Monday, July 30, 2007

I had the privilege of ministering at the Living Waters Church of God in Sebring, Florida yesterday. This church is pastored by my good friends John and Pam Schneider, I've been there a couple of times in the past few months, it's an exciting place to be. One of the things that I noticed was the freshness, the other times I was there things were good, but they've added some new staff, their worship team is good, there is a spirit of refreshing there that invigorates you, excitement fills the air. On the other hand, I talk with other pastors and church members that are experiencing difficult times, moments in the lives and ministries where they don't understand what God is doing, they feel as if they've lost their way and wonder which road to take next. Seasons is my answer, this is a season of shifting, transition, and process, I believe God is moving in the lives of His people, but He is doing in ways that are unfamiliar to us, but very familiar to Him. We like change until we need to change and then we don't want to change too much, we enjoy our comfort zones...even though we don't want to admit we have them! You cannot escape a season, you have to walk through it, to endure hardship, and to learn the lesson of the process...easier said than done. One pastor said that he felt like he couldn't hear the Lord right now, so what should he do? My answer, hold on to the last word He spoke until He speaks another...God's Word always works! I want to be faithful in whatever season I find myself in and find great comfort in the words of the Apostle Peter: Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing more than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God, who has great plans for us in Christ-eternal and glorious plans they are!--will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does! (I Peter 5:7-10 The Message)

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm Going Home!
For a 45 year old man this will sound strange, but I am so excited, I'm going home to Illinois next weekend! I've been wanting to go back to the Chicago area where my Mom and sister live for a few days, but haven't been able to work it out. I've also wanted to preach a revival somewhere before I leave for Kenya in mid-August. This morning I had my good friend Pastor Ken Holt from Chicago on my mind, gave him a call, left a voice mail and hung up. About 30 minutes ago he called, said, "You won't believe this but this morning I was next door on top of a ladder and said to myself, I need to call Neil for revival in August!" Talk about a God thing...I'm going home! I've missed my Mom this summer, it's too hot for her to come to Florida this time of the year, we'll fly her down in November for three weeks, but I get to go this time, it will be awesome! You will never know what the Lord has just done in my life, just trust me when I say it is both a sign and a wonder at a good time in my life! Did I say, I'm going home!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dunns River Falls, Jamacia Mvc-560f
The Mind of Missions
My friend and son in the ministry, Pastor Troy Yanosik of Life Christian Fellowship in Jensen Beach, Florida just returned from his first missions trip. He spent this past week in the mountains of Jamaica where he ministered the Word of God nightly and touched the lives of the wonderful Jamaican people daily. We've just gotten off the phone and you can hear it in his voice, he saw poverty as he's never seen, children without shoes, people who's only running water is the rain and what drips from the trees and is collected in a barrel, they have no to little money, and yet their hearts are open to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Pastor Troy has come back with a desire to purchase tennis shoes, or runners, as he called them, I'm not sure where that runners thing came from, but he is a Canadian, perhaps it's a northern thing. He's determined to make a difference in the lives of this people and I'm determined to help. What touches me more is the transformation of his heart, it happens almost every time a person leaves the country, you see things you've never seen before, or beyond that, things you've never allowed yourself to see. My wife and I pastored our first church in the appalacian mountains in Eastern Kentucky, there people lived in shacks and had little financial ability, and while it affected me, it was different when I went to Kenya for the first time. Today I realize that need is everywhere, and it isn't my job or my calling to change a person's culture, it's my opportunity, my mission to help change their climate by sharing my resources and the love of God with them. For me, this is the message of the missional mindset, we have talked church, we have discussed what needs to be done, it's always just about to happen, but now is the time for us to step up to the plate and make it happen. How easy it is to weep over homeless and hungry people, to walk past shoeless children, and to say these people need to do something about their situation, but it's our opportunity to assist them on their journey! When I returned from my first missions trip I was devastated and realized how greedy I was, I wanted to tell everyone how good we have it in America. I still feel that way, but I now understand that we have been blessed to be a blessing, and there is need and poverty everywhere, it is emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual, and we can all in some way make a difference in some one else's's the missions mindset!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thanks to my friend Barb at Tidbits & Treasures I've been awarded this Blogger Reflection Award and a Seed Planters Award! Thanks Barb for thinking of me, you along with many others have made blogging a joy and a requirement of both reading and writing!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I had lunch with my seven year old daughter Madison today, it was kind of cool! She spent the night last night with her friend "B", came to my office around 10:30, suitcase in hand and ready to go. Her Mother and sister were out and about, so she entertained the office manager and senior pastor, drew a picture, signed it, and now it's hanging on the wall in the office manager's office. Finally, and not too soon, we were off for lunch, Taco Bell her favorite place, was closed for some odd reason so we ended up at AW/Long John Silver...She left looking like a pirate queen. What a kid!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Newest Addiction
I leave the office early on Fridays and usually come home to vege. The past two weeks I've found myself hooked on TLC's program "What Not To Wear". I'm not a girly person at all, am not into all the latest fashion, but I have to tell this program is hilarious. I watched it yesterday from around 3:00 PM until 9:00 PM, now, I did take a break and go eat, but came right back, my little one went to her room, it wore her out! It's amazing how bad some people dress and feel good about it! Whew, good thing my wife is working on me! I also watched Pastor Jim Raley from Calvary Christian Center in Ormand Beach, FL, he was on TBN, preached the house down! TBN gets on my nerves, there was an hour and a half of singing and then they give this guy 25 minutes to preach. The music was good, but it seems to me that if you bring a guy from Florida to Nashville to minister, you give him time...he came on at 11:35 PM, but it was so good. Check him out at This guy is the real deal, has preached for us a couple of times, we love his ministry! Check out Pastor Raley and What Not To Wear!

Monday, July 09, 2007

You know that Monday is my least favorite day of the week, it should be Monday on Thursday. This Monday has been a great day, things were not hectic at the office, I got to leave at 2:45 and don't have to work tomorrow, it's my 45th birthday, I'm lucky to be able to get out of the bed in the mornings! I'll spend the day with my wife, go to a staff meeting tomorrow night, eat Sonny's BBQ there and enjoy time with my fellow co-workers, and it will be Tuesday...not Monday! I've been busy today preparing for an upcoming trip to Kenya, I'm taking four others from our church and will be gone two weeks the later part of August, it will be awesome! We are hoping to travel south into the land of the Maasai, a wonderful tribe of people that are yet to rise to modern corruption, the only tribe in Kenya that are allowed to bring their spears into city limits, it's going to be great! It's hot here in Florida, but I'd rather be hot now and warm in the winter than warm now and freezing my hiney off this winter. I'm rambling...I know! We had the most awesome service at church yesterday, the Holy Spirit simply breathed upon us and we were refreshed in His presence. I love the Lord!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Becoming New
Have you ever noticed that people who talk about progressing often want to go back in order to go forward? As a revivalist I've often heard pastors and church members talking about how we need to get back to old paths or that what we need is an old fashioned revival, they want to go back to get something that they remember as being good. I realize that we do have to return to our first love, to remember where we've fallen from, and to turn back to God, but I also realize that we can't stay where we were or are, our return is to reconnect and then to move forward. Dee Hock, founder and former ceo of Visa said, "The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out!" Isn't that the struggle Jesus had with the Pharisees? They had a learned knowledge of who and what God was all about, and when the visible revelation of God came into their very midst, they couldn't receive Him because their perception was clouded with the past. They had an idea of what it was supposed to be like and couldn't get past what they thought to get to what was! Jesus came to make all things new, I think that is not only at the moment we receive Him, but throughout our entire journey with Him...I want to become new!