Monday, September 28, 2009


Lazarus had become sick. His sisters had sent for Jesus, but Jesus delayed coming. By the time he arrived at the home of Mary and Martha, their brother Lazarus had died. Everyone thought Jesus was too late.

Have you ever felt that way about the Lord? Have you thought that your situation was too difficult? You looked the problem over, and you came up with your "if only" list. Like Mary and Martha, you tell the Lord, "if only"...

If only you had answered my prayer when I first prayed. If only she hadn't cheated on me. If only I had gotten that promotion. If only they hadn't turned on me. If only he hadn't died. The if only list can consume you with doubts, fears, and regrets. Many are living in the "if only" stage of life.

There were also those that day that had written Lazarus off as past history. But Jesus is about to make him current events. He is about to visit the graveyard and speak to Lazarus.

Lazarus, come forth! With those words, the dead arises. Hell loses it's grip. He who calmed the waters and said peace be still now speaks life where life is no more!

IT'S NOT OVER! No matter where you've been, what you've done. Doesn't matter what they thought, and who was in favor of your departure. He speaks a Reviving, Restoring, Resurrecting word to Lazarus. LIVE AGAIN!! And, he does.

I speak today to the Lazarus remnant, to you. You are here today. It is not by accident you are seeing this, reading this, and hearing it with your spirit. There is a call that is greater than the fall. I speak to the Lazarus Generation...

The Lazarus Generation loves God with all their heart, mind, and body
The Lazarus Generation is radical in their praise, and expressive in their worship
The Lazarus Generation is pure before Him
The Lazarus Generation lives in total abandonment to His purpose
The Lazarus Generation is not bound by the traditions of man
The Lazarus Generation has tasted of the power of the miraculous, and they release it to others

The call is coming forth. It is time to get Radical!


They watched him die, and attended the funeral. Some were saddened at his sudden demise. Others, perhaps, were secretly joyed. Everyone, both friends and foes, thought it was the end. It was over. Lazarus was dead.

But what is this commotion? What is all the rumbling about? Something is going on. He's alive, you say. Surely not! We watched him die.

Standing at the tomb of Lazarus is the ONE who holds the keys of death, hell, and the grave. Speaking life into a lifeless body and calling his spirit back into his body is the one who opened blinded eyes and made the lame to walk, and set the captives free. Jesus speaks, and the powers of darkness releases its hold. Lazarus, come forth, he says. And he that was dead comes back to life.

There is a Lazarus generation to which I speak today. You went through an attack, and you did not make it. A marriage failure, a problem with drugs, homosexuality, or porn. You had a moral failure of major proportion, and the church kicked you out. You don't blame them, but in the hole of hell you are in, you here a voice calling you. Though others have abandoned you, forgotten about you, and even may have rejoiced at your falling, Jesus is calling. He doesn't ask for permission from the religious. He stands at the pit of your pain and calls you forth. There is a Lazarus generation that is coming forth.

Not every prisoner in the grave hears the voice. But you do. You hear a call from another world that is more powerful than anything you have ever known. It is life Himself calling life back into you. With purpose and power, you are repositioned for this time. You are raised for a reason. The Lazarus generation is a revelation of resurrection power over which the powers of hell have no hold. They can't be bought, swayed, nor propagated with religious jumbo mumbo. You owe your life to Him, and wherever He is, you will be.

Trace the story of Lazarus, and you will only see him with Jesus after his resurrection. He only shows up where Jesus is. When you have been raised from the pit and restored, you have no time for anything, nor anyone else.

Do you hear a call from another world? Yeah. I recognize that call. I hear it, too. There is a corporate Lazarus Generation, and it is coming forth!

Monday Musings

We've had two weeks of guest ministry at New Harvest Church. Two powerful young men have brought a great word to the house. Joshua Bunton from Statesville was with us last week, followed by Josue Morales from Guatemala yesterday. The church was challenged by each one. What a blessing to have ministry friends of such caliber.

Having some growth, and that, in itself is exciting. It is always good to see new faces, and to see when God touches lives. If we could ever get everyone at church on the same time, we would have a pretty good crowd, all things considered. Of course, that doesn't happen in these days. So much going on, trips, vacations, and work schedules make it difficult. That, plus the fact that some people are not consistent in their attendance.

I am ready to get back in the pulpit, after missing the past two Sundays. I feel a stirring inside, and am asking God for more!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The best pastor in the world

The best pastor in the world... This is what I saw on facebook. And it wasn't talking about me. When I saw it, immediately I was offended.

Offenses and hurts can come up when you least expect it. I thought I was beyond being hurt anymore by this. It was something that happened three years ago. I have moved on. Or, so I thought. But sometimes things happen which trigger a painful memory. And you are back to that day, that moment, that time... when the offense happened.

It is not always that you haven't forgiven, or haven't moved on. It isn't necessarily that you carry bitterness or resentment. Some people think to get over something you have to forget it. I don't agree with that assumption. I believe that the fact that we are still here, still alive, and still moving is an indicator that we have not surrendered to past pains.

It wasn't intentional. It was on facebook. The post was telling someone that they were the best pastor in the world. I saw it and wish I hadn't. Because I was once that pastor. I was once the one who poured into their lives. But they walked away without saying goodbye, after 20 years.

Yeah, it hurt when I saw it Am I angry? No, not any longer. In fact, I wish everyone would think of their pastor as the best in the world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I have been known to do it before. And yes, I will do it again. I am speaking of this mind changing thing. What? Indecision, you say? Double mindedness? Maybe. But that is not always the case with "mind changers" like me.

You see, I believe in movement. We CANNOT stay the same. We MUST change. Not change for change's sake, but because we become stagnant when stationary. We need progression in our lives. Anything standing still or remaining the same is losing ground. Change is the key word.

Trying new approaches and methods is not forbidden in the church. There are abolutes, such as prayer, the word of God, salvation through Christ. But we are allowed variations on many things. For example, we are told to teach the word. But the bible doesn't say to call it kid's church or sunday school. The bible says to praise God, but it doesn't say if it is to be contemporary music or southern gospel. The bible says to be assemble ourselves together, but it is not specific on the time. When it doesn't say specifically, it gives us liberty to choose what works best for us. And what works best for one may not be what works the best for the next.

I like what I call "out of the box" thinking. I am not afraid to try something new or fresh. I am not afraid to fail. I had rather try and fail than fail to try. The high distance jumper doesn't know his limit until he has actually failed. When he tips the bar over, the measure just prior to that is his level. And that doesn't mean he can't raise his level. So I sometimes try something that doesn't work. If it doesn't, I know how to pull the plug, revamp, or retool. I refuse to stay stuck with something that doesn't work just because I had the bright idea in the first place.

Changing one's mind is a biblical concept. The word repent in the bible means to change one's way of thinking. to reconsider or think differently (source: Strong's concordance). So I encourage you to expand your horizon, stretch yourself. Let's get creative. Think of new opportunities for extra income for yourself. Think of fresh ideas to get your church more involved in the community. Write your ideas down and share them with people who appreciate your giftedness. So what if your idea is not tried? At least it was another one on the table. It was something to consider. Dream on. Not every song written becomes a hit. But some do. Dream your dreams, write your songs. Didn't work? It's ok, you're not a failure based on what didn't work. Try again.

About two months ago the Lord really stirred in my spirit something regarding the church I serve as pastor. It was regarding the phrase insanity, and the thought which is expressed, "If you keep on doing what you've always done, you're going to keep on getting what you've always got." I sensed God speaking to my heart that we must be willing to explore and make changes in order to go to the next level. Since then, we are doing that. And I can honestly say there are some positive results, and it is still very early in the process.

I can also say that I have already changed my mind about one change I made. With the beginning of the school year, several parents suggested we begin our midweek service 30 minutes earlier. After several weeks of indecision, I made the call. We changed the time. After one service, my wife and I both felt the same thing. The earlier time seemed to create a hurried sense. It hindered some whose work schedule already made attendance difficult. Some of the very parents who asked for it somehow forgot their child is involved in extracurricular activities, so the early start prohibits them from arriving on time, or even attending at all.

I am not like coach John Fox, of the Carolina Panthers. (I am a fan, and Charlotte is nearby) I am not in love with Jake Delhomme and I am not married to him for my quarterback. Or, let me put it this way- I am not married to a concept, a time slot, or an idea-- if it ain't working, I know how to pull the plug. And it won't take me all season to do it. Yeah, you guessed it- The midweek service is now back at the regular time.

What? That pastor can't make up his mind, you say! Thank you. I appreciate the compliment. It means I can readily adapt to change, fresh ideas, and new concepts. It means I can turn from what isn't working. And the good news is, so can you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Join us tonight at New Harvest Church

If you are located near our church, I want to give you a personal invitation to attend the midweek service tonight. Our new starting time is 6:33 pm. The time is linked to the verse in Matthew 6:33 where Jesus said to "seek first the kingdom of God". We believe the midweek service is a great time for a refreshing, and our past few services have been powerful.

Not only will our time change for tonight's service, but our format will as well. We will begin with praise and worship, but shift afterward. The kids and youth will have their respective classes, but the change will be with the adults. The men and ladies will divide into two parts. This will be our first men's group, and women's group meetings in a while. I know it will be great.

Come on over and worship with us!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today officially marked the beginning of a brand new season. The passing of the summer season made the way for the entrance of fall. Life is somewhat like the seasons, isn't it? Things do not stay the same. The one thing you can count on is change. And it is change that we sometimes fear.

The end of one thing is the beginning of another. Transition occurs in the stages of change. You may be currently going through a difficult time in your life. It may be due to the death of a loved one, a separation or breaking of a relationship, or a losing of a job. Some endings are traumatic. We feel as if we are not going to survive this one. Loss of peace, loss of sleep, and loss of self worth attack our minds. It is during these times that we sometimes convince ourselves that our best days are behind us.

What we fail to remember is that we are going through a process of change. It may not have been due to anything we did, and nothing we could control. What we can control, however, is our response. Remember, the end of a thing is just the beginning of another. The ending is actually a new beginning. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off. Yes, you are still here. You have a purpose. God left you here for a reason. Your pain does not define you, unless you allow it to.

There is a new beginning for you. Stop blaming yourself because he walked out on you. No longer look at the grave of a loved one as though you should be there, too. The living move on. Anyone who truly loved you would shout it from the grave. You lost your job? Yeah, its rough right now, but you can make it. God breathed His life on you. There is no one else like you.

You can start over. You may be 25 and divorced with two kids. You may be 30 and widowed. You may be 40 and out of a job. You may be 50 and the one you were married to for 20 years left you for another. You may be fighting a terminal disease. But it ain't over. No matter your age, your stage, or what has happened in your life.

Let me tell you a personal story. Several years ago now a lady in the church had a husband to pass away. It was unexpected. She grieved over him, and felt like life was over. She had very low self esteem. I encouraged her to dream. I shared with her some of what I am sharing with you now-- that you can pick up the pieces of a life whose dreams seem to be gone, and God will resurrect them. Today that widow lady is a thriving business woman and God has sent her a very special man into her life who is now her husband. As with Job, God took her mess and turned it into a miracle!

So I say to you, it's a new season in your life. Pick yourself up. New things are in store for you. The God of heaven has promised to bless you. Allow Him to bless you and cause you to be a blessing to others!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A House Divided?

"Come and be apart of these great services" the invitation would say. I would receive various fliers advertising special events which would be held at this church. I knew the pastor and people of this church very well. I also knew that they did not understand what they were asking me to do... Come, and be apart.

It is the apart thing that I see quite frequently. I see it in marriages, and it is also mirrored in churches. But I have never asked for, nor wanted to see any of them come apart. Neither did my ministry friends who issued the invitation, for that matter. To come apart is to be divided. It means to be separated. When the church has divisions, it is difficult to progress. You will never be in a church that is perfect. It is made of imperfect people. There will never be a pastor that you totally agree with on all issues, never a song leader that sings all the songs you prefer. There will be opportunities in church life for disagreements. And sometimes we must simply agree to disagree. Unity does not mean we all love chocolate. Biblical unity came about with people of various cultures and customs who assembled together for a cause greater than their diversities. In fact, the diversities in church strengthen it, rather than weaken it. The same way in a marriage. It is the harmony of two unique individuals who come together in a bond of love and join their lives in a covenant relationship.

I always knew what the intent of the letter was from the church. They did not actually want a divided house. They wanted me to come and be a part. To be apart, and to be a part are two different things entirely. I want to encourage you today, not to be apart, but to be a part. Link up with those of like passion, like vision. Be a part- contribute, make it better.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Confessions of a small town pastor

Sometimes I feel to speak to the church pastor. One of the things I find in doing research concerning my blogs is that a lot of pastors are looking for answers. I want to speak to you today. Not from the sense that I have the answers you are looking for, but from the perspective that I can understand you, and identify with you. Here goes. If you are not a pastor, I hope you as you read this, you will pray for your pastors and leadership. I will also say that not every pastor and church fits into the category that I address here.

Thinking about church life. Honestly, I've been at it for a while. I have weathered the storms and have seen the ups and downs of serving as pastor in a small town church. My wife and I have witnessed church growths and church slumps. In the good times I want to run and jump and shout. Sometimes in the difficult times I just want to run.. run away, run and hide, run and cry.

But God is good. Even during the struggles, He is good. And, at the moment, the church is doing well. Sort of. The annual summer slump took its toll on us. Now that school is back in session, the attendance has picked up. And not only with more constant attendance by our regular attenders, but by a new flux of visitors. It is encouraging.

I held a special meeting this past Wednesday night. I called it "dream building." We served food, and I share vision and strategies for growth, planning, and that kind of stuff. Took about 90 minutes. The attendance was good, and the positive response and feedback was very encouraging.

While the attendance is up, the funds are not. Our region continues to remain one of the worst in the nation. The unemployment here is around 16%. That is the figures they give. I estimate it is more like 20%. Some have given up on finding a job, and have quit looking. Industries here have all but left, and the job market for the most part is on the lower end pay scale.

All that effects the giving, which is how the church operates. I had a friend of a nearby city tell me the other day that his finances are tight. And, although he is only 30 miles away, the job market there is totally different. He described to me his situation, but I didn't tell him ours. Another friend is considering cutting back some of his staff. Honestly, either of those are in good shape financially compared to what we have gone through. But we are not alone in our struggles. Churches all across the nation are being affected.

I will confess there has been times when I have thought of quitting. I have reasoned that I can do something else, make more money, or get a consistent paycheck. But someone will pray, someone will give their heart to the Lord. I will see a reason to hang in there for one more week. And the next week there is another reason.

These are the ups and downs of church life in these days. But we are going to make it, by the grace of God. Am I negative? I hope not. What I want to tell you is to hold on, make adjustments. Do whatever you need to do through this difficult season. You are not alone. You can make it.

Pastor Ronnie

Monday, September 7, 2009

I cried that she cried

Walked in on my wife as she sit up on the edge of the bed. She was rubbing her legs down with something, I am not sure what it was. As she did so, she was crying. Out of the medicine she needs to relieve the pain and without the money to get it, she has had to endure and tough it out. Not that the medicine eliminates the pain, but it helps reduce it to being livable.

I don't know if she was crying because of the pain or because of the fact that the medicine she needs is so expensive that she can't get it. Or was she crying because in spite of the fact that the church seems to be growing again, we still haven't gotten over the financial struggles we're in. Living in Rutherford County and pastoring a small church is not easy in these trying times. Ranked 13th in the nation with depression because of the lack of jobs and low paying ones that exist, the county continues to struggle. This is where we are.

I've watched as both sides of the political platform has fought over the health care bill. I have reservations about the government bailouts that have gone on and the increasing budget deficit. But I have been in third world countries that have better health care than we do. Trish and I do not have medical insurance. We simply can't afford it.

And so, sometimes at night, she cries. And when I see it, I do, too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When my heart says O, and God says No

Have you ever been through seasons in life where your heart is breaking? Where you prayed for a healing that did not come? A job that you were better qualified to went to someone else. Or for a relationship to be mended, but it would not be. A marriage that failed, friends that turned on you. The feelings of betrayal can be the most shattering of all. Sometimes you cry, you reason, you pray. And all you're left with is a big O. No, not O as in Oh my, but an O as in deep pain. It hurts.

What hurts worse is that it seems that in spite of all your efforts for a positive outcome, God has turned His head. Heaven is silent. It seems He isn't listening, or doesn't care. Its as if God is saying No, no matter how much you cry and pray. You can find yourself questioning and wondering where is God in all of this.

You are not alone in thinking that perhaps Jesus is unconcerned with your pain. Others were in the bible. The disciples were in the storm at sea. They cried, questioning if Jesus cared that the waves were beating against them. In fear, they thought they would perish in the storm. What they were about to see was the ONE who calm the sea speak to the storm, and it would cease. But in their mind, it was over.

Most of us have had those seasons of life. You know... the "O" seasons. Joseph had it, Job had it, Daniel in the lion's den had it. The list goes on throughout the bible. Hebrews chapter 11 speaks of some of them. The "O" seasons, and the "No" seasons.

Yes, sometimes there is a No from God. The victory you prayed for did not come. You buried a loved one. You lost a well paying job. A close friend turned on you. Your mate of 15 years left you for another. I confess to you that I am not religious enough to have an answer for everything. I don't know why it seems some who are less spiritual and more distant from God seem to have greater blessings than others who have sacrificed their lives.

There are times when I think I am preaching to myself. After all, our family has gone through its share of trials and tribulations. And this summer has been one of the worst. My son in law lost his 5 year battle with cancer. My dad lost his year long battle with cancer. Both my mom and my daughter are struggling. Yes, Trish and I have been battle scarred through the years. But I really am not writing about my pain, and we are not alone in life's battles. Some of you are facing a situation that looks hopeless. You don't know what to do. It is to you I reach out to. My heart lifts you up to Jesus.

For this one thing I know... when your heart says O, and God says No-- He is still God, and He is still good. The fact that you are still breathing is an indication that God isn't through with you. He will help you through what you are going through. The winds may blow, but this shall pass. Joseph made it from the pit to the palace. Job ended up with twice as much. They made it, so can you. Hang in there, don't give up.

God has great plans for you. The storm will pass, and you will survive. All through the word of God are people who were broken at one point in life, only to find that the God who called them raised them up. You are one of those. You are more than a conqueror. You may not look like it or feel like it. But neither does a diamond in the ground. It needs to be discovered, uncovered, and crafted. A diamond undiscovered is still a diamond. A cocoon is a beautiful butterly in waiting. He has promised to give you beauty for ashes.Yeah, it's ok to cry. The good news is you're going to make it. I believe that sometimes God's Nos are for a greater yes. Your yes is coming!