The three words I have often uttered to describe where I am in my ministerial career: “ministry is hard”. Lately, I’m coming to learn that these words may actually be “full of it”. While it is true, for me at least, the ministry was not a career move. I never chose ministry: ministry chose me. I do it because I am truly compelled to, and I feel it is my God-given calling to mainly teach, then preach, and lead. Yes, I feel an obligation to God to fulfill this purpose, and some have made me feel as if the simple presence of purpose should make the process painlessly easy. And I don’t ever want to negate the hard work that goes into studying, planning, and executing ministry, while performing some of the mundane tasks of pastoring. All this may be true, but these aren’t the reasons ministry is hard.  (more…)

At over 32 million units sold, Michael Jackson’s Thriller is by far the most successful recording in history. I just want that to sink in; after 35 years, no other record has sold more than this instant classic. It is the epitome of recorded music success, but at what point do we determine that it was a successful venture or not? We are talking about the critically acclaimed work, that millions of people around the world still listen to. This is the same record that catapulted Michael Jackson in to pop music royalty. When was this work a success?  (more…)

It is inevitable. Everyone is going to want something that they do not need. Not only that, but we will all at sometime want something that is bad, dangerous, or down right fatal for us. At some level, we are all fascinated with the excitement of thrills. Being daring and even cheating death is attractive to us, but the reality is that we need to, in many degrees, calm that urge down.  (more…)

Driving down a main street in my town, I noticed a real life junk man. He had his spread there on the side of the road, in true Fred G. Sanford style, arranged in what seemed to me to be no particular order. Everything from old street signs to rusted antique farm equipment was right there on the side of the road, and I was truly amazed. I was amazed, first because I had never actually seen anything like this before. I really didn’t know that junk men, like Sanford and son actually existed. I also marveled at the fact that he actually had customers; several people browsing around the lot, one can only assume, trying to find treasure in the midst of trash. Who knew that all this was actually a real thing?! But it goes to show you that what others deem insignificant, and easily discarded, can be very valuable to someone else. (more…)

From the Wizard of Oz to Aladdin, there has always been a fascination with wishing.  Birthdays candles, a stray eye lash, coins in a fountain, first and shooting stars, and the list of wishing traditions go on and on. Wishing is something borne deep into the human fabric. While it makes for entertaining stories and movies, wishing has to be one of the most fruitless acts that we encourage.  (more…)

The entire world paused to honor Muhammad Ali, this weekend, after his passing. He was undoubtedly one of THE most single influential athlete ever, and quite possibly one of the most iconic figures, in 20th century history. He was a person of such high honor, and wide-spread appeal, that everyone had something kind to say about the G.O.A.T. However, journalist, Nick Wright, made a very interesting (and in my opinion, extremely accurate) observation. He said, “If there was a 25-yr old Muhammad Ali today, (people) would hate him.”  (more…)

The church world is full of different types of people. The diversity in the Lord’s church is a testament of God’s love and power, that misses no one. Regardless of the state we’re in, God’s love and power is never out of our reach. Just like there is diversity among God’s people, there is also diversity among local churches. As a pastor, and particularly the pastor of a very small church, I have found myself on the discouraged end of the stick. Seeing larger churches across my city, the nation, and even the world, in person or on TV, I often find myself in the trap of comparison, wanting God to use me in a great way, like I see Him doing for others. But along the way, I have picked up a few encouraging things to remember when I find myself discouraged:
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