Month: November 2012

Rainbow

This morning was a gray sort of morning.

The sun was hidden behind the clouds.

Rain had fallen sometime in the night

leaving evidence a storm had been at work.

As I drove on 421, surrounded by shades of gray

ahead

faint but visible colors arched over the morning sky

it was a faint but definitive reminder of hope

that God keeps His promises

that things will not always be gray

on days no rainbow can be found.

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Do I Say It?

Micah 2:6, describes poetically, prophetically, psychologically what all preachers grapple with from time to time…

Do I say it?

Here in this passage Micah is condemning the preachers who have chosen not to say it and have begun to say what will be accepted by their hearers.

The scary thing is I know how they got there, and I live thousands of years later.

The tension for a speaker is you know the people you speak to on a weekly basis. You know their struggles, you know their pains, you know what they like and what they do not like… even if they do not tell you.  It is just something a shepherd knows and when a text has a point in it you know will not be received well… what do you do?

Do you say it?

Because you know if you do… conversations behind your back, emails, Facebook postings, and phone calls will ensue.  And they will say things about you, your family, and your intentions that you would never say about them.  You can feel it when people are “having you for lunch. The pain that comes as a result of speaking the truth is heavy, so heavy it makes you wonder…

should I say it?

I plan my sermons a year out… this Sunday’s text has a point in it that has created a “Do I Say It” moment.

No one likes an uncomfortable room.

No God fearing preacher lives for the moment where He says something that strikes such a cord that it creates tension in the room.

But sometimes things must be said… because that is what God wants for that given day. So here are a few guiding points for times such as this…

1. Make sure it is God and not You. – When you say it,  the accusation that will come is  “it was you and not God”, so inside you must believe without any doubt that it was God who lead you to that point and not your own feelings.

2. The text must say it. It must be something that is obvious in the story or passage you are preaching.  Sometimes the text is all you have to stand on… and it is more than enough.

3. Do not say more than what needs to be said. Do not go on a tangent.  Most tangents are yours and not God’s… remember that and be aware of it.

4. Say it with love not with hate.  Say it with Love not hate. Say it with LOVE not hate.

5. Say it with Love to everyone that is in the room… focus on everyone in the room… preach to the crowd not to the person. The audience on that day is who God has given you to speak to.

5. Expect that person to be there and deal with the emotions that come with that thought before you get to church.  Do not point what you have to say at the individual… that is what the Holy Spirit is for and when He works they are going to feel like you have focused on them anyway and will tell you as such. But remember when that happens it is really a sign that they are convicted and they are rejecting that conviction by placing it all on you.

6. Pray and then pray some more…. and then pray again. You can never do too much of that.

So… Do you say it?

Yes… if it is truly a word from God.

I’m Not Going to Wrestle With You!

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Have you ever had that friend…

you know that one

the one you were close to and you trusted them

and then

they turned on you.

and now you are in the middle of a conflict of emotion, relation and will.

Have you ever had a friendship come to the point of breaking apart?

Have you ever been a part of a church..

you know that one

the one that you loved,

the one you felt God working in

the one you found encouragement every time you went

and then

things changed

and people turned on each other and acted in ways that…

shocked you…

and now the church is in the middle of a conflict of emotion, relation and will.

Have you ever seen a church family come to the point of breaking apart?

I have… and chances are you have too.

So what do you do in those situations?

The first thing you do is identify the enemy, the one or ones that are causing the mess in the first place.

and guess what…

its not them

its not him

its not her

“they” the people involved are not the enemy…

they are just being used by the enemy as a war tool of destruction.

it is not them, the humans that are involved, that we are wrestling with…

its Satan, and his forces… the demons.

Seldom does he ever come to the forefront to fight. Instead he moves, and maneuvers people into states of being, moving them to feel a certain way pushing them to act a certain way, so they will go out for him and cause destruction.

He alway causes destruction and confusion… always.

To recognize this, that we are not wrestling with “them” we are wrestling with evil powers we cannot see. Prevents us from striking back at the person that is causing division… it helps us see them as people not enemies.

So,

our approach to handling the problem is better, it brings healing into the situation, healing that Jesus died for.

We go to restore the relationship, not to strike at it

We go with an offer of forgiveness, both in asking for it and giving it, we do not go to accuse.

We go with the purpose of working it out, thus judging the situation with the right set of eyes…

After all… they are not the enemy… satan is.

and our prayer is…

He will not win!

Ephesians 6:10-20; Luke 18:1-8

Stored

This year I “cleaned out” some of our “old” Christmas Music that we do not listen to as much any more.  Some of it was digital, some were CDs.  But they have now been stored on a shelf not to be used this Christmas season.

They are stored and will not be a part of our life this year.

The other side of the coin is there is music that will be played as we live and breath this Christmas season.  The music will be played in our house, and in our cars… at will from storage devices called iPods.

Music that has been stored for use.

I think this is the way we often use the Bible. Passages that  we like we hold on to  and the ones we do not like so much ( those that are hard to live by) we shelve and pay them no attention, taking them out of the play list of life.

But what if you and I decided to make an effort each day to store the word of God in our hearts with the intention of playing it’s truths with our lives….

Would that change things?

I think it would

Psalm 119:11

Enough

Sometimes life hits you with a twist. Sometimes it’s tight, sometimes it’s loose, sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it brings joy, sometimes pain but regardless twist and turns come.

Some you can see…

some you suspect but don’t believe…

and some that hit you right out of the blue.

Sometimes the twists make you wonder what God is doing for some of them come as a string of losses.

I’m in one of those times.

The twists and grins of church ministry, being a pastor and being a father    often come at lightening speed. And just when you think you are at a break through moment in it all there comes news that breaks your heart, breaks your spirit and makes you wonder about the benefit of it all.

Is it really worth it?

and of course at this point in the post I should really insert some sort of “spiritual phrase”…

but I can’t bring myself to do it just yet.

But maybe soon it will happen…

until then all that is left is to remain faithful, do what I’m called to do and leave the rest to God.

And that is really enough…

even though right now it doesn’t feel that way.

Prayer Take 40/40

Our church is praying for 40 days for our Take It to the Streets Ministry.  Each day will have a scripture reading, a list things to pray for and I will write a quick devotional thought from the day’s passage.  The schedule is not original with us but is built off of YouVersion’s Bible App.

– Matthew 28-18-20

It is fitting that we end our 40 days of prayer for our Take it to the Streets ministry with the word…

Go

Go make disciples of all nations.

Go and compel others to accept and follow Jesus

This is a call for life.

Go

– So today pray that Take 5.2 will go well, that Christ will be presented in a compelling way and that we will see disciples made as a result of this outreach.

– Pray that God will help you always to remain focused on His vision for all our lives and that making disciples will always be what FBC strives to do.

– Pray that we will continue to live our lives for Jesus so much so that we become positive examples of His love and grace in our community.

– Pray that God will show us how He wants to reach and transform the lives of the people in our community.

– Pray for God to show us exactly how He wants us to “Take it to the Streets” in the future