Lean On The Side of Righteousness

There are some things in the Word that are hard to read. They cause us to examine ourselves and leave us wide open like a freshly sliced fillet of fish. It hurts, cuts us to the core really. My children are growing up in a culture where sin is celebrated and immorality is being put on display. While not going into great detail here are a few verses that I am going over this morning and a few thoughts to follow them up.

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34 NKJV)

The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O Lord, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah (Psalms 9:17-20 NKJV)

“Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water? While it is yet green and not cut down, It withers before any other plant. So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish, Whose confidence shall be cut off, And whose trust is a spider’s web. He leans on his house, but it does not stand. He holds it fast, but it does not endure. He grows green in the sun, And his branches spread out in his garden. His roots wrap around the rock heap, And look for a place in the stones. If he is destroyed from his place, Then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have not seen you.’ “Behold, this is the joy of His way, And out of the earth others will grow. Behold, God will not cast away the blameless, Nor will He uphold the evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, And your lips with rejoicing. Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, And the dwelling place of the wicked will come to nothing.” (Job 8:11-22 NKJV)

First, we must decide to lean on the side of righteousness. Not righteousness that we imagine but the right living that God has already outlined. It’s possible to live holy lives in this present world. There is no need to create a new righteousness based on popular opinion. We simply must conform to living in a way that honors God. Men and Women of faith have come before us in times past and have not settled into conforming to popular societal or cultural beliefs. They did not conform. They were standards. Standards of righteousness.

You and I may not be able to change our culture but we can allow God to change us. The change that he makes in us as individuals empowers us to employ a new standard of living within our home. That new standard of living then serves as an example to all who enter our home and all who we have contact with.

Serve God today with boldness but still show compassion and please above all else lean on the side of righteousness and keep pressing forward.

Where to Start and What To Write When You Just Want to Yell

Where to start, what to write? I have sat down and asked that questions numerous times over the past few months. The thoughts and ideas came sporadic and cluttered. By the time I would sit down they would be pushed back into a deep fog of emotion and anxiety.

In truth, I wanted to write but I wanted to yell more. I wanted list my pain and hurt in a way that would be more of a rant. However, that’s not beneficial. It only leaves regret. If not tempered it only leaves hurt. So, I’ve decided to sit silent…for months. Publishing a thought here and there but nothing consistent. I had good intentions but here’s what I’m learning, good intentions may allow you to feel better at the moment but until those intentions become decisions and, decisions become actions, intentions are just a hope and a wish.

There has been a comment that continues to resurface in my thoughts that keeps bringing me back to my keyboard. Although many times I leave having written nothing I continually read over this comment. It’s been a source of encouragement for me. On June 26, 2013 the following was written as a comment on a post. “George, you are too good a writer to not blog everyday. Make the commitment, it will make you better and help a lot of people along the way. Just a thought.” With that written, here’s my resolve. There are some things I must get off of my chest. I have to write them down and just maybe they can be of benefit to someone else. If not, that’s okay it will help me.

In closing, as a Pastor (serving in this role for the past 3 years) I have had some extremely good times walking in my calling. However at the same time it’s been a tremendous burden. It’s been hard. I have struggled. I have hurt. It’s led me to the brink of wanting to quit and do something else altogether. I am choosing this to be my safe place, not to air out dirty laundry or call people on the carpet but to give voice to how certain things have affected me hoping that I can get some healing. Hoping this method will be one that I can look back on and see substantial growth in my life in order to lead well the people God has called me to lead. To date I have been at North Aiken Church of God for a little over a year. Previously I served at St George Church of God for right at 2 years. After coming to NACOG I sat with a counselor and discovered that due to certain situations and holding hurt feelings inside it led me to a point of borderline depression. Well the signs were there. I have a tendency to take things personal (it’s hard not too when you are attacked). In short, I’m not giving up. I’m simply going through a process of transformation and healing. I am making it my aim with the power of the Holy Spirit and the security of this blog to overcome feelings of discouragement, hurt, feelings of inadequacy. Again, I’m not going to outline and go through everything in one post but will at times identify and address things, situations, and actions that have put me in a fog. Hopefully this will help me be more consistent in writing.

Thanks for being part of my journey, encouragement, and help. I look forward to sharing more in the coming days.

As A Small Church Pastor, 3 Day Weekends Can Be Less than Exciting, Here’s How I’m Preparing For It

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. Typically this means attendance is at record lows for a lot of churches. As a small church pastor one of the ways you can combat the emotional low that comes with holiday weekends and low attended weekends is to expect it and find a way to enjoy the weekend with your own family. Here’s a quick tip on how I’m going to deal with it and what it will provide for me and my family.

Go out of town, even if it means staying close so you can get back to Church in order to preach. My families going camping with good friends. We are leaving on Friday. It’s close enough for me to come back and feed our dog daily as well as be back for Sunday morning in order to encourage those who choose to attend service. Here’s what getting away does for us even though much of our schedule, especially the weekends, is dictated by my calling as a Pastor. Getting away allows us to be a normal family. We did this last year also, not camping, but we made it a point to get away and come back for the morning service.

You know, without looking I can’t tell you how many people we had in service or how I was feeling emotionally due to that. However, I can tell you my emotional state on that Sunday because of our family time. We had a blast in TN making memories. We stayed at the Inn at Christmas Place, had cookies with Santa (in May). Not only that but we also stayed in a cabin at the top of a mountain with family, went to Ripley’s aquarium, ate at the Apple Barn…etc.

I will be prepared for service but I won’t be down because it was an off day. I’m expecting the off day by preparing mentally and having a blast building memories with my wife, kids, and good friends.

Hopefully this post will offer some encouragement to a Pastor or ministry leader who is looking at this coming weekend and thinking, “I wish I could get away like everyone else and be a normal family.” You can, you need to, you deserve it.

What is Right

I’ve heard it said, “whats popular is not always right and whats right is not always popular.” When I look over my decisions, remarks, actions, and intentions it is necessary that I ask myself, what was my motive. The question that came up today  in a devotional book I received not long ago was, “Is it Right?” Matter of fact part of a quote that accompanied this particular devotion is,

There comes a when a true follower of Jesus Christ must take a position that’s neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must do it because it is right. -Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr

I can’t speak for everyone else but myself, it would pay to ask the question before words are spoken, actions are taken, is it the right thing to do by God’s standard and His word. For the follower of Jesus Christ that should be the basis for which we do everything.

 

Resources:

The Presidents Devotional by Joshua Dubois

Myths I’ve Believed Growing Up In Church

There are many things I’ve always heard growing up in the church. Some aren’t so biblical but take on a biblical tone. Meaning, I’ve never found them in the bible but we regard them as Gospel truth. I am working through a few myths that I plan to present during our midweek worship service on Wednesday nights at North Aiken Church of God. I am calling this Wednesday night series, Myths I’ve Believed Growing Up In Church.

So far here is the schedule…

Wednesday, May 7: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
Wednesday, May 14: God Will Not Allow More On Us Than What We Can Handle
Wednesday, May 21: OPEN
Wednesday, May 28: OPEN

You will notice I have two weeks open. Simply meaning, I haven’t decided which other 2 myths I am going to tackle and I was hoping you could help. Besides the ones listed above, what’s some things you’ve always heard and perceived to be Gospel truth but could never find it in scripture or have found to be not entirely true?

Here’s one I’ve always loved hearing which has never failed to give me a good chuckle…”if the KJV was good enough for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me.”