I know that many of you are aware that we began a journey about a year and a half ago, of starting a ministry that serves those who serve others. Our big dream is to positively impact hundreds of churches, communities, military units, and fire stations by giving their spiritual leaders time away to heal, refresh, and continue to lead. You can read about our vision in this previous post: The Birth of Acorn Ridge
We are now on the cusp of getting our 501c3 which will allow us a lot more leverage in the realms of tax deductible gifts, donor base, and grant proposals. The total cost will be somewhere between $3,500 – $5,000. Would you be willing to partner with us in making this a reality and being a significant part of impacting the world by helping those who serve others? Would you pray specifically for God’s leading, direction, and help in getting over this significant hurdle? Would you share the idea and the vision of Acorn Ridge with others who might also partner with us? Would you be willing to help us financially make a positive difference in the lives and the families of those who serve?
Feel free to ask any questions and we will be happy to answer them, if you’d like to be a financial partner you can do so here: Acorn Ridge 501c3
“I can’t wait till my kids graduate and are out of the house and I can stop having to be a parent!”
Okay, I know you’ve never said that out loud, but you’ve thought it haven’t you, I know I’ve thought it on occasion! Well, I hate to break it to you/us but the job of a parent is never-ending and constantly shifting. Once you had a child everything changed, you became responsible for taking one of God’s prized projects and equipping it to become one of His masterpieces.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Eph 2:10 NLT
After being a parent for over 20 years there is something that I have learned, I’ll never be the enough for my girls. I’m imperfect, impatient, and often impossible to deal with, I’m simply incomplete as a person and therefore woefully inadequate to give them everything they need. My only hope is if I’m not doing this alone. Now, my wonderful wife most certainly is the ying to my yang, the white to my black, and the strength to my weakness, but even when two incomplete people work together, we are still not enough! We still fall far short of being the master artisans necessary to finish God’s masterpiece, our kids.
So, I’ve had to learn the hard way that what I must do is my best, and then believe that God has all the rest covered. Although I am an incomplete and imperfect father, I must point them to their heavenly Father who is both complete and perfect and loves them far more and much deeper than I ever could. My job as a parent isn’t to fix my girls, but to point my girls to the one who can heal every hurt, bind every wound, restore every relationship, and guide them down any path. If I can accomplish this, then I have done my job. That doesn’t mean that I’m done as a parent or that my girls will never need me again, quite the opposite, because just like our heavenly Father I’ll always be available for my girls whenever they need me as long as I have breath. But it does alleviate a whole lot of pressure that I put on myself, and I’m guessing you probably do to. My prayer for all of the moms and dads reading this is that you’ll be okay with not being enough, because you know the God who is more than enough, and if you do everything in your power to connect them to Him, I promise you He can handle it!
My prayer over you today:
Dear Father, for every mom and dad who reads this give them peace. Show them that you are enough for them, that they are not alone. Allow them to rest in your sufficiency when they feel insufficient. Challenge them to do all they can to point their children to you and equip them to become the parent you’ve called them to be. God, remind them today that you choose them to be the parent(s) of the children you gave them, and that if they rely on you, you will never abandon them. Bless them beyond all measure today as they strive to become all you’ve called them to be!
This last weekend I talked about how God has commanded those of us who believe and follow him to simply rest. That rest begins with our ability to trust that He is in fact in control and that it’s not all about us or up to us. You see when we believe it is either about or up to us we can never truly rest and we will never be happy, because if we stop we loose. If we rest we miss opportunities. If we fall short it’s because we didn’t try hard enough, so we need to try harder next time, work longer, push farther…you get the picture.
Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. – Ps 127:1-2
I believe that the key to finding happiness and being able to rest begins with confronting 3 lies that we tell ourselves that are represented in the above passage. The first lie goes something like this, “I can do this!”. This sounds great doesn’t it, self confidence, self reliance, oh the joys of the self help book! Here’s the problem though, in a very real and all encompassing sense you can’t do this. You and I are hopelessly ill equipped to conquer life, or for that matter just navigate it without massive tragedy. The primary reason is that the vast majority of the things in your life are beyond your control. Until you realize that without God you can’t do squat, you’ll never find rest and never experience genuine happiness.
The second lie is a small variation of the first, “I have enough or I know enough to do this”. The problem here is that we are assuming that we know what is actually needed to accomplish the task. In the verse the author refers to guarding a city, inferring that someone was coming to attack it. But, there is the unknown, how many, how strong, when will they attack, what war machines do they have. All these questions are unknowable, and when we think we’ve got it we end up moving forward unprepared and end up unsuccessful. Until we admit that we can’t possibly know enough, we won’t be able to rest or be truly happy.
The final lie is like one of those horrible children’s songs that just repeats itself over and over. You know, “This is the song that never ends…” I cringe just hearing that begin in my head. But that’s exactly what we are doing when we buy into the lie, “I just need to work harder!” The bottom line is, there are some things that no matter how hard you try you’ll never be able to accomplish, no matter how smart you are, how wonderful of a strategy you espouse, how many hours you work, it just isn’t going to happen. That can sound very defeating and deflating, but realizing that the end results aren’t all up to you can actually be an incredibly liberating thing that, well, opens up the door for you to rest and rediscover happiness.
Take a breath this week and confront the lies that steal the rest you need and the happiness God desires!
Hello my friends, and I do mean friends. Whether your right or left of me doesn’t change that I appreciate you as a person, as a productive member of society, and as one who bears the image of our amazing God.
Over the last several months, on this blog and in church I’ve challenged you to look at everything from a Biblical standpoint, to respect each other even if you don’t agree, to honor and pray for those in authority, and never forget that God is always on the throne. Now that the election is over I wanted to share some insights on what I saw as interesting this election cycle. So, without further ado and in no particular order 7 things we learned this election:
- Strong leadership still matters. The exit polling said that for a majority of Americans this was their #1 reason they voted the way they voted. Now, some voted for Trump and some for Clinton, but people believed that leadership was really important.
- Money can’t buy you everything. Clinton raised and spent more than double of what Trump did. In all each vote ‘cost’ Trump a little under $5 and ‘cost’ Clinton a touch over $10. That is an astounding reality. In a culture like ours when money essential allows you to do anything, it still can’t simply win you the Presidency.
- You can’t believe everything you hear. At the beginning of the evening just about every news, polling, and political site said that Clinton was going to win, and possibly win big. I don’t for a second believe that all of these places were lying and ‘in the bag’ for Clinton, maybe some but not all. I’m certain it will take weeks for pundits to drill down into the why’s, but the bottom line is just because someone says it, and just because some data may support it, doesn’t mean that it’s 100% true or that it couldn’t change on a dime.
- Never give up! Winston Churchill famously once gave a speech that ended like this, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” It would be easy to give up when everyone is saying that you can’t, but as long as you still believe you can, don’t give up.
- Age isn’t a limiter. Both Clinton and Trump should be, by conventional wisdom, enjoying their golden years on the beach and golf courses. They are both plenty wealthy and don’t need to do a single thing but relax. However, both of them took on the biggest most demanding challenge in the world, winning the US Presidency. Those of you that are ‘seasoned’ don’t buy into the lie that just because your of retirement age that you need to act like your old! You can do great things and conquer great challenges even if you’re on Social Security.
- Our country is divided. When you look at the popular vote it is essentially split in half, and I’m not sure that you could get two candidates more diametrically opposed than these two. President-Elect Trump has a huge job on his hands in bringing this nation together, we should pray for him and our country.
- People are people. I find it quite ironic that the most vocal people bashing and attacking those on the right for disagreeing with Obama, or those who were talking about how Texas should succeed, or suggesting impeachment, et al, are now the ones out there going absolutely crazy. Not sure what I’m talking about just look up #assasinatetrump or check out this article detailing all of the protests.
I don’t know which way you voted, and at this point it really doesn’t matter because it’s all over with. In 70 some days America will inaugurate a new president and our country will more than likely head in a new direction. These things you have very little control over. However, you have complete control over yourself, so exercise that control. Show that you are lead by the Spirit of God and that you are filled with the fruit of Self-Control. Don’t loose your permanent testimony over a temporary election…it just ain’t worth it folks, and beside, Jesus is still the King!
Other articles you may be interested in:
- 5 Reasons I’ll ‘Never’ Preach Politics!
- The Demagoguing Democrat VS. The Rancorous Republican
- An Open Letter To My Left-Leaning Friends!
- An Open Letter To My Right-Leaning Friends!
Just wanted to let you know that my eldest daughter, Kaitlyn (Kait) started a new blog. She’s got a couple of posts up and I would highly encourage you to check it out. Especially if you’re a 20-something, a woman, or a teen. Some great stuff over there, here’s her most recent post: 6 Things You Should Know Before You Date Me
Check it out and share it!
I am not a single issue voter, and on typical policy issues I am silent publicly because of my
role as a pastor. As a pastor I am concerned most with people’s relationship with Christ and never want to put an unnecessary wall up regarding politics because politics and government have never once saved a persons soul.
However, after watching the debate last night an issue came up that is not a policy issue, but an issue of morality, an issue on which neither God nor the Bible is silent and therefore as a Christian and pastor I will not be silent. It is important that we never succumb to cultural pressure to elevate man’s opinion over God’s commands, period!
- The Bible states that all humanity bears the image and the mark of God (Genesis 1:27).
- God has said that because of this it is a sin to take a human life (Exodus 20:13), unless as a punishment for murder (Genesis 9:6).
- The Bible considers the killing of an unborn child murder, even if it’s accidental (Exodus 21:22-25).
- God’s relationship with each human begins at the moment of conception and extends throughout the entirety of their life (Jeremiah 1:5).
The Psalmist, David, writes in beautiful poetic form the tender relationship that God has with each unborn child in Psalm 139, read these words:
For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. – Ps 139:13-14
According to the Bible, every unborn child has a purpose, was given life for a reason, and can make a difference in our world. How many things have we missed out on, lost out on, and been robbed of because of the millions of innocent lives who were never given breath? How many parents, mothers who have believed the lies of our culture telling them it’s their ‘right’ or it’s just ’tissue’ have been indelibly scarred and broken after the fact. You see the reality is abortion is not just something that affects the child itself, it has far reaching and devastating effects on all those involved with it. It is a scourge that has gouged a hole in the very fabric of our national morality, psyche, and spirituality, and left millions upon millions in it’s horrific wake.
If you or someone you love has been involved in this in some way shape or form and are feeling a level of guilt or despair over your decision, know this, God still loves you, has a plan for you, and wants you to receive His forgiveness. If you are contemplating doing this, I challenge you to reconsider, to realize that the child within you is a precious gift from God to you, he/she is not a mistake or an accident, they were planned before you even knew.
Finally, for all of you, if someone who has pledged to ‘defend and protect’ is not willing to do so for the most vulnerable and innocent of us, will they do that for any of us?
Man, it’s been a tough 18 months for pastors! First, Mark Driscoll the founding and senior pastor of Mars Hill resigned over allegations of abusive leadership. Then just a few months ago Perry Noble, the founding and senior pastor of Newspring Church resigned because he was using alcohol to self-medicate. And, just this last Sunday, Pete Wilson, the founding and senior pastor of Crosspoint Church resigned because he is completely ‘burned out’. These men represented 3 churches that reached well over 100,000 people combined.
I don’t care what you think about these men, but let me tell you something, they all were used by God in ways most of us could never imagine. Are they, were they perfect, no…and that makes all of us! The role of a senior pastor is at times suffocating, overwhelming, emotionally draining, and makes you feel sub-human, because you cannot act like you really want to when someone attacks you or your family. Being a pastor’s wife or kids is often even more difficult because they rarely get to see the resolution of things, like the pastor does.
I’m well aware that all jobs have stresses that are unique, and I am in no way saying that pastor’s stand alone in having a job with pressure. But, there is something uniquely different when you are in full-time ministry. How do I know this, well during 20+ years of full-time ministry I’ve brought numerous people on staff who were in the ‘secular’ workplace. Their struggles, their stories of how radically different, lonely, painful, and secluded they felt (which they had never experienced before) convinced me of this. You see for most church-going folks, church is a place of rest, refreshment, and friendship. For pastors, their families, and other in full-time ministry it’s anything but. Their feelings are rarely considered; their friendships hardly, if ever, are allowed to go beyond superficial; any conversation at any time can morph into yet another counseling session…even at the grocery store (it’s happened people, more than once actually!).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change what I’m doing or what God has allowed me to do for one minute! I LOVE being a pastor!!! But, it doesn’t mean that it comes easy, or without a very, very, high price. So, whatever church you call home, take time out this week and just send a thank you note to your pastors, AND their wives. Be a friend to your pastors, AND their wives. Treat them like normal human beings, because…newsflash…we are!
Check out this blog written by a fellow pastor Rob Shepherd: Another Pastor Bites The Dust