IN ALL ERNESTNESS


Maybe…
December 7, 2010, 8:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Maybe, just maybe, this whole “fine line between faith and foolishness” comes more from our lack of faith than from folly…



Just call me foolish…

Some have said there is a fine line between faith and foolishness…

What do you think?

  • It would be foolish to believe a 99 yr old woman could conceive and give birth but Sarah did.
  • It would be foolish to believe a slave could rise to 2nd in command and save a nation but Joseph did.
  • It would be foolish to believe a child could defeat a well trained warrior giant but David did.
  • It would be foolish to believe 3 men could be thrown into a furnace and walk away unharmed but “Rack”, “Shack”, and “Benny” did.
  • It would be foolish to believe that a group of slaves could escape Egypt and cross a sea on dry land but the Isrealites led by Moses did.
  • It would be foolish to think a virgin could give birth but Mary did.
  • It would be foolish to think a man could raise the dead but Jesus did (on numerous occasions…including himself).

Shall I go on?

Jeremiah 32:17, “Nothing is too difficult for you (God)”

Mathew 19:26, “with God all things are possible”

Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God”

Ephesians 3:20, “to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or think”

Maybe I am foolish; but for me, I would rather be foolish for believing too much than not enough!

My God is a big god and I choose to trust Him for big things!



Don’t Quit…
September 15, 2010, 2:55 pm
Filed under: life, ministry, people, religion, Uncategorized, whatever

Here are the top five reasons Pastors/ Leaders Quit…

#1 – Burnout

I once heard someone say, “I would rather burn out than rust out.”  Uh…BOTH are bad because NEITHER of them finish well.  Too many people in the ministry work themselves into a frenzy, never take time to disconnect and refresh and do absolutely nothing for fun–this always goes bad!

When it comes to leadership circles in America we’ve equated being busy with being godly; however, the haunting reality that confronts that idea is what God Himself said in Psalm 46:10, “BE STILL and know that I am God,” not “be busy!”

If we are not taking regular breaks, doing things “just for fun” and disconnecting then burnout isn’t a matter of “if,” but “when!”

#2 – Unrealistic Expectations

Too many people believe that “ministry = easy” despite the fact that it seemed to go really bad for everyone in the Scriptures that sold their life out to Him!  Jesus went to the “place of the skull” to be crucified…why would we ever believe He would lead us to “the place of the mattress?”

When we impose our plans and ideas on God and refuse to surrender to His it usually leads to people “giving up” because “God just didn’t come through.”

#3 – Criticism

Criticism hurts, it always will, and if it ever doesn’t then, according to my counselor, something is dead inside of you.  And, it is always personal (especially when someone begins with, “Don’t take this personally, but…).

You can’t let the critics dicate what you think/feel!  If you have a ministry that constantly responds to critics then you will not have one that responds to Jesus.  You MUST respond to the people who God has placed in your life to surround you and protect you–that’s not criticism but rather correction.  However, you cannot allow those who know you the least to control you the most–period!

#4 – Discouragement

Every church leader I’ve ever chatted with has done some serious battles with discouragement.  After your message on Sunday the enemy comes in and begins to accuse you, telling you that you did a pathetic job and that no one is going to come back next week. I’ve had to battle discouragement during the message before, hearing voices inside of my head saying things like, “You suck, these people hate you…you need to quit the ministry…” and so on.

This is why it is essential for leaders to get in a place like David did in I Samuel 30:1-6. David faced an incredibly discouraging situation and yet someone managed to find His strength in the Lord.  I do this by reading through encouraging letters and emails that I’ve received in the past, placing myself in encouraging environments and focusing on what God’s Word says about me.

#5 – Losing Focus On God’s Power

When we actually believe it is up to us to make people come back to church every week rather than believing we are conduits that God wants to work through to do that very thing…it’s over!  Because we fall into the trap of trying to outdo ourselves every week, every series and every year and prayer/seeking the Lord becomes something we love to talk about but fail to do.  He saves…He draws people…and He uses us to do it.  It’s not up to us but rather allowing Him to work through us to accomplish all that He wants to do!

Face it, on our own we don’t have enough power to blow our nose.  We need Him. He is the game changer!

-taken from Perry Noble



Do you need someone?
August 5, 2010, 9:04 pm
Filed under: fun, life, ministry, people, religion, Uncategorized, whatever

Alright everyone. I am in the process of booking speaking engagements. If you need a speaker for anything just let me know. Youth rallies, youth retreats, special events, or just filling in for one of your services…you name it. Let me know as I would love the opportunity to serve you and your group!

Feel free to check out some of my references under the “speaking” tab. I can provide you with more references and/or a speaking sample upon request as well. Thank you!



Maybe I shouldnt share this but oh well…
March 30, 2010, 9:57 pm
Filed under: family, friends, justice, life, love, ministry, missions, people, prayer, religion, whatever

Allow me to be vulnerable for a moment. I probably shouldn’t, but then again, maybe I should…Either way here it goes.  I have a passion and a desire to change the world for Christ, to make a difference and be a part of something bigger than myself. No surprise huh? I recently shared that with you all. The truth is that as much as that is true I have allowed road blocks such as fear and doubt and excuses to keep from doing just that. About 3 years ago I experienced something in ministry that more than I would ever like to admit shook me spiritually…it shook my confidence, it shook my thoughts, and more…I will not go into details as they are not as important as to the result. This time should have been the moment that I rose up and took advantage of the situation and ran after all of my dreams and my desires…It should have been my greatest moment spiritually…instead, it was quite the contrary. Sure I went after some things and pursued some of the things I wanted to do ministry wise and for God but with a broken confidence and a fear that I just didnt measure up to what I needed to be. There were others already doing some of the things who were better than me…why would I be used instead of them. ..so on…the typical things…the things I would so many times counsel others about…

I would look at others who were doing some really cool things and ask myself, “Why can they do it and you not?” The true answer to that is there is no reason. God can use me and wants to use me just as much as the next person but I would run excuses like, “Its the school the went to and the contacts they were able to make due to that” or it was this reason or that reason…there was always an excuse. The saddest part of all? I was allowing myself to believe those excuses. Only recently have I allowed myself to wake up to the fact that the things I am saying to you are true. My wife has even questioned me about it in the past and I would deny it, offer her some excuses and would get upset and defensive that she would even suggest such a thing…the truth is she was right. I am sorry that it took me this long to allow myself to see it for what it is. How she puts up with me or has had the patience she has had with me I do not know.

I dont know why i am even telling you this now. Once again, I probably shouldn’t except for there may be some of you in the same position battling the same thing. I also would ask for accountability in these areas…fell free, in fact I ask you to question me on what I am doing to achieve my dreams and to follow after what I feel God wants me to do.  Ask me if I have been allowing fear, doubt, and or excuses get in my way…and if I offer you a lame excuse, find me and kick me really hard.

With all of this in mind I want to to share something with you today…a peak at my heart. I recently asked on Twitter and Facebook , “if money were not an concern, what would you want to do with your life?” In asking that I had to ask myself the same question….

I recently had a friend ask how they could pray for us. I think the answer I gave them is also the answer to my question…here is my response…

Instead of out right answering that let me just share my heart with you once again. My desire/dream is to mobilize todays youth and young people to make a difference in their world, at home and abroad. There are so many injustices such as unclean water, orphans, human trafficking, starvation, extreme poverty, etc that are occurring all across the globe. Not to mention the spiritual state the majority of this world is in. I truly believe that God mandates us as Christians to fight these injustices (Isaiah 1:17) as well as share the love of Christ to others. The problem I see is that the church as a whole ends up playing church more than being the church. We show up on Sundays and occasionally on Wednesdays and we pay our tithes and sometimes missions and think we are doing pretty good. We plan all kinds of fun activities and events, we have all kinds of programs to get involved in but our Christian lives must be more than that, they must go beyond that. We spend a lot of time and effort trying to be “better Christians” when we need to be learning how to love like Christ and what that looks like. I believe that when we truly love God and love people then we will be better Christians and all the other stuff falls into place.

Anyway, most young people I have met want to change the world. They want to make a difference. They just dont know how or they, like many of us, allow fear or doubt to dash our dreams. They are passionate, they are resourceful, they are not all hung up on traditions and rituals, and they are more real than most of us “older folk” will ever be. I truly believe that if we can get them in on this; if we can mobilize them and give them chances to make a difference and create change that not only will they forever be changed but will change others which can ultimately change the future.

Scripture talks of a spiritual revival; a great awakening…well, it has to start somewhere and my money is on the youth of this world.

All that said, I have allowed fear, doubt, and a multitude of excuses to keep me from pursuing my dream to reach this generation of young people in this way. I am tired of my life being ran by fear, doubt, and excuses, so if you want to know how you can most pray for us, I would say this is it.

Thank you for being a friend and an advocate. You are much loved.

Blessings,

Ernest

For too long I have allowed walls to block me from pursuing the things in life that truly make me tick…the things that I am truly passionate about and care about. Some of those walls (if not most) were built by me…Well, I am tired of the walls, I am tired of the fear, I am tired of the excuses that have far too long kept me from doing the things I really want to do…

Today is the day I take the sledgehammer to those walls…today is the day I strap back on those running shoes and chase after the things I am passionate about…Today is the day I allow the real Ernest, the Ernest that God intended for me to be, to be free to pursue the desires that God has placed in my heart…

I dont know about you but I really do want to make a difference. I really do want to create change. I really do want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to do more than make a living…I want to live the life God intended for me to live. The dangerous, passionate, adventure filed life of a true Christ follower that follows his Rabbi so closely that he gets covered in the dust from his feet…

We all can make a difference, we all can create change, we all can be a part of something bigger than ourselves…Most of us won’t…but some will. I want to be the some that will.

I ask that you hold me accountable…because today is the day, but tomorrow has to be the day too…and the day after that…and the day after that…



Please Help….
February 21, 2010, 6:00 pm
Filed under: adoption, family, friends, Haiti, justice, life, love, people, politics, prayer, Uncategorized, whatever
Please read the email below. It sounds way too familiar. It seems that not too much has changed when it comes to parents getting their adoptive kids out of Haiti. The US Embassy seems to still be a mess and not much of a help. You guys came to our rescue and helped in a major way when we were working to get Ronel home. Will you do the same for her. As we have said before, our story is only one of many…Thanks. BTW, since sending this email she has went public so we need to get her story out to anyone and everyone we can. Thanks again.
Hello,
I’ve been following your story while waiting for my son to come home. He is two and from Children of the Promise in Cap Haitien, Haiti. My blog is www.thethackerpack.blogspot.com I just don’t want you to think that I am a crazy stalker!
Will you please pray for our situation right now?
On Friday morning, I flew into PAP on an Agape flight. I was met at the airport by two escorts from the orphanage and six children. I was coming to help escort my son, Reese, age two, and five other children home to the United States. We waitied all day at the US Embassy for the last military flight out of there. (It was so wonderful to be with Reese) All of the children were cleared to leave, signed off by the Prime Minister, etc. The flight was cancelled. Big surprise. We were told we could make our own private arrangements b/c there would be no more military flights out. We arranged to have Agape flights fly us out on noon on Saturday. We stayed with the children in a guest house on Friday night.
On Saturday morning, we packed up the kids in a taxi and headed to the airport. Minutes after the taxi dropped us off, we were attacked by an angry mob of men saying that we were trying to steal the children. They tried to take the kids from us. The Haitian police came and detained all of us. It was horrible until the US Embassy got there. They were pretty worthless though. We sat on the street with the children outside of the airport for six hours while the Haitian police, border patrol, immigration, and the US embassy had a huge pissing match. It was unbeliveable. Then they took us down to a police station for three hours while they continued to sort things out.  Thye let us go, but they took the children from us and they are sitting in a Unicef tent camp. I’m writing this out and I can’t even believe that this has happened. I am staying at an international doctor’s house. The US Embassy is “working” on it. Actually, I’m pretty sure that Hillary Clinton has gotten involved. It escalated quickly. I know for sure that my senator from MN is heavily involved. My husband is in Florida right now waiting for us to get out of Haiti. He was going to meet the plane on Saturday afternoon!
I am a strong believer and Jesus’ supernatural peace is comforting me right now, but my mind seems so muddled that I can barely from coherent words to pray. Will you please pray on behalf of Reese and the other children? I’m not posting this on my own blog yet, because I don’t want my parents to worry and be so upset.
Even though I have never met you, I feel a bond with your family as we have fought to get our children out of Haiti.
Sincerely,
Sarah Thacker


Do you know someone?
February 16, 2010, 12:03 am
Filed under: justice, life, love, ministry, missions, people, prayer, religion, Uncategorized, whatever | Tags: , , , , , ,

Have you ever thought there is more to life than what you were living? Have you ever thought there is more to following God than what you were experiencing? These are the thoughts that have led us to where we are.

A few years ago I was on staff at a church and we were doing all the “church” things. On the outside all looked well, but on the inside there were spots of emptiness. There had to be more to God than what we were living and teaching, if there wasn’t then church and God really were boring. Eventually this caused us to leave our church position. To what, we really didn’t know. In the time that followed we developed a deeper meaning of what it means to love God, love people. We have a deeper compassion for others. We have been moved to live more simply, want less, and give more (not only monetarily but with our lives as well). We have been introduced to the homeless in the Houston Montrose area. We have been introduced to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere and our hearts burn for them. We have made contacts and friends there and have been privileged to make several trips. We have been introduced to others whom God is moving; kindred hearts and kindred spirits. We are not the same and we are thankful.

Complacency is no longer an option. We want to be more and do more for the cause of Christ. We don’t want to just play church, we want to be the church. We don’t want to play Christian, we want to be true followers of Christ. We want to make a difference.

In the past few years God has allowed us to do some really cool things and be a part of some pretty amazing stories as He used this time to change us and grow us. However, lately I have not been able to rest and my mind has been constantly going over all the needs and the injustices in this world. I have been thinking about what it really looks like to love as God loves and to truly follow Him with our lives. I’ve been thinking of my own life and where I am. I have been meditating, praying, seeking…and I feel God leading…leading me away from my cubicle and back to full-time service with my life. Not to just join a church staff or play church but to really serve Him and live for Him. To be a part of a ministry, organization, or group of people who are passionate about the same things I am and have the same hunger and desire to see things done, to make a difference and create change. Do you know someone/somewhere who fits that description? Do you fit that description? If so, I would love to talk with you. Below are a few things about myself…

What I am not: I am not perfect. In fact, I am far from it. I make mistakes and have made mistakes, some really big ones to be exact. But ,as much as I hate them, those mistakes have helped make me to who I am today. God truly can bring beauty from ashes. He truly does not waste a hurt if we turn it over to Him.

What I am: I am passionate, dedicated, determined, and hungry.

Passionate: I am passionate about a God that loves me so much He sent His son, Jesus, the Liberating King, to die for me. I am passionate about a Gospel that is relevant to today and about introducing people to that Gospel. I am passionate about being Christ to those around me; about loving God, loving people. I am passionate about the needs and the injustices of this world. I am passionate about family.

Dedicated: I am dedicated to the various obligations, tasks, and goals set before me. I am dedicated to sharing the message and the love of the Liberating King with others. I am dedicated to loving God, loving people and living that love out loud. I am dedicated to confronting the injustices and meeting the needs of this world in any way possible. I am dedicated to my family; to be someone who they can trust, depend on, and to be a leader they can follow.

Determined: I am determined to do more than just exist. I am determined to do more than just make a living. I am determined to make a difference. I am determined to create change in this world for the name of Christ. I am determined to see the church be the church God intended it to be and to see Christians living lives of faith that are real and go beyond our typical Sunday and mid-week routines and rituals.

Hungry: I am hungry for something different, for change. Change in this world. Change in myself. Change in the church. Hungry to do something adventurous, amazing, and crazy for God and hungry to lead others to do the same. I am hungry to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Hungry to live out Isaiah 1:17 which says, “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Rebuke the oppressor. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

Plea: If you know of someone or a ministry/organization (or if you are that someone) who could use someone like me please let me know. I know this may seem crazy but I am serious. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!