Archive for January, 2015

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Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭11‬ NLT)

For the last few days, I’ve sat in meetings with department and oversight leaders of my denomination from across our nation, hearing the vision God gave them for our Fellowship. In turn, we take these visions and goals back to our home states and pass them along to leaders and pastors, trying to connect the head with the grass roots. And then as a Pastor, I have to pass these along to my leaders and teachers, that we can accomplish all these plus our own community vision as well.

When God created the Church, He called men and women to set aside their life goals and ambitions so that He could fully use them to fully reach His people. Regardless of the messes fleshly people have created, the Church was God’s gift to the world, and ministry workers were His gift to the Church. They are not a secret society or a league of superheroes, simply common people with a heart for God, a mind for the work, and a willingness to serve.

Take time to pray for your denomination or organization leaders. Then lift up the wonderful leaders at your local church that you love. It takes a lot of folks surrendering their lives so that you can know God and make Him known. Celebrate the gifts God gave so that you could know that you are loved!

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Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.” (Acts 26‬:‭14‬ NLT)

In 2010, unintentional firearm injuries caused the deaths of 606 people. From 2005-2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. That’s almost as many victims as the number of American soldiers killed in the first seven years of the U.S.-Iraq War! And the greatest shame is the key word of this study: unintentional victims.

In the Christ Life, we reflect this same sad scenario. We “shoot ourselves in the foot” by trying to live for God on our own terms. Oswald Chambers says it this way: “Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus.” To our shame, this is how many of us approach our spiritual walk and ministry.

When Jesus called out to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, Saul was serving God and disobeying Him at the same time. God calls to each of us to make sure we are doing this right. If the Spirit convicts you, please listen. The saddest casualties to see are those of self-destructing, self-willed, unintentional inflictors of spiritual harm. Live for God on His own terms! It’s much healthier for you! You are loved today!

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For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.” (Isaiah‬ ‭26‬:‭9‬ NLT)

In 1998, Oscar was a “drug mule”, carrying heroin in his stomach from Columbia to Miami. He was arrested at the airport and sentenced to 100 years for his crime. But while in jail, Oscar’s life was changed by God’s grace and a little Gideon’s Bible. Today, Oscar and his wife minister to others, delivering the same hope of forgiveness.

We are accustomed as Christians to hate judgment, simply to fail in the realization that mercy only comes through judgment. The sins in our life, even our hidden ones, must be exposed to God’s face before they can be taken away. Only through conviction and repentance does mercy come. Otherwise, we could commit whatever sins we wanted and still expect a place at the Lord’s table, leaving Jesus’ death as a vain and meaningless act.

Never shy away from God’s judgment; if He loves us, then He must correct us. Instead, learn to thank Him for correction, for then does true mercy and love come! Then go live a more free and uncompromising life! You are loved today!

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Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.” (Psalms‬ ‭116‬:‭15‬ NKJV)

My Uncle Kennon was a wonderful Methodist pastor and Air Force Chaplain, but a terrible carpenter. One day he decided to reach the town drunk by repairing a hole on his barn roof. In the process, he accidentally dropped his hammer through the hole, which happened to land on the drunk’s homemade still, destroying it! Consequently, the man decided it was a sign from God, gave up drinking and got saved!

His wife, my Aunt Mary Elizabeth, was just as funny. Having taught classical music and played in numerous orchestras, she seemed to know absolutely everyone. In one story, her and a daughter were traveling out of state. My aunt struck up a conversation with an unknown couple from Japan, because she didn’t ever meet a stranger. In the course of conversation, they were good friends with a Japanese gentleman that she had taught music to in Japan when she lived there shortly after WWII!

My Uncle Kennon went to be with the Lord in 1990. Today, we lay Aunt Mary Elizabeth to rest. If God has a trophy room reserved for His saints, they should be on the top shelf. Always remember that our loss is Heaven’s gain, and our reward will be to join them again in Heaven! Celebrate life today! We are loved!

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You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?” (Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭7‬ NLT)

According to statisticbrain.com, of all persons that set New Year’s resolutions, only 8% are successful at achieving them, 49% have infrequent success, and 24% never accomplish a single one. Wow! And 1 out of 4 are done with them after the first week! By now, 1/3 of resolution setters that hit the gym, cut back spending, and attempted to stop a bad habit have given up and are back to their old ways that they didn’t like beforehand.

No matter what the endeavor, good things require hard work and sacrifice. A better marriage, healthier body, and a powerful spiritual life require for diligence on our part to keep doing the things that we know we are supposed to be doing. Then when those stumbling moments come and we question the “effort vs reward” factor, we must keep choosing “effort”, knowing it is worth it!

What is keeping you from a healthier body, stronger esteem, wealthier wallet, more intimate marriage, or a dynamic spiritual life? Ask God to help you conquer these or any other goal worth pursuing. Then when you stumble, and you will, He is there to pick you up and keep you going! You are loved today! Keep at it!