Tag Archives: Shari Johnson

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….

Couch Christianity?

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

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

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

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

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

Got a match?

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

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

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