Friday, July 29, 2011
Bozoo is in Monroe county just about 5 miles outside the city limits of Peterstown WV. Now where is Peterstown? it is about 15 minutes EAST of Princeton, WV off of Highway 460 (on rt. 219 out of Rich Creek, VA) or it's about 15 minutes WEST of Pearisburg, VA or 45 minutes WEST of Blacksburg, VA, home of the VA Tech Chokies, I mean Hokies.
Bozoo is a small rural farming community and is nestled beautifully in the moutains of southern WV and within 30-60 minutes of many places including Bluestone Lake, Pipestem, Winterplace Ski Resort, Lewisburg, the Greenbriar, New River, etc...so many places to camp, fish, sightsee, and enjoy the outdoors.
Bozoo Christian Church is where I will be preaching. It's a small church that has it's roots back to 1896. The church used to be a larger and more active, but in recent years has dwindled down to over half of what they used to be to about 40 faithful people, due to either lack of leadership, no minister, or various other circumstances. However, those that are left desire to see the church grow, get the church moving again, and see God work in their community again. They realize if they do not try and get a full-time Minsiter now, that in the near future they would be in danger of even exisiting or still having services.
Many people my age and situation may want a larger church, or many people seem to be in the movement of going and starting new churches and doing church plants. I've read it's easier to go into a community and start a new church, than it is to go into an old church and try and change it. While this is probably true, I am not going in with the mindset of trying to change the church. I am going in with the mindset and attitude of being faithful with the small things. Helping this church get organized and structured, and provide leadership. I also know with this ministry there will be no quick fixes. It will take much time, prayer, effort, and most of all relying fully on the power of the Holy Spirit and trusting in God to work. As long as people are willing to follow me and we work together, we can change and can grow all under God's blessings.
I like a challenge. I like the thought of going into a church and helping them. I told my wife we are really going to be missionaries to Bozoo. We will not have the resources and things we need at first, and that is why i've asked some of my ministry friends and friends at churches (and I'm asking you) if you want to motivate your church, SS class or small group, or youth group to give a one time donation to the church at BCC there are lots of projects where there is great need and will cost money, which as you know in smaller churches is not in great supply. (if you do want to help, email me firstname.lastname@example.org ). They are going out on a limb to hire me and have spent much money fixing up the parsonage, but there is much more to do.
However, though we may have some resources we will be lacking, we will build toward those things and strive to make the church in all areas better and healthier and it will take time as i grow in relationship and trust with the current members and as wel begin to reach out to that community. We may not have all the high-tech stuff, modern contemporary worship I enjoy, but there are some things in smaller country churches that are nice too. Like great home cooking, friendliness, loyalty, and a giving spirit.
I joked with a freind I am not exactly in high demand, I've moved around too much the past few years, I don't have the typical bible degree from college, and my wife has been married before, so many churches look over me, but I like to think I'm a diamond in the rough. That God isn't finished with me yet, and that if I am faithful and obedient, He will bless me and my family and the church I serve Him in. It's His church and His will be done.
We are looking forward to going to Bozoo, even with the challenges and things ahead, I am confident in God and my ability to serve Him, and with the core group of people there that Bozoo Christian Church can be effective and relevant to that community again. There are not shortage of lost people or unchurched people out there, and there is no shortage of casual christians, church hoppers, and non-committal christians out there. There is plenty of work to do, no matter where you go or serve.
Monday, July 25, 2011
How many conflicts, problems, or issues could be resolved if people would only speak up? We have people in leadership in companies and especially churches who will not communicate with people. They are in a position of leadership, but will not lead. They don't want to cause a wave, hurt feelings, make anyone mad, make themselves uncomofortable, or deal with whatever the issue at hand is. The problem is however, you created more and bigger issues by not communicating directly, honestly, promptly, and effectively.
I think in our relationships whether dating, marriage, parenting, or friendships could be alot better if we'd express our feelings, desires, wants, or needs into words. So many times we want to avoid conflict so we remain silent, we don't want to cause problems so we stay quiet, or we don't want to share our true feelings out of discomfort or awkwardness. Once again, you create more problems by not communicating how you really feel.
If I was being completely honest with you, i am direct, blunt, and say how I feel. I usually don't hold back. I agree at times I may need to have more tact or I don't have to say everything I feel or that pops into my head(I'm a work in progress), however, it makes no sense to me why people won't stand up, speak out, or say how they are feeling, what they want, or what needs to happen or change. We live with a constant "elephant in the room" in our board meetings, leadership meetings, or in our conversations with loved ones.
We cannot have healthy relationships, lead effectively, or run a company, business, organization, or church without learning to speak up, communicate clearly and effectively, and without confronting pressing issues head on.
For example, I heard recently from some people from a church about being upset about a change in service times. It wasn't that they were upset that the times changed, they were upset the Elders of the church didn't communicate the changes, or seek feedback from the church. Another example, would be having an issue at work with an employeed always coming in late or not doing their job, but refusing to address the issue because you don't want to cause a problem(hello! You're in charge, it is your problem!). Or in relationship if your husband says something to hurt your feelings, or your brother treats you bad, or a friend throws you under the bus, and you avoid telling them how it made you feel, well you are the only one who can say how you feel, or what you want.
I know not everyone is talkative, some more more introverted and quiet, but even if that is your personality, you still have to speak up and communicate with people, especially if you are in relationships or in positions of authority. If you are a leader or boss and you don't like commmunicating, making decisions, or dealing with problems head on, then maybe it's time for you to resign or find a job or role where you don't have to deal with those things.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Whether it was worry, fear, focus, education, or doubt Jesus expects those of us who follow Him or claim to be His to have FAITH. Big faith, not little faith. Faith is belief in action. We can't say we truly have faith in God if we are constantly worrying about every little thing or afraid of what will happen if we take a risk or make a decision. We can't say we have faith, if we are easily influenced by the world, false teaching, or religion based on traditions, or if we doubt the power of God to do whatever He wants through us. We can't say we have faith, if we doubt that God can do what He wants to do, anytime He wants to do it, and anyway He wants to do it.
Do you see? Faith is not just a word to say I'm a christian or go to church? People ask what faith are you? We say Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, etc...Faith is not a religion or denomination. Faith is built on our belief and relationship in God.
The biblical definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1(NIV)
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see
FAITH means being SURE, having HOPE, being CERTAIN, even though we do not see God right in front of us physical.
This sure, hopeful, certain faith should motivate us to overcome fears, doubts, anxieties, worries, and act upon our belief in our relationship with God. It should help us keep our focus and attention on God. To read and study His Holy Word so we are educated and not easily led astray or influenced by bad teaching, leagalism, sin, tradition, or false hope. It should give us confidence that we have the power of God(His Spirit) living and working in us, that we can do anything God wants us to do, and that we trust wholly and completely in God that we can do anything God wants us to do, yes even moving a mountain with the faith small as a mustard seed.
I don't care what it is? Relationships? Finance? Decisions? Problems? We need to put our faith in God. We need to Trust God by exercising our faith. I don't want Jesus to say about me what He said about others, "OH you of little faith.".
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
You remember that from the movie "Wayne's World", when Wayne and Garth would meet one of their heroes? However, sometimes the opposite of that happens when people expect you to bow down to them, like they are special, better than you, or above others and they are not deserving.
You may know the Bible speaks of "Pride comes before the fall" (Proverbs 16:18), but why is it that some people take their faith, "calling", or religion so serious, that they become arrogant, haughty, or stuck-up, when those things are the opposite of what it means to be a christian, pastor, or preacher. We must be humble, sincere, and seek out the good of others and most of all God's glory before ourselves.
We live in a world of mega-churches Pastors and televangelists that demand their own parking space, want treated like a celebrity or apostle, and love the attention the comes with being a "Preacher". Or they are so puffed up with what they think is their own knowledge, gifts, and "know it all" you can hardly be around them. You can't talk to them, because they are never wrong, you can't debate them because they don't listen except to their own voice, and you can't reason with them, because are more righteous than you. This isn't just preacher's, this goes for some christians as well.
I got news for all of us out there(yes, me too!), we are not better than anyone else. It doesn't matter your last name, your position in society, your title, your education, how much money you make, or how many books you've read. Not one person is better than the other. I don't care if you've been to church your whole life, been a christian most of your life, or been to seminary, bible college, or ordained a minister, elder, deacon, or duke of Earl, as the saying goes, "All ground is level at the foot of the cross."
We all need Jesus. We all need a Savior. We all fall short and sin every day(Romans 8:28), none of us know it all, and no one is better than the other. No color of skin, no amount of income, and no job title will get you any closer to God.
If we want to grow in our knowledge, faith, and wisdom of God, then we need to be humble and teachable. If we want God to use our abilities and talents for His purpose, we need be be humble and willing. If we want to make a difference in this world then we must be humble and serve like Christ.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Yes, we can ignore the messy bedroom or the leaky sink or the tight jeans, but guess what, they aren't going to clean themselves, fix themselves, or get loose on their own. No matter how big or how small the problem, issue, or trouble, things aren't going to be resolved, fixed, or overcome by ignoring them.
We have church leaders who want the title as "Pastor" or "Elder" or "Leader", but when it comes to dealing with problems or preventing problems or "leading", they would rather "Ignore" than lead. When it comes to having a struggle with a sin, or bad habit, or something, we want to just ignore it and live in denial, but problem is it doesn't go away it gets worse, creates more problems, and affect others.
Several years ago, I left full-time ministry and during that time out of ministry I started turning to alcohol and away from Jesus. I knew it wasn't ok or right to abuse alcohol or ignore Jesus, but I didn't care, my heart had become hard. I tried ignoring my problems for awhile. When I was sad, depressed, lonely, or upset I'd turn to alcohol. It created more problems that it solved. I made poor decisions, I was a bad example, I let people down, and I just created more problems for myself by abusing and mis-using alcohol. I couldn't ignore the problem anymore or it would have turned into a bigger problem and could have ruined my life, or even any opportunity I had to minister in the future.
Praise God, I stopped ignoring and started dealing. I turned back to God, He healed me and eventually was able to use me again in full-time ministry. Sadly, many people don't recover because they continue to ignore the problems.
When you have to have it, have to do it, or your life revolves around it, it's no longer healthy. Whether it's abusing Alcohol, doing drugs, using people for sex, hanging with the wrong crowd, or dating people who treat you bad, or hanging out with friends who use you, or something less noticeable like having a negative attitude, or being moody, or being judgemental and criticical of others. Anything, that is ignored long enough becomes a problem, but eventually not just a problem for you, but for those you come into contact with.
You think a drug user is only one to deal with his demons? You think the gossip, the negative, or the angry are the only ones effected by their behavior? Everyone pays the price when we ignore stuff.