  The Holy Spirit will lead us into the perfect will of God.  We will experience maturity as we submit to God's desires and plan.  We will worship enthusiastically.  We will pray with expectation.  We will be healed, delivered and challenged.  We will never be the same.

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: May 13, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

One Heart for the Harvest

"Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."      (Revelation NIV) 

 Too often when we think about missions our mind is turned to finances, dollars and cents.  This usually occurs because when we speak of missions it is usually in the context an offering or pledges.  This is so unfortunate.

l Missions is not about the money.  Missions is about the harvest.  Several years ago during a missions banquet I heard a slogan that touched my heart, It not about the PLACES.  It about the FACES.  I believe this to be so true.   I would add it’s not about the FINANCES.  It’s about the HARVEST

Join me in setting aside the tendency to associate missions with the money.  Join me in praying for the harvest.  Join me in seeking the heart of the Father for the harvest.  Join me in sowing seeds of faith in those around me.  Join me in celebrating the harvest.  For the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Donna and I Love You,
PS

 

> style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" class=MsoNormal
 
 
 



Publish Date: May 5, 2011  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Happy Mother's Day

Contemplating this, the most awesome of holidays, I thought I might make several suggestions of things which you could promise to do for your mother throughout the year.  While this list is not exhaustive, I pray it will be help to you.
 
Call Your Mother Regularly

At the conclusion of any Time You Spend with your Mother,Remind Her that You Love Her

Pray for Your Mother Every Day

Send Her a Card for No Reason Except to Say You Love Her

Write Several Thank You Notes Sent Throughout this Week

Send Her a Card that Lists Her Contributions into Your Life

Take a Picture of Yourself; Put it in a Frame and Write on the Picture “Thanks Mother, I Love You” and Sign It
 
I am sure you could think of many more ways to make Mother’s Day a year around event.  Whatever you do, make your mother feel like the special lady she is.

My Mother had a profound affect upon my life.  I thank her for her kindness, tenderness, wisdom, strength, understanding, gentleness, grace, patience and Godly example.  She had a big part in molding me into the man I am today.  Though she is with Jesus this Mother’s Day her influence will be felt in my life daily.

To Donna the Mother of my son, Nana to Kaleb and Angie, YOU ARE GOD’S GIFT TO ME.  I love you so much it feels good.  You are my best friend and my helpmate.  You are my joy and you are my balance.  When God made you, he had me in mind.  You are tailor made for me and me for you.  You are the answer to my mother’s prayer while I was a child, “Prepare a Godly wife for my son.”  Donna, I love you.

To all of the Mothers at Braeswood, I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: October 22, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Dad Would Have Been Proud

It has been two weeks since dad graduated.  This has been most difficult. I miss my dad!  Through it all I have never felt alone.  God's presence has been so real and sweet.
 
The funeral last Thursday was a grand celebration.  Brother Granberry, South Texas District Superintendent and dad's and my pastor, spoke of tender memories and words of comfort and encouragement.  The presence of the Lord was pronounced during praise and worship.  The Braeswood choir, musicians and soloist, Jessica Long lifted our spirits.  During my message there were so many who stood to acknowledge that they had received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior under dad's ministry.  Dad would have been proud and touched.
 
This past Sunday Dad received the tithes and offerings and preached the sermon.  Our media department went through our archives and selected two videos which they felt would be appropriate (they were right).  Following the service several people accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Dad would have been proud and touched.
 
This past Wednesday night was the most touching service of all.  Braeswood worshippers shared their thoughts about dad and mother.  To say I was moved is an understatement.  Beginning with my son, James, and followed by many others, they shared their stories of how these two changed their lives.  I was UNAWARE of the magnitude of dad's and mother's lives.  I was proud and touched.
 
Yes, I miss dad and mother, but with my memories and surrounded by thousands who loved them and were impacted by their lives, I will have constant reminders.  I am proud and touched.
 
Donna and I Love You All,
PS
 



Publish Date: October 12, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Pastor Earl Banning Graduation Service

 
Pastor Earl Banning's Graduation Service Thursday, october 14 @ 7 PM
 



Publish Date: October 7, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Pastor Earl J. Banning Graduates to His Eternal Reward

 I sit here at the computer in my office a little stunned by the events of the day.  Today at my dad, Earl James Banning, my hero, graduated to his reward.
 
James, my son, was holding dad's hand reading II Timothy 4:7-9, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. {8} Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. {9} Do your best to come to me quickly,"  After finishing the reading James looked over and dad was gone.  Heavenly Father called the general home with a most appropriate scripture.
 
I arrived approximately twenty minutes later, and upon walking into his room, was taken aback at how peaceful dad appeared.  He looked so much older, but as if he was asleep.  He appeared more rested than I have seen him in some time.  The only words I could utter were, "Thank You, Jesus", words I repeated over and over again.  Stroking his hair, I just stood beside my life long hero.  The peace that surpasses all understanding had certainly been his at the very moment of his graduation.  I know of a certainty that I possessed that peace, too.
 
Lori, my youngest sister, and her husband John arrived a short time later.  Susan, my younger sister, arrived having left Dallas earlier this morning sensing that she needed to be with dad.  The three Banning children, along with Donna and James, sat there for a few moments together retracing memories and speaking of the preparations that would be forthcoming.
 
At that moment I realized DAD and MOTHER were gone.  In eight months, almost to the day, they had both departed this world.  For a moment I felt alone.  Then the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me that that my Heavenly Father is ALWAYS with me.  I am not alone.  The God of my father and mother was my God as well.  Peace flooded my heart once again.
 
Dad had said many times that he was ready to enter heaven.  He reminded me many times that this world was never his home.  This was simply a temporary dwelling.  He told me recently that he wanted to go home.  I reminded him that he was not able to return to his apartment because of his physical limitations.  He looked at me with a sparkle in his eye and said, "Not that home, Heaven!"  I was reminded again that dad had a new home awaiting him.  He was ready to go.
 
Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement over these past several years.  Words cannot express how much they have meant to our family.  The Braeswood Church family has been so supportive and loving to my parents over the years.  A special thanks to several who ministered so powerfully and faithfully to my dad; Pastor Zilch, Pastor Cliff, Justin Alfred, just to mention a few.
 
The information concerning dad's graduation service will be forth coming.  Please check the Braeswood Church website for date and time.
 
Donna and I, Susan and David, Lori and John and All of Our Families Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: September 30, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Godly Leaders

 Jesus said, "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be a leader must care for the others.  (Matthew 20:25-26)
 
I thank God for the deacons that He has blessed me to serve with.  These are men that support me, encourage me, pray for me, counsel me and love me.  I could not ask for a greater support ministry then are they.  They are leader-servants.
 
I have heard nightmarish stories about pastors and deacons.  I have listened as pastors tell of power struggles and conflicting agendas.  I have heard pastors who had to be on their guard when they are among their leadership.  When I hear these stories I am appalled.  I am also VERY GRATEFUL that I have never had experiences like those.
 
The Braeswood Deacon's Fellowship members are men I trust.  These are men who pour into my life.  Don't misunderstand me, they are honest and forthright.  They are gifted leaders and respected in their own professions.  They express themselves openly and honestly.  They would never be accused of being "yes men."  Yet, they willingly follow their pastor.  They embrace the vision that God has poured into my heart.  I respect their opinions and seek their counsel.  I am blessed.
 
Thank you Braeswood members for granting me the blessing of serving with these great men.  I am truly grateful.
 
Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: September 23, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

The Friendliest Church

Recently someone told me that Braeswood was one of the friendliest churches she had ever attended.  I am in full agreement.  This didn't just happen by chance.  It has taken years to develop and to encourage, one worshipper encouraging another.

A pastor saw Robert Schuller’s TV program “Hour of Power.” One of the things that impressed him the most during the program was watching everyone turning around to shake hands with and greet other worshippers seated near them.

The pastor felt that his church was a bit stuffy and could use a bit of friendliness. So, at Sunday morning worship he announced that next week they would initiate this custom of greeting one another.

At the close of this same worship service one man turned around to the lady behind him and said a cheerful, “Good morning!” She looked back at him with shock at his boldness and said, “I beg your pardon! That friendliness business doesn’t start until next Sunday!”

That “Friendly Business” is a part of every service at Braeswood.  Let’s continue to make it priority to make every person feel connected to the Kingdom of God and the church family.  A kind word, a genuine greeting, taking an interest in someone’s life will make a difference.

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: September 17, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Just Listen

One mother described how her teenage daughter taught her the power of listening.

One evening after dinner her daughter was especially disappointed and depressed about a situation at school. Although she was tired herself, the mother sat and listened as her daughter poured out her concerns.
 
As the daughter continued, the mother wondered to herself, "What can I possibly say to help her? I feel so powerless right now."
 
While she listened attentively, unable to come up with any words of comfort or wisdom, the daughter paused and said, "Thanks for sitting with me, Mom. I feel better now."
 
And that was the end of it - the daughter's whole outlook on her situation had changed. The mother had done the very thing the daughter needed: she'd listened.
Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: September 9, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

New Steeple Raised

The new cross is atop our steeple!  As you can see the new cross is much more significant in size than our former cross. 

The former cross had been atop the Braeswood steeple for 36 years.  It will be placed in a prominent location to remind us of the love and sacrifice of Braeswood worshippers who came before us and sacrificed for so that we might enjoy these facilities.  It also represents the passion of reaching southwest Houston for Jesus Christ. 

It is my prayer that, until the Jesus returns, this cross will stand as a reminder of the LOVE OF GOD for all of southwest Houston .

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: September 2, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

CourtYard Connection

I am excited to announce that the South Entrance is OPEN.  We are excited that, though the work will continue, we will have access.
 
I appreciate all the volunteers who worked in our Courtyard Connection which was a tremendous success. Following each Sunday morning service, refreshments will be served providing a unique opportunity to make relations connections with other worshippers at Braeswood.  The refreshments are GREAT.  Making new friends is outstanding.
 
We will be announcing soon that the Courtyard Connection will continue on the FIRST SUNDAY of every month beginning in October.
 
Donna and I Love You,
PS 
 



Publish Date: August 27, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Life's Strategy

For fun a family liked to play the game Memory. It consisted of a bunch of cards arranged on the floor face down. Those playing took turns, trying to turn over matching pairs of cards. If you got a match, you kept them and went again. The person with the most matches was the winner.
 
As the family played, the dad remarked, "My strategy is that I focus on two or three specific pairs that I'm trying to get, and after I get them, I pick out two or three more."
 
The mother said, "My strategy is that I start on the cards in the corners, and each turn I work my way towards the center, trying to remember all the cards."
 
Their eight-year-old son replied, "My strategy is that when y'all aren't looking I peak under the cards."
 
Whatever your life strategy may be make sure you include seeking the presence of God daily.  With God as your strength you will never have to peak under the cards.  He will guide you and pour out His favor in your life.
Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: August 20, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

South Entrance Opened

The day has arrived..This weekend the south entrance will be OPEN.
 
Wednesday night following the Blessing of the Parents, at 8:00 PM, we will dedicating the south entrance.  We will pray that everyone who enters these doors will experience an Encounter with God.
 
Join Donna and me for this exciting evening willed with blessings and anointing.
 
PLEASE NOTE
The south HandiCap will NOT be available for access into the church because the railing have not yet arrived.  We will announce when the ramp is reopened.   
 
We Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: August 12, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

A Teaching Parent

 Being a parent is challenging at best.  I’ve heard it said that an adult will give more time for instruction in learning to drive a car that time given learning to be a parent.  At Braeswood Church we are committed to training children, students AND parents.

The Hebrew word for parents is horim, and it comes from the same root as moreh, teacher. The parent is, and remains, the first and most important teacher that the child will ever have.   At Braeswood we hold to that truth.

Most of the important lessons in life I learned from my mother and dad.  Others certainly augmented those lessons but no one was more influential in my life then were they.  They instructed me with their words but they also invested their time.  The best inheritance you can give to your children is a few minutes of your time each day.  Those moments will give the greatest opportunity for instruction.

Parents, we love you and are committed to partnering with you as your children grow into men and women of God today and in the future.

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: August 5, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

A Second Exciting Sunday

Due to continued construction our south entrance will be closed for a second Sunday this weekend.  With Last Sunday's events being so well received, we have decided to continue the RENOVATION2010 CELEBRATION.
 
Special Events This Sunday
· Casual Attire for Everyone 
· Refreshments in Courtyard Following All Service for Everyone
· Shuttle Service TO Church Entrance - East and South Lots 
· Shuttle Service TO Parking Lots following Services
 
Special Parking Schedule
8:00 AM - Park in the Student Ministries Lot and the North Lot
9:15 AM - Please Park in the East Lot
10:45 AM - Please Park in the South Lot
 
Enjoy the progress and the opportunities for developing new relationships.  The end will certainly make any sacrifice worth while.
 
Donna and I Love You,
PS 
 



Publish Date: July 17, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Contagious Faith

Have you ever thought of your FAITH as being contagious?  Over the years, I have met people who have had a profound influence in my spiritual life.  Having a relationship with them made me a better Christian.  I could see so many spiritual attributes of their lives that I wanted to emulate.  They had Contagious Faith.

Contagious means transmissible by direct or indirect contact.  Taking that to a spiritual level means that we are living our faith so openly and significantly that it has an affect upon people’s lives.  The choices we make, the attitudes we have, our demeanor, our disposition, our testimony all have a direct affect upon the people that we come in contact with every day.  That is Contagious Faith.

Let’s choose to live contagiously every day.  Monday through Friday can be the most effective spiritual days of the week.  This is a kind of life that we have to fake.  We have Contagious Faith.

Donna and I are so proud of this great church.  Your faith, commitment and service to our Lord make us happy.  We are convinced that 2010 is a year of BreakThrough.

W
e Love You,

 

 



Publish Date: July 9, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

I Choose Praise

We live in a day of almost constant national complaining.  We complain about the price of gasoline, the economy, impending taxes, the national deficit, national leadership, the condition of the world and, well, practically everything. But when given the choice between complaining and praise I will choose to praise every time.

Someone once said, “I really believe the most important step in developing inner peace is to quit complaining and start praising.”  How very true.

We must discover that we as children of God, the Apple of His Eye, have so much to praise God for.  In fact, I choose to be the voice of praise every day and in every circumstance.

I choose to begin the day and end the day with praise for my heavenly Father.  When things are not going my way, I serve a God who can change me or my circumstance and so I praise Him.  Praise is the healthy thing to do.

This weekend we continue our series, BreakThrough to a New You, by discovering I am the Voice of Praise.  Please join Donna and me as we experience the passionate, exuberant praise of our awesome God.

Donna and I Love You,
PS
 



Publish Date: July 2, 2010  ::  Author: Stephen E. Banning

Pray for America

 After it all said and done and all of the political rhetoric is over, we all want what is best for our country.  Setting aside our personal differences of both political parties, we all want what is best for our country.

As citizen and guests of this great nation, make a commitment to pray.  Pray for our national, state and local leaders.  Pray for those who defend our freedoms – the men and women of the armed forces.  Pray for those who protect us – the men and women of law enforcement, the fire department and EMS .

Along with our prayers should come our respect.  Regardless of our political ideology those elected and appointed leaders need the wisdom of God.  No citizen or guest of this great country will win if our leaders fail.  We must pray that God will give them wisdom, discernment and courage to do the BEST and RIGHT thing.

On July Fourth, as we celebrate our independence, let’s as a church declare our total dependence upon God.  Let’s ask God to bring revival to this nation.  Let’s pray that God will bring spiritual repentance to this great nation.  Let’s pray that we will truly be known as… ONE NATION UNDER GOD!

Donna and I Celebrate Freedom With You.

We Love You,
PS
 



Show All Entries