Tuesday, August 27, 2013

He Is ( A Poem about Finding all that You Need)

He Is ( A Poem about Finding all that You Need)

He is the deepest desire that you long for
He is the love you have been searching for, the lover you long for
He is the retreat that you need and the giver of the rest you long for
He is the great stress reliever
He is what you were made for
He is what you miss and He can be found
He is the great healer and patience giver
He is what moves you forward in life and helps you not to look back
He is the great forgiver and He helps us forgive others
He is inspiration that inspires great art
He is the greatest that over takes us when you are inspired by the beauty of His creation
He is what you need when you are lonely, depressed, hurting, and looking for purpose
He is all that is good and all that you need
He is Jesus, search for Him and you will find Him , call out to Him and your voice will be heard

Check Out this song


Saturday, August 17, 2013

List of Suggestions for Church Website (From the point of view of someone looking for a church home)

Suggestions for Church's that want to grow. Currently I have been looking for a church home.I have been looking on church websites for info. This is a list info I find on Church websites that are helpful.
1. Services Times
2. "What The Church Believes Section" (It is OK if you put a copy of the baptist faith and message but also include a vision statement or mission statement) Do not just tell me your conservative ( explain what you mean by conservative).
3. Staff info page. (Pics are helpful, often a preacher with an inviting smile is helpful)
4. Updated Calendar. (No generic calendar that just have service times) for some reason most church website do not have updated calendars)
5. Driving Directions ( A link to mapquest is nice)
6. Video or Audio of sermons. This lets me get a feel for the service. Very Helpful
7. A Facebook page is helpful because you can read what church members are saying about the church.
8. A what to expect page. Tell me what the church is like, formal, informal, contemporary or traditional.
9. Finally, make sure the website has working links. Too many churches have unfinished websites and nonworking links.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Christian Love and Wedding Songs Playlist

Below is a collection of Christian loves songs. Great selections for wedding or just setting the mood for a romantic outing. Please comment below if you would like to add to the list. You can listen to this playlist on Spotify just search for Christian Love Songs by Jonathan Deal

When I Say I Do.......Matthew West
How Do I Love Her.........Steven Curtis Chapman
What Love Has Done To Me.......Michael O Brien
God Gave Me You......... Dave Barnes
When God Made You.........New Song
I Will Be Here........ Steven Curtis Chapman
Listen To Our Hearts........ Steven Curtis Chapman
A Page Is Turned.........Bebo Norman
Angel...........Casting Crowns
Somewhere In This World.......Wayne Watson
You Belong To Me........ Michael W Smith
Do You Dream Of Me.......Michael W Smith
I Will Be Here For You......Michael W Smith
The Other Side Of Me.......Michael W Smith
I Will Carry You......Micheal W Smith
By Heart By Soul........ Avalon
God Bless The Broken Road......Geoff Moore
Love Of  My Life....Michael W Smith
Waltz for Jennifer.....FFH
A Little More........Skillet
Wedding Day........Casting Crowns
Follow Love.......FFH

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

College and Marriage Testimony Pt 3

So what was it like to uproot my world and go out of Caldwell County and move where I did not know for sure if I would succeed. At Gardner-Webb, I was identified has a nontraditional student. Normally, a student around my age (28) would come for night school or an online program. They would not have had time to balance work when classes for on campus students were in the daytime; however, I trusted that God would provide a job that would work to my schedule and that I would be able to handle tuition and room and board. My first challenging class was an English composition class. Up to this point in school, the longest papers I had had to write in school were only about three pages. I had never written a university level paper. I learned most of my writing skills in a writing lab. When there was a test that required an essay, a program called the Noel program arranged for me to take my test at my own pace. The Noel program really helped me with having ADHD and adapting to the university pace. Religious Studies classes were not a problem. I did not require help in these classes. Math and English classes were the courses that were the hardest for me. The hardest parts of the Religious Studies classes, besides the theological challenge, were the papers. These professors demanded critical thinking and good grammar. I hated having to sit in front of a computer all day writing papers. My ADHD would drive me crazy. I was not used to committing myself that long to writing. During college, I was not taking any ADHD medications to help me focus. I had to study longer and harder than the other students which made me an expert in studying. I developed all kinds of ways to study and soak up information. I did everything from watching Youtube videos on the subject to listening to tapes of me reading chapters that the exams would cover. My wife, to whom I am forever grateful, edited my papers.

In the book of James, we are reminded that the trials in life serve to strengthen us and give us endurance, I remember my first semester in college and facing end-of-semester exams. I had breezed through my first exam, but I thought that the second would be the end of me. I had to write an essay as part of this second exam, and I got writers block. I had studied all day the previous day, but I could not think of what to write. Every time I thought of something to write, I doubted myself. Time ticked away, and I was panicking. I ended up not finishing the exam and turning in an incomplete essay. At that moment, I thought I was going to get a bad grade and prove people right that thought I could not make it in college. It's funny how worry can make you think totally irrational thoughts. The exam meant more to me than just passing a class. It was a test to see if I could make it in college, and I just failed the test. While walking back to my dorm in shame, I saw a friend of mine who asked me how I was doing. On this particular day, I wanted to avoid him because I knew if I spoke to him a break down would happen. Sure enough he spoke, and the break down followed. On the campus grounds that day, my friend prayed for me and reminded me that "it was just an exam." Later on that day, I wrote an email to the professor explaining that I had writers block. The professor gave me some pointers on writing and let me take the exam again. The next day, I aced the exam and passed the class with a B. I had many challenges during college, but God helped me though all of them. My Dad was also diagnosis with cancer during this time which made focusing on school work very hard (please see my post Life is a Roller Coaster post). At times, I thought that I would have to quit, but all I needed was time with God, and I felt like I got a second wind. Tuition came from friends, family, scholarships, and grants. I also got a job that turned into a great friendship.
My job was to help my friend, Jacob, who has Cerebral Palsy around school and do chores for him. I was Jacob's personal assistant which is kind of funny to think about today since we became such good friends. My working with Jacob was just part of the benefits of having a good comrade at school. We got into debates, listened to Conway Twitty, and watched Star Trek. Jacob would often critique my speech and help me with papers because he majored in English. He introduced me to more cultural aspects of life and helped me not to take some things in life so seriously.

Trinity Baptist Church was also part of my life during college. Trinity provided me with my first, part-time family minister position. At first, I thought I was one of those ministers who would use the youth pastor step as a stepping stone into pastoral ministry. After being with the youth of Trinity, I quickly discovered where my passion lied. I discovered that I had a passion to disciple youth. Most ministers have a trial by fire experience with their first ministry. Instead of an experience that steered me away from youth ministry, I was being locked into a life long calling. This is strange considering that, I did not think I would fit in with Youth. However, when the position was offered to me at Trinity, I left all my doubt about connecting with youth behind and embraced God's calling to go to Trinity. The youth at Trinity redefined for me youth in general. My prejudice disappeared, and I just began seeing youth through God's eyes. These young people became my mentors on the younger generation and helped heal the wounds from my high school years. I could write a blog on each of them and the church family at Trinity, but I will save them the embarrassment.

Overall, God really worked a number on me at college and rearranged what I previously knew about myself. He helped me accomplish some of the most difficult challenges of my life. In December of 2010, I graduated Gardner-Webb with a very high grade point average and hope for the future. I got married as planned in January 2011 and ended a long time of waiting. Even though everything seemed picture perfect at this point in my testimony, not everything goes according to plan. The first year of marriage is always the toughest. Kendra and my plan was for me to graduate, us to get married, me to find a full-time job and us move into a house. We had two items checked off on our list but we are still looking for the last two. My ministry at Trinity started to become tougher due to the 1 hour and 30 minute commute both ways to the church. I longed to be at Trinity more, but gas prices and time spent traveling were becoming a hardship. In September of 2011, I resigned from Trinity, which was a very hard decision to make. 

My job hunt was relentless, I applied to over one hundred different churches. What I came to realize is that when applying for ministry positions today you submit a resume along with a hundred other applicants. It felt like I had the same odds as trying to win the lottery. However, I have learned that it is not to how many churches that you apply, but it is that God is the one that ultimately calls you to a church. One time a church had interviewed me, and it looked liked they where ready to vote me in but they decided to go with someone who was already a part of the church family. This disappointment was a blow to me because I had convinced myself that I was going to finally find a church family. This event put a strain on our marriage. I was dealing with the problem of having my wife be the bread winner of the family and her wishing that I would help out more. On top of all this, my wife and I had to learn how to live together. Dating could not do enough to prepare us for what it would be like to live together. Kendra is more practical than me. I am spontaneous, outgoing, and adventurous. Our two worlds collided at the pronouncement of "I do." Most of our marriage has been spent making our two worlds work. I have learned that opposites should compliment each other instead of driving people apart. Kendra makes me feel like a more complete person. This process does not come overnight and is a life-long process. We have learned so much from seeing the value in the different ways each of us approaches life. Communication and prayer has been the staple of our relationship. I know one of the devil's main weapons of choice is to get couples to leave God out of the marriage. The devil does this in subtle ways. For instance, we might have devotions, but we don't pray out loud together, or we let the sun go down on our anger. If our communication with God is not working, I sincerely believe that our communication with each other will not work. I love my wife more every day. She is truly my fellow adventurer on this thing we call life.

Hopefully, by reading this third part of my testimony, you, the reader, have realized that I have not gotten rid of ADHD but that I have learned to manage it. I have learned not to let it define who I am and to take advantage of what good it does bring in my life. God made us to live in a community that we may combine our strengths so that no one is left at a disadvantage. We must tap into the rich love of Christ so that we can revive God's calling to community.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Extreme Makeover / Hiking Edition

I find spiritual inspiration in the weirdest places. Last night while watching the Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. I came to the realization that we spend to much time avoiding the pain of life. We do everything possible to avoid any kind of discomfort. The Lady portrayed in the show I watched Nyla was trying to loss weight but she wanted to call it quiets every time the training became too tough for her. The trainer knew that in order for Nyla to accomplish her goal he had to help her get used to feeling discomfort. Nyla had to accept that pain was part of the process of lossing weight. I can understand that some situations are very tough but trying to design your life so that there is no discomfort is impossible. Eventually, Nyla lost the weight and was glad that the pain made her stronger. This story also reminds me of what God taught me on while hiking. Recently, Me and my brother decided to hike a 12 mile trail at Grandfather Mountain. To be honest with you, I did not know how long my hike would be til I got to the mountain. I had some hesitation about doing the trail because it was 100 degree in the foothills and I did not know how hot it would be on the trail. My brother also revealed to me that he wanted hike, the toughest trails on the mountain. Some of the hiker on trail even thought that we were crazy but determination and need for an adventure ( adventure is always enticing for me) pushed me past my hesitation. It was not long into the hike that more doubt started to sink in and I wonder if I would finish the trail but I learn that if you push past the discomfort that first sets in during a trail, you will find that you can re-adapt and get a second wind to to finish the trail. If you can push past the pain, the doubt, and focus on the goal, it is amazing what you will accomplish. The adventure is always worth chances and risks we take in life. James said it best:

James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing

Below is a short video from our adventure

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An F bomb Mistake Ruins the Album of one of My Favorite Bands (P.O.D)

Lately, I have been listening to the new P.O.D album  Murdered Love and I have say I am socked to hear P.O.D drop the f bomb on the song I Am. The song is from the point of view of someone searching for Christ but in the midst of the song they drop an F bomb. Here is my question, where is the line that needs to be drawn when it comes to spreading the message of Jesus Christ ? I know that P.O.D does not exactly claim to be an exclusively christian group but they are sold at christian bookstores like family christian. What dissappoints me is that the album is probably one of thier most appartly Christian orientated albums. The songs are great on the album until you get to I Am. Can we justify useing curse words inorder to identify with the lost and reach them for Christ? We do need to be honest but not at the expense of encourageing someones slavery to sin. Christ came to set us free from the slavery of sin he did not come to encourage us to remain a slave to sin. Paul says in First Corinthians 8:9  But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. The members of P.O.D may be forgiven by grace but this does not give them a license to cause others to stumble.The F word on the album is kind of garbled and censored but you can still tell what the group is saying . I have been a big fan of P.O.D ever since there first album and it breaks my heart to see them go and make this mistake. If they would have left out that song from the album, the whole album would reached the world with a positive message.  For more about the album please read the following review.  http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/cdreviews/MurderedLove.asp

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Holy Spirit our Antivirus

The Holy Spirit acts has our antivirus, therefore we must listen to the Spirits prompts to do a viral scan when the Spirit detects that we have a virus/sin. Hopefully, if you are computer savy, you were able to understand the analogy I just made about how Holy Spirit. Awhile back, while studying for a youth lesson I noticed that my antivirus on my computer was telling me that I needed to do a virus scan. Normally a good program that detects viruses on a computer will require that you do a virus scan periodically or that you update your antivirus program. Usually, I do take the time to run the scan but on this day I didn't have time for the scan I was busy studying. Sometimes while preparing for a lesson, I try downloads from various sites so I can find a program that can run a certain kind videos. Searching for downloads can sometimes get you in trouble because you run into unprotected sites that may contain a virus. Needless to say I found a website that had a virus. Automatically my antivirus program came to life and told me that I really needed a viral scan but I did not have the time or the patience to check out the problem so I ignored the warning that I needed to run the program. After ignoring the problem for awhile the virus started to take a hold of my computer and corrupts my files. The visible signs of the virus infecting my computer put me on alert but it was too late to start the antivirus program the virus was preventing me from running the program. I did however get my computer working again later but I had a to wipe a lot of my work and re-install some of my programs. All was not lost though, the situation taught me a valuable lesson on how the holy spirit act has antivirus for our minds and searches for thoughts that might corrupt or infect our minds. The bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:10

God's Spirit searches everything. In Revelations 2:23 it say the God examines our heart and our minds. Often, the Holy Spirit is telling us what we are thinking or doing is going to leads us down a path to destruction but we ignore the warning and go further down the path. When we constantly ignore the warning of the Holy Spirit we minimize the warning and pretty soon we find out that a virus/sin has over taken our system and we feel powerless to get rid of the virus/sin. Thankfully Jesus has promised to never leaves for sake us, so when we feel overwhelmed by sin, I believe Jesus call us to examine our lives, clean house and get rid of programs/ ways of thinking that might become corrupt again. This helps us clearly see the importance of our antivirus system called the Holy Spirit and heed His warnings.