Wednesday, October 19, 2011

From the Playground to the Marketplace

Jesus said "this generation is like children in the marketplace." (Luke 7:32)

The marketplace is the place of TRANSACTION & ECONOMY!

Folks we can be at a place where TRANSACTION is happening above our head & not know it.

Sometimes we're too busy playing children's games: hopscotching', coodie findin' & freeze tagin' on the playground!

Look up (realize) that God is trying to SHIFT you into His ECONOMY & KINGDOM.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Radical Harvest Requires a Radical Seed!

What a great weekend at BFWC!  We continued our series on "Don't Call Me Lucky, Call Me Blessed!" with an emphasis on "A Radical Harvest Requires a Radical Seed!"  That seed is unlocks the available blessings of God! 

God wants to bless His people!  He's WILLING and READY to do so.  Paul said, "Unto Him that is able to do exceeding and abundantly above all that we can ask or think according to the power that worketh in you!" (Ephesians 3:20)

I was thrilled to meet several new families and rejoiced over the two souls that were SAVED this morning! 

Tonight, our CLIMB ministry hosted APEX Night and had a great DESTINY ENCOUNTER!  Kudos to our Discipleship ministry and all who came out tonight!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pastor Appreciation Reflections

Words cannot express how humbled and honored you have made us feel today. On behalf of our family we say THANK YOU for your incredible outpouring of love last evening. 

We were completely surprised and elated by your words, hugs, cards, expressions and gifts.

Today, I feel refreshed from all the happy tears I shed.  Truly, tears are a language that God understands. 

Our hearts were moved by the stories you told, the videos you showed and the mime "Encourage Yourself In The Lord" were all just overwhelming and almost too much to take in.

What a pleasure to serve this wonderful family...BFWC.  Years ago, Happy Goodman wrote a song "I Don't Regret A Mile" that seemed to convey his journey from the Lord.  I reflect on his words today...

Happy Goodman

I don't regret a mile I've traveled for the Lord.
I don't regret the time I've trusted in His Word.
I've seen the years go by many days without a song.
But I don't regret a mile I've traveled for my Lord.


I've dreamed a many dreams that never came true.
And I've seen many of them vanish at dawn.
Oh but enough of my dreams have come true,
to make me keep dreaming on.

I've prayed many a prayer, seemed no answer would come.
Though I waited patiently and long.
But there's been answers come to enough of those prayers,
to make me keep praying on.

I've sowed a many seed that's fell by the wayside,
for the birds to feed upon.
But I've held enough golden sheaves in my hand,
to make me keep sowing on.

And I've trusted many a friend that's failed me
and left me to weep alone.
Oh but I've found enough of my friends to be true blue,
to make me keep trusting on.

 I've drank from the cup of disapointment and pain
and gone many a day without a song.
But I've sipped enough nectar from the roses of life,
to make me want to live on.

You are an amazing body of believers!  Thank you for caring, sharing and giving with such thoughtfulness.  Your encouragement is motivating and your faithfulness is reassuring. 

Special thanks to our pastoral team for organizing this time of appreciation.  We are truly appreciative.


Russell, Beverly & Kaitlyn Hylton

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Does It Mean to Repent?

What does it mean to repent?  Along with His disciples, Jesus used this word a lot to describe the response that He was asking humanity to make.

John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 3:1-2)

Repentance was the central theme of Jesus and His disciples.  Repenting is not something that you do one time and are done with it.  It is a way of life.

Q: Who do you know today that is an expert in repenting? 
Q: Who would say that repentance is one of the things I am best at in the world?

Repentance is a starting place.  It's simply being honest and as specific as possible about what I did wrong.

Here is what repenting is is not excusing my sin, minimizing my sin, it's not rationalizing my sin, it's not blaming my sin on somebody else.  Those are all things that by its nature, sin inclines us to do.

Adam knew this well.  After he had eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he blamed his wife.

Adam doesn't want to admit that he did it because he chose to do it.  He doesn't want to own up to his sin.  And that is what sin does to us.

David said, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away...your hand was heavy upon me;...then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' and you forgave the guilt of my sin."  Psalms 32:3-5

God can forgive a "big pile" of sins at one time...but it brings cleansing and healing to my life when I confess each sin to Him one at a time.  Repentance means getting painfully honest with God.

Example:  "God I told those people I was late for a meeting because the traffic was bad.  The reality was that I just procrastinated.  The reality was that I just didn't give myself enough time to get there and I knew that I was going to be rushed when I left.  That was a lie.  I am a liar.  Please forgive me."

I think it's important to ask yourself WHY did I commit sin?  What was the reason?  In the above example, the reason that I lied was that I wanted to control their impression and have them think better of me.  The result is that now I am living in an image rather than a reality.  In the process of repentance, it's generally a read good idea to ask, "what's the reason?"

Why did I sin?  Very often what sin involves is an ILLEGITIMATE way of tyring to meet a LEGITIMATE need.  Therefore it is essential to identify what the need is and find out a God-honoring way of meeting it otherwise I am going to keep falling into the same sin traps.

Another question to ask is "What's the result of my having sinned?" "What damage did I do?"  When you ask yourself these questions, you now begin to realize the problem with sin.

James writes these words..."Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."  James 4:7-10

James' words aren't dark and dreary...he's teaching us something important about our responsibility to the effects our sin caused.  God doesn't want me to grovel before Him before He will forgive me.  The point is...part of the process of repentance is to change my emotions about my greed, or lying or lust or gossip or pride or whatever.

God wants me to see sin the way He sees it and feel about it the same way He feels about it.  If so, I will see it for the rotten, messed up, junky stuff that it is and I don't want to do it anymore.  So, it involves a new way of feeling.  The next step in the repentance process is to seek to make AMENDS as far as is possible.  Try to set things right.

This is one of the main ways that you tell the difference between if somebody is genuinely repentant, are they really, or are they just trying to do damage control.  Are they just upset because they got in trouble?

When I really repent, my concern is not just how do I minimize pain.  It is how do I set things right in my soul and with the people I have hurt or wronged?  Or the community that I am a part of?  How do I make things right? 

A classic example of this is Zacchaeus, the tax collector.  After he hears the good news from Jesus, the people all around are grumbling how come Jesus wants to go be with Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus say to Jesus, "...Look, Lord!  Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." (Luke 19:8)

Part of what repentance includes is the promise of a sincere intent to change.  To set things right. 

Jesus is the greatest forgiver and transformer and grace dispenser the world has ever known.  He is never shocked, He has never turned anybody away.

God is more than willing to forgive.  When He does...we receive His forgiveness and own up to our part.  Our part is to make things right with others and accept the consequences that our sin caused...NOT seek to justify ourselves and claim "don't judge me...I'm under grace."

Grace doesn't give me a license to sin.  Grace simply frees me from the condemnation of sin.  It's the exchange I need to rid myself from guilt and self condemnation.  God loves us.  He is willing and able to forgive us of our sins. 

The key to maturity is acknowledging my sin, it's effects on others and being willing to face the consequences - regardless of what it costs.

Sure, we could pull out the "don't judge me card" and claim God's forgiveness is all that matters...but honestly, even though He forgives us, we are still required to make a crooked path straight and clean up the mess we caused. 

A repentant heart will accept responsibility for it's actions, walk in humility, stay under cover, submit to restoration and learn from it's mistakes while setting an example to others on how to act when one repents. 

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that wants to cling to the ideology that "it's OK to sin...God will forgive me."  We justify sin by saying, "everybody ones perfect...I'm just a sinner saved by grace." 

While parts of that statement has a ring of truth...the REAL TRUTH is you must look at the ROOT of that mindset.  Friends, we have a promise that God is faithful and just to forgive us of sin.  However, a sanctified heart has already dug out the root of sin (desire to sin) and cast it far from them.  When you live free from the domination of sin then you also live free from it's condemnation.

There are sins of OMISSION - sin that was unknowingly done or unplanned for.  In other words, you didn't premeditate to sin.  Yes...God forgives us "sinners saved by grace."

There are sins of COMMISSION - something that is done by desire and by design.  It's something willingly done.  Like stealing - the person planned and wanted to steal.  It wasn't an automatic response, it was done by a conscious effort.  A person knows right from wrong, what's lawful and illegal.  To go ahead and do such things is sinful too.

Jesus forgives us of both.  However, when you're living a sanctified life, THE DESIRE TO SIN is uprooted and you are less likely to commit sins of commission (premeditated sin). 

Let's set the standard HIGH instead of LOW.  I choose to believe that we can live closer to Jesus than the world.  He is our standard setter.  The real issue for sin boils down to the DESIRE TO SIN within us.  Uproot the desire to sin and you'll discover freedom in Christ

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#3 The Big Deal About Rejection, Disloyalty and Betrayal

I've been sharing in these series of posts the difficulties you sometimes encounter in ministry.

Ministry is NOT a bed of roses, tip-toeing through the tulips, or cloud nine headed for ten.

Truth be known...there are some REAL difficulties when you're serving in ministry.  The good news is that there are more UPS than DOWNS...but how you HANDLE the difficulties that come your way will either catapult you forward or bring you to a snail's pace.

If you're going to be in the WILL deal with Rejection, Disloyalty and Betrayal.

We are all natured to TRUST.  Children trust their parents.  Husbands trust their wives.  Wives trust their husbands. Students trust their teachers. Etc.

But what if you trust and that trust is broken? 
What if you are judged falsely without proper evidence? 
What if people assume that gossip is true? 
What if people talk about you behind your back while being friendly to your face? 
What if you are betrayed by someone who exposed every fault you had?

Jesus was betrayed with a kiss. (Luke 22:48)
Betrayal is an end time sign. (Matthew 24:10)

Learning to handle it means to go THROUGH it and not be have NO UNFORGIVENESS, to pray for those who hurt you.

It's one thing to PREACH's another to DO it.

Believe me...the longer you serve in ministry...the more JUNK you'll have to deal with. 
  • You will be talked about behind your back. 
  • You will be the topic of dinner. 
  • You will be ostracized by those who are offended at your decisions.  Everyone has an opinion...especially those who never lift a finger to help you.
  • You will pour your life into people, give them opportunities, make personal investments in them only to be kicked to the curb when they decide they no longer need covered or they no longer want to remain accountable.
But you cannot lose your joy because people make bad choices or are out of alignment with Scripture and Biblical protocol.  You must simply cling to the truth of the Scriptures, pray, love and move forward. 

In twenty five years of ministry, I've learned that you cannot take things personal.  Sure it's difficult...but it is possible. If Jesus could handle rejection, disloyalty and betrayal...then we can too.

65 things I've learned and am still learning:
  1. Keep your record clean.
  2. Stay undercover.
  3. Remain accountable.
  4. Don't be a know-it-all.
  5. Be will be flexed.
  6. Give 100% with undiluted excellence.
  7. Always cover your leaders.
  8. Go above and beyond...don't wait to be initiative.  Laziness is unbecoming in leadership.
  9. Your exit must be blessed for your entrance to be blessed.  A seamless garment is required.
  10. If you make a mess of things...own up to it, receive correction and accept the consequences.
  11. Plan ahead.
  12. Geography won't fix what's wrong inside of me.
  13. Pray more.
  14. Be systematic in studying the Word of God.
  15. Fast.  Kill the flesh and master it.
  16. Be peaceable.
  17. Remember, as a leader, you'll always be the target for criticism.
  18. Consider the source of criticism...some folks hate ya' cause they ain't ya. 
  19. Stay on the wall...if you come down to put out the fires of gossip, they'll light them faster than you can put them out.
  20. Celebrate the small victories.
  21. Read good books.
  22. Dream big dreams and imagine the impossible.
  23. Love people regardless.
  24. You don't have to defend yourself.
  25. Be classy not trashy.
  26. Seek counsel from your spiritual covering before you make major decisions.
  27. Remember that you represent Jesus and don't want to do anything to mar His name.
  28. Invest in the kingdom of God.  You can't expect others too...if you don't.
  29. Lead by example.
  30. Learn how to keep your mouth shut and remain silent.  A fool utters his whole mind.
  31. Learn how to handle the relationships God sends you.  Don't be a gossip and don't undermine your ability to lead.
  32. If you shoot yourself in the foot with a loose mouth ... you will lose your ability to lead.
  33. If God gives you a second chance...don't blow it...again!
  34. Don't blame other people for the mess you caused.
  35. Spend time with older people - glean from their wisdom.
  36. Eliminate debt from your life.
  37. Tithe don't tip.  It's not considered a tithe unless it's 10%.
  38. Don't hang out in every one's home 24/7.  Familiarity breeds contempt.  God knows what you're able to handle. 
  39. Don't burn may need them to cross back over again.
  40. Take a day off.
  41. Repeat #23
  42. Put systems in place that will eliminate negativity.
  43. Listen to your wife.  She has a good read on people.
  44. Have a hobby.  You need an outlet that doesn't have to be church related.
  45. Smile.
  46. Keep your word.
  47. Be transparent.
  48. Remain focused on your vision.
  49. Send thank you notes.
  50. Watch your attitude.
  51. Change your vocabulary.  Speak faith.
  52. Pay little attention to the odds.
  53. Keep a sense of humor.
  54. Learn from your mistakes.
  55. Don't give up.
  56. See the big picture.
  57. Believe in people.
  58. Encourage people
  59. Share with people.
  60. Trust people.
  61. Exhibit consistency.
  62. Add significance.
  63. Establish a support system.
  64. Seek to understand before being understood.
  65. Believe the best in people...give them many chances.
Characteristics of Loyalty:
  • Loyalty is adjusting our schedules to meet the needs of those we are serving.
  • Loyalty is being reliable messengers to those we are serving.
  • Loyalty is knowing and following the wishes of those we are accountable to.
  • Loyalty is standing with those whom we are serving in their time of need.
Characteristics of Disloyalty:
  • Possess an independent spirit.
  • Desires personal recognition from the leader.
  • Exalts the importance of his own ideas above the leaders ideas.
  • Develops a critical attitude toward spiritual leaders.
  • Distorts the views of his or her spiritual leader.
  • Gives recognition to others who are dissatisfied.
  • Justifies his opposition to spiritual leaders.
  • Emphasizes minor points.
  • Will form a splinter group, which may then evolve into a renegade ministry.
When your ministry is undercover, seamless and in alignment, you won't have to prove who you are or seek to affirm yourself.  Your fathers will affirm and validate you.  That affirmation alone will carry you through tough seasons when you face rejection, disloyalty and betrayal.

I wouldn't trade anything for my covering.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Outdoor Service & Picnic Highlights

What an incredible celebration yesterday at Jameson Camp.  To date...this was the best church picnic ever!  There were so many memories made as we gathered together as a family for an outdoor service followed by a fantastic meal!  Everyone had a blast with face painting, inflatables, crafts, classic games, costume parade, volleyball, basketball, corn hole, dessert contest, cake walk, food, bonfire, Gospel karaoke, and more!  Special thanks to all of our leaders who made this event UNBELIEVABLE!

Happy "50th" Birthday BFWC!