The Pain of Surrender

I sit here this evening and ponder the issue of surrender. I do not quickly surrender (at least when it matters most). For me, surrender is painful. I have these dreams and desires that I would like to see fulfilled, but what if I am convinced that my will is God’s will when it really isn’t? Am I willing to lay it down and still be content? Will my joy hinge on the fulfillment of my plans, however “spiritual” they may be?

In the book of Genesis, God promised Abraham a son. After more waiting than Abraham wanted to do, God gave him Isaac. Later, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Imagine that. God asks you to sacrifice something you cherish – this long awaited blessing. What would you do? Say no? Bargain with God? What is your Isaac? Are you willing to lay your Isaac down?

May God bring us to the place where we can say like the songwriter, “All my plans and earthly desires, I lay them down to follow You.”

Thy Will Be Done

I recently saw a post for a ministry position. This is not the one I mentioned in a recent post. I felt like this was potentially just another resume submitted, and I would hear nothing back. Two days ago, I had the opportunity to meet the pastor for lunch. Neither of us knows which way this will go, but there is such a stirring in my spirit. We will visit the worship service tomorrow and see what God is doing.

You, my readers, have been with me on a roller coaster ride. I began this blog right after my wife and I married. I was in ministry transition for over a year. I planted a church and stayed for nearly 2 years. I am in transition once again, yet I know God is up to something. If God is leading me to this ministry, it will lead me beyond my comfort zone while leading me to something I have envisioned for quite some time.

I ask that you join us in prayer. I’m not asking for God to give me the position. I’m simply asking “Thy will be done”. God’s way is best. I submit to whatever He is doing in this season (as difficult as that is). For the first time in a long time, I am hopeful.

My Decision-Making Embargo

Sarah has written a great post on decision-making. It is worth the read.

Work in Progress

Me at 1:15am: I should do a 30-day series in January. It’ll be great! I already have one outlined. 

Also Me at 1:16 am: Stop it. You are not allowed to make any more decisions tonight. 

A lot of the time, my ambition gets the better of me. I come up with a great (or what I think will be a great) idea and will go hard after it at the expense of myself, my relationships, and my sanity. So, there are times, like now, when I have to put an embargo on my ability to make decisions.

No Unilateral Decisions

Most of the time I trust my decision-making abilities, but that doesn’t diminish my need for wise counsel around me. In fact, because I trust myself so much and pride myself on my good decision-making skills, my need for wise counsel is absolutely vital. Just like anyone else, when…

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It’s a Tight Fit

Have you ever tried to wear something, but you discovered that your frame is bigger than the clothing (or the clothing is smaller than your physique depending on perspective)? Or maybe you had to try to squeeze into a space that is smaller than you are?

When I pastored my first church, I had a man in the church who told a lady that she would not go to Heaven because she was fat. His biblical premise is that the way to Heaven is the narrow gate. While he was correct about the way to Heaven being narrow, it doesn’t prohibit overweight believers from entering.

The way to Heaven is a tight fit. You can give tons to charities, warm a pew every times the church doors are open, and pray beautiful prayers. You may even be able to quote tons of Scripture. You can do all that and still go to hell. Why? Because Jesus is the only Way (John 14:6). We must place our faith and trust in Him to wash away our sin. The road to hell is broad, but the way to Heaven is such a tight fit that nothing but Jesus will get you there. No amount of greasing up your skin can get you through.

Bring on the Fire 🔥

I got up out of bed this morning, expecting to face a typical day – see a few patients, spend time in the office, etc. It turned out a little differently, and I’m glad.

A friend called me this morning, and he told me that he prayed for me this morning. I am encouraged when someone calls me name out to God. He, then, tells me about an opportunity he had to preach a few weeks ago. He had planned to share one thing, and God redirected him. The result was 10 people giving their life to Christ. (This is a great place to shout.) They have asked him to preach a revival in the Spring, and he wants me to go with him.

The day got a little better. I love to play the piano. One of my patients I see on Tuesday has a piano, so I sat and played. The Spirit of God set me afire once again. Then, the 97 year old lady was a blessing. The day ended with our connection group at our pastor’s home. God kept renewing the fire over and over.

Many of us find ourselves quenched by life. God will renew the fire in unexpected ways. Be open to it. I should not be surprised, but I would not change the day for anything. Just remember, God wants to keep the fire in you burning. Let’s be living sacrifices for His glory.

I’m a Square Peg

I know most of you, at least my older readers, have heard the phrase “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole”. I have spent a lot of my life trying to do that. You would think I would have learned my lesson, but I attempted it again recently.

A nearby church was looking for a staff member, so I thought I would inquire. I emailed them with hopes that they would tell me not to apply due to my divorce and remarriage. They encouraged me to pursue it, so I did. Tonight, I received the traditional “we feel led in a different direction” email. A part of me was relieved as I knew this was something I could do, but it most likely was not something God wanted me to do. God confirmed that, and I am grateful.

I am still at the stage of wondering what is next. I continue to realize how different I am, and I continue to feel like I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I know that I will not have peace if I attempt to do something I am not called to do.

My advice to the reader: Don’t be afraid to stand out! If you are a born again believer, you were made to stand out. God did not call you to blend in. The world will not understand you, and it is not supposed to understand you. As our pastor has been preaching, God called us to be pioneers not settlers. Many of us choose to settle because it’s easy. Shake off the comfort and go against the grain. You’ll be surprised how God will use you.

When I Grow Up

My job allows me to have some wonderful encounters with people. Today was no disappointment. My supervisor called and asked me to see a new patient, so I got the info and headed that way.

According to statistics, most people will not give their life to Christ after a certain young age. Such was not the case with the person I met today. This individual went forward at the age of 69 on an Easter Sunday to surrender to Christ. This person is now 97 and still longs to be close to God. I walked into a home today and found someone whose spiritual hunger is still strong. The sad thing is I encounter people much younger whose hunger is gone.

When I grow up (I have a long way from 38 to 97), I still want that fire in my bones. I still want tears to roll down my face as I reflect on what Christ did for me just like it was yesterday. I still want to soak in biblical truth and tell as many as possible that Jesus saves. The bottom line is I want to finish stronger than I started.

How To Worship Without Music

T. R. Noble is one of my favorite writers. She has written, by far, one of the greatest posts I have read about worship. Please take time to read this and follow her blog.

Inside Cup

I’ve been thinking a lot about worship ever since last week when I shared Is Worship With Others An Idol?

Recently, I have been reading A.W. Tozer’s book, Pursuit of God and he mentions, *“The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God, scarcely at all.” 

This quote may be shocking to read, it was to me because of how true it was!

*”To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called a “program.” This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.” 

What is…

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Feeding Your Mind

This thoughts stems from a conversation I had recently with a friend. Someone had come to him seeking advice. This friend told him, “Feed your mind.” I began to dwell on that.

What you allow to enter your mind is what will come out in your actions and lifestyle. The eyes are a pathway to your mind. What do you see from day to day? The ears are another pathway. What kind of music and other content do you allow to enter your mind via your ears? It has always been said, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

I found that when I was a pastor, it was so much easier to put the right things in by necessity. The job required me to be in constant study so I could prepare sermons with substance. I miss those days when I could close myself in an office for hours alone with God.

This friend challenged me to find my mind once again with knowledge. The big question is, “What time will I set aside to do so?” I want to be the best I can be. If I don’t take this step, I will continue to remain stagnant.

Are you stagnant? May I ask you, “How are you feeding your mind?”

A Divorced Female Evangelist

I know many are reading the title “Divorced Female Evangelist”, and all kinds of thoughts are going through the reader’s minds. Condemnation of divorce. Rebuke of the thought of a woman declaring the gospel. On and on we could go. If these are your thoughts, please dismiss them and focus on the bigger picture.

Jesus is on a journey. He stops for rest and water. Meanwhile, He encounters a lady. First mistake – He was not to speak to this lady alone. Second mistake – He was a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan woman (a half-breed of the day who was part Jew and part Gentile). Third mistake – This woman had a bad reputation. She had been married 5 times and was living with a man at that time who was not her husband. A pastor friend of mine helped me see this through a different lens. She had been divorced 5 times. In a day when divorce was more taboo than now, she had 5 failed marriages. She couldn’t get it right. Many today would still write off this woman because of her past.

What did Jesus do here? He didn’t call her a tramp and tell her to marry the man she was with and stay with him. He met the deeper need – He told her that only He, the Living Water, could satisfy her deepest longings. Once she experienced His forgiveness, she went back and evangelized. She was a divorced female evangelist who told about Jesus all over town. Did it fall on deaf ears because she was a woman! NO! Revival spread, and many believed.

You may look at someone and think he or she is beyond hope. Jesus sees the potential one can have when He saves that person. Don’t lose sight of the big picture!

Image from media4lifeministries.com