Tag Archives: The Jesus Chick

A True Come to Jesus Moment

In a secular setting a few weeks ago I heard a woman discussing something that had happened in her office that had upset her. She was displeased with a staff member and as she put it, they were going to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting. My first thought was “If only you would.” (insert rolled eyes here) Her come to Jesus meeting had nothing to do with the Lord, and more to do with her yielding authority. The world takes the name of Jesus far too lightly. A real come to Jesus moment has nothing to do with anyone yielding authority, even under chastisement God’s Word is not condemning; convicting… yes. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery “Go and sin no more.” The stone throwers walked away with no entitlement to casting even one. Her “come to Jesus moment” was not the Lord berating her for a mistake, but rather the Lord lifting her up from ground with compassion and the defense of a Father who had just shielded her from being stoned to death. She knew she’d done wrong, He knew she knew. That was enough.

There’s a song lyric from Daystar that says “When I see you standing near me, shining with compassion in your eyes;” that is the image I have when I think of a “come to Jesus” meeting. That’s the meeting I have about every day when I’ve let the Lord down in service and I’m beating myself up and frustrated that I don’t live nearly as close to the foot of the cross as I should, or when I’ve let yet another person down and I’m just waiting for someone to hurl the first rock and then Jesus steps in. It’s actually the same look that we should have in our eyes when someone lets us down, but because we are so often in the flesh, that’s seldom the case.

Acts 15:10-11 says Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

At this time in Acts there were saved Jews adding back in law to the grace of God and confusing the members of the new church. Even though that’s still happening today I’m not speaking of that in this context. We’re not so much adding works to salvation but rather adding works to our conditions of grace. We have expectations of friends, family and coworkers and when they’ve fallen short, our “come to Jesus” moments don’t look anything like Jesus but border more on the Pharisee rock throwing. Where is the compassion? Sometimes the yoke we put upon people has been hand crafted by us with unrealistic expectations or people just flat out fail us. Either way God has expectations of us.

If we expect grace we must give grace, else how will anyone ever have a true “come to Jesus” moment?

Guard your witness today… Satan’s out to get it.

I was Glad!

Lord's day

 

It’s Sunday! I’m studied up for the teen class, I prayed for,the man of God preaching, the Sunday School teachers, the choir and Chris who has our special music today. I’m just like that crazy sheep inside because I “get” to go to the house of the Lord! Do you know what a privilege it is? Or will you wait until that privilege is gone before you experience it? It’s an exciting place to be. I love going in and listening as others come into the building, many are as excited as I am. It’s just been since Wednesday that we’ve been there, but a few days in this cold cruel world is enough to make you jump for joy when you get in a place that encourages your soul. I need it. I thrive on it!

Today’s blog is short and sweet because I’ve spent the morning preparing for church. This day defines my week in many ways. I encourage you where ever you are to find that place this morning and be in it. It’s yours. Christ died for it. Satan wants to destroy it.

Keep it Alive!!!

Finding Hope and Healing in Heartache

I have several friends who are going through or have gone through serious heartache. The kind that rips the heart out of the person who hears, one can’t imagine what it’s like to be the one who experiences it. And yet many of them if you didn’t know their story, you’d never know their heartache because by all appearances their life is “all that and a bag chips” as the saying goes. But in reality it’s filled with broken pieces of shattered dreams.  So how do they do it? We’ll get to that but first let me say that I also have friends who have experienced the worst of the worst and just can’t move past it. Day in and day out they relive the heartache, the pain consumes and yet it doesn’t; they’re still here, but every day is an uphill battle against depression, blame and angst. I don’t dare look upon them with judgment, ere it may be me tomorrow. But I look to the source. It’s not that both friends don’t walk in pain daily, they do; but there’s an obvious difference of effect.

It’s that peace of God, which passeth all understanding found in Philippians 4:7

So how did they find it? I believe one answer is found in 1 Peter 5:6-11 ~

Surrender to God

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

We think of surrender as if it’s a loss, but in the truth of this circumstance it’s a win! You’ve likely already came to the conclusion that you do not have the answer to the reason behind the tragic circumstance of your life. There are some questions that just will not be answered in this lifetime. So how can you go on? In the knowledge that the Creator of all the earth has a plan that allowed you a temporary heartache that will be followed by an eternal healing. In due time He’ll exalt (elevate) you to a position of understanding. But for now He needs you to trust Him.

Stand Guard of Satan

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

That heartache, anger, frustration you feel is Satan at his finest. He loves nothing more than to defeat you by undermining hope. He knows that if you experience hope, you’ll get past this tragedy and be stronger for it. He will no longer have the power of persuasion on your mind and you can continue on knowing that there’s a better day ahead.

Secure your Confidence

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

There’s heartache in the lives of those who know Jesus, and those who don’t. But there’s a stark difference in their spirit. Those who know Jesus and have surrendered all to Him, know that when He was upon crucified on the cross of Calvary every sin and heartache in the world was placed upon Him. It’s hard to wrap your mind around that, but it helps somewhat to understand the pain you feel and then multiple it times every soul that’s been born since creation. Yea. He did that. So you wouldn’t have to bear it. Consult League City Integrated Counseling and Wellness specialists, who will take care of your health and mind.

Settle the Matter

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Don’t take it back. The reality is we’re going to have heartache while we’re here, Satan’s going to make sure of it. But if you know Christ you have that hope settled in Heaven that one day this is going to be over, and then we’ll have an eternity of no pain, sorrow or heartache. Amen!

Struggling? I’d love to lift you to the Lord. Comment below or private message me at talk2shari@gmail.com.

A Philanthropist Heart without a Philanthropist Purse

Today, November 15th, is National Philanthropy Day. I find that ironic because yesterday I posted on Facebook that I was a Fantasizing Philanthropist waiting for God to provide the means. Having a desire to give generously to better the lives of God’s people.philanthropist And then it hit me, should not all of God’s people be philanthropists? I realize that not everyone can give monetarily, believe me when I say I get it; but it’s certainly not limited to the wealthy. The definition does not specify a dollar amount only that it’s given generously to promote the well being of someone. Generous (giving more than is expected.)

Proverbs 11:25  says that “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

Philanthropy in a nutshell. The problem with philanthropy is we must first understand Philippians 4:11~ Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. In order to give with a philanthropist heart when you are living without philanthropist purse, means putting yourself aside. And is that not how Christ told us to live? It’ doesn’t mean starving or not paying bills, but it just might mean that the little extra we go to make sure we are blessed, needs to bless someone else.

Luke 6:38 ~ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

If we truly give what we can, we’ll never out give God.

Today as I go on my way I want to pray this prayer for you and I both. “Precious Lord, Savior and friend. Thou who taught us to love and to give. Give us eyes that we might see and ears that we might hear a need today. Let us put ourselves and our selfish desires aside. Send a soul across our path, place a thought within our heart, show us those who stand in need and give us understanding of Your desired action. Let us live with a servants heart that we were shown through Your Son. How will they ever see You, if not though us? I ask it in Jesus Name. Who gave it all that I might have it all. Amen.

God’s plan at the pumps…

As a retired police officer, correctional officer and administrator of both juvenile and adult criminal populations, my friend Ed is no stranger to confrontation, nor has he ever been shy of its approach. I don’t have space on this blog to tell you how the Lord has used this man in the ministry and not because he’s wonderful (although he is), not because he’s talented (although he is) but because he’s willing.

After leaving the adult prison facility for which he is now Chaplain, he pulled into a 7Eleven Convenience Store for fuel. And then it happened… he noticed the nicely dressed man and his children exiting the store. It was a Wednesday night and Ed figured that they were likely going to church. It was then that God spoke to his heart, “Talk to them.” It was a gentle nudge in the beginning but grew more demanding as Ed argued with God that surely this man would think he was nuts to stop him and his children on a cold winter evening when they were obviously on their way somewhere. But after a brief debate, Ed surrendered to the Lord’s desire…

“Hey are you a Preacher?” Ed asked.

“Why yes I am he replied…”

And then God unfolded the plan.

Ed had been tirelessly working as Chaplain to a new facility of inmates with groups arriving each week needing his attention. He studied, preached, provided counseling and handled the administrative duties of his position as well. His active farm took its toll physically on his body and the pressure was mounting. He knew he needed help but unfamiliar with the location of the prison, and very much understanding the accountability of ministering the gospel “correctly”, Ed wasn’t about to hand the reigns over to just anyone.

But God had a plan.

The Preacher who Ed spoke to at the 7Eleven was a part of ministry team looking for a mission field opportunity in their area. Within a few minutes Ed was invited to meet their team; a doctrinally sound group of believers who have now offered to take on his Prison Bible studies as their mission.

They were looking, Ed was asking and God set up the meeting.

But… if Ed had not being willing to hear the Holy Spirit when He said “Speak.” God’s business would have been undone and Ed would have continued on, worn and tired.

Listen…

God may be just about to bless you.

God Approved Cussing

help wanted 2

I know, strange title right? Maybe it’s because my own exhaustion has taken over, or perhaps it’s because there is someone who grows weary in the grind of life and needed to hear David’s words of encouragement from II Samuel 16:12-14, but regardless, I was drawn into this story this morning. It’s not one of the typical stories of intrigue, it’s one very much like we see happening in the lives of people every day. A friend forsaken, a prominent family of dysfunction, a struggle for power, and smack dab in the middle… a weary saint of God. The same saint that a few chapters earlier was man of mighty valor who now is fleeing from his own son. Along the way, as if he’s not weary enough, a member of Saul’s family (his ex-boss) comes alongside him on the roadway and begins to curse and throw stones. God didn’t approve of the cussing, but He allowed it to happen. Picking up the story in verse 12…

12 It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.

13 And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.

14 And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.

This is why we love David. Or at least why I love him. In the midst of family turmoil, his ex-friends family cussing him out and throwing rocks at him, his true friend wants to cut the guy’s head off and David says “eh, don’t bother; it’s all good.” And then they refresh themselves.

I don’t think their time of refreshing was a tea and crumpet kind of meeting, but I found it to be a joy to my soul this morning as I try to function coherently and write this blog, that in the middle of the worst days of his life, David could say without missing a beat… “God’s got this, let’s have tea.” That’s serious creative licensing with the Word of God, but it struck me that funny.

So it’s my words of encouragement for you this morning. I know life’s rough, it doesn’t always go as we planned, but you need that time of refreshing. Services start at 10 a.m., hope to see you there! For my folks in Israel, France, Canada, China, Ukraine, the Russian Federation or maybe even Charleston, West Virginia you need a place of refreshment a little closer. Find yourself a good Bible preaching church today, and go get you a big ol’ drink of Jesus. He’ll restore your soul. He sure did mine!

Where is God in the Tragedy?

Making sense of nonsense

There’s no shortage of it. Turn on the evening news and from start to finish it’s full of heartache and sorrow with an occasional “feel good” story thrown in in a vain attempt at balancing it out.  Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, he too tried to figure it out and I was again blown away by the profoundness of his faith as I read his words this morning in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3

Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

This morning a dear family in the faith is on my heart. The most unthinkable of tragedies has struck their family and for them there is no sense in it. There is total innocence on one side and utter degradation of man on the other, so how do we find God in the middle of this mess… we remember that we are made for eternity.

life is a season

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

As they say, “This too shall pass, right?” Though the words roll easily off the tongue, the season of “passing” is not the greatest of times, it alone sometimes feels like an eternity. I’ve had those moments in time when I wondered “How can ‘this’ possibly ever get better? ‘This’ doesn’t feel like a seasonal thing, it’s life altering. And when I read the second half of that verse… that there is “purpose;” it can make even less sense to me. How could God have a purpose in that? I don’t think the tragedies of life are the purpose. God is good (Mark 10:18). God’s not “in” the tragedy, He’s at the end of the tragedy. He’s the One that’s waiting for this to all be over; this mayhem that Satan set into motion in the Garden of Eden. He’s at the end waiting for us to get home, to the land He created where there is no night, no sorrow or sadness. Life is a season.

life is service

Ecclesiastes 3:13

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

From now until the day that God welcomes us home is our time of reasonable service. Romans 12:1  That reasonable service includes serving God through the times that make no sense to help everyone get to the land of perfect sense. We can’t make sense out of evil, but we can serve and trust in God who is nothing but good.

life is nothing without salvation2

Ecclesiastes 3:15-17

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

There have been so very many “why’s “in my life, until I get to a verse like this and then I realize that there is no righteousness in me. I’m going to stand before a righteous God knowing that I am there solely because Christ’s blood allowed it. In earth’s perspective I can view the wickedness of the day and think that I’m not as vile as they, but in the reality of God there is no degree of sin. It all separates us from Him and life on earth is nothing without the Salvation of Christ. It’s a fleeting fraction of time that’s gone before we can get turned around. And where is God? Waiting.

There is so much to do to get our friends and family prepared for eternity. Let’s get busy!

A Pearl Positioned by Appointment

pearl-01

Matthew 13:44-46 ~  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

It is estimated that out of three tons of pearl oysters, only about three of them will have a perfectly-formed pearl. Given everything that is required in order for a pearl to develop, it’s not surprising that so few are produced. An oyster’s shell is made from an organ called the mantle. Using minerals from the oyster’s food as an energy source, the mantle expands, which leads to the shell’s growth. The interior of the shell is lined with a material called nacre, which is also produced by the mantle. In order for a pearl to develop, an irritant–typically a parasite of some sort–must situate itself between the oyster’s shell and mantle. When this particle sets in, it irritates the oyster and, in an effort to protect itself, the mantle begins to cover the foreign object with layers of nacre. As time passes, these layers eventually form a pearl. Typically, this takes about three to five years. (This according to ehow.com)

 Is it any wonder real pearls are so costly! A jewel in the house of the Lord is much the same.  Out of the congregation of the Lord it is said that only 10% are doing the actual work of the ministry, for which I tend to agree from my travels. They are rare and priceless. It is not to say that many others are not beautiful people making great contribution, but the pearls are those hand selected by God out of an ocean of possibilities.

 They’ve gotten there through great irritation!

 Be successful in leadership and you’ll understand completely how that pearl gets formed. Every struggle in the ministry, attack of Satan, complaint from the people, personal struggle, sickness and distraction is an irritant that has to be covered. There’s work to be done. So sometimes you wear a “slimy” smile that feels icky but it covers up the pain in your core. And before long that problem is smoothed over and you can rest a while until another issue arises and another layer of kindness or understanding is needed to get through. And much like that iridescent shine created on the pearl as layer after layer of nacre are made, a successful leader begins to shine too.

 Successful leaders are not people who have their world completely in hand and under control. Oh contraire! Many, if not most that I know, are exactly the opposite. They have the same issues as everyone else if not worse but they choose to put them aside for the greater cause; which is the people of God and service to the Lord.

 They’ve gotten there through many intervals

 True leadership is not appointed by position, it’s positioned by appointment. It takes experience to be a leader, and most of those experiences have been a divine appointment from the Creator to train His leaders. Often times because of the politics of the day people are appointed into positions they are not qualified to have, and it inevitably wreaks havoc on an organization.  It takes time to become a great leader.

 They’re not imitations

 Man can create a pearl that looks almost as lovely as the real deal, but the real pearls are rare, priceless, heavily sought and have gotten to that point by years of heartache and struggle. Successful leaders are those who use the irritants of life as a polish their personalities. They identify with and understand the struggles of those they lead because they’ve been there. Just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does.

Are you a pearl of great price? Perhaps you’re still in the formation stage. Use those irritants of life to polish yourself into a leader that can be used for the Kingdom’s glory. Amen!

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….