Do you want to be successful? Everywhere we go we are bombarded with advertisements and information about what success looks like. The kind of success everyone is chasing usually involves more money, bigger houses, nicer cars, beautiful people. But I’m not sure that’s what success really is. Last year I was reading about a mega church pastor who lives in a $1.8M dollar house and bought his wife a new Lamborghini as an apology gift for having an emotional affair on her. She accepted the gift! As I read about it, I thought to myself, “okay okay, different world, not my venue, not gonna judge.” But then I learned HE CHEATED AGAIN this past year! And I realized, it doesn’t matter how much money, wealth, fame and “success” you have, you still won’t be fulfilled by it! Even pastors & spiritual people are lured & fooled by their desire for worldly success. But the worldly view of success is a LIE. The #verseoftheday today is Joshua 1:8 'Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and SUCCEED in all you do. ' This was written thousands of years ago. God has always been saying Read Gods word, submit to Gods word, and you will be successful. Success isn’t about acquiring & attaining assets, knowledge, or notoriety. It’s all about listening to God & doing what he says. It’s about knowing what God says to do and the doing it. That’s success.
Psalm 91:1-2 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. The opening verse tells us that those who “live.” It didn’t say, “those who lived” or “who will live,” but it clearly says, “those who live” in the shelter of the Most High. It implies an active willingness to stay within the territory of God. It means that you can’t be living in the shelter of God while enjoying the pleasures of sin. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t be living near to God one day and other days be sleeping with the spiritual enemy. You need to make the decision to choose to be with God, not just temporarily, but for good. Actively seek God’s presence. Cultivate that burning desire, urge, and passion to be with God. This is a long term, committed relationship. Question of the day: What are the major obstacles that prevent you from “dwelling” or “living” in the shelter of the most high?
First of all....THANK YOU to the dozens of people who showed up to set up and take our first stab at relaunching in Holly Springs High School! What a night! -We spent 5 hours getting 3 trailers unloaded, cleaning everything, and learning an ALL NEW setup for church in the school. -Service starts at 10am (5329 Cass Holt Rd. Holly Springs) -There is Kids [...]
In today’s verse of the day, there are 2 things Love is & 3 things love is not. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud” 1 Corinthians 13:4 NLT Jesus’ entire ministry was characterized by love. And the greatest demonstration ever of that love was the sacrifice He made for all of us. Love IS patient - “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16). Love IS kind - Jesus healed the ear of the high priest’s servant Malchus even while being arrested, and I can’t get over how kind he is to me personally. “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4) Love is NOT: Jealous - Jesus never showed envy of someone in their strengths or their achievements. Boastful- Jesus never displayed excessive pride or self-satisfaction in His accomplishments, possessions, or abilities. Proud - Jesus was never guilty of an inflated sense of self, He didn’t have an odd interest in his own self-worth; nor does He possess a high or unreasonable conceit of His own excellence. “Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus is not jealous or boastful or proud” What about you? Could you insert your name into this scripture? “_____is patient and kind. ______ is not jealous or boastful or proud” 🤔
I’m about to jump out of my skin with excitement for our first SUNDAY MORNING back in church in over a year!!! And as I consider the significance of this weekend and the future our church, I can’t help but to also reflect on my own personal “pain & progress” from the past year. No doubt everyone faced challenges this past year. For me, [...]
“For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” Jeremiah 31:25 NLT Are you weary? Unfulfilled? Your soul longs to be satisfied - and the only thing that can fulfill you is the one who made you. If you are trying to find fulfillment in the things of this world, it will fall short & it will leave you feeling an ache, unrest & dissatisfaction in the deepest part of you. A dissatisfied soul is something this world cannot fix. Only God can satisfy the hunger and longings in you. He brings joy where there is sorrow, peace where there is chaos, & calm where there is distress. He satisfies the soul.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalms 100:4-5 NIV Entering gates, walking into the courts, praising his name…This is something you would do before a King. This is how you would honor and celebrate someone who meant a lot to you. This might be how you would publicly recognize an influential celebrity or a hero. Why do we do this for the Lord? Because He is good. He has loved us and will continue to love us forever. His faithfulness has no end, it has repeated itself throughout all generations. Every generation experiences a move of God. They all look & feel different, But the common denominator is God pouring out his love on people who desperately need of a Savior This love compels us to be grateful, to celebrate, to honor him, and to worship Him.
The entire human race has a hard heart toward the things of God. Selfishness rules our land. Our primary desires are bent toward self satisfaction, sexual gratification, wealth, acceptance & fame. Especially this month, you’ll see pride, boastfulness, & an outright mockery of God. Even “Christians” are now joining the parades of people, proud & unashamed of their sin, thumbing it in Gods face. It’s not just one group or subculture that defies God, ALL of humanity has a propensity towards arrogance, disobedience, ungratefulness, and godlessness. Every person - you and me alike, was born dead in their sin and their heart is at odds with a holy God. Thankfully, the Lord in His grace, promised to give us a new heart. He promises to purify our heart and cleanse our soul. The #verseoftheday prophecies a future heart exchange - “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT I need a new heart You need a new heart We all need Jesus.
The #verseoftheday today is 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Christians are encouraged to be generous in our giving because cheerful generosity is something that pleases the heart of God. Our generosity is rooted in the heart of a generous God. His grace was a "free gift" to all of us, but it was a deeply personal sacrifice of generosity on the part of God. After all, the most famous verse in the Bible says “for God so loved the world that he GAVE…” There is a principle from God that is found all throughout His Word. The principle of sowing and reaping. -Proverbs says that a generous person will prosper and whoever refreshes others will also be refreshed himself. -Job reminds us that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same. -Jesus gave us the common cliché - a man will reap what he sows” In today’s verse, Paul is discussing the wisdom of generosity, in contrast with the folly of selfishness. He says “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Essentially, he is saying you can’t outgive God. God will always resupply and bless you so that you can continue being a generous person.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34 NLT I’ve heard this verse misinterpreted to support the idea that you should never make plans. Years ago, I sent invitations for a youth ministry event I was hosting, and one married couple told me, “because we take Matthew 6:34 seriously, we never make plans to do anything and we cannot RSVP for this event“ To which I responded, “Well I take Luke 14 seriously & I throw banquets and I’ll even invite even the odd, weird people who have the lamest excuses not to attend.” 😂 Planning ahead and worrying are different things. Luke 6:34 is not an anti-planning verse, it’s about WORRY. Most of us have dealt with worry at some point in our lives. We lay in bed with that nagging concern about the future. We spend the day troubled about some rising conflict. It may be financial doubt about paying bills, or something unpredictable at work. Whatever it is, Jesus wants us to let go of our anxiety. We have to live in the moment. There are too many opportunities we could miss today by worrying about what might happen tomorrow. Br present. Enjoy today. Turn off the back burner. Disconnect from tomorrows worries
“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” Proverbs 13:3 NLT Did you know... A chameleons tongue is TWICE the size of its body? A blue whale’s tongue is the same weight as a pickup truck! The human tongue only weighs 30 oz... The human tongue is small but it is disproportionately powerful. There is POWER in your words. Consider the following: “I love you” “You are awesome” “Daddy loves you” “You mean the world to me” “Dang, you are so hot! Whew!” OR “I can’t stand you” “You make me sick” “I hate hearing your voice” “ you are so stupid “ The tongue is POWERFUL. � It’s not “just a phrase”, “just an opinion,” “just something i said out of emotion” Words matter. A cigarette butt can lead to a forest fire. uncontrolled comments can impact a child well into their 30s. The little things you say with your tongue can make an impact, good or bad. You must control your tongue. YOUR WORDS MATTER.
When you sit down with a friend, you are totally comfortable with him. You don’t have to prove yourself to you friends. You can just rest because you’re already accepted. You can have dinner with a friend and you do not have to hope for acceptance or love, because they’re already your friend! You can enjoy some coffee with no pressure, & talk about whatever comes up, it’s great! Friendship is awesome because you already accept one another, now your time together can be focused on growing in your relationship with each other. The #verseoftheday is Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” God is pursuing us. We don’t have to go find him, because he came to find us! God is already our friend! He’s knocking at the door. He’s already accepted you, will you accept him? All the way back into Old Testament times we have a picture of God as a shepherd who is searching for those whom he cares for, even in bad weather. Even in tough times. Even when we have turned to go the opposite direction. We are not shut out from the kingdom of heaven. God pursues, God finds, God knocks. All we have to do is open the door & invite Him in.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 NIV Everything that we “do” happens in two primary ways, 1) WORDS and/or 2) DEEDS. One is not better than the other, they’re different but equally important, and they should also be congruent with one another and reflect the same heart & intentions. If we are going to use our words to call Jesus “Lord,” then we should be consistent in both what we say with our words and what we do with our actions. Remember, Jesus had a nick-name for people who said one thing and did another...”hypocrites.” Today’s verse also tells us to do “all” or “everything “ in Jesus name. This means to speak & behave in a way that reflects His character and is consistent with His nature. We owe everything to God. He created us & formed us with his words & hands. He also has blessed us with every good thing. He saved us & set us apart. The least we can do is honor him with our words & our deeds.
Some people are trapped in sin. They’re intimidated by their own habits & cannot find a way to win against temptation. How do you deal with temptation? #1 - Memorize and Quote Scripture Break out God’s word and use it on the devil! Memorize scripture, Quote scripture. Jesus did this in Matthew 4 when he was being tempted by the devil. He reached into his arsenal & pulled out scripture. This was his weapon when being tempted. And it is our best weapon when facing temptation Some say, wow that seems kind of odd, I don’t wanna be one of the scripture quoting, devil fighting kinds of Christians” Okay then you’ll just keep falling for the same tricks and keep swimming in your sin hoping you don’t suffer the consequences while faking the christian life. 🤷♂️ #2 - FIGHT You have a part in overcoming temptation. YOU have to pray YOU have to read your Bible YOU have to get to church YOU have to submit yourself to God YOU have to resist YOU have to put forth the effort Temptation comes my way all the time. When I win against temptation, it’s because I put up a fight! #3 -Keep AWAY. You won’t lose weight by hanging out at Dunkin Donuts. You won’t get sexually pure watching sex scenes on Netflix. You won’t break free from an addiction standing in line at the ABC store. You won’t gain freedom by walking right into cage. It amazes me how often people complain about their sin habits, yet choose to keep returning to the cage. It’s worse than the overweight person who complains about being fat, yet chooses to eat sheet cake every day. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide A WAY OUT so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Part of the role of a pastor includes officiating funerals on occasion. This was intimidating for me in the beginning because, in my early life, funerals made me a little uncomfortable. At one of the first funerals I ever attended, the casket was open. I didn’t really want to go look at the person laying there, but since I was a new pastor, I thought it would be disrespectful if I didn’t. So I gathered my courage and went up to the casket to take an obligatory peek at the body. When I walked up to the casket one of the family members said “Doesn’t he look nice”? My gut response under my breath was “nope, he looks dead.” BUT because I’m a pastor and all, I just said, “yes…nice…suit. Did he pick that out?” Then I thought, when I’m dead, is that what I’d want? People coming up to my casket saying “he looks nice?” No, that’s not what I want at all. What would I want people to say about me in that situation?… I want people to say “HEY, LOOK! HE’S MOVING!” ...because I don’t want to die. But the reality is every single person in this world is going to die. Everything that lives, dies. I’ll die. You’ll die. The whole earth & everything in it will eventually pass away. One thing will never die, Gods love. Gods love is stronger than sin, death, the grave & Hell. Gods love reaches as high as the heavens & lower than any valley. His love existed before the creation of all things & will carry on for eternity. His love endures forever. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalms 107:1 NIV
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV As a preacher, It’s easy to read a passage like this & then immediately begin to break down the characteristics of sheep. But for today, let’s consider one characteristic of the shepherd. COMPASSION. Jesus’ heart is moved with compassion for you. Throughout the Old Testament, Ezekiel 34:10, Jeremiah 10:21, Zechariah 10:3, God never became angry at sheep, he became angry at shepherds who were supposed to care for the sheep. God becomes frustrated with priests, zealots, and other spiritual leaders...but never the sheep. Jesus is the chief shepherd. I’m an under-shepherd. (Or maybe I’m more like a sheep dog 🐕 ) This means, I am right in the cross-heirs of Gods compassion for people who are suffering. I sat in a hospital with a lady who has Lukemia... I prayed with someone the other day who is on the brink of divorce. I had a meeting with a lady recently who is on the other side of divorce and starting to date men again, she’s plagued with fear, confusion, uncertainty. I’ve spoken with young people who are dealing with identity issues, trying to figure who they are in Christ. I have talked to numerous men & women who are wrestling with depression & suicide. I’ve prayed with ladies who have been raped and they still have that icky, unclean feeling from being sinned against. They still don’t trust. Still haven’t healed. I’ve been the first person to arrive after tragedy has struck, I’ve been there when shock sets in, I’ve been there when there were no words, only silence, grief, & pain. I took a long walk with a guy who wants to be free from a porn addiction, he & his wife both know it’s a problem, but he can’t shake it. I feel the weight of it as a pastor. I pray for you. I care for you. I’ve wept just thinking about some of the pain that people are dealing with. But there is no way I could ever come close to having the same compassion as Jesus.
Have you ever noticed that when people start to get emotional they’ll often stop, cover themselves and say things like “its ok, I'm gonna get it together” almost under the assumption that its NOT okay to show real emotions? Like they have to get it together and not show emotion? I think we are taught from childhood to try and keep it together. Not to be authentic, but to wrap it up, keep it together, etc What are we saying? It’s not right to have emotions? It’s not right to be real? Ultimately, we all grew up covering for our own weaknesses, but in Christ, we have strength. He increases our power when we submit ourselves to him. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29 NIV It’s okay to be honest about your weaknesses… BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE HAS WEAKNESSES TOO!! In the church, sometimes the assumption is that everyone is supposed to be perfect. I remember when I was a kid and first started going to church. I thought everyone there was perfect. Perfect suit, perfect family, perfect clothes, perfect comb over, perfect life. I now know that nobody is perfect. But nobody ever said that back then. When we come to church, we think we have to pretend that everything is okay and that we aren't struggling. And you definitely better not ever let people find out that you sin, because that will get you kicked out! The point today is: Be human enough to acknowledge your need. Admit your weaknesses. BE REAL. Fake is exhausting. And everyone can see trough fake.
Any fashionistas out there? Fashion has changed - its gone through some weird seasons. I was walking around Target with Aubrey the other day and realized there are some unique fashion things making its way back. Fashion changes all the time - clothing styles come & go. But the clothes God calls us to wear are TIMELESS. The #verseoftheday says, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NIV God’s fashion is TIMELESS It’s being clothed with MERCY - the ability to have compassion toward others. KINDNESS - moving toward people in love, not away from them in judgment. HUMILITY - not thinking less about yourself, but thinking about yourself less PATIENCE - it’s assuming the best, and not giving up. GENTLENESS - being a reservoir of quiet strength. IF you wear these clothes, you are far more like Christ. —If you are single, you’ll be more dateable —If you are married, you’ll be more attractive and your marriage will be healthier. —Your co-workers will want to be around you and enjoy working with you —You customers will like you more PAUSE AND PUT ON THE RIGHT CLOTHES. I’ve always thought it was interesting how superhero’s have to take a moment and change clothes before they go on their mission. Every day, you and I could use a moment to pause and put on the right clothes. We should all follow a daily dress code. If I don’t clothe myself with patience, tenderheartedness, mercy, kindness, gentleness, then I won’t be ready for the day I’m walking into.
Many people experience shame, guilt, and condemnation when they attend church, or start considering spiritual things, but that’s not what Jesus is about. Jesus leads us to be a family full of grace, mercy, and forgiveness to everyone. It does not matter where life has taken you or what circumstances you’ve been through, Jesus invites you to be a part of the family. The #Verseoftheday says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 NIV Put this verse on your bathroom mirror Put it in the visor of your car When you are feeling weak, meditate on it. It’s a powerful verse! It literally means, with Christ, you are OUTSIDE the possibility of condemnation in your relationship with God. The feeling of condemnation you have doesn’t come from Jesus or His word. It doesn’t matter how you feel, what you are going through, what your ex says, what your neighbor says, you are literally outside of the possibility of condemnation from God. So, you are faced with a FAITH Choice: Will you choose to believe how you FEEL or will you choose to base your life on what God says in His word? It’s time to move forward. Moving forward starts by choosing to believe God’s Word NOT the negative thoughts that contradict God’s Word.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 NIV WHO OFFENDED YOU? -someone at work that betrayed you? -did a close friend break your trust? -did mom or a dad hurt you...maybe even over a period of years and years? -It could be that your child has rejected you or said some things to you. -still aching over your spouse's sexual past and you just can't let it go? In your mind there's images and fear and insecurity, and you just can't forgive your spouse for something that happened even before you were married... -Or maybe it's in the present, maybe your spouse betrayed you by looking at pornography, or lying about something, or straying from his or her marital vows. -For some, you are still angry at someone who is no longer living. They're gone and yet you still hurt and there is bitterness and there is a grudge. -Is it God? Are you a little angry with Him? You had expectations & God didn’t do what you expected... -maybe you're angry at yourself and you just can't forgive yourself. Jesus was offended, Betrayed, Falsely accused, Rejected, Abused & Humiliated. Yet He still chose to forgive. He didn’t minimize the seriousness of the offense. It wasn’t an instant restoration of trust. He doesn’t expect you to resume a broken relationship without changes. None of that is forgiveness. Forgiveness is simply choosing to give grace in advance, before someone needs it. It’s “giving” with foresight. It’s depositing mercy, compassion, love & grace into a futures account with an undetermined withdrawal date. I’m praying is that if there is any unforgiveness in your heart, that you will find room in your heart to forgive, TODAY.