Show me Your way…

Most mornings at our home start early. My alarm clock is set 15 minutes fast and is set to go off at 4:30 AM. My fitbit that I wear each night also has an alarm on it set to go off at 5 AM. Usually I hear my alarm clock around 4:45 and hit snooze a few times until I feel the fitbit go off at 5. I do this with the plan to get up and walk each morning. Some mornings it works, some mornings it does not.

Today was one of those days those days that the plan seemed to work. I was up at 4:45 dressed and ready to go out in to the cool November morning air. Normally I would grab my iPhone but today I grabbed my iPod that has more of a music selection on it. Out the door to ZZtop and away I went.

A few moments in to the walk, worship music that I have not listened to in a while came on. On my iPhone I have music that our worship team is going to do just so I can listen and learn the music when I have a chance in the car or at work. On my iPod, is everything that I have and have had for a while including music by Jennifer Knapp, “A Little More”.

“For all the sin that lives in me
It took a nail to set me free
Still what I do, I don’t want to do
And so goes the story

What You had in mind
What we seek we’ll find
Shine, show me grace

A little more than I can give
A little more than I deserve
Unearth this holiness I can’t earn
It’s a little more than I can give
A little more than I deserve”

Although I have only seen her in concert one time, I have great memories of seeing her open for Third Day with my buddies Derrick and Danny and their families. I can almost hear Danny saying that he hoped this was her second song, her first and her last as we both were there to hear Third Day. (Ironically both of us really grew to love her music AFTER the Third Day concert)

Danny has gone on to be with Christ and I really miss him this time of the year.

So when this song came on this morning, I immediately remembered a time of my life where I can honestly say I was as close to Christ as I have ever been. Danny and I would call each other late at night to debate scripture and share new found scripture. We both had an intense passion for the word that I have not had in a very long time.

Sure we all get busy…

Sure we all have so much to do…

Family…

Jobs…

Church…

The holidays are coming up…

I had to ask myself where does Christ fit in this schedule? Where am I placing my hope?

Immediately following the Jennifer Knapp song, Third Day came on next, just like they did that night at the concert.

As I was walking in the cold morning air, fighting back the tears, I know longer cared who I woke up in my subdivision. God was all around me in the darkness of the early morning and I was having church. I didn’t care how bad I sounded or how loud I was, on those streets very early this morning, I let God know that…

“My hope is You
Show me Your ways, show me Your ways
Guide me in truth, guide me in truth
In all my days, in all my days

My hope is You”

Dear God,

As I felt your presence around me this morning, as I have so many times, I had to let go. I let go of all of the busy thoughts running through my mind of the day to come and what I needed to do. I had to let my worries and fears go. I had to realize that regardless of what happens in my life, I have no control over it. I trust in You. What ever is the next step in our lives, I trust in You. Where ever You lead us, I will trust in You.

Show me Your way

Keith

Midnight Cry…

It’s so hard to go back to work after a few days off for vacation. Steph and I just got back on Sunday from our yearly trip to our Pigeon Forge home away from home,  with her family and as usual, it was incredible. The leaves were starting to turn. The water was up in the river so I was able to get some really great pics.

They say home is where your heart is. That being the case, I have several homes. My main home is in Dallas with Steph. Then it would be Odenville, with mom and dad. Pigeon Forge is like a home for us. We go there every year, stay in the same place, visit the same areas. This year it seemed to me like we were just there. So even though it is 4 hours away, its like home to us. We are comfortable there.

While we were on our trip, one of my cousins lost her mom. God called her home. He called her to her final home, in glory with Him. My Dad and all of my grandparents and a few other family members are already there. No doubt in my mind, they are there and welcomed the newest member of heaven into the gates.

We take so many things for granted. Time with our loved ones is probably one near the top of the list. I would probably give 5 years off of my life to have 5 minutes more with my dad as I am sure others would as well. We also take for granted our own lives and how short our time is here before we are called to our final home. The very next second of our lives, Christ could step out and say its time. The very next blink of your eye, could be your last and we so take this for granted.

“Cause at the Midnight Cry, we’ll be going home…..”

Dear God,  after spending a few days admiring Your creation, it never ceases to amaze me how incredible the gifts are that You give us. I hope that I never take for granted the peace that You give us just watching water run over rocks, leaves changing colors, time with family away from the daily grind at home. I hope that I always appreciate the home that You have given me as a child and the home I have now, until I am at home, with You.

Keith

Ancora Imparo…Still I am learning

Michelangelo: Still I am learning. (Age 87)
A reminder that mistakes are a learning curve, that every first, second, third….time provides oppotunity for improvement, that you are always ancora imparo
When Lee asked me to consider being the Associate Pastor, my mind went in to overdrive. I have taken in and researched as much as I possibly could to learn everything that I could about being in the leadership position that God has opened for me. I have talked with numerous other pastors through email, social media and in person when ever possible. I have read and continue to read numerous blogs and web pages about being a better leader but nothing can show you how to be that better leader than jumping in and being as close to the fire as possible. I have learned so much in the few short months:
Here are the highlights of what I have learned:
  • People that you do ministry with are priceless. You wont agree with them all the time and they wont agree with you all the time but you need them as much as they need you regardless of if you know it or they know it.
  • Communication is vital. You cannot over communicate to those doing ministry with you, even about the simplest of things.
  • Encouragement will move mountains but destructive criticism will crush momentum. Always hearing negative comments will bring on depression and kill your motivation. Regardless of how hard or how much that you work, it’s not personal but I seem to take it like it is.  Better to meet negativity head on by by simply asking for suggestions on how the one who is so negative would do it. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise the vision but it does let that person feel like you value their opinion.
  • Don’t try to push others but instead help pull them along beside you. Don’t try to force them to do what you need them to do but let them see you doing it beside them.
  • If you can’t be excited about church and the whole experience of worship, how can you expect others to be? Worship, pray, grow.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t plan a ministry around those who sign up first, but plan a ministry for those who will be a part of your ministry once it is going. People will not sign up for what you don’t have planned out in detail. They want to know what they are signing up to be a part of.
  • People will not come to events that they do not know about. Push events from every means and media possible as soon as possible. Let others outside of your staff know that there are events coming up.
  • Don’t let your ministry be your personal quiet time. Spend time with just you and God and focus on him, not on the things wrong with others.
  • Be a people person. Shake hands, hug necks, give high fives. Notice new people and reach out to them so that they become regulars and members, not just visitors.
  • Participate. Be seen and let others see you being a part of what God is doing. You can’t do everything and not everything will be what you want to do, but its important to others to see you making them important to you
  • Always do things to improve what you do. If your ministry is playing guitar, look for ways to be a better guitar player. Reach out to others who are already doing the same thing and ask for their ideas on ways to be better.
  • No church is perfect. It is full of people who each have their own opinion. Listen to them but make unbiased decisions on what is the best way to accomplish the vision or goal.
  • One of the best tools in your ministry toolbox is a mentor. Someone outside of your ministry who can help you see the forest when there are so many trees in the way.
  • Never neglect your ministry at home. Your family time is vital to the health of your marriage. Keep a balance between ministry time and personal time and never take for granted that person who supports you the most. They make sacrifices for your ministry just like you do, and their sacrifices often go unnoticed.
  • Ancora Imparo…(I am also, still learning!)

    Dear God,

    As I continue to seek Your will and the doors that only You can open for us, continue to show me what You would have me learn. Continue to put people in my path that I can learn from and share that knowledge with. Show me where You would have us plant the seeds in our lives and the opportunities that You have for us. Help me to always continue learning how to be all that You want me to to be for Your glory, not my own.

    Keith