Stuffed with Joy

It’s that week, the week we cook more food that we can possibly consume in one sitting, and then fall over in a stupor and become one with the couch. One year I decided to forgo the Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving and we put homemade leaves on the tree. Each leaf had something written that that person was thankful for. I am unsure if the practice of naming what we are grateful for actually changes us or not, but I do know it shifts our focus to what we do have, not what we don’t. So, what are some things you are truly thankful for this season? We truly are a blessed people!

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
Give thanks unto him, and bless his name.”
-Psalm 100:4

In the Event of an Emergency..

I found a list this week of freaky facts about airplane oxygen masks, let me share.


  1. There is only enough oxygen for a few minutes, enough to enable the pilots to use their masks so they can maneuver to a safer altitude, making it easier for the passengers to breath.
  2. There is not actually any oxygen in the mask, it would be much too heavy for the aircraft to carry. Instead there is a mix of chemicals that create oxygen when burned. When you tug on the bag it begins the process (does that mean they’re burning while on my face?)
  3. The oxygen doesn’t inflate the bag but instead the passenger’s actual breathing may inflate the bag, depending on how heavy of a breather you are.


A few weeks ago, I quite unexpectedly found myself on an airplane headed for the West coast. I tried to will that plane to go as fast as possible as I half heartedly listened to the instructions given by the flight attendant. I was on the East coast and my two week old grand baby was on the West coast in the hospital, and I needed to be there ASAP. As I listened to the directions, I was struck by the similarities on the use of the oxygen mask and our instructions for life.



  • The mask serves a purpose.
  • The mask is always there hidden away until I need it.
  • I can trust that oxygen will flow to me, regardless if I can see the bag inflate
  • I must be oxygenated to think clearly and be of assistance to anyone else.
  • Subsequently, I must breath in the life giving air first, before I can save another.


We as a Christians can face some very challenging times. We can feel as if we need an oxygen mask in order to breath deeply and fully. The truth is, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Oxygen provides life. He is Life! I must trust He is there, that He is working even if I cannot physically touch Him. I must fill my life up with His Word, seek His wisdom in order for me to grow spiritually and help others around me.


I arrived on the West Coast and immediately went to the hospital to hold my sweet eight-pound granddaughter and hug her mommy. I am thrilled to say she is fine and was able to come home two days later. I am so thankful, I am well aware it could have ended very differently. But, in order for me to be of any help to my family I first had to fill up my soul and believe that God is and was in control. Friends, we are traveling together, stay alert and be prepared, the enemy is seeking to deceive and distract when we least expect it, so be ready at all times. Jesus is our life’s breath for this entire journey. Don’t forget to breathe, in case of an emergency.


“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  – Job 33:4



SHERRIE SMITLEY | Northpark family member. Wife. Mom. Sister. Friend.

NC Youth Alliance 2018

One of my favorite weeks out of the year is our annual Youth Alliance School Assembly Tour.  For years, we have been in partnership with the Youth Alliance and it has opened countless doors of opportunity to speak into thousands of students across Wake County and Eastern North Carolina.


This year we are pleased to have Reggie Dabbs, the number one motivational speaker in the nation for public schools. We also have former NFL running back, Willie Green!   We will be in more than 25 different schools in five different school systems.


The most important outcome of this tour may not be what happens in each school assembly.  What happens following each assembly is why we continue to partner with schools. We have prayed for God to give us the influence to pastor our city and our school system is a big part of that process.  

I get so pumped thinking about the incredible potential of demonstrating love in a tangible way to thousands of students, teachers, and staff during this tour.   God is giving us favor and influence in our state and I’m thankful for this strategic partnership with The Youth Alliance and the school systems in North Carolina.  

For more information about the Youth Alliance, check out the videos below or check out




Anthony Braswell | Lead Pastor. Husband. Father. Band Geek. Friend.

Welcome to Official Blog of Northpark Church!

As I lay in bed tonight unable to sleep, this phrase keeps running through my mind, “ tie on your sandals.” God seems to be urgently pulling me to ready myself for the upcoming journey we will embark on as a church. Our church story up to this point is rich with miraculous history and blessings. I would like to propose we stay closely knit together as we embark on this new move by sharing through the written word.

To this end, we are beginning a church blog, where we will have a designated place to share our walk together. We want to mark the struggles, victories, and progress by having a place we can meet. I am so excited to be on this wonderful quest with each of you, and I cannot wait to hear you share your wins and your battles.



Buckled in my seat, ready for takeoff, engines whirling, safety instructions droning in the background, we prepare. Soon, I find myself soaring high above cities, observing as stately, tall buildings magically transform to tiny, matchbox size play pieces. It quickly becomes hard to distinguish what I am even looking at through my tiny oval window. My perspective is changed, first by the distance and secondly by my limited view. Diminished visibility means I cannot see what is behind, ahead or on the other side. What is seen through my fixed space, is but a glimpse of a much larger and diverse view.


Northpark has essentially boarded a plane for a new destination. We each have our assigned seats and our views will differ. Some of us know where we are headed but many do not. None of us can know what adventures, joys, sorrows, obstacles and blessings will greet us on this trip. Rest assured though, no matter your seat or focus, we each will experiences wins and losses on this passage. The key to a safe landing will depend on our response to the turbulence as it arises.


If we choose to become fixated on the tiny patch we can see through our personal window, our perspective will be clouded and limited at best. Even though we each have our individual seat, complete with our gifts and assignments, we collectively make up this plane. We cannot and should not travel isolated from our seatmates. The bond that ties us together is the fact that we are a family. We want to finish this flight together – no passenger left behind. Our desire is to keep every seat occupied, filling any empty ones we began with, with new friends. Emergency exits may exist, but as always, we don’t want those doors to open while on our journey. If our love is evident to all, this plane will not only safely land, but as it approaches the runway, there will be some who have gone before us and prepared the way by lighting the airstrip for us, so we guided safely to our destination.


This is sure to be one incredible adventure and I can’t wait to see all God does along the way.


Romans 12:4-5 “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”


Sherrie Smitley | Follower of Jesus. Wife. Mom. Friend.