Thursday, April 30, 2009

Time Well Spent

As I write this, I am sitting at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. My son, Vincent, and I are awaiting our flight back home to Pittsburgh. It's been a long week. It's been a GREAT week!! Last Friday, I set out on a journey to meet with four different pastors in the greater San Diego area. The purpose? I just wanted to learn. To learn from some guys who are older than me, been in ministry longer than me, and who have learned some lessons along the way. How great it was!

I met with four very different guys. Not all the same denomination. Not all the same age. Not all the same size church. Not all the same approaches to ministry. However, the principles that I gleaned from them over this past week will be very beneficial to me in helping me to continue to shape the leadership potential that God has created.

In the coming days, I will be sharing some of those lessons. I pray that you can benefit from them as well.

Vincent came along and had an incredible time. He got to spend some time with a family that has been an extra set of parents to me. They have treated me like a son and my children like grandchildren. Vincent got to go the beach, out to eat, and to the San Diego Zoo! Since our connecting flight in Dallas got bumped til today, Vincent got to spend time with his MiMi (my mother) and cousins he's never met. THEY HAD A BLAST!!! He even got to see his papaw's police car!

This week hadn't gone exactly how I'd expected, but God has used it in amazing ways. Yes, it most definitely was time well spent!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Personal Mentoring Retreat: Day One

It's beautiful here! I am in Carlsbad, California - half way between San Diego and Orange County. I'm here for a few days to get alone with God, meet with some pastors who have been in ministry a while, and read some books on leadership, balancing ministry and family, and some others.

I have been the lead pastor at CrossWay Church for one week shy of a year. In this year, God has taught me so many things. One of the things that I have learned, is that I don't know anything! Outside of His guidance and His Spirit, I know nothing. Everything I have is in Him and everything I need is found in Him.

Think about it: If Jeremiah 29:11 is true and HE knows the plans that HE has for me, then it's a pretty good idea to get that much closer to HIM.

Monday, April 20, 2009

When God Says "No"

This weekend, I began a series entitled, "God Speaks." The first message in this series is called "When God Says NO." I like this little video, because obviously this little girl has gotten pretty used to hearing those words over and over and OVER and OVER!

Do you ever feel like that with God? No matter what, you're getting a NO. After all you've done and tried to do...and He still says "NO"? Sometimes that feels so insulting. But, what I'm learning is...that's NOT God's motivation at all. We don't always understand why He says "no." But, we need to understand that there are REASONS...reasons we may not understand or agree with, but reasons we need to trust.

  1. PROTECT US - He knows what we don't know. He's protecting us from danger or sometimes from the destruction that our own pride will lead us to
  2. keep us DEPENDENT on Him - are we dependent on our own logic and way of doing things, or are we dependent on HIS guidance, HIS ways, and HIS timing
  3. DRAW us CLOSER to Him - the "no" should draw us closer to His heart and to His voice. Our desire should be to distance ourselves from anything that isn't His will or His timing.
  4. TEST our HEARTS - what will we do with the "no." Will we run our own way or will we surrender and obey?

When God says "no", He's really saying: "I love you," "I have a plan for you," "I'm preparing your heart," "I'm doing a work in you," and "you really don't want me to say 'yes.'"