Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Tag: devotional

The Good News

 “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”” Luke 2:10

I’m a rule breaker when it comes to traditional Christmas décor etiquette. I don’t wait until Thanksgiving is over before I begin transforming our home into a winter wonderland. Therefore, in our home, we’ve spent six weeks decorating the house, counting down days, reading scripture as a family, and doing advent activities with our toddlers. We orchestrated family gatherings, purchased gifts, and prepared the honey roasted ham.

Christmas Day arrived, in all its glorious splendor, and we spent the entire day celebrating the transformative truth that our King has come. We rejoiced over the miracle found in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” Christmas Day is gone and, along with it, all the decorations I love. They have been carefully placed in boxes that will remain in storage until they are opened again in November. While the beautiful decorations are gone, He is not; nor is the miracle of Christmas. His name is still Immanuel; God with us. It’s a relief to relish the truth that He was here on Christmas morning as we celebrated His birth and He’s still here on New Year’s Day as we rejoice over new beginnings. He’s here on every ordinary Monday morning and typical Tuesday night. We don’t have to be sad that Christmas is over and longingly look forward to December 25th, 2018. The Christmas story is just as relevant this morning as it was one week ago.

On this first day of the New Year the good news is still good. Jesus Christ came and changed the course of history for mankind forevermore. He came to demolish our chains, restore relationship, and set things right. Personal revelation of His coming and all that His arrival means yields great joy!

This morning we continue the joyful celebration of a Savior, so wildly in love with us, He willingly laid down His life to purchase our freedom. His extravagant love compelled Him to step into the confines of time and take on our frame just so we could know Him better. He demolished our limited understanding of love with a clear depiction of what love looks like. Love is Jesus outstretched on a cross intent on redeeming and being with His sons and daughters. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17) The Christmas story is ultimately about His relentless pursuit for you and me.

The Word says that after thousands of years of silence all of heaven rejoiced and announced His arrival on that beautiful night. They knew, full well, the weight of that moment. We are now presented with the opportunity to do the same. We can accept the spectacular gift of Him, the good news that changes everything, and join them in proclaiming “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men!”

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas

No sickness is as untreatable as homesickness. No doctor can cure it, and Walgreens has no prescription for it. And for the unlicensed practitioner, no early warning signs are available. Volatile and capricious, public embarrassment can be the fruit of its emotional shifts. For those with control issues- good luck; for most any little thing can set it off. A song, picture, sound, smell, word, postcard, phone call, or even a distant memory. Yeah, I think memory is actually the most unmerciful instigator for chronic homesickness, because memories are huggers and won’t leave. But for balance, consider that homesickness is only possible when former times were good, when life was full. So here’s to good times, memorably great times, and lots and lots of them! (Hey, we’ll address the aftermath later).

When high school graduation flashed in the rear view mirror, and what to do next was looming like Mt. Everest- I found myself sixty miles away in an unknown city with unknown thousands at a largely impersonal state university. A move of that magnitude may not be recorded as the most courageous of all eighteen year olds, but had you known the socialization womb that formed me, you would have had compassion for the unceremonious uprooting my upbringing was experiencing.

Leaving the fields and forests of youth to assimilate into concrete, traffic and skyscrapers was a process, a rather necessary, but unnatural transition. It’s not to say that travel and discovery didn’t stimulate emotional and mental exhilaration. It did. That new life was action packed- people, places and pleasures of which I’d never experienced was creating new “highs”, and identifying with new surroundings produced a challenging metamorphosis of sorts.

Life continued to unfold after university life, as employment came in our nation’s Capitol with the Federal government. Now, hundreds of miles from the tall pines, rolling hills and dirt roads of rural North Carolina, opportunities to go “back home” were becoming less and less. Yet intuitively, something was amiss in my transition to this supposed “glorious” adulthood.

Something within was yearning to renew something remembered.

Being away, nothing stirred memories of home like December, and especially at Christmas time. The cold and snows of northern Virginia, in both climate and culture, were constant reminders of former times. The faceless masses, concrete sidewalks, blaring sirens and seven lane traffic bombarded my virgin senses; and what was thought to be the “good life”, became the antithesis of what sensibility had engrained. And no matter the efforts to homogenize, a primordial “call of the wild” crept in. Like the proverbial salmon fighting upstream to return to its birthplace, there seemed an instinctive return to native culture and landscape. Existentially, the “home” of my roots had produced a profound effect, and nothing could undo its power.

Lighted trees, creative wreaths, boxed gifts or flashy commerce does not activate the tear ducts. Yet mine did. A lot. And my heart longed for home. Something more than jingle bells and Frosty the Snowman pulled my heart back home; something more internal, something far more spiritual. The trips home for Christmas weren’t mere escapes from the hustle-bustle of city congestion or breaks from work load routine; there was an innate rightness about those returns- the reasonings were meaningful, logical, and a wise alignment with what ought to be.

I was coming home to the truest sense of the word. To what really mattered. To a home of love, of trust, of joy, of peace, of grace; and a life that was created in quietness, was now screaming for a visit.

To mom and dad. To brothers and sister. To family and friends. To fireplaces and fruitcakes. To beagles and pickup trucks. To axes, tractors and wood splitters. To spirited checkers and competitive chess. To skinning deer and squirrel pie. To snowball fights and midnight sledding. To indoor football and hide and seek. To hugs and tears. To singing and scriptures. To pranks and front porches. To pianos, mandolins and guitars. To debates and drama. To dreams and destinies. To love and respect. To hellos and byes. To I really miss you, thank you, and when do I see you again?

Nothing big. Just people. Simple. Real. Life.

T.S. Elliot stated, “Home is where one starts from”; and if true, then no one outgrows his roots. We’re captured by first things, as true as a mother is to a child. I’m persuaded the power of “home” has greater rule than circumstances, or even the will. Two millennia ago, Pliny the Elder said, “Home is where the heart is”; and regardless of human wanderlust, a craving remains for the place remembered as “home”.

Would that everyone had a place called home, but I’m not naive enough to think all have that luxury. So if that holy place has only been a dream, then my prayer is that you with God’s help, create that place- a sanctuary where love reigns supreme. Maybe at home. Maybe at church. Actually, most any place where one could breathe deeply, meditate, and recline. They’d all be perfectly acceptable.

A place where others would come, to hang, to stay. A place to talk, to cry, to remember, to unload, to encourage. A place where timeless simplicity invites the most anxious, fretted, confused, and tired of all God’s creatures. A place where joy is contagious, where making messes lead to laughter, and where old folks and children play with Tonka trucks. A place where life takes precedence over problems, where small talk is delightful, where grace decorates every room.

So go build that home, and watch travelers enter those inviting doors. Engage them genuinely. Feed them with hope. Warm them with compassion. And when time comes, let them leave- it’s ok. Your home became their friend, and their heart will never forget. And as it was intended and should be- neither will you…

And may we remember the gracious words of the One we celebrate, the One who makes all things whole and does all things well: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Our King Has Come

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Last week our family was the first to arrive at the Christmas tree lot early Thanksgiving morning. We walked around a few minutes admiring the vibrantly green Fraser firs of various shapes and sizes while breathing deeply of the long awaited Christmas scent that only accompanies real trees. My husband spotted the most symmetrical tree I’ve ever seen and the following day we spent hours hanging green, red, and gold ornaments on its branches. Our afternoon was blissful as the Christmas music played and the scent of apple cider simmering in the crock pot filled the air.

As an adult I cherish the Christmas traditions of my childhood. I am, however, now presented with the profound opportunity to create memories, like those of last week, with my toddlers. I enjoy many things about the Christmas season such as twinkling lights, priceless time with family and friends, the chestnut praline latte from Starbucks, and thoughtfully chosen gifts. But above all I long for our children to collect memories of our family keeping Christ at the center of all our Christmas celebrations. My favorite
tradition, therefore, is remembering the Advent season together.

For many there is confusion surrounding the meaning and purpose of the Advent season. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “arrival or coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. The Advent season stretches for four Sundays leading up to Christmas day. During this time we, as believers, look back and joyfully celebrate Christ’s coming whilst simultaneously looking forward with great anticipation to His certain return. Advent prepares our hearts to celebrate
the greatest gift humanity has ever received – Jesus Christ.

We are often referred to as the “microwave” generation, said to prefer instant gratification over waiting. Some think, then, it’s impossible for us to imagine how the Israelites must have felt waiting for Jesus to come. After all, the coming of the Messiah was promised thousands of years before He actually arrived.

But He came.

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” The wait was long but God’s promises were fulfilled. Aren’t we also waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise? Over 2,000 years ago Jesus said prior to ascension, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). As we reflect on Jesus’ first coming we can rest assured of His fulfilled promises in the future. He said He would return for us.

He will come.

Observing Advent does not require elaborate daily activities. We don’t need the stress of adding a ton more to our already full “to-do” lists. The key, here, is simply celebrating a God so wildly in love with us that He humbly sent His only son as a human baby to be born in a dusty stable. It’s remembering a God so trustworthy that we know, without a doubt, that He will send His son once more to get us just because He said He would.

Here are some ways to intentionally celebrate the gospel story in our homes this Christmas season:

  1. Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Calendar Printable + Reading Plan
  2. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
  3. Bible Verse Advent Cards
  4. Jesse Tree Ornaments
  5. Printable Nativity Set

Remember: Advent is a gift. It’s an opportunity for us to resist the cultural norm of hustle that typically occurs during the holiday season. It’s an invitation, instead, to slow down and savor the miracle that is Jesus Christ! I hope you enjoy the resources provided above and enjoy this Advent season to the fullest!

Still Thankful

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Oh, the irony of Black Friday following Thanksgiving! How bold! We just had the most thoughtful prayer alongside baked turkey, grandma’s dressing and a living room full of football; and lo and behold, here comes Friday making us forget how thankful we were yesterday!

But hold on, we’re shaming no one, nor the system, for our hyperactive push to engage our purchasing power. For its likely neither Black Friday nor any other marketing scheme is to be blamed for finding great deals. Let’s uncover an issue far deeper and more devilish than the half price of a long awaited recliner or smart TV.

From Eden’s Garden to the merchandise-loaded screens of today’s computers, the invitation to bargain for things we supposedly lack is simple and ageless. From deceiving Eve in thinking that even God was withholding something good, to the never ending task of keeping up with the Joneses, the heart of humanity is ever in quest of possessing “enough”.

Of anything, actually. For from clothes to tools or from food to mobile devices- our wardrobes are tight with new threads, pantries are stocked with staples, garages hang with gadgets, and our phones are quickly short on memory! From education to insurance to transportation to entertainment- we’re always in need of something else, or something more. So, for those under a rock the last few thousand years – hey, welcome to the real world!

Though material-overload and mammon-driven mindsets are the easiest lifestyles to adopt, it’s also true that the spiritual are most awakened when those temptations arrive. It’s then that we determine what’s important and essential. To know that godliness with contentment is great gain is to purify the motive of every goal and aspiration. It’s only then that we prove we “get it”! It’s then that we truly understand this one thing: to possess the eternal virtues and life of Jesus is the true measure of wealth, and to invest that Life through a mortal body set apart for His glory is to bring harvests and increases only Heaven can store!

Regardless then of status or caste, we must somehow digest the truth concerning our short time on earth in these temporal bodies. “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be content.” There are few verses as profound; and few verses so unilaterally equip us to direct our daily decisions. Through these we resolve to be wise in our choices, and wisdom has chosen well: Christ alone is our treasure!

Convinced through scripture of our completeness, wholeness and “lacking nothing life” in Christ, any rush for another purchase, project, pacifier or pal is summarily checked and filtered. If things advance the purposes of the Kingdom, we go for it! If they distract us from our eternal purposes, we boldly say no to earth’s sideline attractions! We’ve evaluated both time and treasure, and a life surrendered to Christ has no comparison and no regrets!

Ultimately, life’s decisions made with Christ in mind produce the greatest peace, the sweetest joy, and contentment beyond words!

Shift Thankfulness into Overdrive

…Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1Cor. 2:8

Giving thanks is the expected response when prayers are answered, or when things desired are finally possessed. And it’s natural that pleasant friends, prosperity and positive futures create space for appreciation and thankfulness.

Yet, nothing challenges the heart like a journey chocked with uncertainties and complexities. Life in that lane requires a deep-seated trust in the providence and sovereignty of God. And when we experience things abstract, painful or seemingly unnecessary, it’s then the heart is truly checked. We’re thus comforted by scriptural accounts of those who, after setbacks, rejections and tragedies, are found later restored, elevated or given prominence.

As a witness to faith, Joseph’s life seemed to be a puzzling contradiction to everything planned and prophesied. The dreams of leadership and lofty glory seemed no more than LaLa Land when the realities of his life settled in.

And the contradictions of that young man are many: favored, yet frustrated; anticipating, yet disappointed; hopeful, yet shackled; righteous, yet accused; serving, yet unnoticed; loving, yet forgotten; promised, yet delayed; true, yet misunderstood.

On one axiom we can rely: Life is perplexing, but God is forever constant and faithful!

And as the above text of Jesus states, had Satan and the powers of hell possessed prior knowledge of Calvary’s victorious outcome – well, they would have never treated Him so cruelly! So it is with those simply resting in God’s providence and foreknowledge! We can be assured then that every dark attack, strategy, weapon or scheme is subject to the ability of God to destroy, or be used, for good! And remember, the scriptures admonish us often – that after we’ve done the will of God, we need to exercise patience, knowing we’ll soon receive the full promise!

So what profit does thankfulness bring to the table when life rolls out experiences contrary to faith and hope? How in any meaningful way is a grateful heart helpful, when everything seen and felt smacks of contradictions? Is thankfulness merely a prescription to dull the senses, a subtle distraction from reality, or a sinister bribe with the tinsel of false hopes? Is gratitude no more than busy work, an attempt to sedate the mind, or an alternative medicine to override the natural inclinations of complaints and murmurs?

No! No! No! And a thousand times, No!

Thankfulness is the confident declaration that faith has a strong grasp on God’s innumerable promises! Read the rest of this entry »

I am Enough

I am made in the image of God; fearfully, and wonderfully, fashioned by His loving hands. I am a clear reflection of God’s wild and spectacular creativity. His workmanship is marvelous and after breathing His breath into that which He created He declared once and for all, “It is good.”  I am enough.

I am extravagantly loved. Jesus stepped down into the world He created to show me that His love has no bounds; that there’s nowhere He wouldn’t go and nothing He wouldn’t do to rescue, restore, and redeem the object of His affection. I am the object of His affection. I am enough.

I am entirely free. He willingly died an excruciating, brutal, bloody death while bearing the sin of every person of every generation. When He breathed His last breath He said, “It is finished.” My debt was paid in full and a guilty verdict will never be issued on my behalf. I am enough.

I am victorious. When Jesus took his last breath all of hell rejoiced but all of heaven sat on the edge of their seat for they knew that God would fulfill His word just as He promised. And three days later Jesus loosed His burial clothes and walked out of His tomb. He overcame death, hell, and the grave. He holds the keys of life and death and He reigns in authority, power, and majesty. That same resurrection power lives in me. I am enough.

I am secure. I know that I have eternal life because I believe in the name of the Son of God. I can feel secure because the Holy Spirit is the seal of God’s promises to me and pledge of my inheritance in Christ. He alone is my rock and fortress; I will not be shaken. He is steadfast, stable, and unmoving. I am enough.

I am whole. I am a partaker of His divine nature. The fullness of Christ is now manifesting in me. Because I have Him I have everything I will ever need. There is not a lack in me because no lack exists in Him. I am enough.

A Special Bond

Phil 2:20  For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. V21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. V22 But you know the proof of him, that, as son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel.

The psychology of post-Christian cultures notoriously minimizes character and virtue. Employing inside politics, whitewashed platitudes, inflated bios, participation trophies, and everybody’s-a-winner celebrations, the intent is to equalize the rewards of human effort. Societies may blend or share the rewards of the well-deserved with the indolently undeserved, but Scripture reveals a distinct line between heart-driven service and efforts framed for image.

That flaccid and contemptible label, “politically correct”, is never attached to Paul, the New Testament’s most prolific writer. His ministry style is too demanding and rare, his candid writing too precise and real, his evaluation of ministers too rugged and raw to be ambivalent.

As Paul meticulously unravels essential church doctrine, so he evaluates those given to ministry and service. Intrepid and forthright, those traveling and supporting the Apostle’s work could receive pleasing endearments or fatherly reproofs.

To walk and work alongside this foundational Apostle, was to have the luxury of relating to a man of unworldly character – one able to discern integrity and able also to publicly exalt or censure it.

His observations of protégés and fellow ministers reflect unwavering absolutes, his conclusions and judgments undeniable and undebatable. There’s no wiggle room in his vocabulary, no possibility for misunderstanding or missing the point in his assessments. Clear, unmistakable and unadorned with fluff, Paul communicated truth and intent masterfully and faithfully.

The above scripture text is case in point…

How boldly then does Paul call out those who stand only in spaces of comfort and convenience!

How sharply does he expose those who become loveless and careless with the Bride of Christ!

How fearlessly does he contrast selfless, sacrificing ministers and the self-centered!

But then there’s also Timothy, a young man faithfully committed to Paul and the Gospel. A fellow minister of whom Paul was not ashamed; a needed companion, a trusted comrade, a willing servant.

Paul’s effusive record of Timothy’s part in advancing his apostolic assignment is both epic and heartwarming. It is incontrovertible that pieces of the early church design came through the father/son relationship of Paul and Timothy.

And it is also certain that relationships of such did not cease, nor did they become unnecessary, at the passing of the early church fathers.

I am both witness and participant of such a relationship…

To God, I’m grateful.

To you son, Pastor Jason, I’m honored.

Happy Pastor Appreciation, Pastor Jason!

Impact Church salutes you gladly today, and honors your obedience to the gifts and divine call of sharing the greatest love story ever told!

Unknown, Yet Well-Known

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. Philippians 2:25

Honor adorns ministries where virtue and faithfulness are rooted. Yet, ministries outside the limelight of platform, prestige or title are easily overlooked. Inconspicuous and undervalued, these “behind the scenes” supporting gifts are indispensable and utterly praiseworthy. Their labors may flourish without the camera’s flash, and their fruit may be credited to names more prominent; but those who know, know it is of this sort that grace ministries are advanced.

Of all the names aligned with the ministry of Paul, Epaphroditus holds an especial fondness. And though mentioned only twice in scripture, his dedication to Apostle Paul drew the highest of praise and commendation.

Coming to Paul as a two way emissary from the Philippian church, Epaphroditus was sent to provide support and strength to the Apostle while imprisoned in Rome. Mind you, this is not a Titus or Timothy or Silas. Not a renowned evangelist or revered teacher.

Merely Epaphroditus. And defined as, “dedicated to love and beauty”.

A servant. A helper. A lifter. A brother, a minister, a soldier.

Not a competitor or a burden, not a critic or corrector of the called.

Simply a selfless supporter of God’s most prolific preacher.

Forget the greater than two months and eight hundred plus miles of archaic travel to reach Rome, and the dangers inherent as a Christian in hostile lands. And don’t make it a big deal that his age was likely advanced and quid pro quo compensation never crossed his mind.

Simply remember that he was a servant, a man committed to the propagation of the Gospel by enhancing another man’s gift.

And remember that his service to Paul was not without a heavy toll. For his loyal efforts to further the Apostle’s ministry nearly cost him his life. But we must also remember abundant grace; as God was merciful, Epaphroditus was stronger, and Paul was wiser.

So it is of such service gifts that Paul’s ministry is heavily emblazoned on the pages of sacred script, and deeply etched in the hearts of those reading them.

This week, Impact Church, using Epaphroditus as a model for unsung ministry, honors the unseen, yet immeasurable support of those that hold the hands of those with more visible platforms. Your heart is perfect, your motives are pure, your energies are provocative, your life testifies of a divine grace.

And you are valued. Your selflessness is noticed; priceless and precious. Your work is indispensable and incalculable.

Grateful above all. Appreciated. Honored. Loved.

How can we even begin, the work too varied, the fields too spacious:

  • To teachers instructing the young, educating them year after year of the love and faithfulness of God…
  • To hospitality teams and kitchen workers preparing and ministering food consistently to countless faces, young and old alike…
  • To faceless sound technicians, microphone experts, amplifier repairers, speaker adjusters, and wiring experts…
  • To transportation ministers, starting vans on cold mornings and sweltering afternoons, so whosoever will can hear this incredible message of Jesus…
  • To worship teams prevailing in practice and prayer, so the music and lyrics of His Majesty and boundless love may penetrate obstinate hearts or confirm a weary one…
  • To greeters and door keepers, opening doors, parking cars and holding umbrellas, just to be sure they’re warm, safe and welcomed…
  • To web designers, newsletter preparers, social media providers, and communication professionals perfecting their craft so the message is easily comprehended and gracefully disseminated…
  • To pastoral assistants, armor bearers, drivers and schedule makers…
  • To faithful, deeply committed financial givers opening their wallets because they’re openly sensitive to God’s heart…
  • To budget and financial caretakers of the resources richly given, attending to both present conditions and forward initiatives…
  • To house cleaners, yard caretakers, facility maintainers, playground protectors, electricians, painters and builders…
  • To prayer warriors, missionaries near and far, hospital evangelists, school minded ministers, and homeless shelter providers…

And to every encourager, intercessor, need supplier, smile giver and hug provider – and in innumerable other ways ministry is produced from those who love God and His people – here’s a simple thank you for your Epaphroditus heart.

God sees you and His records are detailed and impeccable.

We see you. We applaud you. We thank God for you. Of your type will heaven be glad …and filled.

May grace be multiplied, your blessings increased, and your peace as flowing, tranquil and refreshing as a mountain stream.

Acknowledging today beyond the power of our words, those who live fully committed to the service and exaltation of our glorious King! THANK YOU!

Pastor Appreciation

Everyone was created to honor and everyone does so naturally. It is an involuntary response to impression and admiration. We subconsciously evaluate everything and simultaneously bestow a measure of worth or merit to that object. This occurs innately based upon a deeply embedded value system. In others words, an individual will inherently give honor to that which they value.

However a problem occurs when the measure of evaluation is skewed because of a flawed or erroneous value system. We begin to honor things that have little value and place little honor on that which has great value. Welcome to 2017, where the tawdry is considered worthy of honor and the nonpareil is neglected. Therefore, to give honor accurately requires a just and true value system.

Those who followed Jesus began to argue on several occasions about which one of them deserved the most honor. “Who is the greatest,” they asked. Is it Peter, or John, or possibly James? They insisted that Christ answer them and validate their desire to know. Instead of answering their questions outright, Jesus used this divine moment as an opportunity to unveil His otherworldly value and priority system.

The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. In our status-driven culture, we determine a person’s greatness by their ability to demand service from others. Thousands of books have been written about leadership and influence. Everyone wants to lead, be prominent, and have authority. Honor given to these inferior aspects of life unveils our sin-skewed values.

Jesus responded to His disciples with this ethereal reply, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43) Greatness, therefore, is not influence, wealth or ascendancy. Greatness is service! With this new paradigm in place, we can now accurately apportion just honor.

After 40+ years of ministry and 20+ years of pastoral leadership, it is evident that Pastor Michael Davis has personified the characteristics of Christlike greatness. In a church culture where most leaders find their validation and satisfaction in their ability to demand and require of God’s people, he has remained vigilant to his responsibility to simply serve. If you spend anytime around Pastor Mike you will quickly learn there is no shred of pretense or the slightest air of ostentation. He has nothing to prove and no one to impress; he does not require our validation nor seek for our approval. He just is. He is pure hearted and authentic; he is generous and forgiving; he is selfless and sacrificial; he is unique and creative; he is fair and pious; he is committed and patient; he is honest and sincere; he is forthright and dependable; he is passionate and insightful; he is brilliant and eloquent. He is simply the greatest man, according to Christ’s definition, I have ever met.

He is a husband, a father, a preacher, a leader, an author, and a theologian but what makes him “great” at all of these responsibilities is because he is first a servant. On this Pastor Appreciation Month, we cheerfully honor the Senior Pastor of Impact Church and the overseer of all Impact Ministries, Pastor Michael Davis, for his Christlike and God-honoring service to the Body and Bride of Christ.

We celebrate your greatness.

Love,

Your Son

Happy Place

“But you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you”. John 14: 17b

God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.  there is no such thing.  ~ C.S. Lewis

It is in the dryness and barrenness of the human soul that it never rests. And it is in the endless search for climes that supply lack that the soul’s poverty is confirmed. And it is in the certainty that nothing can satisfy that the soul remains temperamental and transient.

Moving, changing, rearranging; restless and discontent- the soul of man is confined to an irritability that creates conflict and confusion, both in community and in the body it dwells. His efforts for control isolates, his search for fulfillment disappoints, and his struggles for independence imprisons. Succinctly put, it’s not easy being human.

But it’s not like there’s been a scarcity of above average people, entertaining places and pleasurable things to discover and experience the soul’s “happy place”. Let’s be honest here: human beings are on record as being extremely blessed with opportunities and experiences!

Consider Eden’s garden in Adam’s day as the near perfect “in” place to be. And with Moses and the Tabernacle, the presence of God was an enviously “cool” place to hang. Likewise, the Temple in Solomon’s day was “off the charts”! God has met with, talked with, and touched humankind in unimaginable ways.

Yet, no discovery, discipline, relationship, or experience ever brought peace to the ever searching soul. And that is as it scripturally should be. No man is created complete apart from God’s indwelling spirit. Though created as a living soul, and though God walked with man in the cool of the day- God’s eternal design was to live in man, not merely with him.

Though sin, through disobedience, entered the human race, and though God’s Law, as good and perfect as it was, could never redeem us, and though the road to get us here was incomprehensible Read the rest of this entry »