A Letter To Women

Dear Women,

If there is one thing I wish for you it is to grab hold of the following verses that God gives us and NEVER let them go:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

 – 1 Peter 3:1-6

I realize these verses were written to “wives” but there is a lot that we can take from these verses that apply to all of you. I want you to grab hold of these truths:

  1. Purity and reverence work better then degrading and nagging. 1 Peter 3:1,2 (Married Women) You can’t nag and degrade your husband into the Kingdom.  He won’t become the spiritual leader or the “man he should be” because you run him down all the time. Try encouragement and living the life of Christ in front of him. For some of you that seems impossible. Be encouraged that God will not ask us to do something He does not give us the ability to do. Is it easy? NO! Is it possible through God’s grace? YES! CAUTION: If you are in an abusive relationship GET OUT! You are not called to stay in that situation. You need to get out of the situation and notify those who can help you and protect you. (We are glad to help email us at help@connection-church.com)
  2. Don’t settle for the frog. (This one is for the unmarried). The best way for you to avoid #1 is not to marry #2! (That’s pretty funny I don’t care who you are.) If you are in Christ you are daughters of the King of kings. You have been brought into the “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). That means you should marry royalty. Wait on your prince! So am I saying the princess and the prince should get married? It’s OK the Bible says we were “adopted.” . CAUTION: If you are already married the Bible says you should stay as you are. (1 Corinthians 7:12-24) Pray that God will use you to bring your spouse to the Lord and that He will give you the strength to patiently lead them to Him.
  3. Beauty is not found in the beholder it is found in Christ. (1 Peter 3:3,4) Your beauty comes from the fact that Jesus lives in you. It is the fruit of this reality (the radiance of His glory in you, a gentle, peaceful, and quiet spirit) that creates true beauty. Don’t look to anyone else to define beauty and don’t look to anyone else to confirm your beauty. It doesn’t come from what you put on the outside. It comes from the work of Christ on the inside. What does it matter what others think if God had already said that you, as a part of the bride of Christ (his church), are beautiful! It’s a beauty that cannot come from workouts, pills, make-up, haircuts, new clothes, the right guy, etc. Jesus has already said He loves you the way He created you. If the God of the Universe says that shouldn’t it be enough?
  4. Fish with the right bait. (Unmarried…but those married should glean from this as well) What you are trying to catch dictates what you fish with. Don’t chum the water if you don’t want to attract sharks. Are you more focused on your inner beauty that comes from a relationship with Jesus or showing enough skin to turn a guy’s head? Don’t bait for sharks and expect to catch your prince. True beauty doesn’t come from outward adornment but from the Spirit of Christ working in you. Inner beauty is of great worth to God. (1 Peter 3:4) Don’t settle for shallow beauty to please shallow people!
  5. Recognize the source of your satisfaction. This is HUGE for everyone! The reason many women go from man to man looking for “Mr. Right” is because they’ve never truly found their satisfaction in Christ and have yet to realize “Mr. Right” doesn’t exist. In fact, the Bible says we are ALL wrong. No man will ever satisfy your deepest longings! I hate to crush your romantic dreams but it is the truth. No man alive was created to satisfy your life. However, you were created to be satisfied in Christ. True satisfaction comes when your hope rest securely in Him. (1 Peter 3:5)
  6. Understand submission is not weakness. Submitting to God is not a sign of weakness. Neither is submitting to a godly man who is submitting to God. Marriage works when two people are first submitted to God and second submitted to each other. It is a two way street of respect and honor. In almost a decade of ministry I’ve never seen a marriage not work when both people were submitted to and pursuing Jesus. I know there has been some misunderstanding about this statement when I’ve made it before, so let me say it the way I mean it…I have never seen a marriage not work when both people were submitted to and pursuing Jesus. Get your relationship with Jesus right and all of your other relationships will follow. We have questions and struggles. God has an answer…Jesus!

I hope this encourages you wherever you are in life and relationships. Remember whose you are and remember what He says about you! Don’t live for others. Live for Him. Don’t let others determine your worth. People don’t die for people they don’t see as having no value. Jesus died for you. Why? He sees value in you. Let the confidence that comes from that fact guide and direct your life.

Heart and Soul!

Beating Christian Boredom

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going from there, he saw two brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

– Matthew 4:18-22

I am often amazed at the people I encounter who have “tried Christianity” or “tried religion” and found it boring and unfulfilling. I have also seen countless people who are just bored with their faith in Christ, bored with church and disillusioned as to what it really has to offer them. This is really odd because if Jesus is who He says He is, God, how could He be boring? How could a relationship with Him ever get stale? I don’t believe the problem is Jesus not being who He says He is. He simply IS! I believe the problem can be found in the scripture quoted above in Matthew 4:18-22.

We see in these scriptures that when Jesus calls someone to come to Him He calls them to “follow” or pursue Him. We aren’t called to a stagnant state, but to motion and action. We are called to a great journey with God.

It is important to realize that salvation is not the end point in our journey. It is just the beginning! Salvation is not just a ticket to Heaven but is the doorway to discovering more and more of God! We literally embark on a life long journey of revelation with the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Does that sound boring to you?!

The problem is that we often stop along the way. In other words, we quit taking our next step in our journey with Jesus. Next Steps are simply steps of faith in our journey with Christ. Many times we quit seeking our next step. Other times we refuse to take the next step God gives us because it seems to hard or we aren’t sure it will be worth it. In effect, our faith becomes stagnant and stagnation leads to disillusionment and boredom!

How do we avoid Christian Boredom? (It is really an oxymoron!) We take our next step of faith! We pursue Jesus! As we pursue Him our next step becomes apparent and as we take it we become anything but bored! Why do many Christians end up bored? They simply quit taking their next step in pursuit of Jesus!

CAUTION: We all have times when our faith is red hot and times when we don’t feel as passionate. You aren’t alone in that. The question is are you willing to settle for that? DON’T BE! Don’t settle for anything less than a journey through a relationship with Jesus! I can promise you although the journey may be tough and it may be frightening at times, but it IS NOT boring!

The next four weeks we are going to be taking a look at what a next step is, how we find it, and how we take it! Invite someone to come with you this Sunday. Invest…Invite…Serve…Encourage! GATA!!

Heart and Soul!!

How Do I Know I Am “Saved”?

A common question I hear among Christians is, “How do I know I am ‘saved’?” How do I truly know that I am secure in salvation, reconciled to God, and bound to spend eternity with Him forever. As a pastor my heart is that those who are in Christ would have confidence in their eternal security, hope in the promises of Jesus, and joy in their salvation! However, I also don’t want people to be deceived as to their relationship with God! Matthew 7:21-23 is evidence that it is possible for us to be deceived about our standing with God. This blog is not intended to create doubt but to bring assurance to the believer and awakening to the unbeliever.

Here are some ways that you may “know that you have eternal life”. (1 John 5:13):

  1. Have I been given a new heart? (Check out the promise in Ezekiel 36:24-27) In other words, have my desires changed? Am I growing to love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates? Has the trajectory of my life changed? Do I desire to be more like Jesus?
  2. Have you surrendered to Christ or did you just make a statement? Standing in a service, raising your hand, checking a box, nor praying a prayer saves you. Only surrendering your life to Christ and trusting in the life He offers is able to bring salvation. Have you seen that your life is becoming obedient to Christ? (John 14:15) CAUTION: We obey Jesus because we love Him not so that He will love us! You can’t make Him love you. He just does!
  3. Have I become aware of His presence with me and in me? In John 14:16 Jesus promises that His followers will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit that will be with them and in them. As believers we recognize God’s presence in our lives. Do you sense His direction as you go throughout your day? Do you sense conviction in your life when you sin? Do you turn to Him when you are faced with a challenging situation? Do you praise Him when you recognize His blessing in your life?
  4. Are you growing in the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23 The Bible is clear that if we are in Christ we will produce fruit that is consistent with His life. 1 John 2:5-6 says, “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Obviously none of us are perfect in this but we should be growing in His image and more clearly reflecting His glory! CAUTION: We don’t produce the fruit of the Spirit by focusing on the fruit! That’s miserable! We produce the fruit of the Spirit as a byproduct of a relationship with Jesus. Focus on the relationship!
  5. Has repentance become a part of my life? In Acts 2:38 Peter tells those who are listening to the first sermon ever preached that they must, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Repentance is simply turning from our sins and turning to Christ. It has always been at the center of the preaching of the Old Testament prophets, the prophet John the Baptist in the New Testament, the teachings of Jesus, and the Apostles. It must remain at the center of modern day preaching of the Gospel. In fact, if repentance has not been preached the Gospel has not been proclaimed!  It is a GREAT privilege that we are able to turn from the life taking ways of sin to the life giving ways of Christ! CAUTION: Repentance is not a one time event. It is a way of life that characterizes the normal Christian’s existence.

Love you guys! Heart and Soul!

What Do We Do When Bad Things Happen?

Probably the greatest challenge to our faith is trusting God when bad things happen. There are so many questions that rush through our minds! Probably the most common ones I hear are:

  • “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
  • “If God is really sovereign then why did this happen?”
  • “How could a good God allow them to suffer like this?”
  • “How can I understand this?”

Just the other day I had someone ask me many of these questions as they tried to sort through a trial they were facing in their own life.  As a pastor, these are some of the most difficult questions to answer and, honestly, the ones that many times challenge my own faith. I thought about this again the other night as I read Genesis 45. Go ahead and read that section of scripture.

In case you aren’t familiar with the backline of this account in scripture I’ll give you the short version. You may remember Joseph as the boy who had the coat of many colors that was given to him by his father. You may also remember that the coat made Joseph’s brothers quite jealous! It didn’t help matters any when one night Joseph had a dream that he would rule over his brothers and father. He told his family about this dream and things didn’t go so well! He ended up thrown into a well and sold off to Egypt. In Egypt he arose to prominence in the house of a man named Potiphar until Potiphar’s wife, who was evidently a freak, tried to seduce Joseph. When he wouldn’t have anything to do with her she framed him and got him arrested. Back to prison he went! However, God wasn’t finished with him and he would eventually rise again. This time he would be ruler over all of Egypt and in charge of everything that belonged to Pharaoh. The Lord told Joseph that 7 years of famine would strike the land and Joseph made preparation by storing up food in Egypt. The great famine touches everyone including Joseph’s family. They, like many others, come to Egypt looking for food. This is where Genesis 45:3-11 picks up.

After all that the brothers had done to Joseph and all of the heartache and pain he had been through he was able to utter the words we read in verse 5.

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

In Genesis 50:20 he also says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Is it as remarkable to you as it is to me that Joseph could have this attitude after all that he had been through? Think about all the wasted years! The lonely nights in dark, death infested prisons! The fear of not knowing what would happen the next day! The disappointment of rising to prominence one day only to lose it all the next because of a slutty woman who tried to ruin your life because you did the right thing!

Often times we read accounts in the Bible and think that the people we are reading about were superhuman. That’s just not the case. Joseph, like everyone else other than Jesus who walked the face of the earth, was imperfect. So how did he come to the place of being able to say, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” How did he reach that place of maturity and trust in God? How did he get through the tough questions like the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this blog?

As I’ve grown in my faith and continue to grow (I have a looooong way to go!), I have become increasingly comfortable to say, “I don’t know!” For years I felt that I needed to have all the answers. Now I realize that is impossible to have all of the answers,  especially in the area we are discussing today. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His “thoughts are not [our] thoughts, neither are [our] ways [His] ways.” He continues, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This brings me a lot of peace now that I have simply accepted the fact that I CAN NOT understand everything about God nor can I understand all that He does. When it comes to life and things that happen sometimes the answer is simply, “I don’t know why!”

Rather than focusing on what I don’t know I try to turn my attention to what I do know. While I can’t understand everything about God there are some things that I do know and can hold onto everyday. I want to share four questions that I hope will help you find answers.

  1. Is God good? Yes. Sometimes when things happen in our lives it is easy to doubt this or maybe question His goodness. If this is a struggle for you I would say look at the cross! The cross is the pinnacle of God’s goodness that stands higher than all of man’s calamity! We cannot look at the cross, remember God’s innocent Son hung there for our sins, and then question God’s goodness or desire to work all things for our good.
  2. Is God faithful? Yes. Here’s the amazing thing. Since the day you were born you’ve been inhaling and exhaling. Who gave you that breath? God. Last night none of you went to bed wondering if the Sun would come up this morning. Who causes the Sun to rise and set? God. Who has brought you through the difficult times in your life? God. Who has worked good, is working good, or will work good from the most difficult times in your life? God. He IS faithful!
  3. Is God sovereign? Yes. God is in complete control. There’s never been one day that He woke up worried about what was coming. There’s never been a time when He wondered what needed to be done or lacked the power to do it! He is in control of our lives. Here’s some good news for you! A good, faithful, and sovereign God is in control of your life! That thought, not the thought of maybe being able to manipulate God to get what you want, brings incredible peace and hope!
  4. Can you trust Him? Yes. In fact, in light of numbers 1-3 the better question to ask is, “Why wouldn’t I trust Him?” He is good, faithful, and sovereign. There is no doubt that you can trust Him. But will you? Will you lay your cares, hurts, anger, and disappointment at His feet and trust that He cares for you? Will you let Him take your anxiety and worry about the future? Will you hold to Him through the dark nights trusting and knowing that He is holding you?

My encouragement to you today is to focus on what we do know rather than what we don’t! Focus on His goodness and faithfulness! His sovereign power! And rest in the fact that you CAN trust Him!

Love you guys!  Heart and Soul!

How Do I Overcome Sin In My Life?

Today I want to share some ways that we overcome sin in our lives. This is a follow up to the blog from yesterday 10 Things A Christian Cannot Do! Before we start I do want to remind you that we are all imperfect people who are on a journey together. None of us are righteous on our own! Our right standing with God is a gift from God through Jesus Christ who had no sin yet became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God! Yet God does promise us, through the process of sanctification, that He will continually transform us into His image. This doesn’t come from our pursuit of religious rules and laws but through our relationship with Christ and the power of His Spirit! With that in mind here are some ways that we build our relationship with Him and see His power work in our lives!

  1. Have a relationship with Jesus and don’t get sucked into the trap of religion! Religion, following rules and laws, CANNOT overcome the sin in your life! If it could Jesus died for nothing. Until we come into a relationship with Jesus through faith in His death and resurrection we are powerless against sin! You may, through will power, clean up your life but it will be void of fulfillment! (John 8:34 // Romans 6:1-14)
  2. Pursue Jesus! No relationship works if those involved in the relationship are not pursuing each other. This is true in our relationship with Jesus as well. This is what I know, if you are a Christian it is because Jesus has pursued you! Contrary to a lot of Christian talk you did not find Him! He found you! God has never been lost! We are the ones who were lost! He is pursuing you! Are you pursuing Him! It is impossible to pursue sin and Jesus at the same time! You must turn your back on one to pursue the other! (James 4:4-8)
  3. Renew your mind! This is where the power of God’s Word is active in our lives. We go to scripture not so that we can put a check on our spiritual to-do list but so that we can hear the heart of God, build our faith, and allow His Word to wash our minds and purify our hearts. God’s Word is living and active and has the power to renew our minds so that we begin to think like Christ! (Romans 12:2 // Hebrews 4:12)
  4. Worship! You cannot worship God and sin at the same time! For example, I guarantee you a Christian cannot sing Amazing Grace in an attitude of worship and watch porn at the same time! Worship is not just music but it is what we do with our whole life! We can’t “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” as an “act of worship” and at the same time use them to profane the name of God! (Romans 12:1 // Hebrews 13:15-16)
  5. Fellowship with other believers! We CANNOT do life alone! Biblical fellowship is fellowship that is around the gospel. All people share one thing in common. We have all rebelled against God! Christians share two things in common. We have all rebelled against God and we have all been reconciled to God through Christ! It is this second commonality that we rally around together! (Hebrews 10:24-25 // Acts 2:42-47)
  6. Serve others! Thinking of yourself less is a guaranteed way of escaping the selfish desires of your heart! To see the power of this just look at the example of Jesus! Jesus, God in the flesh, emptied himself of His rights and became a servant! If He lived that way, why don’t we? Answer…10/10 people are selfish! That includes you and that includes me! If you want to overcome selfishness…HUMBLE YOURSELF AND SERVE! (Philippians 2:1-11 // John 13:1-17)
  7. Don’t let your past dictate your future! You and I CANNOT run the race God has for us until we let go of dead things! For far too many of us our past hinders us from living our the future God intends! When we do grasp the fact that God forgives us many still struggle with forgiving themselves. Here’s a logical question…If the Great God of the Universe who is perfect in every way says that Jesus’ blood is enough to cover your sin should that be good enough for you too? My prayer is that the hurts and sin of your past will not be allowed to dictate your future because it is dead having been nailed to the cross of Christ! You are not a victim for you have victory in Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:1-2 // Philippians 3:1-14)

Love you guys! Heart and Soul!

10 Things A Christian Cannot do!

Hey Connection!!

Today I want to share 10 things a Christian CANNOT DO! Here they are:

  1. Grow closer to Jesus and love Him less! 1 Peter 2:1-3. It is impossible to experience Jesus and not want more of Him and it is impossible to see more of who He is and desire Him less. It is when we allow the cares of this world and its deceptive promises lead our wandering hearts away from Him that we find ourselves less affectionate toward Him. We will never spend more time with Him and love Him less!
  2. Grow closer to Jesus and love others less! John 15:9-17. Jesus clearly tells us to love others as He has loved us! This type of love is impossible without the work of God in our lives. In fact, it is only because of Jesus’ love for us that we can even know what true, unconditional love is. As Jesus conforms our heart to be more like His heart we will love more like Him!
  3. Grow closer to Jesus and love His church less! Ephesians 5:25-27. The church is often referred to symbolically as the “Bride of Christ”. Jesus died to make His church holy, pure, and presentable to himself. This was an incredible display of sacrificial love. You cannot say you love Jesus and hate what He loves. How insulting to say, “I love you Jesus but I don’t care for your bride that you died to purify and save!” You wouldn’t say that to me about my bride much less to God about His! As we grow closer to Christ we will see His church, with all of its imperfections, as the beautiful bride that she is!
  4. Grow closer to Jesus and love your spouse less! Ephesians 5:22-33. Jesus’ love for us, His church, is our model for life within the marriage covenant. As we grow closer to Jesus we WILL love our spouse with the same type of love that Jesus has for us. I didn’t say things would be perfect! Marriage takes work! But a marriage made up of two people pursuing Jesus WORKS! In fact, these marriages get better with time, not worse!
  5. Grow closer to Jesus and have less joy! 1 Peter 1:8. Jesus is our joy! It is in Him that we truly experience life in its fullness. There is no greater joy than knowing you have been forgiven and walking in relationship with your Heavenly Father.
  6. Grow closer to Jesus and share Him less! 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. The closer we get to Jesus the more we want to share Him. If you won the lottery wouldn’t you tell someone? In Christ we have the greatest treasure. How could we not tell others about what and who we’ve found?
  7. Grow closer to Jesus and become less like Him! 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. As we grow closer to Jesus we are shaped to be more like Him. This happens through a process called sanctification. It is the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives after salvation that produces in us the righteousness already given to us through faith in Christ! What a privilege!
  8. Grow closer to Jesus and forgive less! Matthew 6:14-15. Jesus didn’t suggest we forgive He tells us that unless we forgive we cannot be forgiven. For some of you this seems impossible! The Good News is that all things are possible through Christ! The truth is that until you and I are able to offer the same forgiveness to others that we’ve received from Jesus our unforgiveness will be a roadblock to a growing relationship with Christ! Ask Him for strength to forgive and then make the choice to forgive.
  9. Grow closer to Jesus and give less! 1 Peter 4:10. When we realize all that God has given to us we can’t help but give to others! Yes, this includes our tithes and offerings to the church. But it also includes the giving and sharing of all of our resources with those inside and outside the church! It is the sharing of our time and our treasure. Jesus gave all He had and as we grow closer to Him we will desire to give the same way He did!
  10. Grow closer to Jesus and pursue impure or improper relationships more! 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. (Couldn’t get that one to fit with “less” but it was too important to leave out!) You CAN NOT pursue impure or improper relationships with others and pursue Jesus at the same time. Before you try to argue just listen…YOU CAN’T! In order to pursue one you have to turn your back on the other. This includes anything from sex outside of marriage to pornography and lust! The argument would be, “But I’m not having a relationship with someone if I’m looking at pornography or lusting after someone.” Sure you are! You’re engaging in a relationship with your idol called sex and self-gratification. How do you overcome these things? I’ll answer that tomorrow in the next blog.

Heart and Soul!

Some Things We Need To Celebrate!!

Hey Connection!!

Just wanted to share some things that we really need to celebrate and thank God for! Here goes:

1. We had 28 new people sign up to serve in Konnection Kids! That’s INCREDIBLE! Thank you for stepping up and taking your Next Steps to serve Jesus and these kids!

2. Two Sundays ago we were able to baptize 17 people! That’s 17 people who publicly professed their faith in Christ and we were able to witness a physical representation of the spiritual reality that they have gone from death to life! That is AMAZING! It will NEVER get old seeing that!!

3. This past Sunday we had 53 people respond to the Gospel! I don’t have an adjective to describe that! Just thankful for it! We are still calling and following up with people to see how many were salvations, rededications, etc. Our prayer team got a workout!

4. The BEST is yet to come! We are starting our foundations class on October 14th. If you are a new Christian or have been a Christian for a while but want to build a strong foundation to grow your faith, this is where you need to be! It’s going to be an awesome four week course that will help equip you in your faith! I can’t wait to see what all God does through it!

5.The BEST is yet to come part 2! There will be more incredible things you’ll hear about in the next couple of months! GET READY!

Love you guys!

Heart and Soul!!

7 Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way!

Hey Connection!!

Today I want to share 7 things I’ve learned over the years about leadership. Unfortunately, I learned these the hard way by making the mistakes. I hope by sharing these you will be able to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made!

  1. You CAN NOT let people’s response dictate your response to God’s Word or command.
  2. You CAN NOT let perceived ministry success or failure dictate your Next Steps in ministry.
  3. You CAN NOT let the size of ministry intimidate you as the ministry grows! Nothing we face is intimidating to God! Why should it be intimidating to us?!
  4. You CAN NOT let perceived apathy among people quench the fire in your heart. Passion for God, people and the vision must flow from God to you and then to others. It CAN NOT be drawn from people! That well runs dry quickly!
  5. You CAN NOT listen to foes and fans. Listen to friends. I have heard it said many times before that as a leader you will be surrounded by three types of people: foes, fans, and friends. Your foes will disagree with you no matter what you do finding fault with everything. The opposite extreme is fans. Before anyone accuses me of saying I have a “fan following” let me explain what I mean by that! People who are fans are people who will just agree with what ever you do. The people you have to listen to are true friends. Your friends will tell you the honest truth even when it isn’t what you want to hear
  6. You CAN NOT wait around thinking that someone else, including your board, associates, etc., will carry the vision forward! God has given you the vision and you are the one who has to advance it! I don’t want this to sound as if I’m saying you, as the leader, are not submitted to anyone and that carrying God’s vision forward is not a “team sport”. It is definitely as “team sport” because one person can only carry it so far. What I want you to see is that as the leader of a church, organization, or family it is ultimately your responsibility to keep the vision in front of people and to make it compelling so that others want to run with it. Think about it this way: As servant leaders we should be a catalyst that propels the vision forward not a weight that others are trying to drag along.
  7. You CAN NOT allow an individual or group of individuals to sway you into making a decision against God’s command or vision! Their opinions are temporary (And so is their attendance when they see you will not be swayed!) but the impact of your decisions are eternal!

I wrote this from the perspective of being in ministry but these principles can be applied within any organization. I hope this helps someone!

Heart and Soul!

When and Why Should I be Baptized?

Hey Connection!!

Needless to say I am already pumped about the baptisms that will take place after our service on September 23rd. It’s going to be an incredible celebration as we watch people publically profess their faith in Jesus and celebrate people going from death to life! YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THAT SUNDAY!!

With the baptisms coming up I wanted to give you three thoughts about when and why you should be baptized:

  1. Because Jesus said so…Jesus was very clear in Matthew 28:19,20 that WHEN (that’s important) we become a Christian our next step is baptism. In his first sermon, the Apostle Peter told those listening, “Repent (turn from sin and turn to Jesus) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) These are pretty clear commands that once we come to belief and trust in Jesus as our savior our next step is baptism! Question…have you been baptized AS A BELIEVER in Jesus Christ.
  2. As YOUR decision…Baptism comes after YOU make a choice to follow Christ. This is your decision not the decision of your parents or in order to attain church membership. It is your statement that your life has been set apart and wholly devoted to Jesus. It is saying that Jesus has washed MY sins away (the cleansing water) and that I have risen from death to life (going under the water and coming back up) with Christ. Baptism is a physical representation of a spiritual reality that doesn’t take place until you have been converted (saved) through faith. Question…have you been baptized as a public profession of YOUR decision to follow Jesus?
  3. As a response to what God has done…Baptism DOES NOT cause our conversion or make us “saved”. The waters don’t save you, Jesus does! If you are baptized without faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior you are just a wet sinner bound for Hell. (OK…that was kinda harsh but it was the only way I could think to say it!) There is no saving power in the water itself. The power of salvation is found in faith in what Jesus did on the cross as He took our sin and God’s judgment on himself so that we can be forgiven! (Ephesians 2:8,9) We cannot save ourselves! When we think of the overwhelming grace of God that He has poured into our lives, the question really changes from “Why should I be baptized?” to “Why wouldn’t I be baptized?!” Question…have you been baptized as a result of your FAITH in what Jesus has done on the cross?

If your answer to any of these questions is “no” and you are a follower of Christ then your next step IS baptism. There will be plenty of water on the 23rd! Click here to Sign-up!

Heart and Soul!

Brandon

Only Ask!!

Hey Connection!!

Psalm 2:8 has been on my heart and running through my mind like crazy this morning. I want to share it with you and, as you pray our prayer from Ephesians 1:17-19 (See yesterday’s blog), ask God to fulfill His Word through us! Psalm 2:8 says:

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

As this Psalm was sang in worship the people were reminded that a day would come when the promise given to Abraham (that all nations would be blessed through him) would be fulfilled. Psalm 2 speaks of the useless revolt of the nations against God’s power and sovereignty. It speaks of God’s ultimate and final establishment of His Kingdom through the Davidic line that ultimately led to the Messiah, Jesus!

When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost it was the inauguration a new Kingdom that will continue to grow until all nations are brought under the headship of Christ. While this will not be perfected until the return of Christ, God clearly says that if we, His children, ask He “will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” This is a picture of God’s Kingdom expanding in all directions.

Psalm 2:9 says:

You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

Sounds a little harsh and not much like a blessing! But it speaks to the complete lordship of God over the nations! Isn’t that what we want? People who are broken as they realize their need for Jesus?! To see multitudes surrender to the lordship of Christ?! That millions would realize the blessedness of surrender to the King of kings?!

The New Living Translation says:

Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession.

ONLY ASK! I say we do just that! Ask God today that He would give us (His Church) the nations! Ask that multitudes of people would be brought under the rulership of Christ and the blessing of reconciliation with God!

Keep praying our prayer from Ephesians 1:17-19:

Lord, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know you better! Enlighten our hearts so that we can know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in us, and your incomparably great power for us who believe! Amen!

As we pray this let’s ASK God to bring the nations to himself as He opens their eyes to see who He is!

Heart and Soul!

Brandon

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