My One Regret

I just read a post about Little Richard. He stated that the one thing, at age 84, he wishes he could go back and do was preach. Many people reach their senior years with regrets such as this. I heard a man give a testimony in a worship service years ago, saying he dropped out of Bible college and never fulfilled God’s call on his life. He was in his senior years and admonished those present to obey God or they would end up miserable like he did.

I want to make an appeal to those who read this. Don’t hit your final years with regrets. I’m not talking about going sky diving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and whatever else the song says. I’m talking about doing something to make your life count. Not all of us are preachers. We all can, however, make a worthwhile contribution to society and God’s kingdom work. 

Shake off the excuses, stop procrastinating, block out the critics, and do God’s will for your life. You’ll be glad you did. I can testify to it!


Going the Extra Mile

I had the privilege of visiting a lady today who supervised a cleaning crew at a major university. Many people would clean, supervise their employees, clock out for the day, repeat the same duties the next day, and view the students as the ones who make the messes she and others have to clean. Not this lady! She went the extra mile.

You may read this and wonder why she or any other supervisor would go above and beyond. Isn’t everything great as long as you get your job done? Why do anything extra? These college students are more than likely absorbed in their college drama with classes, relationships, etc. and don’t care about hearing a thing from “the cleaning lady”. Do you think that stopped this lady? NO! She would overhear them talking disrespectfully to their parents over the phone, so she would wait and address them for their disrespect. She didn’t have to do that. Many students would hate her for what they perceive as butting in to their business, but many of these students who received a word of correction from this lady stay in contact. She is retired now, but the impact she made in their lives still lives on because she went the extra mile and stepped in like a loving mother. 

Many of us are busy clocking in and out, collecting our checks, and missing the bigger picture. Meanwhile there are people around us who need some loving correction and direction. Will you and I be the ones who care enough to go the extra mile?

Learning from the Prayers of Others 

I know that we are not supposed to pray for the benefit of others, but the prayers of others can teach us so much. There are men and women of God throughout history who prayed some powerful prayers. 

I encourage you to begin with the prayers recorded in Scripture – prayers prayed by Jabez, Daniel, Nehemiah, Job, Paul, but most importantly Jesus. Study the prayer lives of others who are a little closer to our day like Charles Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, and David Jeremiah. Their books have taught me so much on prayer. 

I want to close with this one I heard as a 15-year old in church. I’m not a fan of reading prayers publicly on a constant basis, but this and so many more can teach us how to pray the way God wants us to pray.

Asking God for More? Here are a few things to consider.

This morning, I preached on the prayer of Jabez from I Chronicles 4. For those of us who know it, our favorite part is “expand my territory”. I have prayed that many times in my life, and God has answered it in different ways. God did teach me a couple of things about territory expansion.

  • God will only give us what He can trust us with. Want more money? Are you responsible with the money you have now? Want a different job? Are you giving your best where you currently work? Why do you want more when you’re not faithful with what you have? Don’t live as if the grass is greener on the other side. Make the grass greener where you are.
  • Expect opposition. The opposition will come in various forms. The devil hates progress, especially if it is the advancement of God’s kingdom. Don’t be surprised when the devil tries to thwart God’s plan. It’s a pretty good indicator that you are headed in the right direction.

Before you ask God for more, assess yourself. Focus on personal improvement for the glory of God. Then God will expand your territory because He knows you are serious about doing it His way.

Meeting God in the “Why?”

Throughout my life, I have asked a series of whys. Today was one of those days. This morning, a tragedy that hit close to home has thrown my family for a loop. Death comes to us all, but not all of us experience it tragically. It seems so surreal. I know that those who were closer to this individual are asking more whys than I am, and I am praying that they find God in the whys.

As you read throughout Scripture, you will see many men and women of God asking that question. Don’t let some self-righteous person guilt-trip you for asking God “Why?” He delights in giving you His perspective. It is in these times that we seek Him more. 

In 2012-2013, I asked God this question often. Why am I experiencing anxiety? Why is my family falling apart? Why didn’t you let me have a hip condition instead of my son? Why is ministry as I know it about to be over? Through all this, I found God in the whys.

Maybe you are asking God “Why?” today. If you seek Him, you will find Him. May this song encourage you.

Waging War

This post will be a big strong, so you might want to put your big boy/girl pants on if you’re easily offended. Maybe you are part of a Christian denomination that downplays spiritual warfare, and this will be uncomfortable to you. If you are a true follower of Christ, some things ought to bother you. I’m not about to get political or rant on a particular sin. That is a waste of time. I do want to provoke us all to do what we are supposed to do and fight the good fight of faith.

If you are a Christian, you are a soldier. The Bible says so in 2 Timothy. So why do we “chillax” when all hell is breaking loose around us? We legislate morality to pastors and small group leaders. We let the schools raise our children while we think about ourselves and what we want when they are home, yet we wonder why society is what it has become. We talk about evil and how bad everything is, but we haven’t waged war against the enemy. We know enough Scripture to fill up 30 seconds of time if we are lucky, we pray about as long as a commercial, then we wonder why we don’t have victory over the devil. Are we figuring it out yet? God has given us all the tools we need, yet we are the most biblically illiterate society. Shame on us! Even I need to step up my game! 

Here’s the problem! We are not sick enough of it to really do something about it. If we were, we would be doing it. When people really want to lose weight, they change their eating habits and exercise. When people want financial improvement, they get a better or second job and cut costs. Don’t believe the lie that things won’t get better! We must take some initiative and watch God honor our obedience. God doesn’t work the way we work, so don’t expect it to make sense. Spend enough time in Scripture and you’ll see what I mean.

So, are you sick and tired of the way things are? There is one thing to do – WAGE WAR!

Pastor Appreciation

October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. The people of Overcomers honored me today since my birthday was this past Tuesday. They blessed me and always bless me more than they will ever know. That’s why I want to point out a few things.

  1. Behind every great pastor is a great church body. I could not do what I do without the labor of the people of Overcomers. They set up, tear down, faithfully participate, do anything that is needed, and make Sundays, weeknight Bible studies, and outreach events the best they can be. I am able to do what I do because of God’s power and the faithfulness of our people.
  2. Behind every great pastor is a great spouse. A spouse can make or break a ministry. I’m thankful for a wife who believes in me, encourages me, and wants me to be my absolute best. She gives me the freedom to minister as necessary, yet I do my best to make sure I give my family adequate attention. 
  3. Behind every great pastor is great children. My kids are not perfect, but they believe in the ministry and what God has called me to do. They serve, give, and tell me I preached great even if I flopped. Truthfully, they are honest if they didn’t connect with the message.

I am not saying I am a great pastor by any means. There are those who pastor much better than I do, but I am not called to be them and they are not called to be me. I operate within my area of giftedness and try to surround myself with those who possess strengths which I do not possess.

Bottom line – I am honored to be used of God the way He uses me. Pastors, you are privileged. Not because you deserve it but because God chose to do something through a weak vessel like you and me. While I am encouraging churches to express appreciation to their pastors and families regularly, I encourage pastors to express appreciation to their people regularly. We are co-laborers and could not pull this off alone.

Three. Simple. Words.

By the title, our minds could go a million placing trying to guess which three words I may address. I am actually going to address two sets of three words. We do not often hear these from others. These phrases are “I am sorry” and “I was wrong”. Both phrases are necessary in all relationships of life.

  1. Say them to your spouse. If you truly mean it and follow through with behavior change, these words will tear down walls that destroy many marriages.
  2. Say them to your children. You might think that that is a sign of weakness. I have had to tell my kids I was wrong and ask their forgiveness. I had their respect more than I would have by pretending I was right in my error.
  3. Say them to your coworkers. I had to do this as the leader of music ministries and as a pastor. The people under my leadership were quicker to follow my leadership when I owned up to my error or lack of leadership in a particular scenario. If you offend a coworker or mess up, get it right. You often spend more time with them than you do your own family. If you strut around like you do no wrong, you will kill workplace morale. Don’t compromise the future of your employment or the company by letting pride get in the way. 

I have dealt with people who admitted their wrongs and those who did not. Do you know who I respected? The ones who pointed their fingers back at themselves rather than pass the buck. Bigger than that, who do you think honors God more? Think about that one for a minute.

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