Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pack Light

I love to travel. We have been to some glorious places. We’ve seen the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, Mt. McKinley in Alaska, the London Bridge in Arizona and the Sequoia’s in California. We don’t go for the touristy places, we want to explore nature, old landmarks or museums.  I love meeting people and hearing their stories. But basically, I just love to “go”.
I get my love for traveling honest. My grandmother loved to “go” too.  I remember so clearly, my mother would ask Mama ( that’s what we called our grandmother) “Wanna go home with me?” Almost, every time, she would say "let me change my apron". She’d find a fresh apron, lay some clean underwear inside her apron, roll it into a tight roll and tuck it under her arm. She’d return to the living room with it tucked under her arm and a smile on her face and say "I’m ready”. That woman should have won a medal for “lightest luggage” or something. That has to have been some kinda record.
I’m not recommending you travel that light, but with the fees airlines are charging these days for luggage we are all packing lighter. I have three suggestions to help you pack lighter.
Pack for where you’re going. Not where you are.
                How does a Florida girl pack for Alaska? She doesn’t pack shorts and sleeveless shirts, that’s for sure. I wanted to have clothes that would be warm enough and appropriate for where I was going. It didn’t matter that I was from Florida; I needed clothing that was appropriate for Alaska. So I called a friend that had just returned from Alaska. He knew exactly what I should and should not pack.
     1. You gotta know where you’re going. What do you want to accomplish with your life or ministry? What is your goal? What is God’s goal for your life? What is your passion?
     2. Unpack your past. Unpack fear, pain, offenses and prejudices. Unpack jealousy, the dirty clothes, the scraps of paper and junk that litter the bottom of your suitcase from your last trip.
     3. Know what you need. What skill sets will you need for where you’re going? If you want to write, take a course in writing. Start sharpening your skill sets and your knowledge base for where you are going.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's My Birthday

Today's my birthday. I never mention it, but today I will. I mention it only because I want to share some things with you that I  have learned in life and ministry. I would like to make it a "Top Ten List", but you know how long winded I am. However, since it's my birthday I'll just be who I am-long winded! And you don't want to miss the last one either because it's my personal favorite, but if you're squeamish don't read it. 
  1. I’ve learned to be flexible. Steel flexes, iron snaps. The best laid plans are subject to change. In the middle of an Easter program when the pastor says cut it short, you gotta be flexible or you'll snap. Then there are those times when you have an eight foot stage and seven foot ceiling. Or when you've been told to use one room for your class, but when you get there they give you a different room. My personal favorite is when you meticulously plan an hour and a half program and the evangelist rambles, oops preaches, for three hours. (I can say it, because I am one of those evangelist now.)
  2. Think the best of people. Find good in everyone. They’ll love you when you value them. Love people, because love never fails. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. I’ve learned not to look down on others because they don’t know what I know; everyone knows things I don’t.
  3. Get behind your leader, but don’t kick him/her as tempting as it may be.
  4. Forget about the wrong, remember the good. I’d like to give you examples of the wrongs, but I’ve forgotten them.
  5. Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Ministry is not the place for motor mouths without an off switch.
  6. Never put an Aaron in charge until he has your heart.
  7. You have to play by the rules of the park you’re playing in; never your rules.
  8. I am responsible for only what I’m responsible for - nothing more, nothing less.
  9. There is a God and His name is not Pat Holland.
  10. People can’t follow you if you’re not going somewhere.
  11. I want to develop participators, not spectators.
  12. Don’t become road kill on the road to success. The road to success is strewn with dead quitters (critters). Forgive, guard your attitude and keep moving upward.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Did you know that Pentecost was celebrated for hundreds of years before the outpouring recorded in Acts? Let’s jog your memory for a moment. Can you answer some basic questions about Old Testament Pentecost? What? Who? Where? When? If you have trouble, refresh your memory by reading Exodus 19. This account records the nation of Israel receiving the law on Mt. Sinai 50 days after the Passover.This event was to be memorialized yearly with The Feast of Pentecost. The New Testament Pentecost outpouring of the Holy Spirit is recorded in Acts 2. There are amazing similarities between the Old Testament Pentecost and the New Testament Pentecost when you compare them side by side.

Old Testament Pentecost                            New Testament Pentecost
Expect a visitation                                           Expect a visitation
Prepare yourself                                              Prepare yourself
Gather at the foot of the mountain         Gather in Jerusalem
Fire                                                                        Fire
Sound of a trumpet (wind instrument)  Sound of wind
Voice of God                                                      Holy Spirit spoke through people
Received the Law                                            Received the power to obey the living Word                      
The supernatural and spectacular giving of the law and God’s presence atop the mountain was an event and a clue of what He was going to do after Jesus paid the penalty for sin. The Old Testament Pentecost sets the tone for the outpouring of Holy Spirit in the New Testament; An event that is not frozen in time like a glacier. God's promised present came to do more than visit believers; He came to fill them.
Pentecost is a noun. It is both an event that occurred and a person that was introduced to the world. If you only know the historical Pentecost as an event, you are missing the real meaning of Pentecost. It’s more than a place we visit historically or a shrine in our tenants of faith. Pentecost must be a living reality if we are going to reap its benefits.
You can celebrate an event without understanding its meaning or enjoying its benefits. This fact is exemplified by the way some individuals celebrate Easter with only eggs and bunnies. But you can’t have the person of Pentecost, precious Holy Spirit without the verbs of Pentecost- go, do and be. When Holy Spirit comes He is like the wind, moving, energizing and transforming. He is the catalyst that energizes and inspires. He is the wind that catapults and brings life. The primary focus of His voice and His presence is to show us Jesus. The more we know Jesus, the more we love Him and are transformed by that love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plug In

I couldn’t figure out why the Internet wasn’t working. I checked the router/modem. I could see several green lights blinking, so it had power. Again, I tried to connect to the Internet with the same ominous message and no connection. I clicked on the diagnostic tool and waited for the results.
The first question asked was “Are all cables connected to the modem?" I knew the computer I was using did not have an internal wireless modem. The Router/modem was sitting on top of the computer so I was sure it was connected.
At the bottom of the page I was given two options, one of which was “I verified that the cables are connected.” I didn’t really want to bother, but it was foolish to continue with the diagnostic if I wasn’t willing to check the cable. You guessed it, the cable was unplugged. I plugged in the cable and connected to my know-it-all friend, the fabulous Internet!
We must be careful as believers to stay connected to God. We understand we need His power, His wisdom and His help, but we fail to value His friendship and lordship. We juggle schedules and priorities, but way too often spending time with Him gets left off the list. His name is scratched off and replaced with religious activities and quick screeches for “help”. Nothing can replace connecting with God. Nothing can compare with the splendor of spending time with the King of Kings, but we must consciously plug-in through praise and worship to enter His presence. Take a look…are all cables connected to His majesty?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

His Power, Not Ours

His Power, Not Ours

It was the close of the service at a District Girl’s Retreat and the girls were praying at the altar,  I noticed a leader with several girls as she moved among them praying and encouraging them to enter into the presence of God. I moved along slowly, praying for girls to experience the presence of God. But when I came to this leader, I felt an urgency to linger.

Prior to the service I had urged the leaders to move to the altars with the girls, praying over them, expecting God to flow through them to minister to their girls. This leader was doing exactly what I asked. It was inspiring to see her relate and minister to the girls.

But I sensed the need to minister to her for a moment and tell her something like this, “You ask yourself, can I minister to these girls? I have nothing to give these girls”. I shared the infamous verse from Zechariah 4:6 … “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” KJV

It is important that we never lose sight of that reality, it’s all about Him. We cannot change lives. We cannot give them what they need, even when they come forward for prayer at the altar. But, and this is a very important conjunction, be confident, that as a conduit His Spirit flows through you - like oil flows through the Alaska Pipeline - to touch the people you minister to. Your faith connects you with heaven and all God’s resources. God flowing through human conduits is what ministry is all about.