Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Streak of Days

This has been a great streak of days.

Wednesday - Saturday: A whirlwind of work being done around the facilities by a swarm of volunteers. It is always great when God's people get involved in working together.

Sunday: Ed Young's visit on Sunday was great. We were challenged to Wake Up and Commit. If you attended the first and evening services, you were challenged to wake up. If you attended the second morning service, you were challenged to commit to what God has called you to do. I don't know if there is any significance to that or not.

Not to take anything away from Ed, but the evening beach baptisms were the highlight of the day, the icing on the cake, the climax of the celebration. Thirty-five people publicly identified with Christ through baptism!

Monday: The C3 Conference was a great time of fellowship with pastors and challenges from Ed Young. It was just one of those days where you sense the vastness of what God is doing.

Tuesday: A great pastors meeting followed by a great leadership meeting. A race to get the Sermon Studies Series posted for Tuesday night groups . . . posting the leadership blog . . . helping a young family with some benevolence needs . . . a rendezvous with Joan in Loris to pick out a bed for some guests that will be coming next month.

Today: Working on the weekend message . . . getting ready for Community Group tonight . . . working on a Tanzania mission trip for July . . . finishing up a benevolence case . . . working on Community Group/serving strategy . . . phone calls . . . realized that I hadn't blogged for a week . . . and feeling like I am not getting anything done.

Have you ever had a streak of days like that? They came almost instantly after I began to desire to focus on the rhythm of my life and walk. I feel completely out of rhythm at this time, but I trust that the Lord is using this streak of days to show me the urgency of the desire He has placed on my heart for godly rhythm.

How is your rhythm?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Corralled by God's Love

I had a young couple come to my office today for an application for financial assistance. They didn't come across as people who lived a lifestyle of financial dependence. As we began to talk they revealed a sequence of events that brought them to this crisis. The future is beginning to look a little brighter but the challenges of the past three months brought them to this humbling encounter with the church.

I prayed with them and reminded them that money was a minor thing to God. He can often use it to cause us to look up, look in, and look around. It was like blinders were removed from their eyes! Seriously! They said they no longer cared what the church was able to do for them financially. They were no longer focused on the electric being turned off, the eviction notice and the other personal challenges they were facing. They said, "We would have come here to hear this even if we didn't have these problems." (The question is: Would they have?) They left encouraged and committed to making Christ central to their lives, marriage, work, and life.

God corrals us like wild mustangs into the narrowness of hardship in order to draw us closer to Him. Our peace, joy and hope are found in God's ever-present, caring love for us. It is always there, but sometimes it gets out of focus because we have chosen to focus on the hardship.

What are you focusing on today?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation - Final Entry

I am so tired of competition and grumbling in the church. I can understand it in religious cults who have to prove who is right about how to please God, but in the Body of Christ, which is the true church, there should be unity. This is still a passion button for me.

By the way, this is the last of the excerpts from the book. I just got into some of these topics as I picked it up a couple weeks ago for a revisit.
No, there is no real logic as to how my brain functions. I'm really into Maxwell's Laws of Teamwork right now as well as reading through the Bible with some friends on Wednesday nights, which is really exciting.

Taken from page 164:

"Camps and confusion must end if we are going to allow the world to see the witness of a resurrected Christ. We are called to love the brethren and lay down our lives for them. This is how the world is to know that we are Christians.
I have many Christian friends who hold different doctrines in non-essential areas. We disagree, but we are not disagreeable. I believe there is a correct interpretation of Scripture. Two opposing views may both be wrong, but they can not both be right. I want to know what is right, so I listen to opposing views and continually search out the Scriptures.
One of the drawbacks of not associating with camps that have differing views on non-essential things is that we are not driven to the Scriptures, and we remain confident in our own traditions. A tradition is a preference that becomes an assumption that it is no longer questioned. Some believe that even the Scriptures must yield to a tradition. “I know that’s not what the Bible says but we . . .”
The disciples were accused of transgressing the traditions of the day. Today they might be charged with standing on the platform in church with no coat and tie, or using the wrong version of the Bible, or raising their hands during a worship service. Jesus asked the Pharisees why they transgressed the commandments of God for sake of their traditions. You see, our traditions often take the same profound significance. We run around judging others who do not walk by our traditions, while we stumble at walking in accordance with the Scriptures that say, love your brother. They even warn that the absence of love for the brethren may be a revelation of an unregenerate religious condition. (1 John 3:13-16)
If we can not have honest debate in the church family, how can we expect to engage a lost culture in debate?"

I hope this series of posts have been challenging to you. These truths always help adjust my focus and attitude. I pray they have done the same for you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 5

Showing love to even our enemies is a real challenge and yet it is a hallmark of being a true Christian. I recently revisited this topic. Here it is:

Taken from page 141:

"Compassion must be the essence of our response. Compassion comes from the Hebrew “racham” which means to love, to pity, or to be merciful. Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw the multitudes because He saw them as lost sheep with no shepherd. (Matthew 9:36) I am of the persuasion that if compassion fails to move us then we should not move. Stay put until you can see the situation the way the Lord sees it. Take time to commune with God, and ask Him to give you eyes that see as He sees.

We are quick to respond in order to win the battle, gain the spotlight, or voice our opinion. Remembering that the battle has been won, Christ deserves the spotlight, and our opinion does not really count will help us keep things in perspective and temper our response. When Christ responded to us while we were yet sinners, He sacrificially responded out of love for us with a desire for our benefit. (John 3:16) May our compassionate response model that of our Lord and Savior."

Think about it. (For information on the book, check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 4

Taken from page 125:
"If I tell you that I will give you a million dollars if you jump from an airplane with no parachute, you will probably decline the invitation because of the assumptions you have about the possibility of surviving such an event. If you met someone who was a new millionaire because he took the offer, you would be full of questions and ready to reevaluate your first opinion. When he explained that the plane was sitting on the ground, and he jumped into an airbag, you would sadly acknowledge that your assumptions had kept you from becoming a millionaire.

This is what we are facing today in the church. The lifestyle the Bible describes is so contrary to what the world assumes will work that people daily turn down God’s invitation to spiritual riches and blessings. Asking people to love their grumbling spouse, antagonistic neighbor, or personal enemy makes about as much sense as jumping out of an airplane with no parachute. Telling people that giving and forgiving are the way to blessing may get an “amen” on Sunday, but most people sitting in the pew doubt that it will work in the real world they face on Monday. Our worldview is how we live – not what we profess. It reveals what is in our heart not what is in our heads. The church is so much like the world because it assumes the same things as the world."

Think about it. (For information on the book, check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 3

Taken from page 112:
"Why does the world rejoice when one of God’s people falls? Most of the events that become scandals in a Christian leader’s life are commonplace in the lifestyle of the world. There was little fuss made as five different men stepped forward to claim that they fathered the child of Anna Nicole Smith. The world has come to accept infidelity, drug use, and other immoral behavior as normal, except in the life of a professed Christian. I believe there are two reasons for this paradox.

First of all, all mankind was made in the image of God, and there is a natural guilt that sin brings to every person. The defense mechanism for guilt is to justify the action through pointing to the failure of others, especially those who attempted to make you feel guilty. A professing Christian who falls into public sin gives others a short reprise from accusation and serves as a balm to their guilt. Remember Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.” Look at what the angels say as he is cast down to the earth during the final days of God’s prophesy. "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” (Rev 12:10-11) The only hope the world has is for God’s people to be wrong. When God’s people fall, it gives the world some hope that the message they proclaim has fallen also. "

Think about it. (For information on the book, check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 2

Taken from page 90

"Our confidence must be in God and His Word alone. We cannot put confidence in the same things in which the world puts confidence. The world trusts money, power, politics, and security. These are the things they turn to when they are threatened. As Christians we cannot compromise God’s Word in order to gain money, power, or large numbers of supporters.

This is why the “take back the culture” agenda has been virtually powerless. The fact is that we never owned our culture. Christians often fall prey to the illusion that the politicians and majorities control the American culture, but in reality they are merely a barometer of the American culture. They are not controlling the American culture, but their self-centered desire to stay in office, their hypocritical attempt to please the religious right, and their attempt to hold the party base by dancing around controversial issues represents the American culture. Truth be known, we are all amateur politicians trying to win acceptance by those around us while attempting to carryout our desired agenda."

Think about it. (Check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog for information on the book.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 1

Over the next few blogs I want to revisit a topic that is dear to my heart. As the world gets crazier and crazier, as it begins to manifest its end-times image, it will affect how we walk and how we respond. The next few blogs will be excerpts from my book.

Please. I am not hung up on my book. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't mind the opportunity to edit it one more time. The book was written out of a passion that has been stirred from the unique experiences God has given me.

I hope you will enjoy and be challenged by the excerpts. You can order the book from by using the link on this blog or "while supplies last" I will send you an autographed copy for $10, including shipping. (This would involve sending a check made out to me with your address. Not for everyone, but who knows, maybe your grandchildren will find it neat that you have an autographed book from that crazy preacher who lived in North Myrtle Beach.) Send to: Jim Evans - 620 Seth Lane, Longs, SC 29568.

Taken from page 89:
"We cannot control the culture, but we can change our response to it. We have seen many times where a proper Christian response to a situation has allowed God to impact the situation and to glorify His Name. There are other times that God has allowed His children to suffer and even be martyred to declare His judgment on the wicked and to glorify His Name. The problem we often face is that we try to do what only God can do and neglect to do what is expected of us. It is God’s responsibility and privilege to change things and judge the wicked. It is our responsibility to respond like Christians to situations and the wicked."

PS Sorry to those who subscribe to this blog and got a weird posting. It was totally accidental.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lessons from a trip

Just got back from a 670 mile bike ride on my Vulcan Classic. Great trip up to Kitty Hawk, down the Outer Banks, a 40 minute ferry ride over to Ocracoke Island and a 2 hour ferry ride back to the mainland.

Top: Landmark at Ocracoke Island celebrating the killing of Blackbeard, a crazy pirate who would place two slow burning matches in his hair to give the illusion of smoke coming out his ears. Talk about "blowing smoke" in order to build an image.

Next: We visited a lighthouse. They built a duplex house for the lighthouse keepers. This meant there was always someone there to keep the light burning to guide ships into the harbor. Duplexing ministry positions will also ensure continuous coverage and growth.

Bottom: This is a statue of a man celebrating the Wright brothers' first flight. He didn't work on the plans, experience all the failures, face the pressure of nearly quitting, or take the risk of failure, but his life was changed because two guys got a vision for what others thought was impossible. It must have been cool for this guy to have been there, but imagine what the day was like for the Wright boys!

Lessons: The folly of blowing smoke. (pirate trick) The advantage of duplexing ministry positions. The excitement of doing something others think is impossible.

It was a great trip. Wish you could have been there.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Chew Your Food

I've been losing weight and getting healthy. It all started when I read a blog about how discipline bleeds. If you can discipline one area of your life, it will bleed into other areas.

The only time I can totally control my agenda is early in the morning. So . . . I get up at 6:00, do 20 - 30 minutes on my Total Gym, eat a healthy breakfast and greet the family at 7:00.

I have done away with two blood pressure meds and am maintaining great blood pressure. I am feeling great. I learned something about eating. We need to chew our food over and over to get the best results from it and to avoid gaining unwanted weight.

If we spent more time chewing on God's Word rather than just gobbling it down on Sunday, we might find that our spiritual health becomes better, too. We now have a place where you can "chew" on what is served up on Sunday.

Hey, eating with a few friends rather than by yourself is another secret of healthy eating. Why not join a Community Group (or form one) that does life together and chews on what God shared on Sunday through Clay?

Just Thinking.

Building Community

Monday we made a critical change in our Monday noon staff meeting. I believe it will prove to be one of those changes that will be noted as an historic event.

We normally meet on Monday at noon to have: opening prayer, weekend scorecard, upcoming events, and closing comments. Then it back to work. This week during our pastors meeting (which takes place earlier), we discussed the need to pray together and to eat together as a staff.

Community groups are the core of our church life because doing life with others is vital to a healthy Christ centered life. Jesus gave us the example of doing life with His disciples with prayer, fish fries, community projects and intimate Scripture lessons.

Sharing in prayer, food, Bible study and service is at the core of building community. Who are you having lunch with today?

Just Thinking.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Enjoy the Walk

Troy blogged today about the natural tendency to slow down when we reach or even exceed our initial goals. There is a inherent momentum when we begin something. There is also a slowing down that takes place when it is taking longer than expected to reach a goal.

I climbed a lot of mountains in Haiti . . . not quite as steep as the one on this blog . . . and sometimes became weary after the first four or five hours. Periodically we would stop for a break. I would ask if we were getting closer. "No, the village keeps moving away from us. Here's your sign." I knew that!

My friend, Pastor Beril (Bay-real) Pierre-Louis shared a Haitian proverb with me. "Never look a mountain in the face. Watch where you are walking and soon you will reach the top." That proverb didn't change the mountain but it sure changed me. I began to enjoy the walk without the anxiety of staring the mountain in the face!

Growing weary in well-doing? Don't look the big picture in the face. (Necessary for planning.) Walk with intention where you are and you will arrive at your destination in God's time. (Necessary of execution.) Enjoy the walk, it's half the fun of getting there.

Just Thinking.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


This graph was done by Kathy? somebody. I want to give her credit for challenging me about excellence.

The chart speaks for itself. It would seem that those who excel are those who continue to push their ability when others are content to do enough to get by. The "Kicking Butt Threshold" is also referred to as the "Passion Threshold."

This is in business lingo and I don't attain to being an "expert" at following Christ and serving but I do relate to the phrase:

"I'll keep pushing myself. There's always some way to do it better." Reminds me of Philippians 3:13.

How about you?

Just Thinking.