Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Double Mercy

The past couple of days have been INTENSE!  Together, we've praised, worshipped, cried, laughed, prayed & repented during our New Year's Revival with Evangelist Sandi Burris.

Today, my heart is beating with expectancy for the new year. Last evening, Sister Sandi preached about BLIND BARTIMAEUS.  There were many incredible points that she referenced in this passage. (Mark 10:46-52)

While she was preaching, I envisioned Bartimaeus sitting outside the city of Jericho, begging, when Jesus passed by. He HEARD (he couldn't see) that Jesus was near and CRIED out "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Many tried to silence him...but he CRIED out the more "Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" 

He CRIED out for DOUBLE MERCY!  Jesus STOOD STILL and called for him! (Jesus will wait for you to get to where He is!)

Bartimaeus cast aside his garments, rose and came to Jesus! (What do we need to cast aside today?)

Bartimaeus was FRAIL...but NOT DISQUALIFIED.
  • Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The word INFIRMITIES is plural, meaning we each have several.  Yet many of us struggle to admit to even one.  A well-known writer said: "We have carefully hidden our struggles and paraded only our victories, but the whole country is falling asleep at the parade." 

The Greek word for INFIRMITIES means "malady" or "frailty."  All of us have some malady or frailty that incapacitates us to the degree that we need His mercies newly bestowed on us every morning.  David succeeded on the battlefield, but failed in the bedroom, yet no man was more used of God.  This should encourage you today, for God's not only sympathetic, but He also uses people like you and me, who are affected with life's struggles.

Paul spelled it out clearly: "We also are men of like passions with you" (Acts 14:15). Only a fool would refuse to lift a diamond out of a drain, and God is no fool.  Sadly, the Church has thrown away thousands of valuable diamonds by casting away her wounded. If God is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, shouldn't we be willing to do at least that much for each other?

Bartimaeus received DOUBLE MERCY from Jesus.  His VISION (Sight, Insight & Revelation) RESTORED! The Scriptures say that Bartimaeus followed Jesus from that moment forward.  Is it possible that he followed Him all the way to Calvary?  QUITE POSSIBLE. 

We are believing for an exceptional 2014.  Join us tonight at 7 PM for our NEW YEAR'S EVE service!  If you're unable to come...catch us on our LIVE stream at www.bfwc.net

Friday, December 27, 2013

All Ears

Who do you give your ear to? Whose voice do you listen to? If you're in leadership (especially church leadership) you've probably already figured out that everyone else has a plan for your life.

We all make decisions and it's a great comfort when you can make those decisions with the help of a trusted mentor, leader, etc.  In fact, the Bible tells us that we should not lead alone...

Proverbs 15:22 "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established."

Realistically, you cannot listen to every voice.  There are so many opinions that will be thrown your way via, facebook, email, twitter, and other avenues that if you were to try and focus on the opinion of everyone you would simply lose your mind trying to make everyone happy.

So...who do you listen to?  Who is it that should always have access to us?  Whose ideas and thoughts should we always consider?

  1. Those who know you, have spent time with you and understand that there is a person behind your personality.

  2. Those who have seen you at your best and worst...and love you anyway.

  3. Those who do not automatically assume the worst about you and always give you the benefit of the doubt.  (Always steer clear of people who seek to pounce on you as soon as they hear something bad!)

  4. Those who talk WITH you and not about you.

  5. Those who are willing to stand with you in the easy times and the tough times.  (Honestly...those who BLEED with you can LEAD with you.)

  6. Those who offer correction for the purpose of building up rather than tearing down (People who always seek to tear you down should be ignored!  If they do not correct/confront in love then they are nothing more than a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal - see 1 Corinthians 13:1).

  7. Those who are willing to take a confrontation straight to the person rather to an online audience or to a disgruntled spirit.

  8. Those who are not always looking for a reason to attack/hate you.

  9. Those who have the goal of covenant relationship and see themselves attached to you for life.

  10. Those who walk in Biblical authority, graced with understanding, wisdom, impartiality, proven confidentiality, unconditional love and integrity.
I believe we can know in advance the lessons that only hindsight seems to teach us by accessing the wisdom of those who have walked the road before us. 
  • James 5:10 MSG "Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honouring God."
Moses embraced the VOICE of his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18 and it helped him see past his own leadership blind spots.  

The years have shown me that mentorship is not something you have to demand; it often comes supernaturally.  It's amazing how God has brought people into my life at different seasons, and I believe it's because I had an openness or receptivity to hearing it.   What attracts mentorship? (Look at Moses - his story is a classic tale of attracting mentorship.)

1. Teachability - (Exodus 18:17-18
  • Moses took his father-in-law's wisdom.  Leaders who are insecure or too sensitive, will often struggle to receive advice or instruction. It's not difficult to receive instruction from someone who you know loves you and is more concerned about your welfare then they are about their own welfare.
2. Listening - (Exodus 18:19, 24
  • It's one thing to listen but entirely different to heed the good advice we hear. To heed literally means to listen with a commitment to change.  Moses not only listened to Jethro, but he applied his counsel to the situation and changed the way he managed those he was leading.  It's not about how many sermons we hear preached, or how many counseling sessions we go to; it's what we do with what we hear that counts.
3. Prayer - (Exodus 18:19
  • Jethro's advice pointed Moses to God not away from Him. Mentors do not replace God in our lives.  They propel us toward a greater dependency on God, not man. Yes, we have to sow spiritual seed, and God uses other people to water that seed, but only God brings the increase into our life.
4. Reader - (Exodus 18:21
  • More than reading books...we must be good at "reading" life, people or situations. Moses knew how to read people.  When choosing leaders he didn't look at their resume, instead he looked at their heart, their motives, their character and integrity.  He had to find the kind of people who had an ear that would help him do what God called him to do.  This is where we must be careful when "reading" people and resist the temptation of making surface judgements based on external appearances. Jesus said, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement." (John 7:24)  Using discernment and focusing on internal heart issues will cause us to listen to the right voices.
5. Releaser - (Exodus 18:27)  
  • I've learned to live life with an open hand; not a closed fist. We have the tendency to want to pull things in and holding on tight.  But mentorship is not all about our needs and us.  We need to release our mentors to live their own lives, just like Moses did Jethro.  If we come to expect our mentors to be on hand whenever we need them, we can potentially risk cutting ourselves off from the spirit of mentorship.
I believe the right spirit will attract the kind of people who care about you and point you to a greater dependency on God.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Peace

During the Holidays, many people can get frustrated and just plain aggravated.  We've probably all seen someone at the mall who just just looked like they wanted to scream because things weren't going their way or perhaps because they were frustrated with the crowd, the lines, the prices or even their kids.

We've all felt that way, from time to time.  It IS possible that we live our lives FREE of frustration and aggravation.  At least that's the way God wants us to live.

  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus said He would leave His PEACE with us.  The PEACE of Jesus has no origination from the world...therefore when you receive it your heart will not be TROUBLED or AFRAID by worldly things.

In fact, Jesus tells us to STOP allowing ourselves to be agitated, disturbed, fearful, intimidated, cowardly or unsettled.


Worldly peace is found ONLY when everything is going our way.  But the peace Jesus gives is a totally different quality of peace than what the world gives.  It's a PEACE that passes our understanding; it makes us PEACEFUL when all natural reasoning says we should be upset.


We can make the decision to stop allowing ourselves to get upset, aggravated and frustrated.  Although we may think, "I can't help it," according to Jesus, we can help it.  He offers us peace that can KEEP us from getting this way.

It's MY RESPONSIBILITY to not let my heart be troubled or afraid.  We will never break loose from anything we're struggling with until we take personal responsibility for where we are now.

Most people just want to blame someone or something else for their problems - a bad childhood, their lack of education, their nationality, their personality - and make excuses for the way they are.  But we can't let the things from our past, or present, become an excuse to stay there.  

I've met people who grew up in a home full of turmoil.  An environment that was unstable, unpleasant, filled with alcohol, anger and all kinds of abuse.  However, they learned that they had to take responsibility for their actions if their life would ever be different than what they experienced throughout their childhood.

Living with FRUSTRATION, AGGRAVATION and WORRY really does you no good at all. All you'll ever get from being this way is a headache, a back ache, a grouchy attitude and regret for saying things you never should have said.

The moment we cry out to God and say, "HELP ME do something about this," things begin to change.  It's not easy and it might not happen overnight, but as you trust God more and more to help you, make right choices to act like Christ instead of the way you feel like acting when you're upset or don't get your way...YOU WILL CHANGE.  It's then that you learn to live with the PEACE Jesus gives.


We can have anything God says we can have.  He is no respecter of persons.  The promises of God are for "whoseover will" (see Acts 10:34-35).  We're all "WHOSOEVERS," but not all of us are willing to do what we need to do to inherit the promises of God.  We may be willing to hear the truth, but are we willing to DO what it says?

Today, I challenge you to decide to be DETERMINED and PERSISTENT in seeking God and being obedient to what He's telling you to do.  Our enemy, the devil, is persistent and will do whatever he can to wear us out and keep us from God's will.  But we need to have the same tenacity in Christ to never give up - by God's grace - and make him sorry he ever bothered us.

Remember, as a born-again Christian, you are full of the Spirit of the living God, who makes us more than conquerors.  We should plan ahead to stay peaceful during trials.  Everything is not going to go our way all the time, and when it doesn't, we can be prepared to STAY IN PEACE in the midst of it all.

Our confession should be "WITH GOD'S HELP, I don't have to be aggravated or frustrated.  I can stay CALM and hold my PEACE."

The ability to display STABILITY and remain calm in troubled times can be one of our greatest testimonies to a troubled world.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Does that word stir up some strong emotions in you?

I remember in the 2nd grade a kid named Richard who was always getting in trouble.  In fact, his desk was either at the front of the class next to the chalkboard or right next to the teachers desk.

One day, we had spaghetti and meatballs for school lunch. After lunch was over, our teacher, Mrs. Henderson turned the lights off and started a film - I believe it was "Curious George." 

That's when the great injustice happened!  Richard (who apparently had hung onto a meatball) threw a meatball across the room and hit me in the side of the face.  It really hurt! I was so startled and in pain that I yelled out loud and stood to my feet.  Mrs. Henderson told me to sit down and gave me a stern warning to be quiet.  I raised my hand and tried to explain to her that Richard had threw a meatball and hit me in the face.  It's as if she didn't care.  

I was so upset!  Richard just sat there laughing!  It made me so angry!  I shot him the dirtiest look that I could and envisioned beating him up after school that day.  However, after the bell rang, Mrs. Henderson told me to stay in my seat so she could speak with me.  Richard was out the door and long gone by the time I got done cleaning the chalkboards.

From that point forward I literally daydreamed about how I could get even with Richard.  He had hurt me...someone needed to make him pay...and that someone was going to be me!  I found myself HATING him because he had caused me some pain and he OWED me big time!

I never got the chance to get even!  Richard and his family moved away that summer and I haven't seen him since!  I look back on this and LAUGH now!  I was so focused on getting revenge.  I wanted him to HURT because he HURT me...and because of that I wasted a lot of time.

How about you?  Is there a "Richard" in your life?  Is there someone who has caused you pain, someone who hurt you and all you can think about is hurting them back?  Seriously, is there someone you just hope you can see coming towards you on their knees one day, begging your forgiveness and you just laugh at them?  Is there someone who you actually want to see suffer?

If so...then you are way off base and definitely not Christlike.  If you claim to be a Christian then this is an attitude that you and I simply cannot have.  Check out this passage...

  • Matthew 6:14-15 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Have you ever had a conversation in your mind where you see yourself winning and your enemies losing and you're feeling better about yourself?  Is that what a walk with Christ is all about?  NO!

We are called to FORGIVE!!  I know the argument, "Hey...they don't deserve to be forgiven!" Well, neither did you!!!  We don't EARN God's forgiveness...He gives it to us...it's called GRACE...and just as we are quick to receive God's grace - we need to be quick to extend it as well.

Perhaps this is hard for you to hear right now.  You have some serious situations in your past in which someone caused you some SERIOUS pain...but you can't continue to hold onto bitterness and anger because it's KILLING your JOY!

Being mad at someone and expecting it to hurt THEM is the same as drinking poison and expecting it to kill someone else!!!

How do you let go of anger?  It's a daily decision!  I have had people in my past that I have had to forgive...and the enemy will often bring that person back up in my mind - and so there are times when I literally have to say out loud, "That person does not owe me...I have forgiven them."

As long as you feel like someone owes you something due to the pain in your past - you will always be frustrated and miserable in your walk with Christ.  

Jesus said in John 19:30, "It is FINISHED!"  We need to follow His example by saying the same thing about those who have hurt us - "It is finished, you don't owe me anymore...I am letting the debt of wrongdoing go!!!"

Anyone you need to forgive?

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Culture of Outreach

What excites you?  What pumps you up?  What makes you want to do backward handsprings? Well, I'll tell you what does that for me...it's seeing people COME TO JESUS!

The GREAT COMMISSION, for many, has become the GREAT OMISSION.  I'm not trying to bash anyone or any church, however, we've become so obsessed with the INTERNAL MACHINERY of POLITICS, TITLES, TALENT, POSITIONS and SELF-FOCUS that we've seemingly forgotten about the people who are DYING and GOING TO HELL!

That bothers me.

I'm thankful for the culture of BFWC and the environment where people can meet JESUS, instead of meeting the pastor.  It's more important that people know about SCRIPTURE than they know about Robert's Rules of Order. I care more about someone's HEART than I do their wardrobe. I care more about UNITY of the team than I do about superstars.

Remember in Matthew 4:19 when Jesus said, "Come follow me and I will make you..."  He said, "I'm going to make you FISHERS of MEN."  Notice what He didn't say..."Come follow me and we will boycott Disney, blast other Christians, plan a fish fry or talk about people's position."  NOPE...His focus was on reaching PEOPLE. Because that is the example He set, the church should do the same!

What if the church is nothing more than a COUNTRY CLUB with a cross and a steeple? (You'll only be offended by that statement if it describes your church.)


God wants us to get outside of our world and into the worlds of people who do not know Christ.  That means we are to LIKE the people who are nothing LIKE us.

What kind of church do you want to have?  For me, I want BFWC to be place where you don't have to be PERFECT to walk through the doors.  Honestly, our church isn't perfect and I'm not a perfect pastor.  If someone who is perfect walks in, they're going to feel out of place real quick.

We want people to meet JESUS and be CHANGED.  That's why we VALUE a CULTURE of OUTREACH.  We've seen nearly 100 people receive Christ this year, and we're hoping to exceed that before 2014!

Creating a culture of outreach starts with teaching our people that evangelism IS inviting people to church!  While you're reading this, I hope you become extremely aware that you need to invite people to church!  DO IT!  People will come and hear about JESUS and their lives CAN BE transformed!  It takes all of us working together to make evangelism work.

When Beverly and I greet first time guests, we ask them "How did you hear about BFWC?" Nearly 99% of the time they say they were personally invited by a family member or friend...in other words, they were "EVANGELIZED!"

Isn't that God's goal?  YES!  He desires for people to reach people.  Today, I want you to know that you don't have to be embarrassed to invite a friend or family member...we are going to talk about JESUS...and through this process JESUS will change lives!

FOUND people...FIND people!