Archive for July, 2013

Sunday Blurb

Today in both services, our Pastor was really sensitive to what was going on around us. It was pretty evident that the Holy Spirit was moving, but then he came up and asked all who were able to just “take a knee” and be still in the presence of God. It was so powerful. For me, both instances were completely different. The first service was really about pouring my heart out to God. The second was just resting in Him, and allowing myself to be washed away in His love. It’s hard to explain, but as I thought about it earlier today, I wrote this poem. Hope it makes sense.

 

Down on my knees, head kissing the ground,
forgetting all the noise that is swirling around.
bearing witness to His presence, cause the only sound
Is people declaring “Holy”, giving Him the renown.
Transported to a place, holy ground indeed,
Where He becomes real, and then He proceeds
To meet every single need, filling up every hole
Taking my broken spirit, mending, and making me whole.
Bowed low, but lifted high, drugs couldn’t compare
To the feeling when our God came in and took us there.
Blasted away from this earth, His goodness filling the air…
The King of Heaven and Earth choosing to visit us here..
His love evicting all fear, causing tears as He draws near,
Filling to the fullest-
An electric atmosphere.

Worship the Lord, all ye people in every land,
Lift high His great name, for He trumps all of man.
And when He comes in all His glory, people, please understand
Give him the first and best praise,
Not just the secondhand.

I’m a Survivor: are You Ready to get in the Faith Fight

Numbers 13:25-33- and they returned from spying out the land after 40 days. Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation…..then Caleb said,” let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. But the men who had come up with him said, “we are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”

Even though your faith fight might seem like a one on one fight, it’s really a team effort. God’s agenda is not an individual agenda. His agenda is a corporate one.

God doesn’t just want to bless one. He wants to bless all. We get so focused on singular thinking that we lose focus that God is not just for me, rather he is for all. We are the Body of Christ, not merely a limb. We all have a role, an important role.

We are a household of faith.

John 10:16- “I have other sheep too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. ”

The singular mindset is against the Kingdom of God. It is an infestation of selfishness.

God wants to strengthen your faith individually, so that your corporate faith will be strengthened. When our individual faith rises, the entire Body is elevated.

The enemy is not trying to destroy your life because of you alone, but he fears what we can do together,

In the key verses, 10 spies saw obstacles. 2 saw opportunity.

The difference in those who obtain the promise and those who don’t…can be found in how you handle the opposition. We have to fight to obtain every promise that God has set aside for us.

Caleb and Joshua had a different spirit. They were ready to deal with the adversity and believe in God’s promise to them. They were ready to go all in with God.

There is a false doctrine that if it is God’s will, then it will automatically happen. We engage God’s will by faith. He has an agenda for us all, but we must actively engage it by faith in order to accomplish it.

2 kings 18:1-6- Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, began to rule over Judah……he remained faithful to the Lord in everything and carefully obeyed all the commands The Lord had given Moses.

When you fight for God’s agenda, God will fight for your agenda.

Hour of (No) Power

I sit here calmly,

Observing from the pews.

Pastor’s spitting Scripture like the 10 o’clock news.

The brother on the organ sublimating his views

With a coy mix of gospel laced slightly with blues.

The words go forth, penetrating dead wood,

Hearts disengaged, this ain’t doing no good.

Soil rocked and hard, fertile? Long since passed..

Eyes rolling back, bodies limp

They’ve been gassed.

An hour or so later, it’s handshakes and all love

“Blessed and highly favored”, tongues focus up above

Yet when the keys fit into ignitions like gloves,

Those tongues turn to hisses, disses flying like slugs.

Sunday’s Saints becoming Sunday afternoon’s sects.

Flexing their theology to fit lives lived bereft.

Manipulating the gospel to fill hearts so far past broken,

That nobody knows the tears flowing behind glad tidings that are spoken.

Monday becomes Tuesday, sermon in the rear view

At Wednesday night service, no voices, simply glares too.

Thursday, full force, sin rife, walking in darkness,

Cold shoulders issued with glee, almost like parkas.

Friday it’s the club scene, the boo thing, the new thing

It’s that drink in the bottle-thing, and the high that that thing brings..

It’s God becoming god as the rods get wrapped around,

Then shattered on Saturday morning when the glasses hit the ground.

Then Sunday comes again, one hour of mundane power,

The Pastor speaks and screams, yells, twists, turns, and glowers..

Spit showered, Hell fire and brimstone thrown for 60..

if you can relate to this…

Then something is really missing.

See, the Gospel is no God-spell, sent to brainwash the heathens

The same wash the Jews got is the same wash that I needed.

That same Christ rises within me, nails sin against that knarled tree,

So how can I ignore him weekly, and meet Him so infrequently,

That I can’t even decide what to call Him when I see Him?

The church is not blameless, cause less and less of us stress

the importance of the fact that we be dressed in His righteousness.

Acting so holy with our Christo-political jargon,

Often getting caught within the traps that we circle in.

Only an hour of power can leave your life sour.

Only one hour of power will leave your walk dour.

We need Him daily, a minute by minute walk with our..

Powerful Maker, Almighty Savior, the Dream-giver…

Wonderful God, so mighty that words escape men when we meagerly try to praise Him.

Forget traditions, put down programs and church bulletins.

It’s time to unleash the Body and represent Him.

 

It’s GOOOOOOOOOOD!!!

Romans 8:28-” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love He, who have been called according to His purpose”

 

Today I had a fantastic encounter with this verse. It’s dangerous to become too familiar with the word of God. When we can spout off scripture without giving it a second glance, we take the risk of becoming immune to the power that the Bible holds within it’s pages. When we say that it is the Living Word, we must take into account that the life really begins once we allow it to live within us. This is a verse that many of us know, but how often do we allow it’s potent truth to penetrate out hearts and affect the way that we live out our days?

 

Consider this exerpt from “Altar Ego” by Craig Groeschel:

“Maybe you can relate to Joseph. Maybe you’re going through some tough times and you’re thinking, “Man, I wish this wasn’t happening.” It can be painful, I know. You don’t understand why things are happening the way that they are. You wish things were different. You’ve even prayed that God would change your circumstances. But the truth is, according to Scripture, if you are in Christ, if you love Him, if you are living for His purpose, He’s working in ALL THINGS to bring about good.”

Now, take a minute and let that sink in.

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

 

Good? See, as I’m reading this chapter in this book, my mind is filled with so many things. I’m nervous about teaching my first year. I’m concerned that nobody is showing up for our garage sale…even though it IS raining outside. I’m wondering about a post that I saw concerning giftings and how they either make room for you, or become merely a hobby. Yet, when I read this chapter, and this passage specifically, something clicked in my heart. I mean, something finally clicked! None of that stuff mattered.

 

I mean, it really hit me that I am where I am, and I am who I am, at this very specific point in time because God placed me here. I went through the personal hell that I endured so that I could learn compassion and how to overcome struggle. I had to learn how to deal with adversity. None of that diminishes me. In fact, because God is good, He made sure that all of that stuff strengthened me! I had to have a failed career in order to be so excited and dedicated to this new career. This point in time is where God wants me to accomplish His ultimate purpose in my life. Why?

 

Because He is GOOD, and His goodness demands that everything that happens in our lives work its way back to simply giving Him glory! So I no longer need to beat myself up about poor decisions. I learn from them and move on, because He has taken that bad situation and is turning it around for my good. I don’t have to live a life being too high or too low, because God is equally taking every instance and circumstance in my life and making it work out for my good.

 

I’ve always read this, and known the verses. But now, as i realize how truly powerful this statement is, it gives me a liberated outlook. I don’t have to take myself so seriously, because God’s goodness goes before me, and covers me on all sides. This is truly good news for me and you.

 

So, embrace it. Allow God to work unhindered in your life, because in the end, it’s gonna be GOOD!

 

Be blessed family!

True Life

Today was a day, not unlike any other day. I woke up in a good mood. I had a chance to steal a nap with my wife. We had a good breakfast, and a good lunch. We worked in the garage for our garage sale this weekend. Then my wife told me what she had planned for dinner, and suddenly my mood shifted. AS I traveled to the church to pick up a few tables for the coming weekend, I began examining myself. I felt angry. I was frustrated. But why? Because we weren’t having pizza or some other delectable delight for dinner?

No. My wife is a great cook. Even if I don’t really care for turkey legs, they will still be good, cause she is just awesome like that. So why are my thoughts cloudy? A sequence of thoughts really sums it up.

 

Me: I’m so tired of being broke. I wish i could take my wife out, take my kids out. why is it that every time we have money, we don’t really have it, because we are always catching up on bills from when we didn’t have money before.

(my mood is steadily worsening)

Me: I know I’m complaining, but I can’t ask my parents for rent this time. They’ve helped us till they can’t help us anymore. Maybe we shouldn’t have made that trip home a few weeks ago. We left with a little money, and came back with none…and we didn’t even spend money on anything but gas.

(I can feel my spirit being pulled down even further)

Me: God, my parent’s get sick of me asking them for money. Shoot, I’m always praying to you to meet our financial needs. We don’t have money for rent. Our light bill was extended to Monday, and we don’t have that money yet. So much stuff is due. We can’t even get the kids’ school supplies. What gives? Don’t you get sick of me ALWAYS coming to you with ALL of these desperate needs ? Don’t you get tired of hearing from me? I know my folks do. They probably hate me and think I’m a failure.

Now, during this diatribe, I feel God interrupt me with such force that I still have the wobbly feeling in my stomach. After that last part, God simply says, “No.”

“No, I don’t get tired of you coming to me with your needs.”

“No, I don’t think that you are an abject failure.”

“No, you don’t like having to come to me every time you need something.”

It comes to me on a personal level that God’s strength is made perfect when I’m at my weakest. Well, I’m weak now. And even while I feel completely helpless, by the same token, I can strangely feel better. Peace. God has spoken to my storm with one simply word, “No.”

In one of his recent sermons, my Pastor said that we have to believe that God CAN meet our needs, even if He doesn’t meet our need for some reason. Our job is to believe that God IS able in EVERY circumstance. By that same token, we, I, have to keep believing in my heart that God never tires of hearing from me. My complete and utter dependence upon Him is what He wants most of all from my life. Thusly, I MUST believeĀ  that God will come through. And He will.

I know that I come to you all usually with something encouraging. Even in this mood that I was in, I hope that God’s response to my weakness encourages you all the more. I don’t mind admitting my failures and shortcomings. It’s all truly life.

You all be blessed.

I’m a Survivor: What is your faith level?

Heb 12:1-2- therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…..

It takes consistency to build endurance. Condition yourself.

By faith we access everything that God has for our lives. Those things don’t just come by hard work or by random happenings. Faith determines how God responds and if He responds.

How do I perceive God? What is my depth and breadth of who He is? How we perceive God affects our faith.

Mark 6:3-6- the story of Jesus back home in Nazareth- his family could not perceive Him as God. So, He chose not to do miracles there, because of their lack of faith. But He did heal a few sick, because even among all of the unbelief, He responded to the faith of those who hd it. They accessed it when most missed it.

There are only 2 things that moved Jesus: compassion and faith

Luke 17:5- the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, and then Jesus tells them a parable about faith.

Rev. 12:11- and they overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.

It’s one thing to know and believe, but to hear another tell you about it is empowering!

We should always be ready and willing to share what God has done in our lives.

2Cor10:5- casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Provoke your faith by crying out to God!

God will so,strikes remove crutches in our lives that we didn’t realize we’re crutches, so that we learn to lean on Him.

God doesn’t just want you to have your mothers faith, He wants you to have YOUR faith!

We have to cast aside every thought that will keep us from having faith knowledge of God.

The strength of our faith is determined by the reliability of the object we put our faith in. That’s why it is important to know God.

Our faith level will never outgrow our knowledge level.

Trust comes when you know who HE is.

Romans 10:17- faith comes by hearing me earring by the word of God.

5 things you need to know about God

1. Existence- Heb 11:6- he who comes to God must believe that HE iS!
Rom 1:12- through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities….so they have no excuse for not knowing God.

2. Gods nature- Heb 13:8- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

3. Character- Heb 6:16-18- god also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change His mind…..it is impossible for God to lie.
Rom:4:17- ….God, who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which do not exist as though they did
Rom 10:23- for He who promised is faithful!

4. His Ability- Gen 18: 13-14……”is anything too hard for The Lord?”

5. His Willingness – Matt 7:7-11

An Honest Assessment

We just recently returned home from a trip to our home in the South. Being down there raised so many emotions, and it was really surprising to me that I had to filter through so many conceptions and misconceptions concerning ministry and my role in it.

I can still remember sitting in my car and telling God yes. He called me to preach. he called me to minister. For reasons unbeknownst to me, He saw something in me 10 years ago that He wanted to use. Now, 10 years later, I still can’t quite figure out what that “something ” is. There is a stark difference in the way ministry is looked at between where I’m from and where I am now. If we had remained home, I would most certainly be a Pastor of a church by now- probably would have been pastoring for a few years now. I was being groomed for it, and my wife was being groomed to be a Pastor’s wife. It is almost like a farm system, where you are trained to preach. The saying is that the only way to grow a preacher is to let them preach! When I was home, in my first church, I came up without any pastoral leadership. Our church was without a Pastor, so I had all of the opportunity to preach that a new preacher could ever ask for. They licensed me, and I was sure that I would be the Pastor of that church one day.

Then I lost interest, because God was moving me into something new. I left that church and went along with my wife, because God wanted to show me that the Holy Spirit was real. It was in that church that I first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was in this church that I proudly served as an Associate Minister with 7 other dynamic, spirit-filled men. We sat in the pulpit. We preached with fire and intensity. We prayed in loud voices until we were hoarse at the end. I lead an intercessory prayer ministry. I co-lead with my best friend in a class that saw so many get baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was fine with the status quo. I knew that I’d go through classes soon, and then get an assignment to a church. I would be a Pastor, which is what God was calling me too anyway. I was fine with that.

Until I wasn’t anymore.

What I saw many times were young preachers put in churches where the congregations were not growing, and were more interested in upholding the traditions and stories of the past, than building new stories in the present. It was frustrating. I felt like God required more. And when He moved us to Missouri, I finally saw that there was in fact MORE to being a minister than simply preaching. Over the last 6 years, I’ve had to repent several times, because at times it has felt like the wheels have been spinning, while no distance was covered. I have been hard on myself, harder as I have gotten older.

So, this trip home was a little difficult on my psyche. I don’t mind admitting that. See, for every question of how we were doing, there was another question as to whether or not I was a Pastor yet. Reminders of those of my spiritual kin who were now pastoring were never far away. Ministers younger than I, working dutifully in churches that were growing and thriving. I began to feel the old feelings of jealousy and insecurity began to resurface. Cause see, where I live now, there appears to be a way to work up into Pastoral ministry. It seems to begin with working as a youth pastor, and then being granted more responsibility from there. But in my case, I have never felt the leading to work primarily in that capacity. So what does that mean? Was I not good enough? Had I not been chosen after all? With every fiber of my being, i want to feel as if I am some use to God, but by that same token, I harbor deep-seated ambition. I recognize, and admit to that. I’m flawed.

Despite my honest feeling here, in my spirit I know the time will come when God will say “NOW!”. If I have matured anywhere, it’s in knowing how to separate what my feelings are telling me versus what I know to be true in my spirit. My life these past 6 years has been filled with a richness of life experiences that have shaped my personal view of who God is and how faith works. I have a personal theology that is dear to me. And while at times, it really feels like maybe God hasn’t called me at all, I also know that had He not called me, my life would have probably been a bit easier to this point. lol. I know that’s not really a concrete thing to say, but I know that it is true.

So, how do I reconcile all of this? I mean, God has called me to minister and Pastor one day. I serve, and I serve, and I watch. I celebrate those who are working according to the vision that God has given them. I serve within their visions until God shows me my own. I counteract any jealousy that comes up with praise for what God is doing in lives via those ministers and Pastors. Just in my own church, the youth Pastors are putting something really special together, something that will shape a generation for years to come. Our JR High Pastors are working to develop identities in those kids that will counteract what culture tries to tell them. Our elementary and preschool Pastors are pouring into those kids hardcore. Until further notice, my job is to serve with them.

Finally, I trust God. He knows what He is doing. He is preparing me for something that I can’t handle right now. And while that just feels so counter to what I have been raised with my whole life, it’s where I am right now, and I’m at peace with it.

finally.

God be praised.