Archive | August, 2014

Trying to Count it all Joy

28 Aug

I’ll be completely honest with you:  the devil is attacking.  Right now.  All around Ebenezer I see and hear signs of his work.  That tells me that he doesn’t like what is going on around here.  He stepped up his effort on the very day we voted to build a new worship center.  And he is attacking a variety of leaders in a variety of ways.

And, honestly, he didn’t leave me out of his fun.  But I read a Facebook post yesterday from a fellow pastor that has meant more to me, and enlightened me on something James wrote:  COUNT IT ALL JOY!!

James 1:2-4 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  

God never promised that we would live life without problems… Without obstacles.  In fact, Paul reminded us in Ephesians 6 that the enemy WOULD INDEED ATTACK US.  That is why God gave us HIS ARMOR!!!  Now, James reminds us that even when we face hurt and disappointment, to COUNT IT ALL JOY!!  Because God will use it to strengthen us, our faith, and our dependance on Him.  So, even when we face attacks, temptations, problems, we need to learn to LEAN ON HIM and ask Him for strength, for wisdom, and for what we need to face the trial.  Because if we do not, WE ARE ALLOWING THE ENEMY TO WIN.  PERIOD!  And, when we DO ask Him for these things, He promises that He WILL PROVIDE.

So … it’s not always easy, but James is right!!  I need to count it all joy when I face these things!!  AND SO DO YOU!!  Praying for you today!!!

Are you Satisfied?

21 Aug

Anyone who knows me knows I am an NCIS junkie.  I’ve been watching that show since the beginning, and I really enjoy it.  The other day, there was a discussion between Gibbs and McGee.  At this time, McGee was still a green probationary agent.  Gibbs told him to pursue every angle and run down EVERYTHING in the case they were investigating.  He said “I don’t want you to stop until ..” and McGee immediately interrupted him and finished the sentence with “Until you order me to stop??”  Gibbs responded “NO!  UNTIL YOU ARE SATISFIED!”

That is great leadership (with the right motivation).  That kind of leadership will build a young agent into a seasoned investigator.  The value of that in real life is priceless.  But that is a television show … And in the show, the leader is training the young student for a specific purpose.

In real life, the world is all around us asking us if we are satisfied.  In movies, in music, in commercials, and even in television shows, we are constantly bombarded with different things to try to find peace in our lives.  The newest products … The most recent trends … Several upstarts even challenge things like marriage and faithfulness, touting that unfaithfulness is a great rush and thrill and will bring us satisfaction in our lives.  Sadly, many people will follow that particular pied piper and in the end they will not find what they are looking for, what the world promises will bring satisfaction.  And there is one consistent reason for this … There is only one answer … The world does not want to admit to this truth, and it does not want YOU to believe it.  But it is true … and it is right before your eyes:

YOU and ME, WE were created for a relationship with God.  And the only way we will know peace in this life, the ONLY WAY WE WILL FIND TRUE SATISFACTION is in a growing relationship with God.  And the only way for this to happen is in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  PERIOD.  You can try every potential solution the world has to offer.  And NONE of them will fill the emptiness in your very soul.  That is a fact that I know, not because I am a pastor, but because I walked the same path of trying to find satisfaction in everything else.  And it is NOT THERE without a relationship with Christ.

So … seriously .. are you satisfied?

The Proof is in the Pudding

18 Aug

Yesterday, we at Ebenezer Baptist Church voted to proceed with plans to build a new worship center and some additional enhancements to our current facilities. It was a big day for us, and a bold move for our church. But this vote is simply a vote.

We can listen to rhetoric all day long. We can get excited about a new project and look forward to the day it is completed. We will enjoy the fruit of this labor, and hope and pray that God enjoys it, too!! But the PROOF will be in the PUDDING: WILL WE HAVE FAITH AND TRUST GOD WITH THIS?

Our fund raising team will soon approach the church to pray about our financial support of this project. Contrary to popular folklore, Ebenezer does not have a money tree out back or a cache of Confederate treasure from which we pull our riches!! (You would be surprised at how many people in our community believe those things) We each will be asked to pray and make a personal commitment to this project. Diana and I have already begun to pray about this. I hope you have, too!

But we realize this commitment must be over and above our regular tithes. There is something very important that we all must realize here: The ministry of Ebenezer GOES ON!! We cannot halt ministry to complete this project. There are so many ways in which God is at work at Ebenezer, and we do not want to do anything that would hinder this work.

So, the proof really will be in the pudding. Will we trust God to provide?? The proof will be in how Ebenezer continues to serve our community, our world, and our LORD. Pray for our church, and pray for your role in this most important project.

A confession (well, sort of)

6 Aug

This morning in my devotional reading, Provers 28:5 was the focal verse:

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

The devotional illustration talked about how those who seek a relationship with God should have a deeper understanding of justice and do not have the “luxury” of ignoring wrongdoing.  That we also should understand there will be a FULL accounting for every sin committed by every person, even if that doesn’t seem to happen on this earth, it WILL happen at the end of time.  And the sins of those who know Jesus Christ will be paid.  And for those who do not know Him, they will pay themselves.

For me, this brought back something that has been on my heart for a few days now.  Once again, I am reminded that when I go to Honduras for 10 days it kind of resets my bearings.  When I go and worship in sweltering churches with tons of people who are just FILLED with the joy of the Lord and happy to be there, and then return to the good ol’ USA, I am reminded of how different we really are.  We are a very selfish culture.  Honestly, it grieves my heart because I believe it grieves the heart of God.  But that is another blog for another day (and probably for an anonymous site, to protect me from death).

Reading this devotional entry today reminds me of why I value honesty.  I really appreciate it when someone is honest with me, but when I find that they haven’t been honest, I struggle with that relationship.  I struggle to trust someone who is not honest.  Lately, as I have prayed about this in my heart and life, God has reminded ME that 1) DAVID WIKE is a pretty selfish guy too.  And 2) Where some around me might have flaws that really bother me, DAVID WIKE has flaws too!!

WAITAMINUTE … I AM NOT PERFECT????  Is THAT what God just said to me??  (I hope my Ebenezerites don’t find out … Because they will run me off for sure!!)

Big Faith Required

4 Aug

I love the picture of Moses and the Children of Israel, painted by Marty Massey last night in our church business meeting.  Twelve spies were sent in to the Promised Land to give a report.  TEN of them came back and said “NO WAY!!  There are GIANTS in this land and we cannot take it!”  And Joshua and Caleb came back and said “GOD GIVES US THIS LAND!!”  And Moses was there with a tremendously difficult choice to make…

If you play the odds, you go with the 10.  If 10 of 12 men say NO WAY, then it makes the most sense to keep on walking.  All logic and understanding dictate that you follow the ten.  It makes sense.  It would keep the people happy, right??

HOWEVER … There is a variable present in life that we often overlook.  GOD was at work!!  God had already promised this land to Israel.  He was in the details and the Children of Israel were in a place where BIG FAITH would be required.  And had they not had big faith, they might still be wandering in the wilderness.

We are very much like the Children of Israel in a lot of ways.  In fact, when I look at what Moses faced, I’d like to think I can relate to him probably better than most people.  Moses would’ve been a great Baptist pastor.  He had people on his right and people on his left second-guessing decisions, direction, and every move the Children of Israel made.  Moses did make mistakes, but for the most part he followed God’s leadership.  He dealt with unhappy people and had to fight human logic with a call to faith in God (and he had to do that WITHOUT Proverbs 3:5-6 to quote constantly in his heart).  He constantly lived in a place and time when BIG FAITH was REQUIRED.

Now we Ebenezerites find ourselves in that same place.  Plans are being made and discussed.  And I wonder how much faith we will exercise??  How much will we lean on our own understanding?  How much will we follow HIS lead in such a big decision?