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Blessed are those who keep the word!

“And he [Jesus] said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”” (ESV)

Luke 11:28

I pray that everyone who is reading this knows what it feels like to have God call on them for something. I pray you are used to hearing God speak, more so I pray that you respond when God speaks to you.

Let me say that over the last 6 months, I have begun to listen to God and try and be faithful to Him by responding quickly to what He is telling me. As there are things He has revealed to me that are still in the working cycle, some things are much more immediate. Recently I felt God calling me to do something fairly outrageous for me. He wanted me to sit down and do something that was just beyond my imagination for things I would ever do in my life. I must say that when God showed me what He wanted me to do, I got pretty excited about it. I got started on it and I can now tell you that I have finished “phase 1” of my assignment. A new type of joy welled up inside of me last night as I put the finishing touches on this little project. A lot more has to happen with it, but how blessed I am to be a part of what God is doing in my little corner of the world. I hope you have experienced God’s blessings in your life and when you do, be sure you give Him praise for it! Our God is a God who loves and cares for His people and He ALWAYS stays faithful to us (Isaiah 40:28). Remember when you hear God speak, be sure to respond as quickly as you can.

*i know some of my posts are pretty candid as of late. stay tuned and when the time is right you will be showered with a plethora of information as it pertains to my walk in the Father. Thank you for reading and being patient with me! 🙂

What’s Our Calling?

“Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filfth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.” -Oswald Chambers

Slow down for just a second because it is not a quote that Chambers actually said or something I am endorsing. But think about it for a second. Do we ever live our lives in this manner, maybe without ever realizing we are?

Chambers is hypothesizing why some Christians act the way they do. I think he is right. How often do we get caught up in our own wrong message to the world about Jesus Christ!? I recently read a blog post by Tony Morgan, Are We Married to the Mission or the Methods? How often are we getting caught up in all the hoopla surrounding the great and lavish church services that we have created in today’s society? Beyond getting caught up in the lights and sounds, what about in ourselves?

How much time do you spend with God on a daily basis. I hope a lot. Maybe some of you are saying, “Not enough.” Well that is fine, but are we solely focused on this? 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (ESV).” God’s ultimate goal for us is to obtain Holiness, be one with Him, and live forever with Him when this earth and heaven pass away (Revelation 21). While we are commanded to strive for this by doing God’s will and follow Jesus’ teaching, THIS IS NOT OUR CALLING.

Our calling is to preach the gospel, plain and simple. First take a look at what God said in Exodus 19. “…And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests…” God calls us ALL to be a kingdom of priests, not a kingdom with a priesthood. We are all called, just to do different levels. And while some are called to be pastors and ministers, preaching the gospel is not reserved for a select few. Again in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “…that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” And what was the last thing Jesus said to the disciples before ascending into Heaven? He looked at the disciples and said, “ok now guys, it is up to you. I have equipped you with all that you need and now it is time for you to go and do your thing.” And Jesus gives us the Great Commission at the end of Matthew 28.

The best example we have of a believer carrying out his purpose is that of Paul. Paul was not overly interested in himself. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose – to proclaim the gospel of God. He understood full and well what being a Christ follower was really about. Do we?

Isaiah 45:22

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other (ESV).

I think alot of times, as Christians, we often sit around wondering,

“Ok, what’s next!? I have done the whole, I believe in Jesus bit, I got baptized, I go to church, I do missions, I even shared Jesus with my neighbor down the street like 4 years ago! Why do I still feel like I am in this revolving door of a lame, mundane life?”

Once we realize that being a part of the body of Christ is so much more than just going through the everyday, Sunday-morning Christian routine, we can begin to experience life abundantly (John 10:10). I digress regarding my original point to this post, but we should always remember that obtaining Holiness, God’s ultimate goal for all of us, is sought after through our relationship with Him.

Moving on to what I am getting at…do you ever wonder if you are hearing voices? Well, you are not crazy, but you are hearing voices. Everyday you and I struggle with discerning the voices of God and the Enemy. Our student ministry at LifePoint is moving through a series called voices and through last night’s service and my quiet time this morning, God spoke to me regarding the voices that adults hear even when we think might be some untouchable, I-walk-daily-with-God Christian. So I finish with students and head home to watch Lost, all the while I am struggling with the thought of hearing voices. “God I know not only were You speaking to that small group through me, but also You were speaking directly to me.” So what was God telling me? When I finally sat still enough to listen to what God was telling me, it came during my quiet time this morning. Isaiah 45:22. The verse posted at the beginning. Specifically the first part. “Turn to me and be saved..” But isnt this for non-believers and new-believers alike!? Well I think it depends if you are feeding on spiritual milk or spiritual meat.

As new believers we are fed spiritual milk as to say we are nurtured as ‘baby Christians.’ (1 Cor 3:2) Once we begin to grow in Christ and can really discern the differences between good and evil, we graduate to spiritual meat as our relationship grows with the Father. So as I ask God how this verse pertains to me, He says, “Dude being for new believers is the milk of this verse, the meat of the verse is what I am trying to show you if you will just be still and listen.”

Do we really turn our lives over to God in EVERYTHING we do!? Do we fully trust Him? That is the meat of this verse, “Turn to me and be saved!” When even as a Christian, new or mature, we begin hearing the Enemy tempting us to stray from our path, it is the simplest of sayings that gets thrown around everyday. We toss it back and forth, but is NOT cliche. We really do just need to turn to God and be saved from what keeps us from Him.

Reflections on a year gone by…

Well where do I start!?

One year ago today we had been at the hospital for a little over 12 hours at this point and we were finally getting ready to wind down and take on our new adventure as parents. What an adventure it has been!

Being a dad is something I never even considered ten years ago and now here, and I am pretty darn good at it I think! So here I sit, just typing away my random thoughts about the amazing joys that Bug has brought to my life. I have had such an honor to watch life come into full focus through the eyes of a newborn and now as we enter the toddler phase. Just tonight, Lilli figured out that she could put on a ‘pouty’ face in order to get me to pick her up so she could fulfill her own wish to play with the remote control! Oh how fast my little girl has learned to bat her beautiful blue eyes at her daddy to get what she wants!

But not only have I had the tremendous joy of watching my daughter learn how to do some of the most simplest things in life, but maybe one day I will be able to sit down with her and tell her about how she was put into my life in order to teach me some of the most simplest things in life.

If Bug has done one thing, she has inspired me to commit to everyday memory that I need to be the spiritual leader in this house. God gave me this little girl in order to teach me the things that He has been telling me for years and I have been to human to listen. Springing forth from not only a physical desire to be the leader of this house, but a deep spiritual desire as well.

From this basic spiritual need to learn about being a leader to my family, I have learned to listen to God more intently. God gave us His Spirit so that we could be helped through life. God tells us that life is impossible without Him. When we can learn to embrace this, God teaches us He has a will for us all. Interestingly enough, this will is the same for us all, to enter into a loving relationship with our Father God. It is the extent of the mission in which we are called to carry out his will that differs for us all. We are all called to be ‘little priests,’ to carry the message of our Lord. I can only hope, through the grace of God, to bring light to people as it pertains to the message of Christ.

The extent of the mission is what I pray to be talking to you about more in the future. For now, enjoy life as sometimes it seems to pass by way too fast. Bug is growing and I am just glad I get to be a part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to take a moment to say Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who actually reads my little corner of the internet here. This time last year, Nancy was getting ready to pop with our child and now here we are one year later and Lilli gets to celebrate her first thanksgiving (well second actually we had thanksgiving with our small group last sunday).

I can honestly say that never before, in my life, have I been this close to my Lord, my Father, the source of yours and my salvation. All week long I have constantly reminded myself of what I am thankful for and what this holiday should really mean to all of us.

Thank you Nancy for being my rock and standing next to me no matter what. You are a blessing to me and are far more than anything I deserve. I love you!

Thank you Lilli for bringing so much joy and life to this family. I can’t wait to see the Godly woman that I pray you will become.

Most importantly, thank you God for everything You have given me. I am honored to be a manager of these blessing during my short time here on earth. Thank you for sending Your Spirit, that we might be able to understand Your word and enter into a loving relationship with You. Above all else, Thank You for sending Your Son that we might have a chance to spend eternity with You.

Today I pray that we won’t forget what we should be thankful for and that we dont just take one day a year to set aside a moment to thank you Lord for what You have done for us.

Enjoy the football and have a wonderful thanksgiving everyone!

Teach Me God!

So I had an amazing opportunity today: This morning our service for our middle school students was a little different. We basically had a ‘typical’ church service and I had the chance to teach 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. WOW! God had led me talk about the differences between the act of worship and what worship should truly be. It is so funny, how sometimes, God can lay something on your heart, especially in the realm of teaching, and you can pour over it, and pour into it everything you have and ultimately God already knows where it is all going to lead. Following Andy Stanley’s guide to developing a message, and following my roadmap, and trying so hard to internalize my message, I had everything prepared for this morning. What does God do? He spent an hour teaching me as I attempted to bring honor and glory to His word!

It is a daily struggle to be the Christian God wants us to be. More often than I would like to admit, I don’t fulfill my own little personal goals when it comes to my walk with the Lord. But standing in the back of the MPC, I begin to realize the plan that God has set forth for the morning. It dawns on me that David is teaching the students about active, participatory worship through song. Immediately, the whole auditorium surrenders to God in worship and I can hear God telling me,

“See goofball. Sometimes you try way too hard when it comes to worshipping. Just let it flow, give me the reins and I will guide you.”

All I can say is, it is really cool how God works sometimes. I spent almost 3 solid weeks preparing that message and in about 30 seconds it all came to fruition with the ultimate point of what God wanted to teach me. Is there any better way to glorify God than to just simply surrender to Him?

On the Road Again

Well here I sit in a hotel room on Strawberry Plains Pike in Knoxville. This is one of those portions of my job that I knew about it coming in and I don’t really mind it, but as Lilli is getting older each day I really don’t like it. I have never been one to ever get homesick or anything of the sorts. I went away to college (very close to where I am now – Carson-Newman) and I actually made excuses to not come home some weekends. Sorry mom & dad, but it is true! 🙂 But now that I have my own family, heck, I even miss my dogs!

But at least being on the road, things stay interesting. For instance, today my company sponsored a health fair that one of our larger customers put on today. Going in, we were under the impression that we were asked to participate in the health fair by helping out with registrations for education seminars and logistics type stuff. When we arrived we were directed to our booth. I loathe running booths at shows. Being in pharmaceutical wholesale this is something my job requires 4-5 times per year. Anyways, running a booth at this particular ‘health fair’ poses a slight conundrum. What is the point of a pharmaceutical wholesale company passing out literature about company to patients of an independent retail pharmacy. As far as we are concerned unless you have a pharmacy license and a DEA number, you can’t do business with us. I can’t tell you how many times I had to answer no regarding the question, “so can I buy drugs from you on the internet!?”

Not only am I already homesick, to make matters worse, I had to sit through this health fair ALL day. Glad I am getting paid for this!

It is hard though. Lilli is growing up so fast. Nine months old and trying to walk. She gets really frustrated when she can’t do things perfect the first time. (she gets that from her mama!) So the whole walking thing is interesting. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her. I promise I will work on getting up some pictures of the family very, very soon.