God At Work Around Me

How many of you went back to work today with the expectation that everyone at your job was going to be down because Thanksgiving is over? Well I did. I was expecting a humdrum day. I got a lot better than what I expected.

Today, I got to hear a few different stories about how God is working in the lives of those in the building where I work. All of these stories have to do with people giving their life to Christ over the weekend. Isn’t God awesome? I was able to rejoice with some people today who have hope.

Did you see God at work around you today? If so, please share in the comments below. We have enough negativity, so let’s light up the Internet with stories of God’s life-changing power!

Just Show Up!

I am someone who likes to have a game plan, especially when it comes to our worship services. I have primarily served churches where I had to submit information to musicians early in the week and have an order of worship to a secretary by Thursday. Not anymore! Overcomers does not function like that. While I plan ahead, pray, and study, things can change if God says otherwise.

This week, I had a song set planned along with a message. I was getting ready to send the song set to the young lady who assists me with the music, and God would not let me do it. I knew this time to not put up a fight. I asked God about the message. God spoke within my spirit and said, “Just show up, and I will show you what to do.” So that’s what I did.

We arrived at 10:00 am to set up for our 11:00 service. I was going through the laptop and came across a song. God confirmed that is how we needed to start. Then, I knew that I needed to share what God was teaching me about the need to pray more and depend on Him. We spent time thanking God for a few different things, prayed, share what God is teaching us, and then I spoke from the book of Acts.

God reminded me how the church in the book of Acts was not scripted. They didn’t have bulletins, worship orders, light shows, song sets, and all the other things to which we feel bound. They lived in authentic community and saw the power of God Before their very eyes. May we be flexible and attentive enough to know what God is saying and do it without hesitation.

When Life Tries to Deflate Your Tire

(The picture above is not our van) For the last week or so, our van has had an issue that we could not put our finger on. Today, we discovered that one of our tires was in desperate need of replacement. I began to think about how that was an inconvenience. I found myself a little upset but chose to get it together.

I want to focus for a moment about inconveniences. First of all, it is a matter of perspective. You and I can choose to look at a situation as an inconvenience or as something that God may be using for a purpose.

Second, it may be God’s way of protecting you from something else. We could have blown the tire out on a back road, but we were safely in my mom’s apartment parking lot when we discovered it. A kind friend helped my wife out while I took our baby home.

Third, these “inconveniences” often give us opportunities to bless someone. I cannot tell you how many times I was “inconvenienced”, only to discover that God used it as an opportunity to encounter someone who needed encouragement while at times I was the recipient of the encouragement.

Next time your car decides to malfunction or your baby vomits on your new outfit, slow down and see the bigger picture. And don’t let life deflate your tires!

Giving the Devil Too Much Credit

I don’t have to look very far to find people who are moaning about being victims to the devil. They say things like “the devil made me do it” or “the devil won’t leave me alone”. Many of us walk around like the devil is all-powerful and all-knowing. NEWS FLASH: the devil is not any of those things. In fact, the devil has to have God’s permission to do anything (see Job chapter 1). God has a leash on the devil!!!

So instead of giving the devil an ego trip and being easy prey, remember this…

1 Thessalonians 5:22

One of the best posts about hypocrisy I have ever read.

See, there's this thing called biology...

1 Thessalonians 5:22 is my nemesis, something I’ve been harmed by or rather harmed by the poor interpretation and misunderstanding of it. I call it the “keeping up appearances passage,” the “how to wear a mask passage,” the “how to be total hypocrite passage.” In the KJV it goes like this, Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

No need to abstain from the evil itself, just from the appearance of it?

The ESV gives a much better translation, Abstain from every form of evil.” Placed in context with the entire passage it is actually speaking more about discernment as in, “…but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.”

It seems almost silly to write about such a thing, as if to say nobody could possibly believe the bible cares nothing about your heart, but only the appearance of your…

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Black Friday

While many of you were doing this…

I decided to spend my day a little differently. My wife and I both despise shopping, and neither of us will wait in lines for things we can’t afford in order to save money (especially when we could be asleep😀).

Today was altogether different for me. This morning, I was honored to preach a funeral for a man who witnessed for Christ until the very end. This is the second time this month that I have had that privilege. Both men walked with God and left a huge void this Thanksgiving. While the families would not bring them back in order to suffer with sickness, they are grieving the passing of two great men who were probably little known outside our area but most definitely known by God.

Today may have lit your fire because you got 75 percent off a TV, but what lit my fire was another chance to share Jesus Christ with people. When you have been changed by His power, you want to tell it. These men I mentioned here were not pastors or trained in a Bible college or seminary. They were born again and had the Holy Spirit within them. None of us needs special training to tell what Jesus has done in dying for the sins of the world.

Maybe on this Black Friday, you took a chance to tell someone about Jesus while you waited 15 hours for a store to open. That’s awesome! I think this song communicates what’s on my heart. Let it speak for itself.

https://youtu.be/VCMbWdEbCUg

Two-Sided Faith

You are probably reading this title and thinking “Blasphemous!” Faith means I get what I believe God for, right? Won’t God give me everything I believe Him for? I want you to carefully read this portion of Hebrews 11, and I will draw out a few principles that God has already laid out in His Word.

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:32-40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The first part of this is victorious: “subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” We all love this part. Who doesn’t like the miraculous?

The second portion does not sound like the prosperity package some preachers teach: “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Some of you are probably thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this”. These unnamed people did God’s Will and suffered. They did not receive the promise in this life, but the Scripture says they obtained a good testimony through faith.

We must be willing to accept that there is a victorious side to faith and a side that calls us to know Christ “and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). The first part is easy. The second part is for the courageous who truly want to follow Christ. This is the real test of a true believer – Do you follow Christ out of convenience or conviction? Your faith may not take you where you planned to go. With that in mind, will you still follow?

Memory Lane

How many of you walked down memory lane today? You got together with family and friends and reminisced about memories from years ago, some of which you had forgotten until someone reminded you? I did. However, it was a little different.

My kids are here for Thanksgiving. They brought my freshman college yearbook, some notes of appreciation from a church I served over 14 years ago, and my high school graduation program. Several things came to mind. Where are many of these people now? Some of them went on to be successful in the world’s eyes. Some have passed away at a young age. Some of these walked away from God’s will, while others tried to fulfill a calling God Never placed on their lives. Each of us has a story.

My classmates in Christian school and Bible college probably never thought I would get married. I think some of my friends drove 5 hours to the wedding just to see if it was really happening. I’m sure that some never imagined that I would be remarried and be expecting a 5th child biologically.

Maybe you are looking back over your life, wishing you had made a few different turns and decisions. You may fail that there is no hope for you. Your actions have consequences, but your story doesn’t have to have a hopeless ending.

I heard a great illustration about a GPS. You and I make wrong turns in life. God, Like a GPS, knows exactly where we are and can redirect us. If you have made some wrong turns, cry out to Jesus right now and ask Him to put you on the right path for the rest of your life. Then you can walk down memory lane with the sweet assurance that the God of Heaven has forgiven you and has set you on the right path for His greater glory.