Fully Surrendered


At an early age I began serving in the local church. I remember planning and leading worship in our local church when I was a sophomore in high school. I often would lead worship from the piano and also worked with the adult choir. With that beginning I knew that I would always be serving in the local church but longed for something more. It’s not about a bigger church or a bigger check it’s about sharing what God has done in my life with those whom He places in my path.

I surrendered to full-time ministry when I was still in high school but didn’t realize how that would play out until my freshman year of college.  At that point I knew God had called me into the worship ministry.  He had gifted me with certain talents and skills as well as certain characteristics needed for the stresses and requirements of such a calling.  While at university I met the lady who would be my help mate and my partner in ministry, the lovely and fabulous Lynette Jackson.  She has been so wonderful in supporting my calling and realizing that it isn’t only my calling but it is “our calling.”

Lynette and I always knew that we would be active in a church and are open to going anywhere God might lead.  We naturally assumed it would always be within the confines of a specific local church.  However, these past 18 months or so we have been very restless.  I’ve often thought, “God what exactly is it that you are doing and what am I to do with these dreams and desires that you have given me?”

As God continues to develop my gifts He is also showing me that I have His testimony to share for His glory.  I quickly figured out that while I had surrendered to full-time ministry, I had limited God by thinking that it would always be within the confines of the local church walls.  However, as He has brought me to my knees, once again, I have discovered that God has a larger plan for our ministry.  Lynette has been trying to share this with me for several years, but I just didn’t get it.  I was so focused on local ministry that I was missing out on what larger blessings God has waiting for us.

What exactly does all of this mean?  Well, to be honest we are still walking that path.  We know that it involves making my very first CD.  I have been in contact with some folks within the music industry and have been very encouraged to continue moving forward.  The next step is to meet with an artist and composer/musician who will help me try to focus on what it is that the Lord wants me to share with this first project.  Then after that we will continue to follow God’s leading, one step at a time.

We are not looking to leave our current church as we believe that He has us here for a reason and plan to be here until He moves us along.  We know that the things God is teaching us comes directly from our ministry with folks at Heartland.  We are learning that God has us where we are for certain reasons and that He is the one who expands our boundaries of ministry.  Please continue to pray for us as we  follow His leading.  Pray that as we pursue this CD project, He will be glorified.  It’s not about us, but it is about His continued sovereignty, provision and grace.

Until next time…


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Growing a Healthy Ministry

Could it be possible that I am writing more than one post in less than 24 hours?  I hope you will lend your ear and eyes my way once more…

To all of my friends in ministry, how much time have you spent this past year asking God to increase your worship team?  I know that in the past that was my focus, “more folks on the team.”  As God began to answer that prayer I realized that I might have been more specific in my prayer time.  As is the case in several places that I have served, bigger is not the answer.  I currently am blessed to work with a wonderful group of musicians who love and fear the Lord.  Our team has seen growth spurts and growth stunts.  We have experienced a lot of frustration and turmoil as we sought to “grow” the team, all of which was new to me as a worship pastor.  God had always blessed me with a very healthy worship team.  I have always had people wanting to join the team and become heavily involved.

SIDE NOTE:  As I write this post I am thinking about all of those folks whom I have had the privilege of serving in ministry with and see how they have nurtured and encouraged me in my walk with the Lord and to them I am extremely grateful.  Without that influence in our lives on a consistent and daily regimen we have a much harder time becoming and staying healthy in our walk with the Lord.

Recently, I have experienced something that has been hard to learn but extremely necessary to learn as a pastor.  Pretty much everyone in ministry knows about Matthew 18 and how it instructs us to handle conflict resolution but how many of us are actually practicing it?  I attended a break out session at the National Worship Leader Conference in Leawood, Kansas this past July and had an opportunity to talk with author and pastor Rory Noland.  I shared with him some of the struggles we were having within our team.  Please note that we were not dealing with any immoral issues within our group or habitual sinning but the cohesiveness of our team.  Becoming one voice and one spirit as we lead the saints to the throne room on a weekly basis was a struggle for us.  Pastor Noland was very gracious and considerate as he shared with me some ideas.  He asked me if I had the members sign a worship covenant?  Yes, I have always had worship team covenants at every church I’ve served.  Did I demand excellence?  Always, demand excellence – not perfection.  After another 40-45 minutes of his peeking into my ministry and asking very poignant questions I began to ponder, “I’m two for two, could it be that Rory Noland doesn’t have any advice for me.”  Then he reached into his bag and pulled out His own copy of his latest book, “Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

I began to wonder if he was fixing to sell me an answer.  However, he quickly told me that the conference and the book store had completely sold out of this book but he felt it was for me and our team.  He knew I was a fan because I had already told him I have several copies of his other books concerning worship leaders and pastors.  As Pastor Noland handed me his book he asked me one more question, “Isaac, have you been challenging your team.”  I was very quick to respond, “Yes, all the time.”  His response while measured and precise was softly spoken, “Spiritually, are you challenging them spiritually and holding them accountable.”  DUH – Who does he think he is to admonish me and at a worship conference no less.  “Yes, I am challenging them spiritually,” I thought to myself.  But then things started to click.  I had been challenging them spiritually but not in the same way as I had been at other churches.

I had never been afraid to challenge my worship teams spiritually or musically before.  However, this is the first time I had an unexpected response.  I know that you are never going to get 100% commitment from everyone you have on your team.  As I carried this new revelation with me home I began asking God to show me what I needed to do to help our team be spiritually healthy not larger.

At that conference I had the privilege of having 5 of our worship team members with me.  It was wonderful to see how they were able to bring back the enthusiasm, encouragement, vision and passion for worshipping a risen Lord as I had from past conferences.  It also gave me the opportunity to invite them into the discussion as well.  Spiritual growth, accountability and commitment are three major components that have to be present in every single member of your worship team.  Don’t allow any of those areas to slide.  I have experienced what happens when I relax and become loose with any one of those three components.  I was quickly realizing that I had allowed the fear of having a smaller team (and what that may look like to the church) keep me from allowing our team to become a spiritually healthy team.

After several weeks in prayer, I did something that I have always done before with the worship team but this time it was different.  My focus was on our ability as a team to really help the saints sit at Jesus’ feet even if only on Sunday morning.  I could no longer allow the desire for a bigger team effect our ability to usher the body of Christ before His throne on a weekly basis.  Pastor Noland’s book “Worship On Earth As It Is In Heaven” has helped me to see that.  As my approach to the team changed so did its composition.  We are a smaller team now but we have a solid foundation.  They are asking me what’s next.  They are excited about being held to a higher standard and being accountable to one another.  I also extended my scope of my worship team to include all of our worship leaders, not just the praise team.

Immediately God began showing my that the worship team He had given me was much larger than I was seeing.  We have a gentle spirit within our team and God is really maturing us and getting us very healthy. I guess the whole reason for this diatribe is this:  In order to “grow” a healthy ministry, most of the time, God has to whittle us down to the core and then fire us together.  It is much easier to build on a solid foundation than an uneven, shaky, and cracked one.

I am looking forward to many more years of service with our worship team at Heartland.  I believe God has mighty things in store for His kingdom.  I pray that He will allow us to be a part of that Kingdom growth.

Pastor Isaac

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Get A New Perspective

One thing that always baffles me is perspective.  I have recently dealt with many different perspectives through process of one of our most recent journeys.  It is interesting to see how many different perspectives people can have concerning decisions in your life and/or other’s lives.  Many things shape each of our own, personal perspectives.  Things like, culture, finances, age, maturity, relationship status (married, single, divorced, widowed), religious persuasions and theology.  However, the one thing that I believe greatly impacts our perspective the most is gossip.

While many of us strive to tame the tongue or silence the sword we often still give audience to gossip with our ears.  I realize right about now you are thinking, “didn’t the title of this post say ‘Get a New Perspective’?”  The answer to your questions is, “Yes!  Yes, it did!”  Let me share with you my thoughts and observations over the past several months, look back on some things in your life that you have observed while I also share.  How many times have you seen folks get so bent out of shape simply because the “heard” that someone did or said something that they don’t appreciate?  When this happens, as humans, we tend to over react and start forming our very own, rigid and 95% of the time wrong perspectives of others.  Other times people have been told bits and pieces of true events and then they piece them together with their own thoughts about how it “went down.”

Trust me when I say, “been there – done that.”  I am not writing this blog because I am trying to call anyone specific person out.  I too have fallen victim to this ancient snare of tongue and misinformed thoughts and words.  What makes this worse is that even when we are presented with the Truth or facts as I like to call them, we continue to harbor ill feelings or bad “perspectives” of those involved.  So, how do we try to remedy these false perspectives into godly perspectives.

First of all, pray about those things in which you have perceived something to be true when it is actually false.  Ask God to reveal to you the truth and show you the direction to move forward and don’t dwell in the past.

Secondly, whatever the issue(s) is(are) go to those involved and ask them to forgive you for giving false witness about the events to others whom you have “shared” your concern with.  As I continue to grow in the Lord and grow in years I have realized that time is not on our side.  The scriptures tell us “not to let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26).  I believe this is true even when we may not be angry, but just bothered by something or someone.  Find reconciliation while it may yet be found.  This is sometimes the hardest step to accomplish.  I find that admitting to the Lord and asking Him to forgive me is sometimes easier than asking another “mortal” to forgive me.  I can let God know that I am weak and humble, but letting another human know I am sorry or WRONG?!?!  That just isn’t right, is it?  Try it.  You will be surprised how much better you will feel to have your heart clean before God and our brothers in Christ.

The final thing that we need to do to get a new perspective is to quit stepping into situations in which we will be pulled into a “chat session” about someone or something.  It is ok to say, “Hey, let’s change the subject.”  Or simply walk away.  You might be surprised at how by simply walking away from a conversation will spur in others the thought that they probably shouldn’t be discussing those things.

One other piece of advice that my lovely wife is still teaching me, “Just because we don’t agree on something doesn’t mean that I am a bad person or completely wrong on everything else in life.”

That’s about it for today.  I pray that you are meeting God in His Word and on your knees in prayer.  Oh, and don’t forget to worship Him throughout your entire day and week.  Let me know what you thought of this post or any of the others I have.  I’d love the feedback.

Pastor Isaac

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Music Camp 2012 News

Alright, it is getting close to registration time to begin for this year’s Music Camp at Heartland Baptist Church.  We have already selected the musical and are getting classes in place for a very complete registration.  This year at registration the campers and parents will be able to see what the weeks lunch menu will be, what specialty classes are being offered and even have the opportunity to register for those classes before they complete their camp registration form.  The registration will be open and available online at heartlandbc.net by March 1st.

The 2012 Music Camp musical will be The WORD Connection by Ami Sandstrom Shroyer and Michael Shroyer.  It is published by DoveTail Music a division of LifeWay Worship out of Nashville, Tennessee.  Here is an excerpt from the foreword of the musical:

“Welcome to the game show, The WORD Connection.  Hosed by Remi M. Burr, this game takes contestants through a series of rounds to test how well they know and understand the connection between our everyday lives and the Word of God.  The game takes us through different rounds and sponsor breaks until we reach the final round, and find out which contestant is crowned The Ultimate WORD Connector.  Round 1 demonstrates the character of GOd and contestants learn how to NAME HIM.  Round 2 shows why it is important to THANK HIM in both good times and bad.  Round 3 presents contestants with a call to action as they ASK HIM to help them combat some unwise choices by choosing what God’s Word says.  Finally, in The Final Round we will see the ultimate purpose of The WORD Connection as a surprise twist brings the game to an end.  Hopefully, every viewer, every fan, and even YOU will ‘Discover The WORD Connection!'”

We are looking for folks to join us in this endeavor.  If you would like to know more about Heartland’s Music Camp 2012 please contact me or the church office at 618.462.1276 and inquire about Music Camp 2012, The WORD Connection.


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Have it Your Way…Church!

I live in a somewhat rural area just inside the St. Louis Metro area in a town that just had a new Burger King open.  WOW!  I am excited because there are not very many fast food places that you can get a Char-broiled or fired burger.  However, as I am excited about all of the nuances that come with a new place that specializes in giving it to you “your way” I was still quite shocked at how rude people can be.  Keep in mind this place has only been open less than a week.  It is new and because of its newness people are showing up for service.  I’ve not seen a lot of places that have recently opened and not experienced what it’s like to not have ordered enough of certain ingredients or the difficulties of working a computer operated soda machine (touch sensitive screen, too).  With that in mind I tend to go with a “have it my way” mentality but also erring on the side of grace and mercy.  By the way, Burger King, you are really rocking it in Alton!!  GOOD JOB!

I know that sounds a little crazy.  “Why would I spend so much time thinking about things like that?”  I often wonder that same thing… but it is so true.  How often do you hear believers talking about being “in the market” for a new church.  One of the things I hear most often about disgruntled church members is that they just don’t do it the way I like it.  For those of you who know me, know that is when I have to bite my tongue and fight back the urge to say the following:  “That’s nice.  When we start worshipping you I’ll ask for your opinion.”  or “Get off the cross, cause frankly we need the wood.”

While those comments bring a chuckle to my step and sometimes a rolling on my floor it’s not the best way to respond.  We have to realize that folks who are shopping for a church, leaving a church because things just aren’t going how they would like it to go are really struggling with spiritual immaturity.  I’ve seen and heard people respond to concerns about their departure range from our church being too snobby, too traditional, too contemporary, you name it I’ve heard it.  At some point in a believer’s walk with the Lord they come to a realization that worship has nothing to do with us.  However, it has everything to do with Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us.

If you are in a place and are unable to worship Jesus and praise Him for what He has done for you simply because you don’t like the songs that are in the line up than I highly suggest you run to the cross and ask God to show you why you cannot focus upon Him.  I’ve also experienced folks who get so fed up that someone took “their” pew and are so mad that someone is in their seat that they end up leaving the service.  I’ve seen people get so frustrated that their song suggestions, to the pastoral staff, have yet to make it into a worship service as if it were only about what they wanted out of a service.  But that’s what happens when we as the church allow the “Have it your way” mentality to saturate our places of worship.

Please understand that I am not belittling anyone’s opinion, likes or dislikes for we are all unique individuals that have different tastes.  However, when we start shopping for a church based solely on what we want out of a church we have to stop and ask, what is church all about?  What does God say that the Church is?  It is okay to look for a place that is going to meet your needs and has some things that you like, those are definitely advantages to looking around for the right church.  But the most important question “is this a place where I can serve Christ whole-heartedly?”  “God is this where you want me and my family to be planted?”  We need to really start focusing on what God’s Word says we should look for in our worship.  One great passage that lays out a beautiful worship encounter with the Lord of lords can be found in Isaiah 6.  I encourage you to take a moment and experience a glimpse of what Isaiah experienced.

Until next time…

Pastor Isaac

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Shadow of the Almighty…

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” Psalm 91:1.  What a verse.  What a promise.  This verse, actually the entire 91st Psalm has been brought, once again to the front of all of my thoughts.  I have, in the past, spent a lot of time in this Psalm.  Praying, meditating, and listening as God’s love for me encourages and brings me joy.  As I contemplate the depth of the love of our Lord for us as displayed within the first verse I am reminded of several images.

“…will abide in the shadow of the Almighty,” doesn’t that imply that we have to be under the covering of the Almighty?  When I think of a strong, majestic oak tree in the middle of a field I see strong, healthy branches and lots of leaves to protect whomever or whatever is sitting next to the trunk of the tree shelter and protection.  In order to experience the pleasures of the shade and it’s covering you have to purposely place yourself under its branches and leaves.  The safest most comfortable spot tends to be right near the trunk.  After all that is where the most shade and protection can be found.  Doesn’t it stand to reason then in order to remain under the covering or in the shade you have to stay there.

Just as this tree never changes its location or stature our Heavenly Father longs for us to run to Him and place ourselves under His never-changing Spirit, never-ending protection, never-failing Word, and never-ceasing forgiveness.  Once you have experienced God’s grace and mercy, His forgiveness and love why would you ever leave His presence?  Too often, in today’s society we don’t know what it means to dwell someplace.  To dwell can mean to live in or reside at a specified place.  It can also mean “to exist in a given place or state,” as in a state of joy.  However the Hebrew actually means “in the covert of” meaning “a covered place, a shelter or a hiding place.”

Our Abba, Father longs to be our shelter, our fortress, our hiding place.  When we are afraid or in danger, run to Him who is our protector and sustainer of our life.  He will deliver us out of the traps of life.  In order to enjoy the protection of the Father you have to place yourself under His authority; under His will and His reign.  Let it be said of me… “although he was in the midst of turmoil and strife He was at peace and had joy in his heart and his life because of His loving Father.”  My prayer for my family and me is that God will keep us close to His heart and in the center of His will.  Let us not stray from that path and Lord when I do, please pull me back into line.

Take a moment to look at your life and determine if your surroundings are of the Lord.  Is He your cover?  If not, why?  Have you moved out from under the canopy of His shade and protection?  When my relationship with Almighty God is out of sorts or messed up it is because I have made the decision to move away from God.  Remember the oak tree, God is the stable constant in my life.  When I find myself at a distance with God I know that I have moved.  This is when I have to take the step of faith and obedience, and yes, humility and ask God to forgive me for the decisions I have made.  The awesome thing is that God is there waiting to accept us back into His arms and under His shelter.

I pray that you will take time to evaluate your life and your current situations and ask God to reveal Himself to you.  When He does be ready and move to where He is.

Peace and Blessings to you all.

Pastor Isaac

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Religion & Spirituality

I have had the opportunity lately to talk with quite a few people about their search for religion and spirituality.  I must admit that I am very saddened and almost discussed at how many people are looking for religion and spirituality as if being religious or spiritual is what will gain them eternal life with God, our Father.  So many times I hear, “I am not really as Christian as I am religious.  Actually, I am a very spiritual person.”  As if their eternal address is determined on the outcome of their works or their righteousness.  In every conversation that I find myself involved in, with this similar type of dialogue, I challenge them to realize that it is not about being religious or being spiritual for the pharisees and Sadducees were very religious and in their own eyes very spiritual.

As true disciples of  Christ we need to be bold with those who bless us with their presence in our church meetings and worship services.  If we don’t challenge them on their lack of a serious relationship with Jesus Christ, then they will find themselves religiously and spiritually – eternally separated from God [HELL].  Why is it that we no longer feel comfortable challenging one another in the Word and with the Word.  Is not the Word of God just as true and powerful today as it was 2000 years ago?  Is not the Word of God still the ultimate source of all knowledge and TRUTH?

I firmly believe the reason that we no longer challenge people in their beliefs is that the “bride of christ” has become the “Bride of Pride” or the “Bride of Have it My Way.”  Folks it is time to stop playing church and start being the CHURCH!  It is time for the true Bride of Christ to rise to her place and start preparing the way of the Lord.  In a conversation I recently had with a well-known songwriter and composer I was personally challenged to be bold.  Not to step out of my place or out from under the authority for which I’ve been given by God and the local body of Christ but to boldly proclaim that which the Holy Spirit has given me to proclaim.  A visiting pastor to our church recently stated, “There is a difference in saying you’re a Christian and actually being a Christian.”  How right he is.  However, I would state that there is a difference in saying you belong to a church and actually being the Church.

As I have challenged each of these individuals that I have been discipling, I challenge you to the same task… “Stop attending church and start being the Church!”  “Stop saying you’re a Christian and start truly living as a Disciple (follower) of Christ.”  “Stop being religions and start a relationship with Jesus.”  “Stop looking to become spiritual and start living through the power of the Holy Spirit.”  God so much longs for us to turn to Him in total abandonment, yet we still hold on to our own agendas, desires, and selfish lusts.  When you are ready to let go of yourself, the Bible says “die to self,” then and only then will you be able to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Until then you are merely being religious or dare I say spiritual.

Reaching the world for Jesus, one person at a time…

Pastor Isaac

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Inspiration and Affirmation…

Today I had the privilege of attending the first day of the IBSA Worship Leader’s Retreat in Decatur, Illinois.  I wasn’t able to attend the conference last year due to scheduling conflicts but made the commitment to attend this year.  I am extremely happy that I chose to attend.  God has really used fellow Worship Pastors, Senior Pastors and other Worship Leaders to inspire me and affirm the direction I have been sensing God leading me for over a year.

I have always felt God’s guidance into relational environments within my ministry.  Even in my current position as Worship Pastor at Heartland Baptist Church I have stressed building intentional relationships.  Mentoring is key in the life of every believer and God used many leaders today to affirm His working in my life.  I am so grateful for the way God assures us of our calling and our vision of ministry.  There were many other topics and ideas that God has affirmed for me this weekend too.  I will be blogging about them more in the coming days/week.  Some of those ideas surround the idea that as believers we are a royal priesthood.  This means we are all priests and it is our job to help others get to the throne room, the foot of the cross, heaven.  Not only are we priests but kings too.  Jennie Lee Riddle helped me give me the words to explain what I’ve been trying to share with the worship team/choir at Heartland for the last three years.  Our priestly responsibilities are how we relate vertically (man to God) and our kingly duties are how we relate horizontally (man to man).

Jennie also shared the thought process behind writing worship songs for today’s church.  For too long we have been writing songs that are void of Biblical truths.  Actually, many of the songs we sing in corporate worship today are songs that do have elements of truth in them but fail to the deeper level that the Bride of Christ (the church) needs to have on their lips and in the hearts.  This will be another blog topic for me.

Lynette and I have felt and watched God make an amazing connection with Jennie and look forward to the many things that we will learn from her in the future.  I have been so inspired and encouraged this weekend and we still have a few more conference sessions to attend on Saturday morning.  I look forward to sharing more about this with you in future posts.  God bless you all as you continue to follow His lead.

Reaching the world for Jesus, one person at a time…

Pastor Isaac

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Every View an Ocean View

How many times have you longed for that beautiful ocean view in the midst of some very exhausting or stressful times?  I can recall many times when I longed to be on the beach with my feet in the sand and the sun warming my skin but was in the midst of an awful storm.  Rain slamming down upon my back, wading through feet of water and muck all while trying not to get knocked down into the water by all of the flying debris.   Let me just clarify that I am not talking about Hurricane Katrina, Rita, Andrew or Ike.  This storm that I am talking about is called “life.” 

Too often we just let “life” treat us like an old dock that gets beat up by the waves of change or trampled on by the feet of others’ hidden agendas.  When this happens we tend to look at the ground to make sure that where will are going to step next is solid.  However, while looking down every once in a while is good to make sure that we have a solid footing it can be extremely damaging to your spirit and your soul.  While looking down we take our eyes off of Jesus Christ.  Life doesn’t always allow you to see the ocean view that you have dreamt about, but that is exactly when we need to focus not on the ocean view but on Jesus Christ.  Hear what the book of Hebrews tells us about staying focused on Jesus:

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”  Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message

You see, when we allow life’s storms and trials get us looking at our circumstances or simply losing hope, we have lost sight of God’s purpose for life.  We need to realize that “it’s not about me.”  Max Lucado has written a book entitled, “It’s Not About Me.”  In this book Max points out to believers that when things happen to us or to those we love it’s not so we can ask “why me? or what did I do to deserve this?”    It is all about trying to figure out how God wants to use this situation to bring glory to Himself. 

I know that when I lose focus of Christ it quickly becomes all about me.  The challenge is this:  when you start to question “why me?” simply ask God to show himself to you.  Go back to God’s Word and read about other’s who have also faced many trials and horrible situations.  See how they managed to make it through all of those circumstances without sinning.  See what they did to help them stay focused on God the Father or Jesus Christ.   Then take a look at your situation through different lenses, God’s lenses.

Posted in Tough Times... | 2 Comments

Its Not the Communicator thats the Problem…Its the Receiver

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone
where you felt as though there was something wrong with the communication lines?  “Can you hear me now?”  “How about now, Can you here me now?”  Do any of you remember those commercials?  How about Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist when little Oliver asks “Please, sir, I want some more.”  “More, you want more…”  Somehow those lines of communication, while loud, were not quite understood.  Have any of you ever played the game telephone?  It’s the game where everyone sits in a circle and one person begins the game by whispering a secret in the ear of the person to their left.  Then that person does the same whispering into the ear of the person to their left, but this time repeating that secret which they just heard.  The game continues until the original person receives his/her message back from the person to their right.  It is not common, in this game, to actually receive the same secret that you started.  I think you can get the idea of how listening is key to hearing and understanding.  But what happens when you are not even capable of receiving what God is saying?

Often times we wait upon the Lord to speak.  Patiently we wait.  Patiently we wait.  Patiently, alright already enough with the patience.  We just want God to speak to us when we want Him to.  Unfortunately, what if God is waiting to speak to us when we are in the right position to receive what He has to say?  What if we are not prepared to hear the message.  What if, in our own selfishness, we wait for the Lord to speak to us when He has already spoken about the issue, but we haven’t yet put aside our sinful desires long enough to focus upon His truths?  In preparing for a Bible Study that we will be offering at our church in the coming months, I was able to preview a few sessions from Priscilla Shirer.  She states, most of the time the Communicator is not the problem.  It’s the receiver that is the problem.  

She couldn’t be more correct.  How many times in Scriptures, especially the Psalms, do we read that “the ears are open but they did not hear” or “their eyes were open but they did not see?”   Too many times in Scripture we see where people saw and heard the things of God but they did not understand.  Or was it, sometimes, they simply didn’t choose to hear or obey what they heard or saw?  Mrs. Shirer is 100% correct, the problem is the receiver not the communicator.  Also, the problem isn’t the means of communication or the delivery.  God has given His word to everyone.  It is not limited to white or black, free or enslaved, rich or poor, healthy or sick.  It is given to all who would read, listen, and obey.  So, the next time you are “patiently” or “frantically” waiting upon a word from the Lord, check yourself.  Make sure you are in a position to receive His truths.  Then be ready to act.  Once you hear God’s Word it demands action.  When we hear God’s Word we should immediately obey, but that is for another blog on another day.  Until then, stay strong in the Lord and be of good courage!

Peace & Blessings,
Pastor Isaac

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