I Choose Christ

This past June, my wife and I, decided that it was time to put our house up for sale. We had many memories made in this house. Both of our children have found friendships in the cul-de-sac that we live in. We have seen our kids learn to walk in this house. It has been a great house to raise our young family in. Our decision to move was based on the fact, we felt God wanted us to be closer to the church that we are pastoring in the town next to us. So we put the house on the market.

This past Saturday, we got a call from our Realtor saying that we had an offer. The next day we met with our Realtor to accept the offer. We were extremely excited. Finally we could begin looking for the home that we believed would be the home that we could build our future on.

One day later, we get a call from our Realtor saying that the buyer did not pass her credit check and that the deal was being terminated. We, as you could imagine, were devastated.

During this whole ordeal I have reminded myself that I am not the master of my domain, God is. The day that I asked God to control my life was the day that I agreed to place my life in His hands. Whatever direction He leads me in, I go. Whatever doors He opens, I accept. Whatever doors He closes, I accept. I gave up what I wanted for my life the day that I surrendered my life over to Him. God is my master.

Just because I think it is my will does not mean it is His will. I believe sometimes God is testing us. I believe He wants to see how far we will go to completely trust Him. When I chose Christ, when I chose to have faith in Him, I chose to forsake all and follow Him.

The disciples chose total surrender. They left everything behind to follow Christ and the direction that He had for their life. I love what Mark 1:16-20 says. It is the scene where Jesus sees Simon and Andrew fishing. Jesus says to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Verse 18 says, “They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Notice how there was no hesitation. This was not a decision that they had to think about.

A little farther down the way, Jesus comes to James and John fishing. Jesus gives them the same option. Verse 20 says, “they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went after Him. Please understand, this was the family business and they left it all to follow Jesus. They didn’t think twice about it. They didn’t ask their father what he thought. They just left and followed Christ.

They knew there was something different about this man and they had to find out what it was.

When I made the decision to follow Christ I knew there was something different about this man and I wanted to know more about Him.

There may be days when I have disappointments, there may be days when I don’t understand all that He is asking me to do, but I know that He has never led me astray and my life is better for it.

There will be other buyers that come around, I’m sure of it. God has my best interest in mind. If you have chosen to follow Christ, then He has your best interest in mind as well. Don’t settle for second best, settle only for God’s best.

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Church Shutdown

Yesterday marked the 16th day of the government shutdown and they finally came to an agreement. Think of all the grief and trouble this shutdown has caused people. People weren’t getting paid, resources were depleted and National Parks were closed. People noticed the government shutdown.

Several years ago, the church was the center of a town or community. All the activities of the town were centered around the activities of the church. Sports practices weren’t held on Wednesday nights because of church services. The church was the focal point of the town. The church was a place that civic meetings were held. It was the polling place for the city. I could go on and on about the role the church played in a community. Today that has changed.

My question today to you is, if your church were to shut down, would the town miss it and the role it plays for your community? How important is your church to your community?

We as the church have to make ourselves relevant again. A church is more than a building that is used for worship services. The church is its people. The church is the relationships that it brings. The church is the place that you find opportunities to seek God and to further the abilities that God has given you. The church is the place that you can grow in life and in your spiritual walk with God.

The community needs the church. Are you giving your town a reason to need you? If you didn’t exist would the town or community you are in miss you? If you can’t answer yes, then you need to fix something. Find out what that something is and fix it.

Acts 2:42-47 gives us a picture of what the church should look like today. It says, “42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43) Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44) Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45) and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46) So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Leadership Resources

Recently I have found myself reading more and listening to podcasts more. I wanted to give you some of the books I have enjoyed as a pastor and some of the podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis. I have several books that are by the same author. I will try to group those together.

I believe that it is important to read and listen to good teaching. If you want to be a better leader then you have to become a better student. Hosea 4:6 tells us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” As leaders, we should always want knowledge. Never stop learning.

Here are some great resources for you to read and listen to.

Books

Robert Morris (The Blessed Life, Blessed Church)

Gary McIntosh (One Size Doesn’t Fit All, Beyond the First Visit, What Every Pastor Should Know written with Charles Arn)

Thom Rainer (The Unchurched Next Door, Simple Church written with Eric Geiger, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them)

John Maxwell (Winning with People)

Andy Stanley (Making Vision Stick, Visioneering)

Robert Lewis (The Church of Irresistible Influence written with Rob Wilkins)

Tommy Barnett (Portraits of Vision written with Sarah Coleman, Multiplication)

Ed Stetzer (Comeback Churches written with Mike Dodson)

Pete Wilson (Plan B)

George O. Wood (Road Trip Leadership)

Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker)

Mike Clarensau (From Belonging to Becoming)

Scott Wilson (Ready, Set, Grow)

Podcasts

Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

Catalyst Podcast

iLead by Rod Loy

Perry Noble Leadership Podcast

I hope this will help you in your ministry. These books have ministered to me and have helped in my leadership growth.

I am all the time looking for books to read or podcasts to listen to that will help make me a better leader. If you have a book that is not listed on here that you believe was a good book, please let me know about it. I would love to read it.