October 26, 2012

When I first pastored during college I was the only staff member at the church. Since that time I have had the pleasure of leading churches with multiple staff members. These relationship are critical in the life of a church. Next week the Olive Baptist staff team will be on retreat together. I ask for your prayers. This annual event is an important time. What is KEY to staff relationships? 1. Communication 2. Communication 3. Communication 4. Vision 5. Unity 6. Joy 7. A leader who knows where he is going—Pray for ME!

October 23, 2012

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Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” 
Proverbs 31:8-9 This morning our Olive team had an outstanding staff meeting. Denita Williams, Program Administrator for Tender Hearts Caring Hands, gave a passionate and detailed overview of this vital part of Ministry Village at Olive.

Some of the facts caught me by surprise.

January –August 2012 there were:

• 972 family food bags and 131 transient bags distributed (an average of 138 per month) • 1519 walk in requests and 3899 phone requests for assistance • a high percentage (62%) of those assisted were single/divorced with children

Tender Hearts Caring Hands is open from 8:00am-2:00pm Monday-Friday. Thanks to our large team of dedicated volunteers, this outreach is able to keep longer hours to meet needs than other local agencies.

Denita took time to thank various people on our staff for their part in making THCH a reality. From food drives to VBS offerings, from connection group donations to promoting specific needs, she emphasized everyone has a part in kingdom success of the ministry.

Thank you, Denita, and the entire Ministry Village at Olive team. You are making a difference for eternity!

October 19, 2012

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It is hard to believe the Charis House Ministry at Olive has been in place for more than five years. Sunday night we will celebrate our next graduation. This is always a highlight service. In the midst of victories we do have set backs. Recently we lost one of our ladies to relapse. It is always heart breaking. Yet we learn to regroup and persist. Let me remind you of some action steps to take when you have disappointment in your life. 1. Remember God is faithful 2. Do not receive condemnation. You are free in Christ. 3. When we fail and confess sin God forgives 4. Jesus is the master of new beginnings!

October 16, 2012

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It is time to vote. I am getting questions from many people about the presidential election. Christians are asking, ”Is it a Biblical violation for a Christian to vote for a Mormon?” I do not believe it is. Some tough issues face America and the next president. He will need to tackle: 1. Finances: budget, jobs and taxes. 2. Foreign Affairs: terrorism, the Middle East turmoil and our relationship with Israel. 3. Immigration: our own borders is a critical issue. 4. Social Issues and Supreme Court Appointments: This is the tipping point issue that points me to Governor Romney. When a president leaves office, the justices he puts in place remain. These people deal with abortion, same-sex marriage, health care legislation and other critical issues. As a pastor and Christ follower committed to the Bible, I believe we need a man who will be conservative in appointments. This is where I will be voting values.

October 12, 2012

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The whistles, wrist bands, shoes, towels, socks. All are pink this month in the NFL. I believe they will play with a pink ball before long! It is all a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Someone is a master in public relations to get the NFL to buy in! This research is vital and needs to be done. Just make sure your money goes to an organization that does not use it to support abortion. I encourage you to give to causes about which you are passionate, but make sure their values match up with God’s word. So put on a pink shirt and take a walk. It is good for all of us!

October 9, 2012

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For the past seven days Stan Lewis and I have been in Romania with our partners at Emanuel University and Baptist Church. My primary role was to be the speaker for convocation. This is the opening chapel for the new school term. This was my first trip in five years (before I had been for six consecutive ones). The new student body is an impressive group. I am encouraged by what I see. Yet the government of Romania is making it very difficult for schools to function. But by the power of God, Emanuel is moving forward. I ask that you pray for the work here. It is vital to Gospel proclamation in Europe and Central Asia. In addition to the school convocation, Stan and I taught for two days. We also preached in two different churches on Sunday. I was honored to be at Grace Baptist with my good friend and pastor Elijah Soritau. It is good to get home to Pensacola. I look forward to celebrating the Lord’s Supper this weekend at Olive. We did that last Sunday in Romania. The body of Christ is an amazing family of believers.

October 5, 2012

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Charisma without character yields chaos. A wonderful Christian servant shared this with me this week. It is simple but powerful. Often leaders try to live by a powerful charismatic personality. Too often they neglect the inner man. It spells trouble. Leadership requires character. Never neglect the inner man and doing what is right in light of God’s teaching. Do not produce chaos this Friday! Choose character!

October 2, 2012

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At Olive we strive to do ministry to the least of these. Part of that is a recovery ministry to addicts of various backgrounds. We have many wonderful stories of victory. In October we will celebrate with several of the ladies at the Charis House as they graduate. There are times when some people who have walked with Jesus and served others fail. This has happened among us this week. One of our recovery leaders turned back into sin. What do we do? We grieve. We weep. Paul says that when it happens, ”you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also.” (Galatians 6:1). How do we do that? 1. Pray 2. Be humble 3. Stand for truth 4. Persist 5. Carry one another’s burden 6. Forgive 7. Rebuke 8. Restore Ministry is harder some days than others. Today is a tough one for me.