Friday, September 30, 2011

A Boy and His Dog: Graduation Day

Well, scooter went back home yesterday afternoon. He learned all of the basic commands and now it is time for him to be able to do them and add to them in his regular environment. He was able to complete and follow all of the tasks and commands as I would give them, so my job is done. His dad thought a week would not be long enough. Turns out, 5 days did the trick.
Now the hard part begins.
Scooter is educated now and knows what to do. Now when he is back in his environment with so many other distractions around him, the questions is: Can he do it there too? To that I say yes, if his family will make him do what he has learned so that there is no break in his obedience or a going back to his old ways.
Now, how about you? You go to the week long or weekend conferences and walk out of there knowing that you can accomplish everything that you just learned by listening to the speakers. Or it is a sunday where the pastor was so passionate about the series that he was wrapping up that you know you can put these last weeks of learning a new living for Christ to good use.
Then Monday hits. Kids don't want to get out of bed. Work has already started calling you before you leave the house. Or if you're a stay at home parent, the laundry and mess from the weekend has piled up so until it is discouraging to even think about it. So you bury yourself in daily rituals forgetting the new ones that you were supposed to be adding/changing.
Then Tuesday hits. Things are worse, and errands are needed. Wednesday you think about what you've learned, but then decide you'll go to prayer meeting/small group and that will count for you trying to do the right thing.
Thursday you wake up and commit to starting your new life today, then friends call and you go out to lunch and you're tired when you get home so you lay down on the couch and take a nap.
Friday is family night and you'll be gone all evening doing family stuff.
Saturday is grass cutting, gardening, sports.
Sunday: When the pastor asks how everyone did last week with their new knowledge, a pang of guilt hits, and you go home berating yourself and downing youself to the point that you never really try again.
Start out now with what you know. If it's been awhile since you were taught, that's okay. While you're sitting here drinking your coffee and reading blogs, put it down/up and go read your bible. Don't know where to start. Try Genesis 1:1 and go from there. If you still have any course material from the seminar, pick it up and reread it. Pray over it. Then start out doing what you were supposed to be doing all along.
God is there to lead you and He has been there all along. Problem is, you may have thought you were ready but you really weren't.
As Michael Jackson once said, "Make that change." (too bad he didn't live up to his own words)
It is only too late to change your life when you're dead. While you're alive and breathing, do something about it.
Thank you for visiting this and come back again real soon! May God bless.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Boy and His Dog: Days Three and Four

Scooter tried to finally pull what I expected him to pull. He took a day to resist almost everything that we worked on. It was as though he had his own agenda and he didn't want to follow mine.
Sound familiar anyone? Either with you and God or you and your children?
We tried working on sitting and staying for long periods, rather than one minute. We tried working with the leash and him not pulling. He stayed in the cage more than he stayed out of it on Tuesday.
Now Wednesday rolls around. My wife is off work on Wednesdays and with another distraction at home, I figured this would be even worse. SURPRISE!
I finally broke him from pulling the leash. He now walks at my side and the gentlest tug will bring him in my direction. He can actually lay at my feet and even when "grandma" comes around, he will still continue to be still. One more try at the leash last night confirmed that he is indeed leash trained now.
How many of us try to do things our own way? How many of us have our own agendas, and then we wonder why we can get nothing done? Do we not listen to what God tells us to do? And why?
There used to be an old commercial that went, "Things go better with Coke." Well, can I change that and say, "Things go better with God."
When scooter gave in and quit trying to "have it his way," great progress was made and he got to go alot of places in the yard during an easy stroll.
Why is it that you're so tired? You feel like you never get anything done? You look around you and your accomplishments are few and far between?
Are you feeling a tug from God and especially the Holy Spirit? Do you know you should be doing something, even though you cannot see why or what you will gain from it?
Quit fighting what God's plan is for your life and start following for once. True, you may be a born leader, but if you don't understand how to be led, what makes you think you're going to be able to lead?
Thanks for stopping by today and may God bless you in your life's journey.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Boy and His Dog: Day Two

Well, the training is actually working. Scooter is alot calmer now and is able to listen to commands such as "stop", "come" and "no" when he is off the leash, and he will return when called. He is not used to being off the leash when he is outside because at his house there is no fence and he would usually run wild. Our backyard is fenced, so he is somewhat contained.
One of the biggest things to work on now is when he is on the leash, he wants to pull in his direction, and he doesn't want to follow mine. Today we will probably work on this skill mostly, as he is a rather large dog and his force can be something to reckon with.
So I want you to think about this for your day as you go through your routines of life:
Are you like scooter? Do you want to pull on the leash and show God where YOU'RE going? Or do you want to stand beside him, confident that he will not let you go, that he will guide you with gentle tugs on the leash and collar?
Like scooter, I think you'll find the second choice a better deal in the end!
Stop back by tomorrow as we follow scooters progress!
May God bless!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Boy and His Dog: Day One

(this week I will be posting about my experience in training our granddog to be better behaved. there may be some nuggets to glean, there may not be. we'll see.)
Well, my granddog arrived yesterday afternoon at our house, accompanied by his dad (our son). The weather wasn't too bad so we spent the major portion of the afternoon on the deck out back of the house. Our three daughters (boxer, chihuahua x 2) were still here, (our son is taking them for the week so that there will be no distractions) so we let them play with our granddog. I figured it wouldn't hurt to get some of his pent up energy expended before we get down to business.
Now, my granddog is a very loving dog, and he loves our boxer. They rip romp up and down the yard and all over the deck (it is almost half the length of the house and 12 feet deep). Then he decides since he is a (unfixed until later this week) male and she is a (fixed) female, he wants to do what comes natural.
Finally I had to take him by my side and rein him in. He is very strong and strong willed, and I had to keep a tight hold on him to get him to stay beside me. For about an hour, he tried to balk at any chance that he got at having to obey me.
But by the end of the afternoon, he had started to relent and he would lay at my side without me holding on to him, even when the boxer walked up to him. He even was able to obey a couple of rules that I have set forth for our daughters in the house, such as staying out of the kitchen while I cook and we eat.
So I think there is hope for him yet.
Are we like my granddog (scooter) at times? Do our natural instincts to sin kick in and sometimes God has to rein us in and hold us back from participating in consequences that are detrimental to our safety and well being?
We are born into sin because of the curse of Adam and Eve (Read Genesis if you're unfamiliar with the story). So it is our nature to sin. But just like scoot, we have someone who will love us, rein us in, and guide and teach us (through life lessons and His word) how we are to act, respond to, and live our lives.
I thank God everyday for Him. I would be nothing without Him and I know it.
Do you know Him? Do you know the person who can keep you from going down a wrong path and ruining your life and maybe the lives of others, not to mention your eternal life? If you don't, please contact me (see profile) and I'll be glad to talk to you. I have already had many opportunities through email to share Christ with others around the world, and I will gladly share it with you.
May God bless you in your life's journey,

Friday, September 23, 2011

A boy and his (grand)dog

When you get our age and the kids are grown and gone, you sometimes tend to substitute. Well, enter the pets, 2 chihuahua's and a boxer. As if that isn't enough, one son has a huge dog (can't remember the breed, but HUGE, sweet and gentle) and the other has two dogs (beagle/chihuahua mix) and a black lab, maybe collie, maybe ... well ... he's definitely mixed (up!) lol
All of the dogs do pretty well. Our 2 chihuahua's were pretty wild when we married, and I took the time to really teach and train them. Now I don't even have to say a word. I can look at them and they know what to do.
Well ... our granddog ... he is a different story. Probably in part it is because he's still a puppy (9 months old) and maybe it is his mix of breeds causing his uproar, but he will not listen to any commands and does what he wants to. But most any dog is still trainable (I hope), even though they are young.
So next Sunday, we're going to trade dogs. Our three for the problem (grand)child. They want me to straighten him out, and they have given me one week to do it in. Oh boy. I don't know how much success I'll have with him, but let's just say it's going to be an interesting 7 days.
In thinking about what I am going to do for punishments and rewards (no, I don't abuse animals, but I strongly get their attention, if I did, would they send me their dog for a week?) I thought about how we want the same thing out of God.
We want the problem children in church to be whipped into shape by the next Sunday, and we expect God to pull it off. Now granted, He can perform miracles. He's done plenty of them already around here. But just how much success do you think He will have if the participant isn't especially willing? Just because you want that committee member/elder/teacher/bully to start listening to God and behaving themselves, doesn't mean that it will happen overnight. They have to be willing to start to change on their own.
Now with Scooter the granddog, he will hopefully be given the initiative through the rewards program that he will learn next week. But with people, it isn't that easy. We have to educate them that what they are doing is even wrong. Pray for guidance first from God. Go to them. Talk to them. Try to show them how their actions are harming the work of the Lord. But sometimes you have to pray "Lord, if you don't move them, move me." Some people are unreachable. It is sad to say. And sometimes it is someone else who can reach them down the line. But if they are hurting your spirit and preventing you from serving, then sometimes you need to let God move you.
So anyway, it will be interesting to see if scooter gets "moved" or not. For his sake, I hope so. Our son loves him so much, but with his refusal/inability (not sure yet) to act upon a command from his owners, something has to be done.
So until next time, may God bless, and when God gives you a command, listen, don't make Him school you!  :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

El Nino, La Nina, The Santa Maria and the Pinta Too!

I use on a regular basis to keep up with upcoming conditions for the week. I like to work outside, and I can plan my inside and outside activities by what they predict for the upcoming forecasts (usually).
So today i noticed that they are predicting the next 3 months of weather patterns on the website. Cold for us, a possible repeat of last fall/winter (snow on Christmas Day again?) because of some ocean patterns in the pacific. I'm not complaining one bit if they are right. Anything above 70 is getting warm to me. I can always put clothes on, but nobody wants me nekkid in the summertime in this heat!
So they are going to use patterns from previous years to predict the upcoming months when it comes to heat/cold, rain/drought, snow/(hot christmas?!?). I somehow do not think that just because a pattern has done something in the past, that it will do it again.
So, have you ever realized that we do people the same way? If someone has done something either good or bad in their past, most people will assume (you know what they say about that word) that they will do it again. And they will pass it down to their gene pool. Trash begets (google it) Trash, Rich begets Rich (so, so true, unless they spend all of daddy's money first), Criminal begets Criminal and Christian begets Christian (news flash, God Ain't Never Had a Grandchild)!!!
People can change. People don't have to pass along their wrongdoings and the way of life that goes with it. That is what finding a "new life in Christ" is all about. That is salvation. You're being saved from terrible consequences that will happen if you don't change your ways, and do it quickly. Most unchurched people have a hard time grasping that concept. And it is a hard one to teach. Some people think it can be broadcast on a church sign or a billboard and everyone will fall down in front of it and repent. WRONG!
People need someone to explain to them. People need someone who will go door to door and visit. Get to know the folks in the area and let them get to know him/her. Then the opportunities to share Christ with others will arise and God's work can be accomplished.
Then forecasts such as: "Well, He is Senior's kid, and as sorry as that louse is, I guess he will be too." will be stopped in their tracks. There are many others but this is one that happens too often.
Let's stop all of this forecasting. Forget the persons past. Let's make a different path for their future. Then when we stand before God at His throne, we will hear Him say, "Well, done my good and faithful servant."
May God bless and come back to visit again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are you standing on Holy or holey ground?

This previous weekend we went to the southwest mountains of Virginia and while there, we drove down to the Banner Elk and Boone North Carolina communities to look around. (we love to shop consignment stores and there are lots of them in the area.)
While we were in the area, we stopped at a place that rents cabins by the day or week to look at their facilities for a possible stay at a later date with the family. The people who own the facilities are good Christian people, which you could even tell by their website. One of the owners met us on the property and showed us around the cabins and all of the amenities and we talked quite a bit as we walked about.
The more we talked, the more it was evident that a godly man and woman who constantly sought the Lord were owners here. That made us both happy, as too many times people are scared to even acknowledge to a stranger that they are a Christian. And when I know of a Christian business in an area that I am in, I will try to give them my business.
Anyway, she told us about a place that we should visit nearby that she had visited and prayed while parked on the property. It was a storage facility. You know, the kind where the buildings are metal, long and really non distinct because every other facility looks the same as they do. Not exactly what you would perceive as hallowed ground.
When we left her place, we stopped at the facility. When we pulled onto the parking area in front of the metal buildings, you could feel something different. A calming came over me. A peace settled in, and at once I knew this place was different.
We sat in the car for a few moments and took it all in. Big metal buildings, orange roll up doors and gravel scattered around for parking and driving between the buildings. Then we saw it. The cross. It stood to the side of the buildings at the base of a hill that leads up to the office. The base of the cross is surrounded by stone and a crown of thorns sits at the top where the horizontal and vertical beams of the cross meet. There is a waterfall to the right of it that keeps a soothing sound flowing toward you and blocks some of the distraction of the road for the visitor.
We got out of the vehicle and walked up to the base of the cross, hand in hand, and stood there for a few minutes, just staring at the site before us. Two birds appeared from nowhere, squawking as they neared our spot, circled the cross where we stood and then quitely flew away in the distance, not to be seen again. All we could do was bow our heads and pray. We had been burdened by something, and we left it there at the cross. Neither one of us spoke as we made our way back to our vehicle. We just let God speak to us.
Some people think you can only worship in a church building or on the grounds of such a facility. To them, I say go and stand there on this property for 5 minutes and then decide if you've been on Holy or holey ground.
When you dedicate your life, your family and your property to God, something just feels different about you and your surroundings. Others will sense it too. God can use anything if we only give it to Him first.
It is obvious that this property has been given to God. It is obvious to anyone who will take a few minutes and pull off of the road onto this place, that you are on Holy ground.
So my questions to you are: have you given your all to God? have you handed up your family, friends, possessions to God for safekeeping? have you dedicated yourself and all that you have to God? is your place of business that you own and/or home Holy or holey ground? for that matter, is your church Holy or holey ground? just because it is a church, doesn't mean it is christian or godly!
Take some time and examine all that is around you. Do you need to dedicate your life, your work, your family, your possessions or your church to God? Or did you at one time, but somehow the world has crept back in? Do you feel a difference where you are? Are you making a difference where you are?
If not, start now. Gather your family and friends and start to pray. Not a 5 second prayer. But a blood, sweat and tears prayer. The kind where you know you have touched Heaven. Show God that you're serious and that He isn't some afterthought.
Then see what kind of blessings are poured out upon you. God is just like a father (or sadly for some, what a father should be) who loves to be talked to, given thanks and encouragement, who will then heap the same back upon His family, His children as He watches them grow in knowledge and strength.
Thank you for stopping by, and may God bless you as you continually strive to live for Him.

ps ... if you would like to visit the storage facility/Holy ground, the address is:

2535 Tynecastle Highway (Hwy 184), Banner Elk, NC 28604

The Christian cabin facility where we visited in Banner Elk, NC:

Cornerstone Cabins

Friday, September 16, 2011

I had a dream ...

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that my father left me at a young age. I never really think about him, and I definitely don't dream about him. EVER. He just wasn't a part of my life.
Until last night.
My dream:
I was in a large car, possibly a cadillac sedan deville, with my father. We were in the nearest town to where I grew up, and we were downtown on the square. I was tired and sleepy, and he just wanted to go and do things, and I wanted to lay down on the big seats and sleep. Eventually we left without me getting any sleep and the next thing I know we're on foot walking on a dirt path that goes up a ridge. Someone else is with us, I do not know who, but they appear to be about my age (young man, 20's). In the pathway I see them step over something and continue on and as I come upon it, I find a box of albums (vinyl, for you younger people) with bands that I loved in my younger years (Boston, Led Zep, Aerosmith) and I almost reached down to take it, but something told me it was a trap, leave it alone.
We walked on and soon they were way ahead of me and I was approaching the side of the bridge where the bypass crosses the road into town. They are walking towards the direction of my hometown, and all of a sudden, a group of young men come out of the shadows. Dad and the other guy start to run, but I am cutoff from them. The hoodlum looking critters start advancing on me and one has a tubular object that is now pointing my direction. I try to retreat, but I am unable to go back.
Suddenly, a little girl (maybe 4 or 5 yrs old) rushes my direction and as she reaches me, the guy with the tube squirts a flammable liquid on us both and a lighter or match (happened so quick I couldn't tell) was thrown our way and we instantly went up in flames.
I remember the heat of the fire, and the screams of the kid, and then I woke up.
Talk about weird. Now that is weird.
Joseph, Gideon and Daniel are just a few that dealt with dreams and their interpretations.
I wish I had the same option available as was given to the people who come in contact with each of these listed above.
Until then, this dream and it's realism at the time will haunt me.
Is there anyone else who ever has a really strange dream that they wish could be interpreted for them?
I eagerly await your comments!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do you misuse scripture?

When serving as a pastor in a church, your members often question you on different things that are found in the bible. Usually they have some valid questions, other times they are simply clueless on easier issues. But I have found that my wife can ask questions that would only come from a seminary professor. The deep thinking that this woman has is incredible.
Too many people in too many churches (pastors included) read the bible from their favorite translation and take it literally. They preach that the words found on the pages are from "God's Holy Word."
Yes, that they are. But not everything can be read aloud and made law today. This is why too many churches get too far away from the real gospel and too perilously close to what the Pharisees and Sadduccees were several millinia ago.
To read the bible means to get into where the readers mind was at during the period of the writing. We have to understand what was going on at the time the words were given, especially in the letters to the churches or apostles that are found in the New Testament.
While going through some of the processes for pastoral search committees from different churches, I have been appalled at the number of misused scriptures that are being clung to, and even included in their statement of faith.
One church in general believes that speaking in tongues only occured in the book of Acts, and that the power of healing was only given to the disciples. Me and you cannot lay hands on someone and have them be healed. That person can ask God for healing, and he may do it on a whim, but even God keeps it to a sparse number. They use 1 Cor. 14 to say that women are not allowed to teach/preach in the churches. No one who is divorced may serve as a pastor, you can only divorce for adultery (they forgot to read the old testament and many other writings from that period on that one).
I highly recommend reading this for clarification on this subject: A Biblical Scholar's Writings on Divorce/Remarriage
Would you believe this is a Baptist church? Now before you start throwing your pencils/pens at the monitors before you, I'm not saying this is the belief of all Baptists (I happen to know others who have been taught by learned scholars), but just because the church has an accepted name on the door doesn't mean that what is taught inside is scriptural.
Just like the part about the women. There was a problem with the women in the church at Corinth who were causing a stir and trying to inject their own philosophies into what was going on. They had not ever been allowed in a place where the scriptures were taught, and Paul is simply saying, shut up, sit down, listen and learn. Women today have been in churches for centuries, and they are learned, some are even schooled in bible colleges or seminaries. So this line doesn't apply today. We have to find out what was going on behind the scenes, the events that were taking place, then we can understand the writings.
We have to remember. Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians and others were written to specific churches to address problems that were going on within the churches and what was needed to rectify the situation.
Just like in 1 Tim., polygamy was still very prevalent. It really isn't today, but it is still found in some religions/societies. In order that a man may have his life in order, Paul says a deacon (or leader) should only have one wife and his kids should not be unruly. In other words, no distractions.
You know from your experiences if you've ever been married and had kids, life can be rather hard. Now add other women that have to be cared for, and most likely other children, and your time will not be available to serve the church as you are being called.
People, we need to quit making the bible say what we want. We have to study more than just the words in the bible. The internet has plenty of information available, most of it for free. There are some bible courses available online from accredited schools where you can study what the word of God really says if you are not able to go to a university/seminary.
The Old Testament is a history lesson, with plenty of times where God spoke to the people or person directly and we can gleen much information about how we're supposed to live our lives. It is a great history lesson on what not to do too! But you can't do everything in the Old Testament, saying that God is talking to you. Your name may match the person that is in the verses, but it doesn't mean all the Davids in the world should slay the giants. (It was what was needed at the time for the safety of Israel.)
The four Gospels, Matthew/Mark/Luke/John reveal Jesus's teachings on many subjects (though you had better go back and understand where the questions were coming from, especially from the Pharisees, if you want to understand the answer that Jesus gave, or many times it will seem contradictory.) The letters to the churches and apostles are just that. Letters that addressed problems. We can use these letters to be able to have our churches be the true houses of worship that they were meant to be. But we have to understand first why they were written, the time period in which they were written and the applicable laws of the land in order to be able to know what to apply to our modern day lives and churches. Lastly, the book of Revelations is a wonderful look at the end times. Jesus reminds us that no one knows when He will return again. (even He doesn't, he has to wait on His Father to tell Him to come) But to know what will transpire is awesome to study. So the 66 books/letters that were decided upon centuries ago that would make up the bible are a great teaching tool to educate us. We just have to understand and be willing to be taught what the words truly mean.
Thank you for stopping by and may God bless you in your daily lives. I hope you will take this to heart and start to seriously study God's word. Don't just read it. Dig in, find out and discern the real meaning and truth behind the scriptures. And go to a church where you can learn the truth, not just the words. Your life will be blessed for it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Using the Unthinkable

Ministering to others in our current times is so much different than what it was just a decade ago. Facebook and Twitter helps everyone keep up with our every thought that we post, the internet is full of christian sites that either supply materials or make for great inspirational reading.
I personally love Biblegateway as you can pull up any verse in many of the translations. Since going to bifocals, I find it harder to read and concentrate on my printed bible, so I do most of my bible studying on sites such as Biblegateway where I can make the print any size that I want it to be on my browser.
I remember growing up, mom was not afraid to try anything new. I think she got that from her own mom, who was known for making things from scratch using items that most people wouldn't think of, such as her Vanilla Wafer Cake. Yep, you read that right. No flour, baking soda or any of the other dry products we use as a base for things. Vanilla Wafers, crushed and mixed with the rest of the ingredients gave the cake it's body. Yum Yum.
When we got our first car, the drivers floorboard was rusted out. Mom and her dad mounted a cookie sheet to keep her feet in the car. Not an ordinary fix, but it worked.
Many people balk at using unusual things for ministry. I'm sure that no one 20 years ago imagined using a computer for anything church related, other than bookkeeping maybe, but just look at how many churches have websites now. And for good reason too. Did you know that in a recent survey, over 60% of people who answered said that they always check for the website before ever setting foot in the door of a church. This provides a great avenue to put your best foot forward churches. Post your ministries, pictures and short bio's of the staff, pictures of outings and events and one other thing that most don't do. Post your beliefs. "Well, we are a bible believing church." This simply doesn't cut it. Post your "Statement of Faith" and your "Bylaws" so that people can know what they are getting involved in. If your budget allows, post either a video or mp3 of at least the sermons each week, but it would be even better to have the entire service, so that others can know what transpires during your worship time.
A great resource for ideas that you probably haven't thought about is 94 Servant Evangelism Ideas for your Church in which Steve gives different ideas and uses for common ordinary things that can spread the gospel and help with building your church at the same time.
Cute sayings on church signs, Billboards with " _ God" do not move people anymore. Such much is thrown at everyone from so many directions, and everything in the media seems the same to many people now. We have to be willing to go further, break the bonds of "well, we've always done it this way" and start reaching out to the community.
My favorite thing that VERY FEW churches ever do is to have church outside. Bring the folding chairs, invite people to bring their lawn chairs, set up a portable sound system under a tent (funeral homes are great places to get these from) and have church. Don't do anything different than you would if you were inside. Let the world on the outside see what happens on the inside without ever having to step foot inside your church. Get their interest, peak their curiousity, and show them that you're not like the other hypocrits down the road, you really do worship, and you're real when you do it.
Then you can know that you are reaching the community. Have free coffee and tea/lemonade for the people who show up, this gives your servers time to greet the new faces and thank them for being there.
Step out of your comfort zone. Step out of the box, and have a vanilla wafer cake for once!
May God bless you for visiting this blog, and have a blessed day!
ps.... the recipe, just in case you're curious ....

1 box of Vanilla Wafers, crushed (name brand works better, but store brand can be used)
6 eggs, room temperature, then whipped
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter (works better than margarine, though margarine can be used)
1 cup pecans
1 cup coconut (not frozen)

Grease a Bundt Pan really well
Preheat to 300 degrees F
Cream sugar and wafers
Add wafers and eggs until blended well.
Fold in coconut and nuts.
Pour in pan and bake for 90 minutes.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

To Sheri, With Love

Today I want to do something just a little bit different. I want to make this blog about someone who next to God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit means everything to me.
Her name is Sheri.
She is my wife.
Being in the ministry is not an easy thing to do. And after having taken a break to write a book and do a few other projects, I am now looking to re-enter the ministry full time. And it has at times been a bit scary and very uncertain. Pastoral employment doesn't work the same way as a regular job as committees review your resume, often wanting to visit your church and hear you preach if you currently have a congregation or watch a DVD (or youtube/godtube) of you giving a previous sermon. There are multiple steps to the process and it will usually take a church 6 months to a year to find another pastor that they can "mostly all" agree on.
In the meantime there are a lot of highs and lows for the pastor seeking to serve.
And it helps to have someone who will stand beside you and listen to your frustrations, give you comforting words and once again push you toward your goal. It also helps if she is a godly woman who is attentive to the Holy Spirit and knows when He has spoken.
Much is the case with my wife. Until I am called to a church full time, I attend a local church here in Easley, SC called Total Praise Worship Center where I currently play the bass guitar in the praise band. My pastor that serves this congregation, Jeff Doughty, is a spirit-filled man who is passionate and a God seeker! He is the kind of preacher who listens to what God wants him to say, and he says it.
Many times the Holy Spirit has used him for confirmation on issues that I have been struggling with or questioning God about, although Jeff may not have realized that the words were being given to me specifically. Last night was no different.
I knew that God was talking to me with many things that were specifically said, and they are still inline with other prophesies and words that God has given through Jeff in the past. When I got home from church, I could feel it still pouring on me, and I asked my wife if it was just my imagination or did she hear the same thing. Her words were, "I closed my eyes and as he spoke I could feel the light beams zooming from him to you." (I can only imagine the sight with lightsabers being waved around or streams of light passing by my window as I look out from the starship into the universe. Okay, so I'm a trekkie!)
Other times we have left the church, and before we could hardly get home, she would be asking "What did He say? I know He said something. What did He say?" (talking about God.) I would tell her and she would also have a confirmation many times that she was given.
Other times she has come to me with a word that God give her that I needed to hear. Jeff and Sheri (no, not the Easter's, although they are an awesome Southern Gospel singing group) have never been off track with anything that they have said. Each part has come to pass, and it is comforting to me to know I have surrounded myself with godly people.
Other times I have had the Holy Spirit tell me to do something, and all I had to do was to tell her what had to be done. No questions. She always knows where it came from, even if it is as silly to some as holding up a checkbook during prayer time.
Now, I'm not saying my wife is perfect. She is human and she has her downfalls. But for a woman that I would want beside me charging through the gates of Hell to take back the loved ones that were lost, I can't think of a better person to be beside me.
Because of the many years spent in ministry and some events that took place during this time, I had actually considered not returning to pastoring. But once a pastor, always a pastor. On our first date, she told me within the first couple of hours (it lasted 8 hours) that I would be a pastor again. She has said repeatedly that she knew it for certain back then, and she still does now. And I believe her. Because of her, I am ready to dive back in and do what I love best. Leading a church to victory in Jesus and in the community.
So, for those who are seeking a wife or husband. First, make sure that you are in-tune with God. If you can't hear Him, how will you know when He tells you something. Second, when it comes to searching for a mate, find a godly one. Not just a church go-er. My first wife was that, and come to find out, the whole time we were married, she wasn't saved, though she did lead me to think so at times. Find someone who is passionate about God. Someone who prays daily, not only reads their bible, but studies it. Find someone who can give you confirmation of things from God and through their life you will see an affirmation of their faith.
And for those who say you don't need to attend church regularly, if you don't surround yourself with godly people to whom you can turn to for advice and a word from God, where are you going to get it? I have no problem with TV evangelists and preachers, but they can't minister to you as easily as when you are in their midst. To have someone whom is local, that you can observe and learn what kind of a person that they are so that you can trust in their teaching is something that you won't gain from a TV or DVD.
I've said it before in this blog and I'll say it again, find a Christian church (not all the churches with the word Christian in their name really are!) where the word is spoken, prophesies are given (no, it doesn't have to be all gnashing, thrashing and wailing to be told something by God) and you can rest assured that your path will be guided as God would have it to be.
Then sit back and watch what God would have for you. Christian life is never easy, but it is the most rewarding if we give it our all.
Thank you Sheri for giving it your all.
Both to God and to me.
'Til next time, God bless and stay safe!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Holy Ghost Don't Need No Re-post

I am a somewhat fan of social media. Blogs and Facebook are a great way to express yourself and keep up with what is going on in people's lives. I enjoy reading about their latest exploits and seeing the pictures of the family and kids having fun, whether indoors or at parties. It's nice to know that in this chaotic world we live in, with bad news at every turn, life really does go on still, without chicken little screaming in our living rooms on our 50 inchers every night at 6.
But the one thing that has always puzzled me is: Why do so many put things on their facebook page, then knock you down if you don't repost it? For example: (from a facebook friend) (copied and pasted)
Hmmm... Number 1: They guarantee no one will repost it. Okay, I didn't. That way I did my part to assure them of their guarantee.  Number 2: This supposed Christian is trying to prove to a friend that someone is always listening. Well, the posts from this person get even worse quite often.
This is not to knock down this person, but rather I want to talk about how we communicate to others.
I did my part on number one.
Now for number two. (hmmm potty break anyone?!!? LOL)
I do believe that someone is listening to all that I say, and He is watching all that I do.
David writes this in Psalm 18:5-7
"A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence— a private audience!"
So I know that God hears me. And what is even better is the fact that He will act upon what He hears. When I pray, it tends to be more of a rap (no hip hoppers) session. I talk to Him. He knows my every thought (just like mom always knew what I was thinking somehow) but mom and God still wanted to have me talk to them. Too boring if conversation is just a one way street. I talk, He listens, He talks, I listen.
Many times when I ask something of God, I do get a direct response.
Okay Rev, so you're running around hearing voices? Only when I turn my hearing aid up! lolol  No, when God speaks to you, you just know. There is no doubt that it was Him. But when I am stupid and ask Him to prove it, He will do that too.
I'm going through something right now that only me and my wife know about. It has burdened me down greatly, almost to the point of stopping me from being able to concentrate on anything else (which is why the blog has been so sparse the last few weeks ... sorry, I apologize! I will do better from now on.)
So I told God, "God, I need to hear it from you in a way that I know for sure that it was only you."
Anyway, a woman in our church stood up and gave a prophesy and a word from God this past Sunday at our church service. She didn't speak in unknown tongues, prophesy is given in a native tongue also. (see Ouch! You're Standing on my Foot which is an earlier blog that I talk some about prophesy. There are plenty others also in my earlier blogs.)
So anyway, I love this woman to death. She is very outspoken, and you never know what is going to come flying out of her mouth. But by gosh, she speaks her mind, no matter where her mind may be! So she gave this word Sunday during our P &W time, while standing in her place that she stands/sits every Sunday, and it was as though God said, "Alright, in front of every one of these people, I'm going to call you on what you want. Here are my thoughts, and what I need and don't need you to do. I have it in control, in my time and I don't need you to keep mucking it up with your actions." Everything I had asked of Him, He answered in the words that flowed from her mouth.
SO you ask, how do you know it was from God? Did her voice change? Did the words "bowl you over?"
No, but they came from someone who did not have a clue as to what I had asked of God (even my wife was not in the house during the prayer time, and the dogs can't talk (yet ... although one of them keeps trying). So no one could have told her, except God.
He filled her mouth with words that I needed to hear. And I listened. And I acted upon. I made the last step that I needed to do in order to be in line with God and His wishes.
SO, God, it is yours now. I give it up to you.
One of my favorite bible passages I now take to my heart and will hold dear until (and even after) the Lord reveals the plan He has in store for me:
Isaiah 40: 27-31 NIV 1984

 27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

I hope you come back and visit again soon. Don't forget. If you would like to have me visit your church or group and talk more about Upside Down Christianity, please visit my profile page where you can contact me by email. Also, please join as a follower if you haven't already. Blog updates will then be easier to keep up to date with for you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who Hit Me With What?

Okay, so maybe no one hit me Wednesday. But it sure felt like it. Getting older means more aches and pains, and more reasons not to do so much work. lol j/k
Woke up Wednesday morning and my back was screaming with pain. Legs were cramping and walking was made difficult. Okay, so I'm 50 now. The old gray non-mare isn't what he used to be. Spent the day Tuesday moving, stacking, lifting items in the garage and now it had come back to haunt me. The work needed to be done, and yes, there is still plenty more that needs to be taken care of also, maybe at a slower pace next time. I am realizing that I'm not a spring chicken anymore.
Just like my back pain from the exertion that was put forth the previous day, have you ever realized that our actions are the same way? What we do today often brings repurcussions in the following days. Good brings good, and bad usually brings bad.
I was watching the news the other day and there was a guy who robbed a man and the man shot and killed the robber. The law enforcement said that no charges will be filed as the man felt threatened for his life.
Yet the family made a statement about how the robber was a good man and a good father. (he leaves behind a very young daughter). It made me wonder, was this the first time that he did this, maybe out of desperation? Or was he a repeat offender and no one wants to admit it?
Either way, he made a bad choice. Now, not only is his daughter going to have to grow up without a father, but his reputation will always follow her, as she will be known as "the girl whose father was gunned down when he robbed someone." Our choices today often overshadow the outcomes of tomorrow. (She may turn out to be a fantastic kid, but look at the dark shadow that his actions put over her life.)
Our thoughts need to be considered before we react to them. Otherwise, the last gift we give to our children could be (1) a terrible memory and (2) an awful association that they cannot shake for years to come.
Parents, stop and think about your actions. Do you need to bring shame to your family? Is that item worth dying for? Does your family need you more than you need that which isn't yours to take?
I know people get desperate, but too many people are dying senselessly in copper theft electrocution, robberies, and so on. If you need help, be a man (or woman) and ask for it. Sober up, Come down from that drug induced high, and start to be the parent that your children need.
Don't have kids? You still have a family. Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mom, dad. These are people who will be shamed by your ignorant actions. Think about your actions before everyone knows about the consequences. And remember, just because no other human saw you do it, God did. And when you steal from Him, I would be afraid of the wrath to come.
May God bless you and come visit once again.