“NO APOLOGIES”

I will never apologize for preaching and showing mercy. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” No one will get it all right and live mistake-free. So, the mercy that I show to others is the same mercy that will be shown to me in my shortcomings. Who doesn’t want or need that? Mercy is not denouncing living a Godly life; it’s being honest enough to admit that at our best, our righteousness is as filthy rags. I choose to focus on people’s potential, not their weaknesses.

I personally believe that God’s grace didn’t just save us, but it is still saving us. Grace cannot be applied until mercy is shown. Mercy looks beyond the errors of an individual, so grace can bring salvation and continue to save.

Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

While others may choose to judge and condemn, I’ll be standing on the side of mercy cheering and rooting for those who have messed up to try again!!! NO APOLOGIES!!!

“THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PREACHING”

Preaching should be encouraging, faith-building, Biblically sound, uniting, and, most of all, anointed. Using the pulpit as an agenda is dangerous. Even rebuke and reproof should be done in love with the goal of improving, not provoking to anger. A preacher of the Gospel must be confident in their calling, but not arrogant in their delivery. It’s not about growing a tribe, but building the church. Yes, God will reveal things to those who preach the Word, but no one minister or organization has the exclusive rights to all truth.

I still believe that Jesus is our greatest example of teaching the Word of God. He made sure that whoever He was talking to, could understand what He was saying. There were only a few times when Jesus was upset and shared His feelings. On one occasion, He looked at His disciples and warned them about a specific group of people. Jesus said, “Beware of the Pharisees.” These people were Holier than everyone else and were incredibly condescending to anyone that was not a part of their group. Jesus was teaching His disciples to be preachers of the Gospel, and He was letting them know, I don’t want you to ever sound like the Pharisees when you share my Word. They have more tradition than they have a revelation.

Young or old, if you a preacher of the Gospel, I encourage you to preach the Word with love. For Jesus said, “By this shall ALL men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.” We have an incredible responsibility to equip and build up the body of Christ. Use your voice to be a builder, not a divider.

“AN AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT OF UNITY”

When a church or any movement is experiencing revival, they will inevitably feel the attack of the enemy. The devil hates it when God’s people begin moving in a Holy, anointed progression. He will strategically plan a way to try and stop what is going on. The problem is, there’s not a lot he can do. We are the church, and Jesus said the gates of hell could not prevail against it. So, what can the enemy do to hinder it? He can only do what he has always done, and that is to try and destroy us from the inside out. He can’t defeat us, but we can bring defeat to each other. Our unity is what helps bring revival, and when we cease from being united, we will eventually be defeated.

We need to be aware of how the enemy is going to attack. He will try and cause division between the members. Hurt feelings, gossip, and sowing discord is the only successful strategy the enemy has. When one brother gets offended at another, and a sister begins to harbor feelings about another sister, the attack is on. We cannot afford to start fighting each other. That’s what the enemy wants us to do. We have to understand what is going on and turn our fighting toward the enemy and not each other.

None of us are perfect, and at times we’re going to say things we don’t mean. We all have bad days and mood swings. But let us work hard on protecting the unity of our church or group. Learn to forgive and work hard on putting things in the past. If you feel like someone has an issue with you, stop waiting on the other one to make the first move and go ahead, make it yourself. Put aside your agenda, keep your problems off social media, and protect the body of Christ.

We need each other.
We desperately need to build up one another.
We need to choose love over everything.
Give your brother or sister the benefit of the doubt.
Stop chasing rumors and aggressively pursue unity.

“SAFE AND SOUND DOCTRINE”

It’s interesting to have theological conversations with people who base their decisions on emotions versus the Bible. Some don’t have a choice because they have no Biblical knowledge whatsoever. I’m not trying to be rude, but unfortunately, they’ve had no teaching or training in the Word of God. Therefore, all of their decisions are based on what they feel about God instead of what they know. It doesn’t make me angry; honestly, it makes me sad. We have so much work to do as the body of Christ. The gospel must be preached, and those of us that have a knowledge of God and Bible understanding, we must be busy. I know not everyone will accept it, but our job is to share it.

In this fast rhythm of life, people are so busy; many are not taking the time to build an authentic relationship with Jesus. They seem to be lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s a scripture about how it will be before the Lord returns. Because of that, so many see God through their opinion of life. Someone told me recently, I think God wants me to have fun, and if I just do my best, I’ll be fine. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16:25

No matter what you think about God or your opinion about what will happen in the end, everyone will be judged according to His Word. Don’t be fooled by a feeling or misled by your emotions. Build or rebuild a relationship with Him right away. Don’t be caught up in some crazy wind of false doctrine that is blowing. Be faithful to the things that will cause you to grow. Find a church that preaches sound doctrine and a pastor that can interpret the scriptures. Get involved in serving and helping others. Create a safe lifestyle for you and your family. The return of our Lord is very soon; make sure you know what it takes to be ready to go with Him.

“BE THAT ONE”

One of the most important things you can do is also one of the hardest to achieve. Be quiet. Being right doesn’t always mean being loud. The loudest one in an argument is not necessarily the winner. I’ve also discovered that helping someone doesn’t mean you give them tons of advice. Sometimes listening to someone is more important than talking. Don’t get me wrong, having something to say is valuable, but what you say, how you say it, and how long you say it is an excellent act of wisdom.

I think you will find in the Gospels, that even though Jesus spent a lot of time teaching, He also spent a considerable amount of time listening. Nobody had more to say than Him, but we find Him sitting down with people and listening to them. He taught His disciples, but He also let them talk as well — what an incredible example for all leaders to follow. You don’t just lead people by talking; you can also influence them by listening.

So, practice it and achieve it. Let it be a goal of yours to listen more the next time you’re in a conversation with someone needing help. Be slow to speak, but in a hurry to listen. Somebody needs someone to talk to. Be that one.

“WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

To lead means precisely that; you lead, guide, direct, and point. You take someone or several where they can’t get to without your directing them. What an incredible responsibility and load for a leader to carry. If you think about it, a leader can only take you in one of two directions. Forward or backward. The leader can either move you ahead or turn you around and take you back in the direction of where you’ve already been. To make the ones you lead better, the leader has to direct them forward. Real Increase is in progress, not digression. Even though moving people ahead can sometimes be uncomfortable, it’s imperative.

I think it’s also essential when an individual or a group chooses a leader; they need someone that will take them where they haven’t been. It can be devastating for a company, church, or any organization to appoint a leader that takes them in the direction of their past. The past should only be a reminder, not a destination. You need someone that can see and lead you beyond the point you are currently. A leader needs to hear your desires and have a plan to get you there. And I can promise you, that place is somewhere you’ve never been or seen.

So, leaders, if you’re going to lead, then move them forward. If you need a leader, make sure the one you choose is looking ahead of you, not behind you.

“STUCK BETWEEN CONVICTION AND EDUCATION”

I had a conversation with a young lady that recently graduated and is a therapist. She has such a strong passion for this field and has a heart to help hurting people. She has spent several years in school, furthering her education and qualifications to fulfill her burden for this type of work. I applaud her and others that work in such a needed area in our world. She asked me about something the other day that I felt like I should write about. She had a situation come up where she found herself caught between her education and her conviction. As her pastor, she contacted me, wanting to know if she was being displeasing to God by some of the things she wasn’t able to say as a therapist. I knew I couldn’t ask too many details because of confidentiality, but I understood the situation and why she would be worried. She said, as a Christian, I knew what I believed and what this person should hear, but as a therapist, I wasn’t able to say it. She asked, will God judge me for that?

The person she was helping had been mistreated because of a lifestyle decision they made many years ago. I understood where she was coming from, and I assured her that no matter if we disagree with someone’s lifestyle choices, no one should be mistreated or abused. I also told her that our responsibility to those who don’t know Jesus is to love and not judge. So many are bound by things, and they need freedom, not someone blaming for why they’re imprisoned. I also think some judgmental Christians, (I know that’s an oxymoron), have caused compassionate Christians to have a bad name. Compassion doesn’t mean compromise. The last thing I told her was, you never know the impact you can make on this person by showing them, love. Romans 5:5 tells us; Now hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. There is an incredible love of God that comes from people that are filled with the Holy Spirit. There is a difference.

I wanted to write about this because I know others are in similar conditions. Maybe some that are wanting to go into a particular field, but are afraid they can’t stand on what they believe. The advice I gave this young lady, I believe, can fit with others that might be struggling with some of the same things. I think it would also be good if we had some open communication on this subject. We need Christians working with hurting people, no matter what choices they have made. If you’re stuck between education and conviction, feel free to comment at the end of this blog, or ask a question. I am praying for you, and we need more people like you to make a difference in this world. I know the enemy would love to stop you from allowing God to be a part of any equation in people’s lives. But you know that only in the name of Jesus can chains of sin be broken. I know you can’t jeopardize your job, so I am praying for you to be able to let your light shine in the midst of these challenges.

Here is a list of the advice I gave on this subject. You are more than welcome to add to it.

1. Be caring because no one deserves to be mistreated for lifestyle decisions that I might not agree with.

2. Our responsibility to those who don’t know Jesus is to love and not judge.

3. Being compassionate doesn’t mean you’re compromising.

4. You never know the impact you can make on someone’s life when you show the love of God.

“HERE’S WHAT YOU FORGOT”

So, you remember that mistake in your past. You can’t seem to get it out of your mind. Maybe you remember a particular storm that almost cost you everything. Perhaps you even remember a broken heart from someone you thought would never hurt you. Honestly, when you start going down that road, your memory can be your worst enemy. You don’t want it there, you’ve asked for it to leave, but for some reason, nothing will cause it to get out.

As bad as some things are in your past that you’re remembering, here’s what you forgot. In spite of your mess-up, God never gave up on you. His grace was greater than your failure…you might have forgotten that. Yes, you suffered a heart-break, but no one has ever loved you more than Jesus. You remember who walked away, but you might have forgotten who stayed. I know that the storm was terrible, and the details make you cringe even now, but guess what? YOU MADE IT! You remember being in it, but you might have forgotten that you’re out. Even if things are still challenging, you could be failing to remember who’s holding your hand.

So, if you’re going to remember the sorrow, don’t forget the joy. If you’re going to think about the hurt, don’t forget the healing.

He was there in your error and didn’t forsake you. He covered you with His love while you mourned from grief. Here’s what you forgot; He was there, He’ll always be there, and He is here now.

“IN YOUR FACE MARRIAGE TALK”

It only takes one glance or a response to an inappropriate comment or text. One-click of the mouse and you’re trapped. That curious website and that friend request is nothing more than a tool of the enemy to start breaking down your marriage, brick by brick. Oh, we’re just cutting up with each other. He’s like a brother to me. I could never think of her that way. Do you know how many counseling sessions I’ve had with married couples where I’ve heard this junk? With the attack on our families, I think it’s time to have some IN YOUR FACE MARRIAGE TALK. Guys, get your ego in check. Ladies, don’t entertain those risky comments.

If you’re struggling in your marriage, I can promise you; there is help. You have to want it and ask for it. I see men and women with degrees in all kinds of education, and significant investment into self-help subjects. I know men that can take a vehicle apart and put it back together. Some build and can create and repair any structure. How does this happen? It takes time and practice. So, husbands, how much time have you put into building your marriage? If it’s breaking apart, how hard will you work to put it back together?

Many women can manage and lead anything from a department to an organization. They can market, sell, and advise. Many have a vision for taking a room or a home, and completely redoing it and making it better than it ever was. How? Investing time in what they love and making sure a project is completed. So, wives, your vision for your marriage. How do you see it, or do you even have a glimpse of where it’s at currently? If you can organize your business, why not structure your home. You wouldn’t leave a room unpainted, so why walk away from a marriage that hasn’t been fulfilled.

I know this is a big topic for a three or four paragraph blog, but I feel so passionate, and burdened for our families that I want to do everything I can to help inspire them. You will work for years, and one day retire. In your lifetime, you might even change jobs or careers. But when you find someone to spend your life with, there is no retirement plan on your love and life together. Don’t start looking to change spouses; keep working on improving you. Do everything you can, and if it falls apart, you will want to walk away knowing you gave it everything you had: your love, your time, and without a doubt,  your all.

IT’S ABOUT US”

Everything that God created, in the beginning, He did so for His will to be done, and to establish a foundation. At the end of it, He formed a man, and from him, He created a woman. There is no denying what God made, and what God intended. I truly believe when we get back to that foundation, it will make a difference in the world. I don’t think married couples realize the incredible power they have. I also don’t think they understand how big of a target they are for the enemy. This is why the enemy attacks our marriages so hard. It won’t necessarily be a bomb that goes off, but little by little, he will do his best to bring down a husband and wife. Increased arguments, disagreeing more and more, spending less time together; these are just a few things that the enemy uses to tear away at a marriage.

The Bible teaches us that when a husband and wife are married, the two become one. Do you understand what that means? I’ll make it perfectly clear. It’s no longer about you as an individual; it’s about what you are now in the eyes of God. Your decisions now effect both of you, not just yourself. You have to conquer selfishness and personal agendas. You’re a team, not a one-person show. If you consistently build one another up, you’d be surprised at the effect it would have in your family, your church, your work, and yes, our world.

As a pastor, I’m pleading with you to do whatever you can to strengthen your marriage. Ask God to help you to be the kind of spouse you need to be.

*Read a good book on marriage.
*Be faithful to church.
*Be intentional about communicating.
*Get your butt home from work.
*Make the house look nice.
*Schedule a date night.
*Create a romantic playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Music.
*Refuse to walk away from each other.

Look at your spouse and declare; “IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. IT’S ABOUT US!”