HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

The year 2021 brought hopes of renewal and movement past a period of pause, shut down, and uncertainty. We looked forward to moments that we easily took for granted when life was “normal.” The subtraction of certain conveniences, the change of pace in life, and many other ripple effects brought clarity to some, confusion to others, anxiety for many. One thought that has held true to me and my family is that no matter what comes our way, our faith in Jesus Christ and His certainty brings great endurance and power in the midst of what looks like a whirlwind of chaos all around. His example as a suffering servant that gave it all to bring us into a right relationship with The Father set the bar for all humanity. This sacrificial love that Christ displayed for us is what we must cling to in the days ahead. As we unpack all that has happened and continue to move forward, we need to move back to what life is truly about. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Others First

I remember my college days, a loooooong time ago, and I am grateful for some people that invested in my life. They pointed me in the right direction with God’s Truth and what He has to say about living a life that follows Jesus. One of those thoughts had to do with Servant Leadership. I have to admit, I seem to find myself failing at this attitude that is so greatly displayed in Christ. I must remind myself, as Paul does here in Philippians Chapter 2, that the commandment to LOVE my NEIGHBOR requires me to individually and personally to LOOK UP.

OTHERS FIRST is an easy way to explain this posture. We must move from a ME centered spectrum, that revolves around all MY INTERESTS and move toward an OTHERS mentality that LOOKS UP and realizes that there is a whole world out there that needs attention. I think that if we take this simple concept and decide to put OTHERS FIRST, we realize that we are making an impact by following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ Himself.

Henry Loftin Legacy

I recall meeting Henry Loftin for the first time at Pacesetters Camp in High School. Some family friends invited me to come to camp, and I found myself with a close family of college students in a ministry called Glowing Heart. It was not by chance that God led me to Pacesetters Camp at Dallas Baptist University my Junior Summer in High School. I had many thoughts about my life in Christ, but for some reason Pacesetters was like the fertilizer to the seeds of passion God had been placing in my heart. I found a camp experience that challenged me and stretched me to not only talk about Jesus, but take action for Jesus. That first night, I remember Henry speaking to our group and challenging us to get our relationship right with Jesus at the front end of camp, so that Jesus could work in us for the rest of the week. I remember that God impressed on me His compassion for the lost and the lowly so much, that I was literally WRECKED for Him. What God had been planting in me had risen up as a Passion to follow Christ. From that point forward, that Passion turned to many steps of action at my church. I saw the vision for my life. I began to understand that God could use me to help the lost and the broken where I lived. He had begun framing me to become a Servant Leader.

DBU Memorial Day Celebration

Little did I know that the Lord had a plan for me to join Glowing Heart Ministries in 1998. Henry became more than a camp director or speaker to me. He invited me and everyone on the team to be his family. That family is one that has experienced many days of traveling from church to church, leading to serve as Christ served, love with all our hearts, and experience the life-changing power of the Name of Jesus across the ends of the Earth.

Israel Trip 2001

Not only that, but Laura and I met at DBU and spent many days learning the same ministry through Glowing Heart Ministries. Henry counseled Laura during our “famous break up.” We worked hard to not let our “love life” interfere with the ministry we were doing. Henry taught us to be above reproach and serve others in all that we did. HOWEVER, when the stuff dropped and Laura and I had that time of separation, Henry said something to the sort of, “Next time, give me a heads up when you are about to do something like this.” Henry was someone safe that Laura could run to in a time of trouble. That is why, when we did realize we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together, we had no doubt that Henry would be the one to officiate our marriage. That was right here in New Braunfels, Tx, by the way! We brought the whole Glowing Heart team to do the music, many were bridesmaids and groomsmen, and we knew Henry would be the right person to share the Gospel to our friends and family attending our Holy Matrimony happening at First Baptist Church that hot day of August 3, 2002.

August 3, 2002

I have personally been thankful to the Lord that my place as the Middle School Pastor at Oakwood has given me the ability to continue to share that same legacy Henry shared with me. The blessing is the legacy of Christ passed down from generation to generation. As we remember Henry’s life, we cannot move far from the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is because he was a remarkable example of what Jesus looks like in today’s time. Here are some clips we had from Middle School Pacesetters Camp this past Summer. #henryloftinlegacy

Middle School Camp – June 2021

Second Step – GROW

OUR MSM Second step is GROW.

As we work to connect the amazing SHIPLEY DO-NUT to Spiritual steps in the MSM, we take the second step to think through and realize that this one is a process.

Think about all the brain changes, hormone changes, brace-face changes, school/educational changes, on top of all the cultural and world-wide changes that hover over us on a daily basis. Just the body alone is a growth process and seems to have intentionality within it.

Much like a GOURMET RECIPE for a SHIPLEY DO-NUT, God has a certain WAY of moving in our lives and a PATH for GROWTH spiritually.

1 John Chapter 2 speaks to those who keep HIS WORD as those who find the perfection of GOD’S LOVE. If we live in HIM and walk as JESUS walked, we begin the process of growth.

THIS RECIPE comes with GOD’S WORD or HIS TRUTH. WE GROW WHEN WE KNOW GOD’S TRUTH. In fact, John goes on to say that the “anointing” as reference to the Holy Spirit is what teaches us THE TRUTH.

ARE YOU GROWING IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS?

Growth is a process

Need Wisdom… JUST ASK

As we hit the MID-SUMMER mark, we stand with one foot in the laid back, vacation mode, and another foot leaning toward the start-up mode for the new school year. School practices of various kinds begin, sales for school supplies remind us that new times are coming (even if we try REALLY HARD to put that thought off). As I look forward to meeting new faces that enter into the Oakwood Student Ministry for the first time as well as seeing everyone back home after trips and adventures of the Summer, I come back to something that is BASIC, yet easy to look over.

WISDOM IS FROM GOD.

We seem to run to Google or ask Siri what time the game is, how the weather might be, or how to spell that SAT word that we keep forgetting. We tune into the 24 hour news and gain insight on world happenings and wonder how we can live our lives in reaction to the circumstances around us. We choose to find what works best for our kids and ourselves when it comes to education. That might be working on study habits, worrying over getting a certain teacher that seems to be a great match for our kid, or choosing to take a whole new adventure of learning (didn’t we do that during the shut down?). The point I am all too easily revealing is that we have so much information at our disposal, that we may forget the need for the most simple ASK.

ASK GOD FOR WISDOM.

With all the information at our fingertips, we still find ourselves stepping in holes, repeating mistakes or even offenses, and wonder how such an educated mind of a human being that we are can slip down the slippery slope of life as fast as we can. Again, WISDOM is from GOD and the key is, that we must take time in our daily comings and goings to ASK FOR IT. Maybe it takes some time for you and me to realize that WE LACK WISDOM. Quite possibly, those repeated circles you are running in remind you of something. ALL OF US LACK WISDOM. WHY? WISDOM IS FROM GOD.

GOD GIVES WISDOM GENEROUSLY.

God is no device that we must subscribe to. He is not a podcast to listen to. He is not a news anchor on location somewhere, waiting for the next chaotic storm. He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth, and He contains this stuff called WISDOM. Wait a minute? He holds it, but does not desire to keep it! He GENEROUSLY GIVES without the added disapproval for asking. He is ready and willing to pour out WISDOM on YOU if you just ASK.

Of all the things this world has to offer, and you have sought after, HAVE YOU ASKED FOR WISDOM?

No matter how much society changes, the container of WISDOM is still GOD. He helps us know what to do with the overload of information and chaos we consume on a daily basis. The simple fact is IF YOU NEED WISDOM, JUST ASK.