Archive for April, 2010

Loyal Love

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Lamentations 3:22-23 is something we need to keep in mind because we all screw up on a regular basis.

And although we can take comfort in the fact that God’s compassions are new every morning, we can’t forget that consequences for sin will always exist.  But for those who have entered a relationship with God through Jesus, the fact that God won’t allow sin to go unpunished is encouraging because it reveals his concern for us.

The original word for “great love” in v. 22 is hesed, which has the idea of loyal love.  God’s loyal love for his people confirms his promises to us, and his supply of love and compassion for his children is unlimited!

Let that thought marinate, and then allow it to motivate you to live a life of obedience in response to God’s love and concern for you!

T. J.

Categories: Growth

Wanna be in a Music Video?

April 29, 2010 2 comments

Last Saturday evening, I got to see my friend, Juan (standing next to me in the picture), who I attended high school with back in Jacksonville, Fl. several years ago.

He’s one of the guitarists in a band that was performing in Greensboro, which is about 30 minutes away from where we live in Winston-Salem.  Juan hooked me and Wendy, and our girls, up with tickets to see the concert, and we had the opportunity to hang out with him for a few minutes before the show.

Although I’m not really a music fanatic, I appreciate this band’s music and, more importantly, the message behind it.  I also love the fact that they clearly present the gospel of Jesus Christ at every one of their shows.  I can’t wait to someday see how many people have crossed the line of faith as a result of being exposed to the life-changing message of Jesus at one of their concerts.

If you would like the chance to be in their new music video, go to their website, watch the instructional video, and follow the directions.  If that doesn’t excite you, at the very least, check out their music.  You’ll find that it’s well done and honoring to Jesus.

T. J.

Categories: Music, Uncategorized

Don’t Quit Before the Breakthrough

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I think a lot of times we give up way to easily.  We have specific prayer needs that we ask God to meet, and if we don’t hear from him right away, we get frustrated, disinterested, and even disheartened, and then we quit. Right before we experience a breakthrough, we often give up.

Jesus told a story to his disciples to encourage them to keep praying, even when they felt like quitting.  In one part of the story, Jesus says, “So, don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night?”

A guy named Daniel prayed for 21 days and didn’t quit until he received an answer.  God heard his prayer on the 1st day, but Daniel didn’t hear back from God for 21 days.  The takeaway is that we can’t just pray for something one time and then stop, and call that a prayer of faith.

Set your heart toward God and be persistent.  “…The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.”

T. J.

Categories: Growth

Faithfulness Results in Influence

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I received an email yesterday from a former high school student that my wife, Wendy, and I had the opportunity to minister to a few years ago.  She is now married, has three children, one with special needs, and is trying to figure out how to manage her marriage and family, along with her relationship with God.

In her email, she didn’t list any words of wisdom Wendy and I shared with her in the past.  She didn’t recite back to me any points from the messages she heard me preach.  She didn’t mention anything specific that she has ever heard us say.  What she talked about was what she perceived as faithfulness in our lives.  Below are excerpts from her email:

My husband and I have been through a lot, and I just look at us and everything that has happened, and I see that God has brought us closer to each other…  I think in all reality the devil is just trying to push me off my stepping stones to God.  I think he thought that he could break us with us having a special needs child…

I cannot tell you how much I look back at my life, and think about the opportunities I missed, but I do thank you and Mrs. Wendy for everything because it has touched me in my life.  If you would have pushed God away from doing what he said, my life would or could have been hindered, and for Mrs. Wendy ,as a preachers wife, I thank her too for being faithful.  I can’t thank you both enough for everything you guys have done to be faithful and allowing me to have great role models.

In addition to being humbled by what I read in her email, this girl reminded me that faithfulness results in influence.  Most people won’t remember the words we say, but they will remember whether or not we’ve been faithful.  By God’s grace, and through his power, we can live faithful lives that influence people for Jesus.
T. J.
Categories: Leadership

Sin is Like Crabgrass

April 26, 2010 Leave a comment

When our family moved from the home we sold in Jacksonville, Fl to the home we purchased in Winston-Salem, NC, Richard, one of our new neighbors, was quick to suggest that I apply crabgrass preventer to our lawn.  He noticed we had a small amount of crabgrass in one little area of our yard.  He warned that if I didn’t take care of the problem right away, the crabgrass would overtake the good grass in my yard before I even realized what was happening.

I chose to listen to Richard’s advice, and I applied the crabgrass preventer.  It was inconvenient, and it was costly, but it was worth it because my lawn is now healthy and growing like it should.

Sin is like crabgrass.  If you don’t make an effort to get rid of it when it begins to creep into any area of your life, before you know it, it will overtake every area of your life.  In order to prevent sin from taking over, you have to get honest with yourself and get serious before God.  At times, this may seem inconvenient and appear costly, but it’s worth it!

If your goal is to have a healthy relationship with God and to continue to grow in your faith, read how the author of Psalm 139 approached the issue, and then follow suit.

T. J.

Categories: Uncategorized

Do You Make Christianity Seem Weird?

April 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m not sure which is worse, a loud talker or a close talker.  I had a conversation with a guy the other day who was both, and when he found out that I’m a follower of Jesus, it was on.

He began to rain down fire and brimstone on everyone within 100 yards of our conversation.  His verbal damnation of those who don’t claim to be Christians was embarrassing to say the least.  I immediately thought to myself, “Situations like this are why people think Christians are weird.”

Roman 1:16 is not a license for us to abandon compassion for people who don’t have a relationship with God through Jesus.  We can’t expect people to act like Christians when they don’t have Christ in them.  Read the gospels and see how Jesus treated people who were far from God.

I wish “brimstone man,” and people like him, would understand that they do more damage than good when their passion lacks compassion.

T. J.

Categories: Uncategorized

Potential for Disaster

April 23, 2010 1 comment

I didn’t plan on replacing the toilet in our master bathroom today, even though I knew the crack in it would cause it to eventually leak.  I kept putting it off, until it became evident by the puddle of water surrounding the toilet that it was time for a new one.

So, as I was driving to Home Depot, I thought about how a lot of leaders deal with conflict the way I dealt with the broken toilet.  They avoid the problem, hoping it will disappear, knowing deep down the issue will one day resurface with negative consequences attached.

When we as leaders fail to address the issues we know we should confront, or we shy away from making tough decisions because conflict is uncomfortable, we’re both delaying the inevitable and leading in a way that’s not respectable.  The result is a loss for us and the people we lead.

When you sense problems occurring in your organization, deal with them right away.  Don’t allow them to go unaddressed.  The potential for disaster is far too great.

T. J.

Categories: Leadership