Don’t Worry. Trust Jesus.

Don’t Worry. Trust Jesus.

Jesus had a lot to say about worry.

He came to an unstable and unpredictable world. He lived in an agricultural society where one summer’s drought could wipe out crops for the winter. He hung out with fishermen, who might fish all night long and catch nothing to sell or bring home to family. And Jesus knew the human heart and the temptations presented by the cares of this life. Matthew records some excellent instruction that Jesus gave them, and I wanted to share a few of them with you.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25 NKJV)

First, Jesus says God gave us our human life and our bodies without us even asking. Human life and our physical bodies are incredibly valuable. Our life is much more valuable than the food we put on the table; our body far more valuable than the shirt we put on. If God gave us life, which is so very valuable, will He not provide us with food, which is of far lesser value? If God gave us these bodies which are fearfully and wonderfully made, will He not give us clothes to cover them? And even further, if God has given us eternal life, will He not provide for our temporal life?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

This passage reminds us that God faithfully provides for animals. Birds don’t sow or reap or store their food in barns—and they don’t fret about whether they’ll have enough for tomorrow or to get through the winter. Yet He feeds them. And Jesus tells us that humans, the crown of God’s creation, the only creatures made in God’s image, are of much more value than birds. If God provides for birds, then surely He’ll provide for those He created in his own image. Furthermore, will not God especially provide for those He bought with His own blood?

27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matthew 6:27 NKJV)

Worry does absolutely no good. It won’t bring in money, food, or clothing. Worry only has negative results: it chokes the word of God and distracts us from God. It is unbelief, the opposite of faith. And it leads to more fear and anxiety. And the different scenarios we play out in our minds can’t prevent a single thing from happening. And besides that, most of the things we spend so much time fretting about won’t happen anyway.

Here’s what I want you to come away with.

Your life and body are far more valuable than any food you eat or the clothing you wear. If God gave you life and fearfully created your body, He’ll provide food for that life and covering for that body.

God provides for birds who don’t know enough to plant, reap, and store up for winter. Humans created in God’s image are far more valuable than birds, so He will undoubtedly provide for us.

Worry can’t do a thing. It won’t bring in a penny. It can’t put a crust of bread on the table or add 5 minutes to our lives.

So don’t worry, trust your heavenly Father who cares for you. He’s a Good Good Father. (By the way, if you haven’t heard this song before, take a listen below. You’ll love it!)

A Handful of Ways To Read Your Bible (And Enjoy It.)

A Handful of Ways To Read Your Bible (And Enjoy It.)

In our local church ( over the last several weeks we talked about the Bible and its life-changing content. We explored some ways you can engage Scripture in a living, vibrant, revealing way, as opposed to something instructional or informational only. Here are a handful of ideas for you to consider.

Memorize Your Favourite Verses

We all have our favourite verses. Some of them we love because they’re comforting or extraordinarily inspiring, providing that extra boost of biblical hope when we need it.

I want to encourage you to memorize Scripture. Here are a couple of Scriptures for your consideration.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.…

Here’s one we love to quote, especially the first part of the verse. God causes all things to work together for good”to make us more like Him. When we truly believe that God not only works in, but causes events in our lives to conform us to His character, we will no longer doubt, worry, stress, or become anxious when hard times hit us. We will instead rest assured that God is at work in every situation in our lives to make us more like Him and nothing – absolutely nothing – takes Him by surprise.  

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

If you and I considered ourselves crucified with Christ and our motto was “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” we’d be much less concerned about our image or reputation, and we’d be all about Him and His concerns.

When we indeed die to self, we no longer worry about whether or not we’re getting respect for who we are and what we do. We wouldn’t be bothered by misunderstandings that cast us in a bad light, situations that are to our disadvantage, circumstances that humiliate us, jobs that are beneath us, or rumours that are untrue. Being crucified with Christ means His name is my name. I can live knowing He’s got my back because it’s His back.

Read The Whole Story

We must learn to read the whole story of Scripture from beginning to end. The Bible is God’s story of redemption, the revelation of Himself and His plan for the world. All those stories and all those characters are parts of the whole, characters in the drama, but none of them is the point. They all point to the point: Jesus Christ came, lived a perfect life, died an innocent death to save sinners and kill death and sin, and will one day return to right all the wrongs.

If I wrote you a letter, you wouldn’t start reading that letter in the concluding paragraph. You would start reading it at the beginning.

While I think it is good to read the Bible occasionally from Genesis to Revelation, I am not suggesting that you do that. However, I would encourage you to start reading each book or letter in the Bible, by starting at the beginning. This approach will help you with context.

Read To Know Him

This is the advice I would suggest to any Christian who finds the Bible to be stale and lifeless: look for Jesus. So much of what we miss in Scripture is because we look for characters and themes and lessons other than Jesus. But He is both the primary character and the central plotline of Scripture. To search for anything else first is to rip out the heart of God’s Word. Because Jesus, as John 1 tells us, is the Word made flesh.

Every page of Scripture points to Jesus. It all fits together to point to Him and to glorify Him and depict Him and reveal Him. When we read the whole story and see Jesus throughout the pages, we see Him anew, not as whatever preconceived notions we had. We see Him as more than a teacher, more than a healer, more than a model character. We see the breadth of Jesus from the man who sat with children and loved widows to the sword-wielding King of justice and glory.

Read And Study

I prefer the New King James Version for study and read various translations. Sometimes a different translation will make a point with greater clarity.

Additional resources and books are helpful too. Some will prefer commentaries; others will gravitate to Bible study curriculum. Each serves a great purpose in helping us dig in and understand more. Don’t shy away from them. Find the ones that fit your learning style and take full advantage of them.


If you seek to do anything I’ve shared with you in your own power, you will dry up, run out of motivation, get bored, become arrogant, lose faith, get confused, and turn from God. It is inevitable.

To connect with God through His Word is a work of His Spirit and not something that can be formulated. All the suggestions I just made are not the equation that adds up to a relationship with God. They are ingredients that must be present, but only His Spirit can mix and prepare them in such a way that we see Him in His glory and are moved to follow and honour Him.

So pray that your understanding is opened and your eyes enlightened when you read. And He will do just that.

And as you delve deeper into God’s Word, you will find that the Scripture is the only information that can bring out a life-changing transformation.

EXPOSURE “Becoming a Multi-Cultural Church”

EXPOSURE “Becoming a Multi-Cultural Church”

It was 1984 and my parents decided that they would rent an RV and explore America with their kids. Tough to fathom with today’s prices of gasoline, huh? I was along for the ride and had very little control of where we went. Honestly, at that age, I was consumed with the fact that I could play Atari from state-to-state. Even bathroom breaks couldn’t stop or thwart our progress because we had a house on wheels! Life was great!

Where were we going? Well, I knew that we were going to Los Angeles. Disneyland, Universal Studious, Sea World and the city where Michael Jackson lived. SOLD! I was ready to go! I was told I may even see “The A-Team”, television show being recorded. Are you kidding me? Life couldn’t get any better, at least not for this 7-year-old.

All of these adventures and experiences came to pass, and I remember with vivid clarity those incredible moments. Yet, there are other memories that have stuck with me and contributed significantly to the person I am today.

I remember being overwhelmed as I peered through the glass of the helicopter trying to sit still and take in the Grand Canyon. From the air, the Grand Canyon is more than just a sight to see. It really is a life changing experience. Mount Rushmore is one of the reasons I am such a huge fan of history today and in particular Abraham Lincoln.

My father was adamant about exposing all of us to so many different things at a young age. At the tender age of eight, I had already been to every state in this country with the exception of Alaska and Maine. During this amazing journey, I found myself being exposed to the Indian reservations of the Cherokee, the rolling rural hills of Tennessee to the desert lands of Nevada.

I credit my ability to connect with all people from all walks of life to recurring experiences like this that my father instilled in all of us. If we hadn’t tried it, we were going to! Especially if it was food.

In my estimation, two demographic trends that will see Revival in the twenty-first-century church is first, the urban community and secondly the diversifying of the local church. Leaders of the church must face both of these realities; continuing urbanization and rapid ethnic diversification. A September 18, 2000, Newsweek analysis states, “We are now living in an Age of Color in which the nuances of brown and yellow and red are as important… [as] the ancient divisions of black and white.” Multiculturalism in America is now a well-established fact.

Understanding this apparent truth, that was solidified by the monumentally gargantuan historic election of our current president (President Obama), the church must be actively engaged and in a tireless pursuit to expose our local church communities to diversity.

If pressed, I think many American churches would say they are open to all people and groups. Yet, the reality is that most congregations are doing nothing to intentionally expose themselves to those who are not like them. So, I am encouraging and humbly submitting that we all take my father’s advice. How will we know if we like it or don’t like it until we have tried it? Even if we didn’t like it 10 years ago it is funny how our pallets can change.

A multi-cultural church is one that recognizes, utilizes, and celebrates the racial, cultural, generational, gender, and other diversity represented in the congregation and community. I know this is bold instruction but I am asking that you read that statement one more time and give it serious thought. Our local universities, schools, local governments, small and large employers, and even families have mandates that compel diversity. The church has long since had a mandate from the word of God. God is no respecter of persons, neither is God’s church.

Even with 21st-century globalization, the church should be the world’s beacon of diversity. It is the only ecosystem where regardless of social, economic, racial, cultural, and generational diversities PEOPLE are received, loved and employed. It is in fertile environments such as the diverse church where the love of God can thrive and accelerate the church’s influence in our local communities.

In every organization, the leadership is the lid. Our church communities will reflect our leadership in our spiritual dispositions, diversities, and behavioral demeanors. That is why it is imperative that our church leadership must reflect diversity!

Our church worship services must demonstrate this diversity in language, music, art form (any form of creative self-expression that you allow in your local church), and interaction.

Today’s multi-cultural church demonstrates the following points below and I believe a mono-cultural church striving to become a multi-cultural church, must aggressively pursue the following:

  • identifies itself publicly as multi-cultural
  • possesses a shared vision of intentionally being multi-cultural
  • reflects the community
  • recognizes uniqueness and gifts of the different cultures in it
  • includes those populations in:
  • leadership
  • worship
  • volunteer staff
  • ministries and programs

This century and season of the church is a golden opportunity era for urban and ethnic harvesting. Which will strengthen our local church communities, expose our people and in turn, advance the kingdom of God!

Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider

Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider

II Chronicles 16:7-9
7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

History records King Asa as being a good King, who as he obeyed and relied upon the Lord to fight his battles, was very successful. Although toward the end of his life, he began to trust in man and refused to seek after the Lord’s way.

Because of this, he began to lose battles and eventually his very life, because he chose to seek the care of physicians, rather than the provision of the Lord God.

Oh, how much better it is to simply trust God and to seek HIS way! Our human nature says to figure it out on our own, to MAKE it happen. If there is a will, there is a way, right? But God’s way is the way of faith and total dependence upon Him.

God wants all the glory for the things that he does in our lives. Let’s be sure our hearts are right with Him, so He will ‘seek us out to show himself strong for us’!

Today, I choose to surrender all my plans and solutions, in exchange for a sweet relationship with Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider!

By: Sarah Thompson

40 Great Books To Read

40 Great Books To Read

I have an insatiable appetite for reading books. Leadership, theology, history (in particular the Civil War, Civil Rights movement, and African-American history), a bit of fast-paced fiction, and all things related to Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately, our children have embraced our love for reading. This past academic school year, our 5th-grader read almost 25,000 pages.

No matter the season of life you are in, whether you are in your teens, exploring the unsettling next steps of your 20’s, or simply a passionate lifelong learner; reading is for you!

There are a number of reasons why I encourage you to read and read often. To quickly highlight a few:

  1. You’re exposed to other paradigms, thought processes, ideas, etc.
  2. It stretches you
  3. It sharpens you
  4. It expands your understanding and utilization of your vocabulary
  5. It facilitates creativity

I’d like to share with you a number of books that have had a big effect on my life as a leader, parent, spouse, friend, and last, but certainly not least a Christian.

Here are 40 books I recommend you add to your library, in no particular order.

These are not the only books you should read. There are hundreds of others that are great. But these are just simply 40 of my favorites.

So here you go. And please share this list with your friends, team, and other leaders who might benefit.


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