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Single Ladies: YOU Hold the Key

This past Sunday for Week 4 of “Man vs Woman” Donnie spoke to all the single ladies in the house from the Old Testament book of Ruth. You can hear the message for yourself here. Being single is not a curse. As a matter of fact we truly believe that God wants to use your single life experience as a preparation for the next phase of your life. Do you want to have a great single experience? TRULY PUT JESUS FIRST and you won’t find yourself rushing into a man because you are filled with the presence of THE Man.

Being that this week I will be talking to all of single guys (and men in general) I wanted to take a moment to share with all of our female online friends. Maybe this post is for you or maybe you know someone who needs some advice in this area. Here are some thoughts to consider as you take your next step in the area of dating:

  1. You are a precious and you matter so much to Jesus. It is easy to not view ourselves through God’s eyes and to sell yourself short. You don’t have to settle for “that guy” because you’re afraid there is no one better. Wait for the man that God has chosen for you. When we prayerfully wait on the Lord we give Him the opportunity to work miracles in our lives. We saw this in Ruth’s story this past weekend. She could have found a young man but she was more concerned with the most important things in her life than a relationship. Many young women can learn from Ruth.
  2. Does your guy have problems but says he will be better after you’re married? Marriage doesn’t fix things – if anything it makes it worse!!! Men don’t get better after marriage. Think about it like this: right now (before the wedding) you are getting the best of him as he is pursuing you. He is in the place of winning your heart before marriage. Think about that a moment: do you feel like he is “winning you” or does it already feel like he is taking you for granted? It doesn’t get better ladies – I promise.
  3. Does your guy use you? If he is more interested in what he can get from you BEFORE marriage you are in a downward spiral that only leads to pain and unhappiness. Financially, emotionally, relationally… As I said above, it won’t get better.
  4. Do you find yourself having to make excuses for him? Do your friends see things in him that cause you to make excuses, “oh, he is really great – you just don’t see that side of him.” If THEY don’t see the good side of him what are you actually seeing? People have a tendency to put on a better face in front of others. Is it possible that what you “see” in him is actually you being optimistic about someone because you are afraid there isn’t a better option in your future?
  5. Do you have to make him go to church? God’s plan for you is a Godly marriage – one that is built around a relationship with Jesus. If the guy you’re dating does not put Jesus first now as he pursues you he is not going to have an about face after you’re married. The man who has to be drug to church by his girl is not concerned with the things of God, period. Remember, the man is called by God to be the spiritual leader of his home – is your boyfriend the spiritual leader of your current relationship?

Seriously, I share this with you because I love you and want the best for all of you! Do not put yourself in a situation that is hard to correct. Single ladies, YOU hold the key to your heart – don’t pass that key until you know that person is worthy to possess it. I’m not trying to pick on the guys… I just know them because I am one (grin). I just want you to remember that, as I said, these things do not improve with marriage. Let’s begin now working to grow in relationships that bring glory to God so that your marriage will bring glory to Jesus.

Wives with Husbands Far from God

My wife Keyna and I have been married since 1989. We have not always lived our lives with Jesus at the center. Keyna has been a follower of Christ since her early teens, I have not. We went to church together during the period of time that we were doing pre-marital counseling. (You can’t go have weekly meetings with a pastor yet not show up in his church on Sunday mornings, right?) After the wedding, I was done.

In 1994, 5 years into our marriage, Keyna began to realize how far she had strayed from Jesus and knew it was time to make her way back. This is never an easy journey when your spouse does not hold the same convictions that you do. One day, in the midst of her thinking, she challenged me:

Keyna: I think we need to get back into church.
Mike: You can go, I’m not really interested.
Keyna: Mike, do you ever think about what would happen if Jesus came back while we were in one of those clubs?
Mike: Keyna, I don’t even know if I believe in Jesus.
Keyna: (long pause – look of disbelief on her face)
Keyna: Mike Pittman, you’re stupid.
(Keyna walks away while I watch in shock)

3 and a half years later my heart was empty and I quit being dishonest with myself. I knew that there was something missing and the “things” I was doing in my life to fill that emptiness was temporary at best, leaving me feeling even more empty than before. After a series of events, much private prayer on my behalf from Keyna, and her encouragement to give church another chance I went back and in April, 1997 I surrendered my heart to Jesus Christ.

I have prayed with so many ladies through the years who loved Jesus while their husbands didn’t. It’s heartbreaking – especially after children are born. Maybe that’s you, if so, love him with the love of Christ – don’t beat it down his throat, don’t argue about it – love him. You knew he didn’t have a relationship with Christ before you married him. Paul speaks to your situation in 1 Cor. 7:12-13Peter’s words to wives with unbelieving husbands is inspiring:

[3:1] Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, [2] when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV)

Young ladies: It is so important that you don’t settle for a man who doesn’t share your spiritual values and direction. You think you will change him but honestly, chances are you won’t. The way that he is currently treating you pre-marriage is normally the best of him; look at where your relationship is now; imagine what it would be like if he “let his guard down” (he will at some point after the wedding) – is that where you want to be? You owe it to this young man to be honest about your faith and desires for your future family to love Jesus. If he is not willing to start heading that way spiritually HE IS NOT THE MAN FOR YOU.

I know this story turned out in Keyna’s favor but the truth is I did not share her spiritual values and it could have been disastrous. I was not going in the same direction that she desired to end up spiritually which very well could have been a HUGE issue in our life and would eventually cause her and our future children much heartache. If this is you I would encourage you to “Pray without ceasing.” Ultimately your husband will decide the nature of his relationship with the Lord, but prayer changes things. In the meantime remember, you’re not doing these things for him because he deserves it, but because it’s pleasing to the Lord. As I once read someone say, “The least you’ll receive for doing this is an eternal reward, but you could very well wind up enjoying it with him.”

If you are in this situation please know that we understand, would love to pray with and FOR you and for the salvation of your spouse.

This Weekend (on a Wednesday)

I am VERY ready for the weekend – what about you?

I know that it's only Wednesday, and I know that there is a lot that needs to happen before Sunday gets here but I am SO looking forward to gathering with the church of God for our weekly worship.

Maybe it's because we didn't have church this past Sunday…

Maybe it's because I have only been in a worship service 1 time in the past month (2 weeks Hawaii/then last weeks miss)…

Maybe it's because I know that we have a powerful service planned for the weekend…

Maybe it's because, in this week's fast, God quickened my heart for the things that matter to Him…

Maybe it's because I just realized (wow…) that this weekend will usher in the last month of my mentor/pastor's ministry with me (I want this to be the greatest month ever!)…

OR…

Maybe it's just because I have come to realize the power that's found when God's people come together in one accord (unity) and call out (surrender) to the Only One who can handle the situations our life holds.

Here's what I do know:

  • God has given us a mission – to reach those we have influence with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • God has called His people to seek after Him – to live lives that are bathed in repentance, understanding our need for Him and the fact that He has saved us to live for Him (not ourselves).
  • For us to do the top two it is imperative that we do whatever is necessary to come together, to seek His true will for us and for our church. May we never forget that it is impossible to live out Mark 12, the great commandment: "love the Lord Your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind and with all of your strength", without doing the 2nd part of that: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these (emphasis mine). Jesus thought it very important that we understand that both of them were tied together.

With this in mind, as we move towards the weekend, may we seek to worship the Lord in our daily lives, seeking peace with those we have struggles for the glory of God. On Thursday, worship Him through your day… talk to Him as often as you think on Him through the day. On Friday, worship. On Saturday, worship. And on Sunday, set the clock a little earlier than normal, read some psalms, sing some songs and prepare your heart to meet with Him and His people. If we will all do that then I believe we will better understand what King David was expressing when he said, 

"I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD."' (Psalm 122:1)

You Gotta See This!!!

Baptism is so amazing! The picture of someone who is becoming a new creation by the supernatural power of Christ. The reminder of someone who once was lost, realized it and wants to acknowledge to the world that He/She is a now follower of JESUS. I was telling a friend just this morning that I never would have thought my life would turn out as it has… I never would've pictured me living my life for God.

I love seeing people take the plunge!

This Sunday, February 1st, is our next baptism celebration – have you been baptized SINCE you believed. Remember, scriptural baptism is that which takes place after conversion (Acts 2:40-42, Acts 8:12,13Acts 8:35-37, and more – if you're interested in more let me know). If you want/need to be baptized you can register here. We'll be in contact with you this week to make the necessary arrangements.

One more thing: when you get baptized make a big deal out of it – invite your friends, your family, anybody you can think of! What better way to share with them what is happening spiritually in your life than to invite them to witness the picture of your old life being buried with Christ in the waters of baptism, resurrected out of the water as a new creation? I'm very excited for all of you!

Check out the following video – you never know who God will use you to reach; maybe the toughest person, the one you can't imagine living for God is "the one" whom God will use you to reach. (facebook and those using a "reader" go to the original site to see the video: http://www.wholeheartedlife.typepad.com)

And join me tomorrow as I humbly attempt to answer one of life's toughest questions…
Andy from Pete Wilson on Vimeo.

Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving week, Tuesday night to be exact. My family is all buzzing about doing stuff and I wanted to post concerning where i’m at right now, but first…

Last weekend was really great! On Saturday I went to the UNC/State game! 50 yard line seats (it was sweet!) and the Tarheels improved their season to 2 wins (must have been my presence). I returned just in time to attend a party with some close friends to celebrate a birthday (and eat an excellent ribeye, courtesy of my friend, Buddy Stephens).

Sunday was an unbelievable day! Both services were just great – a great anticipation seemed to be in the room. I will continue to say that I am SO BLESSED to have the opportunity to serve at a great church like Hyde Park.

Sunday night we had our annual Thanksgiving Meal and Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Dedication Service. Much props go to:

  • The cooking team who prepared a great, great meal and served 350 people in less than 25 minutes…
  • Those who prepared all of the Operation Christmas Child boxes. Our church goal was 1500 boxes to which i believe we came within 100 of reaching! Our county goal was 6000 (we came close to that one too!). A lot of people worked ALL WEEK to make sure that children around the world have Christmas and hear the message of Jesus Christ. Love it!
  • The Kingdom Kidz Choir (directed by Candi Hester) rocked, as always…
  • Potter’s Hands performed "Thank You" – bringing tears to any and everyone who loves Jesus. As I said, a great, great day.

Now, back to Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for…

God’s wonderful salvation. I know that you aren’t surprised that I would say this, but if you would have told me 11 years ago I would be a pastor on staff at a church I would have died laughing. "God, You have completely changed all that was important to me. You’ve given me a new life, new hopes, new dreams, new direction and a new vision for my life. You have blessed me so much, and I give you praise right here, right now, in the presence of all who read this blog."

My Family. The covenant relationship that Keyna and I entered into almost 17 years ago (December 16) has been the constant in an everchanging world for me. Our relationship has been through much but she has always been there for me. She put up with a lot prior to my transformation (and after). I love her and continue to look forward (God willing) to a long life with her. Our children are the icing on an otherwise wonderful cake bringing fulfillment and completion to our dream of being "a family". "God, thank You for my family – help us to build our lives around You, seeking You in all decisions."

My Friends. It’s funny that before I became a Christian (but was considering trusting God) part of what held me back was the thought that most of my friends would leave me if I became a Christ follower. My life revolved around my friends (especially those in my bands). But today I find myself with more friends than I have ever had in my life. Our relationships are close, deep and Christ-centered. "Father, thank you for the wonderful people that you have chosen for me to "do life with". I pray your blessings on them and their families as we seek You together."

My Church. I live my dream. Before I came to Hyde Park, all I wanted was to serve a church like we are. We weren’t "that kind of church" when I first came, but little by little God has made my dream a reality. Our Pastor (Dennis Harrell) is wonderful and a trusted friend. Our staff is passionate about accomplishing God’s plan for their ministry. Our music is slammin’! We’ve come so far in that area. Our services are passionate and our future is BEYOND EXCITING! I can’t wait for you to fully hear what will be happening at HP in the next 4 months. We’re going to see things that no church in our area has ever seen and in the process (with the power of God, by His Spirit) we’re gonna reach the masses with the message of the Gospel. And I’m gonna love every minute…

Honestly, there’s so much more that I’m thankful for, but i’m stopping here. God is good and I love serving Him. Over the next few days, love your families much – bless your friends & pray audibly for them and let’s prepare for the greatest time of our lives.

By the way, I am preaching this weekend, AM & PM. The message will actually be a 2 part series (1morning/1evening) called "A New Look on Life" with the Sunday morning message titled "Christ-Colored Glasses". I deeply appreciate your prayers as my desire is not to fill the preaching slot, but to be used by God to speak a message that brings transformation into the life of those who hear. I would never want to waste anyones time. I want people to walk out of Hyde Park knowing exactly what they need to do to improve their life over the next week.

I love you guys so much – You are part of what makes my life WHOLE. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Striving to live a WholeHearted Life,

mike p