Saturday, February 25, 2012


So, you've been telling God, "I'm single."  Guess what?  He already knows.  If you're single and desire to be advice to you at this very moment is EMBRACE THIS SEASON, ask the Lord to GROW you and SHOW you the areas where you need to be a better follower of Him.  Also, ask Him to prepare you for your future mate.

If God was a Genie in a bottle and granted you a mate at this very moment...what would that mate say about you? One of two things..."thank you Lord" or "why me Lord?"  Asking the Lord to refine you or shape you as a single will make you a better spouse.

When it comes to dating, certainly there needs to be parameters.  If you don't set some parameters will be too late when the hour of temptation is staring you in the face.

#1 No Negotiation!
  • Truth be told, the ladies will have to deal with this first.  She starts out telling her friends and family that she's looking for Mr. Right.  However, she can easily settle for Mr. Right Now when she looks in her closet and sees that she has been a bridesmaid 25 times and never the bride.
  • not negotiate away your principles!  
  • If you're having to defend the guy you are dating, then you already know you've drifted away from your standard.  
  • By the way, if a man is not pursuing you in a GODLY manner...then TELL JONAH TO GET OFF YOUR BOAT!  
  • He has no business touching you inappropriately! You are a TREASURE...not a TRAMP!
  • Fight for your PURITY!  If a man won't fight with you for purity before you are married, then there is a greater chance they won't fight for purity after you are married.
  • If they are trying to get you to compromise with what God's Word says so clearly before marriage...what makes you think they won't do the same even after marriage?
#2 Keep your head on straight!
  • If you think for a moment that marriage will solve the struggles you're facing right now while you're are dead wrong!  Marriage is a MAGNIFIER!  Whatever is a small deal right now when you're dating will be an even bigger issue once your enter into COVENANT RELATIONSHIP! 
  • You better make sure this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  
  • Keep your head on your shoulders and think this through!!!
  • You cannot change are not the Holy Spirit.
  • If you have to defend him/her to the people who know you, love you and love Jesus...then check your spirit immediately!
  • If you avoid talking about him/her in front of the people in your life that you know may disapprove of the relationship for some reason then perhaps God is trying to make it obvious through others that you need to rethink this relationship.
#3 Slow Down!
  • What's the hurry?  If you're going to enter into a GODLY relationship with the person God has prepared for you...then why rush?  
  • Time is the great leveler...if this is not the person God wants you to be with you'll find out in the stretch.  
  • Anyone can fool anyone for a short period of time.  It's in the process of time that the newness of the relationship will wear off and you'll find out if what you have is the real deal or not.  
  • If they lie to you before you are married, then they will lie to you in marriage.
  • If you cannot confront them about issues without them losing their temper...they'll do the same thing when you're married...but worse!
  • If you discover they've been unfaithful...guess what??? They'll continue to be unfaithful once you're married.
  • When couples are in a rush to get married it is usually because they are trying to hide something from the other person or because they just want to have sex!
#4 Be Yourself!
  • Who are you kidding?  Trying to be someone you're not will only end in a train wreck.  Be yourself.  Tell the truth about who you are...period.  If you are lying about who you are to date need to break up today!  
  • Be honest and do not enter any relationship lying just so you can be with that person.
  • If you're afraid to break up because you would feel insecure...then you've allowed yourself to be identified by the person you're dating rather than WHO YOU ARE in Christ!
#5 Steer clear of people who have a worse track record than you!
  • Find people who are successful in a marriage relationship and ask them for advice.  
  • Why in the world would you ask a single person for marriage advice?  Why would you ask someone who has been through three marriages how to have a relationship?  
  • Friends, we need to do more than read a book on relationships or quote a few Scriptures!  
  • If you want to know how to have a successful relationship...ask those who have one.
As you consider dating...I want to encourage you to set your standard high.  In fact, if you don't see yourself marrying this shouldn't date them.  You can find plenty of fellowship  from your friends at church to keep you company...who will also help keep your testimony in tact.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hello, my name is SINGLE

Do you have to be married to experience loving relationships? If so, our country would be in sad shape as a considerable percentage of adults today are single - either having never married,  are divorced or widowed.  And, of course, the high percentage of divorces testifies to the fact that marriage, in and of itself, doesn't guarantee satisfaction - oft times just the opposite.  So, the answer is don't have to be married to find fulfillment and happiness.  In fact, nobody except me can make me happy.  Happiness basically comes from within.

I believe that unless we have learned how to live fulfilled, contented and happy lives as singles, we are not likely to find fulfilling relationships or make healthy marriage partners should we decide to marry.  Looking for someone else to meet our unmet needs and fill the void caused by unresolved personal issues is a recipe for relational disaster.  We must fix us...before we are free to enjoy  loving, lasting and healthy relationships...with anyone.

If you have chosen a single life or have been pushed into one by circumstances beyond your control, the question is, as a single, "How do you find fulfillment and satisfaction in light of the fact that  we have been created for relationships?"

#1 Commit to growing Emotionally & Spiritually.

  • Don't stop learning.  Attend conferences, retreats and seminars.  Invest in yourself!  As you are open to learn, you will be improving your skills...even relational ones.  You'll build a healthy positive self-image that could be your best possible preparation for success.
#2 Take care of your Physical well-being.
  • Don't go crazy...but stick to a healthy diet and get sufficient rest, relaxation and exercise. 
#3 Keep your Conscience clear.
  • A guilty conscience can destroy your peace of mind.  Make wrongs right.  Be quick to apologize and genuinely ask for forgiveness.   If you're carry negative feelings toward someone, quickly resolve them.  Resentment and nursing grudges is another sure-fire way to destroy peace of mind and damage physical health.
#4 Guard your Character.
  • How many stories do we read about in the newspaper of politicians, business professionals, etc., who abandon their moral and ethical standards for the sake of personal gain of one kind or another?  Do your best to uphold these principles:
    • Trustworthiness
    • Respect
    • Responsibility
    • Fairness
    • Caring
    • Citizenship
    • Integrity
    • Personal honesty
    • Humility
#5 Understand your Gifts and Talents.
  • God has gifted you with some amazing talents!  Find out what they are and begin to develop them.  You'll find that whatever you're good at...God can use to fulfill His purpose for your life.  It's not what you do with your's what happens in you when you use your gift.
#6 Become a better Communicator.
  • Are your emotions getting the best of you?  Learn how to get in touch with your emotions, be transparent and be honest about how you feel.  However, once you begin to open your feelings, avoid lashing out and hurting others.  "Speak the truth in love."  Avoid playing the blame game.  Accept responsibility for your feelings, actions and reactions.  How we respond is always our responsibility and to the degree that we overreact, that is always our problem.  One of the major causes for impaired relationships is the inability to communicate constructively and a tendency to blame others for our overreactions and for causing our personal problems.
#7 Get your needs met Legitimately.
  • High on our list is getting our social needs met.  We may be able to live happily or contentedly without romantic relationships but we can't live healthily without healthy relationships.  One of the best ways to get social needs met is to go to places where you can meet the kind of friends you wish to associate with and do things together.
  • Keep in mind that we have a need for several areas of interaction. 
    • Intellectual - the sharing of thoughts and ideas.
    • Social - being with and sharing social times with friends.
    • Emotional - an honest sharing of feelings with trusted friends.
    • Spiritual - relating to and staying in fellowship with God and others who have similar goals and interests.
  • When we get our intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual needs met sufficiently, it greatly compensates for the absence of sexual interaction.
  • We have two ministries at BFWC geared to minister to singles:
#8 Serve others.
  • Get involved in your local church.  Teach, serve, give, volunteer, lead etc.  
  • You will find great fulfillment serving in the body of Christ.
  • I am confident you'll find peace, contentment, fulfillment and satisfaction in your singleness as you give your life away.
I think the next blog on singleness will include some helpful tips on WHO NOT TO DATE!  If this is something you think needs to be addressed...please let me know.

Ephesians 5:2 "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Covenant Marriage

Today, Beverly and I celebrate twenty one years of marriage.  We have much to be thankful for.  We both have been blessed to have parents who have set an example for us in marriage...and are STILL MARRIED...forty plus years.  

Beverly and I dated for approximately five years before we were married at the young age of twenty.  Although we were young, we were blessed to have good examples of a Christian marriage in our life which prepared us, along with an extended courtship, to enter into this covenant marriage.

A Covenant Marriage?  To some, looking at marriage in the terms of covenant seems archaic. Covenant as defined by the Scriptures is a solemn and binding relationship which is meant to last a life time.  The covenant marriage is based on the covenant God has made with us. 

1. Two lives become one.

  • In covenant you become identified with the other individual and there is a supernatural commingling of two lives.
  • Two become One flesh.  This is an illustration of Christ & the Church (Ephesians 5:32)
  • In marriage, your family becomes your spouse's family, your desires your beloved's desires, and yes, even your finances are your covenant partner's finances.
2. There is a sign to remember which serves as a witness and a memorial.
  • When God entered covenant with Noah, He gave Noah the rainbow which was to be a testimony that God would remain forever faithful to keep the covenant never again to flood the earth so as to destroy all flesh.
  • When we enter covenant with our spouse, the sign is usually a ring which serves as a covenant reminder (memorial) of the solemn and binding of that marriage covenant.

3. There is a name change

  • In Genesis 17, God reaffirmed His covenant with Abram and changed his name to Abraham.  He also changed Sarai's name to Sarah.
  • As the wife takes on her husband's name, this change symbolizes the supernatural identity and oneness God intended for the partners who have entered the marriage covenant.
Covenant also includes...

4. The sharing of a meal - the picture of sharing a common life together.

5. Friendship is cemented - the picture of sticking closer than a brother. As friends in the marriage covenant there should be no secrets kept of concealed from each other.

6. Witnesses are there to testify - should you ever forget the covenant you made, witnesses are there to serve as a reminder to your vows.

As I look back and look to the future I can honestly say that there are certain elements a successful marriage has to have.  By the way, these principles should be in place before marriage is even considered.
  1. Honesty - If you're not honest before marriage, you won't be honest in marriage.  You've heard the phrase, "secrets, secrets are no fun...secrets, secrets hurt someone."  
  2. Humility - two people who prefer one another over themselves will more than likely stay out of divorce court.  Our biggest problem today is when we think our spouse has fallen short in "serving us."  This is a result of selfishness. If you're dating someone right now and they are always trying to get something from you but never want to do anything for better RUN!
  3. Patience - It seems we are more patient with others than we are with our own spouse...the person we are in covenant relationship with.  We should avoid "biting" one another...especially in front of other people.  No one wants to be around couples that are always bickering. 
  4. Self-Examination - instead of pointing out our spouses faults, we should take a look at our own.  In truth, the very thing that may be frustrating you about your spouse could be something that is wrong with you.  If we'll be open to the Lord's correction and willing to examine ourselves...we'll be further down the road of becoming the spouse our spouse deserves.  Here's another thought...even if 90% of the problem is attributed to your souse, what if you stepped up and owned the 10% of the problem that you were responsible for?  What would happen in your marriage if you asked the Lord to show you how to improve rather than asking Him to fix your spouse?
  5. Jesus - most of the marriages that I have seen fall apart have had one thing in common...either one or both of the people involved decided not to wrap their lives up in JESUS!  If your marriage is to survive...Jesus will have to be the center of it...period!  Friend, if you're dating someone right now who isn't focused on better RUN...cause I've seen it too many times...your relationship will hit a wall and it will HURT!
There is much more to say about marriage.  More to come...

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife Beverly!  I love you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quit Trying!

"Pastor, I've tried everything."  If I received a dollar for every time I heard that statement...well, you know. 

Perhaps you feel that way.  Perhaps you've made that statement concerning your marriage, your ministry, your finances, your kids, your job, etc.

Friend, there is a difference between TRYING and DOING.  

Suppose I asked you to try to pick up an ink pen...and you picked it up.  Then I tell you to put it back down because all I wanted you to do was try to pick it up.

What are you saying?  Well, you either pick it up, you don't pick it up, or you try to pick it up.

The point is that when we say we are TRYING we don't really have to do anything.  It also provides us with an excuse for why we didn't accomplish the outcome we say we want.

In other words, we either do something or we don't do it.  TRYING is really the same as not doing it.  it just makes it easier for us to let ourselves off the hook when we fail.

We are TRYING to do a lot of things...

  • Are you trying to live for God or are you living for God?
  • Are you trying to lose weight or are you losing weight?
  • Are you trying to improve your marriage or are you improving your marriage?
  • Are you trying to better your career or are you bettering your career?
  • Are you trying to get along with others or are you getting along with others?
  • Are you trying to be faithful to church or are you being faithful to church?
  • Are you trying to tithe or are you tithing?
Do you see the difference?  It may sound like a small distinction, but it has huge ramifications.

Friends...let's STOP TRYING and START DOING!
  1. Take the word TRY out of your vocabulary.  It's not helping us, it just makes us feel better when we fail.
  2. Make up your mind to DO or NOT DO.  If you really don't want to do something...fine.  Don't do it.  But don't act like you are trying when really you have no intentions to do it.
  3. Be all in!  We're either giving 100% or not.  Decide that you're "in it to win it."
Quit trying and start doing!  We can DO it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There Is No Power In Neutral

A church in neutral is as useless and powerless as a car without an engine.  The place of neutral is a dangerous place to be. 

One of our deacons, Fred Kelso, has a funeral escorting business that requires him to drive an awesome Harley Davidson motorcycle!  This past Sunday, I interviewed him on the dangers of his job.

He said, when he comes to an intersection he keeps his motorcycle in first gear.  He has to be able to move quickly.  If he were to keep the motorcycle in neutral, he'd be powerless in the event of an emergency.

  • The place of neutral is a place where you're neither for or against.
  • The place of neutral is a place where you're half-way between worshiping in Spirit & truth and selfish living.
  • The place of neutral is a place where you're stuck half-way between humility & pride.
  • The place of neutral is a place where you're stuck half-way between faithfulness & unfaithfulness. 
Satan doesn't mind you going to church or working for the Lord...just as long as he can rock you asleep in INDIFFERENCE.  (The place where you're not fully decided)  It's not the devil that defeats the's the slumber of indifference, indecision and neutrality.

The longer we remain INDIFFERENT...the more we remain IMPOTENT! (powerless)
  • As your pastor, I refuse to sit by and watch you or your family settle for the spirit of impotence!
  • I'm going to keep PROVOKING you to good works!
  • I'm going to keep PREACHING the truth in boldness!
  • I'm going to keep getting in your face and DECLARING a higher level of living!
  • If I hold my mouth for fear of offending you...then I'm not worthy to be called your pastor!
  • If I lose my desire to see souls saved...then take me out back and shoot me!
  • If our church becomes SELFISH and CONCERNED only with having CUTE SERVICES on Sunday that cater to the flesh and never require FAITHFULNESS, FRUITFULNESS or SOLD OUT LIVING...then we need to go out of business!
We cannot afford to stay in NEUTRAL!

How do we get in gear?

#1 Start praying for BOLDNESS instead of safety! (Acts 4:29-31)
  • When we are faced with criticism, danger and persecution we must HIT OUR KNEES in prayer!
  • We are not called to hide in a cave and wait for the rapture of the church.
  • We are called to be on the front lines, waging war!
#2 Remember where we CAME from! (Matthew 9:10-13)
  • Jesus didn't come to keep us comfy, cute and callous!  He came to call THE OUTSIDERS...not the INSIDERS!  More and more, we must remember where we came from so we don't lose our perspective of why the church exists!
    • So Sister Hoopendiddle can sing her "special" every week.
    • So Hurricane Henry can bully the pastor and congregation with his financial influence.
    • So Sister Bucketmouth can get offended because no one called to check on her.
    • So we can have another "penny march" 
      • Who came up with that and where is the faith in that?  God doesn't fund His church through spaghetti suppers, fish fry's and pancake feeds!  He funds it through obedient TITHERS and GIVERS!
  • We EXIST to be FISHERS OF MEN...not keepers of the aquarium!
  • Friend, if you're saved...then understand something...CHURCH IS NO LONGER ABOUT YOU!  We're not here to burp you, pamper you or pacify you!  We are here to WORSHIP the one who called us out of darkness, be DISCIPLED and REACH someone else with the same message!  If church becomes about YOUR LIKES and DISLIKES then you're here for the wrong reason.
  • I don't know about you...but I think the church should be willing to do anything, SHORT OF SIN, to save people!
#3 Allow God to do a work IN us so He can do a work THROUGH us! (Hebrews 12:1-2)
  • Most every saved person I know has asked the Lord to use them.  But the real question is are we willing to let God BREAK us so He can BUILD us?
  • God has to work with our weaknesses, faults and failures.
  • He's not looking for a group of copy-cat, mindless zombies who are trying to keep legalistic rules that were passed down to us by someone who is more interested in appearance than purity.
  • He's simply looking for surrendered hearts who realize what it means to be a "work in progress."
#4 Be willing to CHALLENGE believers! (Luke 9:57-62)
  • We cannot be afraid to ASK people to do what they should already be doing!
  • We must ask people to step up to the plate and...
    • Pray fervently
    • Serve selflessly
    • Give generously
    • Love extravagantly 
  • If we don't ask our people to STEP UP we are actually INSULTING THEM and DISCOUNTING the redemptive potential God has placed in them.
  • It is our JOB to call the BEST out of people!
#5 Remember Jesus' PROMISE! (Matthew 16:13-18)
  • The church doesn't belong to me.  It's HIS!  He said, "I will build my church!"
  • It's my job to follow Jesus and trust the work He is already doing in the life of the church.
  • He said, "the powers of Hell would not be able to stop it!"
  • We are an unstoppable people!
  • Why should we be afraid?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The PERFECT Church???

Have you ever been to the "PERFECT CHURCH?"  There's a lot of churches to choose from today...unfortunately, perfect isn't one of them.  In fact, if you find a perfect church, it won't be when you get there. 

God uses IMPERFECT PEOPLE to FILL, BUILD, and CARE for His church.  So yes, your church is imperfect.  Many of you know this about the church you attend.  And yet, you continue to attend it, serve in it and give to it.

Perhaps the preaching is too boring or it's way over the top?  
Perhaps you wish the messages were more "meaty" and less "surface?"
Perhaps the music is too progressive or not traditional enough to your liking?
Perhaps there needs to be more fellowship?

You guessed it...our church is IMPERFECT!  

I've heard a ton of excuses of why people don't go to church: 

  • "We don't do enough missions work" 
  • "I don't like the music" 
  • "I don't like to shake hands all the time" 
  • "I'm not a hugger"
  • "I can have church at home"
  • "If I go, I want a more seeker-oriented environment where I can just blend in and give or serve only if I'm up to it."
  • "The preacher keeps preaching to me"
  • "Everyone knows I've been divorced"
  • "My ex-wife goes to that church"
  • "Sunday's are my only day off and Wednesdays...well, you know...I'm just too tired.   Besides my DVR quit working so I have to stay home if I'm going to get to see American Idol."
  • "The ushers don't let me sit where I want to."
  • "They always ask for money."
  • "I'd go if they served communion every week."
  • "There's not enough parking.  I had to park in the grass last week, and I didn't like that at all!"
  • "Can't I just go to church when I feel like it?  Why does the Pastor make me feel guilty if I miss ONE service?  Can't I just do what I want, when I want, where I I want?"
You guessed it...the excuses are flowing today.  It seems that the church just has way too many inadequacies.  However, I'd say the church you attend has a staff or team of people who are REAL and GENUINELY concerned about God, His people and doing things RIGHT.  The truth is, those people are probably missing some big things and making mistakes.

However, the Bible teaches us that God uses churches like this.  Churches that we would consider...IMPERFECT, awkward and sometimes off.  The truth be told, these are the only types of churches God can use because these are the only kinds of PEOPLE He has to work with...SINNERS.  

I don't care how long you've been saved, how many Christian books you've read, how many ministry conferences you've attended...YOU ARE IMPERFECT and just a sinner saved by grace!

Griping about an imperfect church is redundant when the person griping is imperfect themselves.   

I've often said, "I can either be part of the solution or the problem."  If my church needs to change...then perhaps...I NEED TO CHANGE first.  In other words, BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE!

How can I change my church?
    • If you really want to see your church change...then start by being there consistently and faithfully.  Honestly, you can't complain about a church you don't even attend routinely.  When you walk through the encourage your pastor more than you know!  When you attend Bible study, fellowship opportunities, prayer gatherings...your attendance MAKES A STATEMENT to the world that God's church means something to you!  It also speaks to you that church is more important than anything on Sunday's & Wednesday's.  Also, part of being committed is to be at your place of service at the right time.  If you SIGN UP...SHOW UP!  The church is depending on you!
  2. Show up ON TIME
    • When did walking in 10 minutes late every week become acceptable?  You wouldn't do that at your place of work.  Well, if you wouldn't be employed there for long.  Being late stresses everyone out!  The Children's teachers...have to stop what they're doing to accommodate your kids tardiness...thus, restart the entire lesson to make sure your child get's caught up and doesn't feel left out...THAT'S RIDICULOUS!  PUNCTUALITY is the PRACTICE of PRINCES!  When you're on are making a statement about how much you care about the LORD!  Friends, getting to church early and on times helps your church become the church God intends it to be!  If you're supposed to serve in a particular area, make special effort to not only be on time, but be early!  Give the attention to your ministry that you would to something you value such as your job or your favorite hobby.
  3. Stay POSITIVE
    • Walk in with a smile.  Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it!  You may be going through something that's real tough (we do from time to time) and you just need to cry.  That's OK, because the church is the first place you should feel free to cry.  Don't come in wearing a mask...but also don't come in with a super-critical eye.  Come ready to GIVE BACK to the body with your GIFTS and TALENTS.  Come intending to be FED the WORD, but also DISCIPLE and ENCOURAGE others.  Come READY TO LOVE and FORGIVE and HUG and FORBEAR.  Talk good about your church.  Greet guests warmly, advance the churches goals and ministries with a SMILE!  Be positive...not cynical.
    • Start and end everything with PRAYER!  Before you walk through the doors of the church, pray for your pastor and the staff.  Pray for the Spirit's presence to be POWERFUL in the service and in the preaching.  Sanctify the entire service with prayer!  Ask the Lord to USE OTHERS and to USE YOU in that particular service.  Every Sunday should be the SUPER BOWL!  Church isn't something to simply check off the list for the week.  Church is the expression of Jesus in the world!  WE ARE THE CHURCH!  We must BE THE CHURCH!
  5. Look for SOLUTIONS
    • If you see something that needs fixed...FIX IT!  Determine to be a DIFFERENCE MAKER!  Do what JESUS WOULD DO!  Find out who's in charge of what needs fixed and asked them if you can help!  In other words, STOP COMPLAINING about a dirty bathroom or a gap in the children's ministry, politely and kindly bring this to someone who can affect change and offer to help.  The pastors and the staff don't see everything.  They sometimes need some help from committed members on the ground level who can give them some constructive feedback on services in the church.
Determine today to be the SOLUTION...not the PROBLEM!  Give 100% and watch your church become BETTER...because of YOU!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today our friend, leader and hero when home to be with Jesus.  We have missed his presence and his pristine leadership in many ways.  Bishop Penny knew how to make everyone feel special with his smile, laugh, handshake and kindness.  Last night, I was reminded of him when I shared about the spirit of craftsmanship.  Truly, he was a man of polish!

For those reading this who never had the opportunity to meet Bishop Penny...well, you can still feel his presence in the DNA of our church.  Along, with Sister Penny, Bishop served with excellence for 11 years at BFWC teaching, preaching, leading, and so much more!

He was infamous for his AMENS and the phrase, "we're going on!"  He left us too soon and we miss him dearly.  When I reflect on his life, I see a man of integrity, character, discipline and diligence.  A true elder statesman, a great preacher and a fantastic man!  His example makes me want to be a better Christian, husband, father, pastor and friend.

Let's take a moment today to reflect on Bishop Penny's contributions and rejoice that we are a better church with a richer heritage because of him.  

Read more about Bishop Penny:
Our thoughts, prayers and affection continue with Sister Penny and the entire family.


Russell & Beverly Hylton
Bethel Family Worship Center

We Cannot Exempt The Spirit of Contempt

One day, I decided I was going to talk back to my mother.  We were sitting at the dinner dad, mom, sister and I...when I spoke very disrespectful to my mother.  Without hesitation, my dad reached across the table, lifted me up by the back of my neck and walked me into the living room where he firmly placed me in a chair.  He looked in my face and said, "you may think you can talk like that to your mother, but you will not talk like that to my wife."  Needless to say, I was shocked and had an immediate wake up call!

THE SPIRIT OF DISRESPECT is running rampant today.  It's every where you home, at school, in public, at church, on the interstate, at the store, etc.

Many people have a problem in showing respect.  Not just to one another, but to those whom God has put over them.  To lead, take care of and protect them.

In Numbers 12, the Bible speaks of Moses' brother and sister, Miriam and Aaron, who felt that they should be an equal with Moses. 

Some Bible scholars say Miriam was a prophetess and that is what her name means.  We know by the Scriptures that Aaron was a priest.  When you look at the situation, we have two situations going on here.  The first, being a prophetess and a priest, Miriam and Aaron would have heard from God and because of this they saw themselves as the same as Moses.  But in reality they were not.  They did not have the plan and the vision for the promise.  God spoke to Moses face to face but to them, He spoke in visions and dreams.  

Also being brothers and sisters would mean that they should be equal in the yes of God.  Although they were equal, as God is no respecter of persons and loves us all the same, He had given them different functioning's.  Moses function was as the overall leader.  Miriam and Aaron were his assistant leaders who had their part to play in the fulfilling of the vision.


The spirit of disrespect starts with a seed which then spreads.  In this case the seed was sown by Miriam.  She sowed the seed by talking about Moses in regards to the wife he had married.  This situation in Moses life gave opportunity for Miriam to show up what was in hers and Aaron's hearts.  Through jealousy and lack of humility, they began to disrespect Moses by speaking about him behind his back.  

This is what happens in the Church today.  Many are disrespecting those God has put over them.  Those who pray and encourage them to keep on going when the going gets tough.  Those who sacrifice their lives and their emotions for the sake of the people.

I have heard many say, we are all equal and that we should not have titles.  Yes we are equal, but we do have different giftings and rankings which requires us to have titles to identify who we are.  in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 11, it clearly states "it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."

God gives gifts and titles for the benefit of the people, the Church.  Jealousy is a bad thing.  It can kill someone's spirit.


Today we see a reverse in roles in many households.  Children are rising up against their parents.  They are refusing to submit to their parent's authority due to rebellion.  I have noticed that when a child becomes a teenager and begins to learn certain things about adulthood their behavior changes.  They have some knowledge of the things we know but not the experiences, yet they refuse to remain humble to their parents and learn to live the right way in order to have a productive life.

This was the case with Moses and the people he was called to deliver.  Moses was faced on many occasions with the groaning and moaning of the children of Israel whom he was called to lead from slavery under the yoke of the Egyptians and into the Promised Land.  They continually rose up against him and in doing so they did not receive the promise.

Children may well think they know best, but wise counsel from their parents should lead them to a better and healthier life.


Regarding spiritual gifts and the different functions He has given us, God is a God of order.  The anointing comes from the HEAD down...NOT from the BODY up.  Order is in place for the benefit of the Church.  Not all can be the same.  The Bible teaches us 1 Corinthians 12:17 "If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?"

Someone has to lead the way and it is someone who has been given the wisdom, the knowledge and authority from God, to ensure that your best interests are seen to.  We are all accountable to carry out the will of God.  if those who God has put to care for you mistreats you, God will deal with them accordingly.

King Saul was jealous of David.  Although King Saul was in a higher position than David at the time he was king, David showed respect to him even when he tried to kill him.  King Saul knew that David was chosen by god and that there was something special about him and especially as King Saul failed in his duty as king.  Although David had the opportunity to kill King Saul, he refused to as King Saul was God's chosen king at the time.  David respected the authority established by God.

Even if you feel you are in a situation that is tough, it is during this time that God is sharpening those rough edges in your life.  God will use people to show up in the areas of your character that need to change in order to have a heart like David who became the next King after King Saul.


Malicious gossip spreads like gangrene and God sees all.  God summoned Miriam and Aaron to Himself and then punished Miriam for instigating the disrespect.  If God had not done so at this point, can you imagine what damage they would have done?  I can imagine them going their separate ways after their conversation to put Moses down to many others, causing more rebellion against him.  If we are honest we have all been caught up in malicious gossip at some point in our life, especially when we have been hurt.  Jesus commanded us to love one another.  Let's do just that and watch and see what a better place we will live in.

I've made up my mind, I'm not tolerating the spirit of disrespect any longer.  If God thinks it's unacceptable, then so do I.  

  • It is disrespectful to not follow instructions.
  • It is disrespectful to talk about people behind their back.
  • It is disrespectful to rebel against your leaders.
  • It is disrespectful to treat your leaders rudely. 
  • It is disrespectful to take advantage of anyone, especially those who are keeping watch over your soul.
  • It is disrespectful to continually show up late and leave early.
  • It is disrespectful to know to do good and do it not. (In fact, it's a sin)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lord, Bring Back the NEW Again

I long for a Christianity that is full of VITALITY!  Where we're not just going through the motions of attending church, partaking in communion and reading our Bibles...BUT there is no life, no change and no transformation.

When we have real will show up in our living, our churches, our communities and our businesses. 

Jesus promised that His people would be filled with the Spirit, ambassadors of the Gospel and forerunners of His Kingdom.  We are supposed to be God's image bearers in the world, manifesting His glory everywhere.  We are supposed to be DIFFERENT.

Our forefathers prayed, preached, worked and hoped for something more.  REAL CHANGE.  They believed that God would come and transform His people so that they would live in the world as He intended.

I believe every generation longs for an AWAKENING...God's empowering presence to RENEW His people for more vital living and more faithful ministry in the world.

Does God want TEMPORARY or LASTING renewal?  Temporary could be described as getting a spurt of transformation during a season of dryness, only to dry up again later.  Lasting is a continual renewal that is sustained regardless of dry and barren conditions. 

Surely, God must want our renewal to be be LASTING!  He longs to send a revival that will provoke us to join His cause and regain our fervor!  He longs for His people to receive His divine touch and then do something with it.

Think of it like this...God gives birth to a plant in your garden.  We can all agree that this in itself is a miracle from the Lord.  But to make the plant grow, the gardener needs to work hard: cultivating, planting, weeding, feeding and watering.

What is REVIVAL?  re-viv-al = an improvement in the condition of strength of something; a reawakening of religious fervor; a restoration to bodily or mental vigor, to life or consciousness, or to sporting success.

Perhaps Revival has key elements that we need to consider...

When you look at a clock on the wall, you expect it to keep time.  However, if the battery is running low, it slows down and will not keep the correct time.  The same thing happens to us...we run down spiritually, emotionally, physically and even missionally.  We need to be REMINDED and RENEWED so we can be REENGAGED in the work of God.

Renewal happens when we are revitalized.  Just like a cannot recharge on it's has to be plugged in for a charge to take place.

Reformation is the ongoing practice of bringing every aspect of life and ministry into a greater conformity with the Gospel.  Unlike renewal...God's supernatural gift...reformation takes place when we work faithfully to address our shortcomings and areas of weakness.

We are called to action.  Even if God visits us with a supernatural "touch" of renewal...we must still be active in pursuing His will for our lives.  Going to church does not make me a Christian.  Standing in my garage does not make me a car.  Going to church is part of the process God uses to GROW me and RENEW me...therefore it is essential that I do my part.

God is still reviving His people.  We can describe it as a "great awakening" that sweeps through our country or visits a local church...but in essence REVIVAL renews God's people for carrying out God's purposes in God's world.

We see this in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament on the Day of Pentecost...when God poured out His Spirit to INDWELL and EMPOWER His people for ministry!

The Bottom Line
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the GLUE that holds it all together.  If we rely simply on reformation, we'll approach our Christian walk as a task and a goal we can achieve if we work hard enough.  However, that will lead to pride, frustration and eventually exhaustion.  If we simply rely on revival, we'll approach our Christian walk with a heightened excitement, passion and felt empowerment that has to constantly be stirred up or sought after.

True renewal is a gift from God but it is one that involves His empowering Spirit and our faithful response.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Don't Pick Other People's Dandelions

I attended Smith Elementary in Akron, Ohio.  Constructed in 1918, it was named in honor of Fred E. Smith.  Mr. Smith was a leader in the early development of the town of Kenmore which was being developed by the Akron Realty Co.  The founders of the company laid out the town along the street railway line of the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Co. between Akron and Barberton.  In 1908, Fred. E. Smith purchased the entire holdings of the Akron Realty Co.  In the same year, Kenmore was incorporated.  Mr. Smith donated the land on which the school bearing his name was built.

Since we only lived one block from the grade school, I was allowed to walk to and from school.  One day, as I was walking home, I noticed that the dandelions were in full bloom at the house across the street from ours.  So, I picked a handful of them and brought them home to my mom and I presented them to her with a big smile!

When I walked in the door and handed them to my mom, she smiled and said, "where did you get those Russell?"  I explained to her that I had picked them out of the neighbor's yard.  

Before I go any further, allow me to explain that at that particular time, my parents were trying to instill within me the principle of "ask first"...which I was struggling to grasp.  

My mom smiled and told me that she thought the flowers were pretty, but then she asked me if I had asked the neighbor if I could pick them?  As soon as she said that...I realized I hadn't yet learned the "ask first" principle.  So, without hesitation, she sent me back to the neighbors with those "WEEDS" in my hand. (I didn't know they were weeds till later...ha ha ha)

I walked up to the neighbors door and knocked.  I had hoped the dear little old lady that lived there wouldn't hear me and I could leave the flowers on the porch.  However, she heard the knock and she opened the door with a smile.  I timidly handed her the flowers and said, "I picked these out of your yard without permission and my mom said I had to bring them back."

She looked at the flowers, she looked at me and then she looked at the flowers again.  She smiled and said, "Russell, thank you for bringing these back."  I turned around and ran home as fast as my "bionic" legs could run...all the while, I could hear the theme of the six million dollar man playing in my head. 

My mom taught me a valuable lesson that day...DON'T PICK OTHER PEOPLE'S DANDELIONS!  Of course, I now know that those dandelions were weeds...but mom was teaching me a lesson about "asking first."  (As I reflect on this story today, part of me thinks back and says, "that little old lady should have been thanking me for picking those dandelions out of her yard!!!  Ha ha ha...She was getting free labor!)

Another lesson I learned is...STAY OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S BUSINESS!  We all have weeds in our life.  If we'd spend more time fertilizing the yard of our heart with basic Christian nutrients (spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible reading, fasting, worship, church, etc.) we'd have less time to find fault with other people.

I truly believe that it's impossible to talk about someone you're earnestly praying for.

I've learned quite a few lessons from my parents along the way.  God has put wonderful people in my life who have helped shape me and still speak into my life.

Here's some thoughts....
  1. Make full use of your time.  Couch potatoes have earned their reputation for a reason.  Don't be one of them.
  2. Keep your car clean...both inside and out.  It's a reflection of what's in your heart.
  3. Keep your house clean...both inside and out.  It's a reflection of what's in your heart.
  4. If you see trash on the floor...pick it up.  
  5. Give lots of compliments out.  If all you can say is, "I like your eye brows" then say it.
  6. Even if you're late to church...COME ANYWAY...but for goodness sake can you ever show up on time?  Punctuality is the practice of princes!
  7. Quit looking like you ate a dill pickle.  Smile.
  8. Always root for the underdog.
  9. It's better to empathize than sympathize.  Whatever you do...don't enable someone to continue in dysfunction just because you want to be the hero.
  10. You can lie to yourself and others but God knows the truth.
  11. If you make a mistake admit it.  Accept responsibility for your actions.  Receive correction and restoration no matter how it comes and no matter how long it takes.  Lest you end up being a "byword" and a "cast away" people refer to as "Remember them?  That's what you don't want to do."
  12. Don't claim disease, dysfunction or labels with your mouth.  Life and death are in the power of the tongue.  
  13. Steer clear of those who cause division in the body of Christ with their words and actions.  Do not stoop to their level with back and forth squabble.  Remember who you are in Christ and Who you represent.
  14. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
  15. Focus on the vision He has called you to.
  16. When you enter a room, be the first to say hello.
  17. Don't wait to be asked...if something needs it.  You will, unless you're lazy and take advantage of everyone.  We already have too many takers in the body of Christ.  WE NEED SOME MORE GIVERS.
  18. Work with enthusiasm and thank the Lord you have health to even get out of bed.  If you call off work every whip stitch...please don't come get in the prayer line asking for a new job when you lost the one you had because of disobedience.
  19. Do what you're going to do for the Lord while you're young and have your energy.
  20. Avoid being braggadocios.  If given a compliment, receive it with a "thank you."  Don't play off the compliment with false humility.
  21. Be loyal to your leaders at all times.  One slip will come back to bite you.
  22. Be truthful and honest.  All liars will have their part in the lake of fire.
  23. Grow up.  Quit tripping over the same junk.  At some point you're going to have to get the victory...why not today? 
  24. Love people with a genuine heart.  Be concerned about them.  However, don't enable them with a co-depency on you or your ministry.  If you really love them you'll teach them how to find their own identity in Christ and how to stand on their own two feet.
  25. Do not squabble with people over the internet, emails or text messages.  Talk face to face. Anything less is cowardliness. 
  26. Be a tither and a giver.  Anything less than 10% isn't partial obedience...its disobedience.
  27. You can't lead people where you've never been.
  28. Be faithful to the Lord and the church He died for.  Laying out of church when you have the health to be there isn't fooling anyone.  How is it we can be all over Indianapolis, playing, running the roads, living the good life but then can't go to church?  Your priorities are completely out of order.  What kind of example are you setting for your kids and others? The only person you're fooling is yourself.  
  29. Speak from practice not from theory.
  30. Preach your heart and passion...even if you've preached it before.  Eventually, you'll reach 100% of your audience. 
  31. Do not take advantage of people who are generous.  Dropping hints and acting desperate is the spirit of witchcraft.
  32. If your leaders correct you...take it like a man or woman of God and thank God He is being merciful to your soul by putting people in your life who love you enough to help you get to your destiny.
  33. You can't receive a promotion if you fail to give 100% where you're already at.  This includes your relationship with your leaders, peers and followers.  If you can't do it "here"'ll have a rude awakening "there."  What's in you will surface again and again.
  34. Avoid drama with drama queens.
  35. Do not react to negative comments and opinionated people who want to get you to come off the wall.  Stay put and work the vision.
  36. Laugh at yourself.  It's OK.
  37. Pick yourself up by your boot straps and try again.  So what if you failed!  Failure isn't final unless you refuse to get back up.
  38. Don't worry about the people who look over their glasses at you funny...they just "hate ya" because they "aint ya!"
  39. You can't add to a glass that is already full. 
  40. Stay humble so you don't stumble.
  41. Keep your puppy feet.
  42. I've recently made this vow: I refuse to pray for anyone to get a job...if that job constantly takes them out of church.  I've seen the patterns too many thing you hear...they've backslid and are back in the world.  Cold and indifferent. 
  43. It's the banana that leaves the bunch that gets peeled. 
  44. Invest in other people.  Find eager hearts and start pouring all your resources (time, teaching and treasure) into them.
  45. If someone isn't willing to give their time...they're not worth the time.
  46. Be kind to everyone.
  47. Be good everywhere you go, you never know who's watching you.
  48. Be a good tipper at a restaurant.  Cheap Christians give us all a bad name.
  49. If you don't leave a good tip...don't tell them you know me.
  50. If you're hard to please when you go out to eat and the servers despise you cause you constantly complain every time they see you...PLEASE do not tell them you know me...and whatever you do don't tell them you go to BFWC.  What you need to do is "pray through."
  51. Say "please" and "thank you" to everyone.
  52. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
  53. Keep your gas tank full.
  54. Cover other people's weaknesses.  By all means, don't try to throw them under the bus to make yourself look better.  You'll reap that somewhere.
  55. You can see better out of a clean window.
  56. To the pure...all things are pure.
  57. Realize that every leader will have to endure potshots.  Leadership places a bulls eye on your back.  "Welcome to the ministry."
  58. Blood may be thicker than water...but if that blood is in all means don't ruin your own testimony over it, lest the whole family ends up in the ditch.
  59. The desire to sin comes from within you.  Master your flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Starve your flesh and your spirit will grow.
  60. Never argue with a fool.
  61. Refuse to waste your energy dealing with the same ole' same ole'.  There are too many "good things" to devote your energy to.  If you're not'll get DRAINED by dealing with stuff you shouldn't even have entertained.
  62. Pour your life into people who are earnest and show forth fruit.
  63. We are not teaching people to "grow up" in Christ when we continually cater to their flesh. Someone has to say "STOP IT!" (In love of course.)
  64. I'm amazed at the people who say they're called of God and brag about their list of positions but are never faithful.  Friends we have to be faithful till we're fruitful.  JUST SHOW ME THE FRUIT!
  65. Where you position yourself in the room speaks of where your heart is positioned.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 Super Bowl Halftime Devotion

Dear BFWC Family & Friends,Tonight, so many of you will be planning gatherings with your friends and families for the Super Bowl.  We have included a video link to be shared during half-time.  I hope you’ll take advantage of this tool and share the Gospel message at your special gathering.
This video is also posted on our website ( and will also be posted on various forms of social media.  Feel free to share the link/video with anyone who is hosting a gathering in their home/church/etc.

You are the church.  Wherever you are…you carry Jesus in you.  I remember reading about how Jesus was accused of gathering with sinners in Matthew 9:9-13…the “sinners” came and found Jesus at Matthew’s house and decided to eat with Jesus and His disciples.  Of course, the “religious” (Pharisees) saw it and asked Jesus’ disciples why He ate with sinners?  Jesus spoke up and said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy , and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” 

Tonight, share this video ON PURPOSE.  Use it as a tool to interject the Gospel in an environment where some of your unsaved family & friends are planning to be.  Eventually, you may get them to join you at an Encounter service…in the meantime…YOU be the church to them and take full advantage of this resource.

Maturing in Christ; Reaching in Love,

Russell & Beverly Hylton
Senior Pastors