Friday, August 31, 2007

Following God

One of the great joys of being a follower of Jesus Christ is that you don’t have to know where you are going. The challenge is you must always being willing to obey God even when you do not want to or understand.

It’s like riding in a car. You are dependent on the person behind the wheel. There are always different ways of getting somewhere. When you are the person driving, you get to decide. When you are the passenger, you get to enjoy the view. Yes, the passenger can make suggestions and provide feedback to the driver’s decisions by praising or complaining. In the end it is the driver that makes the final call and will determine not only the destination, but the path taken.

I have found it best to let God drive and to just enjoy the view. I would love to say that I’ve always rested in His will and decisions. The last three years as we have sought to provide facilities for our church, I have had many days of doubt and confusion. I have even complained at times that God was not being clear on what He was doing or where He wanted us to go.

In my best days I prayed the words of an Andrew Peterson song “Holy is the Lord” and said,

Holy is the Lord

Holy is the Lord

And the Lord I will obey

Lord, help me I don’t know the way.

Those good faithful days have also produced in my soul the old hymn “Wherever He Leads I'll Go” by B.B. McKinney,

"Take up thy cross and follow Me," I heard my Master say;
"I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today."
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide, Wherever He leads I'll go.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

It may be thru' the shadows dim, Or o'er the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him, Wherever He leadeth me.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

My heart, my life, my all I bring To Christ who loves me so;
he is my Master, Lord, and King, Wherever He leads I'll go.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

Our church is now looking to expand its current facilities to provide for the growing needs of the church rather than relocating. This has been a wild ride, but one that has produced greater faith in me and the church. It has also provided an outcome that can save millions of dollars and serve thousands of souls for years to come.

Pray that God will continue to bless Living Hope and her pastor. Pray that we will follow His will and gladly submit to His plans according to the path He chooses. Pray that we will praise Him at all times and enjoy the ride. The scenery is great and the company couldn’t be better.

Email your comments and questions to me at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Why I Love Football

Football has had a major impact on my life. It provided me with the opportunity to go to college and it taught me the meaning of sacrifice and discipline (two essentials for succeeding at anything).

I was a decent player in high school and earned a football scholarship to Middle Tennessee University playing QB. I was not able to play all four years there. After five broken ribs and a jacked up knee, I took an academic scholarship and finished my undergraduate degree at Belmont University.

I never would have received that academic scholarship had I not been able to go to MTSU and earn good grades. Football opened the door for me to get into college and then it provided me with the opportunity to gain another means to get my education. I could never had afforded college. Football was my ticket in.

Football also taught me about what it takes to do well in life. Vince Lombardi* once said, "Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile."

I know some people think football players are crazy. They see the demands to practice daily in a hundred degree heat, to put on all that equipment, to hit, and to condition muscles year round and those that never played genuinely can’t understand the attraction.

You have to experience the joy of the competition to get it. To quote Vince Lombardi again, "I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." Victorious does not just mean on the scoreboard. It means that you have given all you've got and can walk away with no regrets.

In order to feel that joy players have to make sacrifices. To succeed in anything you have to be willing to discipline yourself and make great sacrifices.

My hero and the hope of my life is Jesus Christ. The reason He is my hero and my hope is because of what He did for me and what He calls His followers to do.

Hebrews 12:1-3 let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

This text provides three challenges.

  1. Get the sin out of your life so it won’t slow you down. (v.1)

Be ruthless with yourself and do not tolerate any sort of sin in your life.

  1. Be like Jesus and make sacrifices for the greater good (v.2)

For the joy of seeing us saved Jesus sacrificed Himself so we could be forgiven of sin and be made right with God.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:8-10 if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

The wise person will accept what Christ has given: forgiveness and eternal friendship.

  1. Don’t grow weary and quit (v.3).

Quitting is the easiest and most expensive thing you can do.

How do you avoid quitting?

1. Focus on Jesus

2. Get junk out of your life that complicates it

3. Serve others

If you will do this, you will succeed.

You will succeed in relationships (friends/family/marriage).

You will succeed in school and business.

You will succeed personally (confident and encouraged).

Email your questions and comments to me at

*The great coach of the Green Bay Packers for whom the Super Bowl Trophy is now named who over a nine-year span as head coach racked up a remarkable 76% winning percentage. He coached in 10 division playoffs and World Championship games and emerged victorious nine times.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Refreshed By A Friend & Fellow Servant

Psalm 133:1 “A song of ascents. Of David. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”

Psalms 120-134 are “song of ascents” and were pilgrim songs to be sung when the Israelites “ascended” (went up) to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. Four of these psalms were written by David (Pss. 122; 124; 131; 133), one by Solomon (Ps. 127), and the other 10 are anonymous.

In Psalm 133 praise is given to God for the refreshment that comes when people of faith are unified and together give glory to God.

Yesterday I was refreshed by a man of faith, Rick Bard. He is the devoted pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church here in Bowling Green, Ky. ( This congregation has been blessed with his leadership and preaching for twelve years now. Under his direction the church has experienced God’s blessing and has been used to reach hundreds of people and families for Christ. Their worship services are Spirit-filled gatherings and they offer outstanding training for children and students. They also offer the finest mother’s day out program in this region.

It was a joy to get to talk with Rick and hear what God was doing in and through his life. As a minister with over 30 years under his belt, Rick has seen and experienced a lot.

Please pray for Rick and Broadway United Methodist Church. I am concerned for his physical health. On September 9th they are launching a new location. He will be required to do what I did last year. He will preach multiple times at multiple locations every Sunday.

Please pray that God will use this new location on Scottsville Road to reach people for Christ and disciple believers. Pray that the Melrose location will continue to be used by God to reach new people with the Gospel.

It is a joy to partner with Rick as a pastor. Living Hope and Broadway have partnered on a few community service initiatives in the past and we look forward to years of service together.

Email comments and questions to me at

Friday, August 10, 2007

Struggling To Stomach Starbucks & Me

I along with many others recently discovered that Starbucks was marketing its coffee by making a mockery of the Christian faith. This is surprising to me considering the fact that so many churches are in partnership with Starbucks and brew their coffee exclusively.

I am not surprised that the Way would have hostile enemies. I am surprised that Starbucks would practice such bad business.

As far as buying Starbucks goes, I won’t go out of my way to get coffee from them. Thankfully, there are other options out there especially the local coffee shops that provide for local families. That’s where you’ll find me.

As far as the anti-Christian statements on the coffee, I believe they are a wonderful tool for God to use in a Christian’s life.

The question we don’t need to waste our time asking is, “Why would Starbucks write this kind of Godless thought on their coffee cup?” Clearly, they are not in favor of the faith in Christ.

The question we have to ask is, “Why would we, as people of faith, write this kind of Godless thought on our hearts or have it in our minds?” Clearly we do. I know at times I do and live like it.

The thought printed on the coffee cup in question was

The Way I See It #247 “Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help. As cognitive beings, why would we seek something that may well be a figment of our imagination for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.” by Bill Scheel

The real question for me is why would I ever believe that I could do anything without God’s help? Why would I, a creature with limited intelligence, knowledge, and perspective assume I know the direction I need to proceed toward in my life? Why would I look inside myself for power, when I know that I am a weak self-centered person who is prone to sin and make mistakes? Why would I not seek grace for the catastrophes I create?

It is ridiculous for any person who has met and been transformed by the risen Christ to rely on anyone or anything other than Him. Why would I settle for me or anything else created, when I have God Almighty maker of haven and earth as my shepherd?

I am reminded of my favorite C.S. Lewis quote.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

At the end of the day, I am not surprised by Starbucks. I am surprised that I and so many other followers of Christ many times think and live the way Starbucks is advertising - Godlessly self-sufficient.

Email comments and questions to me at

Saturday, August 4, 2007

This Ain’t Voodoo

This Sunday the elders of Living Hope are going to begin offering an opportunity for prayer prescribed in the Bible. This ministry has always been available, but it was always supplied by request and scheduled. We will still gladly do that, but now each Sunday we are going to provide prayers of healing for people in need.

Every Sunday we provide a time of response and reflection. It is a time to consider what has been communicated throughout the service and determine if your life is in line with God’s will. You may find that you need to go to the altar, a sacred special space for us to humbly come before God, to pray for yourself or for specific or general needs in the lives of people you know, our church, or our world. You may want to become a member, make a statement of your faith through baptism, or accept Christ as redeemer and leader of your life. Those would be God-honoring responses that our staff and deacons will be there at the front to guide you through.

But you may also be in need of God’s healing power. We are told in James 5:14-16,

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

We have six elders who are righteous men who will gladly anoint you with oil and pray for your healing.

This is not some kind of voodoo. We believe in the power of prayer and the humble submission to God. There is nothing special about the oil or the elders necessarily who pray. The prayer and healing is an act of God done according to His will and Word.

We must take this passage in the context of all of the Scripture. When it says “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;” we must remember that there are many times in Scripture when what was best for the person was that they remain weak. Remember Paul the apostle who prayed, but realized that God had other plans for him.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We must realize that the prayers of the righteous are heard by God and that a person who has seen their doctor and done all that they can to be healed by their known powers may only be able to be healed by God so that He can be glorified and His name can be honored and praised by others.

Each Sunday during our time of response and reflection the elders will be down front to receive anyone who would like them to anoint them with oil and pray with them. We will receive a person or a group of people and after the service in the pastor’s office the elders will pray for them individually and privately.

You don’t have to be a member to receive this ministry of prayer.

If you have any questions or comments you’d like to share with me email them to me at

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Seven Dwarfs Almost Had It Right

In the beloved Disney movie Snow White there are seven dwarfs that go to work and sing “Whistle While You Work” all day. And you know, they almost got it right.

The Bible tells us not to whistle while we work, but to worship while we work. The text I talked on this past Wednesday night was 1 Thessalonians 5:17pray continually”. It is a pointed and potent text that if lived it out, will provide a peace and an experience of the power of God in ways beyond imagination.

Brother Lawrence, the man I used as an illustration on Wednesday night, was noted as a person who “learned to cultivate the deep presence of God so thoroughly in his own heart that he was able to joyfully exclaim, ‘I am doing now what I will do for all of eternity. I am blessing God, praising Him, and loving Him with all my heart.’”

Some might wrongly assume that because Brother Lawrence was a monk that he would, like a pastor today, only work three hours a week on Sunday and then have time to do nothing but pray. HA!!! Brother Lawrence is described as a humble cook who was extremely busy from before the sun went up until after it had gone down. His great contribution to the Kingdom of God was that he learned and passed on to us the truth that “the time he spent in communion with the Lord should be the same, whether he was bustling around in the kitchen – with several people asking questions at the same time – or on his knees in prayer.”

His book The Practice of the Presence of God is a classic and a must read. In the introduction of the book one author wrote,

Brother Lawrence insisted that, to be constantly aware of God’s presence, it is necessary to form the habit of continually talking with Him throughout each day. To think we must abandon conversation with Him in order to deal with the world is erroneous. Instead, as we nourish our souls by seeing God in His exaltation, we will derive a great joy at being His.

Today and everyday let’s make it our goal to worship while we work. “When there’s too much to do, don’t let it bother you” focus your heart and do your part, but worship while you work.