April 2 SOAP Journal

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6

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Observation: This is such a simple and powerful two verses of scripture! It mirrors what is said in other places such as what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that if we simply place our trust in God for our needs then he will provide for them and in this verse we are promised that have our paths laid out before us.

Application: If I am to be serious about my faith then I must start with the question of to whom do I place my trust in? Placing my trust wholly in Jesus is hard in some areas of my life as many others would attest to as well. But, if I am serious about having God continue to lay out a path for my life then I must start with trust God for my life and not myself.

Prayer: Father, my prayer today is that I would seek out areas of my life where I am trusting on my own understanding and not trusting you. Reveal those areas to me and help me to begin to turn those area over to your control so that as a result my path will be made plain before me. Amen

March 28 SOAP Journal

Scripture: Matthew 28:11-151044753.large

Observation: This small narrative in the larger story of the Resurrection is unique and points to the lengths that the Jewish authorities would go to discredit Jesus and make him to be seen as not divine and the Son of God. These men were so bold as to bribe Pilate if and when he discovers that the body was gone. The soldiers are another interesting character in this story as they willing to say that they ‘fell asleep’ which was punishable by deaths that they could perpetuate the story of the Jewish leaders that the disciples had broken in during the middle of the night and stolen the body.

Application: This to me just illustrates the lengths that people who will ‘deny the truth’ will go to run from and deny the Jesus is real. Trying to discredit or bribe God is a fruitless endeavor and will only in the end discredit yourself. James 4:7-10 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double- minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray for those who are running from you and have made either a public or private stance against declaring that you are the Resurrected Lord and Son of God. I pray that they might seek you and that you would turn your ear & heart to them. Father I know that you have said in your Word that you desire none to perish but that all might be saved and I would ask that those who are purposely seeking to discredit you and your kingdom would be humbled to the point of surrendering their lives to you. Amen

March 27 SOAP Journal

1044753.largeScripture: Matthew 27:24-25

Observation: Was there ever a more of a coward in scripture then the person of Pilate. When presented with the evidence of Jesus’ quilt or innocence and knowing that he had nothing to charge him with and seeing through the false testimony of the Jewish leaders, he caves into their demands and agrees to have Jewish put to death. But before he agrees to have Jesus crucified, in an act of complete cowardness, ‘washes his hands’ before the crowd to demonstrate that this punishment was to be upon the crowd and not from him. If Pilate had truly believed him to be innocent and did not care one bit what the crowd thought he would have ordered him release but instead he gave into the ‘mob mentality’ and ordered Jesus to be killed.

Application: So much of life is standing up for what we believe in and what we feel is right. In this case the one person who had the power and ability to do something and make an impact caved under pressure from the crowd. I pray that when I am in the moment of being presented with the opportunity to stand up for what is right and I choose wisely and correctly and that my decision are my own and not influenced or swayed by the crowd.

Prayer: Father, I pray for boldness and for the wisdom and discernment necessary to take a stand for the things that might seem unpopular or may go against the grain of what is popular today. Taking a stand for what is right is never easy and my pray is that you would empower us all to be bold today.

Great thoughts from my friend Ken. If you are a pastor of a church in need of a consultant I highly recommend Ken

Ken McGarity.com

Do you need help getting unstuck? Learn about The Cycle of Healthy Transformation
Romans 12:2 (NKJV) – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

  • Why do some people seem to constantly be moving forward in life while others seem stuck?
  • What are the people who are growing and becoming more healthy doing, that others are not?
  • What causes some people to get off track while others are able to stay intentionally focused?

These questions and many others just like them are common in my line of work. I usually get the phone call from people or organizations when they are running out of answers to those kinds of questions. They are tired from trying all that they know to try. Or possibly, they are struggling to find the ongoing motivation to continue to try and figure it…

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The Next Chapter

Earlier this month, the leadership of Westridge Church announced that a decision had been made to cease operating the West Paulding Location where i have served for the past two years as a staff member. When this decision was announced I began to seek counsel as to what God was calling me and my family to do and it appears that God has opened up an amazing opportunity at another church in my area. While I am not ready to make the name of that church public yet I do feel confident in this decision.

I want to take a moment and thank the leaders and staff of Westridge for the amazing opportunity that was offered to me to be a part of the staff at the West Paulding Location. The team of leaders that I served alongside and lead are some of the most dedicated and talents leaders that I have had the privilege of knowing. To my Pastor Brian Bloye and his amazing wife Amy I count it my honor to have been under your leadership for a season.

I look forward to announcing my next ministry opportunity in the coming weeks and for what God is going to accomplish next and I get to witness and participate in.

Who are healthy?

In the Gospels both Matthew {Matt 9:1-13} and Mark {Mark 2:16-18} record an occasion when Jesus is challenged by the religious leaders as to who he was spending his time with. His response was that he had come to bring health and healing to those who were not receiving it. It is easy for us to look at this incident and cast our agreement with Jesus for calling out the religious leaders while not taking the time to examine our own lives. In the Matthew accounts Jesus, says, “ But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice…” he is speaking in a way that his listeners had forgotten or not understood the phrase “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” which was taken from the book of Hosea. To desire mercy over sacrifice is to understand that we must love and heal before we can instruct and disciple. And so we are left to examine ourselves each and every one of us in the light of what Jesus has said and how he lived. Are you relatively healthy? Do you require the services of the great Physician Jesus? Or perhaps you have simply forgotten who you have been called to reach? A doctor can only help others if he is healthy and the Church Health Partnership exists to help those who are ministering to the unhealthy by helping those who are called to be doctors to be healthy themselves. Are you yourself unhealthy and trying to work among those who are just like you? Consider your own healthy before considering others and make the choice to become healthy.

West Paulding Campus :: Launch Sunday

We had an amazing first Sunday at the West Paulding Campus with over 400 in attendance on the first day. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for our launch. Now the work of broadening our base and getting the word out that we are there begins.

Here are a few pictures that I took on Sunday:

Launch Sunday of the West Paulding Campus of Westridge Church

WestRidge Church Campus Announcement

Today Brian Bloye announced plans for first of five new campus’ of Westridge Church to be started over the next five years. I am very excited to also announce that I will be joining the staff of the new campus as the Director of Group Life on a volunteer basis. The campus is set to launch on August 8th at Poole Elementary. I will post more updates and news as we get closer to launch! Please join me in praying for our team and for the people who we will be reaching at this new campus.

Come Back Tomorrow

I am currently reading the book, “Leading on Empty” by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro and we shared a dream that he had and the insight that he gained from that dream. In the dream a man and his family ran a small farm. Each day the man set up shop to sell various products and consumers would come and buy what he had: one bought a gallon of milk, another a ripe tomatoes, another cheese, others eggs or corn. A lady came and asked for something that the man did not have, but the farmer simply said, “come back tomorrow and I’ll have more.” The lady was upset with the farmer but it did not bother him. He just went back to work and day after day the people would stand in line for products until the farmer sold out for the day. When they had sold out the farmer would announce, “come back tomorrow and I’ll have more.”

Here is the nugget of wisdom that Pastor Wayne pulled from his dream. He writes, “I don’t have to tie myself to an imaginary, unrelenting cycle to produce more, make more, or try to outdo last week’s numbers. I have just so much time in the day, and I want to do what I can with all my heart involved. When the clock runs out, then I say, “come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.”

As pastors and church leaders we can often feel like the farmer who feels compelled to “feed the masses” each and every day and never has the courage to stand up to the crowd and say “come back tomorrow” because we are scared that they will riot or not come back at all. The trap that we fall into sometime to run ourselves to death, neglect our families, and not feed ourselves is a dangerous gamble that we can fall into very easily unless we learn to steward our energy.

Pastor Wayne goes on to write how as a result of this dream and a breakdown that almost cost him everything, he learned to restructure his day around the following priorities:

1) A daily quiet time with God – it cannot be understated how important fueling our souls by spending time with God, fuels our ministry

2) Message preparation – as a leader in a speaking role in his church, Pastor Wayne devotes a small amount of time to study and preparation each day so as not to be finishing up his message on Saturday night.

3) Pastor & Leading – when it comes to your daily schedule, Pastor Wayne asks:

  • What areas of my life and ministry could benefit the most from an infusion of energy?
  • Which areas will be catalytic and advance the kingdom?
  • What groups of people do I need to energize and inspire?
  • What growth areas require my involvement?
  • Which aspects of ministry by my involvement will result in growth and fruitfulness?
  • What is it around _______ church that needs a burst of my energy to release or unclog it?
  • Where am I going to assign my pockets of energy that will in fact take the ministry to a new level?

4) Marriage & Family – If we use up all of our energy at the office, and we come home completely drained how can we be expected to succeed in this most important role? Saving time and energy that we invest into our marriages and families is one of the best decisions that we can make with our schedules and priorities.

5) Me – Me time includes time for exercise, reflection, fun, rest, and renewal.

Pastor Wayne concludes this section with these words, “Steward your energy well, and in seasons of dismay, you will still have enough of a reservoir to lead” and remember that there is always tomorrow so come back and I’ll have more then! (emphasis mine)