Why I Talk About Jesus

Romans 5:1-6
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

If I spent time this morning reflecting on who I’ve become I would have to spend some serious time looking at the journey that got me to where I am today. Christianity is not a title its an event. I guess I get so excited about talking about Christ because my experience with Him has been so exciting!

Justified by Jesus! “Just if I’d” never sinned. Oh my goodness. How wonderful is it that Christ takes guilt out of your life. I’m a self blamer, if you fall down, I probably could have prevented it, even if I’m in West Virginia and you’re in Texas. Is that nuts? yes, but it’s been a piece of the fabric of my life for as long as I can remember. So… is it any wonder I get excited bout the justification of Jesus Christ and the peace I have in knowing that my faults and failures are covered. He took them upon Him so that I could be free from them. It was like having toted a huge piece of luggage with me, and then having Jesus show up one day, unpack it, put everything in His luggage, and then throw my bag in the dumpster so I couldn’t refill it. Yes, that excites me.

Access to grace! God’s riches at Christ’s Expense. Grace is receiving that which I am not entitled too because I didn’t buy it. Over the years friends and family have given me gifts of instruments; an upright bass, a fiddle, a mandolin and more. These are things that bring me great joy. I didn’t ask for them, they just one day appeared in my life through a conversation or a phone call and I was blessed. I didn’t do anything for the giver, they just gave. That’s grace. The only One who knew of my desire to be a musician was God. I hadn’t spoken to anyone about it. But when I began to serve
Christ through music, God began placing people in my life that would become instruments themselves. Instruments of grace. Used by God to give me that which I did not deserve. And you wonder why I want to tell people about my Lord!

My journey has not always been so pleasant. Even in the midst of experiencing the joys I just spoke of, I was also experiencing great trials. I lost people I love, I lost jobs, I lost joy, but I never lost Jesus or His peace. When I would finally make it through one of those horrific times, I could look back on the experience and understand that it truly did have purpose. I grew in those times spiritually and became stronger in my faith and testimony which allowed me to share that with someone else going through those same type trials. I have hope today because of what God has brought me through in the past.

This is why I talk about Jesus. Because your walk with Him should not be a point “A” to point “B” experience. It should be a journey with great stories to tell about what He did along the way. I pray you experience that today, and that you’ll share with me some of the gifts of grace you’ve received.

A Goal In My Soul

Wow. The last Sunday in 2012! Its hard to believe. This year for me was filled with a little heartache, but more joy than pain, and for that I am grateful. A year in review of my ministry finds me slightly disheartened (as usual) that I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I had hoped and dreamed. But then on a few of the stages of my life, the production went better than I could have imagined, so I guess over all 2012 was good.

One of the most memorable times of the year, happened just last week, when at Christmas Eve communion a 5 year old in our church, who’s a foster child with one of our families, came running up on the platform when the Pastor asked if anyone needed to be saved.

“I’ve never been saved!” he proclaimed.

If only the adult world were so tender hearted to the Holy Spirit’s leading. And there on that most special of eve’s was the gospel in a nutshell. A child coming to Christ.

Matthew 18:3 says “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

My ministry is about pointing souls to Christ, and my greatest fear is pointing soul’s to
Shari. It is so easy in the field of public speaking to lose focus. I can so easily get my eye off the message of Christ in an attempt to entertain. And while it is a fine line that I must walk, because I want people to enjoy the message; but I much more want them to implement the message in their life. A giggle in their soul is good, but a goal in their soul to serve Christ more is really what its about.

At years end of 2013 I want my purpose to be proliferating the servants of God. I want my inbox full of testimonies of what others have done for Christ because I in some way encouraged them to be a better friend to God. I too want to be a better friend to God. What about you? Was 2012 your greatest year for Him, what is your goal for 2013. Share with me a little, would ya?

Why are you cryin’ to me?

Exodus 14:15-16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

I’m starting an extreme study on Exodus for an upcoming event that I’ll be announcing on January 1st. And this scripture is my launching point. The images that flood my mind of the Israelites exodus from Egypt are vivid. Although Hollyweird has given us an idea of what it may have looked like, I’m certain the reality of it was greater than anyone could imagine! Here stands Moses with the sea before him and the enemy behind him and God says (to country quote it) “Why are you cryin’ to me? See that rod in your hand? it has a purpose…”

I am just now discovering the rod that God has placed in my hand. Today its an iPad, tomorrow it will be my voice in a Sunday School class room at Victory Baptist Church. On April 12-14, 2013 it’s a whole new day! God does the work, but He does it through the tools He has blessed me with. I’m about to get happy!

Here Moses stood with the enemy on his heals at the bank of the Red Sea and God says “Why are you looking at me, I’ve given you what you need to be successful, hold it up and go! Our lives are all about lifting The Lord up for others to see. I’m ready. God has been filling my tool box with rod’s that I hadn’t even noticed. He sent me countless Aarons and Hur’s (Exodus 17:12) into my life to strengthen me in the times of battle. Not until eternity will I have enough time to thank them.

But this message is for you too. I’m not an exclusive, I’m a messenger. Open up your Bible (the ultimate tool box) and find out what The Lord has for you today. I guarantee it’s something. He is faithful! Are you looking for direction? Hold up that rod and watch the waters part. Can I pray for you? It would be an honor….

Couch Christianity?

Psalm 93:1
THE LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Working from home can breed bad habits, and I am a creature of habits. One such bad habit is the tendency to remain in comfy clothes when I’m working from home. After all, who will know but me, right? Well, perhaps the children or grand-babies, but they don’t seem to mind if I’m in sweatpants and my favorite Grascal Shirt. (that’s a bluegrass group for all you non-grassers out there.) What I have discovered however is clothing is a state of mind…

If I’m in comfy clothes, my state of mind seems to be more relaxed, I tend to settle down in the couch and lounge as if I am independently wealthy and have no need of employment… and then the mail comes. Oh glory… I better get busy! By the same token if I get up, shower and put on work clothes (my pretty pants) my mind seems to focus more on the business aspect of my life. I believe most assuredly that God looks on the inner man, but… the outward man makes a statement that is seen by everyone else and felt by you.

Psalm 93 reminded me this morning of the royal robe I wear. Romans 13:14 says “But, put on The Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” As Christians we wear what Christ wears and visa versa. My comfy clothes are suitable for couch lounging but not for meeting and greeting my peeps on a professional level. I doubt my Grascal tee would shout “This chick can speak!” It would be more apt to say “Vacationing?”

I’m not on vacation in the workforce or in my spiritual life. I have work to do, and so do you! There are people around us every day that may be 10 minutes from Hell. That’s a scary thought, and its reality. Its so easy to get comfortable in our Christianity and keep our mouths shut; but that’s not what we were called to do. We need to get off the couch and put on our pretty pants (spiritually speaking) and be about the Lord’s business. Our friends and family need to see Him at work in our lives through the way we speak, dress, and behave. Amen? Amen!

Got a match?

When I was called into the youth ministry many moons ago, I had no idea of the joy that the future would hold. I’ve never understood why anyone would consider working in the youth department a chore… If it is a chore, there is a good chance you’re in the place of someone else’s calling. If some folks treated their careers in the same manner as they treat church they wouldn’t last a week. Someone who showed up for work once every two or three weeks, half hearted, unprepared and with as much excitement as flu shot line would be sent packin’. And yet… the most important job in your life that has eternal ramifications is viewed more as a hobby in many churches. It’s penciled in on the calendar with an eraser on stand by should a more entertaining opportunity become available.

Last night in the Teen Department of Victory Baptist Church we brought out the dry erase board and begin making our 2013 agenda. The kids bubbled with excitement at the possibilities that lie in the future. I must confess that my heart pitter pattered a little bit too when I seen the potential for our ministry to grow and catch on fire. I’m packin’ matches, and I’m going to strike one at every dry piece of wood I find in the youth department. How? I’m going to let every one of the youth know that I care, I’m going to creep on their facebook page (with their permission) and know what’s going on in their lives, the up and downs and in betweens. I’m going to pray with them and for them and let them know how very important they are to me, and more than that… how important they are to God and our ministry.

Wow! I just caught myself on fire! Hold the water… just let me burn!