Are you GOING?

This week, I have been thinking a lot about No Greater Love’s (NGL) upcoming ministry trip to New Orleans to witness on the streets during Mardi Gras and I have to admit I am getting very excited. This will be my 10th year on the streets with them and each trip (either to Mardi Gras or the Indy 500) with NGL I am challenged more than the year before, and it moves me farther out in my comfort zone – expanding my tent stakes and allowing me to gain more understanding on what God would have His people do to impact His world.

Each year I have gone I’ve been afforded the opportunity to learn, to witness, and to come back home and practice what I’ve been taught; and each year the Lord has grown me and stretched me farther than I ever thought I could in the ministry. Truly, this ministry has grown me beyond my wildest dreams in serving the Lord and I want to take the time to challenge any man reading this to GO with me. If you want to see your life changed, if you want to be a better husband, father, and man of God that the Lord has called you to be (see Ephesians 5:25-33) then you need to contact me about going. For several years now I have watched my own son, Chris, grow in his walk with the Lord and to a dad, there is no greater joy than seeing your own son take a stand for Jesus Christ and purpose himself to be a witness in this world.

I received an e-mail a few weeks ago that I would be the Assistant Street Minister/Camp Director in Mobile and to be honest, I am more nervous than I’ve ever been. Being able to serve in this capacity and learn from what I feel is probably one of the best teams of leaders assembled is extremely humbling and at the same time nerve racking as well. As a matter of fact, it has taken me almost 3 weeks to attempt to digest it and get my mind around it. In this, I ask that you would join me in prayer as I prepare to serve this camp and that I would remain focused on the main goal: which is to put the Gospel in the hands of faithful men (2 Tim 2:2); because it is about Jesus, and nothing more.

No Greater Love has changed my views on service to the Lord in more ways than I can ever imagine; and I am a staunch believer in the fact that if you can witness on the streets in New Orleans, you can come home and impact your church and community in a mighty way for the Lord. Guys, I challenge you to come with me and get a vision of how God views this world through His infinite love, and I promise you that you will never look at the Gospel the same way again. Won’t you be obedient enough to follow The Great Commission and GO? I pray that you would, and I promise that if you go you will NEVER be the same man again.

Gentlemen … If you are interested in going, please contact me through the links above. I promise you that your life will be impacted in ways that will truly rock your world.

October 2, 2009 – REVELATION!

Wow, what an exhausting and yet refreshing week this has been. I totally missed my normal Sunday post this past week, but hopefully this will make up for it. Many have asked what happened at the retreat (most especially with this status that was posted last weekend: “In Illinois at the Men’s Retreat & I’m really seeing some things become clearer regarding the ministry — but, honesty ain’t always pretty.”) — and so, here is the answer.

This past weekend I had the blessing of attending a Men’s Retreat in Illinois with No Greater Love Ministries (http://www.nogreaterlove.org) and let me tell you I was challenged by what I heard, opened to hearing God speaking to me, and totally plugged in to the power of the Holy Spirit! In a lot of different ways I have been struggling in my ministry to understand where it is that God is calling me, and how He wants me to be used – and I now have direction, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Just about three weeks ago I had an honest and open meeting with a Pastor friend of mine who after a two hour discussion told me that I could get involved in anything I wanted to at the church, and use the talents God gave me for Kingdom outreach. Wow, I cannot remember the last time I had a blank check handed to me, and I simply felt God’s urging telling me to “dive in” and attack this opportunity. And so, after the retreat and of course after making sure that it was God I was hearing from, this past Sunday our family re-joined New Vision Baptist Church (http://www.newvisionbaptist.org) which was the first church we were members of when we came to Alabama, prior to being called to pastor at Bethlehem.

When we came up front to ask to be “plugged in”, the welcome we received by the congregation was amazing, and we were simply blessed to be “welcomed home”, which was said over and over to us.

In the meeting with our Pastor (Rev J.B. Burt) he pretty much told me that he is needing help in Men’s Ministries but did not want me to even think about holding breakfasts or setting up grass cutting events or anything that typically comes with this (GET AWAY from the typical Baptist men’s stuff was the immediate instruction here).

What he was asking for help in was to first pray, and then come back to discuss how I could be used; and the answer I received from the Lord (during the pre-mentioned retreat) was in discipleship, accountability, and plain out “stop pretending to be a Christian and live it” Men’s Ministries; which we also agreed could roll over to Discipleship Training for the entire church. This is one area that as a Pastor, I have seen is so needed in our churches today, and made me really stop and consider how best to challenge others and myself.

So, it sounds like a huge challenge, right?

How can I possibly do this you might ask?

Well, go forward a few days to this past Wednesday night (2 nights ago) where we sat in the evening service and got thrashed by the Holy Spirit to consider the concept of putting on the full armor of God, and quit pretending to be a follower of Christ. The central mission of the message was to GRAB ONTO the “Faith” (mentioned in Galatians 5:22) and actually live it! I tell you what, I sat there practically balling and realized that what I had been missing was ……. ACTUALLY BEING FED so that I COULD work in the ministry!!

I realized that I was starving spiritually and desperately needed to be poured into, not just emptied over and over for others with nothing coming back in return. Oh, how I longed for this and NOW I had discovered through God’s revelation and IMMACULATE and PERFECT timing what I was missing and how I could gain strength to do His work!! HALLELUJAH!! For a year now since I left the pulpit I have not been fed, and it is really that simple and I will not mince words on this. Whether through my own fault or there being nothing of substance to feed on (which sadly was often the case), I was in a spiritual wasteland and starving for nourishment! This was the reason for the confusion, and why I was struggling so much; even as a “Reverend” I needed to be FED!!

So, here I sit in my office having had about an hour of quiet worship before God, I am humbled and amazed at how He works. My heart is rejoicing at this moment considering all that He is in my life, and how perfect He is in His timing, and that He is really all I will ever need. We have joined a church that is not only feeding our souls but is preparing, encouraging, and discipling us to work in a way that I never thought was possible. Truly, this verse comes to mind tonight and brings it all into perspective:

Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Thank you Lord, for you are my refuge and all that I will ever need. I trust that YOU, God, know the next step, and I look forward to watching YOU move!! I love you Lord, more than even the air in my lungs.