Archive | September, 2014

If you could ONLY see what I saw

25 Sep

Thursday morning … The morning after what I believe to be the most significant set of revival meetings at Ebenezer in the 19 + years of my being here.  To quote Chuck Kelly, the only word for this is that ancient Hebrew expression:  “WOW!”

We are all reminded that revival is NOT a set of meetings, but a state of the heart.  Specifically for us, a time to be revived and reminded of the basics in our relationships with God.  It is ALL ABOUT HIM!!  NOT US!!  And He has called us to be DISCIPLES who make DISCIPLES!!

But, the amazing part of this story begins months ago.  Ed Self told me he had a book he wanted me to read … I picked up this book, “Going Full Circle” by Mark Powers, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.  It was as if Mark Powers had a direct feed of exactly what was going on at Ebenezer.  And, honestly, it was not good (what was going on).  But reading this book was like drinking from a fire hydrant.  Ed and I talked and prayed, and we wondered if there was any way Mark would consider coming to EBC and leading us in our fall revival.  We contacted Mark … He said “SURE!!”  And the rest is indelibly written on the hearts of our church.

ADD this perspective to all of that:  God knew EXACTLY what would be going on at Ebenezer almost a year ago when Ed gave me that book.  When He ignited this fire about the message Mark was sharing in Ed’s heart, and then in my heart.  And God knew EXACTLY where we, as a church, would be this month when these revival meetings took place.  In His infinite wisdom and sense of timing, He orchestrated it all!!  And it is coming to fruition right before our eyes.

And I cannot WAIT to see what God does next!!  This is an exciting time to be a Child of the King!!

For more info about Mark Powers, go to

Need some COURAGE???

22 Sep

Here we are!!  Right smack in the middle of the DAY for which GOD MADE US!!  This is HIS day, and He has created GOOD WORKS for US TO DO to build His Kingdom.  What will YOU do about that today?

There really are TWO choices.  Some might say THREE, but it really is only two:

Choice 1A:  You can ignore this.  You can claim your rights as a Christian, but decide that you really are not into this sort of thing.  After all, this is what WE PAY THE PREACHER to do, right??  This is why we have a church staff!!  We pay THEM to do all the “God-stuff” so we can go about our day living it our way.

Choice 1B:  Okay, I will do this.  At least, to a point.  I will take some Baby Steps towards it, but don’t rush me.  (Remember when you were a kid and it was time to take a bath?  And the water was a little too hot?  And you either had to ease down into it, or take your hands and wet your towel so your mom would THINK you took the bath???)

Truthfully, both of these choices result in this answer:  God, I love you but I AM NOT READY to trust You.  Not completely.  Not yet.  (Those answers are EXACTLY what the devil wants you to think and say.  And he wants you to think those answers are logical and acceptable.  AND THEY ARE NOT.)

Choice 2:  Okay, Lord, I will do WHATEVER You ask.  (This one is frightening, because it forces US to release control and hand it over to God.  And that makes us uncomfortable, because we LOVE control.)  BUT only in Choice 2 will we EVER know the completeness and fulfillment and peace that God intended for our lives since the beginning of time.  PERIOD.  There is NO OTHER answer that will bring us into the presence of God quite like number 2.

SO … if you need some courage to take the step towards Choice 2, here goes:

Jesus promised that He will be with us ALWAYS, until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus promised that ALL POWER in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18)

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would be with us FOREVER (John 14:16)

Paul promised that WE are God’s handiwork, created to do good works that He Himself created for US to do to build His kingdom (Ephesians 2:10)

YOU were created for PURPOSE.  YOU were created to have a relationship with GOD.  YOU were created to BUILD HIS KINGDOM.

And I am praying for YOU today!!!

Something REALLY GOOD is around the corner

19 Sep

God is doing something … And it is REALLY GOOD.  I can see it in the lives of people around me.  I hear it, in how His church is following Him and really starting to live like we “get it.”  And there is one other piece of evidence that tells me we are headed in the right direction:


Wednesday evening after bible study, I came to Garden City with my mom and dad.  (That, in itself, has a variety of challenges.)  I am glad to be here because I can give mom a little break and she needs to rest her healing ribs.  However, since I have been here I have faced several situations at Ebenezer where I can see the devil trying to drive a wedge between people at Ebenezer.  Every one of them present logical arguments on both sides of an issue.  I’ve tried to use my “middle-child” skills to be a good pastor and  bring these things to a good conclusion.  And it hits me:  MAN, the devil is working overtime.  ONLY HOURS BEFORE OUR REVIVAL STARTS.

I’m going to go all “Jethro Gibbs” on y’all and tell you this is NO COINCIDENCE.  And, we CANNOT let the devil win!!!!  How do we fight this???  ON OUR KNEES.

So, PRAY, people!!!  Because something really good IS around the corner!!  If not, the devil wouldn’t even mess with us!

I’m praying for YOU today

15 Sep

I’m praying for you today, Ebenezer.  I’m praying as you move out into this world and go about the businesses of your lives … I’m praying that you will be a shining light of God’s love in this dark and for boding world.  I’m praying that the devil will win NO VICTORIES in your lives today.  I’m praying you will look up many times today and clearly see where God is at work, and that you will have the courage to join Him.  I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will empower you to do exactly what God has planned for your life today, and nothing less.  I’m praying that voice that is already telling you “You don’t have time for whatever this revival thing is next week” will NOT succeed in keeping you from hearing Mark Powers and experiencing the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. I’m praying that you can experience and know what your brothers and sisters around you at EBC are knowing:  The Power of Christ is REAL and it DOES CHANGE LIVES.  For the better!!

In return, I ask that you pray for Mark Powers (our revival leader), for Ed Self, Pam Gaddy, Andi Hill, Nathan Neighbors, Omerea Privette, Dusty Kertis, Marcia Watkins, Melinda Miller, Kitty Daniels, Tory Brown, Edwin Blue, Bill Watkins, and for me.  Hope you have a great week!!!

God is moving among us

8 Sep

He really is!!  People are turning their lives over to Him, giving their troubles over to Him, and this is an exciting time at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  I have never seen a time like this in the 19 years I have been on staff at Ebenezer.  It really confirms to me that we are doing the right thing in our new worship center project, because ever since we voted to do this I have seen two things:

1.  People (in large numbers) are taking bold steeps of faith toward God and His will in their lives.

2.  The devil is stepping up his attacks against our church, and specifically with our church staff.

God is walking through this with us, so there is no need to fear number 2.  And the devil wouldn’t be trying so hard to stop this if it wasn’t going to be a HUGE kingdom builder.

As for number 1, KEEP TRUSTING HIM!!  RUN TO HIM!!  THIRST FOR HIM!!! Keep trusting and walking with God hand-in-hand.  HE WON’T LET US DOWN!!!

Exactly WHAT is this Revival thing?

3 Sep

I have heard several questions about the upcoming revival activities at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and thought it wise to share some details about what is planned AND to share from my heart about where we are headed…  So, here goes:

This revival IS NOT the typical revival-type event we remember from years past … Billy Graham is unable to come and preach it (although we would take him in a HEARTBEAT) and George Beverly Shea is unable to lead music because, well, he is no longer living.  The challenge before us it to consider what the word REVIVAL really means…  That is, to TURN OUR HEARTS BACK TO GOD.  We are planning a more evangelistic set of meetings in the early spring.  But this revival is FOR US!!  (If this makes you angry, then I must tell you the that it was Colin Raynor’s idea.  If you want his phone number, email me.)

The story of this particular event begins about a year ago.  Ed Self came to me with a book he’d been reading, written by Mark Powers.  The book is Going Full Circle, and it is about the church returning to WHAT WE WERE INTENDED TO BE.  As I read this book, it was as if Mark was writing ABOUT US!!  I don’t want to let too much of the cat out of the bag, but Ed and I began to pray and think about how we could get the entire church to see and hear this message.  Mark will challenge US to step up and be the church that God has called us to be, and what that REALLY means is WE NEED TO BE THE PEOPLE GOD CALLED US TO BE.  Part of his challenge to us will be to break out of our patterns of habit and how we “understand things SHOULD BE” and step into a real relationship of faith and trust in God, both individually and as a church.

In my heart, there is NOTHING more important for those who call Ebenezer “home” than to hear this message.  SO … We are providing SUPPER FOR FREE each night, and guaranteeing you that we will be done by 7:45.  We will begin Sunday morning, Sept 21, and then each evening (Sunday – Wednesday) that week.  And that is only the START of what God will do with this.  IF you will let Him.

Will you???  The only way you can is to BE HERE.  I am praying for you, EBC!!   Please pray for me and for Mark Powers as he prepares a message from God for us.

(By the way:  I have this BAD habit of throwing interns under the bus.  DON’T blame Colin!!!!!)

A Game-Changer

2 Sep

He never ceases to amaze me … When I see what God is doing in the lives of people at Ebenezer, I get excited!! We are in the early stages of a real revival!! This revival is not a “set of meetings,” but a changing of the hearts of God’s people, and a time of focusing on Him and what He is doing in our hearts and minds and LIVES!

On September 21, we will begin a period of examining Ebenezer, our motives, our routines, our programs, and most of all GOD’S intent for us.

This is an internal time of revival, a time for all of us who call Ebenezer “home,” a time to gather in and find out what God’s next steps for us might be. Mark Powers, from the South Carolina Baptist Convention, will lead us on this journey. We will begin on Sunday morning, then meet Sunday through Wednesday evenings. Supper will begin promptly at 5:45 pm and our journey will continue every night until 7:45pm.

Your staff has been praying over this event for some time now. We hope you will join us in praying for this, praying for our church, and join us for this specific journey from September 21 – 24. This will be a GAME-CHANGER for Ebenezer. Please don’t miss it!