Category Archives: General

24: A Day With God (The evening hours)

How do you spend your evenings?

How would you like your “ideal” evening to be spent? Does your “ideal” evening move you closer to the things God desires for your life? I believe that God has given us this time to focus on a few very important things.

3 ways to spend your evening hours that will give you the greatest return….

1. Invest In Relationships
A friend is always loyal,
and a brother is born to help in time of need. (Proverbs 17:17 NLT)

But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers. (1 Timothy 5:8 NLT)

God has placed very important people in your life for you to connect with during this part of the day. One of the greatest problems in families today is they spend so much time on the go that they never have time to CONNECT. Slow down and enjoy time with your family. Get together with close friends. Don’t have any? Take time to make some. You NEED solid, godly friends in your life. Building on these relationships will reap lasting benefits throughout your lifetime.

2. Spend Time Enjoying Entertainment
Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy. (Psalm 65:8 NLT)

God is ok with you enjoying some entertainment. Have you looked at his creation lately? The stars will leave you in awe. The sun set will put things into perspective. Some of the animals God created are outright hilarious. Have you ever watched two giraffes get into a fight? Pretty entertaining!

3. Invest In Some Rest & Relaxation
It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones. (Psalm 127:2 NLT)

Rest doesn’t make you lazy. Rest makes you able to serve God with more energy and a better attitude.

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The Insider’s Defense

I call it The Insider’s Defense. It’s what we do when others criticize the decisions we make regarding the people we date, the careers we choose, or the purchases we make. We tell them: it may not make sense from out there, but from here on the inside everything looks just fine. (And we usually follow this up with a good ‘ol “none of your business, anyway!”)

As if our circumstances are so complex we’re the only ones smart enough to figure them out.

As if we’re the only one’s who’ve ever experienced anything like this before. Continue reading


Toleration, compromise, and grace

Of the dozens – probably more like hundreds – of people I’ve met who’ve broken up with God (they don’t take His calls, they neither love Him nor accept His love, etc.), a vast majority have done so because of experiences in church. They became so appalled by the actions of Christians that they felt they could no longer call themselves one, which meant no longer following Christ.

A lot of those Christians’ actions – the ones that drove former believers to disbelief – are rooted in the best of intentions. Few followers of Christ would ever intentionally do anything to run anyone away from the church. I really believe that. But just as few are the Christians who can effectively navigate the narrow channel between judgment and grace. Our problem is that we don’t know how to deal with people who don’t see things our way.

This predicament isn’t exclusive to the church. It’s the same reason Democrats and Republicans would let the U.S. default on its debt before conceding to the other party’s approach to debt management. The same reason otherwise-rational adults get into fistfights over affiliation with a football team. The same reason employees within a department, departments within an organization, and organizations within an affiliation undermine one another and compete – rather than collaborate – for resources.  The same reason, fundamentally, people all over the world, since the beginning of civilization, have participated in wars, revolutions, riots, crusades, protests, and other conflicts. Continue reading


Mission Trip Take-Away

Last week I lead a team from Oasis Church to Wichita, Kansas to work with Audacity Church.  We canvased neighborhoods with promotional flyers, cleaned parks, hosted park parties, gave out free bottled water, and extended other acts of kindness with no strings attached.  Our team worked hard, with great attitudes, and selflessness every day.  We were all excited about the work we had accomplished.  Not only was great work accomplished, but relationships were deepened.   That’s always a bonus for mission trips.  A  mission team should come back from a mission trip united instead of divided (Just a side note).

At the end of the week I felt like I needed to share a very important mission trip take-away with our team.

God places opportunities around you every day to serve and love others for his purposes. 

Mission trips have a way of getting us fired up for the Lord.  And they should.  However, I have watched a lot of Christians (including myself) come back from mission trips bitter that their mission field isn’t doing exactly what the mission field they just helped with is doing.

I’ve learned that I have two options when I return from a mission trip:

1. I can become bitter towards my mission field and wish I was back where I just came from.

2. I can carry the fire back with me to make a difference on the mission field where God has placed me.

The second option is the better of the two.  God has placed you where you are for a reason.  Make a difference right where you are.  Don’t let the enemy distract you from the opportunities God has put right in front of you.

If you can’t get on board and serve passionately where you are….maybe it’s time for you to make a bold move and get where you can.

But wherever you are keep your eyes open.  God is placing the opportunities right in front of you.

P.J.

 


What I’ve Learn From Pregnancy (So Far) Part II: God’s Got This

While PJ’s at camp, we’ve invited guest blogger April Wingfield to fill in. Here’s part two of a two-part series, which began Tuesday:

Derek and I often talk about how smooth things are in our home. Over the last six years, we have settled into a comfortable rhythm. Oh, we get outside of our comfort zones in many ways (hello, blog post), but when it comes to our home, there’s a regularity that we love. Things change, of course, but there’s not much spectacle. Our little family is predictable. We get up at the same time most days, we share our chores without too much argument, the cat lazes around, the dog sleeps and plays, and he asks to go out when he needs to. Aside from the occasional cold, we don’t get sidelined too much. There are weeks that are busier than we’d like, but there’s not much drama. I hate drama.

So don’t think we aren’t aware of what we’re doing here, bringing two babies into our lives. The potential for upheaval is endless. Things are gonna be turned upside down. We’ll control what we can – good discipline, healthy sleep habits, all the stuff the books recommend. But there’s a ton we can’t control. So then what? Continue reading


Escalators

One step in the wrong direction is all it takes to ruin a marriage, a business venture, a ministry, or even a life.

On the flipside, it only takes one step to begin the climb out of the depths of despair, loneliness, and depression.

Both sin and obedience function a lot like escalators. We take one small, insignificant step and suddenly find ourselves far from where we began. Continue reading


The Tongue Has Power. But Over Whom?

We often misunderstand Proverbs 18:21, which says “the tongue has power over life and death” (NIV).

We take it to mean that words can either build people up or tear them down. Which is true. But there’s more to the story: Our words powerfully affect ourselves, too, not just others.

Our lives and deaths are defined in large part by the words we speak. Continue reading


Job Security

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 esv

Forgive me for not posting yesterday.  Anytime I take off work on a Monday, it makes for a crazy Tuesday.  I’m sure you can relate. I do have some thoughts I would like to share today.

A while back I was having a conversation with an individual that serves full-time on staff at a church.  We were discussing our different ministries and the leaders that we get to serve with.   This person communicated to me that when they are out of town, away from their church, that their ministry is usually a train wreck.  Sarcastically they said to me “I guess that means I have good job security at my church.”

I understand that my friend was being completely sarcastic.  So I am not writing this post to call them out or make them appear to be wrong.  However, I do want to use the statement to make a point to those who oversee ministries and to those who serve in ministries at their local church. Continue reading


Failing For Success

As a leader in ministry one of my favorite things to do is read books on leadership.  While reading leadership books over time I have come across a particular leadership principle in many books.

Leaders need to set others up for success.  

Any one who has read leadership books has read this principle.  I have never met a leader who disagrees with it.  After all, we don’t want those under us or around us to fail, do we?  So common sense tells us we should set others up for success.  Not set them up for failure.

Obviously I don’t think we should set others up to fail.  But I do believe Continue reading


Keep Your Temple Quiet

I’m no master craftsman. I like working with my hands, but you’d probably couldn’t tell it from the quality of the few simple things I’ve built. Most of the work I do in the yard, or in the garage, or around the house, is accomplished with lots of short-cutting, trial and error, and words that probably wouldn’t make my pastor proud.

Take the clock April’s parents bought us recently. It’s a big wall clock, and too heavy, I figured, to hang by a single nail from our sheetrock walls. So out comes my stud finder, some picture-hanging wire, some screws and nails, a hammer, laser level, pencil, and some wood glue. Seriously. For a clock.

It took me a whole afternoon to hang that clock. The wall where it hangs now boasts about half-a-dozen new nail holes. And two weeks later, the clock fell. Y’know, because even with enough tools to build a clock, I apparently didn’t get the job done right.

Still, there it is, on our bedroom wall, safely secured for the last couple of months without incident (hopefully it’s still there when I get home this afternoon).

When it comes to hanging a clock, it doesn’t matter too much how you go about the job, as long as, in the end, you’ve got a clock on the wall. When it comes to building a temple, though, the means matter as much as the ends. Continue reading


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