Monday, May 7, 2018

CHANGE

The God who never changes is always changing things!  Time changes things.

Yet we treat change like the plague and dig our heels in and demand it be done like it's been done the last 30 years.  Even if the change is for God's plan to be fulfilled.

There are days I reflect back on the years I attended grade school and I miss my hometown and the friends I grew up with.  And it doesn't help that I attended the greatest school in Texas, Port Neches-Groves.  Yep I still bleed purple from time to time!  Scalp-em Indians!

But it would seem odd and I'd probably end up in jail if I kept showing up at the High School trying to attend classes some 37 years later.

TIME HAS CHANGED THINGS!  The only way to stop this change is to die and I'm not ready for that, although it will happen one day.  And here's the truth, even when I die time will continue to change things on the earth.

Change is inevitable.  So why do we fight change so much?

In a recent elders meeting at our church, one of the elders, Terry Hitt, said something that is now forever engrained in my cerebral cortex.

"When people fight change it's because they want to be immutable like God and we are not. They want to be God."  WOW!

"I am the Lord, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6)

That's why God's Word, the Bible, will never change.  Because the Author never changes!

But the God who never changes is always changing things!  One minute he speaks from a burning bush and then the next he speaks from a cloud.   On one occasion Jesus touches someone and heals them and then on another they touch Him and are healed.

One minute a blind man is healed after Jesus puts mud in his eyes and tells him to go for a swim in a pool of water and the next minute Jesus heals a blind man simply by speaking to him and telling him his faith has healed him.

The God who never changes is always changing things.

And when we fight that change we die spiritually and miss out on the miracle God has for us.  

SEEK AND SURRENDER!

Today I want to SEEK God with all my heart and hear His voice!

Then I want to SURRENDER to what He's doing in my life.  I want to SURRENDER to what He's doing in His church. I want to SURRENDER to what He's doing in the earth!

EVEN IF IT MEANS I NEED TO EXPERIENCE CHANGE!  

"For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." 
(Isaiah 43:19)

You and I can reach people in an ever-changing world with the Good News of a loving Heavenly Father that never changes, if we are willing to change!

Dreaming.......Again,

Ken Woolf

Monday, April 16, 2018

GOT FAMILY

It's about more than just going to church, it's about being part of a family!

Why did God create human beings?  Because He wanted a family!

Jesus taught his disciples and us to pray like this:  Our "Father" in heaven.."

Therefore God desires for us to communicate with him as family!  He's our Father and we're his children!

Wow, you never have to be lonely again!  

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-this is God,  whose dwelling is holy.  God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy..."   (Psalm 68:5,6)

God is all about family!

That's why it's about more than just going to church.  God, the Father, wants you and me to be connected in his family!

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."   (Ephesians 1:5)

GOD WANTED A FAMILY!

Being included in God's family is one of the highest honors and greatest privileges you and I will ever receive!

Relationships are what life is all about.  Our relationship with God and our relationships with one another!

In fact you can't be connected to God and NOT be connected to His family!

"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body.  We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other."  (Romans 12:4,5)

Following Jesus Christ involves belonging and not just believing!

I'm not going to ask you if you're going to church, but I am going to ask you if you're connected to a family, God's family?  

We read in Ephesians 5 that it gave God great pleasure to give his son Jesus Christ so that he could have a family.

It should give us great pleasure to be part of God's family!   Loving one another and serving one another should bring us great pleasure and be a priority in our life!

Through a selfless act Jesus Christ gave himself so that we can be part of his family,  and through living a selfless life we can discover who God created us to be when we're connected and involved and serving in God's family!

You and I will find God's best for us when we're connected to his family!

I've discovered that the dreams of God for my life are cultivated in an atmosphere of being involved in the family of God!

In fact I started DREAMING.......AGAIN when I simply started serving God's family!

Running to Win,

Ken Woolf




Thursday, April 5, 2018

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING (Part 2)

The summer of 2011 and the following year was gut wrenching to say the least! I'll spare you all the details but let me just say my family suffered great loss after stepping out to plant a church.

In the aftermath,  all that was left standing was our family relationships which I'm thankful for.

So the question was at the time,  what's next and what's going to be my attitude toward God, life and ministry?

Fast forward about six and half years and my family and I are once again leading a great church and we'll be here 2 years September 2018.

But what about those 5 years between the two churches?  And what about my attitude during those years?

Before I sound like some super human that has everything together please understand those were some difficult days.  I struggled, my wife struggled, my whole family struggled. I lost count of the times I wanted to quit!

There were times my attitude was like riding a roller coaster but in time the joy of the Lord returned and with it our ability to DREAM.......AGAIN.

I laugh now but I don't know how many times I asked my wife Jeanie if she thought I was still a pastor.  Finally I had a "light bulb" moment when she STRONGLY replied, "I believe you're a pastor but YOU have to believe you're a pastor!"

So let me share a few practical yet spiritual steps that I believe helped us get where we're at today and helped my attitude stay positive about the future.

1.  Stay connected to God and don't blame Him.

God is a good God and He loves to give good gifts to His children!  Get the picture?

So stay connected with God!

2.  Stay connected with God's family and don't blame people!  I'm not trying to boast, only trying to  help people, but we never missed connecting with the family of God (going to church) because we were mad at God or mad at people.

In fact we ended up serving in a church as associate pastors for four years.  I think it really helped my attitude having to humble myself and serve under another  leader.  Cleaning those toilets and mopping the floors probably help as well but that's for another blog.

3.  Stay connected with reality.  Be real!  Or in other words, do what you know to do when you don't know what to do.

And sometimes you have to do what you don't want to do to get to the place you're doing what you want to do.

I'm sure Joseph didn't want to be thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, wrongfully accused and then thrown into prison.  But this is what led to the fulfillment of the dream God had given him!

For me it was starting a lawn service, substitute teaching, serving another pastor, and painting houses and businesses.  I was just doing what I knew was my responsibility to do when I didn't know what to do.

And having a good attitude about it even after we'd lost everything taking a step of faith in obedience to God! 

In those days of mowing grass, teaching students, painting houses and serving another pastor, there was one Bible verse that kept me going with the right attitude.

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  (Romans 8:28)

And today, well, we're DREAMING.......AGAIN!  And the cool thing is that you can as well!  

Running to Win,

Ken


Monday, March 12, 2018

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

A man named David was chosen by God to be the next King of Israel yet afterwards he hid in caves in the wilderness because the current King wanted to kill him.

Surely God knew that when He went public with His desire for David to be King it would spur Saul onto jealousy?  And Saul knew how to throw spears.  And David learned how to dodge spears!

Many years before God chose David he chose another man named Joseph and gave him a dream!  Sounds delightful!  A dream from God!

Although, the brother's of Joseph weren't delighted with the "dreamer" so they threw him in a pit  which led to Joseph being sold into slavery and then wrongfully accused of rape and being incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit.

How can we fully explain why these men had to experience what they did but history and the Bible tell us that David did become King and the God given dream of Joseph was fulfilled.

Joseph was put in a position to protect the birthing process of a Nation and David would later lead that Nation.

How did they reach the goal after facing daunting circumstances?  ATTITUDE!

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!

I've heard it said before that attitude will determine your altitude!

Attitude, everybody has one!  Attitude will determine your destiny!  

Wait a minute I thought God determines my destiny?  It was God's plan for a whole generation of the Children of Israel to enter the promised land after being delivered from Egyptian bondage yet they died in the wilderness.

WHY?  Because of their ATTITUDE!  They did nothing but murmur and complain which expressed their ungrateful hearts of unbelief.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

An attitude of gratitude is everything!  

When I'm thankful in all things it communicates to God that I trust Him and believe that whatever He's promised is true and my friends that's everything to God.

"And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."  (Hebrews 11:6)

Running to Win,

Ken




Tuesday, February 27, 2018

RECOVER ALL

 Recover your peace.  Recover your joy.  Recover your love.  Recover your faith.  Recover your dreams.  Yes you can DREAM.......AGAIN!

Recovering all has everything to do with how we respond to our tragedies.  How we respond to our trials and tribulations.  How we respond to our difficulties.

One of the more popular stories in the Old Testament is found in 1 Samuel 30  where David and his mighty men return home to Ziklag and find that an enemy has invaded their homes and kidnapped the women and children and stolen all their possessions.

Have you ever been blindsided?  Unexpected events that robbed you of your peace, your joy?  A time when you felt really vulnerable to life?  Things happened that in the natural it seemed God was nowhere around or to be found.  

This is all about THE ENEMY that had invaded their place of security and safety.

The Amalekites were the enemy.   Descendants of Amalek!  Why is this significant to us?  Well let me give you four meanings of the word "Amalek."

1.  The evil eye of doubt
2.  Spiritual Blindness
3.  Cutting of the neck
4.  A dweller in the Valley

Can you see the progression the enemy wants to plant in our mind and heart after we've suffered loss?

We begin to doubt God which leads to spiritual blindness because the Bible says that without faith it's impossible to please Him.

 Then we become blind to the things of God and there's a disconnect between our spirit man and Jesus Christ who the Bible identifies as the Head of the Body.  He is our source of LIFE!

And when we're severed from our source of life we become "dwellers in the valley."  

HEAR THE WORDS OF JESUS!

"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]."  (John 10:10)

We all experience the "valleys" of life but Jesus never intended for us to become "dwellers in the valley."

None of us desire to inhabit the valley so how do we obviate the occasions to build a house when God simply wants us to walk through?

Before I give the simple answer,  you and I can be certain that David and his friends were having a really bad day!

"When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families,  they wept until they could weep no more."  (1 Samuel 30:3,4)

But instead of allowing doubt to take root and eventually becoming a "valley dweller"  David gives us the answer to walking through our difficult seasons with his response to the tragedy.

So here it is, it's really deep and profound!

TALK TO GOD AND DO WHAT HE SAYS!   

"Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?”
And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely RECOVER EVERYTHING that was taken from you!"  (1 Samuel 30:8)

I don't know about you but my vision in the valley is often limited and shortsighted.  But when I talk to God and hear His voice I get a vision that is BEYOND my natural eye sight.

I get a "GOD" perspective that guides my way to RECOVERING EVERYTHING the enemy has stolen!

And that my friends brings us to a place of DREAMING.......AGAIN!  

Talking and listening to God!

Ken Woolf



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

GOD RESTORES



As we read the Bible we find that God RESTORES!  He loves taking broken people and RESTORING their lives to the beauty in which He created them for.

I love the this definition of the word restore!  

Restore- healing of a wound.  The new flesh that grows at the wounded spot.  Health, perfected, soundness, wholeness.  

 One of the most beautiful pictures of RESTORATION is found in the following Bible verses.

 “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:  “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!"  (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Do you feel marred in the hand of the potter?  Wounded in the hand of the potter?  Broken in the hand of the potter?  Damaged in the hand of the potter?  Cracked in the hand of potter?  

Were you sexually, physically or verbally abused as a child?   Wounded by a friend?   Wounded by a church, a pastor?   Abandoned by a mother or father?  Lost or broken dreams?  A divorce?  Have you  been raped?  Forsaken by a friend?   A broken marriage or ministry?  Rejected by others?   An abortion or a miscarriage?

Wounded in the hands of the Potter and you don't understand why?

 “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

The failures in life are never final!  Even though you're messed up you're still in the grip of the Potter!  

THREE LESSONS FROM THE POTTERS HOUSE

 I.  THE POTTERS POWER

God is powerful.  Nothing in your life is beyond His ability, His reach and His desire to restore and heal you!

 “He (Jesus) personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep  who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.”  (1 Peter 2:24-25)

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;” (Psalms 23:1-3)

Is there an area of your life that is still wounded?

THE POTTER HAS THE POWER TO RESTORE!

II.  THE POTTERS PURPOSE

God always starts with the end in mind!  God has a vision for your life.  He has a plan and a purpose!

No matter how ugly our life seems, God takes us in His hand and loves us with an everlasting love!

 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles…..” (Galatians 1:15-16)

Even though you've been wounded, the Potter has a purpose for your life!  

 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  (Philippians 1:6)

GOD NEVER QUITS ON YOU!  HE’S PURSUING YOU!

THE POTTER HAS A PURPOSE TO RESTORE YOU!

III.  THE POTTERS PROCESS

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13)

The Potter has a process!

Jesus came looking for you!  He brought me out of the miry clay and He set my feet on the rock to stay!

HERE’S THE POINT!

STAY ON THE POTTER'S WHEEL!  THE POTTER HAS A PROCESS TO RESTORE YOUR LIFE!

Here’s what staying on the wheel looks like!

 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

 Are you marred in the Potter’s hands today?  Do you still feel wounded from the pain of the past?  

If the power, the purpose and the process is from God, what is my part?

TO CONSECRATE MYSELF!  

Consecration is a complete surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ.  We relinquish  everything to God!

The word consecrate means “to set apart.”  It means to be designated for a special purpose.  It means to be completely dedicated to God!

The Son of God, that was wounded so you can be restored, set the standard.  He gave all of himself at Calvary and He expects nothing less in return!

Consecration means we no longer call the shots.   God is the Potter and I am the clay.  I surrender my life to the Potter!

There's no pain that is greater than the Potter's power, purpose and process! Trust Him and you will soon be able to say "GOD RESTORES!"

Dreaming.......Again with the help of the Potter,

Ken Woolf






Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Refuge in the Storm



Psalm 91:2 - "This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

He watches over us.  He protects us.  He rescue's us.  He covers us and shelters us.  He answers us when we call on Him.

God is my refuge!  This helps me feel safe and secure!

Refuge- Hope, place of safety, shelter, trust

But there's another verse in Psalm 91 that I'm certain the translators must have got wrong.  Not really!

Psalm 91:15 - "When they call on me, I will answer;  I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue and honor them."

Here's what I'd rather this verse say.  "And I will keep you out of trouble."

After all, if you'd keep me out of trouble God you wouldn't have to go to the trouble of rescuing me!  

FIRST TRUTH

 STORMS WILL COME

Mark 4:35-41 - "As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”  So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).  But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

John 16:33- "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

SECOND TRUTH

 YOU’RE NOT ALONE IN THE STORM

John 14:1- “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me (JESUS).”

God is with you in the storm!  And when you place your trust in God, there may be a storm on the outside but there can be peace on the inside!

God is greater than your storm!  Jesus had power over the wind and waves!  

Psalm 46:1- “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD’S PRESENCE IN THE STORM

Psalm 91:1-2- “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;  he is my God, and I trust him.”

YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD’S PROTECTION IN THE STORM

Psalm 91:4- “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD’S POWER IN THE STORM

Psalm 91:13 - "You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!”

THIRD TRUTH

 YOU CAN PREPARE FOR THE STORM

Matthew 7:24-27- “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Jesus is our refuge in the storm! He says that if you'll build your life on Me you can overcome every storm!

Nahum 1:7- "The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes.  He is close to those who trust in him."

The storms of life are no respecter of persons and they come and go at unexpected times.  But what never changes is that God is good and He is close to those who put their trust in Him.

And here's what's really cool!  When you put your faith in God He gives you peace in the midst of the storm!

YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD'S PEACE IN THE STORM

Dreaming .......Again

Ken Woolf