All posts tagged: faith

Can You Trust God’s Ultimate Plan?

At Southern Hills, we are making our way through the first six chapters of Daniel. So far, we have been taught about God’s sovereignty, King Nebuchadnezzar’s (“King Neb” as I will call him) pride and anger, Daniel’s faithfulness to God, and more. It is interesting to note at the end of chapter two King Neb is praising the LORD, God of Israel. Then, Daniel 3 begins with King Neb fashioning an idol made of gold. And this idol is huge! Once the idol is finished, King Neb demands everyone bow down and worship it. Whoever refuses will meet death by fire. As you can imagine, people worshiped the idol—just as the King had commanded. Everyone except for 3 men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. As you may know, these men refused to bow down to King Neb’s idol and were thrown into the furnace. But they lived! Let’s consider the conversation place between King Neb and the three Hebrews. King Neb said: “But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery …

Dive In! The Water Is Great!

This past summer, I went to this place called Foster Falls, which is an eighty-foot water fall pouring into a swimming hole. When we arrived, there were a couple of guys at the top of the water fall ready to jump into the pool below. The first couple of guys jumped without hesitation, but there was this one guy who wouldn’t budge. You could tell he was scared! The guys who jumped were hyping up the guy. They were shouting encouragements, affirmations of the water’s depth, telling him it wouldn’t hurt, you name it. After a few minutes the guy at the top took the plunge, and when he resurfaced, he screamed with excitement. All the guys cheered hysterically! I believe this is what the church is supposed to look like. A lot of people aren’t too sure about this whole Jesus thing. They have seen people jump off the cliff through baptism, serving, or giving, but still they don’t trust the water. Is it true? Is there really freedom and forgiveness? Is it possible …

4 Fundamental Questions to Improve Your Faithfulness

If you ask someone who sleeps in on Sunday morning why they avoid church, many will point to the hypocrisy or lack of faithfulness in church members. Are you part of the problem? Here are 4 questions for you to reflect on as you work on growing the fruit of faithfulness. Are you faithful to God? When no one is looking, are you still committed to being trustworthy? If no one were to ever find out, would you still walk the right path? In John 14:23, Jesus says, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” Being faithful to God means walking by the Spirit even when the flesh is telling you something different. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Are you faithful to making disciples? Jesus called us to love God and love others. How are you doing at …

God is a Good Promise Keeper

The prophet of Isaiah wrote: Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” – Isaiah 40:3-5 John the Baptist would be the one to come and prepare the way for Jesus. Let’s look at two ways the birth of John the Baptist as recorded in Luke 1 was miraculous. First, Luke tells us in verse 7 Elizabeth, who would be John’s mother, was both barren and advanced in years. She could not conceive a child. Second, Zechariah, who would be John the Baptist’s father, was chosen by lot to enter the temple and burn incense. It is there Zechariah had an angel appear to him with the message that he and Elizabeth would have a son. Was this chance? …

I Have a Confession to Make: Teenagers Scare Me

Teenagers scare me. It’s silly but true. As a preschool pastor and mom to young children, I’ve lived in this preschool/elementary phase for so long  I feel awkward and culturally irrelevant when it comes to engaging with anyone between the ages of 13 and 19. Now, I do remember what it was like to be a teenager and I do understand in a few short years (3 to be exact), I will be raising an adolescent of my own. But… this doesn’t make me anymore confident. Honestly, it wasn’t until earlier this year I began giving much thought to this idea. That’s when I made the connection between my ministry and my feelings. Many of you already know our church is experiencing an amazing period of growth. This is no less true for our preschool ministry. Over the past six months we have averaged nearly 150 preschoolers on a weekly basis! On any given Sunday, there are between 40 to 60 leaders serving in the Treehouse and nearly half of those are student volunteers! That’s …

Don’t be Afraid of Doubt, Embrace It

How do you react when your child or friend expresses doubt? Do you see this as a step in the disciple-making process or does your heart sink and fear take over? During the week after Easter in our elementary and preteen services, we took a look at how Thomas wrestled with doubt. Through this story we can see how asking questions is a great thing. Asking questions can lead to understanding, which can lead to knowledge, which can lead to more questions, understanding, and knowledge. As you are walking someone through the discipleship process remember these truths from Thomas. Thomas expressed his doubt. When the disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus, he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side” (John 20:25). Thomas had doubts and questions about what the disciples were saying they saw but he didn’t keep those doubts hidden. When someone is open and honest with you, celebrate their honesty …

You Have Much. Are You Owning It?

Leadership is a stewardship. Its temporary. And your accountable. – Andy Stanley As I read through Micah 3 and digested the harsh language directed towards those who held mantles of leadership in ancient Israel, I arrived at one concept: Ownership. In this particular case, Micah is announcing time has expired, and it is time to be held accountable. But this concept can be found throughout scripture. There is a story Jesus tells, found in Matthew 25:14-30, of a wealthy man who goes away and leaves differing amounts of money to three different servants, to manage it on his behalf. The master eventually returns and each servant is called to give an account of what he had done with what he was given. In the end, it wasn’t about the original amount given to them; it was about the their effort, or lack thereof. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48 The truth is we’ve all …

Can You Change Your Perspective of Your Circumstance?

When I revisit stories of the Bible we have heard since we were kids, I like to try to look at them from a different perspective. I like the fresh feeling this gives as I seek the living nature of scripture. The story I have been looking at recently is when David faces Goliath. I wonder what it would be like if I were one of the Israelite soldiers called up by Saul to face off against our sworn enemy, the Philistines. I have marched off to the battlefield. When we go out for our first day of battle, at the front of the enemy line marches Goliath. This guy is huge! I can imagine how ferocious his voice would sound, as he taunts and shouts obscenities. And then he issues his challenge: “Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves!” (1 Samuel 17:8-9) No one wants to be the one who risks …

Are You Allowing Christmas to be Personal?

In the life group Bailey and I are in, there is a couple who just had a baby. Over the past nine months we have experienced the excitement of their announcing they were pregnant, the gender reveal (in true mermaid fashion if you know Kyndel), the baby growing, baby showers, and finally the arrival of Miss Noël! Leading up to her birth, we talked a lot about her, how life would be different for their family and what we as a life group would do to support the new parents. Then, Noël was born. Everything we talked about was now in the hands of her parents. Noël was now real, not just an idea, but a person we could hold, touch, and embrace. I believe the same holds true when we experience Jesus. At some point in our lives, we  heard about Jesus, whether it was in church, small group, a casual conversation, a court room, a movie… We talked about this Jesus, but we didn’t really experience Him until we entered into a personal …

Are You Resolved to Move Forward?

I began 2018 with a goal to thoroughly immerse my time of study in the major prophets of the Old Testament. I had never really spent much intentional time there and had been feeling drawn to them, so I started with Isaiah. The Book of Isaiah was rich in painting the context of the character and intent of God. It taught the honor that comes from being a true message carrier for Him and all that can be done through us, despite circumstances. Then, I moved into Jeremiah, who succeeded Isaiah as God’s primary prophet to Judah. The flavor and tone changed drastically and it was not long before I was tempted, and even looked, to move elsewhere in the Bible. However, I pushed through and as I did so, I grappled with what was bothering me so much in these ancient writings. This was a man, who much like Isaiah, was given the burdensome gift of prophecy and the difficult charge to confront an entire nation, almost always, alone. But there was something different …