… the thoughts from a life in the Son-shine State

Posts tagged ‘life’

For the first time in my life

I am now in a new demographic.

As my 32 birthday quickly approaches, I have been reminiscing on the goodness of God and how different my life is now than I could have ever imagined.

This nostalgia is not because I feel as though I am getting old, but it is because when I was 15 something happened to me. Twenty two days before my Sweet Sixteen, I was radically transformed by the power of God in the fires of revival.

Each year that passes, I can’t help but reflect on how my life has been more than I could ever have imagined.

This year is special.

Just yesterday, I had the honor of meeting for the first time the man that was preaching the night I was saved. His name is Steve Hill, and one thing I have desired for some time is to simply shake his hand and say, “Thank you… thank for you for being obedient and preaching the Gospel.”

Me with Steve Hill

[I always try to be careful when I talk about this, because there are other people that played a HUGE role in my life as a young believer. For example, there is Mike Montag. Mike was the Youth Pastor at South Attleboro Assembly of God, is truly a humble and faithful man of God, and was my first mentor. He discipled me in many areas of life, and was crucial in forming my life as a teenager.]

This opportunity to sit and talk to Steve Hill landed right between my spiritual birthday and my biological birthday; which this year is significant. (Have I mentioned that yet?)

So, why is this significant? What new demographic do I now fit into?

I was born March 13, 1981.
I was born-again February 19, 1997.
I am turning 32 on March 13, 2013.
This means I have now, officially, been a born-again Christian for more than half of my life.

For many people this may seem insignificant; but to know how screwed up my life was, how bent I was for hell, and how my life was on a serious downward spiral, this is a testament to how amazing God is!

His grace continues to blow me away!

I spent a half hour this morning just crying as I thanked God for His faithfulness.

I really feel as though I have entered a new season of my life. There are things I feel as though God has been speaking to me and showing me… I have been having dreams, and am experiencing many “divine connections” with individuals in the city and in ministry.

I don’t know all that God has in store, but I am excited!

I have been given a birthday gift that I feel perfectly commemorates this unique time in my life—The Revival Study Bible.

The Revival Study Bible

With my rebirth having been forged in the flames of revival, and Steve Hill being the general editor, to me this is a special sword that will be used to fight many spiritual battles in the years to come.

Thanks to everyone that have been a part of my life, and I pray that we see greater things to come!

ONWARD!!!

Steve

If we were all like me…

… would that be good?

What if we were all like you?

What if we were all like Jesus?

Most people I meet want to have an impact on those around them.

At least, we should desire to have an impact…
and hopefully a positive one.

The trouble is, we often attempt this our own way.
We do what we think is important, and in return seek recognition for the great job we did, or impact we had.

What we need to be doing instead is asking the Holy Spirit to leads into the life of impact that will matter in light of eternity, and that God will receive the glory for it.

Francis Chan, in his book Forgotten God, has some challenging words for us regarding this truth:

How would you be missed if you left [the place God has called you to]? What would change? Basically, what difference does your presence here make? … What would your church (and the world-wide Church) look like if everyone were as committed as you are? If everyone gave and served and prayed exactly like you, would the church be healthy and empowered? Or would it be weak and listless?

Ouch!
Tough words from our fiend Mr. Chan…

Much work to be done in my heart, and then lived out in my life.

Holy Spirit… HELP!

Where Life Happens

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We believe that church should happen wherever life happens. You shouldn’t have to leave life to go to church.
— Neil Cole, Organic Church

2013 Resolution

I’ve decided to make a single resolution for 2013.

I resolve to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, that I may demonstrate more consistently the Fruit of the Spirit.

No, this is not some hyper-spiritual, Christianese, “Jesus Juke” remark.

This is genuine.

I’ve come to this conclusion:

  • All the things I have ever resolved to do in the past I have utterly failed to accomplish fairly quickly,
  • I can’t do anything in my own strength that will have an eternal impact, and
  • Any worthy resolutions can only truly be accomplished if God changes me.

Why don’t I exercise? I’m lazy.
Why do I eat too much? I lack self control.
Why do I not read as much as I should/could? Again, laziness.
Why don’t I spend more time getting to really know the people around me? I’m not as kind, good, and loving as I should be.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(Galatians 5:22, 23 NLT)

Most of us don’t have the impact we could on this world because we are too self-focused.

I want this to see this changed in my life, and only God can do that.

As a result, my wife and I prayed for God to plan our New Years Day.

We kicked off the New Year with a great day helping some good friends get some much needed work done. They decided to thank us with lunch at McGuire’s Irish Pub (unnecessary, but I didn’t argue).

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 NLT)

Life is found in giving your life away!

I’m glad that Brooke and I were able to start the year off right—serving.

With true surrender to the Holy Spirit, we will experience a change in our lives we never thought possible… and that’s usually because we often think too highly of ourselves.

Believing for change!

Steve

  • How about you? Have you ever failed to fulfill any resolutions?
  • How about any successes?

P.S. Please ignore any commercials that may appear below. 🙂

The Best Advice Ever (Along With the Rest)

This morning I was doing some reminiscing, and it lead me to thinking about some of the best advice I have ever received.

I was blessed to have an amazing man of God as a youth pastor growing up.
He is a man full of wisdom, humility, and faithfulness; and also lots of useless information. 😉

His name is Mike Montag, and he would be humbled by the previous accolades; and would whisper to me that they aren’t true; which only proves my point (except, or course, when it comes to the useless information, which he would jokingly agree with).

As I graduated high school, I was certain of where I should go, but took a year to finally make the jump and go to college in Pennsylvania.

Upon making the journey to a new land, I received these words of advice from Mike:

Always remain teachable.

Other than “Don’t drink the water in a third-world country,” it’s safe to say that up to this point in my life, of all the advice that I have been given, this has had the greatest impact.

No matter where I’ve been, what I know or think I know, and what I’ve experienced, I have also learned that I don’t know it all. [This was also pointed out to me by another great man of God, the late Rev. Frank Linton.]

Making the choice to remain teachable means that you’re humble and open to learning from whoever, whatever, whenever; and that you haven’t figured it all out. There’s always another angle, or perspective, or piece of information that you haven’t factored in, and as long as I allow myself to be teachable, I will continue to learn, grow, and become more effective in what the Lord has called me to do… oh, and I will also gain that coveted thing called wisdom.

  • Have you ever been given a piece of advice that has greatly impacted your life?
  • Was it a positive or negative impact?
  • Was the individual that gave you the advice doing so with your best interest in mind? (In other words, were they trying to help you or hinder you?)
  • Can you see any long-term affects in your life from the advice?

Thank you, Mike, for giving your all to discipling me. Your efforts have reaped a great harvest in my life, and those fruits have always stayed with me. My life as a follower of Christ, husband, father, and minister are directly connected to what the Lord has done in and through your life. Thank you for remaining teachable, and in return passing the wisdom on to a young, loud, prideful boy that is now beginning to understand (only slightly) the depth of the wisdom passed on.

Still learning…

Steve

The next day…

I know it’s the day after Easter, but the reality of the empty tomb should resonate every day!

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:7

The following video depicts the resurrection of Christ through the eyes of Mary Magdalene.
Be blessed.

It was for us!

“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.”
Isaiah 53:5-6

“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!”
Luke 24:1

Happy Resurrection Day!

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