Drew’s 9th

img_1117Today, this little man turns 9 years old!

Where has the time gone?  My little bear (the boy, not the dog) is growing up so quickly.  God has taught me so much about Himself through this little man.  I count it an honor to have him call me “Dad.”

Happy birthday wishes to you, Little Bear.  May today be the best one ever!

Book Review: “Designed to Lead”

Recently, I was asked to check out a new book that was written for church leaders.  I love to read.  I love the church.  Reading a book that talked about how to develop leadership both within and outside of the church?  Now you got my attention.

41mpzgq5sl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This book was Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck’s Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development.  

Eric Geiger serves the local church in a couple of ways.  First, he is the Senior Pastor at ClearView Baptist Church.  Second, he serves as one of the Vice Presidents of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Kevin Peck is the Lead Pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX.

In this book, Geiger and Peck look to address the issue that one reason for which the church was created is to be a springboard of leadership.  This leadership was not just intended to impact what took place in the “walls of the church,” but it was to effect every aspect of life.

Local churches should not be outpaced in developing leaders who bless the world and advance His Kingdom. (p.9)

I think that this is one major thing that set this book apart from many that would fall under the heading of “church leadership.”  Many books share about ways in which churches can do better at doing church the way that it has been done for a while now.  Some of these books are helpful in developing some leadership skills in pastors/servants, but others are… let’s just say not so helpful.

Designed to Lead was intended to show that the church is not supposed to be about what takes place “inside the walls,” but that the church is supposed to impact the world around it. I really believe that this is an important thing to look at for the church today.  There are too many churches that are trying to run away from the world instead of impacting and redeeming it with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Geiger and Peck put forth a framework to help churches work on developing leaders that lead both within and outside the church.  This framework begins with conviction, moves through the culture, and creates constructs to make it happen (p. 14-15).  These three elements make up the three major sections of the book.

If you are a leader in the local church and have been feeling that there has been a leadership vacuum both within and outside of your church, then I would encourage you to check out Designed to Lead. Geiger and Peck have written this book for leaders to reproduce leaders and impact this world for Jesus Christ.

Giveaway

I have received a few copies of Designed to Lead, and I would like to bless some church leaders with this book.  If you would like to be considered for this giveaway, please leave a comment in the comment section of this blog (not on Facebook).  I will choose from the comments the winners on Monday, September 19th.

The Importance of Premarital Counseling


Weddings are one of my favorite things about ministry. I have had many ministers tell me that they would rather do a funeral than a wedding. I still do not get that because I would much rather do a wedding than a funeral myself.

Weddings – for the most part – are joyous occasions. Not only are they special events in a couple’s life, but they are sacred events. God Himself created the institution of marriage. We read about it in the very first book of the Bible.

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:21-24‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Because marriage is a creation of God, it has a purpose and proper way that it should be done. It is for this reason that I require any couple that I officiate their wedding to go through Christian-based premarital counseling.

I hate to hear the news of another couple that have come to a decision to call it quits and divorce. Many times it is over issues that could have been prevented by preparing on the forefront of the marriage. I know that just because a couple goes through Christian-based premarital counseling it does not guarantee that everything will work out. I do know though that the likelihood that the relationship meets a disappointing end is much higher without it.

A Recent Session

I recently met with a young couple who is looking to get married and they asked me to do their wedding. I informed them that in order for me to officiate the ceremony, they would have to agree to do premarital counseling. They agreed and we set up a time to meet together. In our first session, I spoke with the young couple about what is marriage and the proper foundation for a marriage.

It was in this session, while we were talking about the foundation for a healthy marriage, I came to realize that this couple did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I shared with them how it would be impossible for them to do their marriage according to God’s plan without them personally having a relationship with Him first. It was at that moment that I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with this young couple and seeing both of them make a commitment of themselves first to Jesus Christ. Now they can start their marriage off with a firm foundation of the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

If I were to have just looked over the deal of premarital counseling with this young couple, I would have missed many opportunities here. First, I would have missed the opportunity to see two people be born again right before my eyes by the power of the Holy Spirit. Second, I would have done this couple a great disservice by not making sure that their upcoming marriage was started on the right foot.

If you are a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I would strongly encourage you to see premarital counseling as a great opportunity to minister to people. It can be easy to look at this task as another “hoop to jump through.” It is anything but just a “hoop to jump through.” We are called by God to lead people closer to Him and to help them on their journey.

If you are young couple on the verge of one of the biggest decisions of your life (getting married), I would strongly encourage you to seek out Christian-based premarital counseling. There are so many things that lie ahead of you and your soon-to-be spouse. You would be wise to seek out counsel and get a good start on a great marriage.

Book Review: “Who Moved My Pulpit”

A couple of months ago, I was given a book to read and asked to write a review about it.  The title of this book grabbed my attention almost immediately.  This book was Who Moved My Pulpit?  Leading Change in the Church by Thom Rainer.

I have read many of Thom Rainer’s books before.  I like his style of writing and topics that he predominantly writes about.  I took the the challenge of reading this book on with enthusiasm.

Change is necessary in any orgaWhoMovedMyPulpit_web-212x300nization or living being.  One cannot stay the same and expect that everything will just go like it should.  Living things must change and grow to reach their potential and to reach more people.  @ThomRainer has said himself, “Change is urgent because the gospel is urgent.”  I could not agree any more.

The church of Jesus Christ has the most important task in the history of the world: sharing the gospel with the world.  In order to accomplish this task, the church must grow with the culture.  The message of the church (the gospel of Jesus Christ) must NEVER change.  The methods by which we use to share the gospel with our communities and around the globe MUST change at certain times.  This is because the means of communication change over time.  If the church does not change and adapt to clearly share the gospel with the world around it, then it will fail at carrying out the Great Commission.

In Who Moved My Pulpit, Thom Rainer seeks to provide church leaders with a resource to help them lead their churches through change in a healthy manner.  Rainer first shows that there are different types of “unmovable church members.” Then he moves into what I would call an 8-step process.  He spends a full chapter with each of these steps.

BH-WhoMovedMyPulpit-SS2The appendix to the book is called a “Church Readiness Inventory for Churches.”  I truly think that this might be the best part of the whole book.  This is a series of questions that can help a church leader see where their church stands and how willing/ready they are for needed change.

Recommendation

When I first read this book, it took me all of 3 days to finish it.  I did not want to speed-read through it, but really see what all it had to say and process it.  I found that this is a great book for church leaders to help them in a much needed area of ministry… especially in our ever-changing culture. I want to see churches around the globe fulfilling the Great Commission at their fullest potential, and I believe that Who Moved My Pulpit is a great tool to help make that happen.

You can get your own copy of this great resource by clicking on the image above.  It will take you to a link where you can order a copy.

Detestable Prayers

I came across a Bible verse the other day that really hit me hard in the gut.  Have you ever had that happen?  Ever had a Bible verse that you know that you have read over many times before, but all of the sudden… BAM! Right in the gut.  That was me.

God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law. (Proverbs 28:9 NLT)

When I read that, I was like, “Did I read that correctly?  Maybe it is a translation issue…”  So I checked out other trusted translations…

He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (NASB)

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (ESV)

Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law – even his prayer is detestable. (HCSB)

It did not take long to realize that there was no issue with translation.  The Word said what it meant. There is such a thing as detestable prayers.
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It is hard to imagine that God’s stomach might turn at that some prayers that are offered, but that is exactly what that verse is saying. It is in those times – the ones where what you read cannot be right in your mind – that you begin to put it to the context test. How does this verse measure up with the rest of Scripture? When you do that and remove your thoughts from the equation, it is easy to see why this verse is here.
Proverbs 28:9 says that these detestable prayers are offered by those who have ignored God’s laws. These are those who have already heard from God but chosen to ignore what He has said. How many times do we hear/read God’s truth from His word and choose to ignore it? When we do that and then come to God expecting Him to answer our prayers as we wish, we play God for a fool.
I do not like it when people ask me for advice and refuse to do anything I advise. When that person comes again needing some advice, what do you think is going through my head? Could it be that God goes through the same thing when people come to Him to bail them out or help them but have refused to do ANYTHING that God has previously commanded?
I believe that God hears our prayers. It is not a question of ability. But do our prayers bring detest or delight?  The answer to that question is determined by what we have done with what God has already given us. It could be that before God answers our prayers, He needs to get us into position for the answer. That position comes from obedience to what God has commanded prior to the request.
There have been many false teachers that have come on the scene using verses like “But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7 NLT) to float the thought that one can make God do what they want. This makes no logical sense whatsoever to me. Who do we think that we are talking to when we pray? If we are praying to the God of the Bible, then maybe we should revisit Revelation 1:12-18to get a glimpse of exactly who we are praying to. He is the living God of the universe and answers to NO ONE!
If you look carefully at John 15:7, you will notice that there is a similarity with Proverbs 28:9. Both passages talk about the importance of obeying what God has already said in reference to what we would like those Him do in the future. If we want to see God do even greater things in our lives, we need to make sure that we are already doing what He has shared with us.
Are the prayers that you are praying today detestable or delightful to God?