A Children’s Story

drewJanuary 4th, 2011Blog, Featured, Marriage/FamilyNo Comments
Cline-30

I’ve always loved children.  Being the youngest of 4 in my family I never had the experience of a baby sister or brother to play with, or torment, and being that my personality was one of a more nurturing side, I loved holding and playing with babies anytime I could be around them.  I couldn’t wait to be a father.  I’m a very relational person and my greatest dream in life was to have a family of my own.   When my wife Lori and I got married in 1994 we thought like most young couples that we would take a couple of years of wedded bliss and then start the process of having babies and our family.  I remember us making our plans for a boy or girl and cute names and perfect images of nurseries and strollers and all things children, as if we had some control over those things. Having a family wasn’t my only dream. I also dreamed of being a Contemporary Christian music artist.  I dreamed like most kids of huge crowds and loud music and making records.  I worked with passion to become that artist and to follow my dream, and in a lot of ways saw it come true.  I traveled on the road full-time shortly after getting married performing nearly 1000 concerts in 3 years and Lori followed her own dream of being a radio DJ and working with artists.  Before we knew it we had been married over 8 years and still had no children.  Our busy schedules and career chasing kept us from worrying too much about it, and we were young. We thought we would have plenty of time.

As time rolled on, we knew there was a problem and went to a few specialists, Lori had a surgical procedure to help with her Endometriosis and I remember the doctor saying “You’ll be fertile Myrtle now!”  A few years later we still had not conceived and we hadn’t moved any further in finding out what the problem truly was.  Lori was given a clean bill of health and so was I, still no children. We continued to follow our careers and dreams but found that we were becoming bitter and unbelievably sensitive about children.  Most of our friends already had one or two and made comments about how they ‘couldn’t even sit too close to each other without getting pregnant’.  Those kinds of comments or even story lines in movies or TV shows that dealt with abortion or babies in any way were unbelievably difficult for us.  We began to notice that our dreams and careers felt shallow and that we so longed for children.  As we wrestled with what steps to take in fertility, we realized that Lori was struggling even with the idea of being a mommy.  Her parents had divorced after 17 years of marriage and for some reason Lori felt that children had something to do with that.  We had a pretty big argument about where we were, how old we were getting and whether or not we were going to try anymore.  Lori had begun to worry about what kind of mom she would be and if having children would some how affect our marriage in a negative way.  After all she hadn’t seen it work well.

We were stuck.  I wanted to move on discovering what was keeping us from getting pregnant and she was paralyzed with fear of what might happen if we did. We went to see a dear friend and counselor that helped us and encouraged Lori.  After a few sessions we were seeing truth and growing hopeful of what having a baby would be like.  We made an appointment with a fertility clinic and began the very difficult process of assisted fertility.  I’ll never forget in the middle of that process after we had 2 different failed attempts at artificial insemination, feeling so embarrassed and like a lab rat, that I said to Lori, “This should be done at home where we can love on each other in the privacy of our own home and marriage not in some cold clinical test tube, does God not think we’ll make good parents”, to which my precious wife responded, “It takes more love to walk through this process, more sacrifice, more commitment”.  I just began to cry and remember why we were walking this road.  We finally moved forward with IVF and though Lori is deathly afraid of needles, we made it through.  We conceived!!  On January 25, 2007, we gave birth to our beautiful little girl Daisy Joy.  Daisy has been such an incredible gift from the Lord and there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t thank Him for her.  During the IVF process we had 3 embryos that continued to grow and be viable for implant. Two were implanted when we conceived with Daisy, losing one, and one was frozen.

We decided to go and get our little “snowflake” about a year ago and started the process of praying and talking with the fertility clinic about what steps should be taken.  We had a busy summer in 2009 and though we had hoped to try the implant in June, we didn’t actually make time in our schedule until September. We found ourselves waiting for Lori’s cycle to begin so we could communicate with the clinic and start the process.  We realized that she was 9 days late and she mentioned to me that she was a little confused as to why.  We got a test that night and the next day discovered we were pregnant on our own. (I was convinced this was a nearly immaculate conception…God was involved no doubt!)  On May 25, 2010 we gave birth to our second little girl Jovie May!  We will try to retrieve our little “snowflake” next year sometime.  God is so good, and has been present with us through it all. There were so many times that it felt like we were in a desert, and that surely He wasn’t listening, but “He’s never left us or forsaken us”.  His timing is perfect and He is always good.  He allows us to walk through some difficult seasons in life but we are never alone.  The question is, do we trust Him?  This is His story He’s writing, not ours.

Read More

A Soul’s Worth

drewDecember 31st, 2010Art, Blog, Marriage/Family, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
IMG_0779

This Christmas season I carried on with chores and work and family and all the other things that keep us busy from day to day. However, at this time of year, it’s all accompanied by a soundtrack of melodies and lyrics that repeat from year to year celebrating the birth of a King, a Savior.  I love Christmas music and as each song passes through one ear and out the other, my lips sing along without missing a beat, but rarely does my heart stop and reflect on the lyrics.  These Christmas songs are so familiar that we seem to sing them by rote and never consider the depth of truth and life given line by line, even word by word.

It was while I was hunched over my laptop recently that one of those old familiar Christmas songs caught my ear, as I looked up, thinking I’d see some children’s show on my TV, I notice that the lyric to the familiar song was going across the screen and though the strength of the melody didn’t catch my heart, the power in seeing the lyric did.  The line was “He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth”.  We all know this line from the beautiful 19th century poem turned Christmas classic “O Holy Night”.  This one phrase had given me pause before but not enough for me to really dig in and considered it.  I think this time was different because I’ve been in a place lately asking God to remind me of who I was, not what I had done or even wanted to do, but who He had made me to be. I wasn’t even interested in knowing what my childhood, or mistakes, or dreams had created in me, but specifically that He would remind me that my identity is in Him.  As I’ve thought and prayed about it, I’ve realized that my identity is deeply connected to my value, my worth.  I’m not talking about my self-worth, though what I believe about who God says He is and what God says about me determines what I believe about myself. I’m talking about my literal value. What am I worth? If I could determine my value or worth than I can determine how I should feel about who I was, my identity.  As I began to consider my value in that light, I’m reminded of an old saying “An objects value is determined by whatever someone will pay for it”.  Some old broken, worn out item may be junk to me, but have enormous value to someone else. They may be willing to pay top dollar for that piece because they value it for whatever reason.  I thought about that phrase and how my life in so many ways may seem like a broken, worn-out piece of junk to some, but that this King whose birth we celebrate, sees me and wants me.  He values me.  His value given to me gives me my worth, my identity.  I know who I am because I’ve been bought with a price, valued by the King, and loved with a sacrificial transaction.  Jesus blood for my sin.  My shame for His joy. His death for my life.
This is New Years Eve, we look back at a year of life and lessons both joyful and tumultuous but all beautiful in the light that Jesus “makes all things new”, that He uses “our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”. We look to a new year, new hope, new lessons, and new life in the One who gives us life “more abundantly”.  Our hope and peace, and worth is in our God!

Don’t take my word for it!!! (Keep reading!!)

Who Am In Christ?

All bible verses (quotes) quoted in NIV

I am accepted…

John 1:12 I am God’s child.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Romans 5:1 I have been justified.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I am secure...

Romans 8:1 I am free from condemnation.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:”For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughter”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

I am significant…

John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Who Am I in Christ?

I am a child of God; God is spiritually my Father.
Romans 8:14,15

because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 3:26

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

I am a new creation in Christ; old things have passed away and all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

I am in Christ.
Galatians 3:26,28

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

I am an heir with the Father and a joint heir with Christ.
Galatians 4:6.7

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, ” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Romans 8:17

Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I am reconciled to God and am an ambassador of reconciliation for Him.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

I am a saint.
Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

1 Corinthians 1:2
to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours:

Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ for good works.
Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I am a citizen of heaven.
Ephesians 2:19

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household

Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ

I am a member of Christ’s body.
1 Corinthians 12:27

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I am united to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:17

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.

I am a friend of Christ.
John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I am a slave of righteousness.
Romans 6:18
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God

I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I am enslaved to God.
Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

I am chosen and ordained by Christ to bear fruit.
John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

I am a prisoner of Christ.
Ephesians 3:1
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles Ephesians 4:1
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

I am righteous and holy.
Ephesians 4:24
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I am hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

I am the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness,how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything,except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

I am the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

I am part of the true vine.
John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

I am filled with the divine nature of Christ and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:4
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

I am an expression of the life of Christ.
Colossians 3:4
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience

1 Thessalonians 1:4
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you

I am a child of light.
1 Thessalonians 5:5
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

I am a partaker of a heavenly calling.
Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

I am more than a conqueror though Christ.
Romans 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
I am a partaker with Christ and share in His life.
Hebrews 3:14
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first

I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house.
1 Peter 2:5
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

I am a chosen generation, a royal priest hood, a holy nation.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priest hood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

I am the devil’s enemy.
1 Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I am born again by the Spirit of God.
John 3:3-6
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

I am an alien and a stranger to this world.
1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

I am a child of God who always triumphs in Christ and releases His fragrance in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

I am seated in heavenly places in Christ.
Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

I am saved by grace.
Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

I am a recipient of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
in Christ.
Ephesians 1-6 (The Whole book!)

I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Revelations 5:9
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

I am part of the Bride of Christ and am making myself ready of Him.
Revelations 19:7
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

I am a true worshiper who worships the Father in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Read More

Holiness and Humanity

drewDecember 24th, 2010BlogNo Comments
IMG_8818

Tonight we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus. Son of God and Son of Man. Holiness and humanity lay in the arms of His creation and in the brokenness of the world He formed.

The night before Jesus birth was similar to our night tonight.  We ponder where we’ve come from (mistakes we’ve made, struggles we’ve walked through, joys and victories from the year passed) , we’re surrounded by the family that loves us and supports us and we hold them close.  We also dream and hope for the year to come, and wonder what it might hold.  We pray tonight that our faith this year will exceed the unknown, that our hope in a Savior would fill our hearts making no room for fear and doubt, and that the light of life that lives in us would shine bright enough to give the watching world around us hope and faith in the One who has loved us more than life, but given himself for us.

John 1:1-5, 14

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Read More

Layers

drewDecember 22nd, 2010Blog, Leadership, Marriage/Family, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
Pic - Layers

Remember the line from Shrek, “I’m like an onion, lots of layers?” I think that’s true for all of us.  I’ve been thinking recently about how as children we’re free – free to dance, laugh, play, trust – you name it, but each and everyday of our lives as we grow into adulthood we begin to add layers to our hearts.  I don’t think we do it intentionally, instead I think those layers begin to grow on their own to protect us in some way and before you know it, what hurt us before doesn’t hurt as badly the next time, what wounded us before comes against a tougher exterior now and we find ways to survive.  Seems like a natural way to evolve as a person, right?  Wrong! Adam and Eve started this whole layering process when they hid from God.  They ran and played and danced innocent and whole with Creator God until they bought into a lie and then they began to layer, to hide.

This is huge! This is who we are, how we respond, how we live and interact with God and everyone else.  How people experience us is based on how we’ve layered crap over our souls. God’s desire is that we “un-layer”, become pliable and transparent.  For me, I’m watching God dismantle layers over my heart, false beliefs and lies I’ve bought into, attachments even.  I long for the day that I can find my innocence again, the laughter and dance and trust of a child.  To find my relationship with Jesus like that of early Adam, walking in relationship with God – heart uncovered, vulnerable and free. It all starts with awareness.  Seeing the truth about who you are, who you’ve become and finding community with people who will help you change, people who will forcefully assist in pulling down the strongholds and back the curtain the enemy has so skillfully placed over you and the eyes of your heart.

Look for your soul, the childlike you, it’s in there behind all the years of survival, all the lies, all the scars. If you’re like me, you’re tired of settling for something less than Eden.  Jesus restores all things, and makes all things new. Now if I can just learn to dance!

Read More

Light Bulb Moment

drewDecember 16th, 2010Blog, Leadership, Music Biz, The Church, Worship1 Comment
Pic-Light Bulb

I love it when the Lord gives me an “A HA” moment.  You know what I’m talking about?  One of those sudden realizations that something you’ve heard before but didn’t quite understand, now makes sense.  It could be something that you thought you understood or something you’ve heard all your life but all at once if feels like the “light bulb” pops up above your head like you’re the star of a comic book strip, and you finally ‘get it’.

I’ll never forget one of those moments I had early on in collage.  I had listened to Christian music off and on for a while and specifically to this one song several times, but for some reason one day driving in my car, the message of this one song jumped out at me like the bright light of Jesus on Paul’s road to Damascus.  WOW!  This wasn’t just some song and melody, there was a major message that it was conveying and I just got it!  It floored me.  I remember having to pull the car over to the side of the road and just weep.  God used those songwriters so powerfully that I was undone for a moment. What happened in that moment is a major factor in why I do what I do today. Not only was what they said an awesome truth of God, it was something that I personally needed to hear for that specific moment in my walk. Only God could orchestrate that kind of moment and to this day I’m thankful for it.

I believe those times are essential to faith as well as ministry.  People have to come to a place in their lives where the Lord opens their eyes or draws their hearts to see truth.  We can’t do it ourselves.  We can’t wake up one day and just say, “Ok, today I’m going to think of God, or remember His goodness.  I believe every moment we experience that draws us to the Father is due to the Father drawing us.  Our God pursues us so passionately and sometimes even then, we pat ourselves on the back for having a bible study or making a godly decision, but God and God alone is responsible for our being drawn.  It is however our decision to do it – that’s free will.

Every person that comes to know Jesus has to realize our savior is not just the key figure of the Christmas story or the topic of Sunday School, but a real God who became a real man.  He died on a real cross, and shed real blood for each of us.  Only then can God become real to us.  Even in ministry, we each have to come to the place of realizing that our lives can mean more than taking home a paycheck or being the “star” worship guy.  Instead, God has given us a platform that is not for us, but for others.

What is it that the Lord wants you to finally “get”?  What truth have you allowed to cruise over your head and not enter your heart?  Take a moment and ask the Father to draw you, to open your eyes to what “A HA” moment you need right now to bring you to your knees or a tear of conviction to your eyes.

Read More

Good To Grace

drewDecember 13th, 2010Blog, Leadership, Marriage/Family, Mission/Justice, Worship3 Comments
Good To Grace pic

I’m an entrepreneur at heart.  I’ve been around business quite a bit and admired those who have succeeded at it.  I’ve racked my brain at times trying to think of the next “Facebook” or “Walmart” and though I’ve come up with some ideas, nothing ever seems to be significant enough for me to find the will or drive to just make money.  I’ve blamed it on lack of business savvy or right opportunity, but the reality is, that though I have an entrepreneurial spirit, God has set me apart to be a leader in the church, to rethink systems and motives and strategies, sometimes to simplify, sometimes to build structure, but one thing is for sure – the church is not a business, we shouldn’t lead it like one!

I love learning about leadership and being mentored by great men and women whether personally or through books but something that seems a common mistake of late is that pastors or church leaders can sometimes confuse the mission of the church, or how they lead the church, with that of some business or leadership book.  They are NOT the same.  I do believe, with all my heart, that we can glean and learn from great books not specifically written for the ecclesiastical application but we must be careful to not be misled about how to lovingly lead this bride of Christ, one book is sufficient for that, it’s His word.  As pastors we must remain accountable to godly counsel and healthy debate so that our agendas and sinful nature don’t wander into the family God has placed us in responsibility of.

The business book “Good To Great” by Jim Collins, is a great book about leadership, business, winning, and excelling in competition, standing out among so many other businesses or organizations.  There are some amazing nuggets of wisdom for church leaders in this book like this one:

“If we allow the celebrity rock-star model of leadership to triumph, we will see the decline of corporations and institutions of all types. The twentieth century was a century of greatness, but we face the very real prospect that the next century will see very few enduring great institutions.” – Jim Collins (Good To Great)

This is a great quote for church leaders to be reminded that Jesus is the Chief Elder according to scripture, that this position of leadership is not for us or about us and we should be militant to fight the desire within us to surround ourselves with people who only agree with us. Instead, we’re called to serve and model this life in Christ.  Proverbs 27:17 says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” If you’ve ever seen this sharpening process you would agree that it’s not a quiet or uneventful one, but that the sparks fly and that it takes great heat and pressure to turn ordinary iron into that of a beautiful, functioning tool.  In the same way, if you as a church leader never see sparks fly or the heat turned up in loving discussion, then you will remain a safe, protected, useless lump of metal.  Be intentional to surround yourself with people who have a different world view than you, different approach to life or ministry.  Their input for your leadership will be invaluable. If they are loving in their approach and kind in their debate, yet truthful and honest, you can trust that what they’re saying is real, and being said to better and strengthen, not tear down or hurt.

(Prov. 27:6)

Pastors, have you created a culture where your input is valued more than the rest, or have you sought to lead through serving, offering your opinion as one of many, seeking God’s agenda and not your own?  If you’re serving more than being served and listening more than you speak, than you’re on the right track to lead as Jesus did.

“Good To Great” talks about ‘level 5 leaders’, these are people with an “unwavering will and commitment to do what is necessary to drive the organization to the top”.

That’s a fine and right approach for business but how does that translate for the church? I know a lot of pastors that would translate it to ‘unwavering will to serve the church over our own relationships in Christ or devotion to our families, driving the organization ‘to the top’ while driving our souls in the opposite direction. Is it the Kingdom way to shoot for the top? And what is the top in church leadership?  Have we really looked at our motives as church leaders recently?  This is where the agenda of “Good To Great” gets quite screwy when applied to the stewardship of the family of God. 

One of the most recognizable theories from “Good To Great” is the one about making sure you have the right team.

“Get the right people on the bus – that has to happen before the “what” decisions are taken. That can change if you have the right people, but the wrong people will certainly make the enterprise fail.” – Jim Collins (Good To Great)

I agree with Collins that you have to have the right group of people serving with you to accomplish your goals, and think his idea here is best if you’re building a team from the ground up.  However, once you’ve built that team or if you’ve found yourself coming into an existing team, this theory has to be tweaked a bit. You’re now called as a leader of a church to love and care for people, for their hearts, and for their families.  These are not just “seats on a bus” but family, each of them children of God with a unique design and imprint from the Spirit of God.  How you care for them or mistreat them shows more about the condition of your heart than what your words may so eloquently portray. We are called to love, to communicate clearly, and to lead with grace over greatness.  Matthew 18 is known well for Jesus’ directive to approach someone in sin but interestingly enough the chapter begins with the disciples arguing over who is the greatest among them. Not unlike what so many churches seem to be doing competing with each other in buildings, budgets and programs, instead of investing in people, making disciples and loving the least.  Jesus, pulls a child to His side and reminds the followers of the simplicity of the Kingdom of God and the warning to all leaders to keep our priorities straight, not misleading the body by doing all we can, to go from good to great.  Obviously I’m not saying that we can’t learn from this and other business books on leadership, but more that when our decisions begin to take on the strategy of Collins instead of the character of Christ, we’ve begun to be misled, all the while misleading those who follow us.  That seems to be the progression for many churches today. Working so hard to grow in number or to come across so perfect in performance that they’ve not only lost heart but the priority to be about changing them, developing them or caring for them.

Another lesson from Matthew 18 can teach us so much about the heart of God and practice of a great pastor.

Vs 10-14

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? and if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Does reading this change how you think God feels about your “seat on a bus”?  Obviously we as leaders have to assemble, manage and care for those on our teams but more so, we are called of God to treat them as family, with grace and a tenacity to love them in their coming in or their going out.

The Greek word for church is Ekklesia.  It is most closely translated family of God, not organization, not business, not board, committee, or denomination.  It’s time we as leaders, lead more like fathers not presidents, more like brothers not CEO’s.  In a family every one has a voice that is valued and though we sometimes drive each other crazy, we can’t run away from tension, we learn to navigate in the struggle and love with humility, forgiving seventy times seven, serving more than securing and trusting our chief pastor Jesus to shape us into something useable and beautiful together.

Read More

Lift Your Eyes::Perspective

drewDecember 10th, 2010Art, Blog, WorshipNo Comments
Pic - Lift Your Eyes

The human heart is a funny thing.  Mine seems to continually be on some sort of rollercoaster most days, from the exhilarating heights of adventure and dreams made reality all the way to the valleys of despair and self-doubt.  My emotions can run the gamut from thankfulness to selfishness within a beat of my heart.  Sometimes I think it’s because I’m an artist.  We’re supposed to be melancholy and moody, in touch with our feelings yet have the clarity to write about them or make that feeling translate somehow through a piece of music.  History tells us that musicians used to be considered crazy and even put in mental institutions.  Now that seems a little harsh but then again I’ve met some pretty wacky musicians who maybe should’ve been considered.  I’m not bi-polar, or manic-depressive – I’m human.  We all face struggles and joys that cause our hearts to feel up and down, happy and sad, or just plain worn out.  But for those of us who know Christ we don’t have to just try and hang on for the ride but instead trust that there’s a hand hanging on to us.

Have you ever been deep-sea fishing? Or riding in the backseat of a car through some hilly terrain?  I remember riding with a friend through some winding roads one time and I began to feel sick.  My head was spinning and my stomach was following suit.  My friend said, “Look out the front window and find something to look at, something a long ways a way, and focus on it”.  He said, “If you stay focused on it then it will calm your mind and stomach and you won’t be focused on the rough terrain.”  I tried it, and to my amazement it worked!  I’ve now found myself giving that advice to people whom I’m driving around.  Somehow focusing on that one steady object can help you feel better.  I’m reminded of Peter who gregariously called out to Jesus, “If it’s You, allow me to come to you on the water”.  Jesus agrees and Peter hops out of an already rocky boat onto a turbulent sea.  He starts walking and then that old ‘rough terrain’ starts to get to him.  He looks up and calls to Jesus, “Save Me”.  Jesus reaches out and asks, “Why did you take your eyes off of me?”

There’s no doubt in my mind that you, like me and every other person on the planet, can get down, feel depressed, hopeless, alone, lost, and confused (you can add your own list of struggles here).  There will be days that we begin to feel our spirits beginning to crash and burn or our dreams unrealized, throwing us into a tail spin.  Remember these encouraging words from Psalm 121, to “lift your eyes”.  Don’t let the stuff of this world cause your hearts focus to blur and your spirit to crush but instead, raise your head, lift your eyes (physically and spiritually) to the Lord, adjust your focus from yourself, change your countenance, take a deep breath in God’s grace and like Peter, call out.  Jesus will hear you, He will save you and He will be the calm in your storm.  Sometimes it takes a while for us to focus, but once you’ve found that place of peace and strength in Christ, stay there.  Don’t rush that moment, trust that He will be all you need for whatever struggle you face.  Allow Him to settle your spirit and give you strength.  He promised He’d do it.

Do you need to stop for a while to focus on Him, on His plan for your life, on His goodness?  Don’t let your busy day keep you from His peace.

Psalm 121 (Message)

A Pilgrim Song

1-2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?

No, my strength comes from God,

who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won’t let you stumble,

your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.

Not on your life! Israel’s

Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God’s your Guardian,

right at your side to protect you—

Shielding you from sunstroke,

sheltering you from moonstroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,

he guards your very life.

He guards you when you leave and when you return,

he guards you now, he guards you always.

* The Pic was one I took around the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights at sunset.

“I Will (Lift My Eyes)” was written from this scripture (download it now if you’d like)

I Will (Lift My Eyes).Mp3

Read More

Don’t Hide, Be Hidden

drewSeptember 3rd, 2010Blog, Featured, Marriage/FamilyNo Comments
Pic-Don't Hide

When I was a little guy, I remember getting in trouble with my parents and running to my room and hiding in the closet.  It’s not like that was the safe haven where no discipline would find me.  In fact, it was usually the place my father would find a trusty belt to remind me of why it’s good to be obedient.  The truth is, it’s in our heritage to hide.  When we’ve truly screwed up and know it, it’s only “natural” to want to remove yourself from the situation and run to some dark place where the consequences of that action hopefully won’t follow.  Unfortunately, they always do.  I say it’s in our history because even in the garden, Adam and Eve sinned, heard God walking and calling out to them and then they hid. I think the cause of this desire to run and hide is shame.  Shame, by definition is, a negative emotion that combines feelings of dishonor, unworthiness, and embarrassment.  Even at a very young age when we’re disobedient we know that our action will most likely bring some act of discipline and that’s the part we hate.  We don’t mind the sin so much, it’s more the consequences that cause us to find the nearest closet.

As we grow older the closet seems to lose it’s ability to cover and protect us and we find new places to hide.  As adults it’s easier for us to hide emotionally, to detach ourselves from the reality of our situation or sin and hide in destructive places. For men, we often retreat to the shelter of our Lazyboy, a good game on television, our work, or worse the internet.  Women can hide from reality with a good romance novel, shopping spree, or soap opera.  Our families and friends can still see us and we may even fool them enough in our churches that they think we’re doing just fine, but often our true hearts are lonely, afraid and hidden in the closet of some dark addiction instead of the transparent solace of our Father’s arms.

Psalm 139:22-24 says “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  To make this your prayer, you’ve got to be ready to be undone, floored by God’s grace, to be completely open to His Spirit and willing to allow Him to purge you of every wrong thing.  As a worshiper, your heart should be seeking God, asking Him to look deep into the reality of who you are, to draw you out of your hiding places into His marvelous light. Know however, the wonderful irony of God is that we don’t have to hide from God when we feel guilty or shameful, but instead let Him be our hiding place.  Let His grace be the first place we run to, not from.  Our nature is to run away from God when we’ve sinned, but through Christ, God has given us a new life and a new direction.  We may now find our hiding place in God and come boldly before Him.

What exactly in your life are you hiding from God, from your spouse, or from the truth of scripture.  There is healing, and hope and help if we’ll just not run away from God to hide but instead, to hide in the shadow of His wing.  Don’t hide, be hidden.

Read More

Broken Bread and Poured Out Wine

drewSeptember 2nd, 2010Blog, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
Grapes-Communion

Broken Bread And Poured Out Wine

I love learning about history – going to places built by our forefathers, or even just engaging in Discovery Channel shows about a war or invention from long ago. The specifics don’t really matter to me. I just love seeing where we’ve come from and trying to imagine what it must have been like back in that time, whenever it was.

My wife and I live in Franklin, TN and there’s a lot of Civil War history here. Around every corner is an antique shop with Civil War era relics and treasures. I love seeing old remnants of the soldier’s uniforms and weapons. I stare and wonder what that soldier was like, what life must have been for him. There’s just something interesting to me about the fact that others have gone before us, to fight for our freedom, to build a great nation, or to raise the family in which I can trace my heritage.

A few years ago my wife and I were with my 93 year old grandmother looking through her pictures, complete with horse and buggy and frowning ancestors (I’ve always wondered why turn-of-the-century folks didn’t smile much). As I looked through these old pictures I couldn’t help asking myself “what in the world do I have in common with these people?” My only reasonable answer was blood. They’re my relatives. These were my people. As I begin to think of them as family, they didn’t just look like people in an old photo anymore. I found myself wondering about their lives and their families and their faith.

Sometimes I think we need to remember that as believers, others have gone before us. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. Amazing, passionate men and women have led the way for us so that we could be who we are today as the church. Why is it that we so rarely think of them? I guess we’re too busy with tomorrow to think about yesterday but sometimes I think it’s a great and important thing to do.

There are a lot of ways to draw from and remember the past. We can sing hymns and tell the stories of the amazing and colorful writers who gave us such melodic theology and beautiful music. We can read their biographies or examine their artwork. But my favorite thing to do as a believer is to remember those who’ve gone before by taking communion. When we read those words of Christ saying “Do this in remembrance of me”, I begin to try and wrap my brain around all those followers of Christ who read that same scripture and then were obedient to the Lord by observing the elements. Think of all the styles of churches both in faith and construction as well as generation after generation of believers following this commandment. I’m sure it looked quite different from one country to the next, different languages and methods but all with the desire to be obedient to Christ and to follow His example in remembering His death.

“Communion” speaks of two different types of remembering. One is personal – thinking of how the Lord has redeemed you and given you grace and mercy, that in His goodness you recognize that He has forgiven you and given you life. But the Bible also uses words and phrases like “we” and “together”. Many of those scriptures are talking about our collective remembrance of Christ and the price He paid for His church.

For me, it helps to know that I’m not alone in this journey. My community is not the first one to struggle with issues of faith and living for Christ but that I’m joined by a cloud of believers around the world dating back to Passover, up to the Last Supper, continuing all the way to today and well into tomorrow. It reminds me that I’m stronger for being a part of this family of faith, blessed to continue the journey that so many have started before me. As I look around the sanctuary, I am reminded that Christ and His death as well as the faith of our fathers are what we all have in common. The blood.

I encourage you to gather your worship team, your staff, your wife and children, your small group, whatever, and take communion truly as a family. You won’t believe the difference it will make in your worship. Worship was meant to be offered in community and communion is meant to be a fabulous expression of it. Don’t just rush through. Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and convict us, to bring to our minds the very real and transforming moments of Christ’s grace over us. You might want to incorporate a hymn to help drive home the practice of remembrance. Encourage each other, and remember that you’re not alone but carrying on a tradition of faith thousands of years old.

Broken Bread And Poured Out Wine

Read More

Show Up

drewAugust 27th, 2010Blog, Featured, Marriage/Family, Mission/Justice, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
Show Up

Conflict and struggle can be hard to face, but how we respond will not only show if we believe in ourselves, but what we believe about God.

As a kid I remember at times being bullied and pushed around, not from kids my age because I was always a big kid, but usually from older kids.  (Doesn’t matter how old we get it, seems there will always be bullies.) I remember a few instances where the bigger kid would challenge me to a fight and like the wild west, he’d throw down the charge, “Meet me behind the school after class” or some other frightening phrase like it.  I remember carrying fear around with me all day like the books on my back, dreading and counting down the minutes until the show down.  It took everything I could muster to just show up.  Uncertain of victory or utter annihilation the one thing I could not do was not show up.  Like some unwritten code in my DNA as a man-child, I had to at least be there, to not run from the challenge, I may not have been able to walk away from the scene but at least I would show up.

Sometimes the first step in frightening battles we face in life is to just “Show Up”.  As men living life in the everyday mundane rat wheel it’s sometimes hard to find the strength or will to “Show Up” for the things that matter most.  Serving our families, praying for those we love, listening to a friend instead of talking about yourself, reading scripture or having consistent integrity.  Sometimes these things feel like the hardest, most impossible tasks of our day but still we must “Show Up”.  Being consistent as a Godly man is so important.  Trying to not be overwhelmed by always sizing up the opponent or big picture of paying bills and working more than you’d like or the effort to serve when you’d rather be served. But instead, take one day at a time, one loving act of kindness, one extra minute to care.  Soon we find that a few extra moments of selflessness and a couple of extra efforts of serving, make the difference in the lifetime of a child or the quality of a marriage.  Before we can be used of God to fight some battle waiting for us in our destiny, we have to be committed and determined to at least “Show Up”.

Once we’ve made the decision to follow through we must then “Stand Firm”, when I think about this phrase I have visions of William Wallace (Braveheart) or Maximus (Gladiator). These men were resolute in what they believed and fought for it, even at the cost of their own lives. Most of the time however, the Lord just wants us to stand, He does the fighting.

2 Chronicles 20:17 says “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”

I think it’s so interesting that the Lord would have us dress up in our battle gear, and even take formation and prepare our footing for a fight, and then tell us to watch because the battle is His.  Almost as if to say, I’m allowing you to feel apart and encourage you, and even giving you the deep honor and pride of feeling important and useful and needed, but I’ll do the fighting.  As a kid I played every sport under the sun and in each one, some of the basic instruction included having the right footing, whether blocking out in basketball or blocking an offensive line man to make a tackle in football, the most important part of each was learning to stand firm and to be ready for the challenge.  Each of us struggles with temptation and failure but we have to be committed to getting back up after we’ve been knocked down and stand firm for the next challenge.  We often walk away with a black eye or a limp, but we can hold our heads high and our hearts steady when we Show Up and Stand Firm.

God asks us to trust Him with the battle but also to “Be Strong and Courageous” in the middle of it. God has promised, ‘the Salvation of the Lord’, and the assurance that you are not alone.  Maybe every fear is not completely subsided but there is a sense of confidence and faith and trust in the One who will fight the fight for you.

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Go back in your memory and be encouraged by the innumerable amount of times that God proved Himself before you, provided a way or answered a prayer. We must trust that God goes before us and loves us enough to call us into the action.  Let’s stand next to Him ready and willing to offer our lives, yet with the faith that the fight before us is His, and that we must not fear for He is with us.

One thing I remember about those school ground challenges is that I never knew when those days would come, that hasn’t changed as an adult. We have no idea what God is going to allow us to walk through from day to day, but whatever we face, we can trust He has allowed it in our lives and He is with us through the fight.

Praying that I/we will be willing to SHOW UP, to STAND FIRM, and BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS.

Stand Firm

2 Chronicles 20:17 (Whole Chapter) [Exodus 14:13, 14 ] You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ [ 2 Chronicles 20:15 ] Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, [2 Chronicles 15:2; 32:8; Num 14:9] and the LORD will be with you.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 (Whole Chapter

Be watchful, [Gal 5:1; Phil 1:27; 4:1; 1 Thess 3:8; 2 Thess 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1 ] stand firm in the faith, [1 Sam 4:9; 2 Sam 10:12; Isa 46:8 ] act like men, [Eph 3:16; Eph 6:10; Col 1:11] be strong.

Galatians 5:1 (Whole Chapter) [ Christ Has Set Us Free ] For [Galatians 5:13; Galatians 2:4; James 1:25 ] freedom Christ has [ John 8:32 ] set us free; [ 1 Cor 16:13 ] stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to [Acts 15:10 ] a yoke of [ Galatians 2:4] slavery.

Ephesians 6:13 (Whole Chapter) Therefore [1 Pet 4:1 ] take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in [Ephesians 5:16] the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Philippians 1:27 (Whole Chapter) Only [Philippians 3:20 ] let your manner of life be [ Eph 4:1 ] worthy [Greek Only behave as citizens worthy] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you [ 1 Cor 16:13 ] that you are standing firm in one spirit, with [Philippians 2:2; 1 Cor 1:10 ] one mind [Jude 3] striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

Philippians 4:1 (Whole Chapter) Therefore, my brothers, [Or brothers and sisters; also verses 8, 21] whom I love and [ Philippians 1:8 ] long for, [Philippians 1:4; 2:16; 2 Cor 1:14 ] my joy and [Prov 16:31; 17:6 ] crown, [Philippians 1:27] stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Be Strong and Courageous

Deuteronomy 31:6 (Whole Chapter) [Deuteronomy 31:23; Josh 1:6, 7; 10:25; 1 Chr 22:13; 28:20 ] Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, [ Deuteronomy 20:4 ] for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. [Josh 1:5] He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:7 (Whole Chapter) Only be strong and [Joshua 23:6 ] very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law [Joshua 11:15 ] that Moses my servant commanded you. [Deut 5:32; 28:14] Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success [Or may act wisely] wherever you go.

2 Samuel 10:12 (Whole Chapter) [ Deut 31:6 ] Be of good courage, and [1 Sam 4:9; 1 Cor 16:13 ] let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and [1 Sam 3:18] may the LORD do what seems good to him.

Read More