Category: Faith

DECEMBER 2017 WOMAN OF THE MONTH – RHONDA RONCONE

Faith WOMAN OF THE MONTH

Growing up, I went to Highpoint Church located in Southeast Aurora. Rhonda and Gene have always been people I’ve looked up to, and I remember that I was always very fond of Mrs. Rhonda Roncone. She’s a pastors wife, mother, worship leader, business leader, the list goes on and on! Knowing how many things she is/does, I knew that she was someone that I wanted to interview because if she’s inspired me, she definitely inspires others to walk in their faith! In this interview she speaks on advice for worship leaders, for keeping faith in times of crises, dating advice, and how to juggle so many things while making time for Jesus!

Without further ado, I introduce to you Mrs. Rhonda Roncone!

VL: Mrs. Rhonda, you’ve been leading worship for how many years?

RR: I started when she was 15 years old and have been doing this for 35 years.

 

VL: How long have you been singing and playing the piano?

RR: I’ve been playing piano since I was 5 and singing at 7. I am now 50 years.

 

VL: How long have you lived in Colorado?

RR: I was born in Desmois IA, then moved to San Jose when I was 7, and grew up in California, then I moved to Colorado in October 2002.

 

VL: When was it that you realized you were called to lead worship?

RR: It was when I was a junior in high school. At around 16/17 years old I was leading for my youth group. I was always involved in music, but more involved with singing than playing.

Combining the two (singing and piano) did not happen until 1990 when I had to for the first church that Gene and I pastored.

 

VL: How did you know you you were coming to Colorado?

RR: We had a restlessness for Colorado, then we came out to Colorado and explored. Gene had preached once and then we had come out to Colorado on our own time and Gene preached again. We were voted in, and it was confirmation in our hearts as they walked through and there was a peace about it. God gave us discernment about it. We had tested out another church and knew that is was not a good fit.

 

VL: Worship is such an important part of our faith, can you explain why you think worship is so important?

RR: 2 parts

1. God gave me gifts for music, therefore it made me more open to God.

2. Music ministers to me, when I do not have the energy to read the Bible, it is the way that God speaks to me.

 

VL: For those times when you’re so busy with life (Being that you’re a wife, mother, worship leader, running a church etc.) how do/did you continue to find quiet time with Jesus?

RR: When the kids were little, I’d find time while I was vacuuming, or exercising, we all find a way of making time for what is important.

I am a night person so that is when I do my quiet time. You have to make the time and let go of other things.

 

VL: Being a pastors wife, you do so many things! How important is it to be in the word and have such a grounded faith?

RR: It is everything. Even being in the ministry, whether you’re in ministry or not, losing Geno (their son), my faith has let me have what it takes to get through things. When you have something so devastating happen, it can be life changing. If you’re not grounded and have that faith, you will crumble. There are times with Geno when gets so emotionally complicated, you have to be grounded. It is like an investment in your spiritual being. Every time I question why God? I go back to the scriptures. How He can bring remembrance to us when we do not even know them. You can apply God to anything in your life, whether it is crisis, stress, anxiety, or anything else.

I have learned that it is like a crash course collision with your faith, when crises happen. It makes you actually realize and question yourself, “do I truly believe and trust in what I have been saying and preaching to others when things do not go my way.”

 

VL: The devil loves to tempt us all throughout our lives, and especially worship teams and members of staff. How do you use the armor of God to resist the Devil?

RR: We’ve been fortunate to not have a lot of drama within worship, when I have been in charge of it. When you’re a musician it is easy to be prideful and to obtain a large ego. It is important to keep your team accountable in the word, and attending church, reminding them every week, why we do what we do. The minute that the devil tries to come in, you have to deal with it quickly and swiftly. It comes down to the heart, and you have to be in the word daily and keep yourselves accountable. There’s the pressure of feeling like a cheerleader. You can’t go off of the emotional drive of people. I went to a seminar once and someone asked “what do you do when you’re leading a service and no one is entering in?” We are there to lead people into the presence. We are not up there to cheerlead or create this energy and hype. There is a lot of pressure around creating that certain energy and hype but you have to focus on the real reason you’re up there. People can walk in thinking that worship leaders are supposed to entertain, now of course you want things to be excellent, but when it becomes more for entertainment than for true worship you lose the genuine experience of worship. It becomes more emotional hype than of being in God’s presence. Worship is meant to usher us into God’s presence to prepare our hearts to receive the word.

 

VL: What advice can you give to worship teams and worship leaders?

RR:

For Worship Leaders: Follow the vision of your senior pastor, he is the shepherd and the leader of the church. It is important for you to be aligned with your pastor so that

Team members: Stay humble, continue to grow yourself musically, and spiritually, be open to new things and constantly learn.

For both: the heart of worship is more important than your musical abilities.

 

VL: What advice can you give to other moms out there who are having a hard time juggling so many things at once?

RR: I would say, be intentional on your priorities, know what they are, stick to them, and don’t add things to your plate that don’t need to be there. I think this will be different for everyone. A lot of things that we are juggling are things that we think we need to do, when in reality we do not.

 

VL: Going off of that then, what are your priorities?

RR: For me, God, family, and church are the top 3 things. Those are first priority, and they should not be jeopardized by other things. Do not let other people set your priorities, cause they will and we let them, but don’t.

 

VL: What advice can you give to other women growing in their faith?

RR:  Surround yourself with other women that would encourage you to be better, and that would encourage you in the right ways. Connect with women that will bring out the best in you not the worst. A hard time is when you’re out of high school, it really tests your faith. It is harder as you get older so find a good support base. Those are harder to find. Find people that you really enjoy being with, but realize that you have to make that effort and put yourself out there. You always desire those friendships but they are harder to find and manage the older you get.

 

VL: This question is pretty broad, haha! What is it like being a pastors wife? So many of us have no idea how you do that! We do not realize how much work goes into it!

RR: It is a profession that nobody teaches you how to do. There are a lot of expectations put on you that you did not know about or even ask for. However, I feel that a pastors wife is a role that is a calling, just as much as it is for a pastor.

 I feel God intends the pastors wife to have a role. You minister to women in ways their husbands or men can’t.

It does feel as though you’re in a fish bowl beacuse people are always watching. You feel like your lives are on display for everyone so it can be difficult. It is 24/7 job. You can get a call in the middle of the night and have to be at the hospital. But it can be very rewarding because you can find so much joy and satisfaction in what you do!

 

VL: What was one time growing up that you really had to rely on your faith and trust in Jesus?

RR: My parents were so amazing. I grew up as a pastors daughter, and they made pastoring so appealing to me that I did not see all of what it is now. I had so many things growing up that I was so fortunate. When I was young, I was really worried about making a mistake. My concern was finding God’s will. You kind of want God to tell you audibly, but He lets us have a journey, and He teaches us those things. Learn how to use those difficult times when you’re young so that you can handle the bigger decisions down the road.

 

VL: What dating advice can you give to those of us who are in the dating stages of life?

RR: Make a list of characteristics you want your husband to have, and don’t bother going out with anyone who doesn’t have them, because you’re going to get emotionally attached.

Don’t compromise on anything on that list and don’t change the criteria either.

Don’t date anyone you cannot see yourself marrying.

Be picky and don’t settle.

 

Wow! Mrs. Rhonda comes with loads of advice and this is only a snippet into her life!

 

Is there a woman that inspires you or others within their community? Would you like to see them as a Woman of the Month? Send an email to vanessalandlt@gmail.com! You or your inspiration could be the next Woman of the Month!

Photo: Courtesy of Rhonda Roncone

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My Story is HIStory: How My Life was Wrecked and Made New

Faith

 

Hello everyone,

Today’s blog post is a little different from the norm. This is me, fully opening up about what my secret struggles were the past 1.5- 2 years of my life. I promised God that I would consecrate this blog to Him, (That will be explained in a later post) setting aside all my fears and putting all my faith and trust in Him. His will be done. So, here it is, my story and how it is a part of HIStory.

Pornography. Nonchalantly embedded into our society as though we were talking Friday night dinner plans.

Well, here is my story about how pornography and the spirit of perversion turned me into a walking grave.

I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents and the best family you could ask for. I always went to church with my family, and “gave” my life to Christ when I was 4 years old. Since I can remember, I was a pretty jolly kid with a love for fashion, singing/music, electricity, and math. I would always wonder how the TV turned on, or the lights. I stole my sisters karaoke machine that she got for Christmas and would always use it to jam out to Stacie Orrico. My favorite music has always been worship music! I also created little magazines and my own fashion illustrations.

Fast forward and I am an adult. Specifically, 23 years old. My lifestyle is just like any normal 23 year old just out of college. Learning how to adult/figure out who I am/my purpose in life. If I am being completely honest, I do not remember exactly when or how I started watching porn, I’m pretty sure it was just out of curiosity wondering what could be the hype? If it is so common in society, it obviously cannot be that bad. I mean, I remember it being discussed in episodes of some of my favorite TV shows that I watched, so clearly it was NBD. Although, I do not remember the exact date/time/”first porno” etc. I do remember having a continuous weird ache in my pit and heavy shoulders.

Life continues, and I remember watching it about once a month, a few times a month, to weekly, to almost daily, to the point where sometimes I had to watch it in order to fall asleep. The spirit of perversion had come upon my life and tormented me in every aspect of my life. It consumed many hours. I kept thinking that my sole purpose in life was to be a slave. A slave to porn. A slave to this spirit. I viewed myself as a sex slave, and started to accept it. The weirdest thing is, I could hear, physically hear whispers, of the spirit say to me things like “you’re a sex slave”, “you must find someone to please”, “you were made solely for the pleasure of men, that is what you are worth.” It was so audible and clear, that I had given up things I really wanted in life to porn. These lies manifested themselves into every.single.aspect of my life. I would try to open my computer to blog and the demon would say “you cannot be a blogger.”  “You really think people are going to listen to you?” “You can’t be a leader.” “What person wants a leader full of secretive filth?” “You’re addicted to porn, so you need to fix that first.” The list goes on and on. I would try distracting myself by working out, or going out to eat, shopping, therapy, reading, literally everything. I tried it. I did. I kept going to the doctor because there was a pain in me. Every time I would try to worship, I would just go into tears. That spirit would tell me, “why are you trying to worship? You’re not worthy of that.” So I stopped listening to worship music. I then, became very depressed, cynical, jealous, and evil. I was jolly in public, and around my family, but when I came home to the solitude of my apartment, the thoughts would continue to germinate, crumbling my mind, soul and spirit. Then, the unbelievable happened. My brother’s best friend passed away due to cancer. I. Was. Pissed! I cursed God. And I cursed Him a lot. That friend was a good person. A man after God’s heart, and I was not. Really God? You couldn’t take me instead? I was the worthless one. That was the last straw, and I rebelled even more down the path of self destruction, continuing to be happy on the outside, but completely lifeless on the inside. I was a walking grave, thinking I was fooling the world, as my soul was withering away. Sin and the grave were boasting at how they had taken over my heart. This pit demon had its cloud of darkness suffocating me.

Winter break for my siblings rolls around, and everyone is home. I’ve missed my siblings and family. They were the only reason I kept going at this point. We were all sitting in the family room one afternoon and one of my sisters kept talking about this Recess thing. Recess this! Recess that! I love Jesus! blah blah blah. SU. Literally, she would not shut up about it. All winter break, all I heard was Recess Recess Recess.

Winter break ends, and my siblings all return back to their lives. As I am scrolling through Instagram, my sister mentions something with that Recess thing. I go to their Instagram page and realize the next “Recess” gathering is coming up. I realize that all of the spots are full so I email the coordinator asking if any spots open up. She says they are all full. I am not surprised. Of course this is just another disappointment.

I kid you not, about 10 minutes later the director emails me saying a spot opened up. I sign up right away and wonder what on earth I just signed up for.

A few weeks later, is the night of the conference. The first night, we spoke about wells and how we need to dive deep into what God has for us. Everything from that night was powerful, yet I was still broken. The next day of the conference, our group goes to Chick-Fil-A with some of the Houston girls. I see a girl across the way and in my mind I say “If that girl realizes what I am going through, then I will discuss it.” That night we continued to talk about our wells and how to seek Jesus. I went home sad because this secret was still with me. The last night of the conference, I have no idea what is in store for me. We learn about the different ways Satan enters our lives and what repentance really means. Then, we are told to break into groups. I see the girl from Chick-Fil-A going to the back. I stay in my seat. I’m not trying to be with that girl. Next thing you know, she starts moving to the front group. I get up, keep my head down, and walk to the back group. Then, of course, the girl from Chick-Fil-A turns around and sees me in the back group and comes to the back group. Fan-tastic! So we start praying, we pray for one girl and as we start praying for her I start sobbing, uncontrollably. When you’re in prayer circles you typically reach out a hand towards the person being prayed for. I felt so unworthy to pray for her in that moment. My hand wanted to reach out to pray for her, but I kept pulling it back. I did not want this evil to consume her too. We finish praying for her. There is a slight pause in the midst of my snorting weeping. The girl I was trying to avoid, says, “I am sensing the spirit of perversion over here.” She is sitting next to me and I raise my hand and continue to weep. I stammer about my past few years and how this spirit has consumed me. The group all lay their hands on me and start to pray for me. Then the girl prays something along the lines of “in the name of Jesus, spirit of perversion, you leave this child of God.” I open my eyes and say “in the name of Jesus, spirit of perversion, you leave me in the the name of Jesus.” As soon as I say that, I feel, literally feel the pit lift out of my stomach to the top of my head and out of my body. The pit is no longer there, and that huge weight is gone. I feel new, and the other girls in my group (if you ever meet them) say I looked new.

Now I’m a walking garden. Full of life, full of joy, full of light, all through the powerful name of Jesus Christ.  The blog has relaunched, and this worship song “What A Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship is my current JAM!

Bridge Lyrics for “What A Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship

Death could not hold You, the veil torn before You
You silenced the boast, of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring, the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

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