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I have been back from Tanzania for almost a week. I have not fully recovered from jet lag and I am weepy and having a bit of a hard time processing some things. I want to take a minute to address something though. Women caught up in human trafficking are exploited on so many levels by just about everyone they come into contact with. Because of that, I did not feel the release from the Holy Ghost to take even one picture of a person on this trip, whether it be a lady, a child, or a team member…so I didn’t take any. I just couldn’t. I prayed for miracles, signs, wonders, salvations. I prayed that I would express the love of Jesus and that I would represent Him well. I pray I accomplished that. I know I attempted to plant lots of seeds.

The team I was a part of talked to many, many girls each night. From 8pm to midnight we walked and talked. We hugged and were hugged. We laughed and we cried. We shared the gospel on every corner and every dark alley of the red light district. For us, we did not have any girls come to the house. Some of those I prayed extensively for at the house have since run away or been sent away because of issues we couldn’t have known. The team as a whole had success and of the seven brought in during our time on the streets, three have stayed. Cecelia, Lena, Neema. They also brought with them 2 precious little boys into the house. At our banquet many responded to the Gospel message and testimonies. Seeds planted.

It would be easier to share and process with pictures but all I have now are the pictures planted in my heart – pictures of lots of darkness but even more pictures of light. I met some of the sweetest and most beautiful and intelligent young girls in that darkness. I have nothing now to even prove it except a heart ripped open by the promises of God I saw in their faces and on their lives as they made their choices each night and walked away. And so here I sit back in NC asking our Father…what do I do with this now? What about the girls I talked to every single night…Happiness, Jackie, and Lina. What is to become of them? I am weepy…but I believe He weeps even more than I do. These are His daughters. His “Binti.” And He says to me the same thing He has been saying since He set me on this journey. He says, “Pray!”

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Pastor’s Appreciation 2017

Hebrews 13:7 – Remember them which have rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Jeremiah 3:15 – And I will give you Pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

The Lord has raised you up to feed this flock with knowledge and understanding. He has seen your heart and recognized Himself in you. God has appointed you as pastors, because you are shepherds after His own heart.

  1. I love my pastors because they study and preach the Word faithfully.They are consistent every week.
  2. I love my pastors because they are people of prayer.They know they cannot lead and shepherd our church in their own They choose to be totally dependent on God.
  3. I love my pastors because they are always on call.Workweeks are long. Vacations and days off will often be interrupted by crises and deaths, but they don’t complain. They views it as a part of the call.
  4. I love my pastors because they are there to celebrate my victories and to comfort me in my difficulties.Their own life is a roller coaster of emotional events, but they remain constant and strong for our church.
  5. I love my pastors because they leads our church with a vision.And they constantly seeks to make certain it is God’s vision and not their own.
  6. I love my pastors because they endure criticism.And though the critics hurt, they persevere and love  anyway.
  7. I love my pastors because they are authentic.They don’t act superior or condescending. The pastor I see in the pulpit is consistent with the pastor I see in other settings.
  8. I love my pastors because they bear the burdens of leading many people without complaint or self-pity.They hear of so many challenges and problems in others’ lives, but that does not deter them from listening and praying for us.
  9. I love my pastors because they are sacrificial.They seek to put us church members before themselves. Selfless and grateful..
  10. I love my pastors because they love to share the gospel and the power of the resurrection.Truly passionate about seeing those without Christ become followers of the Savior.
  11. I love my pastors because they disciple and mentor many.They understand that their role is not to do all the work of ministry, but to equip others to do the work of ministry.
  12. I love my pastors because they love our congregation with a Christ-like love.Though they can get frustrated and discouraged, their love for us does not wane. Indeed we get a glimpse of the love of Jesus Christ through the love of our Pastors.

Word of God in you is my portion and my inheritance. I don’t take it lightly when you speak…or when the enemy works to prevent you from speaking. Much, much more valuable and precious than an earthly inheritance is the Word of God He entrusts to you for me!

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers the, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever.

Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Words shall not pass away.

1 Peter 1:25 – But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

This year…tough for you, tough for your family, tough for the church family. Trials expose…

Job 23:8-10 – Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Pastors, you will come forth as gold. To everyone who is struggling for what seems unending season you may not perceive His presence, but He is here, and you will come forth as GOLD.

Church, it is their assignment to shepherd and lead but it is our assignment to step in and help in whatever way is needed and it is our assignment to be like Aaron and Hur to hold up their hands when their hands start to fall from the weight….but not only that READ

Exodus 17:12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

They took a stone and put it under him so he could sit and they held his arms up and steady!!!!

How do we do that? Through prayer, warfare prayer when needed…fasting (Matthew 17:21- howbeit this kind of go with not out but by prayer and fasting), through encouragement to them and to their families, and also (maybe most important) through growing in the Word. In knowledge and understanding. By learning to get a Word from the Lord and stand on a Word from the Lord on our own so that you can stand firm while helping hold their weight. They can only stand for us because of the Word of the Lord in them. We can only stand firm for them and their ministry because of the Word of the Lord in us.

Pastors, we love you. We honor you. We thank God for you. And we bless you today…in the Name of Jesus!

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II Timothy (Overview)

2 Timothy

About the year AD 65 Paul was arrested and put into a dungeon, bound to a guard 24/7. He was likely in pain, probably hungry and cold and uncomfortable, he was probably humiliated, he was deserted and lonely. His associates (except for Luke) has all left him. Probably because of fear. In this prison, he was facing certain death! Yet in this place he wrote 2 Timothy which was his last letter.

Paul wrote to Timothy in this letter encouraging him to be faithful.

But Paul’s concern was not himself, but for Timothy and the success of the Gospel ministry.

Who was Timothy? Timothy was the pastor of the church of Ephesus. He was timid, suffered from physical ailments, tempted to let others take advantage of him, and he had issues asserting his authority as a pastor. But here Paul was writing one of the most personal letters that he wrote. It was full of advice and warnings and instruction but also lots of encouragement to follow in Paul’s footsteps as a true and faithful witness for Jesus.

Just in the first chapter Paul gave Timothy the essentials that he must possess to have success in ministry and the encouragement to possess them.

  1. Courage – no place for fear

Enthusiasm –  Paul encouraged Timothy to keep the fire burning brightly by stirring up the gift of God so that the power of God could work through his life. Timothy did not need any new thing. All he had to do was “stir up” what he already had.

Reminders/Encouragement: 1. His love 2. His prayers 3. His confidence in Timothy’s faith 4. God’s call and ordination

  1. Be unashamed of the Gospel, of suffering for the Gospel and the sufferer – Part of faithfulness is to be unashamed!

Reminders/Encouragement: 1. God gives power 2. God called both by His grace 3. Christ defeated death

Important that we stand true to Jesus and be willing to suffer for Him and not be ashamed.

Also important that we stand by God’s servants who are suffering for righteousness sake.

  1. Loyal
  2. Be loyal to God’s word

God gave to Paul > Paul gave to Timothy > Now Timothy’s responsibility to “hold fast” and “keep” truth and pass it along to others.


Timothy needed to hold fast to truth or he would have nothing by which to test other teachers and preachers and we need to hold fast to what Paul taught for the exact same reason.


But also note that doctrine was to be tempered in “faith and love.”

Speak truth in love (Eph 4:15)

  1. Be loyal to God’s servants

The Asian believers did not stand by Paul. They were ashamed of him and so (whether they knew it or not) they were also ashamed of Jesus Christ.


Be courageous, enthusiastic, unashamed, loyal, and faithful.

Faithfulness is important concept that runs throughout the Bible.  Be faithful to the Word, Be faithful to the work set before you, Be faithful to God’s servants, BE FAITHFUL TO GOD!!!! The more faithful we become, the more responsibility God can give us in regard to the ongoing work of the Great Commission.

Great Commission –  Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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Praise and a Burning Heart

Psalm 119:169-176

for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. ~ Luke 6:45

What is in our hearts today? Is praise pouring forth from your heart to your mouth? If not, why?

For years and years and years, I was good at doing. Doing, specifically, for God. Oh yes, I loved Him and I was grateful for His grace. I grew up learning the Bible…but the Bible, this Word hadn’t permeated my heart. I didn’t really get it. And so, the doing took place of praise flowing out of my heart and onto my lips. There was no praise because there was not deep understanding, or admittance, of God’s statutes. 

I am reminded of story of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus. Two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Another man joined them. It was the resurrected Jesus but the disciples didn’t recognize Him. They told him the events of the previous days and He began to teach them the Scriptures. They stopped to eat and then their eyes were opened that this was Jesus. But of His teach the disciples said in Luke 24:32 – And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Their hearts burned. When you truly look at God’s statutes, the commandments, and measure yourself. When you meditate on it…you can’t help but be changed by it and realize how bad it is.  How bad you are and how much you need Him. How much you need to call upon Him. It wasn’t until I understood really deep down at a heart level just how sinful and flawed I really was that I understood what David is saying in these verses today.

TAV – is the name of man calling upon God; it is the name of man singing praises.

This passage is a prayer to the Lord and the focus of his prayer is on God’s wonderful ability to meet his needs as he trusted Him. But when you read it -make it personal!!!

The needs of the psalmist were same things I need.

  • I need His Word. We never outgrow our need for God’s Word, no matter how long we walk with Him. There will always be something new. The psalmist asked for understanding and deliverance, for he knew that the truth would set him free (John 8:32)
  • I need His Hand. The idols of his world have hands that do not move or feel, but God’s hand is active on behalf of His people. His hand is righteous.
  • I need His salvation. Our ultimate salvation was found on the cross when Jesus died and then was put in that tomb and then raised on that 3rd But our need for His salvation means even more than that…if you can grasp it. Here salvation also meant deliverance from his enemies who were threatening him, but salvation can mean freedom from worry, healing from sickness, provision of funds to pay a bill, or deliverance from satanic oppression.
  • I need His help. The writer prayed, HELP ME earlier in verse 86 and isn’t that our cry. God’s hand can help us but so can His judgements. Judgements is another word for the Word of God, but it can also refer to the working of God’s providence in this world. The two go together, because God always obeys His own Word when He works in this world. God helps us as He arranges the affairs of His world and our lives. He will accomplish His will.
  • I need to say as the psalmist to the Lord…I am Your servant. The psalmist did not say that he had greatly sinned against the Lord or that he was rebelling. But even still, he had come to know through it all his own weakness and ignorance. I need to come to that place too.


During the spiritual journey of Psalm 119 the psalmist experienced many ups and downs but he always stayed himself on the Word of God.

How fitting is the last verse of 119. Psalm 119:176. After 175 verses of proclaiming how great God’s Word is; how we treasure it; how we seek to follow with our whole heart. But then still the psalmist ended up saying and we so often end up saying…

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.”

He was still the servant of God and not the servant of sin, and he still remembered God’s Word, so he won’t stray for long.

And that takes me back up where we began in our passage– Back to I NEED YOUR WORD: after learning the statutes of God, after having them opened up to you; meditating on them…the psalmist began to praise the Lord and speak the Word. The disciples began to praise the Lord – their hearts burned!!! Not only that but they couldn’t wait to tell that Jesus was risen. It is the same with us! Study and preaching the Word and praise and worship belong together.

When the Word is opened up to us because we have meditated on it. When John 1:1 becomes alive in our hearts too we can’t help but realize that even though we are so prone to wander and stray and rebel…when we called upon Him that we were

FORGIVEN. ACCEPTED. LOVED.  This is what brings us to our knees in worship of the Almighty God. For WHO He is, and what He has done for us.

And what does God desires from us. He wants our love. Our praise. When we meditate on the Word our hearts are changed. The overflow of our hearts is love and the overflow of our love is praise and speaking His Word and then we DO…. He wants us to be obedient to what He tells us to DO but the doing comes as a “byproduct” of our love and praise. It is part of our worship!