Today, I received a phone call regarding what could potentially be a miracle for Overcomers Church. Due to the confidentiality of this matter, I will not divulge any details. I will ask that you pray. Some of you have been praying from the very beginning, and I would not want to leave you out now.

This Wednesday night at 6:30 pm, we will be having a meeting regarding this matter. I want to ask you to pray for the following:

  • Clarity, wisdom and discernment for all parties involved
  • Keen business sense as this is as much a matter of business, but most importantly the Lord’s business
  • Most importantly, we want God’s will to be done.
  • I have no doubt that God is bringing us to this point for a reason. Nothing is accidental. We will learn lessons no matter the outcome, and those lessons will more than likely be a future blog post.
  • You all have been a source of encouragement and blessing to this pastor and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. May God continued to be glorified in and through me as I seek to please Him.
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    Church Plant Team Members Needed!

    Overcomers Church is a young church in Walhalla, SC that is in need of team members to help in the areas of worship (singers and instrumentalists), students, children, first impressions, media, discipleship, etc. I realize that the audience of this blog is scattered across the world, but some of you are near us.

    I am appealing to those who have a gift and calling, but you are limited in your current situation to utilize those gifts. If after prayer you sense a call, we would love for you to be a part of our team as we seek to launch to the next level. If there is no call, please stay where you are and bloom where you are planted.

    If you are interested or would like to explore the possibility, please call Pastor Matthew Winters at 864-207-8969 or email him at overcomerssc@gmail.com for more information.

    A Story of Running

    This morning, I preached the story of Jonah. I know you’re already thinking, “I’ve heard this all my life. I learned it in Sunday School and watched the Veggie Tales version. I’ve got this.”

    I will not rehearse the basic details of the story, but I will highlight the main thought from my message. Jonah is typically known for running from God. God told him to go to Nineveh, and he went the opposite direction. Jonah eventually obeyed, but not for the right reasons.

    I want you to ponder this thought today – Jonah was not running from God but from himself. You may ask how I arrive to that conclusion. Jonah hated the Ninevites because they were wicked. He did not want them to repent and turn to God, so he thought he would avoid his hatred for them by avoiding them. Someone else would preach God’s message to them, right?

    How many of you have run? You moved to a different location to avoid the problems that took place somewhere else. You had sex because you thought you were loved rather than an object of lust. You buried your life in your work because it kept you from facing your marital and parenting problems. You ran to alcohol or drugs to avoid the life you don’t like. Does any of this sound familiar?

    Some of you are running now. Others have run before, and others of you may find yourself running in the near future because you can’t cope with reality. God invites you to run to Him. He wants to help you. He won’t take away all your problems, but He will give you grace to process through them.

    I’ll end with this song that calls us to be sensitive to those in our lives and specifically church who are running 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction.

    Late Night Friday Reflections

    Today was a different kind of busy for a Friday. I woke up and joined my wife in a couple errands before working this afternoon. I normally do not work on Fridays, but I had something that could only be done today.

    Prior to work, my wife and I did a little bit of ministry downtown. No strings attached. No wearing church t-shirts to advertise us. Just meeting some needs. Many would look at the people and shake their heads. As I was discussing with someone today, you can’t look at someone and strictly see addiction. You must look at that individual and see a person. Forget the drugs. Forget the labels that people want to give to the homeless or mentally ill. These are people for whom Christ died. These people will be etched in my mind and heart as I continue to minister from day to day.

    After work, we attended a celebration of life service for a lady we had only met once. This lady did not know us, but she came to our baby shower in April. God called her home last month. I did not realize she was attending a church where I formerly served, so I had the blessing of seeing 3 ladies from there who have been a tremendous blessing in my life. I have been gone almost 6 years, and these precious ladies still encourage and refresh me. These reunions are sweet, even if it was to remember the life of one whose death surprised us all.

    At the end of the day, I realize how blessed I am. I am not a popular preacher with hundreds or thousands attending the church. I am not a man with a lot of money in my bank account. I do not have many of the things that society says I should have. That’s perfectly fine! I have a great family, precious friends, and what I need. Most importantly, I have Jesus! And I walk in the sweet fulfillment of doing God’s will. Are you able to say that? If not, you don’t have to stay stuck there. Take the next step.

    Crazy Prayers

    Have you ever prayed for a particular thing or in a particular way, only to stop and think that it is crazy? Been there and done that! Many times! As a pastor, I pray brave and bold prayers that are far beyond man’s ability.

    The Bible contains many prayers. Some people may read those prayers and think that it was okay for Paul or some other servant of God to pray. What is wrong with us praying these same prayers if they are genuine. I’m not talking about going through a repetitious ritual. I am talking about truly praying these things from your heart to the Lord.

    In 2001, I was introduced to the prayer of Jabez. Only two verses of Scripture mention this individual, but he prayed a powerful prayer. First Chronicles 4:10 reads, “Jabez called out to the God of Israel: ‘If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain.’ And God granted his request.”

    You may read this prayer and think, “What is so crazy about this prayer?” Jabez is asking God to expand his influence. This is a prayer of vision. The thing God asks in return is, “Can I trust you with more territory? Will you be faithful in the little things? If so, then I will expand your territory.”

    Whatever stage you may find yourself, don’t lose hope. Don’t get up the vision God put within you. Let it be stirred and challenged. Dream big. Pray big. Then watch God honor that prayer as you obey the steps He lays out for you. Now it’s time to do some more crazy praying!

    Image from blog.mikepalinske.info

    Writing from Reaction

    At this point in my life, I have a ton of things about which I would like to write. God will not let me write about them because it would be a reaction not a response. I cannot say I have always operated by this principle, but I am striving to at this moment.

    It is so easy to vomit our feelings on social media. Those posts get attention, right? They do, but are they right? What should we do?

    1. Pray! Take it to God First.
    2. Consult the Bible.
    3. Follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
    4. Talk to godly people who will give you solid counsel.
  • These are some good guides to keep you from cleaning up behind yourself. Respond not react, especially when the world is watching.
  • Opera Singer Epidemic

    When I was in high school, I used to watch a show on Comedy Central called “Make Me Laugh”. Someone would sit in the hot seat while comedians would try to make that person laugh.

    One particular comedian talked about how he dated an opera singer. The relationship didn’t work out because all she talked about was “Me Me Me”. I know it’s kinda corny, but I encounter too many of these people.

    These people marry because it benefits them. They have children because it benefits them. They take a job meant to serve others and somehow make it about them. Here, I am calling it the “opera singer epidemic”.

    I desperately wish there was a humility epidemic, where people gave because they loved others more than self. The kind that reflects the spirit of Christ as explained in Philippians 2. Jesus had any right to make people bow down, yet He made statements like how He did not come to be ministered to but to minister and give His life as a ransom for many. No “Me Me Me” present there!

    Try something today. Count how many times you say “I”. This is not an exercise of condemnation. I (just used it) did that once and was blown away by how much I reference myself. At the end of the day, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

    Photo on ranker.com

    When You’re Half Asleep

    Many times, I post on here close to bed time. I guess because the day is long, I am tired, and I fall asleep within 30 minutes of posting, I often forget what I post. (Praise God I didn’t have this blog when I took Ambience!) The next day, I wake up and see the notifications. The thing that God reminds me of is that no matter how little I have to bring to the table (even if it a half asleep mind), God still uses this to touch lives and bring Him glory.

    You might feel like the widow who gave the last of her money which was a meager offering or the little boy who saw Jesus feed over 5,000 with his sack lunch. God always multiplies our feeble efforts for His glory.

    Maybe you feel like you can’t be used of God. That is a lie from hell. Believe the truth that God created you for a purpose. You can bring you disabilities and sin and all kinds of things, and Jesus can make something beautiful of it. So, here’s to another bedtime post that God will use despite me.

    Image from benefitspro.com

    It’s a Bigger Deal Than You Think

    I would dare say that most people do not do well when it comes to conflict resolution. Typically, most people do one of the following:

    • Ignore the problem.
    • Talk to someone else about the problem (or several others)
    • Explode and justify their out-of-control anger

    None of these responses or reactions is healthy. They are toxic and cause your work or home environment to be toxic. Paul told the Ephesians in chapter 4 to not let the sun go down on their anger. That gives the devil an opportunity to have a lot of fun. It may begin as something small, but Solomon said that the little foxes spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15).

    Don’t lose relationships, jobs, or anything else because you are too proud or don’t know how to resolve conflict. You and I must learn. You may think your bitterness only affects one person, but it is infectious. Put out the fire before you burn down the forest.

    The Sinner’s Prayer Just Might Send You to Hell

    1-2-3-pray-after-me and live like hell until you get to Heaven – secure salvation with a money back guarantee.

    I have been in “Christian” circles that taught me that if I repeated a prayer word for word after a preacher or Sunday School teacher, then I was guaranteed a one-way ticket to Heaven. From that point, people are talked into getting wet in a water tank in the worship center and are given well wishes between that point and their journey to Heaven. What’s missing? Have these people been misguided?

    People have used the “Sinner’s Prayer” as a guide to help people word what is in their hearts. This is a mass evangelism technique that arose a few centuries back. Now, it is used as a guarantee to Heaven while people are never discipled, meaning that no one invests in their s Ultimately, all they care about is reporting that this many people got “saved” today.

    I know that some who are reading this may totally get mad with me. The truth is that I care enough about you to teach you truth rather than give you a false sense of security. In essence, repeating a “sinner’s prayer” making you a born again believer is about as valid as quoting the Pledge to the American flag makes you an American. It doesn’t. You’re just an individual who recited something. You may have been sincere, but it does not change your citizenship.

    Jesus calls you to a new life. You leave the old behind to embrace His power. The Bible says that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9).” Note this next part: “For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:10).” A heart change is necessary to lead us to righteousness. When we have that heart change, we confess it to God and others. We may follow a format similar to what people call “the sinner’s prayer” or we can pray from our hearts without someone feeding us the words. If prefer to let people cry out to God for themselves. I want no connection with any kind of emotional manipulation.

    Be sure that you didn’t repeat a prayer for convenience. If so, all you did was verbalize words. God calls us to repentance (a change of mind and heart). He makes all things new! If you aren’t any different, may God show you where you are, and may you turn your back against sin and turn your life toward full surrender to Jesus Christ.