Even In Our Present Darkness
April 14, 2018
EVEN IN OUR PRESENT DARKNESS by Jack S. Deere
Jack Deere is one of my favorite authors and I have always enjoyed his books. Surprised by the Power of the Spirit was transformational in my understanding of how the Holy Spirit can and does work in the believer's life.
I have been waiting for a new book from Jack Deere for many years. When I came across this book on Audible and read the description, I was kind of disappointed. (READ MORE)
What Discipleship Looks Like For You
April 11, 2018
This past Sunday I preached a sermon entitled "What Discipleship Looks Like For You". I have uploaded the text of the sermon at the link below if you would like to read it. The scripture passage is found is Matthew 10 and there is a Bible study guide included at the end of the message.
CLICK HERE TO READ
Book I am Currently Reading
March 31, 2018
As the Lenten season closes I have started reading this book and it really has been speaking to and challenging me. This is an excellent book that brings the reader to a deeper understanding of Jesus. Below is a short review of my thoughts on this book.
The Forgotten Jesus by Robby Gallaty
Did you know Jesus was Jewish? Well, of course you did right? Well, I think sometimes we forget that Jesus is not an Anglo Saxon preacher who lived in a Western Culture. He was an Eastern Rabbi who lived among the Jewish people. (Read More)
The Holtons Are Going To The Philippines!
February 2nd, 2018
I am excited to announce that my family and I are going on a short-term three-week missions trip to the Philippines this summer (June 11th to July 5th). We are so excited to serve with our good friends Sam and Amy Divinagracia who are currently living and serving in Ilo Ilo.
As excited,as we are, we are also a bit nervous as this is a big trip for the six of us. I would like to first ask that all of you who come to this page to PLEASE pray for us daily. Prayer is our greatest resource and we cannot do this without it. We also have financial needs. As of this writing we still need around $7000 to meet our goal. If you feel led to give money towards this trip, you can make a donation by clicking the "donate" button on the side of this page or click the donate button at the end of this post (...CLICK TO READ MORE).
September 11th, 2017
Is there anything that has taken your breath away? If there something that has left you completely speechless? There are a few things that come to mind for me. When I sit at the falls of Niagara, stand atop the multicolored formations of the Badlands, and travelling along “The Rim of the World highway” in California. But nothing takes may breath away more than when I used to stand outside in WI in the winter time and looking up at the stars and the heavens above my head. I am speechless when I gaze into the sky and see the seemingly infinite array of stars that span for as far as the naked eye can see. When I look to the winter night sky I was reminded of how small I am in comparison to the colossal universe that we live in.
I’m sure what I experienced was probably similar to the thoughts and insights of David, the Psalmist as he sat in the fields at night and pondered God, the universe (the heavens) and the meaning of life. I am convinced his words mirror the thoughts of millions of people as they search and ponder the purpose of life and seek answers to life’s most puzzling questions.
I imagine this young shepherd David had many nights watching over his flock to stargaze and ponder the questions of life. I am sure that even as a King, David was even more amazed at the mighty hand of God and his infinite glory as He kept watch over him and the nation of Israel. This same God watches over you and me today. He truly is an amazing God.
Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God - By Brian Zahnd
If you are remotely familiar with Church history or The Great Awakening then you are familiar with the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God" written by Puritan revivalist Jonathan Edwards... READ MORE
You can pick up a copy of this book at this link.
Take My Breath Away
Lenten Devotional for 2018
I am in the process of writing a weekly Lenten devotional and they are available weekly through Lent. They are absolutely free! My hope and prayer is that anyone who reads them will be blessed as they prepare for the Journey to Easter. You can click the link below to go to the Lenten 2018 Download page. I hope you enjoy them, and I would love any feedback.
Excellent Resource for the New Year
January 18th, 2018
Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan For Achieving Your Most Important Goals
One of my struggles for the past 30 plus years is getting in the habit of setting up my goals in life for success. Like many people in this world I have spent countless years trodding and plodding along to just get through the year in one-piece. I have read books, went to seminars and even had mentors help me, just to end up being organized and disciplined for a time and then I eventually giving up and going back to living an unorganized life... READ MORE
Reading Through the Bible in 2018
December 27th, 2017
For New Year's people often make resolutions to help them become happier or healthy. Some resolution may include losing weight, learning something new, exercising more, quitting a bad habit, etc. I would like to suggest that maybe this year in addition that you resolve to be healthier and happier spiritually as well and one of those ways is to have a Bible reading plan. I have spent years researching Bible reading plans, and if you are like me you have started plans and failed miserably in completing. There are many reasons why we fail, but I would like to suggest most fail because they either do not have a plan, are not disciplined, lose interest or are too busy.
So, I am writing to today ask that you pray about joining me on a year-long (260 day) Bible reading plan called FOUNDATIONS. You can read my journal entries here.
Let me tell you a little about this plan...
FOUNDATIONS: A 260-DAY BIBLE READING PLAN FOR BUSY BELIEVERS (Taken from book product description)
With Foundations, you can read through the key, foundational passages of the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week. Along with supplementary devotional content each day, you can experience the miracle of reading and responding to God’s Word. By using the H.E.A.R. journaling method, you will be guided through Highlighting, Explaining, Applying, and Responding to passages, allowing for practical application throughout the year-long plan.
To purchase the book you can also click the Amazon link below and you can purchase either the Kindle Book or physical book. I am excited to begin this and I look forward to going on this journey together.
You can read my journal entries here.
Some Books I Am Reading
HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE - Clay Scroggins
Clay Scroggins is the lead Pastor at North Point Church in Atlanta. North Point Church has always been on the cutting edge of making the Scriptures relevant and in leadership development within and outside of their church.
In his new book HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE, Clay Scroggins discusses the challenges of leading when one doesn't have the official title of leader... READ MORE
You can pick up a copy of this book at this
October 12th, 2017
Real-Life Discipleship (Book and Training Manual) - By Jim Putman
A friend recently recommended this book and training manual. I guess he figured since my role as an Associate Pastor included Discipleship that this would be a good book to have in my arsenal. REAL-LIFE DISCIPLESHIP is a book written by Jim Putman who is the founding and senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. In the book Putman details what discipleship is and claims to have "proven tools and strategies" for effective discipleship... READ MORE
If you are interested in getting these books, go to this link and this link.
WHISPER - Mark Batterson
Mark Batterson is the Pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. He has authored over a dozen books (CIRCLE MAKER, CHASE THE LION & IN A PIT WITH A LION ON A SNOWY DAY). In his most recent book WHISPER he takes on the topic of hearing and recognizing God's voice... READ MORE
You can pick up a copy of this book at this link.
Summer Lovin' Had Me A Blast
August 7th, 2017
Well, summer is getting close to be over. The kids will be going to their new school a week from tomorrow and then Summer will be officially over a the Holton household. Summer's felt a lot longer when I was a kid.
It has been a great summer as we traveled to Wisconsin and had a great time seeing friends, family and old faces that we hadn't seen in a long time. I really enjoyed the time off. I actually read a book for PURE ENJOYMENT. I haven't done that in a while.
Last week and this week we have the same friends we stayed with in Wisconsin come and visit us in Florida. They stayed with us for a week and now they are living it up at the beach just down the street. Many of us went to see a Tampa Bay Rays verses the Milwaukee Brewers and thanks to the generosity of friends we got some AWESOME seats and many great memories.
On a less interesting note, I am reading Eugene Peterson's new book AS KINGFISHERS CATCH FIRE and it has become one of my favorite devotionals. This book is a collection of over 60 sermon's Peterson has preached over 30 years in ministry. The various topics include prayer, rest and faith. These devotionals have been challenging and encouraging to me and where I am today. Each devotional is approximately 4 to 6 pages long and are jam packed with wisdom, insight and fresh biblical perspective. I would encourage you to pick up a copy if you are looking for a good morning or evening devotional.
With school starting next week our household is going to have a different feel to it. The kids will be attending a local Christian school and we are praying it will be a great fit for our kids and our family. Please pray for us as we seek God's direction for this school year.
A Prayer For the Grieving
Books I am Currently Reading
August 27th, 2017
August 3rd, 2017
This past Sunday morning as my daughter was driving me to church (she has her learner's permit) we saw on the other side of the road a few fire trucks, police officers and rescue vehicles pulled to the side of the road. It was early morning so there wasn't much traffic so we passed the rescue scene pretty quickly. I wondered what was going on and few minutes later forgot what I had just seen. I went on with my life and had a good day.
The next day as I was driving home from work I was nearing the the accident spot and I was reminded of what I saw the previous morning. As I approached the spot I noticed a few cars pulled off the side of the road and I saw about 4 or 5 people standing there. I saw tire tracks leading into the woods with broken tress and branches and then I saw a youngish woman embraced in the arms of another person weeping. It was at that moment I realized someone was either seriously injured or died. I contemplated stopping and offering to pray for the people but I honestly chickened out.
I am not sure what happened but I would like to offer a prayer to these grieving individuals...
Lord, I am not sure what is going on with the people at this accident scene, but I gather it's not good. I pray you peace for these individuals. I pray that in this time of grief you would be an ever present strength in their sorrow. I pray for your Spirit to comfort in this time of discomfort. Amen.
After writing this I found a link to the accident. http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article164430527.html
Just an Ordinary Update
May 13th, 2017
It has been about a little over a months since I have done anything with my page so I thought I would give a short update. First, I am posting a devotional on the Epistle of Jude in my devotions section, so I would like to invite you to check those out. Second, we are gearing up for Summer. Traditionally in Churches the summer is a down time. Here in FL people go North because it gets so awfully hot down here so at First Pres we see a significant drop in people being active in worship. This is common so we just put our shoulders to the plow and get through the summer months. Personally it is a time for me to step back, evaluate and rest. My family and I will be taking some time off in June and July and I am really looking forward to that. I will also be attending a Stephen Ministry training in Orlando in June. If you are wondering what Stephen Ministry is you can check it out here.
I would also like to ask for prayers. This next year we need some guidance as a family, so I would ask that you pray for us as we seek His will for our family. We are excited for what God has in store for us and I trust that He has good things in store for us. On a similar note I would like prayers for me individually. I have a lot going on and I am starting to pray about some of my "bigger" projects coming up in ministry next Fall and Winter. That's all I really want to share with you now, so please just say a general prayer for focus and direction in the next few months.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I appreciate the prayers. Until next time...
Everyone Has A Story
The other night in a meeting our pastoral staff was sharing about a new series we will begin next month entitled "THE GREAT SUGGESTION?" It will be a series that is going to take us all into some uncomfortable areas. It will focus on fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. More specifically it will focus on (shhh don't say it too loudly) Evangelism. Do you know that word scares people to death? Why? I believe mostly because people have a wrong concept of what evangelism really is. One of of the Pastors on staff said, "We need do a sermon on detoxing the concept of evangelism." I like that word "detox".
I think many people think of evangelism as preaching at people. They may have this image stirred up in their minds where they go through a class and are taught the "fundamental rules of evangelism" and then pushed out of the nest, so to speak, to find a group of strangers to tell them about Jesus. This kind of "evangelism" scares people... and rightly so, it scares me. I tried it back in my Bible College days and I hated it. For me, it was the biggest waste of time. But I also felt that in order to be a good Christian, I needed to do it.
Today, I am happy to say I am free from that burden and I think I have a better idea of what evangelism truly is and how to be more effective. Here are some suggestions for your "Evangelism Detox".
You have a story. Share it, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and be obedient in sharing it. Your story is not just about you, it's about Jesus in you. So let's all accept the commission of Jesus and share the story.
NKJV Notetaking Bible
How in the world do you review a Bible? I’m in a tough spot here because I can’t be neutral in my critique because I can’t criticize the author… That may not turn out well for me; so I have decided to touch on some of the highlights to the NKJV NOTETAKING BIBLE. This Bible has a few things from the that makes it a great resource. First, I think the New King James Translation is an excellent translation. It is easy to read, literal and accurate. This translation was first published in 1980 with over 130 scholars, translators Church leaders and laity. The reason for this translation was that there was a need for an updated and understandable edition of the world's favorite translation. Second, the 1.75inch note taking space on each page to make observations, insights, raise questions, and suggest to yourself additional exploration of the text. Thirdly, the resources at the end of the Bible, which include a 30-page concordance, full color maps, Bible reading plan, and the plan of salvation.
The only drawback to this Bible is the size of the text. Personally, I feel as though the font size is very hard to read. Aside from that I would HIGHLY recommend this NKJV NOTETAKING BIBLE to Pastors, church leaders and congregants. If you are a person who loves to take notes during sermons or devotions, then this Bible would be perfect for you.
Christ-Centered Expostion: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel
I am a "book junkie". I love to read and collect books. Being a Pastor, one of my favorite genres of books are biblical commentaries and resources; so I was very excited when I received a book in the mail the other day from the BH Publishing Blogger Program entitled CHRIST-CENTERED EXPOSTION: EXALTING JESUS IN 1 & 2 Samuel . Upon receiving this book I chose to review it for two reasons...
1. B & H Publishing has been putting out some quality Christ-centered resources.
2. 1 & 2 Samuel are two of my favorite Old Testament accounts.
The Christ-Centered Exposition series is a series of commentaries designed for sermon prep and small group study. In a simpler term it is a series designed to be practical, easy to read and accessible. Now this does not imply in any way that this commentary lacks depth. Authors Heath Thomas and J.D. Greer do a fantastic job outlining each chapter, giving a "Main Idea" and bringing a biblical depth to the text, yet writing it in ways that are easy t understand. What I find extremely helpful is the "Reflect and Discuss" section at the conclusion of each chapter. The questions are thought provoking, relevant to where the reader is today and spiritually challenging. As the series title states that this is a Christ-centered resource. Often times people think that Jesus is only found in the New Testament, but we know that Jesus can be found in both the Old and New Testaments and the authors do a fantastic job proving this.
If you have ever bought a decent commentary you know they can run anywhere from $25 - $60 and be extremely difficult to read. But with a modest pricetag of $14.99 (and cheaper at many online sites) THE CHRIST CENTERED EXPOSITION commentary is not only practical and easy to read spiritually speaking, but it also practical and easy on the wallet.
Some Great Music for My Music Geek Friends
I love progressive rock. If you don't know what that is, then I suggest you stop reading because you probably won't appreciate the next couple of sentences :)
There were two EXCELLENT progressive rock CDs released in 2016. Both are concept albums with deep spiritual significance. If you are a fan of pregressive bands like Genesis, Yes, Kansas and to some extent Rush then these two CDS are worth checking out.
Glass Hammer - Valkyrie
This is hands down the best prog rock album of 2016. Glass Hammer continues to deliver album after album. Their sound is reminiscent of the early to mid 70s which is the greatest era of prog. VALKYRIE’s musical mixture of Genesis, Yes and Kansas and the vocal of Susan Bogdanowic makes for a prog geek like myself dreams come true.
Neal Morse - The Similitude of A Dream
This two CD concept album is loosely based off of the 1678 Christian classic PILGRIM’S PROGRESS written by John Bunyan. With over 100 minutes of complex and creative compositions THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is a masterpiece from start to finish. Opening the CD are “The Longest Day” and “Overture” and sets the CD off right as the listener is introduced to the intricate and jaw dropping talents of this multifaceted band.
It's the End of the Year as We Know It... And I Feel Fine
I can hardly believe 2016 is almost over. It is true as they (whoever they are) say, "The older you get the faster the time seems to go by."
I have been reading a lot of Facebook posts in the past few days and it seems like everyone is having a bad 2016. I know many feel this way because we lost so many prominent entertainers this past year (Prince, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, George Michael, Florence Henderson, Allan Rickman and so many more). These were all talented individuals and the entertainment world will certainly have a void .
For me 2016 wasn't so bad. Many positive things happened in my life as we bought a house, we are getting more established in Florida, visited with friends from afar throughout the year and God continues to bless the ministry I am in. I thank God for these blessings and I do not take them for granted at all. I also thank all of you who have been supporting my family and me through prayer in our transition and I ask you to continue with those prayers. My family and I appreciate you more than you can imagine.
So, what's in store for 2017? God only knows (and for this I am glad). My hope for this year is to continue writing daily devotionals for this site, expand my book reviews for this site (I have made some contacts with some publishers), write and publish a few more ebooks and print books (I am currently preparing to write a Lent devotional. I am also praying about a more personal book that is intended for pastors and church leadership). I hope to expand my readership of this site and continue going in the paths God directs. I will continue to train and lead disciples of Jesus, I pray I can grow in my relationship with Jesus and I ask that God will continue to bless my family.
I look forward to 2017. The future is always uncertain, but I trust God and I trust that He will guide and move and I want to be right with Him when He does.
Happy New Year to you all!
I just started the book TRANSFORMATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelly and Philip Nation a little while ago. I have looked at this book for a long time and I finally have the time to dig into it. This book really intrigued me because one of my primary roles in the church that I work is in the area of discipleship. My passion is to challenge and help people of all ages grow in their faith. Now, I know I cannot make someone grow, but I can certainly be one who is their to encourage people and offer opportunities for individuals to stretch their spiritual growth so they may have an active and vibrant walk with Jesus Christ.
One of the ways I do this is by walking alongside individuals who are on the discipleship journey and giving them resources to enhance their faith. Currently I have a small group of people I am walking with who will be reading through the book TRANSFORMATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP. I am excited about this because from what I have read thus far, this book is going to be a real faith shaping book for us. One of the quotes thay really truck out to me is...
"We have learned to do many things as church leaders and members.
We build buildings.
We design programs.
We staff our churches.
We put on events.
We rally people around new initiatives.
And as our churches grow, we become increasingly proficient in a myriad of others things from branding to facility management. But are we making disciples?" (p. 11)
This is so true! Churches are fantastic at DOING church but so many of us are failing at BEING the church. The only way we can BE the church is by developing disciples who are transformed for the Kingdom of God. I hope to share some more thoughts on this blog about this book as my group and I embark on this discipleship journey. I know God will do some amazing things in us, because God is a God of the amazing.
If you are interested in reading along with my group and me you can join by clicking here. You can get the book at any Lifeway Bookstore or you can grab a copy at my "Books and Resources" page.
Seven - Revelation
I have been reading an excellent book titled THE THEOLOGY OF THE BOOK OF REVELATIOn by Richard Bauckham. It's is a fascinating read and a book that really challenges my theological views on Revelation. As I was reading this book I was reminded of a sermon series I preached in 2013 called "7" where I talked about the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation. So I thought I would dig them up, edit them and post them in my devotional section. I would encourage you to check them out.
Characteristics of a Healthy Church
What Does a Healthy Church Look Like?
There is no such thing as a perfect church, congregation or pastor. The only thing that is perfect about any church is the Head; Jesus Christ. As long as both sinners and redeemed sinners are involved, the church will always be imperfect. So the best we can do is look at the early church as a model and example so we can glean some insights and characteristics as to what a healthy church should look like. Our text is found in Acts 2:42 – 47.
These six verses are a great model of what the early church looked like and what a healthy church can look like and how spiritual growth happens. There are four characteristics according to this passage that we will look at. Hopefully and prayerfully it will inspire and challenge us as a church and as individuals to live the Spirit filled life which results in a Spirit filled church.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EARLY CHURCH
A church that valued and studied the Bible
The 3,000 plus believers of the early church devoted themselves to the teachings of the Apostles. In the infant stage of the Church there was a common agreement as to what O.T. Scriptures were inspired books that were recognized as sacred. The early church also held the teachings, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as Scriptural and divine. The Apostles told of these adventures with Jesus and His teachings thus their words were regarded just as highly. The early church was dedicated to the teaching and study of Jesus and God’s Word. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” A Spirit-filled church is always going to be a Bible believing and Bible studying church. It will be a congregation who hungers for, transformed by and lives by the Word of God. If the Spirit of God is present in you then you will certainly be drawn to and hunger for His word. It is necessary for a healthy Church to value and study the Word of God.
A church that fellowshiped together
This church were also devoted to fellowshiping together. Fellowship is one of those words we use often but rarely define it. We often mistake fellowship as the time we spend with each other before or after church in the foyer or back of the sanctuary. Certainly this is a good thing. The word fellowship is taken from the Greek word Koinoinia which has to do with holding something in common or a common fellowship. The early church had a common bond through Jesus Christ. They had fellowship with Christ and true fellowship with one another. So naturally this fellowship included worship and communion as verse 42 states. This fellowship went beyond just hanging out and doing church together; if you look in verse 44 and 45 it says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” This fellowship included generosity and helping meet needs within the body of Christ. They didn’t do this because it was required of them, instead they gave because they were transformed by the Holy Spirit and they were generous with each other because they understood the generosity of God. God had been generous to them so they were generous to others. Their fellowship went beyond just going to church; they were involved with other believers’ lives and each others needs. James Montgomery Boice wrote, “If you find yourself out of fellowship with God, you will begin to find yourself out of fellowship with other believers…But if you come close to God, you will inevitably find yourself being drawn to other Christians.” True Christian fellowship should be a high priority of a healthy Church
A Church that prayed together
There is a saying, “A church that prays together stays together.” Certainly this was a church that prayed both corporately and privately. As believers we must know and understand the importance and value of prayer and do it. Not only are we to pray but we are to pray believing prayers. We must expect results when we pray. Prayer must be a discipline that we never overlook. We need to continue to pray for one another for wisdom, healing, encouraging others in need, worship God, and intercession for others. Prayer is our direct communication with God. It is essentially our lifeline.
A Church that evangelized
This passage doesn’t necessarily say that the church went out evangelizing but it does say that “The Lord added to their numbers daily.” I think it is safe to deduce that the early believers were telling others about Jesus, because the church was growing. Not only did this community share its possessions but it also shared the message of hope and salvation. We possess the greatest news of all time… The Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a message that should be proclaimed and proclaimed boldly and often. The result of the Gospel being spread was people were coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Sharing the Gospel message (evangelism) of Jesus Christ (His life, death and resurrection) is an important message that needs to be heard and Jesus Christ has appointed us as his instruments to get this message out.
These four characteristics of the early church are an excellent model for the way the church should model itself today. Do you value and study your Bible? Do you have fellowship with other believers outside of Sunday morning? Are you praying for your church and her leadership? Are you sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ or better yet are you preaching and believing the Gospel to yourself?
I believe whole heartedly that if we (individually and corporately) model our lives around these four characteristics of Acts 2:42 - 47 the end result will not only become a healthy church but we will experience healthy church growth. We also need to know and understand that growth’s end product is a result of God doing the adding and not man. God will cause growth not us. Paul David Tripp writes in his book DANGEROUS CALLING, "It is Christ and Christ alone who builds his church. This is humbling stuff because it requires us to admit we have no power whatsoever to change anyone. We have no ability to advance God's kingdom... Ministry success is not a valid measuring stick for our maturity. In fact a God of grace will bless our ministries in spite of us because of his zeal for his church and commitment to his own glory." This does not, however excuse us from doing our part (what I have talked about today). I do believe that when we are fully submitted to him and sensitive to his voice He will use us as we share His Gospel message with the community and the surrounding areas and in return we will see a church that is Spiritually healthy and in check.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
I read the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero a few years ago. It took me forever to read it from cover to cover because there was a LOT of meat in this book to chew on. I trudged through it slowly so as not to miss any morsel that God has placed on my spiritual plate.
Today I cam across some notes on one chapter in particular and I was completely blessed. I feel led today to share my notes with you. The Chapter title is “Going Back in Order to Go Forward: Breaking the Power of the Past”. In this chapter Scazzero talks about how our past directly shapes our future. He uses the family as an example as to how we need to deal with some of our "baggage" from the past (or “imprints” in our lives that cause us to act a certain way) in order for us to move forward.
Without getting into the full details of the chapter I want to focus on one section titled THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF YOUR FAMILY. He writes, “We often underestimate the deep, unconscious imprint our families of origin leave on us. In fact, my observation is that it is only as we grow older that we realize the depth of their influences. Each of our family members, or those who raised us through childhood, has ‘imprinted’ certain ways of behaving and thinking into us. These behavioral patterns operate under a set of ‘commandments.’ Some of them are spoken and explicit. Most are unspoken.”
As I thought about this I not only read it in the context of the biological family history and baggage but I also read it in the context of the following “Ten Commandments” that are ingrained in our hearts and minds can also be said about our Church family we are part of as well.
Many of these “Commandments” are “hardwired into our brains” that we so often bring these expectations to our family (church) and ultimately it shapes (not in a healthy way) who we are and how we fit into the body of Christ. These hardwired commandments are things that sometimes we convince ourselves are true, but usually they are not.
What are some of your thoughts on these? What hits closest to home with you?
 Scazzero, Peter, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Nashville, TN Thomas Nelson, 2006 ), p.90
 Ibid 90, 91
...And Now A Word From Our Sponsors
November 3rd, 2016
Can I ask you all a favor? If you come to my site regularly (or if this is your first time) would you be willing to support this site? Don't worry I'm not asking you for money, in fact what I am asking of you will not cost you one cent (if your not buying anything).
Every time you click one of the banners above I will receive a small amount of money per click. If you just click the banner, you will be taken to another page. You do not have to purchase anything from the page or give them information, just click and I get a little something.
If you shop at Amazon would you be willing to click on the Amazon link on the sidebar? This banner links to my Amazon Market Place and I will receive a small commission from anything you may purchase. It doesn't cost you anything and the price is the same. I also have a link to my Amazon store on the menu bar that you could check out as well.
As you know I also have some Kindle ebooks released. The links to purchase the digital books are on the sidebar. I have priced them at $1.99 for each book. I think you will enjoy them. Physical paperbacks are available now at Create Space (An Amazon Company) and will be available at Amazon by the end of the week. I will have links to the physical book below.
There, I am done asking for favors. I just want to thank everyone for all the support you have given in the past two years. I do this page because I love it. I certainly don't do it for the money. I will continue to update this page regularly and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I like creating it.
The Advent of Jesus Christ (Paperback)
James: Where Faith and Life Meet (Paperback)
Jeffrey Holton Is Two Today!
October 31st, 2016
I can't believe it has been two years since I launched this blog. I admit this is the longest I have ever kept a personal blog going. In the past I used to start one and forget about it. I am sure there are two or three blogs I started and abandoned out in the intersphere somewhere. This blog has been very dear and close to me. The blog was started at one of the most difficult times of my life. In September of 2014 I "resigned" from my senior pastor position a the Congregational Church in Spring Valley. After that I started down a new path of faith that God had for my family and me. I can honestly say I am much happier today than I was two years ago. I will also admit it has been a difficult two years. I have had to learn humility, I had to learn how to FULLY trust God and I learned a lot about ME.
In the past two years I have made many new friends and I am so thankful for them. I also lost some "friends" that I thought were friends. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that those who are closest to you in ministry; those you trusted, and those whom you bared your soul to can also be the ones to stab you in the back hardest. So needless to say I have had to learn forgiveness. This has been difficult because on the surface it is so much easier to be bitter and unforgiving. I struggle with this almost daily. I ask for your prayers in this area of life. I also pray none of you go through the hardships I went through in 2014/15.
I am so thankful for the First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton for listening to God and calling me as the Associate Director of Discipleship and Pastoral Care. God has used this church to show me that He still has a great plan for the church and that churches that are healthy know how to truly love and care for their pastors.
So, what am I up to now? Glad you asked. I have been doing a lot of writing. I recently published my James devotional to Kindle and about an hour ago I took the first steps to getting actual professional print copies made. I'll keep you posted if/when they are available. Currently my newest Advent devotional is out being edited by a former youth group student of mine who is a teacher. I am so thankful for her willingness to help me. I hope to have this book in all digital formats and print editions by the time Advent begins this year. I will definitely keep you updated on the progress.
I have also been spending the much of my time teaching, training and developing disciples of Jesus Christ. I have been taking a group of people through the Disciples Path process. I have seen this nearly one year process literally change and transform those going through the Path for the glory of God. It hasn't been easy, but it has been good. I am looking forward to continuing this process and Lord willing a majority of our church will go through this process and we will see a transformation happen at First Pres Bradenton that will make an impact in the heart of downtown Bradenton.
On a personal note, I will be heading up north for both Thanksgiving and New Years. I am looking forward to re-connecting with friends and family.
Well, since I started this blog my ongoing theme has been the faithfulness of God. He has been faithful and He will remain faithful. I praise Him for the many gifts He has given to my family and me.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Four Books That Are Shaping Me Now
I am currently reading four books. Yeah, I know reading four books at once is a bad idea since I can barely focus on one book at a time. However, I am reading them at a pace that fits for me and all four are currently shaping my life today.
Transformational Discipleship - Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley & Philip K. Nation (B & H Books)
Leading From the Second Chair - Mike Bonem & Roger Patterson (Jossey Bass)
Onward - Russell Moore (B & H Books)
Designed to Lead - Eric Geiger & Kevin Peck (B & H Books)
Five Books That Shaped The Way I Do Ministry
I love books. They have helped transform me personally and my ministry. Below are five books that have shaped the way I do ministry.
Using Scripture to Promote Your Agenda
October 17th, 2016
I have noticed people like to use Scripture to promote a political agenda. I'm pretty positive Jesus didn't intend for his words to be used to promote any political agenda. His words are intended to promote the King and His Kingdom.
Here are some examples.
"The truth will set you free..." This is not a generalized statement about being honest and knowing the facts. These words are about being disciples of Jesus. He is telling his disciples that if they follow Him and they are obedient to Him they will know the truth (Jesus).
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." This is a reference Jesus made to the religious leaders who were condemning a woman for being caught in adultery. They were trying to condemn the woman but interestingly the man she was caught with was not being brought for condemnation. This passage is not about being sinless, it's about owning up to your own sin. It's not meant to be an excuse or a pass for sin or sinners... It's a call to check YOUR heart, YOUR motives and YOUR actions before you condemn someone else.
September 24, 2016
I came across this article I wrote seven years ago and I wanted to share it. Needless to say, I am no longer at the church I was at where this happened. The Pastor of the other church that was involved is no longer at the church and the couple I married, who this whole fiasco is over, have both unfriended me from Facebook and have no communication with me anymore (Not because of this incident, but for some unknown reason). As I read this this article, I was saddened because this happened and because I am sure the candelabra's that were involved are probably still in the place where we left them... untarnished and sacred.
Sept. 24th, 2009
So, I have a wedding coming up and I needed some candelabras. I asked a pastor if I could borrow the ones from his church and he said, "Sure".
I go to the church and get the candelabras and he tells the secretary that we are going to borrow them for a wedding. She gets this look on her face of apprehension and sternly says, "Our church policy is to NOT lend out things from the church. Especially the candelabras because they have a history to them." She then suggested that we call the church board to get permission to borrow them. I promised her to have the candelabras back before church on Sunday but she really frowned on the idea. She then had the nerve to say to both the pastor and I, "You're not even supposed to touch them with your hands because the oils in your hands can tarnish them." I quickly let go of the candelabra that I had been holding and said, "If this is going to be a problem then I don't want them." and we put the candelabra's back in their sacred spots. The pastor was clearly embarrassed and we had a discussion about traditions and sacred cows/relics.
My initial response was to be bitter and angry towards this church but that is not what Jesus' response would have been. If anything I am saddened. I'm sad because the body of Christ has become so divided that we can't even share things. I told the pastor frankly, "If I were a member of this church I would be highly offended but I am a pastor so I am not offended nor am I surprised."
How much are these people missing with what Jesus said? Have churches become so hard that we can't or are unwilling to share (even something simple like a candelabra) that we would rather sacrifice the common love and community between two congregations just so a candelabra can sit "in it's place" (untarnished) over the weekend and not be used because it holds a special place in the heart of the church? I can only imagine how frustrated Jesus got in dealing with traditions of his time. I firmly believe Jesus wasn't an anti-traditions kind of guy, nor am I. I think traditions have a wonderful place in the body of Christ but not when they hinder what God is building.
Am I mad? A little.
Will I get over it? Sure.
Will I let them borrow something of ours if they ever inquire of us? You bet!
I don't say that because I am trying to be self righteous, I say it because this is really what the church is supposed to do. How did we as humans screw up such a simple concept like the Church. Jesus established it and it didn't take long for humanity to twist it around, bend it, re-configure it and turn it into what it is today. I think Jesus did fine when He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This is what we are supposed to do and we have failed miserably. I am reminded today that I need to spend more of my time, energy and efforts investing in the Kingdom of God and not in the structure of the Church.
Needless to say I am not mad at the pastor he is a great guy. I feel bad for him because he was embarrassed as would I, had the shoe been on the other foot. Prayerfully we will both get over this awkward event and be able to focus on building the Kingdom of heaven.
The Pursuit of God
Recently I picked up A.W. Toze'rs classic book THE PURSUIT OF GOD again to read for my morning devotionals. I read this book back in the early 90's when I was in Bible College and I believe this book spoke more to me in 2016 than it did back then. Tozer writes, "This book is a modest attempt to aid God's hungry children to find Him. Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me."
Tozer does a magnificent job encouraging the reader to passionately pursue after God in his/her daily walk with Jesus. He writes about the necessity of hungering for God, the joys of possessing nothing but having everything in Jesus Christ, hearing God's voice, what it means to truly rest and how to give every aspect of your life Jesus. He writes about having authenticity in your relationship with Jesus and having the awareness of God's presence in your life. God is not merely a divine thought or an non-engaged entity. He is real, He is present and He is actively pursuing His children.
THE PURSUIT OF GOD worked great as a daily devotional. There are ten chapters and each chapter between eight to ten pages in length. Each devotional took about ten minutes or more as I read slowly and reflected on Dr. Tozer's insights. This book was originally published in 1948 but Tozer's words still ring true and relevant for today. If you are looking for an excellent read that will challenge you in your spiritual growth, then THE PURSUIT OF GOD would be an excellent book for you to pick up and read. I must warn, this is not a fluffy feel good devotional; it is one that will convict and challenge you as you grow in you walk with Jesus Christ.
Advent Is Coming
September 19, 2016
Next week I will be taking a study leave. The purpose of this leave is to write and publish an advent devotional for this season. My hope is to have the devotional available in both print and electronic versions. This devotional will be written specifically for the First Presbyterian Church in Bradenton so individuals will have a devotional that they can read through that will coincide with our Advent sermon series. I have high hopes for it and I plan on making available to everyone. I ask you pray for me since this is the first time I have ever taken a study leave for the purpose of writing a book.
There will be 22 devotions total and the topics will include...
The 7 Rings of Marriage
August 2, 2016
There are a plethora of marriage books out in the market today. There are only a handful of good ones though. Jackie Bledsoe's new book THE 7 RINGS OF MARRIAGE is one of the few great ones. Honestly, I don't like reading marriage books because the authors usually come across as self-righteous know it all's. Many times I will read a book on marriage and come away from it thinking, I will never ever be able to have a marriage that this person is telling me I should have. This is not the case with Bledsoe's newest book. Jackie writes from a realistic and honest perspective. He is transparent about his short falls of being a good husband and he writes from experience. I can relate with him on many levels. I appreciate that he doesn't write a book that preaches at you as much as he invites you to come along on a journey of discovery. There are also many helpful applications and scripture provided.
Jackie Bledsoe highlights seven rings that can help enhance and evaluate your marriage. The ultimate goal is not to point out your failures and shortfalls it is to give insights as to how marriages can not only survive, but how they can thrive in a day and age where divorce has become the new normal.
The seven rings (or seasons) include
This is an audio book review.
Who Moved My Pulpit (Book Review)
s July 21, 2016
Recently I received twenty copies of Thom Rainer's new book WHO MOVED MY PULPIT. The title alone was enough to spark an interest. Rainer writes a passionately and conversationally about the necessity of change in the church. Now, you and I both know that change and church go together like oil and water, but it doesn't have to be this way. In order for the Church to survive today she needs to come to terms with the necessity to change, not for the sake of change but for the sake of the Gospel. The author uses real life stories (of course the names and churches have been changed) to show that not only change is necessary, but it is possible if done right and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although Dr. Rainer's book is very small and short; it is packed with a punch that leaves an impressionable mark. He uses a "road-map" of eight stages to leading effective change in the church. The stage Rainer spends most of his time writing about in the book are...
WHO MOVED MY PULPIT is not necessarily an eye-opening book, but it is a necessary book. I think most Christians can agree that something needs to change in the Church in America today. I just think that many Christians either don't know what needs to change or they are misinformed as to what needs to change. Most importantly many churches do not KNOW HOW to change without causing a major upheaval or split and this book answers that question.
I am looking forward to sharing this book with our church leadership and staff. Prayerfully we can all grasp the truth that change can happen and it can happen in a positive Christ-honoring way.
Confidence in my Calling
May 19, 2016
I remember a few years ago when God was really doing a number on me. I was going through “one of my moments” where I began questioning my calling as a pastor. I began to wonder if God really called me to the ministry. Was he telling me it’s time to hang up the ministry gloves and get a 9 – 5 job? Sometimes you can’t help but wonder. During this time I desperately needed some encouragement from the Lord. Then one day I began preparing for a two day retreat with a few local pastors and the LORD led me to the book of Exodus (more specifically the life of Moses). He impresses on my heart passages, verses, books of the Bible that I NEEDED to read. At this retreat I was able to pinpoint five things I needed to pray for and ask others to pray for and with me.
Roamin' Through Romans
April 22nd, 2016
I am going to start a new devotional today and I would like to invite you to come along.
You are about to go on a journey through Rome… Well, not an actual journey through the city of Rome but through the Letter Paul wrote to the Romans. My purpose in writing this devotional is twofold.
So let’s buckle up and prepare for this journey through Romans. May God be glorified and may you be challenged as we grow together in Jesus Christ.
Spring Has Sprung
March 21st, 2016
We are just a little under a week from Easter Sunday. This morning I have spent some time reflecting on my life since the time I left the ministry in WI up until today. I have seen God's hand at work continually. I wish I can say that our move from WI to FL has been easy but we have faced some challenges. We continue to face them, BUT I/we know and trust that God has called us here and He is using these challenges to shape us and mold us into the vessels He has called us to be.
I love my new Church. This church family has been a HUGE blessing to my family and me. I truly feel this congregation "gets it" when it comes to being the family of God. I am really excited to see what God does in this Church. I am launching a new adult discipleship class in a few weeks and I am anxious to see how God moves in the lives of those who participate in this class.
On the personal side we have made some wonderful friends. God clearly answered our prayers for godly friends that we prayed before our move. As some of you know, one of the hardest things about moving is leaving friends behind and then making new friends. Thankfully God has blessed us with preserving our friendships from old and giving us friends anew.
Overall, God has been and will remain faithful in our lives. I continue to covet your prayers and I trust God is going to do beautiful things in the weeks, months and year ahead.
Just Under A Year
October 7th, 2015
I read through my posts below this morning and I realized that it has been just under one year since I started this blog. As I read through them I was brought back as I relived this past year and I thank God I am where I am today. Yes, it has been a hard year.
On the downside I have encountered some of the meanest people I have ever met in my life. They verbally attacked and criticized my family and me in some of the most unchristian ways. They inflicted some emotional and spiritual wounds that are still healing today. I choose not to name names or point fingers on this blog because these individuals know who they are and my prayer is that they realize the pain the wounds they inflicted.
On the upside I met some of the most beautiful people who have loved us, prayed for us, cared for us, counselled us, provided for us, shared with us, and supported us in ways that I could never imagine or repay.
The reality is, there are two kinds of people I encountered in the past year....
The first is the "Self Righteous" person; these are supposed Christians who think they are doing God's will and they are blinded to their own sins and short falls. They actually feel as though God has commissioned them to be the "hounds of heaven". Their job is to point out other people's sins, condemn them (because others aren't as "holy" as they are) and they live in false humility. This false humility is actually a disguise for their self righteous pride. They don't care how many enemies they make in the process because they are "speaking the truth" no matter the fall out or trail of destruction they leave behind. They say they are speaking in love but their actions show different.
The second type of people are the GENUINE followers of Jesus. Fortunately they outnumber the self righteous. These individuals have and show compassion, they also know and show grace. They practice a true love that edifies and does not tear down. They understand that humanity (especially Christians) are imperfect and don't condemn them for this. Instead of condemning they know ALL have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. They have faith that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humanity and anyone who repents and believes in faith shall be forgiven, given eternal life and life HERE ON EARTH. They are slow to speak and slow to judge. They are humble. They truly are the hands, feet and mouth of Jesus Christ... They are truly the body of Christ.
If you are reading this and you fit in one of these categories then I say to the genuine follower of Christ, "THANK YOU FOR SERVING GOD THE WAY HE HAS CALLED YOU and truly being Jesus to us." Unfortunately those of you reading this who fit in the "Self Righteous" category will be blinded by your pride and you will continue in your ways. I pray to God that one day your eyes will be opened and that He will lovingly humble you and show you how a true disciple acts, loves and speaks.
I know the song "Our God is An Awesome God" is an old contemporary praise song, but it rings true today. God is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love... OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD.
New Devotional Series
It has been two months today since I started my new ministry position. It has been a great fit and an awesome place to serve. The people have been wonderful to us and we feel at home with this body of believers... I don't want to forget the Pastor is a great man of God and someone I love working with.
I recently finished my devotional in John and today I am starting a new one in the book of 1 Thessalonians. I really hope you enjoy it and that you are encouraged by the words I write. I give God thanks for speaking to and through me. He is good and worthy of all praise.
Fun In The Sun
Just a quick update... God is so good and I LOVE my new ministry position. The church is wonderful and the staff is awesome. I have high hopes and anticipate God's blessings in the days, weeks, months and years to come. I ask for continued prayer as I seek to continually follow God's leading in this new adventure.
I also updated the devotions section. I am sorry but in the transition of this phase of my life I neglected to update the blog. I will update more often so please check back regularly.
The Faithfulness of God
It is May 11, 2015 and life is good. I am happy to announce that God has faithfully answered my nearly 9 month prayer! On June 1, 2015 I will be starting my new position at First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton. I will give more details about the position in a later post. My wife and I visited the church last weekend and we fell in love with the people, the area and the church. I am very excited for this new chapter of our lives. In the meantime we are preparing for this huge move and praying for a quick selling of the house. THANK YOU ALL for your prayers. God has proven Himself faithful over and over again.
Could you please join us in praying for the sale of our home in Spring Valley? It is now on the market and we are looking to sell quickly so we can move down to Florida without any concerns.
It has been 8 months since I resigned my position as the pastor of the church I served for seven years. These 8 months have been a challenge and a blessing. I look back over the months and I see God's hand at work. In this time I have met some of the most precious people I could possibly meet. Our family has been blessed beyond our wildest imagination and we THANK EVERYONE so much for your prayers, gifts and encouragement. This time has also been a time to refocus God's call on my life. Not only has He affirmed my calling but He has refined and prepared me for the next chapter of my life. I think of the song "Trading My Sorrows" and I agree wholeheartedly with the bridge that goes, "Though the sorrow may last for a night, the joy comes in the morning." Well, morning is here and I am full of joy. God is good and He IS faithful. We are still waiting on him daily and trusting He will guide us on our adventure of life.
I am still working at Walmart Distribution Center in my transitional phase. I am thankful for the work but I am ready to go out and do what God has created me to do. Another blessing in all of this is I have dropped over 50 lbs and 5 inches off of my waist. I feel so much better and I desire to maintain this healthy lifestyle.
Well, that's about it for today (and probably this month). I am excited and the future is looking bright. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. I will write more as I am able and led. God bless you all and thank you for your love and support.
Hurry Up and Wait
Today is March 12th, 2015 and it has been six months since I resigned from my last church. This has been the longest I have not been in full-time ministry in over 20 years. To say this transition has been easy would be an outright lie. It has been hard and thankfully God has been with my family and me throughout this whole process. As hard as it has been, God has drawn my family and me closer and closer to him day after day.
So many of you reading have been praying for us plus so many of you have supported us in countless ways. I could never thank all of you enough. Please keep praying and supporting because we are still in the midst of transition. I feel like I are in a holding pattern and that any day that "Call" could come. Other times I feel like I am watching a pot come to a boil as I tirelessly pray about direction and then browse the dozens of Pastor placement web pages and it never seems to come to a boil. I am patiently waiting on the Lord and I TRUST Him with all my heart that He will give to me the perfect gift at the perfect time it just that like Tom Petty sings,"The waiting in the hardest part."
The Loss of a Dear Friend
Some people you meet in life forever impact you. Susie (Hoopette) Hooper was one of those people. Susie went to be with the Lord this weekend. I am sad because she is no longer here on this earth but I am so overjoyed that she is dancing in the presence of her Savior whom she loved so much and devoted her life to.
Susie was a true servant. She and her husband Greg served in the youth ministry with me for many years. I have so many fond memories of her but what I remember most is She loved God's Word, she loved people, she loved her husband, she loved to cook (and she was a great cook), she loved the New England Patriots and most of all she loved Jesus. I am envious of Susie since she is in the presence of Jesus because aren't we all longing for that day?
Here I am... Send me!
I can't believe January is almost over. Wow! Time flies. To update you as to where I am in my life I am currently in the process of seeking out full time ministry positions. I have been praying fervently about what God is calling me to do for his glory. I believe he is calling me to Family Ministry or to Associate/Discipleship Pastor. I have had some people ask, "Why do you want to go into Family Ministry or Associate Pastor after being a Sr. Pastor?" The short answer is because God has given me a heart and passion to minister to families through discipleship. I believe parents should be the primary Spiritual leaders of the family. However I have found very few families are actually doing this though. Why? Mainly because parents either feel intimated by this idea, ill equipped or they think it is the job of the Church. Training and teaching parents and children the simple Gospel message is something I am passionate about. Many people are intimidated by the Bible simply because they have a hard time understanding it. But the great thing about God's Word is that it is applicable to ALL ages. In the twenty years of the ministry God has called me to I have seen his transforming power in children, youth and adults. Seeing the transforming power of God change families excites me and it causes me to give praise to our loving Father for His abundant grace, love and mercy.
On this site I am finishing up my devotional in Genesis this week and I am praying about my next series. I have an idea and I will let you all know what it is in the coming days. I have heard from many of you about how you are enjoying the devotional and that makes me very happy. I praise God that He is using my words to encourage you in Him.
I ask you continue to keep my family and me in your prayers. I am asking for God's wisdom in finding the ministry position He has called me to. I am willing to go wherever He calls, so would you please pray with us? Thank you!
Looking Back and Thanks
2015 is right around the corner. As I look back at 2014 I do praise God for His faithfulness and provision. However the year didn't go as I had planned. I wouldn't wish some of the experiences I had on my worst enemy. To ad to the difficulty recently I experienced a real disappointment as I did not get a job I really wanted. I felt really good about this potential job but God has other plans for me. There are times when I just want to throw my hands up and say, "I give up!" but that is what Satan wants me to do and I will not give him the satisfaction. God is working on me and I still have a lot of growing and learning (don't we all) and this is a good thing. When we feel as though we have arrived in life is when complacency sets in.
For the past month I have been working three jobs (2 part time and 1 full time) and one of those (UPS) has come to an end since I was hired as seasonal help. As I work at these jobs I am amazed how many opportunities God has given me to share his love and display an authentic faith with people who may be seeking God. It is interesting how many people have questions and/or a foundation of faith in their life but are not really moving forward in it. Sharing the Good News and Discipleship are two passions I have and I love how God is still allowing me to use these passions in places I never thought I would. This has given me some really unique ideas that I have been praying about and it will be interesting to see where all this goes.
As disappointing as 2014 has been I am still blessed. I have a wonderful wife and four amazing children. This whole ordeal has been very hard on them and I pray for them daily and I ask that you would as well. They are precious and I am truly a blessed man. I/We have some of the best friends in the world and so many have reached out to our family in this difficult time by blessing us with words of encouragement, gifts and true friendship. I don't deserve friends like this but grace is truly an amazing thing.
With 2015 on the horizon I am praying about new opportunities that are ahead and I trust God will give me the desires of my heart. I do not know what God has for my family and me but I know it will be good. I pray you have an amazing 2015 and I will keep you all posted on my transitional journey.
All Work and A Play
Life has been crazy busy for me the past month. I am working three secular jobs and putting in about 70 hours a week. I am tired to say the least. On top of that I was in the community play "The Best Christmas Pageant" and it was a blast. We had three sold out performances and everyone I spoke with loved it. I am also performing in THE NUTCRACKER with most of my family this weekend. As you can see life hasn't slowed down one bit.
I would like to ask for continued prayer as I have some opportunities before me and I need God's wisdom and favor. I am fully trusting God and I am excited to see what He has in store for my family and I. Keep praying as I work this crazy schedule and I will keep you posted as to what God is doing in the weeks to come.
Well, God is up to some amazing things in my life. I can't go into it too much so I ask that you continue to pray for me and my family. I love how God throws in encouragement and blessings when you least expect them. I am confident in the months to come I can share the story of God's faithfulness to us. It is early in the morning as I write this and I think of the old MC Hammer song "Pray". I know it wasn't intended to be a song sung in church but I think the words ring true... "We've got to pray just to make it today."
Up, UPS and Away
I started working as a temporary part time UPS package handler this week. I do enjoy the work, but I don't get many hours. It has been MANY years since I have worked steadily in the labor force. It's a face paced environment and I think it has been really good for me. This is just part of the transition that God has me in at this moment. I know there is something out there that He has specifically for me but until then I will handle packages and be faithful to what God has entrusted me with. I am thankful for the part time work coming my way. God has blessed and I trust him exclusively. Please keep my family and me in your prayers. I pray for wisdom, discernment and God's favor.
The Week Behind Me
November 8, 2014
Here I sit on another Sunday morning. It is 5:30 am. What on earth am I doing up at this hour? Well tomorrow morning I start a temporary seasonal very part time job at UPS. The shift begins at 3:00 am so I am trying to just get my body used to getting up at a time no one should ever be up for. I am thankful for this job for a season. I am praying and asking God continually for wisdom in taking the next steps in my life. I ask you to pray with me as well.
I had a very productive week and the transition is beginning to take SOME shape to it. God opened some doors this week and we'll see where they lead. Wherever they lead it will be good because God delights in giving his children good things for his glory.
I also started listening to the book PLAN B: WHAT TO DO WHEN GOD DOESN'T SHOW UP IN THE WAY YOU THOUGHT HE WOULD by Pete Wilson. I HIGHLY suggest reading this book. I have a link off to the side or on the resource page if you'd like to purchase it. The book is very practical, in your face (in a good way) and encouraging.
Well, today is my youngest's fourth birthday and we are going to party like princesses today. Have a blessed week friends and I'll post again soon. Until then please check out my daily devotions.
I currently live in Florida with my beautiful family. The Lord has blessed me with 25 plus years of full time ministry. I am currently serving at a church as an Associate Director of Discipleship and Pastor Care
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