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Showing posts from 2016

As 2016 wains and 2017 comes, I am thankful for this year

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This morning, my wife thought it would be a great idea to recount and remember the past year of pain, joy, prayers, and how God has answered every challenge with our children tonight. As she and I have taken today to reminisce, God continues to remind me of His faithfulness in our journey with Him. When I resigned last year as the pastor of Faith Community Church Lakeside and then restarted a degree I should have finished 22 years ago, my only hope was God providing and not leaving us to flail about dying from pain brought on by an uncertain future. Even thought today, that future is as uncertain as it was when I resigned, I am more hopeful that God is able to carrying us through and cause us to thrive as he has these last 9 months. With every resume I send to churches I can hear the enemy tell me how unqualified I am and how no church is going to hire someone not currently at another church. I am met with doubts and tempted to give up the idea of ministry. However, I cannot, an…

I'm done with school (for now) ... what I am learning and what God has done!

First, I am incredibly grateful for those who have been praying for my family and I, as I finished something that should have been done 22 years ago. Yes, 22 years in the making and I can finally say that I am a college graduate. I completed 14 classes in 8 months and I am exhausted. I finished with a 3.62 GPA and will have made the Dean's List twice (I would have made it three times but they didn't count the fist term back because I wasn't full time at that moment, but who is bitter?). Okay, I think the humble brag is done ... did I tell you I finished with a 3.62 GPA after starting with a 3.5 GPA in March?

     I cannot take credit for one ounce of what has happened the last 8 months. It has been God's Grace that has kept me from giving up when times were hard or money was scarce. It has been His strength that got me alone three-four days a week to read and write. I didn't think I was going to make  that last week with three of my harder classes requiring an…

Today, I am a little more concerned for my nation and EVERYONE in it.

Last night, like many of you, I stayed up into the late hours of the morning to watch the election results with a curious anticipation of what might be next. When I finally went to bed at 3:30 A.M., I wondered what a Trump presidency would mean to the church. However, it is the rest of the country that I woke up with on my mind. Like many of us also, we are becoming more and more aware that Christianity is not the norm. I believe too many of us believe that the results were a collective, "We are a Christian nation again" to the rest of the world. I worry about many of us thinking this will fix the decisive division within our country, remove the rejection of God's moral standards (which is Himself, in case you didn't know it), and make America great again. I worry because we have tried this before and the rate of those rejecting Christ continues to increase. I worry because more and more of our students are leaving the church and will continue to as long as we a…

Our too busy lifestyle, but first a quick update!

Just a few minutes ago, I got off a phone call from a great friend. He is the kind of friend that you could have not talked to in years, then find yourself right back in a great conversation which lights up your heart! I am very thankful for friends like that, which I am fortunate enough to have a couple of. We have not talked to each other in over a year, so we took our 25 minute call and squeezed a year's worth of life into that moment.

     Well, let me catch you up on the last few months and also challenge us in an area that is all too relevant to my life.

     As many of you know, I began the process of taking 18 classes in nine months to finish my degree. There have been times that I really wanted to quit. Being 42 is harder than being 22 when it comes to college and life. I have had times of great frustration with busyness (because of school and family needs) and with my lack of rest (oh how I love a good nap). But God is using this season to grow and mature both Miche…

To reach culture have we gone too far in embracing culture?

Right now, I am in the battle of my life ... well not really, but going back to school is kicking my butt. While heading to the local watering hole (aka Starbucks) a few days ago to write a paper, I listened to something that has disturbed me for a while. This episode not only disturbs me but also reveals my self exalting desire, which I will get to in a minute.

     For years I have been leading people to engage their culture. I have had long discussions with other pastors about what are the best ways to interact with a culture that is becoming more and more hostile to Christianity. I have argued with fellow Christians when we are called to boycott people for being, well, not a Christian. I have to admit that there are lines that are probably crossed by me over and over in the hope to share Jesus with people. I am constantly asking God and myself if what I am embracing or participating in will bring glory to Jesus or will bring me into sin. I don't believe in finding a happy…

The journey is worth the heartache of leaving!

I have to admit to you, I am beginning to dislike moving. Packing boxes, turning off and on services, selling my kids toys and old clothes is wearing a little thin on me. Michelle feels the same way to. There are days when I think all would be better if we could have just lived in Tennessee all our days and not move from state to state. Today is one of those heavy days, as I say goodbye to relationships that probably will not carry on past Facebook or a text every once in a while. Today is beginning to become emotional for me, but God has been good to show me what I would miss if we stayed in TN years ago.

There are tons of people that we would not have had the honor to know, pour my life into, have their lives poured in us and fight with, if we had stayed put all those years ago. There are too many people who we would not have hurt for, prayed for, longed for if we would have stayed put. Although the pain of leaving so many people we love is hard, there is a joy in having been their …

Little and Big Peoples update

Well, its that time of our journey to update everyone on whats going on with us AGAIN! As we were driving home from our quick visit to Ohio Sunday, I told Michelle that I feel like the last 5 years have been wilderness wandering just waiting to enter the promised land that we feel we are wired for and that God is going to expose us to His exponential Kingdom growth. During these last 5 years, we have traveled across an Ocean (and back), driven over 100,000 miles (maybe) and have been blessed to make friends with some of the greatest people we could have met. It has been as rewarding as it has been hard, but that's what a journey with God is. It is God taking us through what He desires so that He can accomplish what He desires in us and through us. I can truly say that He isn't wasting any of the last 5 years.

Well, here is the news:

Since I resigned in March, Michelle and I have been praying about what is next. I believe I keep hearing the Holy Spirit tell me to trust Him with…

Belief dictates behavior! How to know what you really believe about God!

In late 2015, I proclaimed a statement from the stage "Belief dictates behavior". The context of the statement the first time I said this was in speaking toward the constant struggle of sin within a christian's life. The point at the time was; that your beliefs about God, life, yourself and others will lead to behavior that reveals those beliefs. We act out what we really believe. Oh how God has continued to use that statement to reveal how much I trust in Him, how much I live out the things I preach and how often I fail to walk in what God is sovereignly putting in front of me. God has since expanded on the essence of that saying; allowing me to see with an even greater light that "BELIEF dictates behavior".

If you want to know what a person believes, you should watch their life and listen to their talk. The scriptures tell us that the mouth reveals whats in their heart (Luke 6:45). Taking people's speech is an incredible way to understand their beliefs. Yo…

My journal entry this morning! Swimming in Grace!

“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging Grace”. How incredible it has been to not experience darkness in 2 months. The joy of being in daily light has rested my soul. Even though battles rage daily for my heart to turn to, I am finding God’s incredible joy through this part of my journey. For the past 31 years, I believe I have been depressed in some way or another. Recently, my doctor shared that I had suffered PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from the abuses I suffered during my childhood. Although I would never compare my experiences to those brave men and women who serve our country in the military, police, firefighters and first responders; I have had many traumatic experiences in my past. What I have learned is those experiences had shaped my journey and I suffered many of them over and over. Its funny (strange) to think I walked in depression during my adult years, years of ministry, marriage and fatherhood have been in the midst of darkness. …

Parents, STOP letting your kids compare you to other parents!

Okay, the title is a little harsh but I needed to call us to something that I believe is killing us as parents. We are allowing our children to dictate how we see ourselves and it needs to stop, NOW! I hear parents struggling with being compared to other parent. I watch parents killing themselves as they attempt to provide their children with everything other kids have. We are overrun with debt and lack sleep trying to be a better parent by buying more or supplying more. Why are we killing ourselves? Why are we attempting to be something that we are not nor have been given?

THE PROBLEM

    My wife often shares with me pictures from her Instagram account. There are some incredibly talented people out there with some great ideas. However, my wife and I have learned to become realist, which means we have realized we don't have the talent of many on Pinterest or Instagram. I am creative, but most of that time my creativeness ends with paper and pen or my vocal chords. I am growing …

The future for us is both scary and hopeful, but God is faithful!

It is has been a sweet few days since I announced my resignation at Faith. Many of you and others have been incredibly kind and gracious. I have been grateful to the encouragement many have given us. I am amazed how much God has done through us in these 16 months. He brought us here to heal but also to engage others with the Gospel and see many trust Him more. I am overwhelmed at God's great Grace in the past year.

In some of my conversations with people, I hear a little worry. Some have shared their concern with how much we are healed and others with how we are going to make it after our time at Faith is done. It truly is scary and hopeful time for us, there are so many unknown things right now.

However, I see that there have always been unknown things for us. Even with being in every church we have served in, our security and future were never held in human hands. I remember when Michelle and I were praying through moving to Hawaii. That was scary and overwhelming. It was a time…

Today is a new day and a new part of our journey. So what's next?

Well, if you haven't heard or read by now, let me share with you what has transpired. Yesterday I turned in my resignation to Faith Lakeside as their Senior Pastor. It was hard to see so many people hurting and shocked by the announcement. Michelle and I feel incredibly blessed to have served here these last 16 months and are very hopeful for the future of the church. We believe that the 2 men that are leading through this transitions are leading by attaching themselves to Jesus. Please pray for Todd Vaughn and Don Davis (our Elders) as they lead the church through these next months and find the direction God is taking them. They have been great friends to our family and are leading by abiding. Pray for them please.

One of the things that people are going to ask is why now? There are going to be a lot of questions about the time of depression I went through, some of the conflicts we had, the number of new families we experienced joining us and why would God move us on since we are…

7 reasons I am thankful for the season of despair I have experienced!

As some of you read from me recently, I have finally admitted my struggle with depression and the fight to control it that God is saving me from. Though I would never wish what I have gone through on anyone else, I can honestly say today that I am thankful for it. It is a funny and strange thing for me to say sometimes, but I would not change my past of being abandoned, rejected, abused and hurt. Although I would fight for these things never to happen to anyone else, there is a peace I have about the life's journey God has had me on. There are so many things I would not know if I were not taken down the road God has walked me through. There are many people that I would not enjoy being part of their healing if God had not allowed affliction in my life. Though I might not want to experience the pain again, I am thankful that God is using those pains in my life and overflowing Himself to others. Charles Spurgeon struggled with depression for most of his life as a pastor, father and h…

I should not attempt to walk in Christ apart from "It is Finished"

So I am probably going to get in trouble with this post, not because of the content of it but for this next statement. I have wanted a tattoo, but not for the sake of getting a tattoo. I want two greek words marked on my arms so every time I look down, have my head in my hands or look in the mirror I will see "tetelestai" on my right arm and "meno" on my left. I know I have a few friends who are reading this who would try to convince me to get them and may even pay for them. I also know I have other friends who do not believe in getting tattoos and might get offended. Don't worry, I hate needles and fear them more than snakes. So maybe I will just use permanent ink? Any artist want to use a sharpie on my arms?
Okay the real reason I am writing this post, those two words are rocking my world. Last year, Michelle and I were in Nashville where we purchased a shirt and 2 wristbands with the word "tetelestai" on it. I had just finished a series of sermons …

Knowing how you find the L.A.W.S. will free you from religion!

During my time these last weeks in counseling, I was introduced to a concept that I knew but couldn't describe. It is L.A.W.S. This is what every human being in the world needs. Every one of us are wired to search for this and this is what drives us daily in finding our place in this world. It is Love, Acceptance, Worth and Security. We all long for it and it dictates much of our actions. One of the interested things I learned was that these are to be filled in us as children by our parents. Our parents are the driving force for finding our Love, Acceptance, Worth and Security. Dr. John Piper once preached "Fathers, be God to your kids until they know you are not". For years, I thought it was structure their lives and love them unconditionally until they realize how flawed you are, but I see now these means its my job (and my wife's) to fill my children and help them know how to find these in a healthy way. When parents fail to fill these for a child, the child will …