Archive for the 'Fear' Category
February 22nd, 2010 by Burlw
(Title rhyme courtesy of Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church.)
In Judges chapter 3, we read about Ehud, who was left handed…God used him to kill Eglon, king of Moab, who was a very fat man. As a junior higher, I loved that story! Especially the part about the sword going in all the way past the hilt and the handle getting covered with fat. Yesterday, our pastor preached a sermon on Ehud and how God used his being left handed in order to free the Israelites from the rule of the Moabites. God can use things in our own lives that may not seem like a positive to bring glory to HIM!
As I mulled over the sermon, there were things in my own life that I find I would like to do, yet to be honest, I have been chicken to try to step out and do. Ehud was led by God to assassinate a king who was the ruler of all the local area. I am sure that he didn’t take a poll first to see if the people were behind him. He didn’t have any assurance that his plan would even work…after all Eglon was a huge guy! What if the sword didn’t hit him right and he yelled bringing in the guards? I am sure there were many “what ifs”. Are we ready to step out in faith and face some of our fears and “what ifs” to do what we feel God calling us to do? As I write this, I am challenging myself as much as anyone else. Ehud the Left Handed Dude is an example that may of us probably wish wasn’t in the Bible…but he is.
January 26th, 2010 by Burlw
God has been challenging me lately to be more bold in sharing HIM with strangers. I don’t mean standing on a street corner shouting “YUR ALL GOOOIN TAA HEEELLL! ” I simply share stories with people of what God has done in my life. Each of us has a story to tell. Mine is one I have shared before in this post. You may not feel like your testimony is worth sharing, but each of us has influence with someone! Your story is YOUR’S to share! No one else can share your story! God has given it to you so that HE can use it to reach others for HIM. When we share what God has done in our lives, let it not be just in Church and with other Christians. Step out and share your story with people who might look at you like you are crazy. They may not drop to their knees and ask Jesus into their heart when you are done, but they can’t tell you that your story isn’t true…it is yours. Remember that ultimately, it is up to God’s Holy Spirit to convict someone to realize their need for HIM to come into their lives. All we can do is BE Christ-like and share with them what God has done in our own lives. IF our actions and our words are saying the same thing, even the most hardened atheist will listen. At the writing of this blog, NOT ONE of the people I have shared with since God put this challenge in my heart have come to know Christ as I was talking with them. While I would love to say that I led hundreds of people to the Lord in the last weeks, that isn’t so. What I can say is that God has let me share with people about HIS work in my life, instead of just talking about the weather. Each of those conversations at very least made the person think. One lady asked me to pray for her…so I see that as a step toward Christ rather than away from HIM. It has also meant that I have had the chance for some very real conversations with people. If you are tired of the “It sure is cold. “ “Yep, I wish it would warm up.” type conversations we have in checkout lines, try sharing something real that God has done in your life.
PS. It was good to take the break, but I had some things to say…so my shut down blog is on a hiatus. Have an awesome day!
October 5th, 2009 by Burlw
As a church leader, what are you shooting for? Do you want God? Or do you want Hype? Those who have been around the church world for a short time will soon recognize that there are pastors and leaders who are so full of God’s Holy Spirit that it is part of their DNA. God oozes from their pores! Then there are those who are full of Hype. They have lots of energy and do really cool stuff and get crowds excited, but that is where it ends. Our God changes lives! If there is no fruit evidence that He is working in people’s lives, then we can conclude that He isn’t working in their life. God changes people! Does that mean that all Christians change and grow equally…of course not. It does mean however that if someone is mean as a snake, but they claim to have been saved 20 years ago, then they probably don’t understand that being “saved” isn’t just a get out of hell free card; it means that God has control of your life and He WILL change it if He is truly given control. If you are a leader and questioning this post…good. I am too. Am I full of God, or full of Hype? I pray that everything I do will be full of God, directed by His Holy Spirit, and done for HIS glory! When pride gets in the way, it is easly to be full of Hype though. Especially when things are going well! Take inventory of yourself and your ministry. The good news is, if you find you and it are full of Hype rather than being full of God, HE is willing and able to help you change that! Just ask HIM!
August 28th, 2009 by Burlw
This isn’t really a churchy blog today, but it is on leadership. I am currently the chair of an organization called SCCOL which stands for South Carolina Council on Languages. It is a group that I enjoy that meets a few times a year in Columbia, SC. The problem is that we seem to lack purpose. This results in dwindling membership and less and less attendees. As the new chair, like a new pastor, I see that there are two options. Option one is to find and cast a vision for this group that gives it purpose for being! Adding excitement back into the world of language teachers could be a very good thing! The other option is to gracefully kill off the organization. I am going to attempt the first option, but in the back of my mind, the second one is still there.
I am sure the pastors reading this are thinking, (((Yeah, sure, that is what I want on my resume! This is the pastor we send in to kill off dying churches!))) As one of my students said yesterday in class, “A lot of churches just need to be burned down.” She was referring to those who aren’t doing anything to reach their communities for Jesus Christ. I don’t know that burning down perfectly good buildings is a good idea, but closing the doors of some might be the best move!
Wish me luck as I chair SCCOL, and hopefully, I can let you know later that I didn’t kill of the organization! BTW, my goal is to propose a cooperative inter-institution PhD program. I figure that gives us the goal of doing something new and innovative in the world of education and would not only give SCCOL, but also South Carolina something to be proud of!… I know, small goals. Have an awesome day!
July 28th, 2009 by Burlw
I just finished reading Craig Groeschel’s book, Confessions of a Pastor. It surprised me in a good way! I expected it to be a decent book. I enjoy Craig’s teaching and the articles he has written that I have read. I must admit, it was the first book by him that I had picked up. I read it almost all the way through last night…finally about 3:30 in the morning, I decided that the book would still be there in the morning and I needed to get some sleep. It got me thinking, which is part of Craig’s motive for writing the book, that I am as guilty as he is about not taking off my mask and trying to let people see the new and improved me instead of letting them see the “real” me. As he “confessed to me” through the book, I found myself wanting to talk out loud to him saying, “I am right there with you!” I have been in church since the week after my parents conceived me, yet it wasn’t until November 28, 2003 that I finally broke down and gave myself 100% to God! Why did I wait so long? I had said a sinner’s prayer when I was three years old. Was it real? I thought it was, but was my life bearing fruit of someone sold out to God and crazy about reaching the world for Jesus Christ? I can answer that for those who didn’t know me…it wasn’t! I was a “convenient Christian”. What about now? Each day is a new struggle. I have previously blogged about having had a pornography addiction and leading the pornography addiction recovery group at church. So how do I admit that there are days when I just want to give up on almost 6 years being porn free? There, I admitted it. (Yes, I know that giving in would destroy my witness, it would cause problems in my marriage, it would end my ability to be an effective pastor and leader in the church, it would take away the credibility I have built with the guys who talk to me about their own addictions…) Yes, I know that stuff…and yet there are days when I don’t feel as close to God and don’t feel his love. I know HE is still there watching out for me. Yes, there are days when I wake up tired on Sunday morning and don’t want to go to church. (And the senior pastor is an incredible leader and speaker! I love the worship band! I just want to stay in bed.) Do you ever have those feelings? Comment away!
And if you are struggling with a pornography and/or sexual addiction, feel free to contact me privately. If you are a pastor, I really encourage you to do so! If you don’t want to talk to me, get an accountability partner! Very, very few men/or women can kick the habit alone without the help of a friend.
July 23rd, 2009 by Burlw
Trying something new can be really scary. It is easy to just keep going in the paths that we and so many others have been traveling. It is easy to cruise down I85 at 65 miles an hour in your car…not so easy to take off hiking accross the mountains without even a trail to follow! As I hope you know, (Or my marketing really isn’t working!) I published a book last week. For some of you, you have published many books and have a publisher to work with. I decided after religiously reading Michael Hyatt’s blog that I would self publish. (He is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Inc. who publish some amazing books in the Christian literature world!) So off I go without a publisher paving the road for me. Can I tell you that my total revenue from book sales is almost challenging that of John Grisham now…well I could tell you that, but it would be a huge lie! Is it worth it to blaze a new trail instead of going with the well known path. I can’t tell you yet, but I can say that it has been exciting trying and I am in no way tempted to fall asleep at the wheel. Stepping out and trying something new is scary, but it does bring back excitement!
If you are a church leader, try something brand new! It may fail miserably, but just doing something different will create excitement in the church. In some churches that might just mean moving the piano to the other side of the platform. (Careful, you may find that the argument over church carpet color was all in vain when you see under the piano.) Get rid of the choir one Sunday…just have the worship leader on a stool by himself. Or…add a choir if you don’t usually have one. Do the song service at the end of the service. Have service outside in the parking lot. Take a “church family vacation”! (Actually did that last one once…and it was great! We shut the doors of the church one weekend and the whole church left on Friday night in busses…we went to Dallas, had a blast and Sunday morning went to T.D. Jakes church, The Potter’s House.) Doing something different creates a buzz and gets people up out of their pew, chair, theater seat, bench or whatever they sit on in your church. Do something Scary!
February 24th, 2009 by Burlw
I am really feeling like a spiritual wimp today. As I continue to read through 2 Kings, I am in awe of the miracles that God did through His prophets! Jesus told us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. These Old Testament prophets had a faith that I have never experienced. It is easy to pray for someone to be healed of a cold, and if they feel better, great! As a child I remember seeing a real healing miracle. My babysitter had fallen off her barrel racing horse and dislocated her elbow…which she had done many times. It swelled up quite large. In front of my eyes, as men prayed for her, the swelling shrunk down and her elbow went back into place and she was completely healed! There was no trick photography or fancy shouting, just a group of guys from the church that both she and I went to began to pray for a young lady in pain and God chose to intervene. What I learned this morning as I read is that God doesn’t only care about our health or the big government stuff. He also cared about a man who lost a borrowed axe head in the water. He didn’t have the money to replace the axe head I am sure, so God saw fit to allow that axe head to float! Wow! I pray that God will allow me to have the faith that flowed through Elijah and Elisha!
September 2nd, 2008 by Burlw
Sometimes we humans sin just from our own stupidity and human nature, and sometimes Satan is gunning for us. I just want to mention an interesting “coincidence” from the last few weeks. A while back my pastor asked me to start a pornography addiction recovery group at our church. At first, I thought, how in the world do you get guys to come to a group like that? But then, after praying about it and talking to my wife about it, I agreed. Two weeks ago, we had our first meeting of “Monday Night Porn Talk”. Here is the interesting part. Almost immediately, the level of e-mails inviting me to visit singles and/or porn sites arriving in my inbox went up drastically, and those are just the ones that got through the filter! So, why am I sharing this? On one hand, keeping a low profile is easier, but when we begin to challenge a stronghold of Satan not only outside the church, but one he has IN the church, I do believe he gets upset and fights back. The great thing is that our God is much more powerful than Satan can ever hope to be! We already have victory over him through Jesus Christ. So if you feel like Satan is keeping you from doing something that God has asked you to do, I am encouraging you to do it! And while Satan will retaliate when provoked, our Lord God is not challenged at all by the forces of darkness. Thanks for reading. Sorry I haven’t posted in a week or so.
July 23rd, 2008 by Burlw
Jesus walked on the water, fed thousands with only a few loaves and fish, healed the blind, lame, sick and demon possessed. Why are we in the church so often full of fear? Some of the fears we face are BIG…at least in our small human eyes. Others are not so big. In John 6:20, Jesus said, “It is I; do not be afraid.” He walks beside us through all things if we keep our faith on HIM. What do pastors and churches fear? I can’t begin to say that I understand every pastor’s fear, but here are a few I can think of. Changing worship styles. Reaching out to a new demographic. Try a new ministry. Give away a larger portion of our church budget. All these and more could give a pastor and church leadership a little cause for trepidation, but remember. God is with you always! Do not live in fear!