Christmas is nearly upon us and we are almost, exactly to the date, three years from having the official call to Life Action Ministries. God moved on our hearts to surrender to full time ministry in November of 2010.  Now in November of 2013 we have been asked to go on the road with the Red Team beginning in January 2014.  Shane will be serving in the position of Family Revivalist.  Being a part of God transforming families is the heart beat of our family.  So we could not be more excited!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

Our family is in awe of the things God has taught us over these last three years. We are excited to see what changes and growth He has in store for us through this new season of ministry!  We are humbled by your prayers and support and ask that you continue to pray for our family. Pray that we will seek to be continually under His authority, in His will, teachable and joyfully serving Him.  Pray that we will trust Him with the dynamics of road life and new relationships. We will continue to pray for all of you and miss you as well.

Please be sure to visit our website, often to see how God is moving on the hearts of His people. The website should have a schedule of the churches we will be ministering in and our family’s prayer concerns. Please include how we can be praying for you on the site or if it is too personal you can email, text or call us directly. We love you and love to pray for you.

We want to extend our deepest gratitude for those of you who that have been supporting us financially.  We would not be able to do this with out you.  Please continue to send your gifts the same way you have been doing.  Your gifts are a blessing to us and they speak volumes of your sacrifice and dedication to the glory of our Lord!!  Having you on our ministry team points us to the love and faithful provision of Christ!

As always, may we forever be in awe of His grace and striving to glorify Him in all we think and say and do.  You will be in our hearts and prayers as we go to share God’s message of restoration and love.  We pray that God will bless you for your faithfulness to His ministry.  We leave you with the message God has been plowing, cultivating and nurturing in our family….

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3


Wonderfully made, securely hidden, and

awaiting His Fire to fall,


Shane and Leigh Black and Family;

Shane: 334-791-1488; Leigh: 334-791-1487


This post is not original to me!!!  Someone posted this on Facebook and I wanted to share it with all of our followers.

So…ENJOY…and may it touch you as it did me!



I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square.. The food and the company were both especially good that day.
As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, ‘I will work for food.’ My heart sank.
I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him.. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.
We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways.. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.
Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: ‘Don’t go back to the office until you’ve at least driven once more around the square.’
Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square’s third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.
I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s newest visitor.
‘Looking for the pastor?’ I asked.
‘Not really,’ he replied, ‘just resting
‘Have you eaten today?’
‘Oh, I ate something early this morning.’
‘Would you like to have lunch with me?’
‘Do you have some work I could do for you?’
‘No work,’ I replied. ‘I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.
Sure,’ he replied with a smile.
As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. Where you headed?’
‘ St. Louis
‘Where you from?’
‘Oh, all over; mostly Florida ‘
‘How long you been walking?’
‘Fourteen years,’ came the reply.
I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, ‘Jesus is The Never Ending Story.’
Then Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.
He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God
‘Nothing’s been the same since,’ he said, ‘I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.’
‘Ever think of stopping?’ I asked.
‘Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles.. That’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.’
I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: ‘What’s it like?’
‘What? ‘
‘To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?’
‘Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn’t make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me.’
My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, ‘Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food , when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.’
I felt as if we were on holy ground. ‘Could you use another Bible?’ I asked.
He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. ‘I’ve read through it 14 times,’ he said.
‘I’m not sure we’ve got one of those, but let’s stop by our church and see’. I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.
‘Where are you headed from here?’ I asked..
‘Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.’
‘Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?’
‘No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.’
He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we’d met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.
‘Would you sign my autograph book?’ he asked. ‘I like to keep messages from folks I meet.’
I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.’
‘Thanks, man,’ he said. ‘I know we just met and we’re really just strangers, but I love you.’
‘I know,’ I said, ‘I love you, too.’ ‘The Lord is good!’
‘Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?’ I asked.
‘A long time,’ he replied
And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, ‘See you in the New Jerusalem .’
‘I’ll be there!’ was my reply.
He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, ‘When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’
‘You bet,’ I shouted back, ‘God bless.’
‘God bless.’ And that was the last I saw of him.
Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them… a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. Then I remembered his words: ‘If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’
Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. ‘See you in the New Jerusalem,’ he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will…

If this story touched you, forward it to a friend!
‘I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.’


30 Dolphins Stranded and Saved

As I watched this video I began to think of all of the people that we come into contact with every day (hundreds if not thousands) that are rapidly “swimming” their way to a certain death as well. We have friends, acquaintances, and family that God has placed in our path because they are headed for a spiritual death. They are swimming along, following the currents of life…seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are headed for a certain destructive end. These people need God to rescue them and we are the vessels that He chooses to use. As I watched all of the heroes in this video coming to the aid of the dolphins, I noticed it began with only a few. Then more and more came to help in this beautiful rescue of these helpless creatures. This causes me to ask…”Where are the heroes of the faith today in your community….is it you?” “Where are the few…?” Could it be that the “many” are just waiting for the “few” to step up and come to the aid of those around us that will surely die without our Savior? Imagine with me if this video would have had a completely different scenario. What if the people on the beach would have just stood there and watched the dolphins flap and flutter on the shore, struggling as they breathed their last breathe? Then, we see everyone standing around their lifeless, still bodies. WOW! THEY DID NOTHING! OUTRAGED! They could have done something! But these people were more concerned with themselves than the lives of these dolphins. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! They just stood there as if to say, “Sorry….you are going to have to die without my help!” Fellow believers, where is our outrage? Why are we not concerned about the eternal finality of the souls around us? Could it be that we are more concerned with ourselves? Our comfort? Our convenience? Our time? Our schedule? Are we just standing here as if to say, “Sorry…you can just go to Hell! Without my help!”? Non believers, I don’t want you to die without knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord. You are a sinner and the wages of sin is death! But, God loves you so much that while you were a sinner and dead in your sin, He sent His only Son here to earth. Jesus was born and lived a perfect life that you and I should have lived. But, His Father placed upon Him the life that we lived. Jesus was crucified on a tree and He payed the price that you and I should have paid. And then He conquered death by rising from the grave and ascending to the right hand of His Father in Heaven. Now…here is the great news….DON’T MISS THIS! Now, for all who believe on Jesus Christ and turn from their sins, God will place upon them the life that Christ lived. He will forgive you of all your sins and give you eternal life. God will conquer your death! He will rescue you!  No one reading this post is reading it by chance! Believer…God wants you and me to share His gospel to a lost and dying world! Rescue the dying! Non-believer….God wants to rescue YOU! Read John 3:16!


We need You, Lord!  We desperately need YOU!



What If We “Really” Went To Church?

Have you ever thought about what church would look like if we really came to church.  I know what you are thinking right now, “‘Came to church’?  I am there every time the doors are open!”  Sunday after Sunday…Wednesday after Wednesday…meeting after meeting…event after event…we are ‘at church’.  You are ‘at church’, but the question that must be asked is … many of us really come to church?  I mean, I know we are there, but are we “really” there?

This question has become a haunting question for me for some time now.  However, it became much more real when a member of our church was giving a testimony of the struggles going on in her marriage.  She began to tell how the struggle had been going on for a while, but her family kept going to church Sunday after Sunday as if nothing were wrong.  Then she shared how her and her husband talked to their children about the struggles they were facing in their relationship.  Through this conversation a statement was made by one of the children, “We have gone to church for years thinking that we and everyone else had to be perfect.”

There you go! Finally! Someone said it out loud!  We have gone to church…thinking everyone had to be perfect, but knowing that we were not!  Oh, we are at church, but we are not “really” at church.  Rather, what happens is Sunday after Sunday, we get our messed up selves ready, we gather up our messed up families, and we all get in the vehicle and go to be with our church family that is perfect.  So in order for us to fit in with all the other “perfect” people, we put on our “perfect” mask right before we get to the “perfect” church and we do church’.  And many of us do church really well.  You can ask anyone.  Our family has it all together.  I mean just look at us, we are here every Sunday, our children behave, we are friendly with everyone, we smile and laugh, we have it all together.  Anyone would tell you that.  Really?  Looks that way…but what is going on behind the mask?

Can you relate to this scenario?  This is a very real scenario in families all over America.  We have bought into the lie of Satan and many times the lie of the church that we have to be perfect.  We have to be like all the other families that seem to have it all together.  It is safer if we just go to church and leave our messed up lives at home tucked deep into the back of our closets.  This makes church life so much easier, right?  The problem is….. this is not what God had or has in mind for His Church.  God desires for His church to be a vibrant community of believers using the gifts that he gave us to build each other up and in the process bring glory to Him!  Guys, we cannot live in community when we choose to go to church, but not “really” go to church.  We are all so busy covering up our messed up lives that we do not even realize we have brothers and sisters that are messed up as well.  And here is the great part….God has brought them into our lives because they need us!  He has equipped us to minister to them in a way that no one else can as effectively as we can.  More great news……this works the other way around as well!  God has these people in our lives because we need them!  We need each other involved in our messed up lives.  God promised that He would build His Church.  In his sovereignty, He has orchestrated a perfect symphony of lives into local bodies of believers, so that we can live in community…. building each other up….creating a song with our lives that sings a praise chorus that points each other and the world to HIM!  And, are you ready for this?  When we are truly communing with each other…really living life with each other…no longer hiding in the darkness of the lies of Satan…our messed up lives become washed by the grace of a loving and compassionate and healing God!  Our messed up lives create a melody that only God could orchestrate!

So…what if tomorrow, we all decided to “really” go to church?  I mean, we get our messed up selves ready and we gather up our messed up families…..but this time we take our “REAL” family to church.  The family that has decided to be “real”.  The family that has decided to stop hiding behind the mask and just doing church.  The family that is willing to be ourselves.  The family that is willing to admit that we are F.I.N.E……Fouled up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.  Church just might get a little messy tomorrow!  But you know what?  I think God wants to come and mess us up!  The truth is….this will never happen until we decide to “really” go to church!  How about you? Are you ready to bring your messed up self tomorrow and have some messed up church?  I am ready and I think it is the only healthy and healing choice we can make!

I need You, Lord!  I desperately need YOU!




How Do You (Christians) Approach Halloween?

Halloween… you think it is good, bad, or you just don’t know?  My family has always taken the approach that we avoid Halloween completely.  We want to abstain from all appearances of evil.  We have always participated in our church’s (Mt. Gilead Baptist Church) Fall Festival.  But as far as at home, we would be the family on the block that turns out all the lights ‘inside and out’ because we do not want to participate.  However, I am currently struggling with the best way to handle this day.  Our desire as a family is to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So that creates the question, “How is turning off our lights and “hiding our light” being gospel centered?  Hmm…good question.  I do not have all of this figured out right now in my mind and heart.  I do know that there will be people out and about tonight that need Jesus.  The question is what can our family do to impact them and bring the greatest glory to our Lord?

I read this post from Keith Sewell’s Blog and with his permission I am re-posting it here for your review.  Keith originally got permission from Jeff Vanderstelt to post it on his blog.  I would love your interaction concerning this matter.  Your input will help me work through this in my own mind.

The following was originally posted by Jeff Vanderstelt on October 27, 2011.

Halloween offers a great opportunity for many to engage in new relationships with those around us or to revisit some old relationships with new missional intentionality. Regardless of what you think of the holiday and it’s roots, the culture we have been sent by Jesus to reach is going to celebrate Halloween this Monday. We all have in front of us a wide open door for missionary engagement in our neighborhoods. I want to encourage you not to miss out on the opportunity.

If you are looking to be more intentionally engaged this year, I want to present you with a few ideas for how you can more effectively walk through the open door that Halloween presents to us as Jesus’ missionaries.

BE HOSPITABLE…Don’t just give out candy

  1. Give out the best Candy. Please, don’t give out tracks or toothbrushes or pennies…kids are looking for the master loot of candy. Put yourself in their shoes.
  2. Think of the Parents. Consider having some Hot Apple Cider and pumpkin bread or muffins out for the parents who are bringing their little kiddos around the block. Make your entry-way inviting so they want to come closer and hang for a bit if possible.
  3. Be Present. Don’t hide out all night. Come out to the door or hang out on the porch and if they stop to have some cider, get to know their names and where they live in the neighborhood.
  4. Be Encouraging. Tell the kids you love their costumes and to have a great night. Practice building others up with words.
  5. Party. If you’re really into it, you may want to throw a pre-Trick or Treating party. Provide dinner and drinks. Then, send the dads out trick or treating with the kids while the moms continue hanging with some hot apple cider, coffee or tea. Then reconvene with the parents and kids together to examine all of the loot (kids love to show their parents and other kids the loot).
  6. Learn the Stories. If you are out T or Ting with the kiddos or staying back with the other parents, ask questions…get to know their stories. Pay attention to their hearts and their felt needs. Look for opportunities to serve them later. This is how I first got to know Clay (while Jayne was hanging with Kristi and the other moms). I learned his story while we were with the kids and Jayne got to know hers. This led to both of them eventually coming to faith in Jesus.

GO TO THEIR PLACE…Join what is happening elsewhere

  1. Attend the Party. If others are throwing parties, you may want to join them. If so, bring drinks, food or whatever is needed. Then, serve by helping to clean up.
  2. Join the Community. If your community has key events, join them and invite some neighbors to go with you (then get to know their stories along the way). Our area has a trick or treating event on a main street where all the businesses give out candy, the firemen give tours of the fire engines, etc… We go with a group of friends to this each year and consistently meet more people to reach out to.
  3. Head to the “Watering Holes”. If you do not have kids or are not going to engage in the Trick or Treating activities or events, consider going to the local pubs, restaurants or clubs near you for their events and get to know the people there. Make it your goal to learn the story of at least one person who needs Jesus and walk away with some next steps on how to serve them. You will want to do this with others so that you don’t go it alone.

BE PRAYERFUL…Ask for the Spirit to led, guide and work

  1. Pay Attention. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes and ears to the real needs around you.
  2. Stay Dependent. Ask the Spirit to help you listen, care and serve those around you.
  3. Open Doors. Ask the Spirit for open doors for new relationships and gospel conversations

For further reading about Halloween check out this post by Winfield Bevins – What to Do with Halloween


I need You Lord!  I desperately need YOU!


My Children: Their Hearts vs My Heart

This post comes from the heart of a daddy that struggles at being a daddy.  Maybe some of you can relate and maybe some of you can add comments of instruction or encouragement.  Most of the time, when it comes to parenting, I feel like Paul…”the things I desire to do I do not do and the things I do not desire to do I do”.  Quite honestly, this leaves me frustrated.  I understand the responsibility and the honor to disciple my children.  And I truly want to be as effective at this as I possibly can.  But you know what….I mess it up.  Can you relate?

Let me give one case in point.  I made a commitment to my children, my wife, and myself many years ago that I would pray with my children every night before bed.  I want to lift them up to the Throne Room of Grace…praying for their souls, for their walk, for their actions, for their future, for their husbands to be, for their hearts to be utterly surrendered to the Lord, that they would fall deeply in love with Christ, etc.  I understand the weight of this responsibility.  I am their spiritual leader.  I am the priest of my home.  I have a responsibility to intercede for them.  But, even when this understanding I find it a struggle to be consistent.  There seems to be so many things warring against this time of deep intimacy with my children.  Actually, there is probably only one thing warring against this time….self.

My girls will ask me every night before they go upstairs to go to bed, like they did last night,  “Are you coming up tonight, daddy?”  Translation….”Daddy, we desire that time of intimacy with you…daddy, we need you to pray for us…..daddy, you speak value into our lives when you come up at night…..daddy, you tell us you love us by this action….daddy, it means something to us….daddy, you win our hearts when you pray with us”!  Yet when I am asked this question, many times, a struggle begins inside of me that goes something like this….”this is my time of the day….this is when I get to wind down….I have already mapped out my time for this part of the day.”  Obviously, you see the struggle.  In an instant I am faced with a decision, “Will I think of myself or will I think of others?”  I would love to be able to say I think of others every time.  But, you already know from the previous words that this is not true.

How in the world can I fight this battle.  My only hope is to live out Rom. 6, 7, and 8….die daily….die daily!  This thing called parenthood cannot be done in my own strength.  I must fall before my Lord in utter surrender asking for Him to do in me what I cannot do!  My decisions will be a direct result of my relationship with Christ.  Am I walking in the flesh or am I walking in the Spirit?  Which one is stronger?  Well….the one I feed the most!  As I….”seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness….then…”all these things will be added unto me”.  I want to live so close and clean with my Lord that it shows not only in my relationship with my children, but in all of my relationships.  I am desperate for the fruit of the Spirit to be ripened in my life!

I need YOU Lord!  I desperately need YOU!

I feel rather vulnerable with this post, but I will trust the Lord to use it.  Those of you that read this post….would you please pray for this struggling daddy that so often is consumed with himself?  I would greatly appreciate it!



Lindsey’s School Project


Great Job Lindsey Blue!!!!!


Lindsey had to do a project for co-op where she picked a state, studied it, and then did a work up on the state.  Well this is the product of her hard work.  She decided to make a map of Michigan with Play Dough.  I think she did a very good job.  She did this by her self…with very little help from mommy.  I am so proud of her.  She gets her creative side from her mommy….definately not from daddy!  Good job Blue Bird!


Overflowing Grace

 But to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Eph. 4:7 (NKJ)

In 2008, I sat on the rocks of False Bay in Capetown, South Africa studying this scripture when the Lord spoke a huge truth into my life concerning His abounding grace.  When you look at this scripture the Lord tells us, through the pen of Paul, that “to each one of us grace was given according to the ‘measure of Christ’s gift.’ (emphasis mine)  The measure of Christ’s gift?  How do we measure Christ’s gift?  Well, Christ gave His all or His fullness.  But, our understanding of fullness is limited.  Fullness to us would be demonstrated by taking a glass and placing it under a water fountain filling it to the very rim of the glass until nothing else could be added.  This is full, right?  Maybe to us, but not to a God that is limitless.

The fullness that we understand carries with it an idea of ‘enough’.  But, when you remove the limiting factor of fullness there now becomes no boundary….no end….no limit.  If we were to look at ‘fullness’ from the perspective of limitlessness (my word) we would have to modify our demonstrating picture.  Let’s take the same glass and let’s place it under a water fountain, but this ‘Fountain’ has no limits.  This Fountain never get’s turned off.  This Fountain has a limitless supply of ‘water’.  So, as our glass sits under this Fountain, the water fills to the very rim and then begins to flow over the side.  And it flows…and it flows….and it flows….and it flows….and it flows….and it flows….you get the point.

How exciting!  Hallelujah!  Our Loving, Wonderful, Giving, Overflowing God has given to us an overflowing grace that never ends!  Do you understand what this means?  You and I have been given the all-sufficient grace that we need to live this life we have been called to live!  No matter our circumstances, no matter the trials, no matter what questions we have, no matter the answers we do not have, no matter the challenges that lie ahead….we already have the grace we need!  I am having a difficult time containing myself!  How exciting is this?!  Our God is FAITHFUL and BOUNTIFUL!

Since that morning on the rocks of False Bay my prayers have changed somewhat.  My prayers now concerning God’s overflowing grace have been….”Lord, teach me now to live in the grace that you have already given me and continue to give.  This is huge for believers.  We do not need to “clean up our act” and live better.  We just need to “live out” the grace that has been given!  Praise the Lord!

I need YOU Lord!  I desperately need YOU!

Shane Black


When People Are No Longer People

Are we living with our eyes covered?

The other day I had to spend much of my lunch time running errands.  I had to go see the “guy at the bank” to sign papers.  I had to go see the “lady at the drive through” of another bank to make a deposit.  I had to go see the “lady behind the counter” at the dry cleaners to pick up my clothes.  I had to call the “guy at the gas place” about work that needed to be done.  Well, you get my point….I had a lot of people to see and talk to.  But were they really “people”?  Let me explain……

On this particular day of errand running I was listening to Paul Tripp’s series, “Forever”.  In this series Paul Tripp addresses our need for an eternal perspective as we live out our lives as believers.  God took an ordinary, busy, activity filled, me driven day and spoke into my heart creating great shame (well the shame was self-created) and conviction (God-created).

Paul told the story of a conversation that he had with the previous manager of the restaurant on the top floor of the World Trade Center…”Top Of The World” (the name being rather ironic).  This conversation took place approximately three weeks after the tragedy of 9/11.  Paul related how this man could barely speak through the sobs as he shared with Paul.  On the morning of 9/11 the restaurant held a corporate breakfast with over 200 employees in attendance, but, the manager was unable to attend because he had a doctor’s appointment.  The manager shared how, in a moment of time, he lost all of his employees.  He went on to share that he had spent the last few weeks attending the funerals of his employees.  He spoke of the mom that told him about how smart and sweet her son was, the wives that spoke of their husbands, husbands that spoke of their wives, children that spoke of their parents…..and on and on….people sharing about the people in their lives that had great meaning to them and are now gone.  Through the sobbing the man went on to confess the reality of the situation to Paul.  The manager told Paul that to him these “people” were nothing more than dishwashers, cooks, hosts, waiters and waitresses, bus-boys….etc.  He did not really know them at all!

Paul used this story as an illustration of how many of us go through our busy lives interacting with “people who are no longer people” to us.  You see these “people” have become the “guy at the bank”, the “lady at the drive through”, the “lady behind the counter”, and the “guy at the gas place”…..rather that a person with a story.  All of us have a story that we are living and all of us live our story in the perspective of eternity, though we may not realize it.  Our lives here on earth “are but a vapor” and then we will spend an eternity either in misery and damnation in Hell or in great joy and celebration with Jesus.

Here lies the great problem…..many of us live our lives never engaging in the lives of the people God has divinely put into our path.  Wait, stop a minute!  Do not read through the last sentence quickly…read it again.  No really, read it again…..”many of us live our lives never engaging in the lives of the people God has divinely put into our path.”  Does that not grip your heart?  There are men, women, boys, girls, moms, dads, grandmas, and granddads, everywhere, that God has placed in our lives for the purpose of  becoming involved in their story.  Yet, we are so consumed with our story that their story does not matter.  Think for a moment of all of the “people” you come in contact with every day, but you do not really know them.  What is their name?  Do they have family close by?  Are they married/single?  What are their interest?  Are they happy/sad?  Do they have needs?  What is their story?  And here is the big one….Does this person have a personal relationship with Jesus?  This is what life is all about.  No one will experience true life without Christ.  God has given you and me an opportunity to share true life with people.  What a privilege!  Guys, we have the opportunity to be salt and light.  We can impact the world for the cause of Christ.  We can impact people for the cause of Christ!  If we have the greatest news ever, how is it that we are living out our (God-given) story with our eyes covered to the stories being lived out all around us?  When will it not be all about me?

Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  (emphasis mine) Matthew 22:37-39

 Here is the good news….God desires us to live out these commandments.  He desires that we impact the lives of others.  He desires that we glorify Him as we become intimately involved in the lives of others.  So guess what…He will produce this fruit in us as we surrender our all to Him!  We cannot do this in our strength.  We must be utterly dependent.  God-dependence begins only when self-dependence ends.-Manley Beasley

We need YOU Lord!  We desperately need YOU!



Do I Need Revival?

Revelation 2:1-5

In Revelation 2 we see our Lord taking a journey through the church of Ephesus.  This church had once been a vibrant group of believers deeply in love with Jesus.  They had maintained doctrinal purity, they had kept themselves from the practices of the world, and they had a great enthusiasm for service.  However, over the years that had abandoned their first love.

Jesus says in vs. 1 that “he walks in the midst of the seven lampstands” or churches.  Can you imagine, with me, this picture….our Lord slowly making His way through the churches and he stops, He looks intently and he takes notice.  Jesus observes each church and he evaluates their walk and their life.  Jesus looks past all their wonderful programs….all the activities….all the ministries….the great buildings….the great pastor….He looks past their church face.  Jesus evaluates their heart!  You see, the church of Ephesus had gotten so caught up in doing the good things that they had taken their focus off of the Great Jesus Christ.  They were not guilty of spiritual immaturity they were guilty of spiritual infidelity.

Let me ask you….what if Jesus were to take a journey through your church or your home and evaluate your life?  What would He find?  Have you abandoned your first love?  Let us look at five warning signs that you or I have abandoned our first love and are in need of revival:

1.  I no longer love reading the Word of God

Is the Word of God alive to you and powerful? Heb. 4:12

Do you read and meditate on the Word of God? Ps. 119:9-16

Are you having personal times of devotion? 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Do you crave God’s living Word? 1 Pt. 2:2-3

Are you as much in love with the Word of God as you once were before?  Are you willing to drive across town to sit under the preaching of the Word of God, but you will not walk across the living room to pick up the Word of God to read it?

2.  I no longer enjoy going to church and serving God

You remember it so well…..there was a time in your life when you could not wait to get to church, but slowly you have began to go less and less.  Now it has become easier to come up with an excuse not to go.  Or maybe you have began to eliminate Sunday nights or Wednesday night prayer meetings from your schedule of worship.

Is it necessary for you to be entertained in order to be drawn to church?

Do you long for the fellowship and company of God’s people?

Does going to church still create in you a sense of excitement and joy?

3.  I have started being entertained by sin

We must be willing to admit that we have abandoned our first love when the things that used to be blatant sins to us are gradually becoming ‘not so bad’.  This can happen so gradual that we do not take notice of it initially.  The things that used to be black and white have slowly faded into grey.  Does this describe you?

Do you keep your mind free from books, magazines, or entertainment that could stimulate fantasizing thoughts that are not morally pure?

Are you continually engaging in gossip?

Are you conversations and behaviors pure and above reproach?

Is there any relationship, practice, or habit in your life that you would be ashamed to have publicly exposed?

Is your private life consistent with what others think of you?

Has it become difficult for you to confess sin?

4.  I have developed an unforgiving heart

All of us have been victim to some type of hurt at one point or another in our life.  Maybe you have been lied to, a promise has been broken, you have been neglected by someone, a violent crime has been committed against you, you have been falsely accused, you have been cheated or stolen from, you have an alcoholic family member, you have been publicly humiliated, you have been abused….and the list could go on and on.  Does this describe you?  Sure it does.  We have all been victims.  As you reflect on the ways you have been hurt do you find that each time you think of the person involved you are still angry?

Do you have a secret desire to have this person pay for what they did?

Do you find yourself telling others what this person did to you?

Are you unable to thank God for this person?

These are all symptoms in the life of a person that is unwilling to forgive the hurts committed against them.  As Jesus examines your heart, does He find unforgiveness?

5.  I am no longer burdened for the lost

Do you remember a time in your life when you prayed fervently for your lost friends and family members?  A time when you cried out to God that He would save them?  When was the last time you went to the Throne of Grace on behalf of a lost soul?  In Exodus 32 when the people of Israel made for themselves a god of gold God was going to destroy the people because of their sinful and rebellious hearts.  However, one man (Moses) was willing to intercede on their behalf.  In vs. 32 Moses prays this to God, “Yet now, if You will forgive their sins — but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which you have written.”  Moses was saying, in essence,….”God if you are going to send any of these people to hell….save them and send me instead.”  WOW!  What a heart for the lost!  Does this describe your heart?  Anything less is an indication that your heart needs a revived love for the lost.

Do any of these “five warning signs” describe you?  Well there is good news coming….Jesus gives us the solution.  Look at vs. 5….

We must remember: Remember what it was like when you first trusted Christ and your love for Him was fresh, pure, and unrivaled.

We must repent: Agree with God that your love for Jesus is not as warm as it once was, and that other loves have taken His rightful place in your life.

We must return: Invest the time and effort necessary to re-establish an intimate, loving relationship with your Lord.  Then you can respond to Him in loving adoration and obedience.

Are you all together right with God?  Has there ever been a time in your life when you were closer to Jesus than you are now?  Do you need revival?  Let us be a people that allows the Lord to examine our hearts and then respond to Him in obedience.

Lord we need You!  We desperately need You!