Latest Blog Recommendations

So many of you shared appreciation for the last group of blog recommendations. I promised to recommend more, so here is the fulfillment of my promise.

  1. Taldimblogging – Vincent Artale was the first blogger I remember reblogging any of my posts. He is well known for sharing many of our writings, and we are so appreciative to him. He also writes his own material that gives you something to chew on.
  2. Unlearning – Lauren Fortenberry is a college professor and writes about a wide array of subjects. I connected because when I first read her blog, she was teaching at a university not far from where I ministered for 6 years. I was able to talk about South Georgia through comments and continue to read her posts.
  3. CHRISTian poetry – I love reading Deborah Ann’s poetry. My grandmother was a poet, and the encouraging content takes me back. It is always a blessing.
  4. Justified and Redeemed – Christina Lee is a young blogger whose love for Christ is evident. I would highly encourage you to follow her blog and encourage her as I know God will use her to encourage you.
  5. Living Faith – This is the ministry of Clarence Dalrymple, an evangelist who served alongside the late Pastor John Osteen in the early days of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. Such an encouraging brother in Christ!
  6. Evad Mac – This new blogger from Australia and I have developed a good camaraderie on WordPress. I highly recommend his blog.
  7. Ellie – This precious pastor’s Wife is a biblical nutritionist and a blessing. This lady genuinely cares about her audience.
  8. paytej – This is a pastor who is a church planter like myself. I encourage you to follow his blog and pray for his ministry.
  9. Life with an illness – Mackenzie is a new blogger who battles chronic illness and has so much compassion. If you battle chronic illness, I know it will help you to read from someone who understands.
  10. Squid’s Cup of Tea – Sydney is a Messianic homeschooler who is wise beyond her years.

I hope you enjoy these bloggers as much as I do.

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Rebuilding the Walls of Your Life (Part 1)

This is the beginning of a series of posts from the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was appointed the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. However, I would like to personalize this about principles for rebuilding the walls of your life when they have been burned and broken by addiction, divorce, pornography, sexual perversion, or whatever has torn your life apart.

The story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls has many life application points:

  1. You must face your problem (1:3). The people knew the walls needed to be rebuilt.
  2. You must be hit rock bottom and want to do something about it (1:4). Nehemiah wept and mourned for days.
  3. You must seek the Lord through fasting and prayer (1:4-11).
  4. You must recognize that your wrongdoing contributed to the situation (1:6). Nehemiah said, “I and my father’s house have sinned.” He didn’t blame a sexually promiscuous mother or a meth head father. He looked in the mirror and took responsibility for his part.
  5. You must repent (change your ways). Nehemiah 1:9 recognizes the need to return to the Lord and keep His commandments.

The walls of your life may be totally destroyed right now. Rebuilding may not feel like an option. You may be getting the wrong kind of help, whether it be someone giving you pills to drown the reality or a counselor who is enabling you and making you co-dependent by pointing out how you are seemingly a victim of BWS (Broken Wall Syndrome) and need this special counselor who specializes in this unique disorder.

God gives you some clear direction in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is your greatest counselor, so let go of Dr. Maik Sum Do and follow God’s Word. Face your problem. Hit rock bottom. Hate your brokenness so much that you’re willing to do something about it. Pray and fast. Admit your wrongdoing and change your ways. It’s a process not a quick fix. It is the foundation for rebuilding your broken life.

May you be blessed by this story of a man whose walls were rebuilt.

Whacky Church Happenings Inquiry

Do you have a question about something you have seen happen in a church service or maybe have heard about something and you are wondering if it is biblical? I want to know your questions, so please email me at matthewwinters1980@gmail.com or comment here. Thanks in advance!

Victory Is Yours!

Before you think this is a prosperity message or a message of success for all people, I must state from the beginning that this reality is promised for the Christian. I must also clarify that the victory is defined by God not us. This comes from the statement in I Corinthians 15:57 which says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I saw a Facebook memory of post I shared 2 years ago which said, “We are not fighting for victory but from victory.” God says that He has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. In context, this victory is over spiritual death. Through faith in the finished work of Christ, we will not be eternally separated from God.

This is not a promise of a problem-free life. It is a promise for grace through our trials and an eternity without suffering and trials. You and I can triumph in this life through a perspective of victory. James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Counting it all joy is about perspective. We can have this perspective because the trying of our faith works patience and gives us wisdom if we ask.

Victory begins in the mind. You will still have difficulty in life and have victory at the same time. It’s all about focus. Do what the hymn writer said: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” So when the world is crashing down around you, look unto Jesus who is the Author and Perfecter of your faith (and the Giver of victory).

“Christian” Politics Hurt Me

As a pastor, I would be lying if I said that politics did not exist in churches and Christian organizations. It would have been easy for me to walk away all together, but I had a dream in my heart – a faith community without the political side. We are in month 10 of Overcomers Church, and God has blessed us with a single goal – to honor the Lord Jesus Christ by obeying His command to make disciples. Many of our people were affiliated with churches once upon a time but have since reconnected since Overcomers was founded. I praise God for all He has done in drawing people.

People ask me why no one wants to be a part of the church today. Across the board, the vast majority of these people have been hurt by the politics. They didn’t “look the part”. They sinned. They didn’t act like everyone else. I could go on and on.

I want to assure you that there is a generation rising that wants something real and biblical. Before you start being negative to those who don’t attend worship services every time the doors are open, get to know these people. They are deeper than you realize. Give them a chance. They need a place where they can heal. Christians, make your church that place!

Is Sin the Will of God?

A pastor friend of mine called me today after being asked the question, “Was it God’s will for my 14 year old to get pregnant?” Many people try to blame things like this, abuse of all kinds, and other acts of free will on God. God is clear in Scripture that His will is not for two hormonally-charged teens (or adults) who are unmarried to have sex. However, we understand that pregnancy can result from such actions. It was clearly not God’s will for them to do this, but they exercised their free will and violated God’s commandments. However, this new life that resulted from their choice can still be used by God. This child could become a missionary or discover a cure for an incurable disease.

I addressed this subject from a slightly different angle with my church on Sunday. I chose the abuse angle. Abuse is an abomination to God. God would never tell someone to sexually abuse a child or another human being. Those who have been victims to such acts have testified how God healed their brokenness and helped others through similar circumstances rather than allow it to paralyze them.

Countless wicked and unfair things have happened throughout history. God has repeatedly given beauty for ashes. Romans 8:28 says that God is currently working all things together for good. He is showing people that he can heal those whose life the devil has tried to ravage.

Please do not let someone tell you that it was God’s will for your spouse to cheat on you or for someone to murder your loved one. Sin has tainted this world, but God can still restore. We will never have all the answers, but we serve the One who does.

Engage!

All the single ladies be like “Engage?” Oh yeah! I’m not talking about being engaged to get married. And I’m definitely not talking about engaging in anything outside God’s will. The verb engage means “participate or to become involved in”.

Truth is that we have way too many spectators. I see spectators at work, home, church…they’re everywhere! We need to be participators.

When I began blogging, I quickly discovered that I must engage with others for anyone to read this. I was not really shooting for much of an audience. This was mainly an outlet. Now it is an enjoyable part of my life because of the others who engage in discussion and encourage and enlighten me. When you engage, others benefit. We also benefit, but we often find fulfillment through the community developed through blogging.

If you are a blogger who is reading this, don’t just post and never engage. Comment back. Read the blogs of others. Make the most of the experience for everyone involved. You and others will be glad you did.

Nothing New Under the Sun

I️ have no doubt that some may read my posts and think, “This Guy isn’t very deep!” I have never proclaimed to be, and God Through Scripture would put me in my place if I did.

There is great pressure as a blogger to be original and produce something that no one else is writing. I hate to break it to all my blogging community, but Scripture says “there is nothing new under the sun”. You and I may think we are coming up with something amazing, but it is very likely that someone else has written about it also.

So let’s keep ourselves in check. Although what we write may not be some huge revelation for which we can take credit, God Still uses it. Truth is timeless. Our stories and silly stuff will become less amusing with time. While this reality will not totally deflate our ego, it will place our egos where they need to be. Humbling, huh?

Church Revival and Revitalization

In my years of ministry, I have been in a variety of churches. They were either dying, thriving, or plateaued. It is easy to admit when you are thriving, but no pastor wants to admit he is pastoring a dying or plateaued church. If the pastor is the cause or is unwilling to do the spiritual work to see it move forward, he will not recognize it or find another source of blame.

The tried and untrue remedy I have seen used over and over has been a program or series of programs. I have been told to try this denominational program or revitalization process because “it will work miracles”. Please listen carefully. A program or manmade process is not your answer. You will spin your wheels and become even more discouraged because what worked for the church down the road will not work for you.

What will work? Try obedience to the Bible. Try genuinely living out your faith rather than turning it into a mechanical thing. Try taking leaps of faith. Try being Holy Spirit-led rather than programmed. The Lord is the One who does the work. No amount of human personality or ability will produce lasting results.

Are you discouraged because of the condition of your church? Is conventional wisdom not working? Are you personally stale? Are you as a leader stuck in the same rut spiritually? This is for every church leader whether you preach, lead small groups, lead worship, serve on a hospitality team, or wherever your place of service may be. Revival and revitalization begins with ME and YOU! Do you want a better church? You and I are the church, so let’s begin with ourselves. Michael Jackson was no theologian, but he sang it well when he sang “I’m starting with the man in the mirror”.

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