Act

A friend of mine recently got a tattoo. It is a cross with James 1:22 under it. It looks good and it made me think. Not just about tattoo’s, but about that Scripture. This morning I was reading it, and wanted to share it with all of you.

This is from the Message translation verses 22-25 “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God-the free life!-even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.”

Did you catch that? Read it again.

Only when we actually do what he hear do we get delight and affirmation. So many of the people I talk to are doing their own thing and not what the Word tells them to do and then they wonder why they are struggling. Putting into action what we hear and learn is the difference between freedom and bondage. Many people would rather live in bondage because they don’t want to do what they know is right.

Real freedom comes when we put into action the things we are learning from the Bible. Are you looking for Financial freedom? Spiritual freedom? Relational freedom? Emotional freedom? Physical freedom?

The NIV translation says it this way “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says.” That is right, do what it says. The Bible shows us how to live in total freedom, yet we choose bondage when we don’t put it into action.

What action do you need to take today in your finances, your marriage, your work, your thought life, your parenting, your friendships, your time with God, your body?

Steps

We kicked off a wellness program this week for our staff at NewPointe. We are on three teams and competing in several areas. The idea of course is for all of us to get healthier. I am excited about this new program because it has already motivated me to get into better shape. I went on walks the last two evenings. I would like to invite all those fellow blog readers to join us in this wellness effort.

This week we are counting our steps for an entire day. On day one I only had 9,300, but I got my step counter after first service Sunday. Todd Colucy was the big winner on day one with over 36,000 steps, wow! Today I am at 13,000 steps.

I know we all want to get in better shape and for me I need a little motivation. This may be the catalyst that I need to get over the hump and lose the weight, body fat etc while lowering my cholesterol.

I want to challenge everyone that reads this to set some goals for the next month. Get out and walk once or twice this week. Go on bike rides, stretch every morning, whatever it is for you. Then get out and start doing it.

It is the same for us spiritually. Set some achievable goals to pray, read the Bible, listen to messages or read a book. Then start doing it. Spiritual and physical health doesn’t just happen, it takes some effort, planning and accountability. Next time you see me ask how my diet & exercise is going. You can also ask me how my prayer and Bible reading are going too. If you ask me, I will ask you.

Personal Growth

My personal mission statement is “Growing in Faith, Character & Leadership” To me the most important part of that statement is the first word; “Growing”. Growing means that I am learning, changing, adapting, failing, planning, attempting new things, going, doing, thinking and focusing.

If I am not growing then I am declining. I want to grow in my personal faith, becoming more intimate with my Lord. I want to know Him and experience His presence and learn His ways.

I also want to grow in character, which usually happens through adversity. I want to be known for the character qualities others see in me, not the accomplishments. Qualities like dependability, flexibility, patience, responsible, determined, gentle, wisdom, discernment and courageous.

I want to grow in leadership as well. To become a better leader with the people that I have influence with. Leadership is about influence and I want my influence to grow. I want to be the leader that God created me to be. To step out and take chances and live life to the fullest.

So how do I grow? One way is I read a lot of books. I love to learn from other people. The more I read the more I grow in knowledge and understanding. I just finished three books I had been reading over the last couple of months. Each of those books challenged me in a different way. It fed my desire to become a better husband, employee, pastor, friend and Christ-follower.

Reading is very important in growing. Remember as a child how reading played a significant role in your development. In school I had to read, in college I had to read even more. Now I read because I want to. I read books on leadership, Christianity, discipleship, business and management. I also read fiction, usually stories about ordinary and extraordinary people. My favorite fiction writer is John Grisham, my favorite non fiction author is Erwin McManus.

As important as reading is in personal growth, so is going and doing what what I read. I need to put into practice what I am learning or it is wasted. If I read the Bible and don’t do what it says, all that reading is wasted. My challenge to you is to Grow. Don’t stay where you are at spiritually, emotionally or intellectually. Read, listen to Cd’s, watch DVDs whatever works for you, but don’t stop learning and growing. The more you grow the more God can use you.

Baptism Sunday

Today was baptism Sunday at NewPointe. What an amazing morning. John Bunn talked about Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine. Great stories John about baseball and your wedding. John challenged us all to be obedient to what God is calling us to do. By acting in faith we could experience a miracle.

We also got to hear nine life change stories, it is unbelievable how God is working in peoples lives. That is why we do church at NewPointe. Our desire is that everyone that comes to NewPointe is changed forever. We call it life transformation. I am so pumped for these nine people that have publicly declared that they are followers of Jesus Christ.

They all talked about there experience of making a decision to surrender completely to Christ and live for Him. Each one has grown in their faith and trust in God. What a special morning.

Congratulations to Paul & Sharon Wolodkin, Dave Cantwell, Cheryl Warther, Dani Engstrom, Jessica Rilke, Tom Troyer, Diana Young and Benita Miller. They all took the plunge so to speak. It took courage to step forward to record their testimony on video and then get on stage in front of hundreds of people. But each one was there for a reason and had a story to tell about how God has changed them forever. I hope and pray their stories touched someone today and that life change will continue on in others.

One last thing, John also threw out the challenge for our church to fill 1,000 boxes of food for our local food banks in Dover, Uhrichsville, Newcomerstown and Millersburg. I know we can meet the challenge. I called each of the food banks and they are excited about our goal. Let’s make a difference one meal at a time.

Some great items to bring in would be dry cereal, canned soup, canned chicken and tuna. Make sure you only donate something that you would eat, no old or damaged cans please. To God be the Glory!

Weekend Recap

This has been a great weekend! I will start on Friday. A young man stopped in to see me around 10:00 a.m. He had stopped in once before and we talked for an hour about some of his problems, God, church and God’s plan for his life.

On Friday I could tell things were not good. He explained some of the things that had happened to him, mostly bad, and kept saying God must have a plan for me since I am still here. He said something was missing in his life. He had tried to fill it with all kinds of stuff and none of it seemed to be helping.

He told me he believed in God, yet he thought there had to be more. I told him that 95% of the people in America believe in God, but a much smaller percentage have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I asked him if anyone ever showed him what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He said no, so I dove in.

I showed him on paper how we are separated from God by sin, and that no matter how many good things we do we can never fill that gap. How good is good enough to tip the scales? I then told him about God’s plan to send his son Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice for all our sins. I told him about the way they did sacrifices of animals in the old Testament and that Jesus was the last and ultimate sacrifice for us.

I showed him how Jesus filled that gap by dying on the cross and by being resurrected after three days, overcoming death and sin. I told him by believing in Jesus Christ and what he did for us and asking for forgiveness we can receive eternal life with God. Eternal life starts in this life for those that believe in Jesus Christ.

He said he wanted that and we prayed together and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Wow, was I excited for him. I told him about some steps he can take immediately, like getting into Starting Pointe, coming to church on a regular basis and getting baptized. He is doing all three. I was floating for a while after that.

He still has some junk to work on in his life, like all of us do. But he is a new man, a new creation and his life has radically changed forever.

I saw him in church on Sunday. I am praying for him and hope to mentor this guy in the months ahead.

Later on Friday I went through the steps to Freedom in Christ with someone. That is always an amazing time as we work through the many lies people believe and build truth into them. This person was able to face some deep fears and pray for Jesus to heal those hurts and fears from the past. After our time together their was much more peace and hope in this person. This was an encounter with God, where God touched and healed. God is Good!

On Saturday morning I met with my men’s group. We had a great discussion on what it means to be a masculine Christian man. We talked about how Jesus was not a wimp and we shouldn’t be either. We talked about being the spiritual leaders in our families and homes. We talked about how our church can reach out to men and help them get connected and engaged.

Later on Saturday I officiated at a wedding for Gary Schaffer and Angel Miller. Gary is in the Marines and Angel comes to NewPoint. It was great to see these two young people with a heart for the Lord starting a new life together. I love getting to spend times with couples at their wedding. Talking with them and praying for them. I saw them in Church on Sunday as well. Congratulations to Gary & Angel.

On Sunday, I had the privilege of baptizing two people. Alice Banks and Zack Smith. They both shared great stories about how God was working in their lives and they wanted everyone to know they are Christ followers. Way to go Alice & Zack.

That is why I love this church, because lives are changing. God is moving in an amazing way and I am so thrilled to be a part of that.

Friday morning I had prayed and asked God to use me that day. I made myself available and God did the rest.

After Church on Sunday my wife and I enjoyed a great meal at our favorite restaurant, Lams.

Pretty good weekend!