Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Reasons People Got to Church

This from someone's grandmother about a poem that was taught her as a little girl (circa 1920)

"Some go to church for observation.

Some go to church for conversation.

Some go to church to wink and nod.

And a few may go to worship God."

-Elizabeth (Grandma's name)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Currently Reading This Fall.

What are you reading?

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Current Sermon Series.

Currently doing a sermon series based on Mark Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Had planned this for some time. Great series that asks the tough question of "Are we a healthy church?" and how we can improve.

What are you currently preaching or learning on?

Friday, September 01, 2017

5 Ways God Uses Problems. (Sept Newsletter)

The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you- depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately many people fail to see how God wants to use problems for the good in their lives. They react foolishly an resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might ring. Here are five ways God wants to us problems in your life:

1. God uses problems to DIRECT you. Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6
2. God uses problems to INSPECT you. People are like tea bags …if you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? “When you have many kind of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.” James 1:2-3.
3. God uses problems to CORRECT you. Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It’s likely as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned the hard way by being burned later. Sometimes we only learn the value of something by losing it.
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statues.” Psalm 119:72
4. God uses problems to PROTECT you. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. I’ve seen where people have been let go from employment places only to find out the employers were unethical and they later found better employment opportunities rather than in a toxic environment. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for God. Genesis 50:20
5. God uses problems to PERFECT you. Problems when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you’re going to take with you into eternity.
“We can rejoice when we run into problems ….they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” Romans 5:3-4.

Here’s the point: God is at work in your life – even when you don’t recognize it or understand it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Brother: Mike

I had recently went back to Canada. It has been 11 years since I last was there. This time was due to my brother, Mike. I have very few family left: My brothers and I (And their families). A lot of people love my family. They can be an unusual lot (The same can be said of me). This trip was quick. A visit with my friends the Mills. (whose grandson passed away while we were there - we think it was the Lord's timing we can encourage them). Then, we visited my brother, who had a stroke a few years ago, and had a brain injury accident and has been in the hospital for some time and looking for more permanent home and the next steps (As of this writing - they were looking to transfer back to Hamilton and maybe placed in facility in Dunnville) It has been a good visit with Darryl, Lori, Dwayne (Andrew) and others and a visit to my home church. There have been two things that have spoken volumes for us:

1. Family support and talking to one another is needed. Valerie and I plan on going back soon with the kids. We miss them and the feeling seems to be mutual.

2. Prayers are needed and not to be underestimated. I have a great home church, and current ministry that God has always been faithful. Keep praying. Pray for my family, Mike's health, Lori's health (his wife), and the rest of my family. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Secret to Staying in Ministry.

I had once had a 99 year old lady tell me the secret to long life: Faith in God, positive attitude, and have a great sense of humor.

The secret to staying in ministry is simple: Don't quit too soon.

Preachers quit for many reasons. Sometimes it's for health reasons, other times for financial reasons, occasional for moral reasons, but often it's simply the result of discouragement. I've had a few short youth ministries and just now entering my longest preaching ministry in Central Virginia. What worked for me may not work necessarily for you. Every preacher is different and every congregation is different.

Two observations:

1. I didn't ever intend to be a preacher in Central Virginia. Turns out right place, in right timing, that God placed me here after serving a sister congregation years prior as a youth minister.

2. I do not think I would be the same preacher if starting today and the demands. It has been some of the lessons I've learned along the way that helped shape me where I am.

There seems to be several important factors of one still being in ministry even after 22 years and here are some:

The Minister's Attitude, Work Ethic, Preaching, Relationship to Leadership, and Personal Life.

I. The Minister's Attitude. (Remember the positive attitude?) Ask yourself is it your life or livelihood? career or calling? employee of elders or man of God? do you serve the church or does the church serve you? Is there any task beneath you? (willing to move chairs and tables?) Don't be overbearing, prideful or domineering. What is your attitude toward the church? Criticize them?Encourage them? Know how to apologize? face up to your mistakes, laugh at yourself? Attitude toward the Unchurches? See the lost? Can you love the unlovely?

II. The Minister's Work Ethic. No room for laziness in ministry. be a shepherd, not a commander. lead the people. If you don't love your work, your workers will never love you. Seek to generate zeal in others. Work for unity in the church family. Preachers are often responsible for "splits" in the church. Don't do it. Heal wounds. "Blessed are the peacemakers"

III. The Minister's Preaching.
Stay in the main stream. Keep the main thing - the main thing. Don't ride hobby horses or major on minors. Preach the Word. Work for variety and freshness in your preaching (That's why I try to Waypoint's Annual Preaching Summit seminar). A visiting preacher can get away with a set of few sermons but staying at the same church - try to improve your preaching and its style. Strive for excellence in your sermons. Listen to others. Get your facts straight (With the internet - check the sources Don't insult your audience.

IV. The Minister's Relationship to the Leadership.
Know your role. Where do you fit in? Get to know your leaders, work along side of them. Maintain your level of excitement and generate that in others. Be flexible. Don't think because you have education from Bible College, seminary you are the final authority or your way is the only way. Don't assume its you versus Them. Let the leaders share responsibility.

V. The Minister's Personal Life.
Family. Take care of them. They are your first ministry. Love your wife. Love the children. Be their father first. Finances. - work on them. Don't live beyond your means. Faith - develop your spiritual life. If there is something I wished I did more was pray more, worry less, and give of myself ....

Anything you would add?