Monday, September 9, 2013

…maybe my last blog

I know I haven’t written in a while.  I sometimes wonder about blogging.  What’s the point?  Why do I write? I think like maybe 3 people read my blog anyways… and that’s totally fine!  I realize I’m not a scholar.  I don’t hold a PhD or a Masters.  I graduated college at 34.  I have never written a book!  I have never preached for a huge church congregation.  I don’t have (fill in the blank) or I have never (fill in the blank).  I say all of that not to knock myself or my walk with Christ…but I say that because I've heard from others (lots of others) that I need certain things mentioned above to be in the eyes of many an effective ministry leader.

That may be true.   If you have accomplished the said above, this is not knock on you.  Praise God that He gave you the ability to accomplish the things He set before you.  I don’t know if I will ever accomplish the said above and I really don’t know the formula to being effective in ministry because it seems to change every five years.  It’s a full time job of frustration and joy just to get people to “come” to church or to “serve” in the church.  Yeah I know the church isn't a building and the church is supposed to “go” but work with me here.  Anyways I’m not even sure that’s the point of my rant. As I sit and right out my thoughts…I came to this conclusion about being an effective leader in Christ’s church:  Am I truly following Jesus with ALL of my life? 

I recently had the joy of driving a distance or so to pick up a friend of mine that I've known for 17 years, Judah Tangshing.  Now I say joy but at first I was a bit aggravated.  Why was I aggravated?  I was aggravated because it was a long distance and my vehicle is less than in the department of vehicles.  It was going to cost me a lot of gas.  Money I didn't really have!  So I grumbled, complained, and went to pick up Judah.  My attitude stunk…and then enter Judah. 

Judah is a minister of the underground kind in Myanmar.  They don’t allow the preaching of Jesus legally over there.  Christianity is banned.  Judah can be arrested for his preaching of the Gospel…and they can probably do more than just arrest for preaching of the Gospel.  I asked Judah if he had been arrested yet!  His response, “Not yet but I know it’s going to happen but that won’t stop me from proclaiming Jesus Christ to the pagan nation around me.  These people need Jesus!” 

It will be a lot to read here but do yourself a favor and read the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 6:19 – 34; 22:37 – 39; 28:18-20; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:57-62; John 13:12-15; 15:1-11 and then ask yourself, “Am I honestly Coming after Christ, Am I honestly Denying myself, Am I honestly Taking up my cross, and Am I honestly Following Jesus?” 

If you don’t have a good answer for the above than you need to do some soul searching and ask yourself what YOU ARE allowing to take you away from truly following Jesus. 

Judah understands and lives the above words of Jesus! Judah is faced daily with the threat of persecution, prison, and possible death from preaching the Gospel of Christ but it doesn't stop him.  He is surrounded by pagan worship and lifestyles but he continues to pray and love people to the Lord.    He and his family are poor but you would never know that from the smile he carries on face.  And I sit here and complain about my vehicle and gas money...

Christians, we have so much passion for things like:  
·         Food
·         Sports
·         Politics
·         Cars
·         Our jobs
·         Our families
·         Vacations
·         Saving money, spending money, or making money
·         Our homes or buying homes
·         Retirement plans
·         Movies, music, games, books, TV shows, and the like
·         Being lazy, working, or having a “good time” because we deserve it
·         How to run the church or the direction of the church
·         Being right and never wrong
·         My feelings
·         Organizations/Charities/Causes that we represent
·         Sleeping in
·         Our Hobbies
·         Social Media
·         Having my kids in all extracurricular activities (sports, glee club, and the like)
·         Our opinions being heard
·         (fill in the blank)

I wonder…
·         Do we have the same passion for following Jesus as we do for the things stated above? 
·         Are my priorities, God’s priorities?
·         Have I really counted the cost for following Christ or am I busy being comfortable?   
·         Do I truly love God and people or is it something I just say?
·         Is my faith in God or in my abilities…or people?

That’s my thought (rant) for today…maybe my last blog.  Honestly Jesus says it better than I ever will.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

What are you teaching your children?

James’ random thought for the day:

Not too long ago I listened to a 12 year old tell me they didn't have time to read the Bible!  They had a Bible…a really nice one with added teen devotionals, a concordance, and even some Hebrew and Greek translation help on understanding the context.  They were 12!   TWELVE! Since when did 12 year olds NOT HAVE TIME! 

Now I have an idea where this youngin’ got the notion that they didn't have time…they learned it from their parents.  I hear the “I don’t have time” spiel all the…time!  Before we go any further let me explain that I understand:


            Okay now that I have that out of the way, let me also address that I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent nor is there such a thing as a perfect child. Now that all of that has been cleared up, what are you teaching your children? 

            Whether you like it or not, you are teaching them something.  Kids pick up all of our habits, the good and the not so good.  A twelve year old that has convinced themselves that they don’t have time was learned by listening and/or watching their parent or parents. 

Here is the truth:  It’s not the public school system’s responsibility to teach our children, it’s yours!  It is not the responsibility of the minister (youth, senior, music or whatever minister) to teach your children, it’s yours!  It's not the Church's rather yours!  All the above help and yes they all do teach your children but it is ultimately your responsibility to lead, guide, and teach them.   It’s not the TV, Movies, magazines, Twitter, Facebook, other people, and/or insert other here’s job…it is yours!  They are your children!  They are your responsibility!  Children are a joy and a blessing!  They are never a burden or a curse and if you tell them that, shame on you! 

Back to my question:  What are you teaching your children?

Listen to what God tells Moses and in turn he tells Israel:  “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” Deuteronomy 6:1-9!  It didn't stop there!  Keep reading when you have the…time! 

Now specifically it was the father’s position to teach his children, his family to remember God and what He did for Israel.  It was the father who taught his children to be obedient to God and His Word!  It was the father who taught his children to walk in the ways of God, to live a righteous life!  The father didn't merely teach it by what he said but how he lived!  The dad took the role of being the priest of his home seriously! Men it is your job to take the role of a priest seriously in your home! 
·         Teach your children the love of God!
·         Teach your children God’s statutes and principles!
·         Teach them about Jesus!
·         Teach them God’s Word!
·         Teach them to pray! In fact pray with them, over them, and the like!    
·         Teach them obedience to God’s Word and righteousness living!

Moms you are not excluded!  If there is no father!  You teach them.  The above list is not exhaustive! I bet if you took the time to study the culture when Moses spoke these words…you would find that their work load was way more than ours today!  We truly do not have an excuse!  We teach our children that they have no excuses when they get in trouble so why do we come up with them when we aren't teaching our children properly?  What are we teaching our children?  

·         Our children need to be loved!  We don’t accomplish that by telling them, but rather showing them!  Love is accompanied by grace, mercy, and forgiveness!  Do they receive that from you?  Love is not an emotion of the moment!  It continues despite their shortcomings that all humans, except for Jesus, have. They need to know that despite their shortcomings, the love you have for them only grows and never diminishes.  Study 1 Corinthians 13…make the time
·         Our children need us to be active with them!  Play with them, laugh with them, be a kid with them, and the like!  I know you have to work…but your children need you to be active in their lives more than just financially.  Turn the TV, cellphone, and computer off! They greatest joy you will have is right with your children!  Do they know that?   
·         Our children need to hear us say the words, “I am sorry!”  When you screw up, when you over react, when you break promises, when you falsely accuse, and you will…take responsibility for your actions and make the proper amends to your kids. 
·         Our children need us to be the role model, they need us to be their heroes!  Allow God and His Word to influence you so you can be the proper example for your children!  Our children need Biblical parents.  That means moms and dads you need to be active in your growth in Christ!  Here’s the deal…they see you at “church” and they also see you at home.  Is there any contradictions? 

If you aren't active in teaching your children then you are teaching them that they aren't worth your time!  So you essentially are allowing...Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, the internet, their friends, other people, movies, the public school system, books, magazines, TV, politicians, neighbors, and the like to teach them.  Look in the mirror, the problem is staring you in the face!  

Moms and dads…when was the last time you sat around the table and prayed as a family?  When was the last time you sat around the table and had a family devotion?  When was the last time you taught your children about God and God’s ways? 

You want to know the simple problem to all the trouble going on in our world, to all the trouble that we see in the families today!  Are you sure you want to know the answer? 

We have abandoned God and His ways, especially Jesus, not only in this country, in our schools, and in our government...but in our home!  At some point we stopped teaching about loving God with all of our heart, soul, and strength!  We stopped teaching and talking about God and His ways around the table, when we walk, when we lie down or wake up!  We no longer put reminders up to remind us about God and what He has done and will continue to do for us!   We abandoned God and His ways!  God’s Word constantly tells us to not depart from His Word or His ways and that when we do, we will have trouble and sin in our lives!  Problems, chaos,  broken relationships, and the like! 

 You have the time so “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6!  The time you have with your children is short!  What are you teaching them? 

I've rambled and ranted enough!  That’s my thought for the day! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I like being comfortable!

My random thought(s) for the day…the moment. 

I like being comfortable.  I’m a man!  I have a lazy boy recliner at home that I like to watch movies and play video games.  I like being comfortable!  I have shorts and shirts that I’m not allowed to wear outside my home because according to my wife “it reflects her, too.”  I wear them because they are comfortable.  Sometimes during the summer I just want a tube and a lazy river because it’s comfortable.  Sometimes I just want to stay in my office and not be bothered because I’m comfortable. I don’t want to move because I’m comfortable.  I have a very nice bed and lots of pillows and it’s comfortable.  I don’t like change either because I’d rather be comfortable!  I love people and I love talking and sharing with people but to be honest I’d rather be home in my lazy boy and just be comfortable!  I could go on and on and on…how about you?  Do you like to be comfortable? Yes! Me, too! 

But then…

I study God’s Word because I want to apply it to my walk and grow to be more like Jesus…and I observe things like this…

Abraham…God asked him to move from the land he was comfortable in, his homeland, and he did!  God told him that he would be the father of many nations and then gave him the promised child at an old age.  But proceeded to ask Abraham to give up being comfortable as a parent and sacrifice this promised child!  And Abraham did…although God intervened and provided a ram.  Abraham was willing to give up being comfortable for being faithful!

Joseph…He was comfortable being the favorite son of Jacob.  It made his brothers uncomfortable so they returned the favor.  Joseph even though thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, being falsely accused, and being forgotten about…he never was comfortable in compromising his integrity to the Lord.    He would rather have been uncomfortable in his suffering than compromise his faith.  He realized that in his uncomfortable situation, God was bigger, had a plan, and purpose.  Joseph was willing to give up being comfortable for being faithful!

Peter and John…There is a story in Acts where Jesus’ Apostles, Peter and John, were flogged because they were teaching and sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ; being flogged for that message they considered an honor.  They were asked to stop but they had no fear of death and they continued with preaching the Gospel.  The same Gospel that would get Stephan stoned to death!   The same Gospel that would have John’s brother James beheaded.  The same Gospel that would claim the lives of so many faithful followers of Jesus.  They loved Jesus no matter the cost!  They were willing to give up being comfortable for being faithful!

Paul…Here is a guy that one minute is persecuting Jesus’ church.  He’s well educated and respected in the academic world as well as the Hebrew culture and much more.  He was comfortable! But then he is blinded by the light of Jesus!   God said that he would become an instrument of suffering for His purpose.  Paul embraced this suffering!  There is even a story in Acts where Paul goes right back into the city that just stoned him and failed to kill him.  No Fear!  He was a man on a mission to preach and teach Jesus Christ!  Even when he was in prison!  He was uncomfortable and he was willing be that way if meant that Jesus Christ would be glorified!  Paul was willing to be uncomfortable for being faithful!  

Jesus…Our Savior who went from hearing the praises of Angles, from being in Heaven…came to this earth and wasn't comfortable.  He just left home with no place to call home here on earth.  He knew He was the suffering servant!  He knew He would be rejected.  He knew He would be betrayed! He knew He would be abandoned!  He knew He would be beaten, mocked, and humiliated! He knew that He would ultimately suffer and die!  He did because He loved us more!  He did it because He knew we were condemned to die and we couldn't pay our debt!  He became more uncomfortable than anyone so we could ultimately find comfort in Him!  Jesus focused on being faithful and obedient to His Father than to being comfortable! Jesus focused on setting the example for us to follow than with focused on Jesus focused on His love for God and for us than being comfortable!  I could go and on and on…

There is more to these men and their stories above…there is more stories in the Old and New Testament about God’s people willing to give up being comfortable for being faithful! 

I say all of that to say this…I feel like a complete wimp!   

Why do I want to be comfortable here on earth?  This place is not my home! 

Why do I want to be comfortable when those that came before me and set the example that I read in Scripture weren’t?  I’m told there is nothing for me to fear when I’m in the Lord!

Why would I rather be comfortable and not talk to people about the Lord?  There is too much pain, heartache, sinfulness, and much more for me to not say anything!

Why would I rather be comfortable in living as the old man rather than living as the new creation in Christ?  Because it’s easier to sin and it’s more acceptable to this world rather to live righteously and obediently simply because that’s harder.

I could go on and on and on and on…

I was going to load this up with some scripture but there are so many texts in the Bible that call us to move out of our comfort zone!  For starters read the words of Jesus throughout the Gospels!  

This is just my thought for the day…for the moment!  It is easier to comfortable!  But the world needs Jesus!  It’s not the job of someone else to do Matthew 28:18-20…it’s my job!  It’s yours! 

As Christians…those that truly belong to Jesus! We are called to be faithful!  We are called to be obedient!  We are called to love God and people!  We are called to let our lights shine before all men that God will receive the glory!  We are called to make disciples for Jesus!  We are called to preach and teach God’s Word soundly and truthfully! 

We are not called to be comfortable!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

What do you treasure most?

When you breathe your last breath, when your time is over…what will your legacy be?  People are going to  remember you and they will talk about you!  Your children, your spouse, people you knew or met along your life's journey will have a discussion about you!  What will they say, what did you teach them?  

Jesus tell us   

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mathew 6:19-21).

What do you treasure most as you live your life on this earth?   Your legacy will either say that you sought treasure that pleased God or treasure that pleased yourself!  

·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured loving God, their Lord, and people or loving themselves and other things more?
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured being a student of God’s Word where you were led, corrected, taught, and walked soundly in God’s ways or being one that had all the answers, relied on their own wisdom, and was always right? 
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured trusting God and walking in faith or relying on their own strength? 
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured serving God and others or letting others serve you? 
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured thriving daily to be obedient to righteous living as a new creation in Christ or not willing let go of the old life before Christ? 
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured leading others to Jesus or leading others away from Jesus?
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured surrendering to God’s will or submitting to your will? 
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured standing where God stands or where you were comfortable standing?
·         Will you be remembered as one that treasured coming after Jesus, denying yourself,  carrying your cross, and following Jesus or being comfortable here on earth?  

As Christian, you fall on one of the sides from the above questions!  Today is a new day!  God’s mercies are new every day.  We are not promised tomorrow…but we have today!  What do you treasure most as you live your life on this earth?  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Can you describe what a person of faith acts like?

 John Ortberg states: "The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life. And that’s sobering news to most of us, because we’re into comfort...but water walkers master failure... Did Peter fail?...Failure is not an event, but rather a judgment about an event. Failure is not something that happens to us or a label we attach to things. It is a way we think about outcomes...Did Peter fail? Well, I suppose in a way he did. His faith wasn’t strong enough. His doubts were stronger. 'He saw the wind.' He took his eyes off of where they should have been. He sank. He failed. But here is what I think. I think there were eleven bigger failures sitting in the boat. They failed quietly. They failed privately. Their failure went unnoticed, unobserved, uncriticized. Only Peter knew the shame of the public failure. But only Peter knew two other things as well. Only Peter knew other things as well. Only Peter knew the glory of walking on water. He alone knew what it was to attempt to do what he was not capable of doing on his own, then feeling euphoria of being empowered by God to actually do it. Once you walk on water, you never forget it--not for the rest of your life!" (Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, page 21-23).

Hebrews 11:1-13
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.  By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

Our faith in God calls us to worship Him!   Right out of the gate we get our first example of someone worshipping God which is Abel.  The text reminds us that “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.”

Abel had a genuine heart!  It lead him to not only be obedient to God but caused him to simply worship God for who He is. It was pleasing to God.  Abel produced a better sacrifice than Cain because he had a righteous heart and he put forth all that he was in his offering to God.  He didn’t simply do offer God “a half-hearted” offering like Cain.  Abel’s offering spoke about his character.  Abel’s faith in God caused him to simply worship the Father.  It was genuine worship. 

How often do you look forward to giving tithes and offerings with a grateful heart?  This current economy is tough.  It’s hard to give especially when money is tight when bills need to be paid to keep things on or to continue to have roof over your head and to continue to eat.  I want to ask a question not only of you but of myself as well:  Have you ever had the faith of the widow we read about in Luke 21?  Think about that for a little bit.  God has told us that He will always provide what we need and we are called to faith in Him that He will do what He says He will do.  That kind faith leads us to worship our God because He is great and He loves us.  When was the last time you just simply worshipped God because He’s God?

Our faith in God calls us to walk with Him! I would like to have a little more info on Enoch but we only get a few verses.  Genesis 5:24 tells us, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

 Paul explains to Hebrews that, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

Apparently Enoch’s walk with God was so close that God took him home without Enoch having to experience physical death. From Enoch we learn that to walk with God is to please God.

Faith is essential to please God.  How do we do that?  Well having faith in God means to choose to walk in righteousness and obedience towards God and His will.  It means to respond and to act on His Word.  It means to simply trust in His guidance.  It means that completely believe that God will do what He says He will do.  Is your walk pleasing to God?  Are you more concerned with pleasing others or God?

Our faith in God calls us to work for God!  So God calls Noah to build an ark.  He tells Noah about a flood, rain, a boat…which was all foreign to Noah and the people of the time.   It took Noah around  100 years! 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Hebrews 11:7

The things that God spoke to Noah had not occurred.  But here is the thing:  Noah trusted what God an acted in his faith.  Noah’s faith showed the light on the disobedience and sinfulness that surrounded him.  Noah was righteous in God’s eyes.

 Do you have faith that leads you to work hard for the Kingdom of God? We are too comfortable! We sometimes want someone else to do the work.  We rather spend time doing what we want rather than what God wants.  Which makes sense for the unbelievers but not for Christians.  There is too much evil in this world; too many lost for us to be comfortable.

 Noah’s faith called him to work even when the situation didn’t make any sense. How do you respond to God’s calling when the circumstance doesn’t make sense?  Your faith requires action! 

 James 2:17-18“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Warren Wiersbe says, "Faith enables us to understand what God does. Faith enables us to see what others cannot see. As a result, faith enables us to do what others cannot do."

Our faith calls us to wait on God!  When Abraham left Ur, he didn’t know his destination.  He had no clue where he was going but he trusted in God to lead him.  He obeyed the instruction of God to leave his land.  Abraham’s faith wasn’t quickly rewarded, either.  Abraham waited for a home in the Promised Land where he spent his entire life living in tents. Abraham was willing to spend his whole lifetime in temporary dwellings because he had his eyes on something greater…heaven (whom God was the builder).  He waited…and waited…and waited on God.  Do you have the patience of Abraham?  If not, why?

Also, God promised Abraham a son…it took 25 years.  He was 100; Sarah was around 99 when Isaac was conceived.  He never wavered in his faith that God would do what He said He would do.  Even in the face of reality!  It’s impossible to reproduce at their age, but not with God! 

9By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9-10

Do you wait on God or do you rush?

How is your prayer life?  How long do you bathe a particular circumstance in prayer?

Is it easier for you to give up?

All of these examples we read here in Hebrews mimicked what Paul tells the church in Corinth “for we walk by faith, not by sight” – 2 Corinthians 5:7

We (Christians) are taught and called to a life that “walks by faith.”  God allows us to deal with the events of life, all the trails, the tragedies and the traumas which will prepare us for glory.  He uses the all the above to remake us into His image.  If we remain grounded in God’s Word and being active in being a “doer of the Word”, committed to following Christ’s example, and obedient to God our faith will continue to grow! 

As Christians, as we walk in faith…our faith knows hope (Jesus).  Our faith expects to receive from God what He has promised us in His Holy Word. It tells us that there is no place for fear or worries. It encourages us surrender and put our burdens in God’s hands.  Faith reminds us that God is not in a box and can do anything!  Faith continually repeats to us how real God is! Faith helps us wait…and wait!  Faith moves into action!  Faith convicts us to preach the Gospel to the lost!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jim Chesser

On Saturday February 2, 2013 a dear friend, brother, and mentor, Jim Chesser, finished his earthly race. I have known Jim for 13 years.  He is one of my earthy heroes.  I had scheduled a trip on my calendar to go see him but passed just days before I made that trip.  I am sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I have been processing his memory and legacy over the last several days and two scriptures that come to mind are:   

“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.” - 1 Corinthians 4:1-2

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 11:1

            Jim was a trustworthy servant of the Lord and someone that I want to imitate.  This was evident in the fruit (John 15) he produced.   In fact if you’ve read my blogs or listen to me teach I mention John 15 a lot, one of the reasons is because that text is something that Jim often discussed with me and encouraged me to live out when we talked about Kingdom work and people. Jim was a constant student of the Word.  He was always sharing with me where he was studying in the Bible.  He would show me new things he had picked up from studying that he hadn’t picked up before.  He would always tell me the things God was continually teaching him in His word.    Jim was a professor and a minister for over 40 years and he was so humble.  He always told me he was still learning even though he had a wealth of knowledge and faith. 

The other part of that fruit was leading people to Jesus.  Jim couldn’t breathe without talking about Jesus.  As I have been processing the memory of him, I realized that Jim has his fingerprints all over the Kingdom.  The preacher that I serve with was taught the Gospel message by Jim; I was mentored by Jim when I was young in ministry and he even aided in me not leaving the ministry when I was young. I realized that numerous friends of mine in the trenches of ministry were either mentored by or lead to Jesus by Jim.  Jim understood and lived Mark 8:34-38.  Jim is someone that I want to imitate. 

Several years ago, I was able to travel with Jim on a Wednesday night for seven weeks.  It is one of my favorite times in my life.  Jim was traveling to a local congregation teaching fundamentals of faith.  He asked me if I would tag along and assist him. I was honored.  What I didn’t know is that would be a teaching time for me.  Jim shared common loves with me:  the love of faith, family, food, and FSU (Jim was the master of acrostics, acronyms, alliterations, and the like). During our rides and down times, Jim would tell me stories.  Jim had a story for EVERY situation one could think of in a church situation.  You name a church scenario, positive or negative, and Jim was in it.  Jim gave me so much wisdom in dealing with situations in ministry during these 7 weeks.  He showed me how to and how not to teach adults as well.  He taught me how to deal with angry people.  He taught me how to love the impossible to love.  He often during these 7 weeks taught me the importance of patience.  I could go on and on about those 7 weeks. 

For the last several years I would bounce a lot of my sermons off of him and he would give me more insight and help polish my messages more as well.  Jim also gave me wisdom as a husband and father too.  Jim helped me years ago to be able to talk to my son about me not being his biological father.  Jim always gave me wisdom when it came to having balance and giving my wife quality time.  Jim was one of the first people to come see my wife and I when we had Addyson and even gave my wife flowers, something she has never forgotten.  In fact, Addyson’s first gift came from Jim…a FSU football/teddy bear that she proudly displays.  Jim and I often had little meetings where we spoke about family, our faith, football and FSU, and always about food.  I will miss him.  He left his fingerprints on my life.  He is someone I need to imitate in my walk with Christ.   

As I continue to celebrate Jim, I am reminded of the Ray Boltz song “Thank You” as it speaks to the man Jim was and still is…although he liked this song he would tell me that that the sinner’s prayer lyrics need to change, which I agree, so I will change it for Jim. 

Thank You
By Ray Boltz

I dreamed I went to heaven
And you were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea
We heard these angels singing
Then someone called your name
You turned and saw this young man
And he was smiling as he came
And he said friend you may not know me now
And then he said, but wait
You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight
And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start
And one day when you prayed (Reworded for Jim)
I decided to change my heart (Reworded for Jim)

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

Then another man stood before you
And said remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry
You didn't have much money
But you gave it anyway
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that's why I'm here today

One by one they came
Far as your eyes could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity
Little things that you had done
Sacrifices you made
They were unnoticed on the earth
In heaven now proclaimed

And I know that up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord
He said, my child look around you
For great is your reward

Thanks Jim, I will always love you…see you later