I’m Weak.

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15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15 (ESV)

It’s a bit ironic that my Grace Confession today is “I’m weak.” Our Elder Team is currently in the middle of a 10 day fast and we are pressing into God with everything we have so we may experience Him and His move in a very supernatural way. This is not the time to be weak.

However, like Paul, there have been many, many, many times in my life that I have struggled to do what I felt was the right thing to do or what I felt God wanted me to do. I have been in vocational ministry for 25 years and there have been more times than not that I know I missed a blessing because I and my faith was weak. In the past, I have begun a season of fasting only to get to lunch and decide “maybe I can just do this fast thing for half-a-day.” Ugh! I hate when I do that. When I was addicted to tobacco for 27 years I quit at least 10,000 times only to eat a meal and decide my need for nicotine was far greater than my need for a healthy life. I don’t even have the time or space to go into all the times I wanted to say the right thing, not say the wrong thing, keep my mouth shut, not watch that movie, read my Bible, pray on a regular basis, start a regular exercise plan, lose those 30 pounds and on and on and on only to quit, give-up or choose another value in the moment of my weakness. Grrrr, why am I so weak?

Today, my weakness seems to take different shapes. I can go through a day full of strength, joy and praising God for everything He is doing in my life only to receive one negative word from someone and let it ruin my day and even week. I struggle taking my thoughts captive. I know I need to be stronger in this area, but I’m weak. Sometimes I dwell on a thought I know is not healthy and not productive in my walk with Jesus. I know in the moment I should call it down, take it captive, speak to that demon with truth and lay it at the feet of Jesus. But I’m weak. I carry it too long and I let it disrupt the rhythm of what God intended for me. I hate when I do that! I confess, I’m weak.

That’s my confession, but here’s my Grace Confession.

God showed me that in Romans 7 Paul was speaking of what it was like to live by the law of Moses. It depended entirely on self effort and the results would always be what the self created. He was wisely illustrating for us that it was a life that would always be weak.

I learned that in my own self efforts I would keep being disappointment by my inability to stay strong. I just couldn’t live this life that I felt God wanted me to live and that the church taught was my very basic responsibility to do. By Grace, God showed me I could NEVER be strong enough but in Jesus I would be strong enough to do anything!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. God showed me that my weakness is always exposed when I am trying do anything through my self-efforts. But when I rely on Jesus He has the strength to take those thoughts captive. All I must do is give it to Him by faith. God’s strength is perfect. There is no weakness in Him. When He thinks through me, chooses through me, decides through me, attempts through me, does through me, I can and will do anything. King David declared, “By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong.”

My Grace Confession is this. I’m Weak but in Jesus my weaknesses means nothing because His strength does what I could never do. He has declared all new possibilities in my life! Give your weakness to Jesus and watch the results take place in your life, then you can live out the Jesus-kind of strength God intended for all of us!

Be blessed!

Pastor Bryan

I Feel Unworthy

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I confess. There are many times I feel an unusual burden of unworthiness to do what I do and be who I am.

According to what I’ve been told, many pastors deal with this oppressive emotion. I’m not sure whether that makes you or me or possibly both us feel better but I am sure it is a bit surprising. After all, as a pastor I am supposed to be the one who is confident in who I am and what I do. Although this is true, I am confident in who I have become in Jesus, it doesn’t negate who I was. Nor does it keep Satan from attacking my thoughts with the “lack of worth” feelings every time I begin to dream for something bigger or dare to want something better.

It’s possible this debilitating emotion is derived for the issues of “abandonment” experienced along life’s journeys. You know: parent’s divorce, dad issues, betrayal and such. It doesn’t take long for the most confident person to lose a sense of worth and become narcissistic about their own identity and develop a paranoia about what they deserve or don’t deserve. When the emotion of unworthiness is engaged it is quickly followed by depression, loneliness, exasperation, disgust, shame and guilt, There may be more but those are the ones familiar to me.

That’s my confession, but here’s my Grace Confession.

Because the Holy Spirit has set my eyes on Jesus I now see past my unworthiness and see the incredible gift of life and value that Jesus has created in me. It can be tough, but I find it easier when I stop and pray and read scripture that speak to how much God the Father honors me. In the emotions of feeling unworthy I often would not attempt what was set in my heart. But when I see what God created me to be, by Grace,  I know I can do anything and I will try anything He tells me to do.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

You are an incredible person by God’s Grace! Go ahead. Look in the mirror of His love. You are beautiful and in Him you can do anything He sets before you.

Love ya!

Pastor Bryan

I Worry.

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Grace Confession – I Worry.
I confess! I am not perfect. To help encourage you, I have started this new blog/email called “Grace Confessions of a Pastor.” I will share my vulnerabilities, weakness and general screw-ups and how I have dealt with them, from God’s perspective of Grace, so I can be more like Jesus in my life.  After all, that’s what Grace is. God’s gift of love in spite of our screw-ups.

Grace Confession #1 – I worry.

“What? Pastor Bryan? No way do you worry. You are the one who constantly reminds and encourages not to worry. No way do you worry.”

I know, to you I look like a well oiled machine that is ready at an instant to deal with all of life’s challenges with the whole armor of God and never worry. I know, Right? Yeah, not so much. I confess to you that I worry about everything, from the very big to the very small. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t worry about what I will wear, do we have enough groceries, do I have gas in the vehicle, can we pay the rent, can we afford the utilities, have I offended someone, is someone mad at me, did I say the right things, did I remember someone’s birthday, did I forget to return a phone call, did I bounce a check and the list can go on and on. Yeah…I worry!

The sad thing is, even knowing God’s truth on this matter, I don’t always stop and give it to God first and let Him give me an answer on it.

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6 (MSG)

There it is right in God’s Word. But I confess, many times I worry through all the different horrible scenarios before I stop and gather my senses to pray. That’s my Grace confession. Well, that’s the confession. The grace part is that God just keeps loving me deeper into His arms through His word and His people. I mess up but I am inching closer to Him even in my imperfections. Today, I actually turn to Him much quicker than before. When I sense I am worrying about money I will begin to praise Hime for what I do have and what He has promised that He will do. God honors my imperfect faith by His Grace!

This Sunday I will be talking about Imperfect Faith. Do you doubt? Are you afraid? Do you wander if you are actually doing it the way God wants you to do it? No Fears! God honors Imperfect Faith! Join me Sunday to find out exactly how @ 9 & 10:30a!

8 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND IN REGARDS TO CONFLICT AT WORK/CHURCH

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(This was such a good post by Pastor Perry Noble that I wanted to re-Post it here.)

Eight Things To Keep In Mind In Regards To Conflict At Work/Church
May 10, 2012

#1 – Email DOES NOT WORK!  (This would also apply to texting as well as any form of social media!)    

When conflict use to arise with me and someone in the office I used to walk to my desk, log on to my computer and fire off an abusive email, several problems with this…

  • It is the act of a coward, I would do this so that I would avoid a eye to eye conversation.
  • It removes the fact that I am actually dealing with another person…if I type an email I don’t have to look them in the eye and removing that obstacle allows me to say things to them through typing that I would NEVER say to them in person.
  • It often drags out the conflict way longer that it should be.
  • It can easily be misinterpreted, thus causing new conflicts.

#2 – Handle Conflict Quickly – The Bible is VERY clear in Ephesians 4:25-26 that we are not to allow the sun to go down while we are angry.  If we allow something to fester inside of us what usually comes out of that is NEVER pretty.

#3 – Always Assume The Best About The People You Work With – If you don’t get anything else in this article then PLEASE get this, LOVE ALWAYS ASSUMES THE BEST ABOUT SOMEONE…ALWAYS!  If you hate/can’t stand the people you work with then THE BEST thing to do is to begin to ask the Lord, “what is wrong with MY OWN heart?”

#4 – Remember that Email Does Not Work!  

#5 – Stop Expecting People To Read Your Mind – Often times people have said something hurtful to me that they did not perceive as hurtful.  I would become angry with them and actually tell myself, “well, they should just know that hurt me!”  NEWS FLASH – THEY DON’T KNOW, and they won’t know unless I am man enough to look them in the eye (because email does not work), assume the best about them (which automatically assumes they didn’t mean to hurt me) and CALMLY walk them through why what they said wounded me.

#6 – Stop Waiting For Them To Approach You – If you know there is conflict and you know there is a problem to be solved but you are “waiting on the right time” or “waiting on them to come to me” then I would encourage you to read what Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24.  Maturity is when a person is willing to seize responsibility instead of just waiting on something to happen.

#7 – Never, EVER Go Public When You Have Not Even Attempted To Talk In Private – Too often people take their conflicts online when they have never even attempted to handle them in a private matter (sort of goes against what JESUS actually said in Matthew 18:15 as the first step in dealing with conflict!)  People are way too quick these days to read/hear something that someone says and automatically fire off a tweet or blog post without ever attempting to have a conversation with the person that they assume “got it wrong,” causing them to feel like they need to be the savior of the world by jumping to conclusions and making accusations about things that they actually have zero knowledge of.

#8 – And finally, do not forget that Email does not work!  

God Change!

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18-21Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God. 

1 Peter 1:18-19 (MSG)

The God Change!

Change is something many of us pray for. A change in a relationship. A change with our career. A change in our weight or shape. A change in our attitude. But when it comes down to actually living the change required to increase any area of life we find it is actually much “easier said than done.”

Peter tackles this age old struggle. True change requires God! Not just the idea of God or the knowledge of God, but the deep understanding and awareness of what God is doing  and planning for us in our day-to-day journey. When our days begin and end with the reality that we are in a real relationship with God it changes everything. When we understand what God actually invested in the relationship, it re-shapes our expectations.

With everything that God gave and invested in us, we must realize that He will never quit on us. The God Change is realized in consistency! When it is a God Change it is real and lasting. When our motivation and strength is in Him our future will finally be realized!

Be Happy!

Pastor Bryan & Dana

Good Friday! Deny, Crucify or Magnify?

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Good Friday! Deny, Crucify or Magnify?

the ONE

Easter is a time of year that just expresses life. The trees are turning green, the flowers are blooming, the grass is growing the birds are returning, the air is warm and the outdoors are so inviting.Easter is also that time of year that we are reminded of our Christian roots. If you have had an experience with Jesus you cannot go through this weekend without doing something about your knowledge of Jesus. So what will you do with this “good Friday?”

Deny?

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” John 18:25.

For many we make the decision to follow Jesus without considering the cost. We want to say we know Him and we want to feel good about saying we know Him but when it comes down to it, we deny Him on almost every level. Peter denied him by association. He would not step out of the shadows and be counted with Him. He chose to be alone and obscure. He wanted to believe he knew Jesus but when “push cam to shove” he couldn’t stand up for Him. There was no way Peter could invite anyone to join Him on His journey with Jesus because Peter was living His Christianity in the shadows! He had no true identity with Jesus.

Crucify?

Now we look at a church service like no other church service we have ever seen. Instead of worshipping Jesus they are lobbying to crucify Him.

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” John 19:5-6

This is the same crowd that were shouting His praises the week before. They loved Jesus, appreciated His miracles and felt warm and fuzzy when they were around Him. But now, on Good Friday, they wanted nothing to do with Him. They weren’t thinking about His sacrificial gift. They cared nothing about His love. They forgot about His promises. They saw no value in worshipping Him. They thought he was “the One” but now, in their minds, realized they were wrong. They crucified Him. Not just in words but by their actions. The man they previously confessed as Lord and Savior brought them no value on this Good Friday. They might have been in His presence but they did not recognize a supernatural Messiah.

Magnify?

54  When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54

The centurion was able to Magnify Jesus on Good Friday. On what must have been one of the most horrifying days of His life he was able to magnify Jesus for who He was. It is so easy to allow our lives and faith in Jesus to get swallowed by fear, faded by the shadows of doubt and worry, minimized by our need to control or because we get caught up in the crowds and lose sight of our supernatural Messiah.

This Good Friday let’s magnify our crucified King. Let’s step out of the shadows and take on His true identity. See His work in your life and move from the stage which mocks His name and onto the stage that invites others to join you in His presence!

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:36

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