Wednesday night, I announced to our church family that God was leading me to plant a church in Los Angeles county. It was very difficult to stand before people that we have loved and served with for the past 8 years and announce that we were leaving. Yet, we are confident that God is leading us to take this drastic step.
How it Began
In college, one of my roommates, Thomas Ross, encouraged me to pray about planting a church in California. I did start praying, and God opened the door for me to go to California the summer before my senior year. I was convinced then that God was leading me to move to California. After graduation, I served as an assistant pastor at Ambassador Baptist Church in Fresno, CA. At the time, we planned to plant a church out of ABC. God had other plans & redirected us to Arizona.
Continue Reading “Our Next Step”
“I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.”
– Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 45-46
Whatever happens to us, we can be confident that it is for our ultimate good and God’s glory. At times, this may be hard to see or understand, but it is reality. Notice a number of blessings from suffering in the Scriptures:
- Suffering softens your heart towards God’s Word
“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” Psalm 119:67
- Suffering opens your heart to make you more teachable
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:71
- Suffering teaches you to be compassionate
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
- Suffering strengthens your heart to make you more mature
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4
- Suffering humbles your heart
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7
- Suffering shows our weakness so we can rely on Christ’s strength
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Suffering makes you desire eternal things
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
I read an excellent article this morning by J. B. Buffington. I’m not that familiar with the author, but this article is full of excellent advice and was posted by David Cloud at Way of Life Literature.
Here’s a link to the original article & some excerpts: Continue Reading “Great Advice for Raising Young Children!”