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I Didn’t Expect This To Happen…

April 23, 2010

I’m excited beyond what words can even say because God totally showed up and did something completely unexpected, well at least to me.

I expected that there would be life changing, eternity making impact made on those individuals who purchased tickets and came to our concert outreach event with BarlowGirl, Stellar Kart and Vota.  I fully, totally and completely expected that to happen.

What I did not even think about was the fact that the event would have a life changing impact on one of our volunteers who came out to help us with the event.

This young man accepted Christ and experienced a life changing experience as a direct result of this outreach and now wants to be baptized.   How totally, completely awesome is that?  This just proves once again that nothing is impossible with God and that He alone is capable of doing far more than we could ever ask or imagine.

I just love when God shows up and shows off.  God is constantly saying to His Church, “you plant the seeds and I’ll bring the harvest.”

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Diary of a First Time Major Concert Tour Promoter – Facing The Giants

April 21, 2010

Lead by Coach Grant Taylor, the Shiloh Eagles were huge underdogs. Everyone told them that they would fail. Everyone told them that it was impossible, they could not do it.

But Grant Taylor was more than just their coach, he was their spiritual leader and they committed themselves and the football program to God and for His glory and by the time the credits roll, The Shiloh Eagles had won, not one, but two state football championships.

Win or lose, not matter what, we praise God and give Him the glory.

D.L. Moody said, “When God is on your team, dream big.”

As I completed a particular spiritual journey in 2008; I told God, if He would allow me that I wanted to attempt big things for Him, for His kingdom. Not for my fame, not for my glory, but for His. I live to make God famous and to make Him known.

I love to tell the story, the redemption story that God did in me through the cross of Jesus Christ. I’ve often said that if I ever write a book about my life long journey it will be entitled “Preaching With Shadows – A True Tale of Sin and Forgiveness; Heartbreak and Redemption.” – Perhaps one day.

God knows me better than anyone. He knows where my heart is, he knows my ideas and he knows I desire, above all else, to give Him the glory. I’m not bragging, not on me, but I want to brag on my Savior, Lord and King.

When Hannah approached me with the idea of bringing BarlowGirl to First Baptist Richwood I was excited and ready to face the challenge.

In the beginning, all we really wanted was an acoustic night with just BarlowGirl. Small, simple, just BarlowGirl for an acoustic night of music and ministry.

By the time Hannah and then I talked with Brandon from GOA, we had not just BarlowGirl, we had BarlowGirl’s Love & War Tour featuring BarlowGirl, Stellar Kart and Vota.

WOW! Are you kidding me? Are you serious? Yeah baby!

Was I scared? Not for a second. Was I excited? Absolutely yes.

A lot of people thought Hannah was crazy as she talked about this even before my arrival in Richwood. Some people thought I totally lost my mind. “We can’t do this” they said.

I told them, “Watch God show up and watch Him show off.”

I never questioned if we could because I know with God anything and I mean ANYTHING is possible.

People said “Richwood is just a farming community, you’re just a small church” “You’ll blow the windows out, the building will fall down.”

satan did everything he could to try to discourage and distract and interfere with this outreach event. But one thing satan forgot…we were not operating under our own power or authority, but under the power and authority of almighty God.

I had many restless and sleepless nights; I stressed, a lot at times. Every time I was in the sanctuary I tried to envision a successful event and played it all out in my head over and over again.

God brought together a wonderful, incredible, amazing, awesome, talented team of people to use to work on this event. I know those are a lot of power adjectives but God knew He could not just use anyone for this mission, He alone had to call a select few; Just like He did with Joshua and Caleb when God gave them the promised land.

Despite naysayers and the onslaught of satan we prayerfully moved forward. I am sure that any gray hair Ruth has was caused by me and poor Paul, all of his hair just fell out.

Along the way, I re-discovered this scripture that gave me a sense of peace: Zechariah 4:6 ““Not by might not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.””

I knew that if this event were going to be successful that it would only come through and by the Hand of Almighty God who would not let us fall or fail because He is the one who called us to this in the beginning.

When I first met the pulpit committee of First Baptist Richwood in February 2009, God already had a plan and knew we would be working on this event for Him.

So after meditating on Zechariah 4:6 and after thinking about Joshua and Caleb and then applying my own personal life verse Isaiah 41:10-11 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.”

After God put this combination on my heart, I had no doubt that what was about to take place was something that God foreordained and that the results were completely up to Him alone and WOW! Did God ever show up and show off!

The anxiety and fear and nervousness just left me and the people from BarlowGirl, Stellar Kart and Vota were wonderful, Godly, Christian men and women and it was indeed a beautiful ending to a process that brought so many of us closer to each other and closer to God.

This was not just about the concert or the tour. It was about making God known and about bringing people to the cross, but it was also used by God to build His family. When this started, I called most of these people my friends and some of them I barely knew. Now that it’s over, I truly call them my family because of the work that God has done in each of our hearts by using us and making us useful and by blessing us and making us a blessing.

Now, think about this. If God used us to bring the Love & War Tour to Richwood; and because we know that God is not finished with us…just imagine what God will do through us now that He knows without a doubt that we truly are willing to follow Him wherever He leads us.

It’s gonna be big, it’s goona be huge, I can barely contain my excitement because, while we don’t know yet exactly what it will be, We know that God is going to reign down over us and do mighty things through His people and through His church. It will be awesome, it will be amazing and it will all be at the mighty, outstretched hand of God because we stood and faced the Giants, but we gave the battle to God who gave us the victory through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Praise Adoni!

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Homer Tries To Vote

April 19, 2010
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“Honestly”

April 15, 2010

Honestly, can I tell you where I’m at?
Honestly, can I pull the curtain back?
Will you run if you see how weak I am?

If you don’t see the real me you won’t see what mercy’s done
If you don’t see my weakness you won’t see what love has won
If you don’t see the distance from the darkness to the son
you won’t see, honestly
~Vota

Her mother named her Angel because she was born on Christmas Day and her mother felt she was an angel sent from God. However after just a few short years of life her mother and father left, abandoning Angel and her brother, leaving two small children to fend for themselves.

At 15 years of age Angel has been in 15 different foster homes and hospitalized numerous times from the abuse and neglect she has suffered from the people who were supposed to love, protect and care for her.

I met Angel during the prayer time at our BarlowGirl outreach event. She came forward for prayer and when I asked her what she needed prayer for she told me that God would giver her a home and a family to love her.

This child is so hungry to know love that at 10 years of age she willingly lost her virginity in an attempt to find that love.

Hearing that true, genuine love only comes from God, she gave her life to God and was baptized, but her emotional and physical scars remain.

She shared with me her struggles with eating disorders and showed me the scars on her wrists from cutting.

She told me that sometimes it feels like God doesn’t hear her prayers and she just wants to know that God loves her.

I was sitting on the edge of the stage, BarlowGirl was offering this time of ministry and I had to fight back the tears because this was not about how much Angel’s story impacted me, it was about how much this young girl needs to know, in a real and tangible way that her Heavenly Daddy loves her with all of His heart and that no matter what she has done, He alone will forgive her and restore her.

I reminded Angel that before she was born, God had her in mind and that He had a plan and purpose for her life and that He would use for His glory all that satan intended for harm.

Angel now lives in a group home because at her age, there are very few people who would be willing to adopt her.

Angel has been hurt so many times by so many people that maybe taking a chance and telling me her story didn’t matter; because if she was rejected, hey it’s happened before.

Angel came to me, and while she did not quote Vota’s lyric, she was saying “Honestly, can I tell you where I’m at?”

Angel shared openly with me because she, like so many others, want to find the real, true people of God who will love them and accept them where they are at and then stand beside them and encourage them on their journey of faith.

Having preached revivals and been a part of ministry events in various states I know sometimes we walk away from these prayer and ministry times and soon forget these stories, but I won’t forget Angel, I can’t forget Angel.

Not only does she need our prayers and love and encouragement, she needs a voice.

Too many people in the Church look at the things people have done and the things they’ve been through and they label them, just like the Lepers that Jesus healed, just like the woman at the well, just like the woman caught in adultery, labels are attached, not just by society, but sadly, by people in the church and it’s sad because in so doing people fail to show the love of God.

“Oh, you’ve done drugs, you’ve been divorced, you’ve committed adultery, you’ve been an alcoholic, you’ve done drugs, you’ve been neglected and abused, you’ve been in foster care, you’ve lived with someone you are not married to, you’ve had children outside of marriage, you’ve sinned, you’re a sinner and we have to put a label on you because you are a disgrace to society and to our church and we could never allow you in ministry.”

It’s appalling that this is how some people in some churches really are. It’s the Scarlet Letter all over again and it is not the Church’s place to expose anyone else’s sin. It is the responsibility of Christ Followers to simply love people and let the light of Christ shine before all people that they may come to see and know the grace, mercy and love of God in real and tangible ways.

I’m so tired of the pretense in the Church and I’m so tired of seeing people beaten up with their sins.

I sin, I fail, I make mistakes, and God has called me to love people, to share my story, the testimony that He’s given me with them and then to keep loving them and standing beside them because as the Church, as His people as The Children of God we MUST invest in the lives of people for the sake of the Kingdom.

Together we are called to build the Kingdom of God one person at a time.

God said that before we were ever created in our mother’s womb that He knew us and that He had in mind a plan and purpose for our lives.

Unlike so many in society and the Church, God does not see people who are “beyond grace.”

God sees people who are in need of a Savior and that’s why before the foundation of the world God set a plan in motion whereby Jesus would die for all people for all time for all of our sins.

As Angel told me her story, I could hear what grace has done. As Angel shared her heart, I could hear what love has won.

God is going to use Angel to share her story with young girls and women for the rest of her life and it’s my prayer that Angel can see that she already has a home in the family of God and that she is dearly loved by God and sees Him as her heavenly daddy because her biological parents may have given up on her and abandoned her but Daddy God never will.

He will hold her and all of us in His arms and protect us and care for us and forgive us and give us a testimony to share with everyone we encounter so that people can see and come to know just how great God really is.

But you know, I see this problem where people like Angel, like you, like me, are afraid that people will judge us based on our story; that they will label us because of the things we’ve done and so many people would rather keep the hurt in their hearts than risk more hurt in sharing it. I want to know and I want to hear what God has done in your life, where He has brought you from because God saved me from sin and myself and chose to call me for His purpose and His glory and I can’t thank Him enough.

We did not have a concert at our church on Wednesday, April 14, 2010. We had a Kingdom Outreach Event with the sole purpose to reach people with the love and forgiveness of God that is the good news of Jesus Christ. People came to Christ. People were released from eating disorders and from cutting and found mercy, forgiveness, love and hope through the body of Christ that chose to let the light escape and shine for Jesus in an ever hurting world.

We need more events with groups like BarlowGirl, Stellar Kart & Vota, not because of their performance, but because of the message behind the music, because God has called them and us to reach a generation for Jesus Christ.

Like Angel, you and I both have hurts and failures, disappointments and sin. But let me tell you, because of what grace has done and because of what His love has won, when I look in the mirror I don’t see someone who used to drink and do drugs, I see someone who is forgiven, who, like all other Christ followers is called to let the light escape from the holes inside my soul because if you don’t see the real me then you won’t see what grace has done and if you don’t see the real me you won’t see what love has won.

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A Daily Prayer

April 4, 2010

My friend Liz wrote this prayer and it is so profound that I just had to share it and believe it is something that Christ Followers should pray every single day.

Father here is my mind,
think through it.
Here are my eyes,
see the world through them.
Here is my mouth,
speak with it.
Have my heart,
and love the world with it…

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He Is Risen, Hallelujah!

April 4, 2010

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I’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

April 3, 2010

For American Idol.  People have been asking me where my blogs have been about the performance each week and they will come back this week, but quite honestly I am so almost over AI for this season.

Idol does not have the personality or charm this season that it had last year.  I never imagined I would say this, but I kinda miss Paula, but probably more so for the chemistry with her and Simon that Kara has worked to pick up on.

To me, it feels like the producers are really rushing the shows this year, almost like they are just doing it to get it done.

Initially I felt this would be a girl’s year for sure.  However, this far into the competition, I believe that a guy will most likely win Idol and my prediction is none other than Lee Dewyze.

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