Fight On Weary Soldier

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A quick leadership thought, as I read through Joshua, gave me strength for the day that I thought I’d share. It’s amazing the difference a few days makes in outlook. I attribute it first to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, and the vitamins I take… Don’t scoff… they do make a difference in my clarity of thought. But that’s not why I am here. I’m here to share this thought on leadership.

I love the story of Joshua! Such a mighty leader and one to look to for an example. The scripture that first caught my attention was Joshua 11:5 which said he left nothing undone. I can assure you that last week leaving things undone crossed my mind. I felt like a failure and my multi-tasking ways were crashing in around me. There’s much to do and leaving it undone, would be letting the Lord down. And as it says in Joshua 11:8, Joshua made war a long time. Why did I think that my success would be sooner than later? If Joshua, mighty man of valor and chosen of God fought long and hard for his success; I should expect no less. And it’s really not that I expect less, but I have fear and trepidation that I’m going to mess this thing up that the Lord has called me to do. And then I read And the Lord said unto Joshua, be not afraid because of them. And I realize that Joshua’s them may have not been the same of mine but God controls them all!

Those who are “them” may be people in my world, or self. I’m easily my worst critic and enemy. And so today I draw strength from God’s man Joshua and the Word that God left for such a time as we are in. Nobody said to me every day would be easy in the ministry. They told me it would be tough… I just prefer easy and thought God might make an exception. He did not. God like’s fighters. Those who feel the cause is worthy…

Fight on weary soldier! God’s got wonders to show us today.

Don’t Take Grace For Granted

holy-ground

When we read the bible, we often times read it as if it’s a homework assignment from the Lord and we really want to go outside and play, but we have to get this done first. We treat attending church much the same way. Rather than, understanding that it’s the very Word of God, the One Whom we long to see and hear, but we’d rather it be in person than through the means He’s given us… which is His book. Like the children of Israel, we forget how Holy God is.

And while I totally get that Jesus came from Heaven and walked as a man, and made a way through His death, resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit for us to have constant communion with Him in a much less formal way than that of the Jewish religion, it still does not take away how Holy He is. But we forget.

This came to my attention in a recent teen class on one of those nights where I just couldn’t get a handle on their attention. I had brought in instruments in hopes of worshiping the Lord in song but their attention strayed more toward Led Zepplin and The Eagles. And while I’ve been known croon a tune or two of some old favs of my past, I wanted their focus on worship. So, tonight as I prepare for my midweek teen class, my heart is heavy. It’s broken for God because not only the children but we too have forgotten how Holy God is and that His house is a special place. I hope that in teaching this lesson about the Song of Moses, my kids will understand why I love praise and worship music, and why our time together in His word and in His house isn’t just another Wednesday night. But it’s special to God and it’s special to me.

I hate going into one of those nostalgic “back in the olden days” modes, but there’s something different in the church today than there was when I was a kid, and it’s not for the better. While we’ve contemporized many things that make services more “user friendly” (which I agree with) we also draw a fine line between play time and understanding Who’s presence we’re in if we’re not careful. We want kids and adults alike to enjoy their time in God’s house, but we shouldn’t forget that it’s God’s house.

I was in a service many years ago where the Holy Spirit was so heavy during a communion service that someone kicked their shoes off before approaching the altar because it felt like such holy ground. Those times have been rare. I don’t expect it every service because I think we’d take those times for granted if they were there all the time. But I do expect to feel the Holy Spirit moving in me every service, or something is wrong and it’s usually with me. I want the youth in my department to feel that Presence in the church. I want them to understand that the God we serve, the One that loves to laugh and play is also the Creator of the earth and the same God that in Old Testament times would wipe people off the face of the earth for the behavior that we show towards Him today.

Grace shouldn’t be taken for granted.

I think by the time Moses had lead the children of Israel through the wilderness forty years he had just about had enough. They’d whined and murmured, turned their back on God to worship a cow and drove Moses into a fit of anger that kept him out of the Promised Land. Can I get a witness that if he were here today he’d sing that song in Deuteronomy 32 again.

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.

5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.

6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not He thy father that hath bought thee?http://www.fggam.org/wp-admin/ Hath He not made thee, and established thee?

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of my generation: ask they father, and will he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Moses went all nostalgic on them as well! He began his song as many contemporary worshipers do today with the song “How Great is Our God!”

And oh my goodness, how great is He! We sing the words and the Holy Spirit moves through us but no sooner is the last word sung, and we’re back into the flesh again. Or is it just me?

By the time Moses had gotten to the fifth line of the song, it was no longer a happy little tune, it was more like “You Ain’t nothing but a Hounddog.” And that theme continued throughout the song until He closes it with the promise of Grace in verse 43

Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.

O we love that verse! That’s when the rubber meets the road for the enemies of God’s people! But we’re not too far from the behavior of the enemies of God today, be it we’re covered by grace and they are not. We love grace! But we forget that the mirror of grace is the holiness of God.

So what am I trying to point out?

God is Holy… don’t make light of Him.

God’s house is sacred… walk in like it’s a big deal.

God’s Word being taught is divinely inspired… listen like its God… because it is.

Don’t take grace for granted.

It’s Not a Soapbox

not-a-soapbox-2Scroll through social media, listen to the prayer requests at church or just listen to every day conversations in the community and you’ll see a wealth of heartache and trouble. I’m sure right now there is someone that has come to your mind that stands in need of prayer, or perhaps it’s you. And at the end of today’s blog I’m going to pray for that request so please continue on until the end, but for now I want to talk a little about some of the requests and answers that I’ve seen. And truthfully, I’m not standing on a soap box, I’m standing firm on the Word of God.

I speak not of the specific request, but the manner for which it was spoken. That is where my art will come into play. This thought has been on my mind for weeks as I continually see the response to a prayer request “I’ll send good thoughts or vibes your way.” Now, you may think I’m being petty, but I personally don’t think God’s into good vibes. What I think that says is that there’s something else besides prayer that can be depended on and takes God out of the equation. You may disagree and you’re entitled, but there is no power in good vibes, there is only power in God. And if you’re going to pray for me and reach Heaven, I want you to know Who to pray to!

There’s a Difference

1 Timothy 4:5 ~ For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Sanctified means “set apart.” Different. There’s a difference between the Word of God and the words of man, man sends a vibe… God sends help.

1 Thessalonians 2:5 sums it up ~ For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

There’s Power!

Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God knows what is wrong internally, whether it be physically (joints and marrow) or emotional (the heart). I do not have to know what is wrong with you or even who you are… God knows al!

There’s Proof!

Hebrews 6:5

And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

1 Thessalonians 2:13

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

I’ve been blessed by answered prayers in ways that defy the logic of man. God is very, very real in my life. And as my good friend Doyle Ballengee once said, “Go ahead and call me a fanatic, if you get a bad doctor’s report, you’ll be lookin’ for a fanatic.” You want someone who knows who to reach Heaven.

So please, child of God. Don’t send “good vibes.” Send the good word of God.

Now for that prayer:

Father in Heaven, for the soul who reads my words today, I pray more so that they’ll take Your words to heart. I lift those up to you today who stand in need of physical healing. God, You created every ounce of us, and You can restore every ounce that the world has damaged, or perhaps even we ourselves through foolish decisions. God I pray that You’ll touch the diseased parts of their body and heal their brokenness. I pray for those who are broken in spirit, emotional and psychological brokenness often hurts as bad as any physical issue. How can people not sense that there is something more to the soul, and that Hell is very real, when the heart hurts in such a physical way without a physical reason? Father, Creator of all, even the emotions of man you can restore those as well, and I pray for those hearts broken and for healing in their lives.  You are the only One who has that power and how awesome it is to know You.  Thank You Lord for loving us even though none of us deserve it, but Your grace and mercy is as endless the ocean waters and the sands of the shore. I think I personally have needed every drop and grain. Thank You… Amen.

While it is called to day

today

Words are heavy on my heart today. My words and those belonging to other people. I’m flabbergasted at the fact that so many people believe they have the right to say what ever it is that comes to mind and give no thought to the repercussion emotionally, spiritually or otherwise.

Scripture says

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

It happens to be the verse of the day which I read after I journaled the image attached to this blog. If I were to give people a piece of my mind, first: it might be all I had left and second: it may be a waste of my energy. Which is why I usually keep my trap shut because wasted time speaking your mind is like a clearance sale item, you probably don’t need it and it’s not returnable. So what are we to do when people hurt us or those we love with words.

Hebrews 3:13 says

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

While it is called to day

Spell check wasn’t happy with the words to and day being apart. But further study shows me why it was written as such. Written in that form is to say “until that day”, meaning until eternity. That puts that sentence and life into a totally different perspective. Until Jesus returns we’re to encourage one another, because to do anything else will harden our hearts which is sinful.

To not care what we say, or think causes a callousness that hardens us, and I think we all know “those people.” They are not fun to be around! They suck the life out of me. It also hardens us to the spiritual things of life and feeling the Holy Spirit move. A negative Nellie or Ned as the case may be will squelch the Holy Spirit moving in a service faster than a race car. But church seems to be a chosen place to practice idiotic commentary. Oh dear… I may have just meddled. But it’s true!  On more than one occasion I’ve heard a “well intentioned” church member cut someone to the core and fail to realize any damage was done.

That ought not to be.

Every word that proceeds out of our mouth, whether is to blood family or church family, will be answered for.

My advice to myself and to you is … until Jesus comes back choose your words wisely and at every opportunity sew kindness, mercy and grace. And when someone cuts into you with their words, speak Jesus, He is the balm that heals all.

 

A Conversation For The Church

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Since the day I stepped into the ministry I’ve looked to define who I am, where I should be and where I should go. That changes most every day, and truthfully many days I’ve been directionless. My fear is, that that is truth in regards to many churches.

I’m always seeking leadership ideas. It drives me and excites, and it’s why I believe God has placed that purpose in my heart and placed me in the positions in life for which He has. But… that’s not to say that I don’t fail… really often. So as I approach a leadership event this weekend my mind is in hyper-drive for ways to encourage church staff, but I don’t want it to be about fluff (i.e. church programming, church events, etc.) I want a meeting that charges an ongoing conversation among the people who attend.

Ha! That should be what church should be, right?

So three questions I ask myself this morning about my ministry direction:

  1. Does my conversations bear witness of Christ and His cross?
  2. Is my conversation bold?
  3. Does my conversation bring a battle?

John 10:25

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

Bearing Witness

Christ and the cross should be first and foremost in anything I do in ministry work. And yet it’s often down the list. It’s very easy to get programs started that are to entertain but if they don’t sustain a conversation once the program has ended then they likely didn’t serve the purpose we intended, which was to draw folks to Christ.

As an example that likely most in the ministry can relate to; how many pizza parties have you had that netted members? Owch…

Acts 9:29

And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

Being Bold

Speaking boldly is speaking in confidence. How confident am I? I for certain am confident in the message I want to relay but my methodology is not always so sure. If I want to relay a message that is a conversation starter I have to exude courage and confidence in a way that causes the listener to want to pick up the cross as well! And that takes preparation, which takes time and commitment, and that my dear fear is a church wide failure. People are not committed to anything past 12 o’clock noon on Sunday.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

The Battle Plan

You better believe if you are a bold, witness bearing child of God starting conversations for Christ, you are in for a battle. And not just from other people! You yourself will be your most vicious opponent.

ry to study the word and see how many other notions come into mind, try to speak boldly and watch timidity rear its ugly head, try to share an idea and watch fear enter your heart as to the reaction of people. Creating change in the church always brings apprehension but it doesn’t have to bring division. If the purpose is for Christ’s glory and you’ve earnestly sought God’s plan, God’s people will more than likely get on board… even if you have to nudge them from behind.

I’ll leave you to talk amongst yourself…

How to Cork a Poltical Pie-Hole

americaElection Day is drawing nearer and nearer and my nausea is growing greater and greater. Every political ad, news report or running commentary on social media leaves me feeling frustrated and betrayed.  I’ve done the only thing that I can do at this point; that’s give it to God, knowing that He is in control regardless of the lies of the media, candidates or anyone else who’s touting that anyone of these candidates will single handedly destroy America. If I put my hope for America in the hands of our government, oh my stars, what a sad day that would be. And it’s not that I don’t have a firm opinion on the candidates that I’ll gladly share, but today’s blog is not about the election, it’s about the state of America starting at the house.

As I read Deuteronomy 2:25 my heart ached for God.

This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.

I believe that God would do no less for America… if they’d turn back to God. How many times did Israel turn their back on God, worshiped false idols, fought among themselves and murmured against leadership? Sounds very much like the modern day church. Liberal mindsets and people pleasing Pastors have stripped the church of the power of God. We want God’s blessing, but not God’s paths.

Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 6:16

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Why on earth is anyone in this country defending anti-God or anti-American rhetoric? Because our Nation’s on a new path, and it ain’t good. It leads to destruction, there is no other way because that’s what the Bible says and it’s factual with every prophetic Word having come true and the return of Christ imminent. If God didn’t tolerate that behavior from the chosen nation of Israel, He’s sure not going to tolerate it out of us.

But it’s not too late, and I’ll never stop believing in the Christians of our Nation who continue to stand in the gap for those in need, and stand for the Word of God. Who have not cowered to the political pressures but will vote (as best we can) for those who line up with God’s plan. Now… that being said, I didn’t say they’d be God’s choice if He had His druthers, but He can change the heart of any man.

As for putting the fear of God in those who attack our nation and would willingly allow false religions to attempt to destroy Christianity, God can bring that fear to fruition. But it starts at the house. It starts when we ourselves honor God and the foundation for which this nation began. One at a time, adding to the number of God’s people until He sees we’re serious. And then I believe that His power and might could put a cork in a few pie-holes, hands over more than a few hearts and knees on the ground.

Even so… come Lord Jesus.

Because We Ought To

ambassadorThe closer to Jesus’ return the harder it’s become to speak boldly for the cause Christ. When I signed on with God to be “The Jesus Chick,” my issue with speaking was not so much with the world as it was with me. My confidence level was nil and my skill was mediocre at best; so why would anyone want to hear from me. That was my attitude. I soon learned that if I relied on God to deliver the message He would deliver me from the spirit of fear that Satan is so good at casting on us.  Several years into speaking and, although I still struggle with confidence, it’s easier and more exciting than ever! But the world is not accommodating. Tolerance for Christianity is at an all-time low in America and it saddens my heart, but I’m still the Jesus Chick. God didn’t un-call me. And if you are a child of Christ, you too have been called to be an ambassador for the Lord, and that’s exciting!

So what are you going to do with that tidbit of information this fine day?

Paul said to the church of Ephesus in Ephesians 6:19-20 “ And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

I take that as my own personal charge from the Lord when those words convict my soul that I should be telling the world about Jesus, because He could call us home today!

The Unction of Utterance

Paul said that the utterance would be given, which means it wasn’t of me. Unction is an oil that can be applied such as the anointing of God through the Holy Spirit. That’s what it is when we’re given utterance. The times that I step out of the way and just allow God to speak through me have always been the most blessed of times. And at the end of those events someone would say to me, “how did you know?” or “that’s just what I needed.” And I didn’t know but the Holy Spirit who provided the words to my soul knew right well! So don’t stress God’s call on you to tell someone of Jesus, just pray and open your mouth and God will be faithful.

Bold in our Bonds

While Paul was in literal Prison as he wrote the Church of Ephesus, we sometimes feel as if we’re in a figurative prison, one step away from the real McCoy, the way our country treats us at this point in time. Bold ain’t easy baby. But it’s necessary to get over the noise of the world when witnessing for Christ. People want to fill that God sized hole in their hearts with something, and the world is more than happy to dish it out with material and self-gratifying gain. But that won’t fill it. Because God is huge! And more powerful than anyone or anything in America that thinks they came over shadow Him, including the demonic political realm that has tried to eek Him out of America. So long as there are Christians in America, God is in America!

Ought to Obedience

God’s not going to make you share the gospel, but you ought to. God’s not going to make you go to church, but you ought to. God’s not going to make you read His word, but you ought to. When you accepted His salvation, you ask His Holy Spirit to reside in your heart, and the Holy Spirit want to show you the power of God through His spoken and written word. And not just from the preacher, although we definitely need that too!

Serving God is the most fun you’ll have this side of Glory! It’s not always easy, but it’s never failed to give me a blessing! I’d love to encourage you where you are, if you’re in need of a speaker for a ladies event, give me a shout on Facebook, email or on the contact form of my site.

Contact information

  • (304)377-6036
  • Talk2shari@gmail.com

Join the Journey

church unity

If you know me at all, you likely know that I have a burden for church unity. I think it partly comes from being a middle child, or a center child as I like to refer to it; that way it’s all about me. Center children are more often than not, mediators. My sister Shelia is an honest to goodness mediator for the courts, I’m sure she’s very good at it, because she like me is a center child; there are five siblings in our family. I’m sure that doesn’t always hold true but for me it does. Now to what brought me to this place this morning… This place is Heaven, and the biblical fact that we are already there, although the view isn’t quite what it’s going to be. So what does that have to do with church unity? There is no mention of a Baptist Street in Heaven, or a Methodist Avenue, or a Pentecostal Lane. And it doesn’t say anywhere in scripture that God stepped into another room so He could speak to a “certain group.” Nope. When God speaks He speaks in the presence of all. I believe there are two types of conversations with God. Personal and Congregational, and both are relational.

A Personal God

Philippians 3:20

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

“Our Conversation is in Heaven…” that’ll make you squirm if you think about a few road rage episodes or closet conversations between the Mister and Mrs. when you were in the heat of an argument. What part of the Holy Spirit living within us do we tend to forget, and the fact that the Holy Spirit is a part of a triune God and the other two are in Heaven? This puts our conversation in Heaven.

We serve a very personal God Who is all up in our business regardless of where we are. And  although there are times we wish God hadn’t heard what He did, how awesome is it that when we need Him to hear, we know He does.

A Congregational God

Hebrews 12:23

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

A general assembly, a convention of sorts, under no denominational name other than Christian. That’s who we are in Heaven. We forget that down here. And while I understand the doctrinal differences and many man made differences that will not allow us to be together as a unified body, I still don’t understand the lack of unity. I’m not going to go to the Methodist church and try to persuade them they should be Baptist. Nor will they enter our church for the purpose of persuading us to be Methodist. But what about outside the walls of our congregations where the world gets a view of the inside, what do they see? And what does our conversation in Heaven look like to God? We’re not arguing about Christ. We all agree that He is way, the truth and the life and that no man enters Heaven without Him. So what are we arguing over? That idea should make a few church folks squirm too!

A Relational God

Ephesians 2:6

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Being a member of the body of Christ is not only about our relationship with the Lord Jesus, which should be first and foremost, but it’s also about our relationship with each other who He has raised together.

When my girls were little it would break my heart when they argued. I wanted to them to love one another and to know that they had each other’s back when it was needed. I’m pretty sure God feels the same way about us. Praise God my girls grew up and they do love each other, and if you mess with one you’re in a heap of trouble with the other. That’s how the church should feel.

On Saturday morning, myself and five other ladies met in town to start a journey toward Heaven together and yet separate. We’re from difference churches, but we want to impact our community for Christ together. I’m so in love with this concept… I think Jesus approves. Our next meeting is at the First Baptist Church in Grantsville on September 26th at 6:30 p.m. If you’re in our area, please join the journey!

Hometown Boots on the Ground

boots on the ground

Ephesians 6:15

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace

On Wednesday I traveled back from my Minnesota journey for fifteen hours in the car. Other than the necessitated pit stops I drove with purpose and without music or preaching which is usually what I occupy my mind with when traveling. But I wanted to hear from God, which was still difficult when my mind has trouble shutting up, it’s such a chatty Cathy! But what I discovered on my journey to my friend Dewey’s Hometown was that Windom, Minnesota and Grantsville, West Virginia have the same common thread running through their tapestry. It’s a raveling. It’s a thread that’s gotten disconnected from its garment. It’s still attached but it yet it’ loose. It’s not holding anything together, it’s just there. I think that’s a very good analogy of the church.

So as I’m driving… and driving… and driving. God keeps putting that hometown thought into my mind.

We’ve become disconnected from our communities. It’s very easy to say that the community is not our concern. It’s our job to be a light for Jesus! Yes, yes it is. And yet when Jesus was His own light in the towns that He was going to, He wasn’t just in the church house.

He was at the well

  • … at a wedding
  • … at the fishing hole
  • … meeting Nicodemus outside of business hours
  • … in people’s homes
  • … in the grain field
  • … in the cemetery

Every place He went was viewed as an opportunity to serve; and I think that’s where the disconnect comes into place in the church. We’ve bought the lie of Satan that church has no place in the secular world, and yet that’s the very place we’re told to take the gospel of Christ. We forget that the church is not a building, it’s a person. A person with a story and a purpose exclusively belonging to Christ, no matter where you are.

I’m fully aware that we cannot preach the gospel in a classroom. However, we can train our children to walk in the light of Christ and share Him with their friends. Most jobs forbid evangelism in the work place, but they usually don’t mind one iota if you live like Christ on the job. They call it ethics, we call it faith. Nursing homes, prisons and hospitals love our kind and usually welcome us with open arms, and yet we seldom go.

That’s the talk God had with me on my way home. “Shari, you’re going back to your hometown, what are you going to do there to make a difference? How are you going to motivate people and reconnect with your community?” And in my earthly wisdom I said to Him, “But God, they’ll not want to hear what I have to say.”

Oh, He fully understood.

Luke 4:24

And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

“Now what your excuse?” I ask myself.  I didn’t have one. But I do have a hometown,, and so do you. And we are without excuse in evangelizing it, starting at the house and working way out.

So I’m working on a way to reconnect the raveling that’s been hanging from my church skirt. I want to prepare the way for Christ’s return like John the Baptist did for his arrival in town the first time. My first step is look for resources… and then I want to get this party started.