The Power of Investing in People

Edith Jennings had a decision to make.  She was in her late fifties and had worked many years for the hotel in housekeeping.  Now a new opportunity had presented itself.  The hotel manager had come to her and asked if she would be willing to quit her job and start a new one, taking care of the manager’s infant son so that she could resume her duties managing the successful enterprise.  Edith had already raised 5 children and played a significant role in the rearing of her grandchildren, but her love for the Lord and her love for children compelled her to say “yes.”

She took to her new vocation with vigor, doting over this little boy as if he were her own.  She was short in stature, but her heart knew no limitations.  They would play together, take walks together and she tried her best to keep the little tike from messing up the house, after all, she would not stand for her boss coming home to a house that had been destroyed on her watch.  For three years she cared for and prayed for that young child until his mother could stand it no longer and gave up her career to raise her child.  Edith certainly understood and she retired to spend the next 32 years of her life shining the light of Jesus’ love upon all who would know her.

I must tell you it came as quite a shock to me when Mom called to tell me that “Edie,” as I called her, had passed away.  I had not seen her or spoken to her since she left in 1973. Immediately after hanging up with Mom, I went to my computer and pulled up the obituaries on the Times-News internet site.  I was not prepared for my reaction as I read the words on the screen.

Though my recollections are few–just images really of a sweet lady in a white uniform– I know Edie loved me, prayed for me and invested her life in me even if for a short time. The 47-year-old man who writes this article today “is who he is” because of the legacy of love invested by many people like Edie over the years.  My name was not listed in her obituary, but I know, spiritually, I am a surviving descendent of Edith “Edie” Jennings.  Never, ever discount the effect of investing your Christ-like love into a life.  You may be shocked at the return.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem on the back of that colt, the disciples could not grasp that He was entering His last week of earthly, bodily, ministry. He had poured Himself into the disciples for three years and now He was about to pour Himself out for all humanity. I would never seek to diminish what Jesus accomplished on the cross, His true purpose in coming to us to begin with. I just want to pause long enough to appreciate the investment He made in the disciples during His earthly ministry. What a perfect model to follow! What a tremendous legacy to leave.


“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” – John 13:1





Let Your Love (and His) Flow

During my formative years, The Bellamy Brothers had a huge hit with a song entitled, Let Your Love Flow. It’s a catchy tune with a great hook, full of sweetness and light and, thus, it performed fairly well. It made it all the way to #1 on the charts. However, not knowing the Bellamy Brothers, I have no way of knowing their motivation behind the song.

Jesus had a very similar outlook on the Christian life when He spoke the words we find in John chapter seven:

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

— John 7:38

Notice it says from his innermost being, and not merely, within his innermost being. As Christ-followers, we are not just reservoirs of grace storing it up for our own purposes. We are conduits of the grace of Christ designed to allow the living water to flow through us to others who thirst. Look around. The thirsty are everywhere!


So go ahead … open the valve and let the living water flow today!


The Time HAS Come (Part 3)

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

–2 Timothy 4:1-5, NASB (emphasis added)

(Continued – Part 3 of 3)

When folks say the things I am saying, others call it hate. I challenge anyone to look at anything I have written and point out where I have expressed hatred toward anyone. I harbor no hatred toward any person or group of people. We have come to the place in our society where disagreement with someone’s viewpoint is tantamount to hatred. That is just plain wrongheaded.

We need to understand a very simple truth. The time has come. The time when Paul predicted folks will no longer listen to sound doctrine and will seek to gather teachings and teachers they find more palatable — that time has come! Even people who claim to be Christians will read Scripture and only utilize the parts that make them feel good. They will trumpet the fact that God is love, but forget the part where He is a Righteous Judge. They cling to the fact that Jesus is the Light of the world, but not that He is Truth. The Timothy passage I have shared is one of the marching orders given to preachers of the Gospel. I cannot preach only half the Gospel!

Make no mistake. Jesus Christ loves you. If you are struggling with gluttony, homosexuality, lust, lying, adultery or [enter your sin here] – The fact is JESUS IS LOVE and HE DIED FOR YOU. However, another thing that some people like to avoid is the very thing that helps form the gateway to salvation in Jesus Christ. It is called REPENTANCE. To repent means to turn around and turn away from your sin. Whatever your sin is, you are required to lay it down, turn away, denounce it. Stop! Does this mean you never sin again? No. We all still struggle with sin, but the big difference is it becomes the exception rather than the rule.

As far as I am concerned, the doors of my church are open wide to ANY AND ALL who are seeking answers to life’s problems. You may not even know that Christ is the missing puzzle piece that fits that emptiness in your life. You are welcome in my church. Know this though, as long as you embrace your sin, you will not serve in any leadership capacity. You cannot expect to keep one arm around Jesus and one arm around your sin of choice. Case in point, when the scribes and pharisees brought the adulterous woman before Jesus (John 8). After confounding the men by asking “he that is without sin cast the first stone,” Jesus then turned to the woman and said, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Go and sin no more! That is the thing. Jesus longs for you to be free from the bondage of sin and that is only available in Him. When we repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord we can experience that freedom.

This manifesto, if you will, will not sit well with some folks. I will no doubt receive nasty comments and I will be accused of being hateful, but I am anything but hateful. I will endure the bad vibes and nasty comments because I love you enough to share the truth. I want folks to be free in Christ. I don’t make a habit of wielding the Bible violently like an axe seeing whom I might strike down. Yet, the Bible describes itself as a two-edged sword and to those in sin it cuts pretty deep and makes folks uncomfortable. Loved or hated, a pastor must preach the Word! I will make no apologies for that.


The Time HAS Come (Part 2)

(Continued – Part 2 of 3)

Please allow me to state, for the record, my stance on a few things.

Sin is a choice that humans make. Though we inherit a sin nature and are thereby given to sin, we have all chosen to sin. Romans 3:23 declares that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We live in a fallen world. It’s a world stained with the curse of sin. Because of that state of being, ALL OF US have our issues. ALL OF US have things in our life with which we struggle. Some folks have anger management issues. Some folks have addiction issues. My struggle is eating. I have a food addiction.

I am a large man. Every year I was in school I was always among the largest people in my class. I have been overweight for about 30 years. By that I mean I have been over what the charts say I should weigh relative to my height. While I may not be morbidly obese, I struggle with my weight. Do you know why? I LOVE FOOD! I don’t just eat to stay alive, I eat for entertainment. I struggle with the sin of gluttony. Webster’s tells us that gluttony is the act or habit of eating or drinking too much. The Bible says this is a sin. Unfortunately, this sin gets a wink and nod from folks most of the time. However, gluttony is no different than adultery, fornication and homosexuality.

I would say that there are factors that complicate my food sin. Body chemistry and environment. I have friends who look at food differently than I do. They did not grow up in families in which every major function involved food. Of these friends, several have a very high metabolism. Some of my friends even forget to eat! I have never forgotten to eat. Even when I am fasting, I remember that I am supposed to eat. These factors result in some folks not struggling with food as much as I do. In order to not allow my food sin to destroy my life, I have to make choices. I have to choose to eat healthier things. I have to choose to eat less. I have to sacrifice that which I want for that which I need. I have to realize that eating food is not the source of my identity that my identity is, in fact, grounded in the person of Jesus Christ. If I could not control these things myself, I would have to seek professional help.

Here is my simplified look at life with regard to repetitive sin. It boils down to addiction. What I have just described as my food addiction struggle could just as easily have been a sexual, drug, alcohol, porn or you-name-it addiction. This is controversial and is going to make some folks angry, but let me be clear: Homosexuality is a choice. Sexual orientation is a different discussion than the physical sex act itself. But those who feel as though they are only sexually gratified in homosexual relationships make a personal choice.  It is a choice that can also be influenced (though not in all cases) by both body chemistry (hormone imbalance, etc), as well as, environmental factors. No scientific study has shown evidence that homosexuality is hard-wired into folks’ DNA. It’s a lifestyle choice. Just as those who agree with God’s Word that sex before marriage is wrong and make a choice to abstain, denying themselves sexual gratification until the proper boundaries exist, those who struggle with homosexuality can choose to abstain. It is a sin that can be overcome just as any sin can be overcome. Jesus died for ALL sin. Romans 8:2 reminds us, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

Things like Kinky Boots being broadcast during family time is just a continuation of what the media power brokers have been doing for years. Pushing an agenda that affects a minority of people into the majority. Nearly every major television show has a gay storyline somewhere in the mix. The more they can portray alternative lifestyles as “normal” and just a part of the fabric of our society, the more our culture deteriorates. The folks tolerating the gay agenda look at God-fearing, God-honoring people as if we have three heads and wonder why we don’t just fully “embrace the inevitable.” The answer is easy. It was a sin at the beginning. It’s a sin now. It will be a sin until Jesus returns. No matter how often they say it or how they package it, it’s wrong! I might be talking about homosexuality/sexual orientation now, but I feel the same way if we were talking about the glorification of heterosexual promiscuity, the glamorization of illicit drug use or any other sinful lifestyle folks may want to try to normalize.

(To be continued tomorrow…)