Me, Me, Me!

I know it has been a while, but in all fairness, I have been a little busy. I have recently accepted the call to lead a congregation in the small town of Washington Indiana. IMG_2348These people are a great group of folks that are easy to love and they have a heart for their community. Now that is out of the way, I have a few thoughts to share as I have been preparing the latest sermon. I honestly wrote this last week but did not want to publish until the sermon titled “Never Alone, the Sequel” was given.  Now, back to the previously scheduled post! That said, my intended audience is the fellow believer – male and female. The Word calls us “brethren.” This is not intended for the non-believer as I believe those of faith have a higher standard. We are supposed to hold each other accountable – society thinks that would be “judgmental.” To fellow believers, its accountability.

This may not be a popular post with many today. But then again, nor is the Christian faith popular within today’s discussions. Where a society calls to open the love gates and love everyone and “it’s all about love” (there is a certain biblical truth here until we peel back the layers of motivation), we are focused to start with ourselves. There are even many television preachers that will preach what most of us regular pastor types call “prosperity gospel.”  If you just give us a check, God will flood you with blessing – says the Bible nowhere! Yes, we are to give Him an offering, but it must be out of love. It is, however, all His to begin with. The problem with this “prosperity” message is (other than the only one that prospers is the preacher!) the same as the love gates movement many progressive thoughts are pushing – motivation. I agree that we are to love one another. I agree we are to show compassion to one another. I do it out of love for them and putting their needs first before my own. Jesus calls that servitude (Mark 10:45).

Today, we are taught to look out for number one. Take care of yourself first. I deserve better. I deserve the best! Sound familiar? This is nowhere in the Word of God and I would challenge all who read this to prove otherwise. We are encouraged to actually do the total opposite! “Less of me, more of you Lord” (John 3:30) comes to mind here.  This was modeled in the first church. There was a sense of community and charity within those 3000 that came to faith during Pentecost.4D6D7E6A-87DD-4937-A94B-BDA9A3BA743E They shared their possessions, ate together, attended services daily and listened with anticipation to every word of the apostles (Acts 2: 42-47). Why? Not because they were told to. Not because it is written somewhere and not because they were shamed into doing so. They did all of this willingly. They did this because they loved God first and themselves last – yes even after others.

This is the embodiment of the word “charity.” You know how “charity” is defined as biblically? Love. Not just any love, but agape love – the highest form of pure love. Charity does not include self. It does not take into consideration of personal needs of the supplier. This almost sounds like the love shown on the cross. cross carryThe needs, anxiety, and fear of Jesus did not matter when it came down to the actual act of suffering and crucifixion. This pure and full love is what that first community of believers exhibited toward one another. This was not a surprise but an actually answered prayer. Who would have prayed for such unity you ask? None other than Jesus moments before His own arrest. John 17:20 reads:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

I would like to point out the pain and anguish the Son of God was under at this very moment. As one of the last things He prayed before His arrest, He was focused on you, focused on me. “Those who will believe in Me because of their message.” That’s us folks. In the midst of overwhelming anxiety of what He knows is about to happen, He thinks of us.

Our unity. One would almost read this as the Son of God Himself pleading for unity, and agape love amongst the first church and beyond. How we have lost track of this request. I often get requests for prayer and I welcome them. Why can we not look at the request of our Savior, that we can fulfill? We have the ability and power to give an affirmative answer to the prayer of our God!

So yes, it is all about love. Putting ourselves in the mix was never part of that plan. In fact, He wants us to surrender ourselves to His desires, His will, and His plans. This is charity. This is agape love. This is biblical. This is real Christianity. If we take this seriously, we would not argue and fight over anything. This includes topics of politics, what we deserve or anything else. First, we are to Love God and all He stands for, then to love each other. Let’s take the “me” out of the equation.

If you want to be part of that real agape love type of body of Christ, connect with me. Send me a message, connect on social media through the church Facebook or email me through this site. God bless and I will be praying for unity within His church.

How about a survey?

“Hello, my name is Darrell and I am calling with BR Interviewing…” It is this phrase I uttered thousands of times in the last two and a half months. I had placed my life on hold for the possibility of God placing me in a lead pastoral role. Seems, He was not ready to move me just yet. With most of my savings fading away, I looked for a temporary job

desk office workspace coworking

until He decided to place me. I found one working at the local convention center, but the hours were scarce. Then I was hired by a company that makes outbound calls. It is not sales but that does not make the job itself any easier. You push a button, the computer dials a number and you wait to either hear someone yell, listen and hang up, listen or a voicemail pick up. There are a variety of surveys they do here, and I will not go into specifics, but needless to say, it is not a job one dreams of when they are a child! There are a couple of life lessons I have learned while I was there. Continue reading How about a survey?

No Pain No Gain!

As a guy who loves to eat hates to exercise this saying makes absolutely no sense to me! In my honest opinion, whoever said this originally needs a serious mental evaluation! I mean who wants to be put into pain? Anyone? So, I started to investigate where this little tidbit of crazy talk came from. A simple google search shows Jane Fonda made it popular in one of her workout videos in 1982. If one were to dig deeper, you may find out that Benjamin Franklin coined that phrase almost 300 years ago! I have heard it applied in business as well. Ever hear the phrase “it takes money to make money?” How about “feel the burn” that was later changed for a political slogan? Again, I think these are all crazy talk, don’t you?

Or are they?

Continue reading No Pain No Gain!

Unspoken Request

child prayThere is a post going around social media that tells of a child praying the alphabet. When an adult asked why this child just prayed her ABC’s, she replied: “I didn’t know the words to say so I figured God would put the letters in the right order.” I will pause here while everyone’s heart melts just a tad! Around Easter, I wrote of that difficult prayer. What about the one we cannot frame into words?

This got me thinking about that “unspoken” request we often hear in church. It has become more popular or it may just be my take on what stands out to me. I used to be against such thoughts. I mean, the Word tells us to present our requests to God (1 John 5:14-15) and to be specific in doing so (Philippians 4:6-7). James 5:16 tells us to do so to one another. That we are to confess our sins so that we may be healed. I mean, “real” Christians would confess their sins to one another, right? Continue reading Unspoken Request

Keep it on the tracks!

Every VBS we have done at our church involves the part of searching for God Sightings. I like this focus so much it is something we do on a weekly basis in Children Church. I believe it is a great habit to look and see where God is at work around us. With me, I have found that He will often point something out so He can have a chat. For example, take these simple train tracks. Continue reading Keep it on the tracks!

Patiently Anxious

I sit here and look at the two words in the title. I, among others, love a good dose of irony. When I asked for some feedback, my wife asked me “don’t you mean impatiently anxious?” That would make more sense though! Not with me! I am patient on the outside but on a scale of 1 to 10, I am hovering around a 37 on the anxiety scale! I have not been tested and I doubt there is a medical problem. So why all the anxiety (I think we can all agree that patience is a good thing so we should look at the other half of those two words!)?

businessman office mobile phone financeI am a pastor in search of a church. One of the reasons I love the Church of the Nazarene is the process one must go through in order to become a pastor. Not anyone is allowed to shepherd a flock, and that is a great thing for His Church. Just as the eleven disciples approached the replacement of Judas with discernment and prayer (Acts 1:16-26), we as Nazarenes do the same.

But hurry up already!!!

Continue reading Patiently Anxious

Do it anyway.

I am a huge fan of marketing.

customers users color wheel

I earned a degree in Business Management and loved the courses I took in marketing! I remember one of the main commercials that got my attention. I was not a fan of this sport at that time, but no one could deny the effect of what this short commercial series achieved. Here are some of the effects of what this marketing series did achieve. Increased market share of athletic shoes from 18% to 43% and sales from $877M to $9.2B (yes that is B for billion)! People would line up for $150-$200 shoes like they do for the new iPhone today! People wanted to be this person, fly like this person and play like this person! Have you figured out the campaign? Continue reading Do it anyway.