Thank You Mothers!

255685_10150625619145282_990781_nIt’s been said, “Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”  I honestly say that is a wonderful expression about my own mother and the mother of my children.  Through the faith and values of my mother, my life was shaped and impacted into the man that I am today.  Through my wife’s devotion to God and tinder care for our family, I can see everyday how our children are impacted and developed.  Mothers are truly a wonderful gift and we must never take for granted the unknown hours of work they invested into us.  In many cases they are unsung heroes.  Therefore, I want to say that whether you are a mother or you just have a mother, be sure to recognize the wonder ladies that truly bring us the meaning of Mother’s Day.

The Caring Cabinet

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Allow me to share something that has made me so proud of my church. Our mission as a church is simple, we are here to be a congregation who is “Loving God, Loving Others, and Serving Our Community.” We seek to carry out this mission through worship, giving, Life Groups, and outreach.  Recently we launched a new ministry known as the Caring Cabinet. In the corner of our parking lot you will find a wooden box suspended on a post.  Within that box are all kinds of personal items from toothbrushes to toilet paper.  Why? To show the love of Christ to our community. We are giving these items away to help others in need.  The part that blesses me the most is that our church family has gotten on board with this vision.  It is our prayer that our community will be blessed and eventually partner with us in this ministry.  I have been amazed to see how God has brought this into reality.  What started as a spark in my wife’s heart after seeing other churches in various areas of our nation do similar things, has now become a reality for our little church to show love to the people of Bowling Green.  We realize there is risk and uncertainty involved, but we have stepped out in faith to become a blessing to others.  Thank you Scottsville Road Baptist Church for allowing me to be a part of church who loves others with more than word, but with their actions. Our theme verse for this ministry is “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrew 13:16 ESV, and that is what we are truly longing to do.

 

When Tempers Grow Hot

shout-let-it-all-out-1327383-m It’s been observed, “When tempers grow hot, Christianity grows cold.” To be very personal with you, anger is an issue for me. There are times that I surprise myself at how angry I can get. What saddens me most, though, is that this anger rears its ugly head at home. I have enough self-control to keep my anger in check in public, but at home when all the guards are down, I can really disappoint myself. The anger I have bottle up during the day can get miss directed at my wife and children. My patience runs too thin with my family and my anger is ready to erupt. Now some folks try to excuse this away, by claiming that this is just the way they are. They believe that they are wired to live as a hot head, and thus they are free to blow up whenever they want. But as a minister of the Word, I know that this is a grave sin and it is a sin that I must not let go unchecked. There are 3 passages of scripture that implore me to live in self-control with my anger (even at home): “Be angry without sinning. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work.” – Eph. 4:26-27 GW, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” – Jam. 1:19-20 NIV, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” – Prov. 29:11 ESV. My conclusion from all of this is that uncontrolled anger only produces evil results. As a husband and father, I don’t want the devil to have a foothold in my home. I definitely don’t want to be a fool who lives below the righteousness that God desires. That being said, my prayer and aim is to be the same man in my home as I try to be outside my home.

I Am Not The Perfect Pastor

up-on-the-pulpit-760078-mAs a servant of God I fail in many ways. I worry too much. I eat too much. I talk too much. I don’t get enough done. I don’t meet deadlines. I don’t pray enough. I don’t witness ever enough. I don’t do visitation enough. I don’t meet everyone’s expectation. I’m not ultra creative. I don’t know all the latest trends in ministry. I don’t have the latest gadgets or technology. I don’t have great ideas. I’m not a trendy dresser. I’m not the best looker. I’m out of shape. I’m not super outgoing. I don’t read enough. I don’t give enough time for sermon preparation. I don’t have a Ph D. I’m not good a time management. I procrastinate. I’m not the world’s greatest example of a husband or a dad. I live in a smaller mediocre house. I’m not debt free. I’m not sin free. I fight temptations as much if not more than some of the other men in my church. I get disappointed. I get depressed. I get anxious. I have had to face conflicts and have caused conflicts in my church. I don’t pastor the largest congregations in my town. In fact I pastor one of the smaller congregations in my town. I am not a perfect pastor.

But I serve a perfect God. While I may never measure up to many standards in the world of ministry, I am so humbled that He allows me to be in the work of ministry. I know there is a lot of improvement that needs to happen in my life and ministry. I know that I should never be content with the status quo. But I must never forget the amazing grace and the power of the gospel the Lord has entrusted me to carry out. I may not be the perfect pastor in the perfect ministry situation, but I am a very blessed pastor. I serve a very good group of people. I have a mission field that is full of potential. I may have a small home, but it is a home full of love. Our squeaky floors never bother me do to the little feet that cause them to squeak. I have a woman’s love and support that has helped carry me through the good and bad years of our ministry. And deep down in my soul, God has placed a passion for His word. I love the Bible. I love to tell people the truths from the Scriptures. And it brings me immense joy to help others go deeper into the Word of God. So no, I’m not a perfect pastor, but I sure am a thankful one.

My Buddy Ryan

Last week proved to be one of the hardest weeks of my life.  On Monday, May 14th, one of my favorite people went to be with the Lord from a brain aneurism .  Ryan Boles was my fellow brother in Christ and the Youth Minister of our church, but what hurts the most was the fact that he was one of my closest friends here where I live. (As a matter of fact, this photo is of Ryan & his wife Stephanie holding my new born son, Caleb.  They were the first non-family members to come visit us in the hospital.) I don’t understand why God would take a man so young and faithful as Ryan was, but I know that God is loving & that His ways are always good.  I trust that one day I will be able to see how God was using even the death of Ryan for His glory.  And in some ways I have already seen great drops of mercy come from this tragedy.  It has been my prayer through all of this that God would strengthen my faith and mold me as broken clay in His hands.  I certainly would never wish this pain on any minister of the gospel, but even still I know that God is good.  I thank God for the few sweet years I’ve been able to share with Ryan and its my prayer that God will give me the drive for lost people as He did in Ryan.  While I don’t think my heart will ever forget the hole that was left from hi’s passing, I do take great joy in knowing that I will see him again one day with the Lord! In closing I want to share a verse that fits that life of Ryan that was printed at the bottom of my journal the day I wrote about this tragedy…“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Matt. 5:15 NIV    This was certainly true of my buddy, Ryan Boles.

What Kind Of Man Are You?

The following post is intended for men.  After watching the recent episode of “The Office” titled “After Hours” I just had to share some thoughts.  Feel free to watch the episode that I have provided for you here via Hulu.  (Warning: This show has adult content.  I realize that I may be judged by some for admitting that I watch this show.  However, I truly feel that there is a real lesson for all men to be found in this particular episode.)

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Honestly, a real man is a faithful man.  Can you Sir, say that if you were put into the following situations that you would handle them the way the Lord would call of you to…with integrity?  If you are married and were away from home on a business trip, would you behave like Jim or like Stanley?  If you are trying to seek success would you behave like Dwight or Packer?  Is a relationship with a woman about love, commitment, and purity…or is it about just filling your selfish desires like Ryan?   If you are a follower of Christ, you are called to be a man of integrity.  Integrity is a quality that is lacking today in our society and especially in the church.

If we want to break free from the self-gratifying ways of many “Christian” men in the world today, then we have to get back to sound doctrinal teaching in the church.  We must practice Titus 2:1-2 & 6-8: 1 As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience…   6 In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. 7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us” (NLT).  If we truly want to be pure faithful men, then we have to truly fall in love with Jesus more then we love ourselves.  When we are in deep love with Him, then letting go of the temporary pleasures of the moment aren’t perceived as losses, but unwanted trash that we gladly through out of our lives.  To be a man of God, means that life is really lived all for Him.  Come on men, think about.

Leadership Is Tough

As a pastor, I am reminded each day that to be a good leader you have to make tough choices.  To be a leader can be a lonely job, because as a leader you can’t make everyone your friend.  I can remember before having any leadership roles in my life, thinking how glamorous and easy it must be to be the boss.  However, that’s not the case at all.  Truthfully, I have more stress now in my life than I ever did before.  This is why I have learned that leadership is not for the faint of heart.  It takes people with deep conviction to want to do what is right, over what is popular.  It takes a person willing to be the “bad guy” when it comes to issues of discipline and ethics.  Leadership is meant for the honest.  For honest people are the same before everyone they face.  A good leader will be consistent in their actions, even when the easiest thing to do is ignore the situation or play it down.  “Am I a good leader?”  BY NO STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION.  However, I am striving to be one.  The reason I know what it takes to be a good leader, is because I can see all the areas in my leadership where I need to improve.  Why am I sharing all of this? Leadership is meant for the honest.

Dates That Changed My Life

   While I look back over the story of my life there are many events that have had wonderful impacts on me.  There are moments with my family as a child.  Moments with friends at school.  Moments of great accomplishments in college and in the ministry.  However, the following dates are the ones that stand out to me as the most life altering days of my life.

5 Dates that will forever be precious to me:

March 2nd, 1988 – This was a Wednesday evening when the Lord Jesus Christ opened my eyes to the reality of sin’s grip on my life and my desperate need for Him as my King and Savior.  On that day I became a Christian, by His amazing grace.

Fall 1999 – This day I have a vivid memory of, but unfortunately don’t know the exact date.    It was the day that I surrendered to the Lord’s call into the ministry.  Looking back I can remember all the uncertainty and fears of not having any direction for my life before that day.  However, on that day through much prayer and searching the Scriptures I found the greatest peace of accepting God will for my life.  Another great date connected to this was May 28th, 2000 when I delivered my first sermon.  From that day until now I know there is nothing that drives me more then to want to preach the Word!

June 15, 2002 – This was a beautiful Saturday afternoon when I became the husband of Rena Lachelle Goodman.  On that day she not only took my last name, but she vowed to be my friend and help mate for the rest of our lives.  While I have learned that marriage is not the easiest course in life, it has proven to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  My advice to all men planning to get married is to make sure you marry your best friend.

December 27, 2008 – This wonderful day happened a couple days after Christmas.  I remember all the scariness and waiting, but then it finally happened.  That night I became the a father of a beautiful baby girl, Ginilyn Faith.  Forever my heart would be wrapped around this little girls finger.  She has grown so much and it amazes me all the lessons God is teaching me through my precious daughter.

November 2, 2011 – This Wednesday morning proved to be another great life changing day.  On that day my son, William Caleb was born.  Now just days later I hold him in my arms and dream all the great days my family is going to share together.  It amazes me how much the love grows as our family grows.  I was curious how I could love another child as much as I loved Ginilyn.  However, I now know that my love hasn’t been divided, but my love has multiplied.

While I don’t know how God is going to write the rest of  my story, what I do know is that I am already one of the richest men on earth.  I never knew that I would be so blessed.  I truly thank God for all these great dates in my life!