Here is a movie I put together from my weekend at the LIFE Deaf Youth Camp in Spicewood, Texas. All of the pictures & video clips by the New Life Fellowship Group. The movie is less than 10 minutes long which consists of pictures and a couple of video clips from the music and drama that we used in the camp. Enjoy!
The last month has been crazzy! Things have been so hectic lately that God just slapped me on the head and told me to slow down and pay attention. I cannot begin to start where and what has gone on in the last month or so. Those of you who follow me regularly will be pleased to know that I will be posting more often than before.
In the last month, some major changes happened that affected me, my family, my extended family, and my church family. Without going into so much details, lets just say…God has re-directed my path into another direction: evangelism. The last 15 years of ministry has taught me so much and has prepared me well for the next chapter of my ministry. God has opened new opportunities along the way and has shown me that He provides in due time. I have limited myself to minimum traveling for revivals, conferences, concerts, etc. But God removed those limitations and now it seems God is bringing more and more attention my way.
One of my passions has been music. Performing signed music for a congregation of hearing / deaf alike. At the beginning of the year, I had none planned for the 2011 year….here I am today with three scheduled (so far) i have learned more new music in the last month than I have in awhile. I have focused myself on studying songs in ASL more than I ever have in the past. It seems God has brought forward that gift beyond my preaching/teaching. It is my prayer that God continues to lift me up so that I can become the music man that God wants me to be.
On top of that, I have started a new part time job which is suitable for my schedule. Flexible and stable. I also have been pondering the idea of starting a new LIVESTREAM Bible study online, but not yet decided. There is another church that has given the thought of a possibility of a videophone preaching or making videos of myself preaching to add them to Youtube and it would be projected on screen within the church for the deaf congregation.
All in all, God has been with us every step of the way.
Much of today, I have been in a silent mode. And that is not normal for me at the office. I have read through my notes for my sermon, reviewed them, prayed on them, read them again, and so forth. One scripture was a good note…
Proverbs 3:3-4 says “3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; wrap them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” (NIV)
I love how another translation puts a different perspective to it from The Message:
“3 Don’t lose grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. 4 Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.”
the two things that gives us a great reputation before God’s eyes and the eyes of people are Love and Loyalty.
Love people, no matter what they say or do to you.. no matter if they talk bad about you or try to destroy your reputation…still must have Love for that person.
Loyalty as in being faithful to God in all ways, which includes going to your home church and supporting and loving people there. Church-hopping is not being a loyal person. Becoming loyal to God through your church brings you a good reputation in the eyes of God and the people.
…..Makes me wonder how many people would be in church in today’s world if they practiced those two things more seriously….
those are my Tuesdays Thoughts….
For the last few months, I have had probably the hardest times as a minister than I ever have had in the last 13 years of ministry work. I cannot recall ever going through so much. Without going into details, these last few days have been the hardest. But in the midst of all these things happening, I know God is with me. He will be with us no matter our trials. He will hold our hands no matter the struggles. He will scoop us up into His arms no matter whats being said or done. He will love me because He loved me first, before I loved Him. As I write this post after much reading, praying, and seeking, I am reminded of a scripture that I read recently. Psalms 51:17 that says:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (NIV)
In my Life Application Bible, it has a note that says:
God wants a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. You can never please God by outward actions – no matter how good – if your inward heart attitude is not right. Are you sorry for your sin? Do you really intend to stop? God is pleased by this kind of humility.
God wants a “contrite heart.” I didn’t know what this meant until I looked it up to refresh myself…it means to “be repentant” or to put it more simple “to be the end of ourselves and to allow the beginning of God’s freshness”
It is easy for people, during times of struggles, headaches, and hard experiences, to forget the importance of being broken, Lord knows..I have. Not many people would choose to be burdened with heartache or disappointment, but few that go through suffering fail to realize some value from those times…after the trial has passed.
As I was recently reflecting on my own times of “ups & downs…good days & bad days”, I read alot of things on the internet, in books, scriptures. And I discovered several important things to being broken before the Cross:
It makes and keeps one humble Humility is highly honored by God and is an attractive quality to others. You can never be tooo humble. When I think about this area, I am reminded of the prostitute that washed Jesus’ feet with her own tears and dried Jesus’ feet with her own hair. To do that required a heart full of humility.
It teaches important life principles Honestly, I have learned more from the hard times in my life than from the good times. Everyone needs to be looking into learning lessons from every experience, both bad and good. It has been said often that “without rain, flowers cannot grow.”
It brings repentance I often forget how much I need forgiveness. Brokenness, especially when caused by my own actions, reminds me I am hopeless apart from His grace.
It encourages a fresh start Starting over is not always as bad as it seems. Lord knows that new fresh starts are often needed in ministry. Satan works so much on us that we often forget that our time on earth is short. New beginnings start with the “renewal of our minds and hearts fixed on Him”
It invites grace Brokenness brings me to my knees. That’s never a bad place as long as my heart looks upward towards God. Being on your knees also shows humility. Being on your knees shows “a need” for something from God.
It shows humanity Brokenness reminds me that real people have struggles. Real people need a Savior. I am reminded of a church slogan in that past “Real people with real struggles worshiping a real God”
It welcomes the heart of God Psalm 34:18 says, “God is close to the broken-hearted.” To have a contrite heart means to clean yourself out and allow God to fill that empty space. To have a contrite heart means to “make Jesus more important that yourself” NOW…not later.
So may you have a humble heart today and everyday, as I will strive to do. May you welcome God into your life more and more everyday, as I will strive to do. May you remember that God is close to you in your struggles of life, as I will always remember too. May your remember that after the rain has happened, something more beautiful will come…as I will remember that too.
I have been writing this for several weeks, taking bits and bits from articles that I have read, scriptures that I have read and making sure little by little that it is made understandable for those who are “leaders” or praying about leadership in the near future….Many have asked me “How do you put up with it? (the backstabbing, the “target on your back”, the negative comments, etc) Read below for an explanation….
If you ever plan to be a leader or already a leader now, in any situation, it will always involve risk. There is no way around this. Leadership requires us to be open to go where no one else will go, do what others won’t do, become what others will not be, and say things what most say can never be done at the risk of failure. When I think of a person out of Scriptures, Nehemiah was a perfect example of a leader.
After hearing the news of his people, Nehemiah had an emotional meltdown. He was so deeply burdened that he cried, fasted and prayed for months over the situation. But Nehemiah was unable to allow his emotions to become public. He was expected to keep his emotions hidden. Nehemiah knew if he allowed his sadness to be seen in the courts of the King, he would risk everything. Possibly even his on life. So, Nehemiah prayed to God, “Grant me success today by making the King favorable to me…” (Neh 1:11)
As Nehemiah met with the king, he couldn’t hide his sadness any longer and the King took notice. The King asked Nehemiah, “Why are you looking so sad?” The scriptures tells us that Nehemiah was terrified as he approached the king and shared his burden. On top of his sadness and courage to share the problem, Nehemiah had the guts to ask the king for help. While, this may not seem too risky to you, it could have cost Nehemiah his life.
Nehemiah was willing to take a risk in order to help his people find meaning, wholeness, healing, and purpose in life. He was wiling to “ go a different way” and lay it all on the line for the sake of progress. Whether you lead a small business, or a large corporation you must be willing to take risks for the sake of progress. If there are no RISKS, there cannot be not GROWTH.
If you lead a church, risk is simply part of the calling. As with Christ, when you pick up the title of leadership, you lay down your desire for safety and a life of easy. Those who are leading churches and feel it is a safe place to work until you retire, think again. Without risk there can be no forward motion. Without a willingness to risk, you will be a “blind man leading the blind”
Here is a saying you can remember for the rest of your life: Those who never try to do anything great, never have anything that lasts a long time. Those who are against risk, who love to play it safe and “go with the flow” within their corporation or church, need to resign and find something more fitting to that mellow method. To move forward is to encourage GROWTH and that will always require risk. If we fail to lead people in GROWING, is the same as to leading them to mellow living (go with the flow), going off the main course, and ultimately spiritual death.
Why I mention this? Because too many leaders are resigning for the same reasons. Instead of jumping into leadership, maybe you need to ask yourself the biggest question of all “Am I REALLY in?” or “Am I here temporarily?”
Today will be a busy day for me and I thought to do a post on here first before I get started with my day.
Just a few days ago was our 3 year anniversary of the Deaf Church (March 22, 2008). And while I felt like celebrating, instead….I went to God’s Word to have an extra devotion time. The scripture that I got stuck on was this:
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “whatever you hands finds to do, do it with all of your might…”
To tell you the truth…this is true for many people. I cannot remember the last time that I had “idle hands”. My hands have constantly been doing something for God for the past 13 years. Whether its ministering to my family, ministering to a deaf person, ministering to my parents, ministering to my children, singing worship songs for a revival, teaching a workshop at a conference, praying with people, preaching, teaching, leading, whatever… I wouldn’t know what a person is like with “idle hands” …
God gives us the ability to do “something” for Him…. in each of us after we have received salvation through Him, is a gift. And that gift or ability is to be used to enhance, enthrone, and embrace Him more in every possible way.
Another scripture that I recall from a few weeks ago related to this is: James 1:22 which says…“Be doers of the Word, not just listeners” Rather than listening what God says….take it and use it and DO something….
Idle hands or a better word, hands that do not commit fully are not effective because Jesus is clear in Luke 9:62
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”
So today…I want you, who is reading this now, ask yourself this question…..
- What are my hands doing now for God?
- What is my level of commitment?
- What is causing me to “look back” while I am using my hands for God?
May your hands do good…may you do it with all of your might….may you be doers, not listeners only… and may you “plow” with your eyes forward, never looking back….
Graceland Baptist Church Deaf Social Message March 18th, 2011
Good evening…. Good to be here with you guys. I was asked to share a short devotion tonight with you. Some of you knowing me, I don’t know the meaning of a “short message”…we ministers tend to not think of time.
But usually when I do something short like this…I go into something that I use for my facebook videos which is a three part:
STORY / BIBLE VERSE / CHALLENGE
- How many of you have a car?
- How many of you drive a lot?
Now the big question…it is an embarrassing question….
How many of you have ever ran out of gas in your car?
- I remember one time, I was helping with Vacation Bible School.
- I was a leader for the Kindergarten class. I had 8 boys to myself.
- Monday…II had to drive 30 minutes to the church….I checked the gas…”oh plenty of gas!”
- Tuesday…I check the gas….”Oh plenty of gas”
- But the next day, I did not even bother to look…I was so busy
- And then it happened….I ran out of gas.
- Imagine how I felt…calling for help….I was embarrassed!
The scripture that I want to use here is Romans 12:2:
2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- As I was sitting in my car waiting for a friend to bring me some gas, I was thinking
- I was thinking of ways to AVOID running out of gas again….you know what the easiest way is? TO NEVER DRIVE MY CAR AGAIN.
- It would be full all the time, right?
- Its easy for the car to run out of gas if we don’t think about it
- It is the same with SPIRITUAL feeding…
- If you do not take care of your spiritual “gas”…it will run out.
- If you just stay home, not go to church, not go to bible studies at your church, not pray, not read your Bibles…. Your gas will be run out.
- When you go to church…you have plenty of gas
- When you get up Monday…check your gas…
- When you get up Tuesday…check your gas
- When you get up wed…check your gas
- When you get up Thursday, check your gas
- When you get up Friday, check your gas
Do not forget about it….
That verse teaches us to “RENEW” everyday…
If we want to grow more in our spirit and faith, we need to keep our “GAS” tank full
When we stop thinking about it or checking it, we end up in trouble.
There’s a story that I learned about a few years ago from a conference I went to…the story was about a young lady who had arrived at her home late one day and noticed a few bees flying around in the attic area outside her home. She didn’t think nothing about it so she just let it go, didn’t care about it. Over the next few weeks, she still noticed the bees coming in and out of her attic area outside of her home. But you know what? Her attic in her home became a live home for the bees and there was honey building up. So what happened? The ceiling floor collapsed and the bees became angry. The woman was fine and had no serious injuries but the repairs for the attic were more than she could handle.
That is a good example for some of us here tonight. When we are faced with a problem or situation that we just do not want to handle at the moment, we LET IT GO, we put it off, we ignore the situation until it becomes too late…when our “repairs become too much to handle in the end”
Neglect is a strong word and is used in many situations. Husband or wife neglect, children neglect, responsibilities neglected, opportunities neglected. Homes neglected for not taking care of it or outside of the homes too. What about a garden? (How many of you have gardens?) My parents had one when they were living here before they retired and moved to Bowling Green. Taking care of gardens is pretty hard work. I remember when I used to help them pick green beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, and then we also had “weeds”
Weeds are a pain in the butt. They never stop growing. No matter how many times we went out to that garden, it seemed like everyday, we had to pull them out. And I never understood at first, why was it so important to remove the weeds? I mean it looked just like a normal piece of grass and why all the extra work for a few pieces of grass? So as I learned that weeds can do damage to your garden, I was reminded of a parable that Jesus told in Matthew 13: 24 – 29.
24 “The Jesus used another story to teach them. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man that planted good seed in his field. 25 That night, all the people were asleep. The man’s enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. Then the enemy went away. 26 Later the wheat grew and the also the weed plants grew too. 27 Then the man’s servant came to him and said, “You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?” 28 The man said, “An enemy planted weeds” “The servants asked, ‘ do you want us to go pull the weeds out now?” 29 the man answered, “No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the good wheat. 30 Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At the harvest time, I will tell the workers this: first gather up the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn”
Jesus was emphasizing a few things in this story that is related to our own individual lives..
#1 We all have a good seed in ourselves (which is Jesus no matter how it was done)
#2 We all have weeds (your situation, grief, problems with family, friends, job, financial, etc)
#3 We all have a decision to make…Pull the weeds at the right time or never pull the weeds
You know back then they didn’t have electricity, which was before my time, they had oil lamps to light up a room. If it was really clean, one oil lamp had a great potential to light up an entire room very good. But if it was dirty or wasn’t cleaned up well, it wouldn’t light up as well.
That is the same concept as WEEDS….
If you continue to NEGLECT your WEEDS, your WEEDS will hurt you someday. And you will not be able to light up a room as Jesus would want you to. I struggle with my “weeds” everyday on something new whether it is financial, handling a problem related to my kids, house issues, car issues, problems with friends, problems with my wife…but I do know for sure..I have one set of weeds that I do not have to handle anymore, because I have already picked them out and Jesus took care of the rest for me. You know its interesting…sometimes in our deepest and hardest struggles, we turn our situations into our own sanctuary. We cry out for help and the weeds begin to be picked little by little.
In front of this computer now, I want to think for yourself of your own evaluation of your weeds. The question is: “What weeds am I neglecting today?” …meaning what weed do I need to take care of now….maybe is it a person you need to solve a problem with, maybe it is something that you are struggling with from your past like I was, or maybe you have weeds in your relationship with God but I challenge you to make a wise decision to pull your weeds out and let Jesus take care of the rest. Your weeds are never too much for Him. He planted that good seed and He did not intend for them weeds to damage that good seed.