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Leadership Blog

Rise Up and Walk
Nov 12, 2017

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:6-7, HCSB).
Are you walking with the Lord today? It’s an interesting question. How exactly does a woman, who is flesh and blood, walk with God, who is Spirit? We can’t see God. We can’t hear Him with our ears or touch Him with our hands; yet Scripture tells us to, “walk in Him.” Notice what Scripture does NOT say “walk with Him.” It says, “Walk in Him.” How exactly do we walk in the Spirit of God?
To seek wholeness as a broken woman is to seek a faithful walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. To attain wholeness is to grasp the true nature of our spirit life, and its real fulfillment in the person of Jesus. Unfortunately for many of us, spiritual progress in our walk with the Lord is as difficult as walking is for the crippled. Yet Jesus stands before us to say, “Rise up and walk;” and with his Word he empowers us to do so.
Our spirit is the third and most important part of us (body, mind, and spirit). The spirit is the very reason that many women today feel incomplete, unworthy, and unloved. A neglected spirit can cause a great deal of suffering. It’s a matter of perspective that must be corrected. You are not a human being who has a spiritual component because the Holy Spirit lives in you. You are an eternal spiritual being that resides inside a human body. If you’re saved, your spirit and the Holy Spirit live together inside your body, together. If you never understand how to nurture your spiritual self, then you will never be whole; and you will never learn to live in relationship with the Holy Spirit. To “walk in Him” is to live, moment by moment in relationship with Him.
When God called Isaiah as a prophet to the Nation of Israel, he told Isaiah, “Go! Say to these people: Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive. Dull the minds of these people; deafen their ears and blind their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10, HCSB).
There were many reasons why God’s people were in trouble in Isaiah’s day, but you could boil it all down to the fact that they had broken faith with God. They had turned and gone their own way and were contrary to the Spirit of God. You might say the same thing happens to us when we try to live our life outside of His Holy Presence. We are contrary to the Spirit of God. God wants us to “walk in Him;” yet we keep walking away, chasing after our own dreams and desires. And when we do, our spiritual ears lose their acuity; and we stop hearing his gentle urging and conviction. Our spiritual eyes become blinded so we can’t see Him at work around us. We become dull to His presence in our life. But look at the miracle that happens when we return to Him. We see with our spiritual eyes, hear with our spiritual ears, understand with our minds, turn back from our contrary ways, and are healed (v. 10).
We are healed in the process of a vibrant relationship with God. We are healed as we walk in Him. All you have to do is maintain that relationship. Look carefully at those words, “maintain…that…relationship.” There is work to be done here. Critical maintenance is necessary, and this will require your time.

Giving of your time is easier said than done, especially when your day is already overbooked. But time is the all-important key to this very critical puzzle.

I know. I’ve heard the argument. I’ve even used the argument myself – still use it when I’m being selfish. “I don’t have time to pray right now, I’m too busy. I don’t have time to read my Bible right now, I’m already late. I don’t have time to think about the things that are important to you, God; I have too many things that are important to me right now.” These are the words of a mind that doesn’t realize the value of spiritual health and wholeness. These are the words of a mind that mistakenly believes it is invincible. These are the deceiving words of Satan, and they trip me up all the time! The truth is that I have time to do everything that I think is important. If God is important to me, then I will make time for him.
Wow, that hurts! I know because God said it to me before I shared it with you. Sometimes, the truth really hurts; but most of the time, that hurt is the beginning of the healing.
Spiritual healing and wholeness is a transformation that begins in that spiritual part of you. God created you to walk in fellowship with Him, and He is able to lovingly teach you how to do just that – all He needs is a willing heart and an open mind. He is here. He is waiting for you right here. Will you be made whole? Is he speaking to you? Will you rise up and walk with him?
“[I pray] that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. [I pray that] you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth [of God's love], and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Assignment: Do you have a regular time when you meet with God to read the Bible and pray? If not, make a commitment right now while conviction is fresh in your mind. Make a daily appointment, then faithfully make every effort to keep it.
Musical Inspiration:

Leadership Blog

Primary Disciple-makers
Nov 12, 2017

I’ve had this yearning in my heart for a few years now, two or three. It felt like a change in season for me, or, a new way of approaching student ministry. I started doing the math, which, beyond the basics, is very dangerous for me (I never thought it was a good idea to mix the alphabet with numbers). My son, who is almost six, is one-third finished living in my home. I mean, the kid just started kindergarten and he’s 33.3333% finished living in my home!?

That number hit me in the face. It’s not that we don’t or weren’t discipling our two kids; it’s just that, as they get a little older, our kids begin to understand more of the Bible stories that we teach them. And with that, came the brutal truth that junior high and high school students are knocking on the door of adulthood.

As a youth pastor, we have two to four hours of time with your child each week. We desperately want them to be saved and made new, but we still only have a few hours with them each week. So, what if I began building into dads? What if I began teaching them what God calls us to do in Deuteronomy chapter six? I’m in the same boat. I’m in the same part of life, trying to do the best I can with my kids. And I want to learn, too.

So that desire I had several years ago began to manifest itself in a new way. I began a workshop where several of us dads began looking at those verses in Deuteronomy along with a book by one of my seminary professors entitled, Parenting With Kingdom Purpose. For me, it was a new way to work within student ministry; investing and learning with those that are called to be the primary disciple-makers, a partnership between the home and church. Better together…and a workshop it was.

We had some great success and learned new and creative ways of doing things. But I feel like we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg. My desire is to continue to pour into the students at our church. But one of the greatest ways of doing so, I believe now, is to work with parents. I’m hoping to begin a new workshop in the spring exploring new ways to creatively work together as parents in raising up our kids to know and love God.

Be on the lookout for your opportunity to register at

Leadership Blog

Simply Profound
Nov 04, 2017

Recently, I have been in awe of God. He is both simple and profound. Let me explain…

God is Simple:
  • God’s invitation is for us to know Him, a deep fellowship between Himself and His children. (Psalm 27:8)
  • God summed all the “do” in the Bible to 2 things: Love God. Love People. (Mark 12:28-34)
  • John 3:16: God loved us so much He gave His Son so we would not perish.
God is Profound:
  • The depth of creation (all the species of plants, bugs, animals… not to mention the universe!) reveals how limitless He is.
  • The depth of the person of God. The human mind will never figure Him out.
  • The depth of the Bible. If we only had access to one page, we would continually find new depths of Truth held within it.

Philippians 2:13 is one of my favorite verses: “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” I am good at making things complicated. My prayer these days is: Lord, help me stay simple and allow You to do the complicated work needed in me.

God’s call to simple:
  • Spend time being still in His presence
  • Worship Him continually (in song, with service, giving gratitude, and speaking of His amazingness to others)
  • Read the Bible; just read it, without engaging “study” mode
  • Meditate on His Word
It’s summed up in Just 3 things:
    We each have a spirit, soul and body. Know Truth in your spirit; connect with God’s Spirit. This happens as we spend time in the presence of God and read the Bible.
    We each have a mind. It is transformed as we plant seeds of Truth in our thoughts and intellect. Those seeds grow as Truth from God’s Word comes out of our mouth: proclaiming Truth in song and speaking it to fight lies.
    We each have a physical body as walk this earth. Let us walk in Truth…

    - living the change God is working in us,

    - obeying what God is instructing us to do (His “do,” not mine,)
- sharing the simply profound Truth of God with others.

Email me: and let’s know it, speak it and walk it together!

Leadership Blog

Searching for Shore
Oct 28, 2017

Imagine with me. You are on the deck of a ship. The storm rages, the night is dark. The waves toss you to and fro. As the wind rages, threatening to tear the sails from the masts, you search. Straining with your feeble eyes to see the shore. Nothing but the angry storm, the crashing waves, and the howling wind can be seen or heard. The shore before you is surrounded with sharp rocks that will tear your ship apart. The safe harbor is somewhere, but you cannot see it. Then like the parting of the clouds, a beam of light pierces the dark. Like a beacon of salvation, the light of the Lighthouse calls out to you, “Come here for safety!” You feel relief as you turn the ship. A path to safety is there. Not hidden for only a select few, but proudly proclaimed for all. A feeling of relief washes over you. There is still a long journey ahead, but now you know where to go.

It’s the same for us in our daily lives. The storms of this world may take different shapes, but they still try to push us off course. They will buffet us with the temptations of pop culture, moral relativism, hardships of health, worries about money, and even strife with your fellow brethren. But we can always see the Light of the Almighty, if we only look. Consider Psalms 43:3:

Psalms 43:3
O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your dwelling places.

Similarly, God has given us a light that will guide us through this turbulent life. Both in Scripture and our prayerful meditation of it. We must not just read the Bible, but we must also pray and think upon what was written. Seeing the light shining from the lighthouse is not enough. We must know what that light means and then act upon it. Historically, lighthouses were used to both warn and to guide. The light by itself was not enough, wisdom was also needed to guide the ship’s pilots in their actions.

A final thought, as we work with others to see the perfect Light of God, we must remember our role as leaders. Either as leaders in our house, our church, or even our daily work. We are not the Lighthouse, God is. It is not for us to dictate where the ship must go, but rather to ensure our brethren are looking for the Light. John the Baptist understood this well. In John 3:30, he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Here John refers to the need for people to clearly see the divinity and Truth of Christ over himself. He knew the importance of seeking the Truth and Wisdom of the Almighty. He knew the importance of pointing people to the Savior and not distracting them from the work of his Master.

So as we find ourselves leading and guiding others, we must ensure that we are pointing them ever towards the One who saves us all. We are not on the shore, we are not directing the saving light of the Lighthouse. We are with them on the storm tossed ships. We are there to point them to God. We are beside them, helping them see the Light we have already found.

Psalms 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?

Leadership Blog

Crazy Connection Story
Oct 20, 2017

So Tuesday afternoon at 4:04 pm, I get the call every parent prays not to receive but secretly prepares for.

Me: Hey what’s up?

Ben: Dad, I’ve been in an accident.

Me: Stop it, what’s going on? (Choate’s are sometimes known for “crying wolf” about serious matters as a joke.)

Ben: No Dad, a guy ran into the back of me at a red light and it’s bad.

Me: Are you ok, son?

Ben: Yes. We’ve called the police and they are on their way.

Me: Ok, I’m on my way. You sure you’re ok?

Ben: Yes sir. I hear the sirens so the police are close.

I covered a good distance in a short period of time to get to the accident. Every light, but one, turned green as I approached the intersections and the one that was red was in the direct line of sight of Ben, his truck and the police. When I arrived at the accident, I noticed the paramedic talking with Ben and the paramedic was Rick Smalley. Rick is not just a TBC member but also a member of my Connection Group. Ben knows Rick very well and thinks the world of him. As I approached Rick smiled his big O’ smile and said, “He’s ok, probably be a little sore in the morning.” We got Ben checked out at the ER and doctors didn’t see anything but he is definitely sore.

We are designed to have friends and be a friend. God uses our friends to help us grow in Him and encourage us. Ben later said he was a little nervous with everything going on but when he saw Rick roll up; he felt better about things. I felt better knowing that a friend was with my son until I got there. Here’s what the Word says.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
for he has no one to help him up.

We were definitely lifted up by a friend that afternoon. God is so good to use our friendships to improve our lives.

Who’s someone that encourages you? When was the last time you told them? As soon as you finish reading this blog, pick up the phone and call that person. Tell them you were thinking about them and your life is better because of their friendship. You’ll be amazed at the response. (If you really want to rock their world, tell them how special they are to you and then say, “Ok. Bye” and hang up. See how long it takes them to call back.) I heard someone say the biggest regret in life is to not say the things you should to those you love the most.

I no longer believe in coincidences in God’s economy. I believe that God used Rick Smalley to be His hands and feet that afternoon to ‘lift up’ a dad and son during a tough afternoon. Circles are better than rows and I’m glad Rick is part of my circle. Thanks Rick!

A 2017 message from our Pastor

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