ADJUSTING THE LOAD ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

19 09 2018

yellowbrick road pic

I believe that there is a yearning deep down inside every single heart that genuinely longs for a world of rich Technicolor in the midst of the surrounding black and white daily existence! We were created for so much more than just trying to find a place where we cannot get into any trouble. The yearning for a world somewhere over the rainbow is much more than a fairy tale that adults need to put behind them. It is time for all of us to bring it back so that it can be front row and the center of our attention. It is the very invitation that was given us by the God who designed us to answer the call that everyone deserves the chance to fly! Are you suffering from clipped wings?

So why more often than not does it seem that we are just clocking in time with no better mission than to just arrive at death safely? When was the last time you embarked upon your own yellow brick road to adventure? Or are you only content to make a journey where you already know how the story is going to end? Have you become too content to watch others experience the adrenaline that originally had your name on it? If God made the waves – should we hesitate when it comes to riding them? If God has knit within you a dream- might it be time to wake up and give it a fair shot in order that it might come true?

On any given day we have crucial choices to make? Will we use the brains that God gave us in order that we might think for ourselves and not become so dependent upon others thinking for us? Do you check the sources before you receive an idea as absolute truth? Just because you heard it on the radio or saw it on television doesn’t make it so! Even the majority of munchkins pointing a certain direction doesn’t guarantee that this is the best path to take! There are times that I don’t want to know what the crowd thinks – I want to hear what is cooking inside that mind of yours? Would you tell me if I asked? Or are you waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before you throw your kite of opinion into the air? There comes a definitive moment in every person’s life when he or she must make a personal stand based and built upon what they believe in whether it is popular or anyone cheers the result on or not! Have you become too wishy washy to the point that the precious brain that you were given is stuck in neutral? If so – now is the time to engage your head again before you misplace it because of lack of use!

The heart also is a priceless fragile treasure. Because it so easily breaks- there is a tendency for us to pack it away in the attic of our lives along with other collectables that we think gain value by their lack of use! When it comes to the engine room of your being – this could not be further from the truth. The heart was made to love and be loved! And just because it gets bumped and bruised along the way is no reason for you to take it out of commission and put it in retirement. When it all comes down- the more you have invested your heart – the richer the individual you will become. Not everyone will return the compliment of your hospitality of the heart – but a life lived without love is the most tragic of all mankind’s imprisonments. Relationships are the pump that keep the lifeblood flowing! And it is better to err on the side of risking dancing with the dear ones that are placed all around you – rather than to leave the party having only held up the wall for hours!

And it will take courage to make your move! It is hard to stick out in a crowd! It costs much to hold fast to the truth when everybody else is courting the lie like it is the dearest of friends! For too long, too many of us have said nothing and done nothing and invested nothing and turned a blind eye and a deaf ear when the situation desperately begged for righteous and just behavior! Who will speak up for those that have lost their voice? Who will make a move on behalf of those who have been paralyzed by the ills of our society? Who will do what’s right even though it ruins the curve and exposes the shallowness of short cuts? Is there something that you should be standing for rather than falling behind in order to sink into the shadows? Is today the day to change your “there I go again” to “here am I ready to fight for what I believe in?” Are you ready to be brave about your bark backing up a bite that has some fight still left in it?

Somewhere over the rainbow is the world that God always intended for His children to live in. It might be way beyond the blue – but rather than asking Him to get us out of here – maybe the better request is for us to ask to help make what is happening up there- occur right down here in our backyard too. We don’t need to be a wiz to open up the front doors of our futures and pronounce quite confidently for all those around us to hear, “Somewhere over the rainbow – I’ll use my brains in order to think out truth clearly and follow my heart so that I will jump in to the life more nearly and have the courage to not back off until I finally find my way home! Because to all the Uncle Henry’s and Auntie Em’s within the sound of my voice – there really is no place like home when you are at home in the skin of who you were always meant to be!





A LIVING STONE NAMED DORIS

12 09 2018

trinity-hope-rocks

This past Saturday, we held a Memorial Service for an incredible Woman of Faith, Doris Fisher. As it was so eloquently written upon the Bulletin that every one received, “After ninety-one years of faithfully loving and serving her beloved Jesus, Doris is now rejoicing in His Presence- Face to Face! Doris leaves behind her a beautiful legacy of immeasurable kindness, exuberant hospitality, endless encouragement and eternal love for her Lord, her family and her friends.”

Doris Fisher was also an incredible blessing to this Pastor and in many ways, she was like another Mom to me. Doris was an architect with words constructing some amazing sentences that blessed and challenged all who read them. Doris loved her Hymns and not only appreciated the tunes themselves but also was a student of the stories behind their composition. I loved sitting with her and just breaking out in song together making sweet sounds and lasting memories. I believe we gave her songbirds a run for their birdseed!

Doris also had a knack for collecting stones. She boasted often of God being her Rock! Psalm 18:1-3 reads, “I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.” Her collection of stones had inscribed upon them character traits and fruits of the Spirit that any Believer would long to allow to define their lives. I too have been a rock collector through the years but more like Doris than someone who normally claims that hobby.

In the Scriptures, when God would do something amazing or miraculous along the journey, His people would build altars as reminders of His movements among them. The altars were not as we might know them in our day and age majoring on expensive ornate materials. Nope! These were nothing more than a pile of rocks. The stones marked the spot that the Lord showed up and served as a constant incentive that if He did it then, He could do it again. Let’s just say that Israel was known for its “Holy Rockpiles” decorating the landscape far and wide.

I have encouraged Believers today to do much the same with their “Jesus Memories.” Whenever and wherever the Lord revealed His mighty power and presence, we too should pile our rocks of remembrance. There should be altars of praise all over Cape May County for God has surely been at work in our midst! Doris was surrounded by her worship pebbles wherever she went leaving a trail that could lead anyone to the feet of Jesus!

At the Memorial Service, Doris’ daughter Carol made sure that all of us in attendance left with a stone of hope of our own! Also included was this note written by Doris Fisher herself.

 ROCKS, PEBBLES AND STONES…

It’s only a leaf-shaped tray of stones

But oh what a joy it does hold

The word inscribed upon each stone

Blesses my heart a hundredfold

 

There’s Faith and Trust and Serenity

And yes, there’s Courage and Prayer

Let’s not forget the Healing one

And God’s Love just everywhere

There’s Hope and Peace and Harmony

And a sweet Angel stone I see

Plus Wisdom declaring to all around

I am yours if you desire and ask of me

 

One stone has a question upon it

Inviting a pause in reflection

It asks What Would Jesus Do?

For the answer, God’s Word is perfection

 

I want to believe that the stones in my Encouragement Collection represent some of the richest free treasures given to me as a child of the King. To Him be all glory and praise!

When God looks to build his Church, He does not choose the generic cinder blocks, everyone looking as uniform as can be. No, our Lord takes us rocks of all shapes and sizes, from all different settings and each of us experiencing our own unique seasons and with the cement of the Spirit, creates a sanctuary that shouts His amazing handiwork to the watching world! I am honored to be a stone in the wall of faith, set next to Doris and all the others who have acknowledged Jesus as their rock, their strength and shield.

Jesus made it very clear that if the people didn’t praise Him, the rocks would cry out. The rocks cry out all the same. There is a non-stop symphony in nature that sings its songs to the Savior. Doris allowed her life to be a stage for Jesus to perform upon. She allowed her voice to be an instrument that God spoke words of life to all those who would take the time to listen. She planted her feet upon the immoveable Rock so that when even death came roaring at her like a rushing avalanche, it could not shake her faith.

Doris Fisher will forever be a part of all I do. Her love for Jesus was contagious and her desire to know Him and all He said was apparent. I want to, I need to be more like Doris because if that happens, I know I will be more like Jesus.

Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done with Jesus will last. Are your feet on the Rock? Is your name on the Roll? I pray that when the Stones finally get to do their Heavenly Concert in the Presence of their King, you and I will be singing together! I know Doris is getting a head start!

 

 

 

   





A NEW WARDROBE FOR JOE!

6 09 2018

Joseph's Coat of Many Colors

I have been reading the Bible on a pretty regular basis since 1975. The one thing that constantly keeps me on my toes is that no matter how many times I have read the Scriptures before, there is always something new to see for a heart that is open to the Lord. I had just such a moment last weekend. I had read the Old Testament tale about Joseph more times than I can count. I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about the wonder boy who would end up saving his people from starvation. Not so! I was once again pleasantly surprised when the Holy Spirit showed me something I had never seen before.

 If there is one piece of wardrobe that even the non-Bible reader knows about, it is Joseph’s famous coat of many colors. Even the Broadway Show done in his honor was titled, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Genesis informs us that Jacob gave this special gift to his son Joseph to make it clear to all his other Sons that only the Boy with the fancy threads was his favorite. Hebrew tradition should have had the oldest son wearing the honor garment. Jacob who actually swiped the birthright from his older brother Esau, was never known for playing life’s game by the rules. So, he is partly to blame for the schism that grew between his sons but Joseph was no angel either. He was a cocky little tattle tale who never knew when it was time to keep his big mouth shut. You can’t blame the rest of Jacob’s kin for not thinking so highly of the kid with the flashy wardrobe.

We are told of the day that Jacob sent Joseph to check up on the kids out in the corral. Joseph was no longer welcome working with the rest as his immaturity got on the nerves of his siblings and made it impossible for them to get any work done. Joseph now hanging out at the house became Daddy’s Western Union Man. When the rest of the Brothers saw Joseph’s loud jacket with him skipping obnoxiously from down the road, they were ready to kill him. Better heads prevailed though, and they only threw him into a pit. But they do something drastic before imprisoning their own flesh and blood. This is the key action that opened my eyes to some new truth for me. The Sons of Jacob ripped Joseph’s psychedelic covering off his body and he was never to wear it again. Long before Joe becomes God’s man of the hour, the coat comes off and a new suit of clothes are being woven by the Lord to replace his old go-to favorite article of clothing.

When Joe is in Potiphar’s house, there is no technicolor coat. When Joe is in prison, he is wearing the orange jumpsuit like every other inmate. When Joe is recalled to serve in Pharaoh’s Court, there is no resurrection of his boyhood super suit. The Coat of Many Colors was part of the old Joseph and not the new man God had equipped him to be. He didn’t need his old identity anymore. He was now God’s faithful Servant and he adorned himself in the cloak of humble obedience. Jacob’s choice of dressing his son almost killed him. Jehovah’s choice of dressing Joseph saved him and an entire Nation. The Coat of Many Colors might have been flashy but it was also fleshly. It was a part of his past but not necessary for his present and future.

What used to label us is not necessary to define our personality today. The Lord takes our self-righteous duds and declares them as nothing more than filthy rags. Our pride and our need to be noticed dies away so that our devotion and desire to glorify Jesus can come alive. When we open our hearts to the Spirit, we don’t need electric neon substitutes anymore. The colors of God’s love fill us to spill us with acts of life that don’t put ourselves on the pedestal but lifts up the Name of Jesus. When we tell the story of the redeemed Joseph, he is not wearing the wardrobe of his old life but he is dressed in the royal robes of being a child of God.

 I am not what I used to be. I am not what I will be. But I am under construction via the Holy Spirit. My closet looks different than it used to be. The gimmicks and the games I once played to get attention are no longer in my possession. If any man or woman be in Christ, he or she is a new creation. Old things like fancy coats are passed away. Behold, new things are in store and not storage anymore. Are you still depending on the old ways to get a new thing done? Stop it! Though our sins be as scarlet, the grace of God has forgiven us so that we may be as white as snow. And white looks good on those that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. May your wardrobe be that which worships the God who made you and not the humans who dressed you!          

 

 

   





MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY AND REVIVAL!

29 08 2018

71ANp7QSRuL._SY606_a

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. Many have at least seen one of the two film versions of the story. There was the one classic with Clark Gable and the other with an actor you may have heard of named Marlon Brando. But as usual, the movies fall short of telling the actual story as written in the book.

 The full tale begins much like the cinema portrays it, in the nineteenth century, crew members of the HMS Bounty took over the ship, set their captain adrift in a lifeboat, and ended up at last on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. But that is only part of the story. What happened to the mutineers after they landed is something else altogether. These rough and tough, godless sailors, together with the wives they had taken with them from the island of Tahiti, spent their days on Pitcairn drinking, gambling, carousing, and fighting among themselves. Soon the fighting led to battle. One by one they killed each other off until the colony was reduced to a handful of people. Among them was a man named Alexander Smith.

 Rummaging through his trunk one day, Smith found a Bible that his mother had put there. Thank God for our Moms who always pack clean underwear, extra socks and a Bible. Mr. Smith began to read it, and his life was transformed. As he read to the survivors, a dramatic change began taking place in their lives as well, and when that island was discovered by outsiders some years later,the inhabitants had become a model community. There was no jail because there was no crime.The citizens loved God and each other. The Bible read and the Scriptures lived had totally changed their lives and their society. 

What happened then could happen again if we would not only memorize verses but begin to allow the living Word of God to be seen loud and clear through us. This could be a season of Revival if the people of God would stop sounding the trumpet call of retreat! What if we charged into every day wholly devoted to allowing the Holy Spirit to write His story upon our hearts?

Pastor Rick Warren wrote not too long ago these powerful and timely words: “If we are going to have a resurgence in our nation, a revival, a reformation, a renewal, a re-configuration of the church, when you study church history it always starts through certain stages and the first stage is personal renewal.” Every major movement of God begins with men and women humbling themselves in the sight of the Lord. This inspires a thorough confession. When we stop pretending that we are something we aren’t and invite the Lord to clean us up both inside and out, we are made ready to become instruments in the hands of the Master. There can’t be revival in the community until there is a revolution in the heart!

I can always sense when it becomes more about Him and less about us. The church no longer cares what we do as long as we do it for the glory of One and that we do it together. One of the ways you know a church is experiencing Jesus is the singing gets better and louder and more personal and passionate. You also observe that people aren’t in such a hurry to leave. They linger and they pray for one another and share heart to heart connection. If you go to a church and there is more spectating going on than participation, you don’t have church; you are attending an event. I believe God is not looking for a crowd, but longing to lead a body of committed Believers.”

Revival always begins with human pride falling aside. People begin to confess their sins, and get right with each other, and that’s when the church starts growing more deep than wide. Christians are open to deal with their hidden issues, like finally admitting that racism isn’t a skin problem; it’s a sin problem! If God’s people want to be glad all over, we need to come clean with how we’ve been bad all over! God is not ready to bash us but rebuild us. Renewal, resurgence, revival, restoration, reformation, whatever you want to call it; it must be the shared heart of the Church family!

Mutiny is what human beings do best. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit is what we need to learn how to do. I have always prayed that God would make it hard to go to hell from Cape May County. We don’t need religion, we need to enter fully into the relationship we can have with the God who made us and now wants to save us. For too long it’s been too much about what we don’t do. Today is the day to make it about what we do and who we are and who God wants to make us. If God is at work, it changes more than a person. He changes the place and the pace of living we do. It is either mutiny on the bounty or the Bible in the county. I choose the latter! How about you?





WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

22 08 2018

What's Your Story

The more you get to know somebody; several things will happen. One of the best things is that when you invest the time, you learn their story. We all have a story. And there is no greater sin than to keep a story that was meant to be lived out in light, lost in the dark.

 

As a devoted Pastor, I want everyone reading this today to make sure that you allow God to write your story. As a committed Shepherd, I want you to live your story. As a Brother in Christ, I want to at the very least, know your story. Last week, I got to know a member of our Congregation a bit better via  a very difficult time. I was given the honor to walk with him through the Memorial Service for his Mother. The whole experience gave me a true deeper appreciation for the Man himself. Just like the Lighthouse Church, I believe that every place of worship is a Library of God’s word and work. Rather than seeing how fast you can get in and out of the building, decide to make some time and get to know God’s handiwork all around you. Your new best friend may be sitting in the same row as you!

 

God’s Word wasn’t dumped upon us by Heaven throwing books at us from Glory. We didn’t have to go to classes and take courses to learn the special truth that God revealed to us. God became flesh and became like one of us and literally moved within our neighborhood to communicate with us in terms we could understand. Throughout history, God has always communicated through human beings who look, talk, and behave just like we do.

 

How can we tell when God has really spoken and when we are hearing from a false prophet? The Scripture does not leave us without help in discerning the true from the false. First, we must remember that God’s actions in the world always agree with His words. The Bible states that God is its author, and that He is also the Maker of the physical universe and all the forces that are at work.\ He is the Controller, the King, the Lord over all of history and the affairs of men. If this is true, then we can expect experience to confirm what the Bible says. History testifies to the fact that God never acts contrary to His Word.

 

This means that if someone promises something that the Word of God does not verify, we can know immediately that we have heard false teaching. Furthermore, when a man or woman predicts that a certain future event will occur and it does not happen, the Bible declares that person to be a false prophet; the prophecy is to be disregarded, since it is not the Word of God. The Bible makes the amazing claim that every one of its predictions is 100 percent accurate. Measured by that standard, some of the secular forecasts we hear today are rather ridiculous.

 

Here are 10 Future Predictions made by the so-called experts that never came true. A lot of people claim to have the ability predict the future, such as the famous Nostradamus. There is something special about trying to predict future events and as such, people have been doing it or attempting to do it for centuries. Some of their predictions have probably come true, but many seem to be way off base. These predictions, whether small or big, have clearly been exposed by time. Here are 10 predictions about the future that didn’t quite come true. 

 

  1. Rail Travel At High Speed Is Not Possible Because The Passengers Would Die Of Asphyxia – Dr. Dionysys Larder In 1828
  2. The Telephone Has Too Many Flaws To Be Seriously Considered As A Means Of Communication – William Orton In 1876
  3. The Horse Is Here To Stay But The Automobile Is Only A Fad – The President Of The Michigan Savings Bank To Henry Ford’s Lawyer, 1903
  4. Television Won’t Last. It’s A Flash In The Pan – Mary Somerville In 1948
  5. Rock And Roll Will Be Gone By June – Variety Magazine In 1955
  6. The Beatles Have No Future In Show Business – Decca Records Executive To Brian Epstein In 1962
  7. The Internet Will Catastrophically Collapse In 1996 – Robert Metcalfe In 1995
  8. Next Christmas, The iPod Will Be Dead, Finished, Gone – Alan Sugar
  9. The World will End in December of 2012- The Mayan Calendar
  10. What anybody else other than God definitively says about you!!!

 

Who is going to tell you who you are and what you can do and what you were created to be? There is a big difference between believing that you were created by a Loving God and being nothing more than a product of evolution. The Bible shows us the way God reached out to us in spite of our behavior. What could have ended up a tragedy can become a triumph if you will just humbly allow God to direct your blockbuster. He wants the light of your story to shine bright so others may know that God never produces junk. The enemy wants nothing more than to see your footage become nothing more than wasted film left on the cutting room floor! I think I hear God yell, “Action!” The next move is up to you!





CHURCH IS NOT AN OPTION!

18 08 2018

Come to CHurch

A large majority of Americans will say that they believe in God, yet our American church attendance would not give evidence to that reality. If everyone who professed to believe in God were to go to church this coming weekend, there would presently not be enough room to hold them in all the worship buildings in America! So why do Christians neglect meeting together on a regular basis, even though the very Scripture they claim to adhere to tells them to do otherwise? It is hard to interpret Hebrews 10:23-25 any other way but challenging Believers to fulfill their responsibility to one another to show up so that they can grow up and connect with the very comrades they will need to run the race that Jesus is calling of us all to do with excellence! Those verses actually read, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

I hear this phrase shared with me quite often, “I love Jesus but I don’t really need to go to church because I worship the Lord from wherever I am.” While it may sound hip and even logical, it is not what God desires of his Children. We are Family. We are His Bride. We are not an organization but a living organism. When two or three are gathered in His Name, Jesus is there in the midst of us. God inhabits the collective corporate worship of His People. You can’t be a group all alone. You can’t encourage others if you aren’t in their company often. You can’t be held accountable if you are not willing to be vulnerable with some special men and women around you. It is the heart of our Father to pray for one another, walk with one another, cry with one another, laugh with one another and love one another. But to pull off the “one anothering,” you can’t do so in a solo posture. Put your pride aside and join the team rather than attempting to play all the positions by yourself. You can’t do it and God knows it.

 

“The Church is full of Hypocrites.” When I hear that, with a smile on my face I reply, “That’s OK. We can always use one more.” We don’t come to church because we are perfect. We don’t gather together because we have arrived. We don’t make public appearances to show off our pride. We are here because God can only accomplish some things in a committed gathering that He hardly ever does when we are all by ourselves.

 

The Church in the Scriptures never refers to a destination constructed with bricks and sticks. The original definition of the Church means those that are called out of the crowd to come together to glorify Jesus as a family. And the world will know we are Christians by our love for the Lord and for one another. We have reduced going to church as nothing more than a weekly event we pull off mostly so we can feel better about our own personal walk with God. We go to glorify God as the sheep of His pasture. We are not singing the songs we like for us, but to express our devotion to the Most High. We dig into the Word of God together so that we can be filled to be spilled to bless those all around us. We get real with our struggles. We aren’t hiding our sins. We put the religion of pretending behind us, and get excited about offering our gifts, talents and abilities to the ultimate Coach whose words should matter most. What good is it if you can hit a 99 mile an hour fastball but refuse to offer your batting prowess for the best of those who need you?

I also hear many tell me that their Pastor is a TV Preacher or a Radio Minister. Do you understand that when Jesus described the specific relationship between a Shepherd and the Sheep, one of the prerequisites of that relationship being real is that there is a true personal connection between them? Jesus said, “My Sheep know my voice and I know their name.” A TV Preacher or a Radio Minister can be part of the peripherals of helping you sharpen your biblical skills, but if he doesn’t know you and you don’t know him, he is not your Pastor. He can’t be. God doesn’t expect him to be. You need a Shepherd who knows you personally. You need friendly sheep all around you so that as a group you may bring a sacrifice of praise that God wants to make known all over Cape May County.

 

Are you committed to being a unique and important participant in the Church that you are making the decision to belong to? You can’t do this if you hop from building to building every single week. You won’t ever live out the Hebrews verses above until you are ready to be obedient with truth and grace here below. It would be easy to stay anonymous. It would be comfortable to go secret agent with your faith. But the Day is coming and when Jesus comes back, He is not coming back for individuals but for His Church. Do you want to be totally ready? Don’t just go to church. Ask Him to make you be the Church!

 

Years ago, I was invited by our denomination to be a traveling itinerant Speaker. I would be able to see exciting places. I could really fine tune a few messages and present them in an excellent manner. But I said a quick, “No.” I was called to be a Pastor to a specific Flock of Sheep. For the last 22 years, it has been at The Lighthouse Church. My Church Family knows me and I know them. Like a Family, we have seen the good, bad and ugly of one another. But we aren’t strangers. We are able to experience Body Life together in its fullness. That is what I pray for all of you. This isn’t about coming to The Lighthouse Church. This is about your need to go and let fellowship happen all around you! Go to Church! Be the Church! Pray for the Church! It was and still is God’s idea!      

 

  





GOD AND A FEW GOOD MEN!

10 08 2018

Shepherd

It is time to wake up and rise up we Men of God and be done with the things that are futile and passing away. In this wild and wacky politically correct era that we find ourselves living in, now more than ever, I believe God is looking for more than just a few good men. He is calling guys that are ready to wise up! We need to be willing to step up so we may step out and step in to the assignments that God has for us. The Holy Spirit doesn’t live within us to lull us into apathy. Men must become movers and shakers if we are going to make a dent into providing a better way for the many that are too content to follow the Leader to nowhere worth going.

 

Sheep need shepherds or else sheep don’t thrive or survive. There are other kinds of animals that run wild: wild dogs, wild horses, wild boars. There’s no such thing as wild sheep.

Sheep need guidance. Sheep tend to make bad decisions, and we’re that way too. A few years ago, in Eastern Turkey in a village, there was a flock of sheep whose shepherd wasn’t with them. The lead sheep went off a cliff. Guess what the rest of the sheep did? You’d think one of them would have said, “This sounds like a baaaaad idea to me!” We live an overstressed, hurried, exhausted, no margin for error and not having nearly enough boundaries kind of life. Instead of daring to be different, we mindlessly take our place in the conga line and become a slave to what other people think about us! We flirt with a temptation or are too entertaining with our addictions that we know will harm us, we neglect God when we should be pursuing holiness and we become too blind to notice what matters most. And before you know it, we are nothing more than a statistic of another creature that has gone over that cliff.

 

I feel like a lifeguard blowing his whistle to warn swimmers of impending doom. There are sharks in the waters and it is not enough to just get you to safety but to inspire you to also become committed to those who are splashing all around us. Jesus said that the watching world will know we are His followers by our love. I think that we have all been a little too guilty of more selfishness than service. It is easy to get so comfortable up in the Lifeguard chair that we forget why we were put there in the first place. 

 

Here are three areas to immediately address in our lives. Number one is our need to work hard in whatever we do as if we were doing it for the Lord. Too many people have become lazy in the efforts they give to their daily profession. The Apostle Paul was a Pastor but he didn’t use his flock to provide him a mansion in Monte Carlo and a Cadillac Chariot! Paul humbly continued to serve with his hands by making tents! He was willing to do whatever it took to provide for the family of God. Even Jesus modeled for us that there was no job too menial for Him. Are you an example in what you do and how you do it? Do you bring excellence to every area you are associated with? Are you teaching others that we don’t do just enough to get by because we serve a God who never cut corners with us?

 

Number two is the way that we choose to walk. A man must live so that he is a positive example to those that God has positioned all around him. We need to live a life that is known for being blameless and above reproach. If there are skeletons in the closet, we can’t hide them anymore but must come clean about them! The manner in how we do business is on display for others to witness whether we like it or not. Your wife knows how you really feel about her by the way that you treat her. Don’t expect your kids to do what you don’t do. As a man, do you make sure that everybody is present and accounted for before you embark on a journey or are you in such the hurry that you actually leave key individuals behind? May it never be!

 

Finally, number three comes down to the words we use. A man must not only support the family by working and teach the family by being a good example, but he must also take time to speak to the family members. Paul knew the importance of teaching these new believers the truths that would help them grow in the Lord. Paul dealt with each of the believers personally. As busy as he was, Paul still had time for personal counseling with the members of the assembly. While it is good for church leaders to address the larger group, spending time with people on a one-to-one basis is also needed. Our Lord was never too busy to speak to individuals, even though He preached to great multitudes. To be sure, this is difficult and demanding work but it is the rewarding work that glorifies God. Paul not only made others feel better, but he made them want to do better.

 

Nobody wants to receive constructive criticism anymore. We all want the trophy before the season even starts. My Dad once witnessed me pitching a Little League Baseball Game where I was losing 29-0! It was the day before pitch counts and I think I threw over 400 that night. When the game was over, my Dad reiterated that he loved me no matter how I played. My relationship as his son was not up for grabs because I stunk up the joint that evening. We went out for ice cream and it was there that my Father went over specific ways that I could get better. He encouraged me as he challenged me. I became a better ballplayer and man because of his investment in me, his son. It does no good if we never correct or coach. Love doesn’t mean that it condones all behavior. Love keeps the relationship strong even as adjustments must be made. If not, we are destined to become sheep who will do nothing more than following another to a premature disaster!

 

So are you up for the adventure? Will you play it safe or will you allow God to insert you fully in the game. Who will be like Jesus? Who will have the same passion as Paul? Who will be willing to redetermine the destiny of a lost lamb out there? I hope and pray that it is you and me for such a time as this. Be willing to work! Be aware of how and where you walk! Be conscience of the words that come out of your mouth! Let’s build a bridge of faith, hope and love here in Cape May County!