Monday, December 19, 2016

A Purpose Greater than your Pain

"Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening."  (Acts 16:25)

If you quickly scan over this Bible verse you might think Paul and Silas had a prison ministry and were just visiting to lead a church service for the prisoners.

But a closer look reveals there were no late night visitors in the prison that night, only prisoners.  "...and the OTHER prisoners were listening."

Some previous verses give some perspective on the circumstances surrounding these two men who are turning what should be a pity party into a praise party.

"A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks."  (Acts 16:22-24)

I've often said that Paul and Silas could pray and praise from the dark depths of the dungeon because they may have been in prison but the prison was not IN them!

But I'd like to take it a step further in thought and present the big idea that these men praised instead of complained because their PURPOSE was greater than their PAIN!  Paul was known to communicate that God had "separated him from his mother womb" for a specific purpose!

Paul lived this life with a sense of  purpose that was greater than just him.  His life was all about OTHERS!  That GREATER PURPOSE was evident when after there was an earthquake and the prison doors swung open,  Paul and Silas remained in the prison and introduced the jailer to salvation through Jesus Christ which also led to the jailers family being born again!

Paul's PURPOSE was greater than His PAIN!

So it is during this season we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus was born to die!  And His PURPOSE for coming to the earth was much greater than the pain He had to endure to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world!   Jesus gave His life for "OTHERS"!

Jesus PURPOSE was greater than His PAIN!

I'm thankful  not all of life is painful!  Living out the purpose for which God created you is both exciting and rewarding.  But for those moments of pain, let me remind you of your purpose.  Yes God was there when you were being formed in your mothers womb and He has a purpose for your live!

This life is about getting to know God, and discovering why he created you and put you on this earth and then using that purpose to make a difference in the life of OTHERS!  

When your PURPOSE becomes greater than your PAIN you can invite OTHERS to your praise party  and be involved in changing lives.  I promise you, it's both exciting and rewarding!

I'm praying for you!  I pray you'll be consumed with knowing God and the purpose  He created you for!  YOUR LIFE MATTERS!

Running the race to win,


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fear is Like a Cancer that Kills Dreams

It was about this time five years ago when it all started.  A  garden was planted in my heart and the seed sown in this garden was to produce confusion, unwise decisions and the death of a dream.

As every seed carries a name, this seed is identified by the name "fear"!

Every decision you make in fear you'll later regret!

My family along with some other friends took a huge step of faith.   Leaving a perfectly good church with people that loved us we transitioned from Texas to Colorado to plant a new church.  

Community Church in Pueblo West, Colorado.   It was happening, the dream was real and living!

It was a small beginning with the church in the basement of our home but we were excited and loved what God was doing!  WE WERE PLANTING A CHURCH!

But there came a time something shifted in my heart.  Instead of planting a church,  FEAR was being planted in my heart!  And fear is a cancer, that if allowed to grow, KILLS DREAMS!  

Our financial support begins to dwindle, a seed of fear is planted.   Some of our launch team leaves and fear continues to grow.  Several other events occurred that I'll not mention but by this time fear is full blown in my heart.  

 The voice of fear becomes much louder than the voice of God!  Through a "word of prophecy" I'd been told that "wherever I set my foot God was going to give me the land and that I was to be strong and courageous."   But those words had long left my heart and the "words" of fear were now dominating!

So I make a decision that leads to many other decisions that caused much pain.  In May 2011 I shut the church down and returned to Texas to work a job.  Then in August 2011 I moved my family back to Texas leaving our home in Colorado.

Now five years later I look back not to mourn but to learn.  And if there's one thing I've learned it's that FEAR KILLS DREAMS!  

So when did courage leave and fear enter my heart?  The moment I put my trust in man and not in God!   I got my eyes off God who had sent us to Colorado and put my eyes on man and expected man to keep us in Colorado.

There's so much more I can write but I'll keep this short.

As I said it's been five years.  The number "5" in the Bible represents grace and my friends God's grace has been sufficient!   The journey hasn't been easy but God has been GOOD!

Two Bible verses I'd like to share.

"So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, Abba, Father."  (Romans 8:15)

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

TODAY is a NEW DAY!  With God's help my family is DREAMING.......AGAIN!  But if you're reading this blog and you've opened the door to fear, stop right now and close that door.  "God has not given you a spirit of fear."  Get alone with God and allow His love to overwhelm you and you'll know for certain that He will never leave you or forsake you.  You'll know that God is for you and not against you.

I admonish you, don't allow fear to take root in your heart and grow.  Stand right now as a child of God and declare that you are strong and courageous.

And if fear has destroyed your dream, with God you can DREAM.......AGAIN!

"I praise God for what he has promised.  I TRUST IN GOD, so why should I be afraid?  What can mere mortals do to me?"  (Psalm 56:4)


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Overcoming the Struggle

Have you ever been driving at night and allowed the headlights of the oncoming vehicle to catch your focus?  I have and the result was the noise of a loud horn (and probably a hand gesture by the driver of the other vehicle I couldn't see because it was dark) and me coming to myself jerking the steering wheel to get back in the center of my lane.

What happened?  I started to drift toward my focus, the headlights of the oncoming vehicle which almost caused a head-on collision.

We all go through difficult seasons of life and our focus during these trying times is crucial.   And let me go ahead and say that my focus hasn't always been where it needs to be during these trials of life and I've ran head-on into my struggles.  When this happened I was consumed with my trials and tribulations and the peace and joy of God was absent.  Or in other words I became discouraged and depressed.   All because the struggle became my focus!

The Bible points out that life is not without struggles.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."  (Romans 5:3-5)

Rejoice in my problems and trials?  I don't know about you but my problems don't usually have that effect on me.  But that's because initially my focus isn't where it should be when I encounter these difficult days.

But where should my focus be?  The above verses tell us that when problems and trials arise they are developing US,  so should I be focused on ME?

If you stop and think about it isn't that really our natural response to our problems and struggles.  We become focused on the problem and on self,  causing us to become self-absorbed.   And that never leads to rejoicing.  In fact most of the time it leads to a pity party instead of a rejoicing party!  

So our focus should be where?  ON GOD!  God who dearly loves us.  Many of us lose sight of this because if we're honest, we're mad at God for allowing us to experience the struggle.  We become offended with God.

But if you want to walk through your struggle,  and come out the other side victorious, you've got to focus on God!  Remember His love for you and be confident that your hope in Him will not lead to disappointment.   

Now I don't believe God causes our trials and tribulations but He does use them to develop us and never forget that in the midst of your storm,  God is there "in the boat" and He really wants to fill our hearts with His love.

Here's what I've discovered from my own experience and from working with many people as a pastor.   During the storms of life you will either draw closer to God or your heart will move further from God!  

God doesn't move, the Bible says that He  never leaves us or forsakes us.  God is faithful and He loves us with unconditional love.  Something else to never forget is that God is for us, even in our struggles.

So what should be my expected outcome when I focus on God and draw closer to Him?

"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever"  (Psalm 16:11)

I love it!  When God becomes my focus, joy arises in my heart, I experience His pleasures and receive His direction for my life.  And the greatest thing I discover is that God is much bigger than my struggles.  

This is awesome!  I can't help but think about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  They were thrown into a fiery furnace because they refused to bow to the wicked king.  Jesus shows up in the fire and don't you know  these three men were focused on the fourth man in the fire and not the fire.  As a result they were delivered from the fiery furnace and weren't even burned.  They didn't even smell like smoke!

I don't know about your "storm" today but I do know God is near.  Focus your attention on Him and you to will be delivered and won't even "smell like smoke."

One last Bible verse to keep in mind.

"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)

God is working, trust Him and keep your focus on Him!  It's time to Dream.......Again! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016


"God longs to spend time with you."  I'll never forget these words!  An evangelist shared them while  praying for me many years ago standing in the front of the church at the First Assembly of God in Port Arthur, Tx.

In other words he was saying "God longs to be intimate with you."  But what does that word "intimate" really mean?

I think it can be best understood by looking at a few of the synonyms.  Belonging, closeness, inseparability, familiarity, nearness and chumminess.  

Through intimacy you discover you belong to God!  You're His child! 

Through intimacy you become secure because you learn there's nothing that can separate you from the love of God.  You become inseparable!  

Through intimacy you grow in the knowledge of God.  You become familiar with Him!

Through intimacy you realize God is near, especially when He seems distant.  But by faith you know He's near.   

Through intimacy you discover the chumminess of God.  Chumminess means "very friendly."  Through intimacy you discover that the Creator of this universe, your Heavenly Father, is very friendly and wants to be your friend!   

But here's another word for intimacy.  It's called time!  God longs to spend "time" with you.  God doesn't want to "make time" for you, He longs to spend time with you.  You're His desire, His priority!

"God longs to spend time with you."

An invitation is given!

"But now you have been united with Christ Jesus.  Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ."  (Ephesians 2:13)

"Come close to God,  and God will come close to you..."  (James 4:8)

Respond to the invitation today!  Recognize all that Jesus Christ has done for you and experience the intimacy of a loving Heavenly Father!  

How do we best respond?  "God, I long to spend time with You!"

One more benefit of intimacy with God.  You'll begin to DREAM.......AGAIN!  

More to come!


Thursday, January 7, 2016


God, what is your will?

The journey you take to discover God's plan and purpose can be one of ups and downs.  High expectations with answers that are less than you expected.  You walk down a road that you're sure God is leading you only to find a dead end.  All your friends have an opinion about what you should do so why can't you know what you're supposed to do?  It seems you can hear God's voice in other matters, why can't you hear God's voice when you need to hear it the most, the direction for your life?  Frustration seems to be your closest friend and being willing to wait is not an inner battle you always win!

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

If the answer is yes then it's possible you might hear this gentle voice in your heart raising a question you don't expect to hear.  "Do you want to know Me or do you want to know my will?"

It's been almost 25 years ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday.  After many years of running from God and living a very ungodly life I walked down the aisle of a small country church in Snyder, Tx. and recommitted my life to Jesus Christ!   Thank God for His grace and mercy!

There was a freshness and newness about my life.  It really was a fresh start, a new beginning.  I had read the Bible years before but now there was a renewed hunger to open my Bible and just read.

One morning as I opened my Bible, that had remained closed for so long, it fell to Psalm 63.  I began to read,   "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water."

This one verse of the life-giving Word of God exploded in my heart and I ended up memorizing the whole chapter.  I loved it and meditated on and quoted this passage of scripture on a daily basis.

One thing is certain and that is if you work the Word of God the Word of God will work in you.  There was such a passion in my heart to seek God and spend time in His presence that it was't long the call of God I received  at the age of 16 to be a minister was restored in my heart.

Now some 25 years later there are still times I have to ask God, "what is your will, what is your direction for this season of my life?"

Then I'm reminded of Psalm 63.  God, I want to know you, I seek you with all my heart.  Yes, more than I want to know your will, I want to know You Heavenly Father.  

Here's the cool thing.  The Bible tells us that those who "seek Him with all their heart, will find Him."   (Jeremiah 29:13)

And when you seek Him and find Him you find His will and you realize, it's all about intimacy.  It's all about being intimate with the Father!  He longs to spend time with you! 

John 10:27 -"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

Watch for my next blog that will expound on intimacy with God.  And it's my hopes this blog has planted a spark in your spirit that ignites a fire in you to seek the One who created you with all your heart, a heart He created!

Enjoying the journey!
Ken Woolf