Lingering at the Church

I’m lingering at the church this morning. Came for prayer. Captivated by His presence. Just sitting here pondering. Arrested in prayer by a song on my playlist. As it unfolded I thought, “This has to be an apostolic.” “Give me a love for truth…Because you are the truth.” I pulled out my phone and wasn’t disappointed. Dylan Woodward, blends a perfect combination of love for apostolic truth, with a loving, committed relationship with our God of Truth. The future of the apostolic movement is in great hands. May all who come behind us find us faithful.

I started to list, as I’ve got this song on constant repeat, what I’ve learned and prayed deep in my spirit as I sit here in a plush blue chair in our foyer. Well, kinda plush! Anyway, if I started listing all I would have written the whole song and would have broken copyright protocols a couple dozen times.

Dylan in his anointed song gives us direction in every single line.

Look it up. Listen to it. Learn it.

It’s been a good morning; lingering at the church. The walls have a message: Revival will begin here but will not be contained here. It will overflow into the streets, community, city, and world.

The seats are empty, the prayers are silent. Remember, we do not walk by sight, but by faith. Every prayer is stored in heaven. One day, soon, they will overflow and answered prayer will be poured out generously.

It’s Saturday and the altars are empty. But, look out defeated foe! Tomorrow, empty altars will be full, abundantly overflowing.

There are no sounds evident here. But tomorrow there will be the waves of grace and glory flooding the air space. Praises and prayers will meet together. His power and presence will be available to all.

Today, as I linger here, there is an empty edifice, but tomorrow it will be transformed into a hospital. Spiritual, physical, and emotional healings will abound. The ministry of restoration and reconciliation will be dispensed.

As I peek back into the dark sanctuary the pulpit is vacant. But, tomorrow, a pastor more lively than the Energizer bunny will declare the testimony of Jesus. It will be a clear, clarion, call. Challenge. Conviction. Change. How do I know? He does it EVERY time!

Well, the first arrival has entered. The choir practice starts in an hour. Yep, tomorrow, they will fill the platform with praise. Can hardly wait!

I’m going to leave today, so I can linger tomorrow!

Remaining Content in Occasions to be Discontent

Each day we wake knowing this is the day the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24). Days turn into weeks. Weeks into months. a Year is an accumulation of the individual days the Lord has made. Not all are good. Not all are bad. But, mixed we can count our many blessings and hopefully be content. And, wow, what a year, 2020 has been.

Reading the Scriptures Paul wrote from a dark, dreary, damp, dirty prison cell, I am amazed he would be content, and exuberate joy. He had his eyes fixed on Someone greater than his present circumstances.

“Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace]” (Philippians 4:11-13, AMP, Emphasis mine).

I like what my friend, Cullen Chrestman, mentioned in one of his messages to my local church, “Some of the things that frustrate us the most are sent directly from God to impact us the most.”

Nick Batzig in “A Marathon Mentality for Ministry” blog post said, “Contentment in ministry is the secret of endurance in ministry. Pastors must learn to be content with what hand God has dealt them.”

A famous violinist, Itzhak Perlman, with a broken string in the middle of the concert continued on, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

He is also attributed to saying, “It is my gift and my joy to make music with what remains.”

Remember contentment is an attitude. I try to remember any time I become discontent with what others have, and I don’t, it is bordering on envy.  I don’t want that in my life…at all. Praise God for the blessings He is giving to others.

Here are a few other tidbits of advice:

  • Resist fear.
  • Trust God.
  • Develop an attitude of gratitude.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Take advantage of the time and seasons.
  • Embark on a new project or two. Doing something nice for someone else will hopefully lift your spirit.
  • Find joy in what you already have.
  • Seek God.
  • Study God’s Word.

Someone has said, “A contented heart is a calm sea in the midst of all storms.”

Increasing Volunteers

You’ve probably heard of the Pareto Principle or what is commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule. Basically, in church life, it means twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work. Some approach church much like one that is a sport’s spectator watching a game. They know exactly how it should be done, and express it not from the field, but from the benches. We occasionally approach church with a “serve-us” spectator mentality, needing to make an active transition from the benches to the trenches. It’s a battle winning souls, discipling believers, and nurturing wounded hearts.

Bob King in his article “The 80/20 Rule in Churches: You Can’t Change it Much, But a Little Goes a Long Way” reveals a common lament among those in volunteer leadership: “why do the same few volunteers seem to be doing all the work?” The adverse consequences, “the super volunteers get burned out, the rest of the congregation feels left out, and management starts looking for a way out (a better job).” He claims that church leaders sometimes use the Pareto Principle as a crutch but should press forward in establishing good volunteer recruitment strategies moving toward thirty percent of the people doing seventy percent of the work.

In my next blog post I will introduce some tips that may help you increase the number of volunteers on your team, in your church, or in your organization.

A Saturday in my Life

Today I’ve been off to our daily early morning prayer meeting. I love the opportunity to be connected; connected to God and connected to a group of prayer warriors who covers our pastor and church with a blanket of prayer. For me it’s a new form of prayer walk. I walk around the sanctuary praying. It brings new meaning to bodily exercise profits little. Well, when coupled with prayer, it accomplishes a lot. Just saying! Then I went to a Serve Now project, coordinated by my so-in-law, Zach, clearing out the flower beds. It’s amazing how much and how fast weeds can grow literally smothering the beautiful plants. Probably another reason, in the spiritual realm, for a need for a stronger prayer life. Keep those weeds out! Daily!I was also glad to be a part of a missions conference online. The new Short-Term project, “A Day in the Life of the Short-Term Missions Director” was premiered and went very well. We also continue to receive videos from around the world that promote Global ConNEXTions. The registration is quickly approaching 700. I’m amazed at the creativity used in our adverting social media blitz. A friend, Darla McLean, passed away this morning. She, and her husband, had just retired from missionary service in West Africa. COVID-19 won the chapter. But in the end, the Lord is triumphant, and wins the battle. Of course, Darla, won the crown. I’m not trying to figure it all out. I won’t be offended in the way God does His business.My queen, Linda, did a podcast episode for me on Poitras Ponderings Podcast. She spoke about her call and “The Availability Factor.” I may write more about that another time. We are already planning future episodes featuring her. The rest of the day has been spent studying for various lessons and messages.I think I’ll read some tonight. Surprised! Probably not!

The Name We TRUST!

Tucked in the middle of two tragic turned triumphant situations we find another golden nugget. A man with a withered hand and another possessed with the devil (blind and dumb) serve as the backdrop for unveiling truth. Nestled smack between two miracles are short words of revelation: “And in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (Matthew 12:21).

This aptly echoes the Psalmist, “We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions. Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalms 20:5-7).

“Trust” is a wonderful word. If I trust you I am attesting I am confident about your integrity, strength, and/or ability. Trust doesn’t come easily. When lost, it is difficult—nigh to impossible—to regain. Trust is made up of interaction (getting to truly know someone) and an established track record. It is destroyed daily in small ways. A little lie, failing to follow through on something promised, or a confidence broken. Failure to walk the talk and to do what one says both rank up there on the list of trust destroyers. Truth and trust are interrelated; always have been; always will.  

Stephen M. R. Covey in The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything explains violating character behavior is the quickest way to decrease trust. Demonstrating competence behavior is the quickest way to increase it. Trust is a function of both character (who you are) and competence (what you produce; strengths, capabilities, and skills).

Trust is notably the foundation of all positive relationships: self, with others, and with God. It is one of the strongest bonds possible. The irony is it is also one of the most fragile. It can be easily broken like a glass vase crashing to the floor in a thousand pieces; impossible to glue back together. Someone has rightly said, “trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” Help us, Lord—to trust and to be trustworthy. After all, the old word “faithful” is the same as our modern word “trustworthy.”