God of fire and rain

Have you ever prayed for something and received something completely different? 

In 1 Kings 17 we’re told that Elijah said, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

And no rain came. Elijah prayed, and the heavens shut and then rain did not fall for the next few years. In the third year of the drought, Elijah hears from God and Elijah returns. Seeing the people were trying to follow both God and Baal he declares “If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” 1 Kings 18

After gathering the prophets of Baal Elijah makes a declaration, but the announcement is somewhat odd. It hadn’t rained in Israel for three years. I don’t mean it was just a dry season. The Word says neither dew nor rain. It was beyond a tough season. It had not rained, and now when Elijah shows up, he doesn’t say let’s pray, and the one who answers with rain is God. Instead, he says the one who answers with fire He is God.

You would think after three years of drought Elijah would have shown up and said the one who answers by bringing forth rain is God, but that’s not exactly how the story goes. (more…)

Do You Ever Feel All Alone?

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Have you ever felt like you were the only one in the fight? I want to encourage you today by letting you know you’ve got family out there willing to share the burden by praying with you and for you.

When looking at the Lord’s Prayer we often times focus on that second word Father – which is quite important but when we connect Father to the word Our it means so much more.

Our Father – gives us a place of common ground. Jesus said when you pray this is how you should pray – Our Father – those two words say to be in unity. It’s about a connected relationship. (more…)

Crisis Avoidance

The way we handle finances is a huge factor in whether we experience chaos or peace in our home as well as in our church. An abundance of money doesn’t bring us peace but mishandling it can quickly throw our lives into chaos. Mishandling of church finances can affect our household finances just the same as mishandling our household finances can spill over into the church.

If we don’t put proper guardrails such as budgets and cash handling procedures in place, it’s easy to slide down the slippery slope of financial mismanagement.

I suggest that rather than practice crisis management we implement crisis avoidance as much as possible. Begin with the understanding that all we have belongs to the Lord. It’s not our money, and we need to handle it as if He entrusted us with it.

Hebrews 13:5 serves as a great guardrail in helping us as ministers in both our personal and church finances.

Hebrews 13:5 ESV

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

This passage spells out three key points that should serve as a baseline in dealing with finances.

 

Keep free from the love of money.

Could the writer be saying in regard to the love of money that it’s a matter of where we place our trust and where we find security?

If you find yourself worrying about how much was in the offering every Sunday, you may have a budgeting issue. It’s possible you’re spending more than you should, and this might be because you haven’t found yourself to be content.

 

Be content

We should want to do everything with excellence but if you’re continually chasing what your neighbor up the street has you may not be content. You need to ask the question “Is your peace coming from the things around you or from God”? Things will break, and trends will come and go.

 

Know He will never leave you or forsake you.

It’s quoted often from our pulpits, but do we put this into practice in the way that we live?  If we believe this, then that is where our love and trust should lie. If we think he loves us, then we should be content right where we are because he is sovereign and placed us there.

 

Finally, if we believe this, we can know he will provide all that we need.

Is Debt Keeping You From Winning?

Back to basics - piggy bank

“Same as Cash,” “You Belong Here” and “You’ve Earned It” are all examples of phrases to run from when it comes to personal finance. If same as cash were truly the same as cash, people wouldn’t need to pay for a TV over 24 months. When it comes to personal finance, far too many let the tired old saying “live on less than you make” bore them. It seems it’s an idea not sophisticated enough for the average American– and pastors are not excluded. “Leveraged” on the other hand, tends to have just enough sophistication to garner attention. (more…)

There Is A Door Of Victory

Have you ever felt you just didn’t belong, overwhelmed or even shame? There is a place of belonging available to you. A place where you can be made new. There is a place where forgiveness is given. There is a place filled with mercy and grace. There is a place of restoration and healing. It’s not hard to get to this place. It sits just beyond an open door.

Jesus is the door. He is the door to the father. He is the door to the kingdom of heaven. He is the door to salvation. He is the door to victory. He is the door to redemption. He is the door to family. He is the door to revelation. He is the door to healing.

Just in case you haven’t got it yet Jesus is the door! (more…)

Easter’s Over, Monday’s Here

For all my pastor friends– if this Easter you hit record attendance and saw more salvations in a day than you’ve seen in a year, it’s probably safe to say you’re feeling on top of the world. On the other hand, if attendance was average or even down from normal and not even the one person who always raises their hand when you say “every head bowed,” my guess is you might also be questioning your call right now.

Now what do you do? You remember whose church it is you’ve been called to steward. You remember this no matter how great your day was yesterday or if it seems your Easter service fell flat. (more…)

Reserved Parking?

You arrive before everyone, and you leave after they’re all gone. I get why you may want to park close to the building but what kind of message does your Pastor Parking sign give? It not only says to a guest you can’t park here; it also means I’m more important than you.
The sign that gets you in the door sooner so that you can serve the people might keep the very people you’re trying to reach away. If that’s not reason enough to take down the sign check out this article from Christianity Today.
http://bit.ly/2WMh26sPastorParking
The sign might also end up costing your church money.
Take down the sign. We could all use a few extra steps anyway.


Has Your Past Paralyzed You?

 Live today in such a way that you are looking towards tomorrow, but not living there. Many times Christians find themselves living in one of two places. They are either living their life in the future (when I get married, when I have kids, when the kids are grown, when I make more money) or living chained to their past. Both hurt today. In doing so, they are neglecting what God has called them to do in the present. (more…)

Do You Value People?

How you see others will reveal how you see your own position with God. Valuing others isn’t just something we should do, but rather what we must do. In this, I go back to the Lord’s prayer – “Our Father” you’ve got to understand we are all children of God. We are coheirs in Christ. We all have the same heavenly father, and our father loves each of us equally. We can’t do anything that will make him love us more. We may all look different, we may all sound different, we may all talk different, but we are all equal in the fact that we are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no inequality under the blood. My sin didn’t take a different amount of blood to cover than yours. (more…)