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What are you Crying About?

Your tears are but a part of your journey to the other side of your problem. IF you count on God.

You may find yourself destroyed – where do you turn? Betrayed – who’s shoulder do you cry on? You cannot go on – where will you lean?

If you’re a follower of Jesus I hope that you are going to Him more and more. I told you 3 weeks ago: we want you to see Jesus as your go-to instead of being your fall-back.

Are you there yet?

David wrote this psalm as a song describing how God had brought him through his life – a life which was threatened by people wanting to kill him, running for safety, hiding in caves and mountains. David knew trouble. You do too. I want you to know that God’s love never fails you. Believe even when you can’t see it. Read the words from Psalm 30 found in The Message.

I give you all the credit, God—
you got me out of that mess,
you didn’t let my foes gloat.

2-3 God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.

4-5 All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.

6-7 When things were going great
I crowed, “I’ve got it made.
I’m God’s favorite.
He made me king of the mountain.”
Then you looked the other way
and I fell to pieces.

8-10 I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs
and stories of you won’t sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!”

11-12 You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.

Praying that it won’t be long until you feel like this and can sing your own song of deliverance. Keep praying, keep believing and keep waiting on Him – He’s coming!

Everyone Does Not Mean Well

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” 1 John 4:1 (NLT)

There have been times when people who loved Jesus made comments, suggestions and said things that, though they appeared or claimed to speak for God, I felt were not from Him at all.

In Nehemiah 6 we see people against Nehemiah and his work (Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and other enemies). These people see the apparent success Nehemiah and his workers were having they began trying to distract, “We really need to talk to you about what you’re doing – word is out that you are leading the Jews to rebel against the king.” which was a problem – remember, the king gave Nehemiah his blessing to do this work and even appointed him governor.

Nehemiah’s response, though, is a classic example of leadership and determination – “I’m in the middle of something too big to stop that I might talk to you.” Let’s face it, he knew that they were against him from the start, he knew that they were telling lies about him, he knew that their goal was his destruction. So he refused to stop. Sometimes we probably spend too much time talking with people who’s mind is already made up about us. Let me explain.

When a person has a problem with something you are doing and questions you then I believe that we should do whatever we can to understand what it is that they have a problem with and to seriously take what they’re saying under consideration in thought and especially, prayer. I’ve personally found that there is usually a sliver of truth in most accusations (yet, the majority is nothing more than a person’s opinions and preferences), you prayerfully deal with the truth and forget the rest of it. (Vertical Church Elder Greg Blaine says you “chew up the meat and spit out the bones”) However, this conversation is a 2-way street; I think when a person questions me (or you), if you are expected to listen to and consider what they’re saying, they should be expected to do the same. When everyone is right in their own mind their only only concern becomes being heard and they cease to listen. Nehemiah had already spoken with Sanballat and his unmerry band of friends and knew that they were against him SO HE REFUSED TO WASTE HIS TIME IN UNPROFITABLE CONVERSATION.

So they came up with another plan – send in a “mole” to influence Nehemiah that he might become fearful and fall into their trap, Shemaiah. But Nehemiah felt that this man was not of the Lord which brings us to 1 John 4:1 (quoted above): just because a person speaks on behalf of the Lord doesn’t make it so. When someone says something that disturbs you, pray. Ask God to speak to you through his Word and in your heart. People will use the name of the Lord to manipulate you and get you off track. People will try to stop you by saying, “you know, i’ve been praying about this and I feel…”

JESUS died for you. If you are a Christ follower, if the Holy Spirit lives inside of you (and He does if you’ve surrendered to Him) He can, and will, speak to you the same way He speaks to those who feel led to “speak FOR Him”. If ever someone tells you something that is meant to be a deterrent from whatever you feel like you are doing for the Lord STOP, thank them for sharing and for their concern, and tell them that you will truly pray about what they’ve told you and will ask the Lord to reveal it to you also. If it is of God, HE (JESUS) will show you.

Get Me Out of the Way!

How-Does-The-Fed-Decrease-The-Money-Supply He must increase – I must decrease.

[25] Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. [26] And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” [27] John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. [28] You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ [29] The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. [30] He must increase, but I must decrease.”  (John 3:25-30 ESV)

It will never be because of me – it will be because of Him. The only way that He can truly use me for Him is if it becomes more about Him and less about me.

It's why as a worship leader I quit leading all the time and let others lead.

It's why I made the decision that when I did become a Pastor/Leader I would not do it alone.

It's why I have surrounded myself with talented people, more talented than I and am not intimidated by the fact that they may be better at something than me.

I want to be used by Jesus. Through the years I have realized it's not about me, It's about HIM using me and me staying out of the way and humble enough (which ain't easy) to be usable.

What about you? Are you "out of the way" enough to actually be usable?

My Last Month Begins Today

Deuteronomy As I was looking through my Bible the book of Dueteronomy caught my eye. Dueteronomy is such a great book, so inspiring. The premise is Moses restating to the children of the people he brought out of Egypt what he taught their parents (who have passed on) before those children cross over the Jordan into a new new land.

I love the way Moses tells the story… 

1 These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan…

 3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them.

Throughout this amazing book Moses tells them the story… the good and the bad, the miraculous and the mistakes as he prepares to pass his life's ministry onto his successor, Joshua. He shares the law as well as well as the story that had brought them to the place that they were. It makes me think what will I say to Hyde Park as I prepare to depart; not that I am anything special like Moses or Joshua (or anyone else bible worthy) but I know that the Lord has certainly done some miraculous things in our midst over the last 11 years and many of you have been part of that miracle.

So today begins the last month of my ministry to this great church – as I look Vertically to the future you can be sure that I'm thinking about where we've been together as well. Maybe I'll have the opportunity to share some stories throughout the month.

To Lift Your Spirit

On a down day last month I found myself struggling to get into the scriptures. My daily reading happened to be Psalm 55, and it was right on time. Maybe it's just what you need today as well:

  • "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would fell far away and stay in the desert… shelter from the tempest and storm." (v.6-8). I bet many relate to this thought, "Lord, let me flee and just start over… then rest from all of this would be mine".
  • "Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech… destructive forces are at work in the city, threats and lies never leave its streets" (v.9-11) There have been times through my years in ministry that I have felt like this – not often, but they've been there. I have sometimes felt like destructive forces were lining up against me yet I am often reminded by the Lord that the battle is spiritual. With this in mind I have tried to have the presence of Jesus in my response, "Lord, do with them what would bring about Your will". I have often felt this to be the right response.
  • "If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it…but it is you…my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship" (v.12-14) The fact that someone David loved had brought this pain made the pain that much worse. I have found that when the people you love hurt you, that pain hurts the worst.
  • "My companion attacks his friends…his speech is smooth as butter yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords." (v.20-21). Smooth talk doesn't change hearts. This man was changing other people's hearts with the wrong intentions filling his.

On the day that I read this, the last part lifted my Spirit and helped me leave my prayer time with a heart redirected towards God instead of others: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall… but as for me, I trust in you." (v.22-23)

Yes, God, I trust in you. I hope that you feel better as I did.