March 09, 2015

Another Step In Our Journey

Over the past several years I have come to understand more and more that life is a journey. We take steps down a path that leads us onward into the future. Our paths are not always easy. We rarely see what is beyond the next bend. But if we are following and trusting our God to lead the way, he is always faithful and will always lead us through - he leads us beside still waters, he makes us lie down in green pastures, he leads us through the valley of the shadow of death - no matter what our circumstance, we serve a God who is in control.

These past 8 months, as Nancy and I have been walking down the path on this journey of life, we have been seeking and praying for God's direction in our lives. Even though leaving our family at Southbrook was not easy, God has used this "in between" time to mold us into the people He wants us to be as we take new steps down a new path. This week, God has opened a new door of ministry for us at Lee Park Church in Monroe, NC.

Today I start in a new ministry position as the Associate Connections Pastor. I will be working with an amazing staff, under the leadership of Pastor Chris Justice, to help people get connected and stay connected throughout their time at Lee Park.

We know that God is guiding us on this journey. We are so excited to have been welcomed into a wonderful and loving church family. We are looking ahead with anticipation as this next chapter in our lives begins to unfold.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in need." - Psalm 23:1

February 15, 2015

Why Do You Doubt?

In Matthew 14 we read the story that many of us have heard or read many times - Jesus walks on water. In the middle of the night, while the disciples are out on the boat, they look out into the stormy waters, and they see a figure walking on the water. At first, as would be expected, they are afraid. But then Peter makes a bold request "Jesus, if that is you, then command  me to come out on the water with you."

Jesus replies "Come." So Peter steps out onto the water in faith.

Peter steps out in faith. He steps out of the boat, and he walks on the water! This is an amazing moment. It's a real miracle. It's a miracle moment with Jesus. How many of us long for a miracle moment with Jesus? Wouldn't we all love to have a story to tell like this? That we experienced a moment with Jesus where we are standing in His presence doing something absolutely and incredibly miraculous?

I bet more of us have had miracle moments with Jesus than we realize. If we truly stop and consider our lives - the things we have seen, all that we have accomplished, the places we have been - every one of us can point to a moment and say, "There, that's a moment when I trusted Jesus, when I took a step of faith, when I overcame the odds, through His miraculous power and accomplished something amazing." Maybe you haven't walked on water - but what are some of your miracle moments with Jesus?

The next thing we know, Peter is sinking. Why? Because he took his eyes off of Jesus. He looked around at his circumstances. He let the stormy waves distract him from the miracle moment he was experiencing with Jesus. His faith in Jesus turned to trust in his own weaknesses. His miracle moment began to fade into the background.

Just this week I was enjoying a miracle moment with Jesus. Something amazing and miraculous was happening. I was so happy! I was amazed at the circumstances I was walking into. Things were coming together in such an amazing and incredible way. But then, just one day later, I felt like my entire world was sinking. One email was all it took to distract me from what God was doing. Suddenly, instead of enjoying the miracle moment, I was looking around at the stormy waves, questioning, trying to solve the problem on my own~

Haven't we all been there ? We are probably much more likely to recognize our failures. It's much easier for us to remember the moments when we doubted, when we took our eyes off  of Jesus, when we allowed the storms of life around us to bring us down.

Do you have a miracle moment with Jesus? If you can't remember one, think back to your last doubting moment, and then rewind just a bit. There it is! There is your moment of faith! There is your miracle moment with Jesus! Don't allow the doubt in your life to bring you down. Keep your eyes focused on the One who controls the storms. Keep your faith planted firmly in the strength and power of Jesus.

Just as Peter stepped out in faith, and moments later was sinking in his doubt, you and I have very similar opportunities. We must not allow the circumstances of life to bring doubt into our miracle moments. What is Jesus doing in your life? Focus on that. When something comes along that doesn't seem to make sense, don't try to over analyze your situation, keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your focus on His promises to you.

"Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?"

December 14, 2014

Waiting and Wandering

A couple of friends and I decided to go backpacking earlier this week. It seemed like a good idea when we made our plans a couple of weeks ago. And while I love being on the trail, the cold weather really has a way of putting a damper on things. We knew it would be cold, but we didn't expect the wind, fog, mist and ice that we encounterd…after the first night we were done. We headed back to the car and went home.

I continue to wonder what God has next for me and my family. Waiting is difficult. The hardest part is being sure that we are supposed to be waiting. If I knew how long I had to wait, it wouldn't be so bad. I could easily sit back, fill time, and anticipate the day when the next step, or phase of our life, is revealed. But that probably would not be healthy. If we had known our backpacking trip would be cut short, would we have even gone? Waiting with anticipation, not knowing when or what, prompts me to stay alert, stay on my guard, always looking for what might be the next opportunity. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, not knowing whether or not it is the destination. Life is not so much about the destination as it is about staying the course.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV)

It's all a part of the process. The waiting. The wondering. All the while preparing, or being prepared, as we continue down the trail of God's plan for our lives. I have no doubt that God has something for us. My biggest fear is that somehow I will miss it.
Things don't always go according to our own plans. Sometimes the weather of life forces us to go in a different direction. Sometimes we are forced to rethink and reevaluate the trail we are traversing. Sometimes we may even wonder what it would have been like further down the trail, if we had not been forced back!

"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:17)

God has me here, right now, to accomplish His purpose, here and now. Rather than wondering what might have been if things had gone according to my plans, I must trust God's plans.