My Favorite Weekend

For me, the weekend begins Friday morning. I set out to pick up my kids who are primarily with their mother. It’s typically over a 4-hour round trip, so we got into town around 1:30. The boys wanted a haircut, so we went to my favorite barbers downtown. We returned home for all 9 of us to go to our local Oktoberfest. I have lived in this area since 2009 (with the exception of a year away) and have never been. I loved taking the kids to enjoy the junk food and rides. Their joy brings me joy.

Saturday was a day I was originally dreading. It was so much better than I expected. I expected that 9 people posing for a church directory picture would be a nightmare. It was better than I expected. Afterward, the kids played on the church playground followed by a visit to my mom’s. The day was naturally filled with our family humor. My 13-year old son is normally the spotlight comedian. He wanted to go to Game Stop to spend some of his money. We ended up returning because he purchased the wrong thing. He thanked me multiple times for taking him twice. I assured him that he would one day (not anytime soon😀) the joy of a father to do good things for his children.

This morning, we experienced our normally stressful prep to get out the door to get to worship on time. As I am awaiting to see how God might use me in church ministry in the future, I loved sitting on the row of seats with the kids. Our pastor preached a great message (as always), and we enjoyed being in God’s presence with other believers.

Today, I drove the kids back to their mother as is the Sunday custom. I discovered that I was not too far from a pastor friend, so I messaged him at the last minute to see if he was having an evening service. I was there 23 minutes after it started, but it was great to reconnect.

You may think that your weekend was better. It may have been better for you, but I am thankful for the sweet weekend with family. I cannot and will not trade that for anything. This has been my favorite weekend!


Remember Whose You Are

One of my favorite pastors, though now retired, is Dr. Howard Wilburn. He was president of the Bible college where I finished my first 3 years. The thing I could quote him most for saying, especially when he would preach at the last chapel before a break, was “Remember whose you are”.

Whose am I? In II Corinthians 6, Paul states that I am not my own but that I am bought with a price – the precious blood of Jesus. Therefore, I cannot call my own shots. Paul also said in the previous chapter that I am an ambassador of Christ, representing Christ to the world. Dr. Wilburn wanted us to remember that God’s standards were not just for the college campus. We were to obey Him at all times.

How many of us think about whose we are when we are at work? At home? When tempted to trade in our values? If we are not moving forward with that mindset, today is a great day to start. Remember that you belong to the King.

Great new blog

A few months ago, I was connected with someone who was sending out daily devotionals via text. His zeal for Christ was evident from the first post. He ministers in the town where I live, but we have yet to meet face to face. His name is Jordan Rogers, and his devotions are now daily blog posts. You can find him at I encourage you to follow him and receive encouragement and challenge from this young servant of God.

A Blank Sheet of Paper

My grandmother was an artist. She spent decades with blank sheets of paper or blank canvases to soon became full of whatever was in her mind and heart. It could have turned into a mountainous scene from her childhood, a portrait of one of her children, or a bird she saw in her back yard. She was creative. She was a visionary.

I wish I had my grandmother’s wisdom. She did not fill blank sheets of paper or canvases with something that was not inspired. I, on the other hand, have often filled my blank sheets of paper with plans I thought were great and then had the audacity to hand it to God for His approval. How foolish of me! He does a better job of writing my story than I do.

He should be the one who fills my blank pages. My response should be to take those orders and fulfill them. I need not get ahead of God. He is my Guide. He knows what is best.

I remember the last time I stepped away from church ministry. Multiple opportunities presented themselves to me. Every time, God said no. I am determined to allow God to open the door this time. I lift my hands in surrender, trying Him to take the wheel.

How often have we thought we knew better than God? When He didn’t move in our timing, we tried to “help Him out”. What a joke! The Creator of the universe does not need my help. He wants to use me to fulfill His plan, but He could choose to do it without me.

If you are anxious about the future, stop trying to worry it into existence. Give God the blank sheet and watch Him fill it with things unimaginable to you. You will see that His ways and timing are best and have our best interest at heart.

Are You God-Fearing?

I was having a Facebook dialogue with a coworker about a lady. This coworker referred to her as a “God-fearing woman”. In the three years I knew her, I would say that is an accurate assessment. It was not that she had a “holier than thou” attitude or that she bragged about the things she did for God. She simply bragged on Jesus and radiated His love.

As I contemplate this phrase “God-fearing”, one thought comes to mind – If you truly fear (reverence) God, you don’t have to brag about how “God-fearing” you are because your actions will reflect that. After observing many who brag about how much they fear God, I have learned that I would not walk two steps to hear them preach or lead in silent prayer. They possess a major dose of pride rather than reverence for God. Any of us could easily become proud. I’ve been there and can testify to how God put me in my place (and continues to do so when necessary).

In order to fear God, you must know Him and walk with Him. The more you do, the sweeter He will become to you. When the fiery trials of life come your way, you will see Him in a greater light if you choose to let the difficulty draw you closer rather than push you away. The devil hates when people have intimacy with God. That’s why so many profess to know God but consider Him an afterthought or a tradition. May you and I be among those who shine the light of Jesus so that no one will have to question if we really fear (reverence) God.

What Is A Deacon?

In answering the question “What is a deacon?”, part of me wants to say “That mean old man that moderates business meetings, take up the offering on occasion, and causes chaos whenever there is progress.” In defense of many godly ones, this is not always the case. The biggest problem is that many churches have never been biblically educated about what a deacon is. Let’s see what the Bible says NOT some man made constitution and bylaws.

The foundational principle of understand what a deacon is requires that we know the meaning of the Greek word diakonos which means “servant”. So when or why did servants become a board? In cases that the deacons tell the pastor what to do, pitch baby fits over foolishness, and fail to face conflict biblically, the deacons have a misunderstanding of the biblical role of the pastor as overseer, undershepherd, and spiritual leader. Most just view that pastor as “the preacher”. That only touches a portion of the pastor’s ministry. When a deacon or church member views himself as a superior to the pastor, it can be a recipe for disaster. When we understand that we are co-laborers, perspective becomes aligned with God.

Now to the part that references qualifications. Acts 6 has been referred to as the first selection of deacons to assist the apostles in order that the apostles dedicate themselves to “prayer and ministry of the word”. Notice what the Scripture says:

“But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.” (Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭6:1-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Note that the early deacons were not bossing around preachers but were assisting the pastor with ministry.

First Timothy 3:8-13 goes into more detail about the deacons and wives: “In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do. A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

The standards are high. But carefully examine that these are things that God really wants from all of us. Many in the church think that pastors and church leaders must do this, this, and this while they can live like hell. NO!!!! EVERY BELIEVER IS CALLED TO LIVE A LIFE OF HOLINESS.

If you are a deacon and do not biblically understand your role, please start serving instead of enjoying a power trip. If you are serving well, please make sure that you are a blessing to your pastor, staff, and congregation. When conflict arises, handle it biblically. That does not mean that you call a special meeting about it. Biblical conflict management requires that you address the individual first. The greatest thing you can do to a gossip is take him or her the person he or she is bashing. Either the individual will shut up or turn it into an episode of Jerry Springer. If he or she does the latter, it’s time for some Matthew 18 church discipline.

What Should a Church Value?

I want to say from the onset of this post that I would like to hear from you about what a church should value. Now to the post😀.

People have varying opinions about Rick Warren. I’m not here to discuss if you like him, but I do believe that the principles he shared helped churches focus on their purpose. Those 5 purposes were worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. These are clearly laid out in the book of Acts.

When I was pastoring the church plant, my greater areas of giftedness and passion were worship, fellowship, and discipleship. It was not that I did not care about ministry and evangelism, but those are not my stronger areas. I had people within the church plant that were stronger in those areas. I expressed to them that I wanted them to take the ball and run with it because I lacked in those areas.

My question is, “What should a church value?” I believe it should be all five. I know that some within the church plant would have been thrilled if we would have eliminated the worship and preaching and just focused on outreach. I propose that no one is going to be red hot about people coming to Christ if they do not love Jesus and desire to worship Him in some kind of passionate way. They are not fulfilling the great commission if they are not discipling them. People can agree or disagree with me on this, but everything flows from worship. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, why did He say it is two-fold? Love God and love people…in that priority.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Better yet, I would like to hear some biblical thoughts. The discussion is open.

An Unusual Worship Service

Let’s face it! If you have attended church on special occasions, sporadically, or faithfully, you have encountered unusual worship services. Maybe the pastor’s dentures fell out, a lady came back in from the restroom with her dress tucked in her hose, or someone requested prayer for a character from their favorite soap opera (all of which have happened to friends of mine). I’m not talking about that kind of unusual. Or the kind when you’re the guest preacher and you get interrupted by a guy yelling and then turning off the power to the building (which happened to me). There is a type of unusual that is uncharacteristic of the average Sunday. That is what we experienced today.

Our pastor was away, so the dean of religion from a local Christian university spoke on Zacchaeus. The focus of the message was how Jesus ministers to the marginalized. As the guest was preaching, a man walked into the room. He was elderly, feeble, and trembling. An usher followed him to make sure he was okay. He insisted to go on stage and talk to the guest preacher. The guest preacher weaved this conversation seamlessly into the message. The usher assisted the man to the front row where one of our young adults sat next to him.

The way this guest preacher handled this situation was a divine illustration to the main idea of the message. Man could not have orchestrated this. God has a beautiful way of visiting with His people.

As I have entered this season of rest, I am glad to have returned to worship at this wonderful place. A few things have changed since we were gone for the 20 months with the church plant. One thing that has not changed is how God’s Spirit has liberty to move among this body of believers.

The next time you attend a worship service, I hope it’s unusual. You won’t want anything different.

Image from

Who Can Make a Difference?

Tonight, I watched the documentary about Fred Rogers. Many of you may be reading this and thinking that he was inspirational, corny, weird, creative, or some other adjective. After I had the chance to hear those who were closest to him testify to the man they knew, my appreciation for this man went to a different level.

In a day when we are told that cocky, bold, gregarious people are the ones who are given attention, Fred Rogers was a man with an unassuming presence. His personality was not boisterous. He was not the guy you would ask to be your party planner or your comedian of the night. The documentary emphasized the childlike spirit of Fred Rogers. Didn’t Jesus ask that we come to Him like little children?

Fred Rogers’ calm spirit allowed him to impact people without the hype and sensationalism that the generation demands. As he was drawing near the end of his life, he was beginning to view himself as obsolete. Was he really obsolete, or has this generation become so shallow that they do not see the value of every person?

I’m afraid the answer is the latter. People with handicaps are mocked. People who look or act differently are now the recipients of hatred (which is nothing new but has taken on different forms). The person who is deformed at birth still bears God’s image. The person with mental illness is not a second class citizen.

So, who can make a difference? Who can God use? God can use whomever He chooses, but I Corinthians 1 states that He chooses “not many might and not many noble…the weak things of the world.” You may have been told all your life that you will amount to nothing. I have a word for you – You were created with a God-given purpose; it is up to you to use it. Will you seek it and do it?

Death – A Uniting Factor?

A very tragic death occurred in our area on Wednesday. I knew the young man and worked closely with many members of the family in the church. I observed something as word got out – Death, in this case, was a unifying factor. Allow me to explain.

Many who attended this church have left in the last few years, but the bond they had to this young man was repeated numerous times in Facebook posts. Although these believers are now in various locations of worship, the “tie that binds” is still very present especially when one hurts.

Today, many are grieving with this family. I asked the question, “How would I feel if this happened to my son?” I began to do what Scripture says and weep with those who weep.

There is something about death that can unite people. Our attention was captured when this happened to a 19-year old who had a whole life ahead of him. I’m sure that many of his peers are facing the brevity of life sooner than they would like while mourning the absence of someone with whom they grew up.

Death can also divide. I have seen the ugly side come out of people when a loved one dies. People fight over money and property while throwing human decency out the window.

A family I know is mourning today while many are surrounding them with love and prayers. Don’t wait until someone’s death to unite. Do so while you still have time. We never know when our last chance to show love will be.