March 19th, 2018

It’s a beautiful Monday morning and I think Spring is Here!! I love this time of year as the flowers bloom and we approach Easter and the warmer air makes riding more fun. I hope your Monday is filled with the presence of the Lord. I am praying today that God will step into your world, and even if it makes you uncomfortable or maybe even if it is painful, that He will bring you back into a right relationship with Himself. Nothing in life makes sense without Him. Nothing in our lives is as it should be unless He is at the center of it and guiding us throughout the day. May it be so for you today!
Where do I start a blog after a weekend like we just experienced (OneCry)? My mind and heart are running on spiritual octane this morning and I know we have experienced a fresh touch from God. I believe this is an opportunity for many to begin anew and seek a walk with God where our hearts are in tune with His heart. I know God touched those who were there. But I also know many were not there and even for those who were there the temptation will be like a youth coming back from camp. The reality is that we who were there are all “hot” in our desire for God today but we also know that we will “cool” as the days go by. Someone from the team even told me this morning that the “iron is already cooling” and that we must strike as soon as possible. We as individuals and as a church must be willing to take that “heat” from our encounter with God and turn it into tangible action in our lives and in the life of this church. As we shared last night about personal things that we are repenting of and a desire for God to move in those same areas of our life, we as a church must do the same. I will be coming to you very soon with areas in the life of our church where we need to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness and then what we must do differently in going forward. Repentance is painful. Change is uncomfortable. But wallowing in sin and mediocrity are no longer acceptable. We must seek God and His righteousness. Without Him we are without hope. We have allowed sin and complacency to rule us for far too long. The good news is that as we deal with these things in our lives and in the life of this church I believe God will bring renewal and refreshing and revival to our midst. I am claiming this verse that was shared during the weekend. Acts 3:19 (NASB) says, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” God wants to bring those times of refreshing in our lives and yet so many of us have drifted so far from Him that we are missing His blessings on our lives. We wonder why we have marital issues or problems with our children or maybe even things like financial difficulties or even sickness. I’m not saying in every case it is because of spiritual coldness because the Bible does not support that but I am suggesting that for many of us we may be going through seasons of discipline because our hearts have grown cold. We just think we are ‘down on our luck’ or I’m having health issues because I’m not ‘eating enough greens’ (and that may be true) but often we have drifted so far from God that He is trying to pull us back and we can’t even see it. Spiritual issues can and do have real consequences. When our hearts are in right relationship with Him and we are filled with passion from the Holy Spirit then life begins to return to the proper balance and order that God wants for us. When we fall outside that order through sin and disobedience we open ourselves and our families and our church up to the discipline of God. I am praying today that God will continue to drive ALL of us to our knees before Him!!
Now onto how God spoke to me personally during the weekend. Last night I asked the church to forgive me for not being the kind of pastor they have needed and for failing them in multiple areas. God is at work in my heart. He has asked me to personally confront sin in my life and to make changes in certain relationships. I can assure you that I am not nearing perfection but with God’s help I hope to be a better pastor for you. I am taking specific steps to make sure His word is primary in my life and that prayer becomes more intense and more frequent. Like many of you I allow the things of the world to creep in and I am asking for God’s forgiveness in those areas of my life. Like many of you I was also deeply touched by the OneCry team that came and led us. What an amazing group of godly men and women. It was a joy to get to know James Poole better and Laine Johnson’s preaching was very impactful. We also had the privilege of having 4 men stay with us for three nights and we thoroughly loved having them. If you didn’t host someone you missed a real blessing. But there were so many others from the team that came and shared with me individually and prayed for me. Many gave me resources and offered help. One has offered to meet with me weekly. Another came in and wants to send me to a pastor’s conference. And they all gave up their weekend and came at their own expense just for US! I am humbled and honored to have gotten to know them and I hope our paths will cross again. But as I mentioned last night, I feel wholly inadequate for the place where God has put me. And yet I realize that is exactly where He wants me to be. For when I am weak He is strong. The problem is that I have been trying to do the job in my strength and as I mentioned . . . I am inadequate as a pastor . . . but in God’s strength and only in His strength I know I can be the man of God and pastor He wants me to be.
So what comes next? As I mentioned, there will be a time very soon (possibly April 8th in the evening) where we come together as a church and seek corporate repentance. And then there will be specific things that flow out of that repentance. But let me assure you that this is just the beginning. As several of you said last night, “this is our John 3:16.” This is the just the start. Now we have to grow in His likeness. That is going to continue to require work. It cannot be just the pastor or the staff. This is a body and every part of this body must be well and whole and seeking God. There are many from our body who were not present during the weekend. I had to take my disappointment and frustration to God. I know the team could read my face on Saturday at how disappointed I was. I was having a hard time hearing God speak into my life because I was so worried and concerned about the people he has entrusted to my care who were not there. In fact Saturday evening the team surrounded me and just prayed and wept over me. What a powerful time as God again used them in my life. I even mentioned that it had been over 20 years since a group had gathered around and prayed and wept over just me. Even this morning I am feeling the impact of that. But I wept too that many missed what God had for them this weekend. God cannot be something we just add on to our life. God must be the focal point of our life. He must be everything to us and for us. We are called to love our spouses and children but God must be on the throne of our hearts. My prayer is that you will join us in this journey. It’s not too late. It has just begun.
Please be in prayer for your church staff. I really feel like they are under attack from Satan and he would have each of them feel defeated (your pastor included). But this body needs them more than ever to be the godly leaders he called them to be. So pray for them. Encourage them. Help them. Love them. Support them.
I have more . . . a lot more . . . but I’m going stop because I have a feeling most have stopped reading by now. Ha. There is more to come!!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?
P.S. For those of you who aren't members of FBCWS and have managed to keep reading this far I want to say thank you and hang in there. God may have a message in here for you as well. He wants ALL of us to come to Him in repentance. I am praying for you as well that God will reveal to you areas of your life that need to be turned over to Him!!