Excuses Never = Dreams

Excuses Never = Dreams

At the moment, my brain is saying, “I’m tired, boss.” Over the last couple of days, my mind has put in some overtime. Not only me but all the teachers at Citizens Christian Academy are working on next year’s curriculum. However, a goal is a goal. Exhausted or not my brain is going to work a little more. I determined to deliver fresh content every single day in June. This post will be the 26th consecutive daily post.

So, what am I going to write about today? Honestly, I have been trying to think of a topic for over an hour.  I have been here before. Watching the blinking cursor taunt me from a blank page. It is at times like this I have to B-I-C. That’s stands for Butt-in-Chair and write.  It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile is, right?

Now, I think I know what I am supposed to write about today. Sometimes you have to grab those inklings in your thoughts and force them kicking and screaming on to the page (or screen). Writing is sweaty work. My shirt may be dry, but my mind is perspiring. But it’s in moments like these that form you as a writer, as a person.

Do I cower to the flashing cursor? Never! When you’re tempted to give in is when you have to revisit why you began the journey. I started this challenge to break the back of the excuse of not having enough time. I started this journey to force myself to focus on the craft of writing. I began this quest to silence the questions of self-doubt.  I must write until my words overtalk the inner critic. (He’s a nasty fellow.) I am pursuing this for the sake of falling in love with the process of putting words on a page.

From childhood, I have dreamed about being a prolific writer. This month, I am taking the first step in seizing the slippery aspiration of authorhood by the throat. I am a writer now. Lord willing, I will be a published author soon. Nevertheless, I will have fun chasing this dream.

Aha! I am at 366 words. Take that blinking cursor. With every keystroke, I am pushing against your resistance. You’re only making me stronger. My mind screamed,

“I’m tired.”

“You’ve worked hard enough today.”

“Take a day off. Nobody will notice.”

“It’s not like they’ll read it anyway.”

Butt in the chair and write. Push past the noise to a place where the words flow. It takes faith, perseverance, and in my case a little coffee to achieve anything noteworthy.

You may not be a writer, but I know you have a dream. An ambition that gnaws at you from the inside. Will it ever be a reality? That’s up to you. It may be as simple as getting healthier or as big as pursuing your dream job. DON’T let the excuses stop you. Say a prayer to Jesus and press forward. It will be worth it in the end.

You know my struggle now. Opening up about your goals is a vulnerable place, but it does bring with it a sense of accountability. What is your passion? Are you pursuing it? Why not? I would love to hear from you in the comments. Commenting and letting others in on your goal may be your first step in the pursuing your dreams. You never know.

That’s 590 words, cursor.

What God Says Goes!

What God Says Goes!

Daily Reading

89 LORD, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness is for all generations; you established the earth, and it stands firm.91 Your judgments stand firm today for all things are your servants. 92 If your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for you have given me life through them. 94 I am yours; save me, for I have studied your precepts. 95 The wicked hope to destroy me, but I contemplate your decrees. 96 I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your command is without limit. Psalm 119:89-96 (CSB)

Daily Reflection

Be encouraged! God’s Word is firmly fixed in heaven.

What does David mean when he says, ” LORD, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven” (89).  Eugene Peterson’s rendering illuminates the meaning of this verse. Peterson translates it as, “What you say goes, GOD, and stays, as permanent as the heavens.” Psalm 119:89 (MSG)  In other words, God is sovereign and what He decrees is settled. Nothing can change it!

What difference does that make for us as believers? God’s Word is full of promises for us. Paul says, “For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 (CSB) If you find a promise in the Bible, then you can stand on it. God will come through for you! We should all be encouraged by the fact God’s Word is firmly fixed in heaven.

 

 Suggestion for Prayer

Thank God for His sovereign decrees and ask for the faith to keep believing! 

 


If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

I Love My Church Family

I Love My Church Family

It’s the 24th day of my June Blogging Challenge. So what am going to write about today? My mind keeps drifting to my flock at West Green Baptist Church. I am privileged to pastor these people. They’re not perfect. They are broken people, but I have jagged edges too. Nevertheless, we are traveling this road of faith together.

We are learning to be gracious to each another as we continue to conform to the image of Christ. I love them for their honesty. I love the fact they allow me to be honest with them. Of course, we still wear some fig leaves, but we’re learning and growing in our intimacy.

I know some deny the importance of church family, but I cannot imagine my life without my church. I am their undershepherd who cherishes having the smell of sheep on my clothes. If you’re a pastor, you understand. It is the most demanding occupation at times. However, it is one of the most rewarding challenges in my life.

My church family inspires me to be my best. Keeps me accountable. Encourages me. Challenges me. They do life together with me. I am grateful. West Green Baptist, if you’re reading this, I love walking this journey called life with you.

What about you? Where do you fellowship? I would like to hear from you. If you’re reading this and do not have a church home, would you consider West Green Baptist? We not perfect, but we’re growing together in Christ.

 

Don’t Give Up in Dry Spells

Don’t Give Up in Dry Spells

Daily Reading

81 I long for your salvation; I put my hope in your word. 82 My eyes grow weary looking for what you have promised; I ask, “When will you comfort me?”83 Though I have become like a wineskin dried by smoke, I do not forget your statutes. 84 How many days must your servant wait? When will you execute judgment on my persecutors? 85 The arrogant have dug pits for me; they violate your instruction. 86 All your commands are true; people persecute me with lies — help me! 87 They almost ended my life on earth, but I did not abandon your precepts. 88 Give me life in accordance with your faithful love, and I will obey the decree you have spoken. Psalm 119:81-88 (CSB)

Daily Reflection

Don’t give up in dry spells because God is working.

As Christians, we all face seasons of spiritual dryness. There will be dark days where God seems aloof. However, He is present. Even, David – a man after God’s heart – experienced feeling “like a wineskin dried by smoke.” 

What are we to do when we walk through a spiritual drought? We are to put our hope in the promises of God. God will not break His assurance of salvation. Regardless, if fierce adversaries surround us, God will come through for us. Don’t give up in dry spells because God is working. He will use drought to grow our roots deeper. It is one thing to hear that God will send refreshing rains of deliverance and quite another to be drenched in the downpour. Don’t give up for I hear the sound of abundance of rain. 

 Suggestion for Prayer

Thank God for the season you are in regardless of how you feel. Ask God to give you the grace to endure times dryness of soul.

 


If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Open Your Eyes to the Goodness

Open Your Eyes to the Goodness

Daily Reading

57 The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep your words. 58 I have sought your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. 59 I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to your decrees. 60 I hurried, not hesitating to keep your commands. 61 Though the ropes of the wicked were wrapped around me, I did not forget your instruction. 62  I rise at midnight to thank you for your righteous judgments. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to those who keep your precepts. 64 LORD, the earth is filled with your faithful love; teach me your statutes. Psalm 119:57-64 (CSB)

Daily Reflection

Open your eyes to the goodness of God all around. 

Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Do you see a half-empty-glass or is the glass half-full? The writer of this psalm was an optimist. Tradition says King David penned this psalm. If anyone could have been cynical, it was David. His life was a rollercoaster of events. One day he was held as a hero and the next he was a fugitive. Could the references of persecution sprinkled throughout the Psalm be allusions to the painful days of King David? I believe so. 

How could David write, “LORD, the earth is filled with your faithful love; teach me your statutes” (64)? Despite the hardships of life, David witnessed God’s hand at work in everything. No matter if Saul was chasing him threatening death, David knew God was in control. He knew this because of the time spent meditating on God’s promises. God’s Word did not shift with the winds of public opinion. David experienced God’s faithfulness through many events in his life. 

You may look at all the sin and evil in the world and wonder, “Where is God?” It’s a legitimate question, but don’t be blinded by pessimism.  God’s goodness and compassion can be seen throughout creation. You might need to adjust your perspective. Remember on the darkest of days is when God’s light can make the most difference. 

 Suggestion for Prayer

Even if you’re struggling to see it, thank God for his faithful love. Ask Him to open your eyes to His goodness all around you. 

 


If you have found this post to be encouraging, please like, comment, and share it. Also, consider subscribing to the blog to have exciting content delivered to your inbox. If nothing else, take few seconds to say, Hello! I like it when people say, Hello.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Preacher or Writer? The Internal Struggle

Preacher or Writer? The Internal Struggle

Am I a preacher who writes? Or a writer that preaches? To some, this may be an unnecessary division, but for many, this is a serious question of calling. I know it has been for me. This post will explore this question and give my personal reasoning of why I am a preacher who writes. (Notice, the emphasis on the word personal. Every person has a particular calling they must find and embrace. This post is my take on my unique calling.)

I desired to be a writer long before being called to the public proclamation of God’s Word. It’s hard to believe at one time; I was terrified of public speaking. I recall standing behind a podium at a technical college shaking with fear before an audience of about ten peers. I am confident my fingernails left indentions in the podium. It was the longest five minutes of my life.

I feared public speaking because I fumbled with words (I still do). I could always express myself better through the medium of writing. I am no longer afraid of speaking in front of a crowd, but I still feel like I write better than I talk.

In the third grade, I was nominated to attend the Young Author’s Conference. Although tonsillitis forced me to leave the meeting early, I was able to hear the children’s author, Avi, speak. This experience planted the idea of me becoming an author. (On a side note, I think my wife attended the same conference.)

During High School, I was an awkward fellow. Antisocial and bitter, I spent time writing poetry. It was my therapy. It helped make sense of all the thoughts and emotions in my brain. My mother took noticed and encouraged me to submit my work to a poetry contest. In the end, one of my poems was published in a collection album.

These events, along with others, made me think I would live with paper and pen in a remote cabin. However, God had other plans. God’s ways do not always make sense to us ( see Proverbs 3:5-6).

When I dedicated my life to Christ, on December 16, 2001, I assumed I would begin to write as a Christian writer. I desired to be a novelist (I still do.) As I started surrendering my plans to God’s sovereign rule, I felt the Spirit press me to preach and lay aside my dreams of becoming an author. I was not to write (or not yet). God even lead me to burn a book of poetry I penned before my conversion. I was no longer the person who wrote these pieces. These poems were, in a sense, the old me.

There was a time whenever my eyes closed; I would see the word, PREACH. I knew God was calling me. Kicking and screaming I submitted to God’s prompting. However, I knew God would somehow give me the go-ahead to writing…one day. It wasn’t until pursuing my undergraduate degree that I felt a release to write. I am convinced God led me to lay, my Isaac of writing, down on His altar. I was to write, but solely for his glory. My motive changed from seeing my name on a book cover to glorifying  Him.

So why do I feel that I am a preacher who writes instead of a writer who preaches? Again, this may be a trivial distinction to some, but in my case an essential difference. I wish I could find the words to convey how I know that I am to pursue preaching over my writing but I cannot. All I can say is, it’s about obedience for me. 

Last week, in my reading of Haddon W. Robinson’s Biblical Preaching, I came across a paragraph that spoke volumes about this topic. He writes,

Paul was a writer. From his pen we have most of the inspired letters of the New Testament, and heading the list of his letters is the one to the Romans. Measured by its impact on history, few documents compare with it. Yet when Paul wrote this letter to the congregation in Rome, he confessed, “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom.1 :11-12 RSV). Paul realized that some ministries simply cannot take place apart from face-to-face contact. Even the reading of an inspired letter will not substitute. “I am eager to preach the gospel to you… who are at Rome” (1:15 RSV). A power comes through the preached word that even the written word cannot replace. 1 [Boldened emphasis mine]

I consider myself a preacher-writer because the primary medium for salvation is through the foolishness of preaching (See 1 Corinthians 1:21). Nevertheless, I will preach, and I will write all for the glory of God.

What about you? Do you preach and write too? How do you distinguish the two? Or you may have another calling altogether. I would like to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.

 

  1. Haddon W. Robinson, Biblical Preaching. 3rd Ed. I(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic) 2014. 3