So we are on vacation 13 hours away from home. The last thing you want is a tire that has issues. Knowing we are headed home in a few days I needed a place to get the tire fixed. 

Thanks to modern technology you can take out the handy-dandy smart phone and start looking for tire repair near me.

Now we’re not near any large city so you find these little small town places and you’re  just not sure what to think of them but hey what choice do you have

I find a place called D&H tire repair in a small town called Coden. I pull up to a small shop that for sure has seen better days, full of cars and trucks out front and very little place to park.  


I quickly meet the owner Dave and they start working on my car. Of course I told him the wrong tire by accident so they take the wrong tire off inspect it and then I realized that it was the other tire so they had to put that one back on and take the other one off. I can only imagine what they were thinking at that point haha. Boy did I feel stupid. 

While our tire was being worked on, I started up a conversation with Dave. He was working on this old red jeep that looked older than myself. I told him that I thought it was a really cool jeep. He said yeah he was fixing it up for a guy that was going to sell it.  I was trying to make small talk wondering if this conversation could turn into a God talk. 

The more we made small talk about cars, engines, RVs, camping, I started to learn about his life story.  I just came out and asked him if he went to church anywhere and much to my surprise this is what he had to say. 

Now before I say anything about church, know this post is not about church denominations. 

I happen to work in the Nazarene denomination and as I listen to a story I was very surprised to find out that he has connections to the Nazarene church.  We continued to make small talk and I told him that my wife and I were originally from Michigan. He said he was from Akron Ohio which wasn’t far from Michigan. His story unfolded as he told me his father Pastored a Nazarene church in Canton Ohio for many years and ended up retiring there.

Now Dave shared with me some very colorful stories along with some language that some might think is not Christian like.  I wasn’t about to judge whether he knew God or didn’t know God. I just listened. 

He shared enough for me to believe he knows what to do to be saved and I knew I didn’t need to share that again with him. Instead I think God used this moment for another purpose. Maybe Dave needed to run into a fellow “Nazarene”. Maybe Dave needed a nudge to get back into church. Maybe Dave needed to be reminded of what he had learned as a child. I don’t know but what I believe is that God uses all things for the good of those who love Him. 

Dave took good care of me today. We had a great conversation and we found our worlds are smaller than we thought.  

God calls us to love people where they are at. God calls us to be available. It would have been easy to not make conversation and just get my tire fixed and leave. I am on vacation so I don’t have to think about sharing Jesus with anyone right?…..  no that would have been a missed opportunity to connect with Dave. 

Like I said, I don’t know what God has done or is going to do through this but I believe it was no coincidence that Dave and I met and were able to talk.

It was an unfortunate event getting a screw in my tire but if that is what it took to cross paths with Dave, then it was a fortunate event. 

Remember this…  God can use all things to bring Him glory and God wastes nothing. 

Be Encouraged

Josh

Reading this morning, Paul the apostle, one who we look to for wisdom and knowledge in the word of God, makes a very strong confession of weakness and battle in the brain.  When I think of Paul I think that this guy has it all together.  We read his text in Gods word getting guidance and knowledge allowing our faith to grow stronger.

It is through hearing the word that our faith will grow – Romans 10:17

So here is a guy that is very educated but has a past.  He had followers of the Way killed.  He was a murderer.  Thinking he was doing this all for the right reason you have to think that he probably carried the weight of what he done for the rest of his life.  Then you have his confession of weakness.  He says clearly that there is something in his life that he cannot shake.  It won’t go away.   He asked God to remove it but God says to him that His grace is enough to help Paul through his weaknesses and it is through this weakness that Gods power is made perfect!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – Romans 12:9-10

Moving from Rome to Philippi, Paul addresses the church and confesses to them that he does not consider himself to have “arrived” when it comes to serving Christ.  He doesn’t allow himself to get sucked into the path of pride that says “look at me and how good I am” but instead he takes the opposite mindset and says that he doesn’t consider himself to have it all together.  He makes it clear that there are thoughts that he has to not dwell on, past or present.  Things he purposely has to forget or put behind him.

Not dwelling on the past but instead realizing and embracing the brand new slate that God has in store for him everyday, Paul understands clearly that this will have a profound impact on his walk with Jesus so he does what he can to move on.  He keeps his focus on what counts.

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

Paul says to “Forget It!”  Come on church you have lived in your failures far too long.  If you want to live in a life that is victorious in Jesus you must move on!  Press toward the goal in Christ Jesus.  You MUST believe that God has washed away your sins and that He has an amazing plan for you each day.  Paul realized his need to leave the past in the past and so should we.  What are you waiting for?  It’s time to allow yourself to live a victorious life in Jesus.

We all have a past and we all have daily struggles but by fixing our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith, forgetting what was, Jesus will get us through and we will be closer to winning the prize.  This sometimes is not an easy thing to do.  Pray today that God will help you to let Him help you.  Yes pray that God will help you to trust Him.

It’s time to “Forget It!”

Word Press Toilet Pic Word Press

 

I hold a couple different roles on a church staff. I run out music department and am also the youth pastor. I am now in year  number 6 of being on staff and it is a joy to work at our church. I would like to consider myself a leader and looking back to when I first started to now looking at the present, I see in myself growth and maturity. This may sound like I am proud but really it is being more grateful that I haven’t stayed where I started.

There is a question though…. I might have had qualities that would fit the description wanted and needed for the job but was I a leader?

There is an assumption that if you hold a position of leadership that you are automatically a leader and that simply is not true.  Too many times there are people that are promoted or hired on to a role that would require being a leader but they just aren’t there yet or will never be by choice.

I would say I had some leadership qualities when I first started but I wouldn’t say I was the best leader and I have so far to go.  In fact a good leader is always willing to learn and change for the better.

We will have ups and downs and moments of being humbled.  When we get to the point where we are more important than the people that we have on our team, then we have broken the connection of being effective in what we do.

There is a powerful statement that I have come across..

#1  YOU don’t get to decide if you’re a leader!  The people you are trying to lead actually make that decision!!

If you cannot motivate and help your team to come on board to your vision then you are simply going for a walk by yourself.

Jesus gives us several examples of how to be an effective leader. It all starts with servanthood. If you are unwilling to humble yourself to serve your team then don’t expect them to come along side you with great support.

Jesus, the Son of God, took on the role of a servant and was willing to be in the lowest position  and serve so that others would catch on to the LOVE that he was trying to communicate and share.

Are you willing to take on the role as a servant even though you hold a “leadership” position?  Are you willing to do something that you think is below your paygrade?

When was the last time you saw something that needed to be done and said to yourself “that’s not my job”. If Jesus were with you would that have changed your response.

Are you willing to clean a toilet?  Are you willing to let others interrupt your schedule?  Are you willing to step out of your bubble that others will be touched by you serving them?

You will only lead if you first serve.

Let’s learn this together.

Word Press Wall Pic Tanzania

 

Today I rolled myself out of bed going against what my body was saying to do.  I put on my tennis shoes and went out for a walk.  Being 37 I am more health conscious than I have been in a long time so I am trying to get some exercise in when I can.

I decided that I would walk around our church parking lot doing some laps and enjoying the morning air as I was waking up.  Only a few times around, I see a couple of teenagers walk onto our campus and start to hang out near one of our buildings before school.  I knew what they were doing.  We see a lot of minors coming onto our campus to get out of public view because they need their nicotine fix.  We cannot condone minors doing this as it is against the law so we let them know that they are not allowed to smoke on our campus.

As I saw them my heart sank.  I knew the conversation that I would be having with them and it was first thing in the morning.  I didn’t want to have to confront them but I knew I had to.  I asked the Holy Spirit to help me as I didn’t want to come across the wrong way.  These are people who Jesus died for just as He did me and I don’t want to be a deterrent to them.

I approached the two young men and proceeded to ask their names and they looked at me as if they knew they were caught.  I tried to ease the situation and let them know who I was and I could see their demeanor change and relax. I tried to make small talk and then let them know in a kind manner that they needed to smoke elsewhere.  The two young men were polite and I bid them a good day as they did the same to me.

I continued my walk and it go me thinking.  My family and I took a short vacation to a town near Tampa Florida just a few weeks ago.  Near that community was a church that looked more like a compound than a church.  There were walls and gates around it and everything screamed “We are a church but don’t come near us!”.  They built a wall to keep people out.  I mean, why else would you build a wall right?  This was not a bad neighborhood and was out of character for the area.  I have been to other countries that have had walls around the churches but it was truly for safety reasons.  When protection is truly needed I see the case but really……. we are talking Florida here, not Africa!

Thinking of those two young men and doing what I know I needed to, I can’t help but wonder if a wall was created in their minds telling them that they would not be welcome at church.  This obviously was not my intent and I hope it wasn’t taken that way.  It got me thinking……I wonder if we are building unnecessary walls to keep others out for the sake of our comfort or any other reason.  When walls aren’t present it means that you are willing to let other close and welcome them to where you are.  Is the world looking at us and seeing spiritual high fences and locked gates that scream the message “don’t come near here, you are not welcome but we love you in the name of Jesus”?

Jesus didn’t build walls around Him to keep people away.  In fact He was more welcoming to people than anyone.  Why?  Because He came to seek and save the lost.  He came for those that were heart sick and needed a spiritual doctor to help them heal.  If he closed His door to them then He came for nothing, He died for nothing.

You and I are not called to build walls.  Jesus came to tear them down.  Let’s follow our Lord and have a demo day.  Open the flood gates.  The harvest is great and the workers are few.  Will you help tear down the walls?

 

 

 

  Come out and see us at the light the night festival Saturday, June 27. Get your ticket through us for only $15 it is an all day pass worth $25.

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