Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day

This is far more than a civil rights speech this was a Kingdom message, stretching much farther than just the color of skin or the disorder of culture. This was a message founded deeply in the principles of God, uniting His creation. Progress was made as a nation; but I believe if Dr. King were alive today, he would be greatly saddened at the regression that we have allowed. Our nation once mighty, not from wealth and power, but in unity and conviction is no longer better, but worse. Our division, hatred and anger used to at least be honest, out front and open, but now it’s subtle and deceptive. You hate your brother while smiling to his face and inviting him into your home. We continue to call a spiritual war, a race war and use fleshly tactics and weapons to fight a spiritual war that is immune to your artillery. The seed of racism was buried in the hearts of men, using man’s own ignorance to divide God’s creation. The spiritual enemy that we face, much like the ignorance embedded deep within many, is not racist. He attacks the black and white, alike, and fools us to blame each other. We must understand that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)”

Dr. King understood this because before he was ever a civil rights hero in America, he surrendered himself as a servant of the most high God and an ambassador of God’s Kingdom. Whether you are white or black, your brother of another color is not the issue, it is the condition of your heart. You must cease from fighting a spiritual war with fleshly weapons, it’s weak and lazy. Put down your chosen weapon of hatred and pick up a spiritual weapon that’s proven..love. Love is so powerful that it can both connect and conquer. It unites the greatest of friends and overcomes the fiercest of enemies. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure that you can really call it love until it is an enemy. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭32-36‬ NKJV)”

If you really want to celebrate today and what this great man stood for, don’t throw a party in his honor or parade his name, live in accordance to the principals that he lived by, the principles of the Kingdom. You are fighting a war, but you must choose who and what you are fighting for. Not black or white, but evil or good. Choose your side and your weapons wisely.
You are fighting a war, but you must choose who you are fighting for. Not black or white, but evil or good. Choose your side and your weapons wisely
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Don’t Get Lost In Salvation Translation

RejuvenateCan we bring some clarity to salvation? I know that most of us have believed that Christ’s death by the cross did us a favor. We are given the opportunity to enjoy in the benefits of what took place on the cross, but our “salvation from eternal condemnation” was a byproduct of the supreme purpose of God’s approach. I can assure you this, God didn’t go to the cross to make you feel better about your situation now and in the future.

Understand that the actions of this universe go well beyond you and I. Wait…you mean the world hasn’t revolved around us? Contrary to popular opinion, God’s plans outweigh and outlive us; we just get the great opportunity to be included in them. It would suck to not be, right?

Salvation didn’t do you a favor by keeping you out of eternal destruction and “safe.” Salvation brought you back into the presence of God and cleaned you for purpose. You were never designed to be separate and function outside of the presence of God. While hell and the lake of fire create pains that are far beyond imagination in the physical sense, the greatest pain is what is experienced by the eternal separation from the central Source of your life and the absence of the purpose of your life. Understanding that, do not take your salvation for granted, as though God did you a favor. It’s simply much more! You are able to experience and thrive in the presence of the Most High!

Let’s go a little further. God is true to Himself. He cannot lie. He cannot fail. He is immutable, therefore He never changes. If He never changes, His purpose never changes. The intent of His thoughts must be carried to completion. From the scope of His plans for the earth, you and I were created to be the agents that carry out that plan. Because God will not fail, His purpose will not fail. Therefore because God is true to Himself and the plans of His heart, that purpose will never change regardless of circumstances, problems and people. God lives outside of the realm of our circumstances and sin, therefore He cannot be moved by them, nor consumed by them, even though we may be.

Because of our ability to be shaken by our environment and our foolishness to make decisions outside of the will of God that usher us into a sin lifestyle and, yet, still being the agents of God’s never-changing purpose on earth, He had to be true to Himself and provide a way for His purpose to be fulfilled. Therefore salvation became the necessary way to keep God’s plans on track. God sent His Son to buyback those that He ordained to carry out His plans. God didn’t do us a favor, God did Himself one!

Understanding these principles should not discourage you or lessen your perspective of God’s love for you, that is unless you still struggle with a pride issue. On the contrary, it should allow you to reflect on how small we really are, but that we have the awesome opportunity to play such an inspiring and invaluable role in moving God’s plans forward. You get to play a key role in the purposes of God. The plans and ideas that He formulated long before you were even an earthly thought. You literally play a role in shaping the universe!

Don’t minimize God to being the one that did you a favor. Be in awe of how massive and majestic He is and that He desired to have you next to Him, close, as a partner to carry out His eternal plans.

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New Church Makes It’s Home In Anderson Mall (Anderson Independent Article/Saturday, December 27)

By Abe Hardesty/Anderson Independent

Sixty-five stores were open for business in late December at the Anderson Mall.

Only one offered free products.

That store, near the entrance of J.C. Penney and across the hall from Books-A-Million, is the Rejuvenate Church — the newest tenant in the 42-year-old mall.

What seems an unlikely location for a house of worship is one that Anderson County native Jason Wilson considers ideal. From the time it began meeting in homes in the Powdersville area a year ago, Wilson had been looking for an Anderson location, preferably one in an easy-to-find spot that would foster diversity.

The Anderson Mall, he discovered, meets all those criteria.

“The mall is a great place to find a cross-section of the population. Shopping doesn’t discriminate between age, financial status or anything else,” said Wilson, who serves as pastor.

“I knew that if we were located at the storefront of a mall, we’d get all types of people walking past,” Wilson said. “And that’s where I wanted to be.”

The church began meeting at the mall in late September. Its meetings usually draw about 30 “regulars.”

It marks the first full-time ministry for Wilson, a 1996 Wren High graduate who attended college at both Clemson and Troy State of Alabama.

After earning a degree in health sciences at Clemson in 2001, he worked as an employee health coordinator at the AnMed Health System and served as a youth leader at New Image Church in the Powdersville area before making the commitment in 2013 to form a new congregation.

Wilson’s goal is to “create a culture of ultimate diversity.”

He had initially planned to use a school or theater as the meeting place for his new ministry, but came up with the mall idea while shopping last year with his wife, Serena, and two children.

The unusual venue, he said, “puts us light years ahead” of the typical pace of growth for a new congregation.

“We believe that the church is the bridge that connects divides,” Wilson said. “There are very few places that everyone visits, regardless of age, race and socioeconomic status. The mall is that place.”

Wilson, in a post on his website, added that the location gives the new church a chance to reach some shoppers who otherwise might not stop by for congregational meetings or Bible study.

“We’re not convincing people to come to our church; they’re coming to (the mall) to buy their jeans and we get to love them while they do it,” Wilson wrote.

Wilson hopes to add Sunday-morning services in January.

Wilson, 36, felt called to the ministry at age 18, just before his sophomore year of college. He spent the next seven years “dodging” that calling, but said he eventually “realized he couldn’t continue to escape it.”

About two years ago, Wilson made the commitment to form a new church and become senior pastor about two years ago.

“In January 2013, I felt like God was speaking to me,” said Wilson, who announced to close friends at a Christmas party in December 2013 that he felt called to start a new church.

Wilson is well-acquainted with full-time church ministry. His in-laws, Gary and Cindy Cannon, have served more than 20 years as youth pastors at Greenville’s Tremont Avenue Church of God. An uncle serves as a minister in Alabama and his great-grandfather once served as pastor of the McDuffie Street Church of God.

Wilson married the former Serena Cannon in 2001. They have two young children.

The family ties to the ministry offer no guarantees when it comes to starting a new church, Wilson said.

“Starting a new church is the second-most failed business venture — only about 20 percent succeed,” Wilson said in mid-December, as he worked to install a sound system in the mall storefront.

In an effort to reduce expenses, Wilson and others in the group have become do-it-yourselfers to an extent.

“My grandpa was a carpenter. I worked with him a little, but it is not my gift,” Wilson said of the renovation project, which turned into a group effort.

Wilson is a big proponent of teamwork, and often uses the team-building techniques he first came to appreciate as a student of football.

“Football closely resembles life. I call it the ‘godliest’ sport,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of biblical principles involved in football.

“The way a successful church body comes together, with each member fulfilling its roles, and working together as a team, and facing adversity is much the same way a successful football team functions,” Wilson said.

Article taken from Saturday, December 27, 2014 edition of the Anderson Independent

Article By Abe Hardesty/Anderson Independent

Photos By Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent

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Look At Where We Get To Call Home!

Anderson MallThis blog is one of announcement and excitement, not instruction or leadership. 
Where We’ll Be
After several months of planning, praying, proposing, we can now put a face to the name of Rejuvenate Church. We are excited to announce that RC will make it’s home inside of the Anderson Mall! We are proud to call such a central place in the Anderson area, our home. We will be located in Suite G04, which is directly across from Books-A-Million inside the mall and right outside JCPenney. It can be easily accessed in 3 ways: 1. As you enter the main entrance of the mall and make your first right, down the JCPenney wing, we are the last property on the left before heading down the ramp/stairs and into JCPenney. 2. You can enter through Books-A-Million, walk through the store into the mall and we are directly across the way.  3. You can park in the lot in the rear of the mall between Belk & JCPenney and enter through the rear entrance of the mall next to Penney’s. 
A Little Of The Why
Partnering with Anderson Mall creates such a dynamic opportunity for us. We get a chance to connect and touch people everyday. The heart of Rejuvenate Church is to create a culture of ultimate diversity; we believe that RC is the bridge that connects divides. The Kingdom is undivided; we wish to mirror that image. There are very few places that everyone visits, regardless of age, race and socioeconomic status. That mall is that place. This creates an opportunity for us to engage our community and it’s culture, and find ways, through everyday connection, to unify that divide. We want to leave a thumbprint on the Anderson area; we do not want a week to go by that our community does not know that we’re here. Being inside Anderson Mall, puts us light years ahead in that pursuit, already. We’re not convincing people to come to our church; they’re coming to our church to buy their jeans and we get to love them while they do it. We also seek to create a presence in the life of business culture and it’s leaders in Anderson. We believe as being a part of both the Anderson Area Chamber and an integral part of Anderson Mall, we have a great head start. As so many look for ways to do outreach in a community, we’re already there and we’re so excited to invest in the lives of our community, each and every day.
How You Can Help
First and foremost, the most effective thing anyone can do is pray. Your prayers for our vision and the journey to develop that vision, mean everything to us.
Because we are occupying a former retail establishment, there are certainly many things that need to be done to utilize it for ministry. What is so cool, is how God created an opportunity for this place and it is already so layed out to meet the needs of a church, but there is still some renovations that need to take place. Along with the necessary cosmetic changes that need to take place, we now also must furnish the facility with it’s ministry tools, resources,  and equipment; everything from toilet paper to sound and video equipment. This process begins now. If you would like to deposit a seed into the life of this ministry, there are 3 ways we can immediately use your help. 
  1. We have many labor needs for those able to do painting, carpentry, and electrical work.
  2. Resource Donations: Anything from building materials, to office supplies, children’s toys and furnishings, business or lounge furniture, etc. We have lists. Just ask.
  3. If you’re not able to give of your time or make resource donations, we ask you to consider contributing financially to our launch budget. That can be done 2 ways. A: We accept checks made out to Rejuvenate Church or cash and can be mailed to PO Box 51621, Piedmont, SC 29673. B: You can give very securely by debit or credit card through the online giving feature of our website, found here. 
All contributions are 100% tax deductible and will be used to push the dream of Rejuvenate Church. 
If you are interested in helping in some way, please contact us by phone at 864-634-8264 or click here to send us a message through our contact page.
It Starts Now
Beginning the week of September 23, all activities and offices will be moved to the new location; this includes all ongoing Fellowship Groups, intercessory prayer, launch meetings, etc., as well as, all labor and construction that will be taking place over the next period of weeks.
Thank You!
We are so grateful for the many of you that have prayed for us, supported us with your words of faith and encouragement and all that have contributed financially to the DREAM! RC would not be at the landmark moment that it’s at now without you. We celebrate God’s blessings, our new home, and your partnership. There’s work to be done!
Pictures of some of the inside of our property can be viewed below. If you have questions or would like more information regarding Rejuvenate Church, please visit us on our website at RejuvenateChurch.com. You can also get latest information from our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
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Just Keep Praying

PrayerI just want to take a minute to encourage you. If you’ve ever dealt with a long-standing problem; had an illness that you’ve battled what seems like forever or you’ve had a persistent need that you feel you’ve been praying about for so long and have never gotten an answer from God. Don’t quit praying and faithing.
I don’t always understand why God works the way He does or in the time He does, but He does work. And because you didn’t get an answer or a touch yesterday, doesn’t mean today’s not the day. Give each day an opportunity to be the miracle moment, through continual prayer and faith.
I want to share a quick story with you. Please know that my sharing this is not done to draw attention to myself or to celebrate anything “I’ve” done, rather to encourage you to continue to trust God in the moments that you want to give up praying the most.
Yesterday, at a church, I had a woman come up to me after service that had been trying to find me for 3 months. That long ago, in this same church, I had a chance to pray with this lady. When she came to me that morning, 3 months ago, she began telling me that she had been suffering from severe headaches, daily, for 2 years. Now, if you know me personally and what my wife has been through with migraines, you know the irony in God sending this lady to me to pray for her. I remember, as she shared her struggle with me in that altar, laughing at God under my breath; certainly not at her struggle, but at the fact God would send this headache laden lady to me, to pray for her, while my own home couldn’t even conquer the same issue. 
Anyway, she had tried everything the doctors directed; she was taking tons of medication to attempt to function in life, but really had no life and was losing all hope in her prayers. But she didn’t give up and took one more chance at an agreement in prayer. 
We prayed together that morning in that altar and by her words yesterday, she told me as she left that altar she knew God healed her. Since that morning 3 months ago, after 2 years of debilitating headaches, she has not dealt with another one. She’s not taken another gram of medication and she is enjoying life again.
God answered her persistent step of faith that morning. She came broken, hurt, in pain, tired, wondering if God would ever respond and if her life would ever be normal again, and because she didn’t give up in her prayers and in her faith, God touched her life. In a moment it all went away. 
I tell you that just to say, don’t give up on your prayers and your faith in the Almighty. I know you’re tired of dealing with whatever it is you’re having to go through; I know you want answers, I know you need help and yet each day seems as if nothing’s changing. Be strong. Don’t lose hope in God and your prayers to Him. He is Alpha AND Omega; which means that He not only saw the beginning of your struggle but will be there to see you overcome your struggle. Keep praying today. Keep believing today. Because today could be the day that it all changes in moment.
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The Bad Thing About Learning

Challenge YourselfThe bad thing about learning is that you have to get over yourself. Stay with me. Successful people, great leaders, are constantly looking to learn. Everybody has some capacity to learn more, but the thing that separates people is their willingness to learn.
Most people see learning as the pursuit to gain more information; reading books, watching people, listening to speakers, going to conferences, getting higher degrees, etc.. I believe, while that’s true, that it’s not the whole truth. The basis of going to new levels of learning is getting past your own self.

Those that are unwilling to expose themselves to people to learn from or opportunities to learn with, have determined that the ideas they presently have and the information they currently possess are absolute. They’re unwilling to change or be challenged because it would put them in a place of having to internally admit that their thought isn’t the only thought and their way isn’t the only way. Yet to become all that we’ve been purposed to become, we must challenge that philosophy. God’s word clearly teaches us that His thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways are above our ways and in order to gain more revelation from God, we must be willing to accept that we don’t even come close to knowing all that there is to know and we desire to absorb so much more from Him.

Learners are willing to confront and challenge themselves and their ideas; what they know or believe, while it may not necessarily be wrong, it just might not necessarily be the best. And we all like to think our ideas are the best. Learning requires us to be honest about ourselves; it requires us to humble ourselves, to accept that we just don’t know it all. And while that can be a tough pill to swallow, with the right perspective it can also be exciting.

Greater knowledge, gives greater responsibility, but it also gives more power. When you realize that we have an endless God, with infinite knowledge, who can connect us with infinite people and infinite opportunities, you begin to realize the magnitude of your possibilities. You can do whatever you put in your heart to do, you can learn all that you want to learn…but it requires you to clear one big hurdle; you must get over yourself.

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Fishing and Frustrated

Abandoned BoatA short time back I got a phone call from a friend that owns his own business. He had taken on a job that required an extra hand, so he called me to see if I’d be interested in helping him for a few days. I, of course, agreed and made the appropriate plans to be with him on his job site. He’s very knowledgeable and skilled in his craft, whereas I, on the other hand, was there simply to offer whatever assistance he needed. 
Over the next few days, while I worked to the best of my ability, I often found myself frustrated and empty, even though I worked hard and got paid. I would listen to some of his instructions and would still not get things exactly how they needed to be; I’d watch how to use a certain tool, and still have trouble making it work when I got the opportunity. While he’d breeze through a task, the same one would take what seemed like forever to complete. For a person like me that wants things to be done right and excellent, those few days were filled with aggravation, frustration and fatigue. 
And then God reminded me, “relax, your frustration comes because this isn’t what you were built to do.”
This is the life of so many and I have no doubt, it’s why so many work hard, make good money and live completely tired, frustrated and incomplete.
In Luke 5, Jesus was taking a stroll by the lake, teaching, with throngs of people following almost too close for comfort. On His way around the shore line, He passed some fishermen, who at the end of a days work had left their boats stranded and were making their way to clean their nets, minus one tired and frustrated fisherman who was still left in his boat, pondering a day of despair and unfulfillment. Jesus, putting a little distance between Himself and the load of people following, stepped over into this fisherman’s boat, sat down to rest His feet and continued teaching to those on the shoreline that were eager to listen. 
As He finished teaching, He turned and addressed the boat owner, some guy named Simon, who in spite of this great teaching and the presence of the One that was in the boat with him, was still caught up in the despair of his day. Simon said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing..”  What Jesus did next, is just what Jesus does next when you encounter Him. He changed his life and charged his purpose.
Jesus graciously, allowed him to see that the frustration and lack of fulfillment that he was experiencing, wasn’t from having the wrong tools or equipment or even a desire to succeed, but simply that he was spending his life attempting to succeed in a job, trying to make ends meet, that he was never built to succeed in. (That oblivious chase gets tiring.)
This is the picture of humanity. Working the same routine that I worked for several days, trying to succeed at a job that your personal gifts and abilities were never meant for. God never intended for you to be a slave to a dollar or an accepted routine. He never intended for you to pursue life with so much gas in your tank for success but never any impact. 
My grandfather worked over 50 years as a carpenter; which was a very rigorous and laborious profession. There were times in the summers that I would help him out when I got a little older and I remember him always telling me, “work smart, not hard.” The smartest work you can do, is to listen to the Master and discover that dream, that purpose that He’s built you for, and then work hard to develop it. Don’t be so caught up in the despair of today’s labor and the dream of a paycheck, that you can’t hear God talking to you from inside of the boat, because you’re already plotting on how to pursue tomorrow. It would have been a shame for Simon to be so focused on the day’s failure and the dread of tomorrow that he never heard Jesus telling him he wasn’t even supposed to be on the lake!
Because a frustrated fisherman, listened to the Master, obeyed with an act faith and cared to pursue his purpose, we find something different just a short time later in Acts 2.  A broken, unfulfilled fisherman who spent his days of hard work and caught nothing became an empowered voice of impact, who with his first message had a “catch” of three thousand lives. 
How will you respond to that teacher in your boat?
When all this is said and done, you want to be as Paul was; your life poured out as a drink offering. Not because you’re empty from trying to keep up in a race you weren’t supposed to run, but because you’ve given away every gift of purpose that was in you. 
Put down the net and get out of the boat. Don’t wait any longer. Pursue what’s in you, not what’s around you.
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Are You Taking The Bribe?

Hook of BriberyAs resurrection morning has passed and life afterward carries on, I want to bring your attention to the same scenario, a couple of thousand years ago.

As Jesus was taken from the cross and laid in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a guard was placed at the burial site to ensure that none of the followers of Christ would attempt to steal His body, hide it and create an elaborate scheme claiming Christ’s resurrection. Turns out, the guards were useless in their attempt to safeguard the tomb, because the resurrection was an “inside” job. The guards were forced to witness prophesy being fulfilled and were rendered helpless of power to change the inevitable. The Bible actually says they “shook with fear and became like dead men.” Their only option was to return to the high-ranking religious officials, now get this, carrying the TRUTH of what happened at the tomb, after all they had just witnessed it for themselves. Matthew says it like this, “some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.”

What happened next was just plain dirty politics, guided by the hand of the enemy. Matthew writes, ‘When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed;” By definition, what took place with these high-ranking officials negatively influencing the guards through money for their own gain, is called a bribe.

These men, who not only knew, but witnessed the truth, were bribed into trading the truth for deception, and living with it. This reeks of satan; lies, money, deception. Just as these men, post-resurrection, were bribed into giving up what they knew to be right and true, the enemy does the same to you with each day. I challenge you to be discerning, hold on to the truth and don’t take the bribe!

Two ways in which we are daily challenged with a bribe:

  1. You know God. You know what’s right, just and true; His word is clear. You have a testimony. You have witnessed what God has done in your life and the lives of those around you, but culture doesn’t want to hear that. So you’re bribed by culture, you’re bribed by media, you’re bribed by your environment; you’re pleasures and the lust of your flesh dangle opportunity in front of you; corporate and economic success throw in their cash; bad attitudes and selfishness make a play, all to keep you silent about the truth. They don’t want you talking about the God you know is real, the God you know is alive. Although you know the truth, you’ve experienced the truth, you’ll accept a bribe to not take a stand for what’s right, the precepts of God.
  2. You have promises of a plan from God for your life. You have incredible gifts, talents, abilities or at least the potential of these things, in order to fulfill the God-given dreams and plans for your life. You know what’s right. You know the truth about what God’s told you and led you to become, but it’s easier to take a bribe and quit. It’s easier to accept a bribe to stay put and give up, rather than pay the price to fulfill the dream. So many are taking bribes everyday, that keep them from pursuing their best life now, the life that God intended you to live; the purpose God intended for you to fulfill. You’ll accept a bribe of doubt, guilt; Bribes of laziness, bribes in the form of settling,  a bribe that tells you that you’re too old or too young, a bribe that looks like ‘quit’ because it’s too hard. You’ll take a bribe to escape the trials of becoming something, even though there’s a truth in you that’s real and seeded by God.

Stop taking the bribes and live for what you know is true! I challenge you to reflect on self. Allow the Holy Spirit to examine you and expose to you the bribes that you’ve been accepting that are keeping you from standing for what’s right and/or investing in yourself to become all that God has called you out to become. Do not settle for a little upfront money to believe a lie that will keep you from Kingdom success. The resurrection brought life. Don’t take a bribe to remain in the company of the dead.

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Don’t Get The Story Twisted

Love RevolutionEvery year, at this time, pastors, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, etc are preparing to share the Easter message. What a message it is! It is the single most monumental event in history. But I want you to see it from a different perspective.

The story culminates on Easter Sunday morning as we celebrate death’s defeat through the most powerful, life-giving moment of Christ’s resurrection. What a moment that had to be, as everything relating to death, destruction, decay, sickness and weakness, etc, literally shook with fear as a massive stone drew back its curtain and the heaven’s announced the greatest encore there’ll ever be. But that moment was never a possibility without the cross. There will be crosses hung, lit, elevated and celebrated all over the world over the next few days.

With the image of these crosses will be taught a murder story; graphic and gory in nature. Hateful, bitter and evil will be adjectives used to describe Roman officials and Jewish leaders; they’ll be slammed and slandered, put on trial, in the words of many believers across the world and held accused in the hearts of men and women for the cold-blooded killing of Jesus. There’s no doubt, that it’s the most brutal death anyone has ever suffered. But it didn’t happen the way that you think.

I want to point out 3 decision moments in scripture that bring focus to this Easter story. Without going into great detail concerning each, they are as follows:

  1. The Garden Decision ( Luke 22:42 “Father, if it is Your will take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done”
  2. The Arrest Decision (John 18:4-8 “Jesus…went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ …..’I am He’ ….’I am He’….’I have told you that I am He.'”
  3. The Death Decision (John 19:10-11 “Then Pilate said to Him….’Do you not know that I have power to take your life and power to release you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against me unless it had been given you…”

These three critical moments give an understanding that at any time, Jesus had the power and the authority by decision, to abort what was about to transpire. He could have made a decision in the garden to bypass the will of God and not accept the task at hand. He could have made a decision, as Judas conspired against Him with a mountainside of soldiers, not to allow these men to arrest Him, yet He willfully gave Himself up. He could have made a decision to walk away from Pilate, who had no ability to stop Him, yet He stood His place and gave His life up. All because of you.

Be careful of the mental picture and the emotions you allow yourself to develop against those involved in this historical event. This was no murder, it was a sacrifice. It has been typed, many times, as a tragic crime story, when it fact, it’s a passionate, love story. Jesus was no victim to the plots of evil leaders, He was a radical, leading a love revolution, one that He chose.

For Jesus loved the world so much, that He gave Himself as a sacrifice, that whosoever would believe in Him, would not be overcome by death and destruction but have resurrection life, eternally. Be a part of the revolution this Easter!

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Unimpressed

Leaders often live a life of unknown loneliness. While to the outsider, they appear to be surrounded by people, connections and scores of friends, it is often a false positive to the reality of how things are on the inside of the person. Because of this, so many crumble under the pressure. There are scores of great articles/helps available dealing with leadership burnout, but I would like to address something that often goes unmentioned yet carries extreme weight; leaders need a friend.

It can seem to be a trivial need, as I’m sure that most would say they have friends, great friends even, yet leaders/pastors are at a great disadvantage in connecting with people on a core level for a few reasons: 1. Leaders are givers, people of service and are constantly looking for ways to pour into others rather than drawing from the ways that the relationship can benefit them. 2. Because of their people nature and the desire to love and serve, they are often surrounded and connected to people that constantly draw out of their giving. 3. Because of the position of influence and the accomplishments that the leader has experienced, many connect because of what they are and have done, not who they are. Let me dig a little deeper.

Our human nature relishes praise and adoration. We all love to have pats on the back, encouragement and recognition for what we’ve done. For leaders, this often becomes the common characteristic for the people that are closest to them. You connect to the folks that have become your back patters, sing your praises and tell you how great you’re doing. This is dangerous and gives a false perception of support. More often than not, these people draw closer to you for a reason other than desiring to love you and push your vision. They’re there because you’ve become their wellspring. Rather than learning to draw from the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives, as you’ve attempted to lead them to do, you’ve become what they draw from and they’re running you dry with a smile on their face and a pat on your back. Their intentions may be sincere, but the truth is, they have nothing to add back to the relationship. The other common connection possesses a motive that is a little less sincere and a little better disguised. These are the people that are connected to you because of how it elevates their status. Simply being seen in circles with you and having you on text message and speed dial, gives them access and credibility. They feed off of your influence with others to gain greater influence and opportunity for themselves, but after padding your ego and gaining whatever they can gain, will be the quickest to leave you.

Both types of relationships above are connected to you because of what you are, not who you are. My challenge to you is to go beyond your need to fuel your ego, feel great about what you’re doing and build a true bond with someone who is unimpressed. It is vital to your health, your growth and your leadership ability that you connect with someone that cares about you and only you. You need someone who respects who you are and what you’ve done, but that’s unimpressed by your accomplishments, your position, your authority, etc.; they have a true desire to love the personal you, not the positional you. These friendships, will remain in spite of the failures that you expose (which would drive the others away) and actually give you the ability to be completely transparent and vulnerable. These friendships aren’t afraid to challenge your weak spots out of fear of your authority, but cause you to confront the things in you that need to shift and change. They are able to see you cry and it doesn’t change their perception of you; they are able to see you laugh, have fun (which others can’t picture) and it doesn’t change their perception of you; they are able to watch you fail and soar to new heights and continue to be the same person, standing by you regardless. For many, it’s a person that you don’t have, but it’s somebody that you need. 

I challenge you to pray for and seek out that relationship. If you are a pastor or business leader, it is likely not someone in your congregation or your company; it will rarely be someone you lead. You will have to go beyond your normal circles to find them, but they are worth having, so they’re worth pursuing. You need them. Find that person that’s unimpressed.

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