As a child my church experiences were different than what I live today. I heard about God. The table at the front of the church had the words “I am the bread of life” emblazoned on it. But I could not tell you an experience of God while I was there except for the Sunday morning, early on Easter. With some rain and some sleet, hardy souls climbed up the hill behind the elementary school near our church. We sang and the sun came out. That was perhaps my God experience. Continue reading The Knitting Of Hearts→
I came home from the meeting empty. It had been one of those meetings where my heart was just not seeming to connect. Each person I prayed for I felt nothing. I felt as if I was simply going through the motions. Just doing what I had done for many years. This time was different though. I could not connect. I wanted to see people healed, delivered and set free. They were. But all I was doing was walking down the rows. It seemed like they never would be done. The meeting was over. I was spent, disappointed and frustrated. I arrived at the home folks had given to me to stay in, to work out of. I did not want to see anyone. As I walked downstairs I could hear someone whistling. I got the stairs and walked into the beautiful space. The light was bright and here was this old friend. Over by the fireplace. He had taken the newspaper article and the coverage and cut it out. On the mantel he had placed the advertisement someone had paid for. Continue reading Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are→
Today while driving into work I was thinking that if I disappeared, would people know. Would I be missed? How long would it take?
I remember many years ago I was challenged with the imprisonment of a pastor who was in jail in China for “crimes against the state”. Daily people were reaching out in prayer. And one day, some 20 years later, he was released.
Hundreds if not thousands appeared to welcome him. This group of people had met daily to pray for his release. Daily! What is even more important is no one had seen him for all those years. I remember thinking at that time, how many just disconnect, losing touch after weeks, months and at best, years. Please hear me this is not a condemnation thing. It is an observation. (And I have done it. “Out of sight, out of mind.” It is not healthy.) Continue reading Reaching Out Into The Darkness→
While taking one of my daily walk breaks at work I heard the Lord speak to me the following words. “I am going to restore the spirit of fellowship and relationship.” I knew it was a conversation. Honestly, as He spoke I was too tired, too fried from the week to be focused. Here I was admiring the scenic fall colors and He spoke to me. I wanted to complain. Not now-I am having my quiet time. My regroup time. But I listened as He said He would talk to me about it. Continue reading The Restoration Of The Spirit Of Fellowship And Relationship→
I know I am jumping the gun in my order but this one is hot on my heart.
The last few days I have been in contact with some long time friends. I love them and I know my heart is broken for them. I think as you get older, you ought not feel like life is so out of control when things happen. Sometimes you truly need to look to Him. Being with Him is a relationship, the development of a lifestyle. And developing it after you have lost all your energy, your friends and your family is hard. Continue reading Community, Grace-All Important To Their Growth→
I was ministering in our local fellowship. Our team was there. When I got done, a man stormed out of the service. He was yelling “he did not even mention my blog”. I was dumbfounded. He pushed my wife over into a row of chairs. I was far enough from him that I could not get to him. One of my friends headed out to speak to him. I saw them go out the door together. I knew it would be okay. He had been under lots of pressure lately, so I was not too worried about it. I walked towards my wife and the others who had been pushed aside. Seeing they were all okay, I headed outside.Continue reading Manipulation And Control…Meet Grace!→
Many have written much more and perhaps considerably better on the topic of serving. Why do we serve? I told my children and my grandchildren, “because we are family”. It is not a chore or a job but a responsibility and an honor to serve one another. We can spiritualize and say it is “because He served us” and throw in all the good scriptures and that is fine, but if you do not see yourself as family it is not going to do anything but be an idol or a millstone about your neck. Continue reading Why Do We Serve? Family!→
So many are talking about the commercialism of the holidays. They tie it to Black Friday, August Christmas ads and now “black Thanksgiving!” People are working on holidays. On some levels they are two different things. People are working because a company has asked them to with the hopes that people will come shopping. And the commercialism or cheapening of the holiday.
It is one thing to talk about commercialism and the holidays. It is another to just get through the holidays! So many bemoan the commercialism of the season and miss out on the coolness of it. I remember a young pastor one year talking about the unbeliever and how the lights of the season might be the closest understanding of heaven for them. I sat there thinking about that for days. I get it. Not everyone celebrates the same way. Continue reading Crowds Or Family? Your Call→
On Sunday at our church fellowship, a “tongue” was given and I had the interpretation. It had to do with restoration. (In the last few days I have had reports of restored relationships.) I have been “burdened” with the stretching and breaking of relationships the last month or so. It pains me to see marriages break up, children lost and hearts broken. I just hurt for people.
First, let me say I get that there are times where destruction and abuse and such have taken place. And I understand the need to move apart in the face of these things. That is NOT what I will be talking about. Secondly, my gift mix gives me a different observation perspective and I will share from there. And finally, I am a guy and I get some women may not think I get it! J
The last few months I have watched believing men and women talk divorce, file papers and avoid some of the biggest issues on the plate.Experientially what I see more than anything else is that it is the ability to:
Believe God is the answer
Believe “love covers a multitude of sin.”
Believe the other party is “not out to get you.” (And if they are out to get you, what is your response? Love? Anger?)
Believe you do not have to be self-centered
Believe you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you.
That will change things!
I struggle with the broken relationships. I personally struggle from two past marriages and how they hurt my children though I had “no say” in the finality. (I could not do those 4 things above either.) I would not wish broken relationships on anyone.
And God has changed me…immensely! I get that “things happen” but folks we are believers! We are subject to change because of Him!
How do we get there?
I am a “grace” guy. I believe in allowing people the freedom to make choices, even when they are not healthy or good. I believe grace and truth are found in the person of Jesus Christ, and that grace is a person and His name is Jesus. I believe in extending grace, mercy and forgiveness.
His desire is to restore. Restoration can occur in many places but I believe first and foremost it is the heart of the Father to restore families. Malachi 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse
Restoration is defined as: the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.: the act of bringing back something that existed before: the act of returning something that was stolen or taken
If we say we believe in grace. That we believe in love. Well, I hate to be the bearer of “sad tidings” but we ought to walk it. You have to allow God to change you and move through you. You can have all the freedom you want and call it grace, but if it is trampling on others, hurting others and more, you are not operating in grace, and God is extending you mercy. Grace is the empowerment in your life to love, to forgive and to change.
Do not step up to the plate unless you are ready to hit!
A word on restoration speaks to the atmospheres and the powers of the enemy, but the reality of that word ought to bring change in us as well.