Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sunday Scribbles : Bumfuzzled and Baffled


I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the people of First Baptist Elloree, SC. The conversation style sermon series the pastor had invited me to join was a very worthwhile experience and one I learned and grew from. I so appreciate all of you who prayed for me.

But, I was quite bumfuzzled when the pastor told me, and also his congregation, that I was way more prepared for my "Conversation" in his four week sermon series than any of the other guests that had preceded me. Really?

We're watching a society and world where Romans 1 is unfolding right before our eyes. We're living in an exciting time in history as we remain alert and await the return of Christ, but spiritual leaders must take spiritual matters seriously to help the Church prepare for His arrival.


It baffles me to think that possibly some in leadership positions would consider glossing over the hours needed for preparation so as to not misspeak or mishandle the truth of God's Word, begging God to help them speak His truth with grace and wisdom, seasoned with salt, or even asking others to pray for them.

The Church is facing some serious crossroads and we need to wrap all we do in love, bathe everything in prayer, be wise with our words, be knowledgeable of the Word, prepared and ready to stand on Truth alone as well as be ready to die for Truth alone.

We are not given spiritual and natural gifts just to let them lie dormant. Our days were ordained for us before we were even born. (Psalm 139) We are but a breath in the eternal existence of God Almighty. We don't have time to mess around and mishandle our responsibilities. Flippant attitudes hurt the heart of God.

As leaders, we are held to a higher standard because of the sphere of influence God has entrusted us with. Until we recognize the significance of our purpose in God's Grand Story of Redemption, we will continue to be lackadaisical in our efforts to fulfill our purposes, shrugging off our responsibilities, misleading those placed under our watch, and ineffective for the kingdom.

It's past time to step it up. It's past time for Church leadership to dig in and truly lead God's people in the path of righteousness. It's past time for us to be in the trenches battling for the hearts and souls of God's people so they are challenged to fulfill their purposes as well within the Body of Christ.

It's past time to let go of the insanity of what isn't working, and get back to the truth of God's Word, preaching it unapologetically, proclaiming Christ and Christ alone, and holding all leadership to a standard of Scriptural accountability that lines up with character, integrity and Christlikeness.

The hearts of people are crying out for real spiritual leaders to lead real spiritual lives. Every time we are given the opportunity to speak, teach, lead, evangelize, disciple, mentor, etc... it's a BIG deal in the eyes of Christ. No appointment should be taken lightly. No one plays a tiny role, and no role is valued less than another's in the Body of Believers.

If the Church is going to infect our godless society with the holiness of Christ, we have to be committed to walk by faith, to live by faith, and to grow up in our faith. Our job as spiritual leaders is to lead by example, and our Example is Jesus Christ.

My Pleasure,
Melanie








Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Humility, Honor, and a Servant Heart



My favorite season begins today! A hint of fall slips in with a little nip in the air, lower temps and much lower humidity. Love it! I breathe a little deeper as the breeze whispers, "Change is on the way."

Our family is experiencing a different kind of change these days as we take care of an aging parent, again. Fall 2015 marks a new season for us. A season that has blown in fast and furious; definitely not with a whisper.

It's our season of making some tough choices, caring for someone who has lived their life caring for us, and deciding how to best do that with honor and dignity.

I've watched the love of my life tend to his mother with the utmost care and concern over the last two weeks. It's hard because he's with her all of the time, and when I relieve him he just goes home for a few hours and is back again seeing that her needs are being met the best way he knows how.

He is a beautiful picture of Christlikeness serving his mom with humility, honor, a deep love, and a tender heart.

God continues to show me why He chose Rick for me to marry, and my love for him continues to grow deeper every single day. Through his love, tenderness, goodness, patience, kindness, and mercy, he leads our family well. It's an incredible honor to be his wife and the mother of our children. Watching my husband serve his mom has been exhausting but such a pleasure. He truly lives what he teaches, and God will honor his obedience.

My Pleasure,
Melanie


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cultural Controversies, Faith and Real Conversations

In just a week and a few days, I will be conversing with a SC pastor in front of his congregation for a September Sunday morning sermon series about some very controversial topics infiltrating our culture and the Church today. I'm still not sure what God is thinking about using me in this capacity, or what He's up to, but I will say, I'm very excited about this opportunity and pray fervently for the conversation to point all who hear it to Jesus and His Word.

Q. What makes a topic controversial?

A. Deeply seeded beliefs, whether based on truth or not, that force people to take sides.

In his September sermon series, Pastor Bryan Fields has chosen to discuss some tough issues with four leaders in today's Church, a different one each Sunday, all serving the Church in different capacities.

If you could choose the topics for me to tackle concerning our culture and the Church, what would they be? Well, I thought about this and let's just say, I knew I would get these:

1. Women and their role in church leadership, especially in the Southern Baptist Convention
2. Same-Sex Marriage
3. Abortion

You're probably thinking, "Boy, I'm glad that's not me!" But my heart is singing, "Thank You, Lord, for choosing me! I'm no expert on any of the above, but You are. I humbly accept the challenge, and will search what Your Word says, and then seek to explain Your Truth well, boldly and courageously, seasoned with wisdom and grace."

Over the next 11 days, please pray for me in your personal WAR ROOMS. Do battle with me and for me so the enemy has to flee. The desired result from each conversation is for our eyes and hearts to be open to God's truth, receive it, believe it, and live it.

Want to attend the conversation(s)? The series began last Sunday, 9/13 and run through 9/27. My conversation takes place Sunday, 9/27 @ 10:30 am at First Baptist Church in Elloree, SC. I would love to see you there.

My Pleasure,
Melanie






Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Desperate Need for War Rooms

If you haven't seen the Kendrick brothers' new movie, WAR ROOM, I beg you to go.
Powerful. Intentional. Holds nothing back. Watch the trailer at warroomthemovie.com.

This movie affirmed in my heavy heart that praying without ceasing in the in-between spaces of my daily grind is a great thing, but it also revealed an immediate need for a tangible, intentional space to do battle in. I need a WAR ROOM.

Today has especially been a battle day and I know why. Anytime I'm preparing to teach the Word of God, Satan comes at me hard. Today he came at me with church calendar planning. Satan isn't happy with all that is strategically planned to point people to Jesus, so he's trying to cause conflict, but he's not going to win!

Satan's also attacking my husband by wearing him down as he deals with his aging mom. Today of all days, as he is preparing to kick-off his men's Bible study fall group, he sat with her in doctors' offices all day long. But, the enemy can just go back to his crummy corner and leave. us. alone!

Satan has a well thought out strategy to defeat us. His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy anyone who may seek or is seeking after Jesus Christ. (John 10:10) He attacks where we are weak, where we seem most vulnerable. Why? Because He knows that people who seek Jesus, find Jesus. And those who find Him share His truth with others. Where Truth dwells, our ability to defeat sin excels!

Satan also knows that he can't have those of us who belong to Jesus Christ, but he still tries to defeat us through stealing our joy, destroying our families, and throwing his darts at us wherever and whenever we let our guard down.

So, people, there is a real need for real WAR ROOMS (tangible prayer closets) in every Christian home.

A spiritual WAR ROOM is an appointed place, free from distractions, where spiritual strategies are designed for defeating Satan's schemes, and where heart-wrenching, knee-bending battle takes place. Where prayers ascend, Scripture is searched, the Spirit whispers, truth is claimed and Jesus is proclaimed. It's where battles are won!

I'm heading to my newly cleaned out WAR ROOM now as I submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, open His Word and pray. I need a good strategy as my husband and I prepare to enter this season of teaching, equipping and discipling for God's glory. Jesus has already won the war. I just need Him to fight these hard, daily battles for me and defeat the relentless enemy seeking to steal my joy.

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. (James 4:7-8 NIV)

My Pleasure,
Melanie