Tag Archives: Leadership

One Generation can change the World

I watch as my 83 year old Mother mows her lawn, weeds her flowers, quarrels because the deer eat them, and continues to feed them by making sure her beds are filled with new flowers each year. She cooks Sunday dinner for her children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren to the number of 20-30 every other Sunday. Her work ethic is not dampened by the fact that her legs don’t function nearly as good as they did a few years ago. Her generation is still an example set before us that is so very much taken for granted and discarded in the lives of many. They are often the weakening back bones in most of the church across America while the generations below them are too busy or too apathetic to make church a priority.

In 2 Chronicles 27:1-5 we have an example of Generation Builders.

Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the Lord. And the people did yet corruptly. He built the high gate of the house of the Lord, and on the wall of Ophel he built much.  Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers. He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the second year, and the third.

Jotham was a leader with work ethic, however not so much in the backbone department evidently. There was much said about the attention of detail he gave to rebuilding the city and House of the Lord. His battles were fought and won and yet one sentence in his story speaks volumes in the coming generation.

“And the people did yet corruptly.”

His leadership took care of the materialistic and defensive matters of the day, but the ethics were sorely lacking. Sound familiar? Continue reading in 2 Chronicles and you’ll discover that his son Ahaz was a wicked, idol worshiping, child sacrificing moron that God punished by allowing his captivity as well as Judah’s. God had had enough and the entire nation paid the price. Why would we think that America would be any different? It’s purely speculation on my part, but I have to wonder if Jotham failed to be vocal and forward about teaching his values.

I didn’t realize that my Momma’s generation was called “The Builders,” but I believe that’s an appropriate description, while Baby Boomers is a good description of mine because we’ve blown up quite a bit. We are failing the next generation in leadership by following in the ways of my speculation of Jotham. We are not vocal enough about the ways and expectations of the Holy God we serve.  Yes, our buildings are beautiful, but there’s not very many people in most of them.

It only took one generation of mealy mouthed leadership in Jotham’s day to become a fallen nation in the day of his son, Ahaz. We were nearing that point just a few years ago when we sat silently idle as our country’s leadership embraced every false religion and scorned Christianity. We are raising a spoiled generation who believe they are entitled to the freedom of immoral beliefs and our children are being sacrificed to the gods of this world which are at their fingertips.

However, I believe that God has given grace to our nation because of those of us who are willing to speak out against the “Ahazian” (my own word regarding Ahaz) leadership that still remains in Washington and Hollywood who are trying their best to destroy the work God is doing in through the current administration. No the current administration is not perfect, they’re sinners just like the rest of the world, but at least the name of Jesus is back in our White House! Praise God!!! Our soldiers are supported and our flag is respected.

I pray you are vocal to your children and grandchildren about the Lord Jesus and why we need to let the world know He Saves! Because that is what will save our Nation.

Four Reasons to Stay on the Wall

In the book of Nehemiah, a mighty religious leader of the day received word of the remnant of the Jewish people that are left in Jerusalem. Their wall of protection is destroyed, the gates have been burned and Nehemiah sits down, weeps, fasts, prays, and then then begins his conversation with God.

Before we take our stand atop our wall there is a few preparatory measures we need to take. First talk to God, make sure it’s your wall to stand on and fight. I cannot tell you of the times I have climbed to the top of a wall that was built on someone else’s ideas instead of God’s. Second, take accountability for the brokenness if it’s yours. And third remember, you are one of the Redeemed! That in a nutshell is Nehemiah Chapter One regarding the state of Israel and Nehemiah’s prayer to God. If it’s your wall, don’t come down.

God is the God of Action. Unless it’s for a time of prayer or preaching, nowhere in scripture do you find God’s people sitting still and being productive. If they’re sitting still (like King David) they’re apt to fall into sin. Busyness isn’t always a sign of productiveness, but it’s certainly a better sign than never being found doing anything.

I cannot summarize the story of Nehemiah and the wall into a few sentences. So much happened and the entire book is so worthy to read. But for bit of encouragement for the both of us I’ll use this scripture from the book to encourage you to stay on the wall.

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Israel had just heard the word of God afresh. They were mourning for the state of their nation. But Nehemiah gives them (and us) these words of encouragement.

We have a Reason to Celebrate

If God’s people can’t rejoice, who can? The wall was rebuilt in spite of the opposition they faced. And for those of us on this side of the New Testament, we are blessed with the Word of God that has stood the test of time and has proven itself as truth no matter how many times an angry world has tried to tear it down. We can eat the fat and drink the sweet of His glorious word and feel the Spirit in our soul as we do. The world may not know… but we do. That is reason to celebrate! Stay on the Wall and Celebrate what God completed at the empty tomb.

We have blessings to share

Nehemiah reminded them that their blessings were not their own to keep. Neither are ours. I looked around my home this morning at all the goodness of God and His graciousness to me who is so unworthy and I feel shame that I don’t share more than I do. I feel shame that I don’t take the time to thank God and stay in constant prayer that His mercy abounds in my family and friends. You too no doubt have blessings uncounted and gifts in your life that you could encourage someone with today. Stay on the wall and share God’s goodness that world may see what He’s done in your life, and that even the unsaved will glorify God for you.

We serve The Lord Most High

I loved when Nehemiah said “Don’t be sorry.” I believe he was telling the Israelites to move past regret. I am so apt to stay in an attitude of unworthiness because of my failures. I do it to the point of yet another failure; because God has proven I am worthy by His death on the cross. Was not that enough? We serve a risen Savior who took every sin; past, present and future upon His shoulders at the cross so that we could live in victory! We serve the Lord Most High, there is no reason to be low. Stay on the wall and serve in the victory you’re afforded and don’t cower to the demons of Hell that tell you you’re not worthy. You are worthy by His blood.

We have His Strength to Go On

That strength is found in His joy and His joy is found in our service. There is engrained in the child of God a desire to serve. When that desire is fulfilled it brings with it a joy unspeakable and that joy floods the body and soul with strength to go on. Yes, we’ll have some days of doubt, we’re human. But we can look back on the joys of serving God and the fruits of our labor, just like Nehemiah and children of Israel must have looked back on the rebuilt wall. Look what you’ve done in the strength of the Lord! Can He not do more? And will you not continue to stand and fight for those who have yet to make it to where you are in Christ?

I have family and friends who have never experienced life atop the wall. They’ve never known the victory of Spirit filled leaving and confidence in Christ. I’m not done until God says I’m done. Stay on the wall and continue in His strength that others may experience it too.

The wall of Jerusalem was nothing more than bricks and mortar. The Rock for which we stand is indestructible. Stand Strong in His Might!

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

3 things that can change the way you worship

meet shari

Nehushtan (pronounced Nekh – oosh – tawn)

A brazen serpent created by Moses, no doubt a reminder of their wilderness excursion with the snakes and God’s deliverance. But not rather than a reminder of God’s salvation, it was an object of worship.

But then along comes Hezekiah, and at 25 years old he began to reign as written in the book of 2 Kings 18; and unlike his father Ahaz, he did what was right in the sight of God:

  • He removed the high places
  • He cut down the groves and last but not least
  • He broke the brazen serpent

It was said of him in verses 5-6 that “He trusted the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments which the Lord commanded Moses.

3 things made a notable difference in his leadership than any other leader before or after him:

He Removed the High Places

It’s not hard to look around and see the high places of the world, but looking inwardly is a discovery of my own high places of things that I have elevated above God in my life.

  • Technology consumes my time
  • Troubles consume my thoughts rather than trusting them to God
  • And that list could no doubt go on…

You too likely have high places that need torn down.

He Removed the Images

Theirs were literal handmade images of idolatry, but mine are more images: the way I view myself, others and above all God. Imagery is a powerful tool. Satan can contrive images in my head of who I or the world perceives me to be causing me to doubt who I am and God’s purpose and calling. It doesn’t take much talking to have me looking in the mirror saying “why on earth would God choose or use you. There’s no way He can move you past this failure.” And that image grows and grows to giant proportion until I can’t see God around it. Shari the failure. I too have some images I need to remove.

He Broke the Brazen Serpent

Israel was worshipping what was meant to draw people to the Creator rather than the Creator Himself. It was all about the serpent not the Savior.

We may not have a brazen serpent in our church to take our eyes off God, but many churches have lost sight of what it is we come to church for. There is a misconception of worship. Satan (the old serpent himself) has turned the altar into an object not to be worshipped but rather ignored. He knows that there is power in the altar, not from the location but from the Lord. And the one thing that will bring that power into a God glorifying moment is when people come with a worship frame of mind. Moses’ fiery serpent upon the pole that was written in Numbers 21:9 gave the people an object that they could look to for a reminder of salvation. We have that in the cross. Just above our altar is large wooden cross in the sanctuary. We don’t come to worship the cross… but the cross should serve as a reminder of the price God paid and cause our hearts to be lifted in praise and draw us to the altar to thank Him… Worship Him… Love Him.

Hezekiah was a great leader because he got rid of what was obstructing their relationship with God. We need some leaders to tear down some man made images of what God wants in church and worship God in the manner He deserves?

I’m headed to church! I pray you are too!

Who Is on the Wall?

wallI love lessons in leadership. It truly is where my heart lies much of the time; seeking wisdom of God as to the expectations of leaders in a church.  I’m especially interested in leadership as it pertains to women. Now I realize this differs at every church, and I know that varying denominations have varying beliefs, but I think one we will all agree on is that our church is “our church.” And how we believe is our choice. That being said, this is not about gender as much as it is about the ears on the side of every head be they male or female. One of the greatest leadership lessons learned of recent date was the 2016 National Election. The ears of Washington D.C. had been plugged with the cotton of conspiracy by Satan himself and they had long since stopped listening to the people. Unless of course you were Hollywood’s people. Which is a liberal mindset not fit to listen to and by no means should carry a greater weight than that of the rest of the country. And because they didn’t listen, the election was a shocker for them! Well, I don’t want a shocker in my church and you shouldn’t want a shocker in yours either.

That’s why it’s important to listen, rather than labor in vain.

2 Samuel 20 finds King David trying to reestablish his Kingdom having been ousted by his son Absalom who was then killed in the battle.  And once that battle was over there was a man of Belial (evil ungodly man) who’s name was Sheba the son of Bichri and he refused to accept the victory of David. Sound familiar? I guess Sheba was a democrat of the day (okay, I’ll stop). This is not about politics so don’t fret! This is about one woman in her community who saved the day and one leader in David’s army that stopped to listen.

2 Samuel 20:16-20

Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.  And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear. Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter. I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord? And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.

A Woman of Wisdom

The unnamed woman, a mother of Israel (she was a leader), took her plight to the leader of David’s Army and saved her whole city. She went “in her wisdom” back to her people and they cut the head off of Sheba and threw it over the wall to Joab. He didn’t have to lift a finger, he just had to listen.

A Woman of Willingness

Much like our nation, I believe that church leadership isn’t listening to their people. There’s a battle against the church from within and without but if everyone would just listen to one another we could throw the head of Satan outside our walls and dwell in peace. Of course I speak metaphorically, but this scripture pierced my heart when I heard her plea for her city “I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful.”

In other words, “I’m not trying to cause trouble, I’m one of your people and I’m willing to serve, tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen.” Joab listened and the woman acted. That’s what will make our churches great! When leadership puts the battle into the hands of the people. The congregation knows where the trouble is. They see when a family struggles, they see when disagreements and dissention is arising in the ranks, they know when something works and when it doesn’t.

A Woman of Watchfulness

Everyone in the congregation? No. But the woman of wisdom who had kept her eye her people, not for the latest gossip, but to keep them alive! No doubt there were men of wisdom. We know who’s mature in the faith and who’s still a baby and likes to tattle. A whole city was saved because a woman without a name had the nerve to speak boldly to a leader and that leader had the wherewithal to listen.

Here’s was my lesson from this woman’s story:

  • She cared, and she cared deep ( she was willing to stick her neck on the line)
  • She went to the leaders to find out what needed to be done, and he answered.
  • She went back to her people and had them handle the problem. (I highly doubt she killed Sheba) but she knew who could.
  • She didn’t care if nobody knew who she was, her mission was to serve the people of God.

The lesson: Leaders should listen, and listeners should feel led to lead, so that everyone on the inside of the wall has a voice.

Were it not for the Place of Grace

7jan17

I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.~ Jeremiah 17:10

A thorough searching of my heart on any given day will lead me to an awareness of the rebellion that resides there. The old adage “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” comes to mind; and you can lead a girl to scripture but you can’t make her apply it. In my *pursuit of God, He’s had to drag me through the book of Jeremiah at times. It’s depressing to hear of the state of Israel, God’s disdain and Jeremiah’s pleading. But there amidst all that frustration are nuggets of pure gold that even a rebellious spirited gal like me can latch onto and say, “God, I’m so glad you brought me down this path.” If I allow myself to be lead, rather than pulling back God takes me to the place of blessing.

Jeremiah 17:7 says :

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”

Jeremiah was at his wits end with Israel, yet even still he could see the blessing of being in the place of fellowship with God. We cannot control those around us, believe me I’ve tried. And it is enough that I have my own life’s garden to keep the crap out of.

Apostle Paul said it best in Philippians 3:8 when he said, “Yeah doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

Paul had tried to live by the law, and for the most part he was very good at it. He’d tried to inforce the law on others, and he made quite an impact there to. But no matter what he did, until grace came into place in his life, all his work was nothing. He said it was like dung… aka crap. He’d pulled and pulled against the reins, he’d had others pull against his reins, but there came a day when God took the reins and Paul was no longer in control.

Praise God for grace! Even on days like today when I’m ready to kill people. When like Jeremiah I’ve prayed God’s judgement would reign down on someone, I’ve heard… be grateful for your own grace Shari, you need it too. Stop pulling on the reins… just let me lead you to the water to drink. And then we’ll see where this journey goes from there.

Fight On Weary Soldier

johsua-3

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.

A Conversation For The Church

onward-christian-solider

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…

Yes, I’m one of those people

one of those people

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands **

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands **

If you’re happy and you know it the your life will surely show it

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands**

Yes. I am in full blown camp mode! I’m singing camp songs, I’m grinning inside and out because next week I’ll have the opportunity to spend five glorious days with 20 or so rowdy teens in a camp in the hills of West Virginia. If you’re not a teen leader then that may sound like more of a punishment than a reward of life, but if you’re in the youth department of a church, you know which ground I stand on! It’s Holy Ground!!!

Isaiah 54:13 says And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately but our worlds in a mess. Fear and anxiety is running ramped and I myself have days that I feel like hyperventilating until the Lord returns. Imagine that in the life of our youth, whose minds are inundated with fearful images, music filled with anger and hatred, political nonsense on every media outlet and all running an inlet straight to their heart. Some are churched, most are not, and all have a desire for a future, even if they’re unsure of what that might be.

Our camp theme this year is “The way that I’m Wired.” It delves into the inner-working of God inside everyone, and how that should play out in the believer. I’m excited!! I can only wonder what God might have done with me if He’d have had a hold of my heart as a child… these teens that I’m about to embark into a camp adventure with can find out now and that makes me very, very happy to be apart of it!

My first lesson for them is “happiness is a choice and a gift of God.” It comes from seeking His will and when that is discovered, you can still grin from ear to ear, even when the world around you is falling apart. Life’s not perfect, we won’t grin ever day… but we can.

When I teach, I grin. When I sing, my soul leaps within me. When I play music my heart smiles and it is all because those things are the will of God for my life… it’s how He wired me. David said in Psalm 144:15  – Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.”

Color me Happy! And please, pray for our camp July 24-28.

West Virginia Voting: Where Country Livin’ does a gal good

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At last there is a reprieve from the political rhetoric, or so I thought. I was looking forward to a few days of no television ads or discument…. I know, it’s not word. It’s my version of what happens when you friendly argue about politics. Half discussion; half argument, and I am wholly tired of it all. I’ve seen too much political hype about why we vote like we do in West Virginia. Laying its reasoning to the cultural side of who we are. I’m fine with that. I’m proud of my Appalachian heritage and have never felt that I’ve missed out on life because I’ve not lived in the big city. But I’m most proud of my Christian heritage; which is why I vote the way I do… not because I’m a po’ little country gal who doesn’t understand the complexities of life, therefore I’m conservative. I’m not prejudiced, narrow minded nor am I misguided, and if you call me a radical that’s okay. So long as you understand that I’m radical about Jesus.

There are guns in our home, several. They’re for shooting deer, squirrel, and other critters that my husband enjoys calling fine cuisine. I call it disgusting… I’ve never been a fan of wild game. But my people are, and I’m okay with that. The guns are also handy to defend our home in case an idiot would decide that it would be a good idea to break in. It’s our right… at least for now.

I said all that to get to this. The part of my day that I love the most, and spend too little time in; is the time I take with the word of God. It’s where I know I can make sense of this world when the liberal jargon overwhelms my mind and has me questioning am I right or just weird? It’s why I vote the way I do and think the way I do.

Isaiah said it like this in Chapter 28:9

 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

Who shall we teach about life and train in the ministry? Not the babies, which the political world seems to have an overabundant supply of. They profess Christianity, and yet there behavior isn’t even in the ballpark. I’ve seen T-ball games with more maturity when understanding how to lose. Name calling, carelessness with the feelings of others, lying, and that’s just the precursor for bad behavior.  And we wonder why children behave the way they do! Those who scream against Christian morals and mock the foundation this country was founded on are not who we should have a problem with. They’re lost. And without Christ; we need not think they’ll have Christian principals. But what about our so called “Christian” leaders.  They have no concept of the accountability factor that God is going to hold His people to, and the role that their misguided thinking plays in the flailing condition of our Nation. Of course, that’s “if” they are His people. I’m not their judge.

Isaiah continued on… 28:10-12

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

If I were to do a “state of the church” address for today, I’d say we’re in a state of unrest. Isaiah said much the same. Our country’s leadership isn’t helping to comfort the hearts of the people because they’re not following the word of God. Isaiah said the instructions for life were simple, precept (instruction) upon precept. Line upon line (just read it word for word without inserting our own version of what the scriptures say. Stop stammering on what God said! He meant it then and He means it now, God hasn’t changed.

Any psychologist worth a grain of salt will tell you that children need stability in order to feel safe. The only stability in the world for the child of God is the word of God and the church is messing that up by arguing over what God meant. It’s where country livin’ does a girl good. Because I’ve been brought up to believe and respect the simple and honest things of life. While people scoff at the culture of West Virginians, let me share a little about what makes it such special place to grow up in as a child and live in as an adult.

Homegrown West Virginians are very real. They talk and walk the way their grandfolks did and they generally think the way their grandfolks did. Some call it clannish… I call it family. They take care of one another, and other one another’s that don’t belong them.

Statistically speaking, West Virginia ranks 20th in church attendance (Gallup Poll 2014), with approximately one third of our state attending church. Not a statistic I’m proud of… I said they were good family people… I didn’t say they were saved. But even those who don’t go to church, don’t generally mind those who do, and have been brought up to respect the church goin’ folk. That’s the problem with America as a whole. I heard an old-timer once say of someone who forsook their Appalachian heritage “I think they got above their raise’n.”

Jeremiah, just like Isaiah, said pretty much the same thing 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.

We won’t find rest in our nation until we get back to the foundation of the Word of God. It’s a fact.

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