The Healing Has Begun

My friend who preached this morning introduced us to this song by Matthew West. I immediately connected with it. Although I have not experienced physical sickness beyond something simple, but God has healed my broken, discouraged heart.

Many who read this may be walking through something right now. You got a bad report from the doctor. You may be close to losing your home. A child may have wandered far from God, or a spouse may have decided to walk away and you are left with a broken heart. God wants to begin the healing process in your life. It is a process. You will go through ups and downs, but your scars will one day tell a story of a God who does miracles.

Let this song minister to you.

Advertisements

Share the Stage

It is so easy in leadership to hog the spotlight. When you are at the top, the temptation is great to steal all the glory. As you grow in Christ, you want to help develop people while God gets all the glory.

Today, I “shared the stage” with a dear friend who is one of the men in our church. God called him several years ago to ministry. Many of us get detoured when life happens, but he has not given up. Today, he preached for the first time in a long time. He shared the subject of forgiveness and he kept it real. It was my joy to give him an opportunity to stir up the gift God put in him. I’m looking forward to giving him more opportunities and seeing God call others from our church.

As we are moving forward, I’m realizing more and more how I must share the stage so that people can develop their own gifts and help others develop in Christ. I cannot do it alone, and I don’t want to. God is unveiling a plan for me to “share the stage”, and I can’t wait to see it all unfold.

If you are a part of a church that will not allow you to develop your gifts, I encourage you to find a place that will. Don’t grow stale and let life pass you by because the leadership in your church uses a select few. Please pray for us as we go deeper in developing fully devoted followers of Christ.

A Little Bit of Humor

Chonda Pierce happens to be one of my favorite comediennes. She recently appeared on Huckabee. This is not meant to be political. Please take away from it what you find funny.

Reaping What You Sow

Here’s a post I know you will LOVE!!! You’ve heard the truth about reaping what you sow. I’m sure you’ve even heard that if you sow a financial seed, then you will reap a financial harvest. With that said, when you sow a financial gift into my bank account, you are guaranteed a free prosperity package sent straight to your home.

JUST KIDDING!!! SORRY!!!!

In a previous post, I mentioned about God blessing giving. The blessing is often intangible. Reaping and sowing goes beyond money, and it is also more than just someone who does wrong getting what is coming to him or her.

Reaping and sowing is about investment. Be careful where you put your investment. Some of us invest in relationships that God isn’t 1,000 miles near. The return from our investment may be pathetic because we invested in someone who is only there for what he or she can get. People say they don’t get anything out of church. What did you invest? I’m not talking about money. Did you prepare yourself for worship? Did you engage in the service? Did you go with a sense of expectancy while also with a sense of wanting to invest in the Lord’s work with your time, talent, and treasures?

Life is not about what you can get from it. In Matthew 6, Jesus said that we can store up treasures on earth that will deteriorate or we can invest in eternal things that will outlast us. I choose the latter.

When it comes to this matter of success and prosperity, this is what God says about that: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬). To sum it up, success comes from a life that meditates upon and obeys God’s commandments. You can be poor according to this world, and rich according to God. This is the kind of prosperity package I want. You can have it too. (And you don’t have to pay me for it😀)

Rebuilding the Walls of Your Life (Part 4)

I’m picking up on a series I started before Thanksgiving. In rebuilding the walls of our lives after devastation from the aftermath of divorce, addiction, sickness, or whatever the difficulty, I have mentioned several things you need. I encourage you to go back and read the first 3 parts of this.

As I was preparing for this portion, a phrase from Nehemiah 3 jumped out at me. As they were rebuilding the gates, the Scripture says “they sanctified it”. This means they set their work apart to their Lord.

If you are going to rebuild and make a full comeback, you MUST set yourself apart from what used to be. You can’t hang with the old crowd. You can’t go to the same places. If you do, you are setting yourself up for failure. That’s fine if you want to live in failure, but God has more and better for you.

The devil may have you convinced that you are not worth anything, but you are worth so much…so much that God would send His Son to die for your sin and conquer death, Hell, and the grave Christ on your behalf. God made you for more! Set yourself apart (as difficult as that may be) and walk in the victory God has willed for you!

7 Tips for Churches Upping Their Hospitality Game

How well is the church I pastor or the church you attend doing when it comes to first time guests? This guy said it better than I could.

beard with a blog

“Dear fellow churches, if you leave the guest book open right by the front door, there may be someone who feels like they need to sign in – that is, with a working pen.”

My wife and I were looking for a place to have a Christmas recital for her piano students and stumbled into one of the sweetest churches.  In our search we came along some things that made us question whether or not some of these churches were open to the public.  To be fair, I oversee guest services at a large church outside of Kansas City Missouri, which has conditioned me to pick up on such things with eagle-eye sensitivity.

This is not a rant about other churches.  There are churches that are doing the absolute best with what they have.  I’m for them and want them to be successful in sharing the good news, but what…

View original post 1,282 more words

I’ll Do Anything but That, Lord (The What)

Yesterday, I posted about how we often do not like where God sends us. Today, I want to address the subject of how we often do not like what God wants us to do.

I was pondering about my calling yesterday as I was driving. For me as a pastor, Scripture tells me that my particular assignment is this: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭KJV‬‬). I love the first few parts of the verse. “Preach the word” – I love to do that! “Be instant in season, out of season” – I feel like I am ready at any time (good or bad) to preach the word. It is fun to do the easy parts, especially if we pick and choose which parts of Scripture we want to preach. Now for the difficult parts. Some preachers get their kicks out of the rest of this, but I struggle with elements of this.

  • Reprove – this means to bring to light a person’s wrongdoing in such a way that they see and it and desire to correct it. Sometimes we shy away from this because we think others will feel like we are judging them. God’s Holy Spirit does the work as we preach. What people do as the Spirit of God points things out is ultimately out of my hands. I am simply the messenger.
  • Rebuke – This is reproof but stronger. If one of my children breaks a neighbor’s window after being told not to throw rocks, my response will not be “Okay, little Opie! No iPad for you for the next hour.” I will be firm in my rebuke so “Opie” won’t ever do it again. My point for rebuke in preaching would be to keep those who hear away from the wrong path.
  • Exhort – this means to encourage. I can handle this one. I love to encourage people.
  • With all longsuffering and doctrine – I must do so patiently with the Scriptures as my foundation. As God is patient with us, so should we be with others.

There are some things in life that some of us find a struggle. By nature, I do not want to reprove and rebuke. However, I do people harm when I do not inform them of what God says about matters that are harmful to their life spiritually. I must follow this call from God because I love people and most importantly the Lord Jesus.

*For a great online resource to help you understand more about the Bible, go to preceptaustin.org. Portions of this material can be found there.

The Holiday Funk

For many, this season is a season of joy. For others who want it to be, it is a time of grief and depression. The commercialization of Christmas makes some feel that their gifts won’t be good enough for family and friends. The reality of an empty chair or an empty nest may be a cause for some to experience depression and grief. Some, like myself, struggle with the weather and find themselves down during the winter.

I remember the first cycle of holidays after my separation. I didn’t want to hear a Christmas song, a love song, and I especially did not want to see a Hallmark movie. I struggled to see whole families together because mine would never be the same. The days are still difficult keeping up with my kids via iPhone screen between visits, but we find ourselves adjusting to the new “normal”.

I did not write this as a depressing post but as one of hope. Four years later, I can testify to my God who has healed the brokenness in my life. He is the God who makes the crooked paths straight, providing streams in the desert and songs in the night.

Don’t forget that healing is a process. We are impatient by nature and tend to despise the process. God is with you in the process and will use you on the other side of your pain to help others.

To Those Who are experiencing the holiday funk, the One who went to the cross for your sin wants to love you through this. The Scripture is true that weeping enduring for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Praying that the dawn comes soon for you,

Matthew

I’ll Do Anything But That, Lord! (The Where)

How many of you will be honest and say that you have told the Lord you would do anything for Him but go to a particular place? I have. The first time I remember doing this was when I vowed that I would not attend the Bible college where I began my undergrad because I was afraid I might end up like some of my school teachers (no offense to any alumni who may be reading). I choked on my words and finished my junior year there.

Jonah is the one most of us think of when we think of people who ran the other way from God’s plan. The Ninevites were wicked people, and Jonah did not want to be the messenger who would preach and see the people repent. Nevertheless he went after spending 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a “great fish” and then becoming “great fish vomit”.

We are so prone to tell God what we will and will not do. He knows best. If He chooses to use us in unusual places, so be it. After being ultra-selective about where I would minister, things eventually changed as I matured. As painful as the assignment is at times, God uses us in these tough places for a reason.

You may be fighting God’s plan for your life because of a location. You may not want to move because you are comfortable where you are. It may be that you have a dislike for the people who may be your personal mission field. I encourage you today to come to a point where your will gets lost in God’s. It may not be our way, but it is the best way.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑