A cool prayer from an Irish missionary

St. Patrick, as a boy he was captured and taken as a slave to Ireland from Britain.  He escaped, but an angel of the Lord told him in a dream to return to Ireland.  He took 15 years to study and prepare for ministry.  He returned to Ireland and seemingly converted the whole country to Christianity in his life time. He died around 493 AD.  Here is a prayer from him I love and pray to-day:

May the strength of God pilot me.  May the power of God preserve me.  May the wisdom of God instruct me. May the hand of God protect me. May the way of God direct me. May the shield of God defend me.       Patrick of Ireland

Quitting is not an option!

I met with 2 pastors today. I talked to 3 more on the phone.  Some are facing difficult and faith challenging circumstances.  Some are facing the powers of darkness creeping over them for the purpose of discouragement so they will give up.  Some have not seen the dreams of their heart come to pass, yet with all of them, they will not quit.  They are determined to be faithful, to depend on God, to move forward, to not look back, and to depend on Christ more than ever.  What awesome faith.  I was so inspired after talking with each one of these spiritual leaders.

I was thinking of all the things worth fighting for and not quitting…

  • our children
  • our churches
  • our marriages
  • our salvation
  • our purity
  • our priorities

There are some things, that require attention, work, prayer, and a tenacity to never give up. We must approach the things that are challenging with faith and an attitude of perseverance.  Romans 8 says…

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, pastor, Christian, husband, wife, student…never give up. Quitting is not an option. God is with you.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ro 8:37-39). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Powerful quotes from Pastor Matt Ray’s Message

Pastor Matt and Kelly Ray were our Guests at Compelled Church this weekend. They kicked off our missional month, as they are a product of church planting. Matt was saved here, discipled here, and trained here.  He preached an amazing message.  Here are some quotes:

“You are called to take over the world.”   “Pay close attention to the dreams of your heart, they were put there by Jesus.”     “Light is more clearly seen in the darkness.”    “God loves to do supernatural things with ordinary people.”    “We have to live intentional as we are called to live missional.”  We have been appointed to overthrow the enemy, the darkness.”  Your life is not insignificant.  God has put you where you are for a reason, for Jesus.”  Pray God will fill all your good ideas..He gave them to you.”  “When we work for him, we need to remember that Jesus is with us.”  I am proud of Matt and Kelly and what God is doing through them and the team of David Barringer at Kalamazoo First!

More quotes from Dallas Willard’s book, “Hearing God.”

This book is more amazing on the second read. Here are some great quotes.

  • “Only our communion with God provides the appropriate context for communications between us and him.”
  • “A second truth that is preliminary to any successful attempt on our part to hear God’s voice concerns the relationship of our personal experience to the contents of the Bible and, by extension, to the lives of the saints and heroes of the faith throughout the ages.”
  • “Our humanity will not by itself prevent us from know and interacting with God.”
  • “If we are to hear God’s voice ourselves and on an individual basis, we must above all else observe how his Word came to those people described in the Scriptures.”
  • “His speaking to us does not in itself make us important.”
  • In seeking and receiving God’s word to us, therefore, we must at the same time seek and receive the grace of guilty. God will gladly give it to us if trusting and waiting on him to act, we refrain from pretending we are what we know we are not, from presuming a favorable position for ourselves in any respect and from pushing or trying to override the will of others in our context.”


Heroes, behind the scenes

So many times we the pastors get a lot of accolades and thanks, but so much is done at the church by those people you do not see.  This Christmas I am thankful for our support staff (pictured here).  When you see a video, who does that? Who makes those great Cue’s?  Who keeps all the computers, phones, electronic gadgets going and software licenses, as well as IT support help?   Who comes up with Pastor Nate’s cool power points and media? Who manages the website, makes our cool posters and graphic promo?   Who serves the Pastors and assists them with their huge responsibilities, remembering the details that we forget and does them?  Who keeps our books with all our accounts, cutting all the checks and working with the  numbers?  Who does all the scheduling for volunteers in Xtreme Children, Worship, Media, and music?  Who keeps the church clean and serves with joy?  Who types the newsletter and manages all our data, as well as facilitating the calender and facilities and ordering of supplies? I’ll tell you who does all these things, great servants and wonderful people. Here they are as pictured  .Aaron Wagner, Shelly Rettenberger, Aly Reed, Nichole Eddinger (2nd row) Dustin Reed, Amanda Hinkle, Amand McGreevy, and Wendy Elarton.  Also here is pic of some more servants.  The kids of our staff (some paid, some volunteer). They share their parents with the people of God and I love and appreciate them for that!  Wendy and I are  thankful with all of our heart for all of these servants.

Morenci, A note to my hometown

I am saddened by the news and tragic events surrounding my home town, Morenci, MI. Many ask me about the family and if  do I know the children and family involved.  I do some, but does it matter?  Whether we know someone or not, this is heart-wrenching and sad. I want to say this.   I am proud of my little town that has pulled together to search for the boys.  That is the benefit of a small town, where people know and really care for one another.  I daily see my friends, on the news as they are being interviewed.  I see the people of Morenci, searching, cooking, serving, love, weeping, and praying.  I am honored to have grown up in that border town, called Morenci.  I pray for the mom of these three boys.  I know her and cannot imagine Tanya’s  pain and grief.  Bless your heart Tanya.   I pray that God will give her what she needs on a daily and hourly basis.  Thank you Morenci!  I know I left you over 25 years ago, but have always been thankful to have grown up there, and love it every time I return.  The nation mourns with you, but your love and committment to one another and to the Skelton’s is a testimony of goodness and authentic love and care.   My prayers are shooting your way!

Leadership Changes, Thank you Wendy!

I am so thankful for my wife, Wendy for so many reasons, but as a lead pastor, I am thankful for her ministry the last couple of years as the ladies ministry director. She has been a faithful and wonderful leader to the ladies of our church. She has put together a great team and these ladies have ministered effectively.   For events, and breakfast she is thinking of every detail. She was out shopping yesterday, and up early today before anyone was at the church, she was there, getting things ready for the breakfast today. She spends hours on the phone, and at the office, loving, ministering, and praying with many ladies.  As she steps down from leading the Ladies Ministry, I am thankful for the lives that were touched, and her faithfulness.  Cheryl Scribner is going to be coordinating the Ladies ministry now. They are lots of places to get involved and the team concept will continue with greater effectiveness.  I am thankful for Cheryl’s heart and vision to continue to build on the ministry and leadership of all of our ladies ministry directors of our church.  Great things continue to be in store.  Wendy has taken the job as the lead pastor’s assistant part time, that would be my assistant and she is doing an amazing job. Her ministry role is growing and changing in many ways, so this change is right in God’s timing!  Thanks Cheryl for stepping up with passion, love, and vision, for the ladies of Compelled and those who are not part yet,    And a big thank Wendy for leading the last couple of years.  You are appreciated!

Today In Haiti

Today we are going to enjoy chapel with the students at the Mission of Hope, then we will be touring some of the areas in Port Au Prince affected by the earthquake.  We will have lunch at the Mission of Hope as a team.

We are then going to load up rice and do a food distribution in the city of Leveck.  I couldn’t believe it when I heard the name.  It will be a long and full day today.  The team of pastor and wives are awesome. The Spirit of God is moving in all of our hearts, drawing us closer to His compassion, His love for the poor and suffering, and His desire for all to know Jesus Christ.   As  you read this, don’t pray for us, we are praying, pray for Haiti, pray for the Mission of Hope, pray for John and Mary Mazur and the servants here that have left everything to work tirelessly among this people. These people, the Mazur’s and the staff here are heroes.

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