Archive | May, 2015

LIVE your life

31 May


I really do enjoy social media.  It allows me to stay somewhat plugged-in to the lives of so many friends from years gone by AND friends today.  As a pastor, it allows me to celebrate victories and minister in crises that I might not ever know if not for social media.  And, with all of that said …

LIVE YOUR LIFE!!  One of the dangers of social media is it provides a vessel through which we can crawl in and live this false life … We are on dangerous ground when we live more through the persona we’ve created on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram than we do in actual life.  Shades of the Matrix????

In other words, why not try BEING the person you are on social media?  Yes, DO post about how great your moms and dads are and how much you love them, BUT ALSO TRY TELLING THEM FACE TO FACE!!!  One of the rules I have always tried to hold myself to is this:  I won’t post anything about someone I love that I haven’t told them with my own voice! I think it is encouraging to post how much you love your spouse or significant other for all the world to see … Just be sure you are TELLING them these things as well.

Don’t read this and think I am shouting down social media, because again, I really love it.  But PLEASE, PLEASE do not allow it to become a substitute for REALLY LIVING YOUR LIFE.  If you do, you will regret it in the end.

A Story of Simple Faith

22 May

I have told this story from the pulpit.  But as far as I can tell from researching, I have never written about it in my blog.  And it is too good to miss!

The date was June 28, 2014.  It was a few days after my nephew and his wife welcomed the first great-grandchild into the Wike clan.  Mom and Dad were driving down to Charleston to see her and wanted us to meet them there.  I told Mom approximately what time we would leave Florence and asked her if she was okay getting there.  She assured me she had printed a map from her computer and could find it!!

Diana and I went down I-95 and hit I-26 heading for Charleston.  As usual, I-95 was a circus.  I was stressed to a maximum level when we merged onto I-26.  We merged on and ended up behind a greenish Dodge van that wasn’t even going the speed limit.  And we were stuck behind them!!  And I was not happy.  I probably mumbled something about using the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal.  Then I slowly realized I knew that van …  We drove up beside them to see it was Mom and Dad!!!  We knew Mom was nervous about driving into Charleston, so we made a plan to stop and let me drive them.  I think Mom got into the car with Diana and I drove the van and Dad.

We got there and saw little Molly for the first time.  She was so sweet and precious.  Mom and Dad were in awe of that little one.  It was a great moment to witness, and I am thankful I was there.

A little later, my mind started spinning.  I started thinking about the rate of speed on I-95 (speed limit is 70, but you drive a little faster if you don’t want to be hit from behind) and the same on I-26.  I told my Mom “You know, that was SOOOO lucky that we merged onto I-26 at just the right time to get right behind you guys.  We couldn’t have threaded that needle any better had we been talking on cell phones the whole time.  That was some luck!!”

My mom responded, “No, that wasn’t luck at all.  I knew I would have a hard time finding their house and getting around in Charleston, and I had been praying the whole time ‘Lord, I don’t know how You are going to get us there.  But I am trusting You.’  I am not at all surprised that you showed up.  You were the answer to my prayer.”

WOW!!  That is just how she lived, too.  Complete trust, KNOWING that God would make good and guide her in.  That not only testifies to her faith, but stands as a legacy to me.  I will never forget that day.  God really DOES care and He is at work all around us.  Open your eyes and see!!  Remove the filters and have a little simple faith.  Believe and see that the Lord is GOOD!!!

Are we near the end?

21 May

An age-old question, for which I have no answer.  So … If you are REALLY looking for the answer to that particular question, do yourself a favor and stop reading this now.

Hmmmm … You are still here, huh??  With a little more time to focus on the news and current events this week, I am now wishing I had NOT focused on news and current events.  But ignoring what is going on all around us will do NONE OF US any good.  As I ran this morning, this question revolved around in my mind:  Is this the end of western civilization?  I do not have an answer.  In some ways, that would be a HORRIBLE thing.  In other ways, it might not be so bad.  However …

Lately it seems we are reverting back to the social constructs of the old west.  Our culture seems to be stepping back to a time when violence was the ONLY ANSWER, and whomever has the biggest gun and steadiest shot wins.  A sad day, indeed.  Everything in the news AND in the world around us points to the end.  Makes those of us who know Christ wonder if He will be coming back soon. The answer to THAT question is YES HE WILL!!! But He reminded us that no man or woman knows the day or time, that He didn’t even know, ONLY THE FATHER KNOWS WHEN THAT WILL HAPPEN.

So.  I am a follower of Christ.  What can I do to make a difference in a world that seems to be whirl pooling down a drain???   BE THE BEST CHRIST I CAN BE.  BE THE BODY OF CHRIST.  Period.  Our world needs us to show them Christ and to tell them about Christ NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE.  He told us there would be days like this.  The best thing we can do is LOVE with God’s kind of love.  And I KNOW that will be tough.  But He commands it.

Praying for you today, that you can be all that God has called you to be.  Please do the same for me!!

When God says “Step up!”

20 May

When God says “Step up!” what will YOU do?

For years, I have been telling my Ebenezer family that God is at work all around us … All we have to do is wake up and look for Him!  This is not only true for Ebenezerites, but is a universal truth.  If you know Christ as Savior, you can count on this truth!  This idea was not originally mine … Henry Blackaby wrote about this in Experiencing God many years ago.  But we know this to be a tried and true principle of Christian life.

I believe there are rare moments in the lives of Christians when God calls us to join Him in extraordinary things.  These are not every day events … Some of them only happen once in a lifetime, if that often.  With all of my heart, I believe God is calling His children at Ebenezer to one of those events RIGHT NOW.  And I wonder how we will respond!

In less than two weeks, I will have been on staff at EBC for TWENTY YEARS.  That is 140 in dog years.  When I came to Ebenezer in June of 1995, people were talking about building a new sanctuary.  We were crowded and needed space.  Ebenezer had been talking about this for YEARS.  For TWO DECADES, we have talked.  We have prayed.  We have raised money.  And here we are!

This past Sunday morning, representatives from our New Facility team stood and talked about details concerning the bids that came in to build our new worship center.  They asked the church to pray about increasing their approved total from $2.5 million to $3.1 million.  They talked about how the scope had changed and there are several things that were not in the original plans that need to be done.  (For example, the parking lot absolutely HAS to be repaired.  I think I saw the Von Trapp family escaping from Germany in one of the crevasses that has opened up.)

Anyway, here we are.  I reminded the team a few weeks ago that God is NOT surprised by any of this.  And none of this is more than He can afford.  These ladies and gentlemen have worked hard, prayed non-stop, and thought through this entire process.  And here we are.

God is saying “Step up, Ebenezer!”  Will we?  Pray hard and ask Him what He wants us to do!!

Perfect Timing

19 May

God’s timing is perfect!  But it doesn’t always fit into our plans.  We live in a world where immediate delivery on goods and services is desired and rewarded.  Let’s face it:  We ALL would rather go to the pizza place that can deliver our custom pie in 15 minutes (or less) from order to table.  That place 45 minutes will not see our repeat business no matter how good it might be.  WHY??  Because our society places speed above quality (in many cases).

Personally, after being on my “new way of eating plan” for 17 months now, I would wait an HOUR for the world’s best pizza.  But that is a another story for another day.

God’s timing is PERFECT, in how He answers our prayers and in how He unfolds life before us.  It fits perfectly with His will on earth and works to the good of His kingdom, as well as US!! We don’t always understand that.  We rarely ever like it.  But, we MUST admit it is true.

In the next few weeks, IF you will give your control of situations in life over to God, watch and see how He unfolds everything when the time is right.  You might not see it immediately, but as you look back you probably will.  And it will blow your mind!!

Three Forces

18 May

Looking at my blog this morning, I realized it has been almost TWO MONTHS since I posted.  That is not right.  My life has been rather topsy-turvy since November, 2014, but that is no excuse.  This week I will remedy that situation.

There is a thought that I cannot shake.  It came out yesterday in the pulpit at Ebenezer.  it is a truth that has been staring me in the face for years, yet I failed to recognize it.  Until about two months ago.  Seems there is no reason I should have overlooked this truth, but I did.

There are THREE FORCES in the life of every man and woman that seek to pull them away from Christ, that seek to separate them from a relationship with a loving God.  At least, this is how I see it today.  THREE powerful forces.

The first and most obvious is the devil.  Yes, I believe the devil seeks to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 10:10).  He wants nothing more than to annihilate the Kingdom of God.  He is vain enough to believe he can actually do it, too.  But he cannot.  He will seek every opportunity to remind you that YOU are not good enough, that GOD is not strong enough, that he is in charge of things down here.  Or, so he thinks.  For years we have seen him work.  We like to blame him when things go awry.  Sometimes we give him way too much credit.

The second force is the world.  Yes, the devil is the ruler of the kingdom of the air, he is the leader of the world.  But there is a whole world around you that does not serve God or seek to serve Him.  They choose not to believe Him, to believe in sin, to believe in the saving power of Christ.  AND THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO BELIEVE, EITHER.  There is a lot of truth in that old saying, “Misery loves company.”  They work equally as hard to pull you away from your commitment to God, your relationship with Christ.  And some of those doing this are friends … family … those we love and trust.  Be on your guard, because they can do much damage.

The third force might be surprising, and you might not like my writing this.  You can always stop reading at any time.  But the third force is YOU.  (I suffer from this as well.)  The third force is that earthly nature, with which we are all born. It naturally migrates towards wanting IT’S OWN WAY above God’s way and His will.  And sometimes it will gently pull away from the leadership of God, from the leanings of the Holy Spirit.  And sometimes it will run full-throttle in the opposite direction from God (see the book of Jonah).

In a nutshell, there are things all around your life that will try to pull you away.  But, DO NOT FEAR.  You can overcome this.  Place your hand firmly in His.  Walk with Him everyday.  Believe and KNOW that there is nothing in heaven or earth strong enough to ply yourself from His hand.  He will NOT let you down!!