Sometimes I Want To Appear Insane (Battling Fear)


So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”

In case you ever get into a close game of Bible trivia, here’s a good question: Who was afraid so he or she pretended to be insane?

Do you give up? Do you want a hint? He liked sheep. He knew how to sing. His father’s name was Jesse. He was a man after God’s own heart. He killed Goliath.

That’s right…David. The verse above is 1 Samuel 21:13. After Jonathon told David that his father wanted to kill him, David fled for his life. While running from Saul, David hid out near the king of Gath, but not wanting to be recognized, he pretended to be insane. The king let him go.

Now, I really think there is more to this than just a good trivia stumper. I think the fact that David, the one who “killed the lion and the bear” could be afraid, means that I too will have times that I am afraid. The fact that the one who “approached Goliath” could become terrified means that surely times will shake my confidence. The reality that the one who was “anointed to be king”, could become so afraid that he would act like an idiot to avoid being found out, means that you and I, who may appear to be of lesser stature in our faith, should not be surprised when we have fear and doubts.

David was a man, just like you and I. At times, he just couldn’t muster up the faith to go on. At times life got the best of him. At times, he thought he couldn’t take another step. At times fear captivated him. Moreover, it was at those times that God came through for him once again.

In addition, He’ll do the same for you and me!

What’s making you afraid these days?

Take a Quick Pride Test

Here is a quick pride test:

Think about the motivation behind what you are currently doing and consider which is most true:

It’s all about me…


It’s all about God or others…

Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why is God blessing your efforts?
  • Who should most get the credit?
  • What if no one recognizes your efforts, would you still be glad you did as much as you did?

If you had to take a pride test, how would you do?

Stop Avoiding Your Past!

girl pastAre you avoiding your story? Do you often wish you could escape the past?

One famous Bible character never seemed to escape her story.

I have always found it interesting that Rahab continued to be known as a harlot…a prostitute…a hooker… (Sorry for the crude word, but that probably best captures how she must have been viewed at one point in her life.)

In Hebrews 11, the so-called faith chapter, where God chronicles the examples of superior faith, Rahab is still referred to as “Rahab the prostitute”. (Hebrews 11:31) She apparently never fully escaped the title or the memory of her past.

Perhaps the memory of your past gone wrong…all the painful mistakes, the tragedies, the hurts, the failures… remain for a greater purpose…

  • To remind you of who He is and what He has done in your life…
  • To remind you to help others that struggle…
  • To keep you humble or from becoming conceited…

Instead of trying to run from your past, perhaps you should embrace the changes God has brought in your life through that past and the forgiveness He has provided and allow God to use the memory of your sorrow for His glory.

How are you allowing God to use your mistakes, tragedies, heartache and sorrow for a greater good?

If you need some tips on recovering from your past, read this post HERE.

Thoughts on the Local Church, by Nate Edmondson

nate+closeupI love that Nate is finally blogging again (I hope this is the start of a trend).  He’s my son, so I am biased, but I really believe he’s got a lot of great thoughts to share.  He’s always been a thinker.  He is beginning to experience what I have experienced as a church planter, planting a church that does things differently than the traditional church.  Since both my boys have lived ministry with me through two church plants, they have adopted the principles of church planting as their paradigm for church structure.  Unfortunately, change doesn’t come easily for most church leaders, and so just as I have experienced opposition, Nate is now experiencing some of that at his Christian college.  It’s a great learning and faith testing process for him.

Here’s some of his thoughts on the local church:

One question I’ve been wrestling with since I’ve been at Moody is what the local church in America should look like. Since being here I’ve received some opposition towards the way Grace does church in Clarksville. I’ve gotten lots of questions like: Do small groups provide accurate means for discipleship? Is the governmental structure too corporate, and as a result too secular? Do topical messages truly teach the Bible? Should the environments be tailored for believers or non-believers?

Honestly this has made me question a lot of the ministry principles I’ve learned the last few years.

To read the rest, go to this blog post click  HERE.

What do you think about Nate’s thoughts?

Accomplish Things You Never Dreamed Possible

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

Imaginary dialogue between a husband and a wife:

“Honey, let’s get that box out of the attic.”

“What box?”

“You know we packed up that list of dreams we never could accomplish and all the things we’ve tried at and failed…”

“What do you want to do that for? Aren’t you tired of failing?”

“Sure I am, but look at this verse I just found. Here, read it.”

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’ That’s pretty neat. So if we can’t do it, then He can.”

“Right, that’s what I thought. All those things we have tried before, but have never been able to get done on our own, and those things we were afraid to try…still have a possibility with God.”

“Because God is able to do what we cannot. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We must decrease so that He can increase. He can overcome the struggles of our life, when we place our trust in Him.”

“That’s right…Go ahead. Preach Sister.”

“Okay, God is at His best when we come to the place in our journey where we recognize that we can do nothing without Him. He is ready to assist us when we will give Him the glory. When we give Him our tired, worn out selves, and humble before His mighty throne, He will wrap us with His tender, yet powerful arms and carry us beyond the limits of our imagination.”

“Exactly, I couldn’t have said it any better.”

“Alright then, now we’re getting somewhere. Help me get down that list.”

Could you make a list of dreams, or things you’ve tried at and failed at before? What has been impossible for you?

Go ahead and make the list, then give it to God.   (For further clarification, you may want to read this POST or this POST)

Preaching to the Preacher (I Was Encouraged Today)

DSCF8439Sometimes I need to get away from the usual crowds, take over my pastor hat, and sit in the audience and glean. Today was one of those days and I am thankful for the blessing.

Cheryl and I are on vacation in the Southwest. First stop was Albuquerque, NM for the annual balloon festival. We spent Saturday looking at hundreds of beautiful hot air balloons and returned this morning for another look. We left in time to catch the middle service of a great church, Sagebrush Community Church. Pastor Todd Cook was ending a series called “Heart” and shared a message that encouraged us to be encouragers. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I have to be honest. When I first sat and looked at the program for the day and saw that the speaker was going to talk about encouragement, I wasn’t too excited. I’m a strategy guy, not a touchy feely guy. I like purpose, drive, and conviction. I wouldn’t be the first person one would think of when it came to the topic of encouragement. (In my family that would be Cheryl or Jeremy.)

As I sat and listened to Todd, who is a gifted speaker and storyteller, I was personally convicted. You see, I’ve been so busy with my strategy and purpose-driven, stress-filled life lately, that I am afraid I have often forgotten my first calling. I am a pastor. I am to help people move from death to life, from heartache and despair to trust and obedience. That process often doesn’t begin with a strategy. It begins when one person befriends another person, invests in them, and ENCOURAGES him or her to walk in a new way. Lately I am not sure that has been as much of my focus as leading and managing a church. I received “encouragement” today to take a fresh look at how I approach my days.

I am not saying I am giving up my strategy. I am not wired that way and frankly God uses me in that setting. I will never be a Barnabas. I will never be as considerate and caring as my wife. She balances me that way, but I do need to slow down more. I do need to take more time with the smallest needs. I need to be more people-centered. After all, that is the ultimate purpose of my calling.

Thanks Todd for encouraging me today to be a better encourager. God used you greatly in this season of my life.

(By the way, I met Todd after the service, and even though he is pastor of a large church and preaches 5 services each weekend, he treated me so warmly. He certainly did not make me feel I was an interruption. In this too, he gave me a wonderful reminder and encouragement.  You can here his message from today HERE.)

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers Movie

As a church planter concerned about spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but consistently meeting people who have no interest in what they believe Christianity to be, this appears to be an important movie. My friend Michael Hyatt was the first to recommend this movie, which would be enough to encourage me to watch it. After watching the trailer, there is no question I will put this movie on my “must see” list.

Have you seen this movie? What do you think after watching the trailer?

Strong Words For Preachers (and others)

I read a strong reminder for those of us that have the responsibility of preaching God’s Word, but I think it’s applicable for all of us. These are Jesus words to us from The Message Version.

But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made.
What you have is all you’ll ever get.
And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself.
Your self will not satisfy you for long.
And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games.
There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.
“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.
Luke 6:24-26 (The Message Version)

Is that as clear to you as it is to me?

God Helps Those Who Cannot Help Themselves!

Occasionally people quote a common saying and ask me where it’s found in the Bible.  I don’t enjoy being the one to tell them that what they have always believed is Biblical, really is just a repeated saying among well meaning people.  My favorite is “God will not put more trials on you than you can bear”.  It certainly sounds good, but that is not exactly what the Bible says.   I wrote a post you might read about that HERE.

Another myth people often say is “God helps those who help themselves.” I would point out the Scripture that says this, but I have not found it. In fact, I think I’m safe in saying that I haven’t found it, because it isn’t there.

While the message sounds good, we need to understand that the only thing we can do to help ourselves so that God will help us is to put our trust in Him to help us! Did I lose you on that one? God wants to help His children. God’s love causes Him to want to bless His children. The thing inside of us, which welcomes His favor, is the love He has for us and the love we have for His Son, not what we have done to help ourselves.

Moses told the Israelites once, before they went into battle, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)  Sometimes our job is not to “help ourselves”, but to be still before the Lord and wait on Him to work His perfect plan in our life.

Perhaps you have been trying to “help yourself” so that God would “help you”. Why not be still, do nothing, wait on the Lord, and let Him help you, in His timing and with His plan, just because you are His child?    The greatest way you can help yourself, might be to humble yourself before the God who wants to bless you. (1 Peter 5:6)