Tag Archives: prayer

Another Random Wednesday

Just some random thoughts and happenings of late:

A dear friend texted me today and asked if I would like to pray for her upcoming trip to Malaysia!  My answer could never be anything other than of course!  Lisa has spent the last few summers traveling to Malaysia and leading a team in sharing the gospel of Jesus through basketball and developing relationships while there.  Here is a pic of Lisa from last year with some of the folks she was with:

Constantly reminded of the good friends we have and the relationships that have been developed over the past few years. Here are a few examples:

1.  Thankful for friends who are still helping me look for full-time employment.  Ryan over at  Florida Fowler is a great friend and has begun writing again.  He has been on the lookout for me even though it might not always be easy!

2.  Thankful for friends who care about our finances.  This past week I had some car trouble – thought it was going to cost me a lot of $$ to get it running.  Josh and Brandi Hignight offered to drive to Inverness on their anniversary weekend so Josh could fix my car.  Unselfish friends wanting to help us.

3.  I’ve shared before about our friend Matthew who has opened up his home to us for a place to stay as needed as we commute each week to Tallahassee.  Having a houseguest each weekend for about 18 months can’t be easy – even if I am the guest!  Trying to give him a break for a month or so during the summer as we stay in our son’s apartment as needed.

Father’s Day was a blast for me.  I always enjoy spending time with Cyndi, Meghan and Ethan.  This past weekend was no exception.  I have the best wife and children a husband and father could ask for!  Meghan even posted a picture of us from many years ago on one of her own blogs, The Life of Mugs!

Reminded this week of the value in investing in others.  You may never know how much impact you can have on those around you!  And the impact others will have on you!

 

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Recent Thoughts

Without making this post too long, here are a few thoughts that are bouncing around inside my head the past few days:

Responsibility doesn’t equal influence.  Had a really good conversation with a friend this week about this statement.  He was spot on  in saying it.  Too often we confuse the two or even try to equate the two.  Both are important but they can be independent of each other.  Organizations need both.  Sometimes I think I would rather be an influencer.

God answers prayers.  I have been praying for a number of years that God would allow me to be a part of a big movement of His.  Easter He answered my prayers!  Cyndi and I have been volunteering and attending at City Church Tallahassee since January 2011.  We have witnessed God grow the attendance at worship services to over 800 on a weekly basis.  Anticipating a really bit crowd on Easter, City Church rented the Tallahassee Civic Center.  Approximately 4,000 people showed up for the service!  Hundreds of people indicated they decided to become a Christ follower that day!  Check out the music and the message here http://t.co/3ipubZdG

Here’s a view of that day:

Seasons of Life.  We have been in one of the most unusual seasons of life ever the past 16 months!  Literally pouring our life, our time, our resources, ourselves into new friends and City Church Tallahassee.  It has been a great journey!  Is it just beginning?  Is it over?  Waiting on answers can be a hard thing.  One thing we both know – 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11.

 


More Random Friday Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts from this week:

I love the honesty and real talk that takes place in our community group each week!  As we talked about City Church Tallahassee Vision, Mission and Values this week, one statement stood out more than any other from one of our group members.  As we talked about reaching our community, he said (paraphrase) “Look at the text messages on your phone.  How many of them are from/to people who are not Christ Followers?  Maybe that tells us something about who we really care about.”  His intent was we need to be involved in the lives of others, especially those who don’t know Christ.  I appreciate his straight forward approach to life!

Continued to have good conversations about prayer with my wife, Cyndi this week.  As she reads The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, it has opened up new dialogue about prayer and specific prayers we both are praying!  Although we have always had a very good line of communication with each other, this has been a fresh approach to something dear to each of our hearts.  Praying specific prayers together is a good thing!  God will honor them I know!

We spent some time doing yard work this week.  With our frequent commute to Tallahassee each weekend, our yard is sometimes not the first to be attended when we get home each week.  As we were in the front, several cars slowly drove by – looking.  Some drove by more than once.  As we came inside our realtor called to see if someone could show our house in an hour.  Talk about some quick straightening on the inside!  I’m convinced this is going to be the answer to a specific prayer of ours!

Watched a leadership lesson play out this week.  One about delegation and being prepared.  While it turned out not so good, it will still be a good lesson for those involved.  Fortunately it was an issue far down on the list of “importance”.  Sometimes you have to let people fail in order for them to lead – it’s all part of learning!

Easter At The Civic Center is going to be a big deal!  Not for City Church Tallahassee but for God!  I’m excited about the thousands of people who will attend and hear the gospel.  Some for the very first time.  It’s going to take hundreds of volunteers to make this worship event work like it should and I’m thankful for the many people who are stepping up to fill a needed spot.  I can’t wait to write some about the neat things that happen that day!

Tomorrow is my wife’s birthday!  I can’t wait to celebrate it with her!  Part of the celebration will be seeing The Hunger Games.  That will be a treat as the family will be watching together!  We both love the time we get to spend with our kids!  Hoping this year will be one of the best my wife has ever experienced!

 


The Circle Maker

I recently finished reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  I have been a fan of his writings since the first time I read In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.  His life, his faith, his teachings – all seem so simple when you read his words.  Yet they have had a powerful impact on my own life, faith and I hope my teachings.  The Circle Maker begins with the sharing of the true legend of Honi the circle maker, a first century Jewish sage whose bold prayer ended a drought and saved a generation.

This book on prayer has been especially challenging to me.  Prayer is not new to me.  I have understood the premise of prayer for a long time.  We recently had a discussion on the Lord’s Prayer in our community group that blended with this book well.  Cyndi and I have had numerous conversations over the past few weeks about prayer – what it is, what it isn’t, why God answers some and it seems He doesn’t answer others, how we pray, where we pray and even why we pray.

Most of my life I have been hesitant to pray specifically for personal things.  When our daughter was in ICU for months after her birth 24 years ago, it was hard to pray for certain things – simply because we were afraid of the outcome.  When the complications surrounding the pregnancy and birth of our son 20 years ago presented another opportunity for specific prayers – it was hard.

It’s easier for us to pray specifically for others.  Cyndi and I stood beside the hospital bed of a friend in 2009 and prayed that God would deliver her twins healthy, with no complications for mom or babies – when doctors where discussing things that weren’t so positive.  We prayed, believing that not only God would hear us but that He would act on our prayers – and He did!

Later in 2009 I gathered some friends together on Saturday mornings and we walked an empty field, praying for the kids who would one day play on that land.  Praying they would be surrounded by the love of God and would come to have a personal relationship with Him – specifically for kids I don’t know and probably will never meet.

Batterson suggests that sometimes our prayers seem to go unanswered because we are so vague in our conversations with God.  I’m committed to stop being vague.  I’m committing to bringing specific prayers before Him.

This week my prayer life changed.  I have become more specific.  I have become more intense.  I have become more consistent.  I have become more bold.  And not just for myself.

I’m reminded of Psalms 84:11 – a verse many of us know and recognize: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

It’s time for me to start claiming more of the promises of God.  Circling them if you will.  And not just praying for them, but praying through them!

 


Community

Sharing life with friends is amazing!

We have chosen to facilitate a community group with City Church Tallahassee each week.  We have been doing this for 13 months now and while some of the faces have changed, there has been a core group of members that has grown over time.

Each Monday evening we begin gathering around 7:00 p.m. and spend some time catching up with each other – laughing about work and family and church and our various escapades each week.  We learn about new friends and what is happening in each of our lives.

We spend a good amount of time in prayer with and for each other.  With our group averaging about 15 in attendance each week this can seem to be time consuming but it is some of the best time we have with each other.  I believe our prayers for and with each other are special.  So often a Christ Follower’s prayer life can be consumed with selfish requests and pleas.  This is a true reflection of our care and concern for each other and part of what defines our community!

We are currently exploring The Apostle’s Creed and examining what we say we believe!  There are fantastic comments and discussions as we each bring our own unique perspective to our beliefs – and for that I am thankful.

Cyndi and I are blessed beyond words to be a part of this group!  Our community loves us and cares for us – just as we do them.  Thankful for opportunities to share life with others!


2012 – New Year – New Goals?

Great conversation this morning with Cyndi Ellzey! As we talked about some scripture we read today, it was interesting how God used different passages to bring us to the same conclusions!

2011 was an incredible year of change, challenges, new friendships, faded friendships, God filled experiences, frustrations, doubt, success and sorrow. As Christ followers we are not immune to the wide range of emotions that capture the human race! But as Christ followers we do have something that others do not have – the Holy Spirit. And it is that Spirit that allows us to face all of these emotions and life circumstances with a different viewpoint – with a hope that we will conquer!

We followed God’s lead in 2011 like we have never done before! I quit my job as Executive Pastor of FBC Inverness the first week of Janauary 2011. We began volunteering at City Church Tallahassee the same week. We began a weekly commute that lasted all year-long. We laughed and cried with new friends and new relationships. We lived on faith like we have never done before. God provided in a unique way. God didn’t provide me a paycheck but He made sure our bills were paid and we didn’t lose our house!

As we begin 2012 we are excited to continue what God has begun in us! We are excited to continue to disciple others and to be a part of what He is doing in Tallahassee. Our goals have not changed, our resolutions have not wavered. My expectations are higher now that we have lived as we have. I find myself wanting a paycheck because it is secure but I know that God will take care of us in some form or another!

My prayer continues to be one that I will have faith. That I will listen to Him. That I will respond to His direction. That I will do what He wants me to do. That in 2012 I will be who He wants me to become!

My prayer for others is much the same. That Christians will become followers and not fans. That churches will raise the expectations for those that attend beyond attendance. That action will become the standard. That selfless giving will become normal. That more will become followers. That He will be made great in all that we do – not just in all that we say.

New goals in 2012? No, I just want to be really good at the ones I already have!