So Many Options, So Much Time

When Beth and I knew that we wouldn’t be sticking around at our previous ministry, needless to say we began seeking out whatever God had laid out next. Even in the midst of the beginning of the transition, I was still hoping down deep inside that there would be a miraculous change, and that we would be able to see something amazing happen. It probably wasn’t fair to myself or my family to let hope linger, but I will always trust in what God can do beyond whatever I might see. But all the signs said it was time to move on, and so we began looking at what those new opportunities & options might be and where God might lead us.

IMG_1133.PNGWhen you pray and ask for an adventure, then there are a multitude of options that can open up in front of you. We were looking at Oregon, Washington, Texas, the Atlantic coastline, and we even had someone talking to us about going to work & serve at a refugee camp in Sicily. There were so many options that there were too many options. It became daunting.

As we looked, we considered, and as we considered, we dreamed, and when you start dreaming dreams in different directions, you’re going to wind up feeling very, very torn. You’re going to feel directionless. And that’s a tough place to be.

We spent many nights having discussions about the pros and cons of this area over that. We researched churches with open positions. We debated the merits of large congregations and small congregations, and knowing how to negotiate the purpose of each in their environments. We talked about the areas we simply didn’t want to go to, and where there might be the greatest need within the kingdom. There were so many options, and our wait within those options seemed to be a very long one.

Granted, we were still wrapping up our final season in that ministry, and we are always subject to the timing and will of God. We wanted to leave quickly, but God had intention for keeping us around just a little longer. Waiting isn’t often fun or pleasurable, but God always has something in store for us in it.

During one of my many meetings with other local ministers, I was talking about this time of transition, and our waiting within it. And I told him that I knew that God was doing some refining of me and my heart through this whole process, and that I didn’t want to miss out on it. I didn’t want to lose something that God might raise up within me. Again, it didn’t make the waiting easy, but knowing that there was growth to look for within it brought some measure of comfort.

In a previous post, I talked about the breadcrumb trail that God would lead us to, that helped to define this waiting for us, but it was still a struggle to deal with this amount of time and with this degree of feeling directionless.

In these seasons of transition, we must come back to trusting in God. There is a temptation to begin to doubt ourselves, to doubt our call to ministry, there are ample opportunities to listen to voices of discouragement, and to let the whispers of the enemy creep in. This is what he’s prone to do. Where we see options, he speaks into difficulty. Where there are decisions, he sows doubt. Where we are presented with the goodness and mercy of God, the enemy present us with insults that detract from where He is calling us and what He is doing in those moments.

You see, there is a deep degree of trust and faith that comes with a life in ministry. There are people who do not understand it, who disregard it, and who will act as agents of misery in that time. The enemy likes to sow division, to breed hurt and to create wounds as we wait, and there are people who claim Christ who gladly add to that burden. As tough as it might be, we still pray for them, over them, and we continue to do our best to point them toward Jesus in all of our actions, words and example.

Waiting is hard, searching can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean that we have reason to live in a way that dishonors Christ in the process. As we look in the Bible, we find ourselves in excellent company when we consider those who wait. We see Moses, Joshua,   David, Ezekiel and other prophets who had to wait to see God’s next steps come about. There may have been choices to make, but there was waiting within those choices. This happens with Jesus, Paul, John and others in the New Testament, too. So don’t despair in your waiting. Don’t think that you are alone, or listen to the lies that God has abandoned you, or that He is somehow being cruel. God has purpose in our waiting, there are considerations to weigh, and lessons to learn in the choices laid out before us. Seek Him in them & trust in His timing.



Someday, I’ll Do Something Great

We all hope for something. We truly, deeply want to see something happen. Maybe it’s a steady paycheck that actually pays the bills. Maybe it’s that new car. Maybe it’s a promotion. Maybe it’s that our children are successful. Maybe it’s that tomorrow comes without drama, sickness or hurt. We all long for something, We all want to see something happen. We make promises to ourselves that it’s going to happen.


Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Step one is remembering that God already has a plan laid out for us. He has a pattern He wants to build on and work from. It’s non-negotiable. We are called to walk in the image of Christ, having put Him on as our new identity. If anything great is going to come out of us, it’s going to be because of Him.

So, if you have plans, hand them over to Jesus. Let Him give them a work over, refocus them, and then press forward with Him. If you want to do great things for God, then expect great things from God. Move in faith, and roll with Him.

It’s a walk of faith & it’s about His glory.

Planting for the Future

In Mark 4, Jesus tells a parable about a seed growing:

“And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

What is the point of the parable? Which element is most important?
That a seed is planted right?


I would want to say that the seed grows, but it cannot grow unless it is first planted. So, the planting must, by necessity, come first. When we look at the planting, we will notice a few key actions.

Number one, the man took up the seed and went to the field.
Number two, he placed the seed in his hand and chose where to scatter it.
Number three, he went to work, trusting in what he did not understand in order to accomplish what he knew needed to be done.

This is the work of the kingdom. There are elements of what God calls us to do in Christ that are non-negotiable. We who have received the Word & Gospel must take up ownership of it and go to the field. When Jesus commands us to make disciples it isn’t a point of debate. He is our Master, and this is His will. Secondly, we must take a hold of the Gospel, personally, purposefully and then make a plan to spread it around. Third, we take action and do what we planned and were commanded to do.

We don’t have to know all the details. We don’t have to harness great skill. We simply need to be obedient to the task, trusting that God will do what He intends to do, and that He will seek His own glory in it all. This is right and good.

We cannot balk because we don’t know everything. We are not God. We never know what will grow from what we sow, and that’s okay.  It’s not for us, but for Him, and for those who will grow to Him from that effort. We simply trust and obey.

Check out this article about a man who was preparing for the future, and how his seed went to work long after he was gone. It’s a cool story.

What’s your story? Where are you in the process of scattering the Gospel seed?

One Step at a Time

Ever had someone try to offer you deeply profound advice at a time when you just needed something specific and easy to hear? “Ah, my friend, you know that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Really? Thanks. Super helpful.


Instead of what we need, something real, something practical, our friends try to over spiritualize, over think and over do it when it comes to advice. Sometimes simple is best. When your friend is suffering, struggling with the deep and distracting travails of life it probably best not to use that time to make yourself look better or sound smarter, ya know?

But that’s what we tend to do isn’t it? We don’t know what to say to them and so we wind up talking about ourselves. It’s easier. We compare life notes, we share our own struggles, and how we dealt with them. We have the benefit of the 30,000 ft overhead view of our whole situation while they’re slogging through the worst of it. We can oversimplify, overcomplicate, talk about anything and everything else that comes to mind when maybe, just maybe, we simply need to be present with them.

I am super guilty of this myself. I’m a guy. I compartmentalize. I try to be objective, and maybe my friend just needs me to listen. Maybe if I say anything at all, it just needs to focus on the next step, or even what it will take to lift their foot to begin to think about taking that step. In the name of trying to give good advice, we often give terrible advice, because we aren’t present in the situation with our friend. Maybe what they need is someone to just take that one step with them. I know I’ve been there, too, and recently.

Thank God for good friends who can come alongside of us in our struggles, encourage us, be present for us, and not necessarily try to fix everything in that moment as if life was a sitcom with 30 minute resolutions.

Jesus walks with Peter, James and John everyday. Peter is Captain Obvious, pops off at the mouth and says some pretty brash stuff on a regular basis. But rather than take on all of Peter’s problems and foibles, Jesus loves him that day and offers direction for that moment. Sometimes we see Jesus speaking a long term solution or pathway to Peter, but more often than not, He’s present with him in that moment of brokenness. And on the beach, over those smoked fish and watching the sun come up, Jesus speaks both into Peter’s present hurt andante his future as a leader of other broken people.

Last year, I was in a pretty rough place. I was feeling raw and vulnerable. I was feeling pretty worthless, and was dealing with some deep-seated hurts. But we had some awesome Christian friends who sat with us in church, had us over to their house and never once asked anything to bring up those hurts. That wasn’t what we needed in that moment. What we needed were a few people to take the next steps of ‘normal life’ with us, and that went a long way with our healing. May God provide us all with those good relationships when we need them, and us for them when they need us. It a beautiful opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we walk in the rhythms of His grace together.


The Planting Journey

So, usually a farmer knows where he’s going to plant his seeds and attempt to raise a crop for harvest. That’s normal practice, right? You work that soil ahead of time, add in fertilizer, see where the land rises and falls so you can be aware of spots that may hold water, where wildlife come to graze…you know, farmer stuff. Seems like this would be a part of how you operate.

Typically ministers know where they are going serve on a given Sunday. They know their people, there’s probably a building, people leading, carrying the load with them (hopefully) and others who rally around the cross with them, all at various stages of maturity, growth and service…you know, churchy stuff. Seems like this would be a part of how you operate. IMG_8CF53472CA55-1

That’s unless God decides it’s time for you to do something different. Almost exactly one year ago, I resigned my position as Lead Minister with a legacy church in Kentucky and officially kicked off a new adventure that is still taking shape a year later. Right now, I know what city I’m supposed to serve. I have a general idea what neighborhood or area we’ll be located in (it’s not where we’re currently living) we have a pretty complete idea what our team looks like, but there are still many, many unknowns. It’s definitely a different feeling after 20 years of ‘normal’ Southern, North American ministry.

There’s that old saying, “Life’s a Journey.” And there’s also, “Life is about the journey, because that’s all you have.” Or you could say any number of motivational poster type things that speak to the importance of seeing where you are, appreciating it, and then enjoying the trip to the next spot. And so on and so on, right?

Scripture talks about planting seeds. It’s something we all can understand. The farmer plants the seeds, there’s hope that something will come from it and faith that a harvest will come one day. That’s good stuff. This is how life works. There’s a high degree of uncertainty simply because we can’t see beyond the curtain of today and take a sneak peek of tomorrow. So, we plant those seeds. Some will grow, others will never germinate, some will begin to grow and nothing will come of them. That’s life.

So, for us, we are doing a lot of prep work. We are in the business of speculation, planning for growth before we have the seeds or even know where the field sits. It’s a weird place to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Is it hard? Sure it is. I wouldn’t learn anything if it was easy. And so far, I haven’t been handed a lot of ‘easy’ stuff over the course of my ministry career. There are people involved. People who are broken like me. People who have problems, who make mistakes, people who hurt one another, who feel like they know better than everyone else, who plot and gossip and try to get their way. That’s life, right? We all deal with this. And as long as sin is present, we still will. So, I choose not to get hung up on the hard stuff, and instead I focus on what God has for me to do, and I trust that He will lead me into tomorrow when it comes.

And such is church planting. We will get to till soil with prayer. We will get to plant and water. The time is coming. But we are journeying to that day.

So far, we’ve made the big cross-country move. We’ve stepped out in faith physically. Now we are beginning our support raising journey, trusting that God is going to provide for us, so we can accomplish what He has called us to. This is His journey with us. He is the guide, not me. He is in charge, and I gladly submit to His leadership. Soon, He will begin directing us to begin new relationships, open new doors, and allow us to plant seeds in new hearts. This is more of what I am used to and expect. But no journey is constant travel. No journey is a non-stop cascade of motion. Instead, we find seasons of waiting, seasons of trust, seasons of rest.

This is a part of farming, right? This is a part of ministry, right? Yes, yes it is. Everything is a journey. What matters is Who we journey with, and Who we’re trusting along the way. There will be plenty more to share some day, but today, I wait. And I wait with faith for the harvest.

Our Present Father

Do you think that the Queen of England ever forgets her status? Do you think she ever gets up in the morning, looks around the royal bedchambers, notices a staff member setting up the tray for her morning tea, opening the curtains, laying out her things and wonders, “Well, who is this and why are they doing all this?”

No. Of course not. She’s the queen, and that life is what is afforded for her. It is part of her rank and status that she would be so cared for & so well attended. While she may have no real power, she is still beloved by those who are hers.

We often forget what we have been afforded in Christ. We look around at the world God has created, at he provision He has laid out for us, we forget how dearly loved we are. We forget =Whose= we are and we fall into the trap of disbelieving just how deeply and how greatly we are loved.

Galatians 4:1-11

4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

God has made provision for =you= in Jesus Christ. He has shown the depth of His love, and breadth of His grace. He has given us a wonderful gift beyond measure. But so often we see and observe, and we turn back to what we once had. That is what Paul is dealing with in this portion of his letter to the Galatian church. Why would we turn back to the life that once had us, to the pain that once ensnared us? Why would you turn back to death once you have been brought back to life?

But we do it every day.

We leave behind the rich appointments of grace to wallow in the filth of our own sin.

This is why we are daily glad for grace, and for the presence of the Holy Spirit that corrects us.  There is mourning that comes with this realization, but it is a mourning that is infused with hope.

Lamentations 3:19-26

19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,

    the wormwood and the gall!

20 My soul continually remembers it

    and is bowed down within me.

21 But this I call to mind,

    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

    “therefore I will hope in him.”


25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

    to the soul who seeks him.

26 It is good that one should wait quietly

    for the salvation of the Lord.

You are deeply loved and dearly bought when you are clothed with Christ. You are afforded a richness that comes with being drawn into the presence of the Living God. Jesus gave proof to His disciples after He was resurrected by doing something simple, He ate with them. He wanted them to see that this was the new reality, the new normal. The life they had been appointed to was past and there was something new on the way. This is what Jesus does for us, this is what God has laid out for us. It’s all for =His= glory, but as heirs, we share in the glorious promises of righteousness.

Luke 24:36-49

36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

God will take great care to clothe us, care for us and shower us with His love. We are His children, deeply loved, dearly bought. Just as Christ did simple things, like eating fish, to convince His disciples that things really were as they were, even thought it was beyond hope, maybe even beyond belief, He was alive again and there, present with them. Just as He did that, we need to remember that every day, through many convincing proofs, God reminds us that He is present with us, loving us. He is our Abba, our Father, our Daddy & He cares very much for us.

Rest in His arms today. Let Him sing over you. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.

Letting grace move us

Father God, Lord of life, You provide us in every way & for every need. You keep us running, direct our hearts & sustain our souls, body & mind. You bring us life & a hope we can call on every single day. We come seeking You out in all these ways & more every day, because outside of You, we have nothing. On our own we have no hope, no strength, no provision, only empty promises we make to ourselves, but have no power to see through to the end. Forgive us our failings & pride, guiding us to completion in Jesus Christ instead. Empower us through Your Holy Spirit to walk with You today. We need to desperately & deeply. You are our rock & refuge. Restore us & bring glory to Yourself. We bless Your holy Name. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do you feel called by God? Can you sense His will at work in your life? Have you ever felt sent by Him to do a particular work? Do you know what that connection feels like & what it is He compels you to accomplish?

Here’s what we find to help us answer those questions. Paul begins by acknowledging these callings in his own life. God has made them abundantly clear. He says that he is called to do these things & that the church in Corinth is called to be a gathering of saints that call upon the Name of Jesus Christ. He acknowledges the call of an individual & the call of the gathering of believers collectively. There are things that we must do on our own & there are activities that we participate in together. That’s not revolutionary or difficult to comprehend, but there are temptations to neglect one of them or both, from time to time.

We often make excuses & tell ourselves it’s okay that we aren’t doing something that God has called us to as an individual, or that it’s not a big deal that we aren’t serving corporately with the rest of the body. But when we look at the second part of the passage today, we find out just what we are missing when we stand apart from this work of God in us.

Paul begins talking about grace & peace that comes to us through Christ. He acknowledges that this same grace is a gift from Christ and how He enriches us in every way through that grace. He blesses our strength. He blesses our knowledge. He blesses our speech & fills us so we do not lack in any gift. This all comes from walking in His will & in being obedient to the call of grace on our lives.

Grace doesn’t call us to simply rest in Him, which it does provide. Grace doesn’t call us to simply know about itself, which is part of how peace works its way in us. Grace calls us to an active participation in the Gospel work in us, it leads us into a new way of living, a movement in the rhythms it provides us, and in those rhythms, we find a new cadence for our lives that brings fulfillment, hope, peace & joy that we can in turn share with others. None of this is passive. None of this is meant to belong only to us. We live this & share in this together. This is what grace does. We are called, provided for & encouraged by grace into a deeper love, a full life & a living hope.

Because of this grace, we can also stand guiltless before God, and that is the greatest gift of all. This is what Jesus has provided for us through His life, death, burial & resurrection. Grace makes the calling & the life of dedicated obedience possible & it brings us to God’s unending well of joy, peace & fulfillment. It’s a wonderful place to be & a deep joy to walk out day by day. Christ is revealed in us through it all. Let Him reveal Himself in your life today. Seek His leading. Walk in His rhythms.