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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Favorite Quotations

During my reading of Being Holy, Being Human by Jay Kesler there are a few quotes that stand out to me that I want to share with those who are reading this blog:

Gregory the Great says, "The pastor should always be pure in thought... no impurtiy ought to pollute him who has undertaken the office of wiping away the stains in the hearts of others ... for the hand thought would cleanse from dirt must be clean, lest, being itself sordid with clinging mire, it soil whatever it touches all the more."

C.S Lewis says, "When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.

Marting Luther says, "Our office ... subjects us to great burdens and labors, dangers and temptations, with little reward or gratitude from the world. But Christ Himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully".

John Newton says, "The Christian ministry is the worst of all trades but the best of all professions".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be Still...

“Be still and know that I am God.” This has been my intention over the past two (2) weeks, “Be still…”

While this is a challenge for me because I work it is a necessity for me as it relates to my ministry…publically and privately. I try my best to hear from God and sometimes for me it’s best that I go into a shell mode or as Jesus declares in Matthew 6…”go to your secret closet”. The time has been very enriching. There have been challenges along the way that tried to get me out of my “Be still…” moment. Nevertheless the time has been extremely wonderful for me.

Over the past two (2) weeks I’ve read 2 books, “Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry” By John McArthur and “Character Forged from Conflict” by Gary D Preston. Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry is a re-read for me so I read what I thought was needed information. However, “Character Forged from Conflict was a must read for me and I’m glad I read it. I started a new book this week entitled: “Being Holy, Being Human” by Jay Kesler. The thesis of the book is on being transparent without being hypocritical as Christians. I’ve read the introduction and chapter 1, so far so good. Another must read.

I’ve also used this time to spend with the family. For the first time in years, Tracy and I rode our bikes to El Torito for brunch. Good time of eating and talking with Tracy something we haven’t done in a minute. We ate so much that riding back home was a BIG challenge. But we made it home. We tried to train our puppy cocker spaniel (Rocky) to go outside without running crazy in the streets after cats. However, that joker did what we thought he would do run down the street after cats. It was short lived as he got tired and just wanted to lay around afterwards. But it was cool, watching Tracy do her HGTV thing in the rose garden, Aysia on the phone sitting on the back of the truck, Myles playing football (or something in the street), and me running in/out the house watching Cooley High (my favorite movie).

Later that evening Kari and lil Jimmy met us at Blizz for frozen yogurt Sunday. Then they played a Operations game while I watched my Bulls struggle playing the Heat. They had no answers for Chris Bosh. He did whatever he wanted to do. And then, lil Jimmy beat me in Michael Jackson’s dance game to “Billy Jean”. He knew all the moves. So, later Sunday night I practiced so he won’t beat me again. It’s on lil boy! See you on the dance floor!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Much Needed

Over the next couple of weeks I will be taking a much needed time of rest (it’s called vacation). The first five (5) months of this year has been challenging, a blessing, tiring, frustrating, prayerful, and fulfilling. I guess the best way to explain it is I’ve been a bag of mixed emotions since 2011 started. So, the church and I decided, I need to rest as I seek God for direction for the future of ministry.

However, as life would have it the challenges keep coming as my wife received the news Sunday morning that my brother-in-law, Ronald (Ronnie) Spears pasted away at age 47. Totally unexpected and it’s taking the entire family/friends for loop trying to understand what happened. We may never receive an answer but I do believe in the sovereignty of God. He and I had a wonderful relationship coupled with mutual respect for one another. And I will miss him dearly! RIP in peace my brother. And please keep the Tracy and the entire family in prayer. Tracy and Ronnie had a wonderful relationship that expressed love, joy, and respect. Literally, people seeing them would think they were husband and wife the way they spoke and laughed with each other. Needless to say, she’s taking it pretty hard and I request the prayers of the righteous to help her make it through this loss.

This week I started taking intentional steps in my devotional time by making sure I’m not reading my favorite topics but reading material and scripture on what will renew my spiritual strength and vitality. By doing this, I realized I made one of the best purchases of my life; Logos Bible Study Software. I’ve heard about the software but never purchased it because it was a little expensive in my opinion. However, in Dec of 2010 a representative came to our church to do a show-in-tell of the software and after that I was sold on the product. I’m so glad I got it!

The resources and accessibility available are priceless. My iPhone has become my best friend. I was able to download software app on my phone to access all resources for study, devotional reading, and pastoral assistance material. Wow! Before I purchased this product, each week after church I would copy, paste and print study material to read on the bus, at lunch, or wherever I could fit in study time with me being a bi-vocational pastor my study time is limited. My bat cave for study is wherever I make it at the time. But now I can study from my iPhone and no matter where I leave off on my iPhone or laptop computer I can pick up where I left off with my study. I love it!

Not only is study material limitless but resources for pastoral ministry, church administration, leadership development, sermon preparation, marriage counseling, singles ministry, and more are available as well. Books I’ve always wanted purchase is now on my iPhone thanks to Logos. Wonderful purchase, thank software developers.

Also, over the years I’ve developed my own sermon preparation worksheet. Here it is…


Tuesday and Wednesday:


KEY TERMS (look for long words, big words, sophisticated words, repeated words, central words, emphasized words, words that catch your attention)

DETAILS – WHY (look for therefore, for, since, and, but, that, because) – why is this here? why is he saying this?

DETAILS – WHAT (look for verbs and actions taking place) – what’s going on?

DETAILS – WHEN (time chronology-appointment) – when did this happen?

DETAILS – WHERE (geographical location and spiritual location) – where did this happen?

DETAILS – WHO (look for people in the text) – who’s in the text?

DETAILS – HOW – how does it happen?

DETAILS – HOW – how does it apply?

ATMOSPHERE (sensing what you read – the Bible is about people let them live – 5 senses HEAR, SEE, SMELL, FEEL, LISTEN)





# of times it occurs in Scripture:

Authors usage in the same book and other books he has written:

Authors first occurrence of the word:

First occurrence in the Bible:

Other writer’s usage of the word:

Ways it is translated:


DEFINITION (your definition is the final product)



Commentary By:


Saturday PM and Sunday AM:
Sermon Writing

This may like a lot to do but sermons don't grow on trees and this works for me and keeps me focused.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

National Day of Prayer Request

A Prayer for our nation: 1 Timothy 2:1-6 - First of all I urged that prayers and supplications with thanksgiving be made for all people everywhere as well as those in high positions that we may live a quiet, peaceful, and godly life. This good and well pleasing to God who desires all men to be saved.

A prayer for help: Hebrews 4: 10-12 - we have a high priest who can sympathy with our weaknesses because He was tempted on every side just as we are. Therefore, we can go boldly to the throne of grace to find help in our time of need.

A prayer for the church: Ephesians 4:1-4 - I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace

A prayer for our children: Luke 2:40 - And the child grew and became strong; filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

A prayer for pastoral leadership: Ephesians 6:19-20 - Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
A prayer for finances: 2 Corinthians 8:7, 13-14 - " ... But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving ... "

A prayer for time management: Ephesians 5:14-16 - This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

A prayer for spiritual strength: Ephesians 3:14-19 - For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

A prayer against stress and frustration: Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

A prayer for ministry commitment: 1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.