Burrrr It's Cold In Here!

Have you ever noticed that when everything in your home is working correctly you really don’t think about the little things like say, the heat pump, but when they’re broken you REALLY think about them.  Recently our heat pump decided it no longer wanted to do its job for my house and just quit, can you believe that?  The audacity of that instrument of my comfort, to just quit like that, and it didn’t even give us a 2-week notice!  Times got tough, temps got low and it just quit at the worst possible time. Have you ever felt like quitting on God, or the ministry He has called you to?  If you’re like me you probably have had seasons of doubt, distress and had the overwhelming urge to throw your hands up and just quit, but let me ask you something, who else would be affected if you gave up?

Our heat pump’s decision to stop working and providing the heat that it was designed to provide has not only effect it but everyone that enters this house.  There is a void now that its service has been taken away and the same is true for you.  YOU are the only one God created to be who you are and do what you do.  If you quit it will be felt by many.

Paul says in Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  This verse is a good reminder. If you feel like giving up and want to just stop doing what you were designed to do take a moment to pray, remember the hope Christ has given you, recalibrate and stay patient in the affliction because this too shall pass.

Romans 12:4-5 says For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  We are all one body and each of us has a specific thing to do for the kingdom of God.  My ministry may be drastically different than yours but neither of our specific callings is more important than the other.  We are called to function as a living organism and if you give up your absence will be felt.  Just like the looming cold in my house that is felt stronger now that our heat pump has quit working, your absence will be felt.  So take heart, have hope and let the warmth of your faith heat up a cold world!

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Are You The Honey Or The Sting?

Are you the honey or the sting?

 

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of bees?  I’m betting that beestings and that infamous scene from Tommy Boy pop in your head and then in a distant third place you may think of honey.  Ok so what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Christian?”  If I were to ask someone outside of church culture that question I’m betting some adjectives would include judgmental, narrow minded, and then maybe in a distant third place people may say something about love, maybe.  All to often people relate Christians to the sting created by our lack of love in practice.  If honey is the “fruit” produced by a beehive that is functioning normally then love should be the fruit produced by a church functioning normally.

Honey has been used as an antiseptic, an energy booster, a preservative and a tasty treat among other things.  Just like the sweetness of honey, the work of Jesus on the Cross and the love Christ endured to take on that task is as sweet as honey.  The love of Christ is the job of the Church to reflect into the world.  John 13:34-35 says  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Jesus isn’t suggesting or even politely asking us to love one another, he commands it.  So just as a beehive works in perfect unity, harmony and perhaps even love to produce honey, we as the church should do the same and love one another so that the world is drawn to our sweetness and not scared away by our sting.  Are you the honey or the sting?

 

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If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

Uwharrie Bigfoot Sighting!

I took a trip down to Uwharrie National Forest today with my good friend Robert and we decided to scout out some camp sites for an upcoming event he is hosting. While in the woods we decided to look for the elusive Uwharrie Big Foot...Here's what we found.

 

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Snake Handling Preacher

One of the funniest questions that I often hear in regards to my ministry is "you aren't one of those snake handling preachers are you?" How do I even answer that one? The answer is obviously yes I am a snake handling preacher but not like that, well sort of like that, ok exactly like that but not the same. You see I do handle snakes in my ministry, I often find myself handling venomous snakes when I am preaching and I have probably preached more times with reptiles than without, but it's not exactly what you think. The long and the short of it is that I don't bring venomous snakes into churches when I preach but I do often find myself amazed by their beauty and purpose when I am in the field doing the documentary side of my ministry. I believe that ALL things God created are not only good but VERY good and snakes aren't to be excluded from the list of things created that are VERY Good. 

We all have a purpose and God has a plan for each one of us. Did you know that the venom from certain snake species like the Southern Copperhead are actually being used to save lives. Wow! Isn't that amazing! It's not the snakes that are bad, or even their venom, it's simply the context in which the venom is received. Its the same principle with Christians. It's not the Christian that is bad or even the words that are spoken from them that are wrong, it usually is simply the context in which it is received. Venom in the wrong context, delivered in anger and hostility, is received not as life giving but as life taking. That seems to also relate to our presentation of the Gospel sometimes. If it is delivered in the wrong context, out of a place of pride, anger or hostility it will be received as something other than life giving. I'm not saying that we have to water the Gospel down nor am I saying that we sugar coat anything when presenting our case for Christ. I am saying that we should check our motives and understand why we are presenting the Gospel. If we are using scripture to Lord over other people that happen to sin differently than we do, then maybe our context is wrong. If we are putting ourselves on a pedestal and talking down to unbelievers, are we doing it in the spirit of Christ or does that fall somewhere in the selfish ambition category?

I absolutely believe that Jesus loves you, yes you! I believe he wants to come to know you and I believe Jesus wants Christians to imitate and be ambassadors for Christ. I believe that our actions speak a million times louder than our words and that a kind word of encouragement will go a long way further with someone than pointing out the flaws they know they have. My prayer is that the church will stop pointing out the faults of the world, remove the planks from our own eyes, and encourage people to get to know the Jesus of the Bible and not the Jesus created by Christian culture. As a good friend of mine will often say, "we need to stop reading our Bibles as Americans and start reading it as Christians." I believe if we really loved Jesus like we say we do, then we would learn to love others the way Jesus loves us. Thank you Jesus for the grace you offered me as a lost sinner and I pray I can offer the same grace to others and patiently walk with them while they figure out this thing we call the Gospel.