Saturday, February 20, 2016

Little Life Lessons Learned

Today, I attended a day long conference at CZW in Wiesbaden Germany. This church is working with me on the process of our visa to stay and plant a church here that would focus on the english speaking community here. This includes the over 18000 military and civilians working at USAG Wiesbaden. Also open to anyone that speaks english.

While here, I was provided a translator for the sessions as they were all done in Deutsch. During the course of the time, Pastor Andreas shared that we are to "dream big and start small!" This hit me really deep in my heart and mind.

As we are here, we have what we have been dreaming about starting to happen. We also know that there is a strong possibility that God may refocus the vision and dreams we have. Recognizing this, we know that we are to follow His leading.

This past week, we have encountered various difficulties, frustrations and set backs. In them, we were given the opportunity to rejoice or respond extremely frustrated. In many of them, we choose to rejoice and know that they were allowed for us to draw closer to Him and His vision and plan.

Now, I would love to say that I responded to all of them that way and yet, I didn't. In my humanity and self, I let one of the situations knock me low and cause me to really begin to say, "Why is this happening?" "What good is going to come from this?"

I know, sad that I went there and yet, I did. There is where I realized God knows all things and can do anything.

At lunch here at the conference, I sat alone in a room full of believing germans and felt alone. A man name Gragor sat down and asked me to slide next to him. I did and we introduced each other. My deutsch is very limited and yet, his english was very good.

He asked me, "When did you meet my Jesus?" I told him my story and then he shared his story. WOW! What a time of fellowship and lunch!

The lesson learned...stop, wait, listen and rely on His timing!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Waiting Room

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Why does it always seem that the time in the waiting room is so long?"

I know that through the years I have definitely thought that. From doctors offices to repair centers, the wait seems like forever. The wait often taking longer than the appointment and yet, there is a definite lesson for us to learn from the waiting room.

Not only is there time to reflect, there is also time to see others. We can watch others as they wait. Some are anxious about the news they will hear. They are anxious about the unknown. They are frustrated with the process of paperwork. Their children are moving and busy and often this causes them and others to be stressed.

For whatever reason you are anxious there in the waiting room one thing is for sure...time goes slow.

When that happens, we tend to become very frustrated and also often times we get impatient and expect others to respond quicker and to our wants. When they don't, we snap and respond without care for them all to often.

Instead of doing that, next time you are in the waiting room count the blessing you have and know about. Thank the Lord for the opportunity to pray for those that are in the waiting room and may not know how to have peace that goes beyond all understanding. God promises that!

For the last 17 months, Julie and I have been in the waiting room and we have spent this time prepping, praying, preparing and planning. We have found ourselves anxious and stressed but when we stop and refocus, we begin to count our blessings in the waiting room.

God is faithful and is also in the business of assisting us while we wait in the waiting room. When we see Him move, lead and guide, the waiting room is not such a bad place to be.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A thought for the season!

A friend of mine posted this and was moved by it. The truth of the text is so very true and so glad that the same Lord is constant through all things!

Make sure to reach out to someone that may be hurting during this time of the year.

Christ reached out to us...we can reach out to them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What is my next move?

So many times in our lives we find that it is difficult to determine what the next move is. When we come to a time that we need to make a decision, we sometimes waffle and not know what to do.

Have you ever played chess? The whole purpose of the game is to make sure you loose the least amount of pieces and dominate the game by placing the opponent into checkmate. Sounds easy and yet, it is not so easy.

You and I don’t always know what move the other player in chess is going to make. Possibly they sacrifice a piece in order to setup for a more deliberate and authoritative move. Maybe in their strategy, they don’t take your pawn in order for you to move your bishop to a location that they can take your bishop and place you in check. Then you counter their move with your move to be out of check only to place yourself in checkmate.

What choices you make definitely can have a lasting impact.

Often times, like in the game of chess, we find ourselves at a crossroad and unable to know what our next move should be. We stand, sit or wander looking for the answer for the next move. We may even flip a coin or play rock – paper – scissiors in order to make a move. These two methods may work and one is definitely a fun way to do it, I believe that we need to make our next move with insight and leading from God.

We see in Psalms 119:25-32 that the writer tells us that understanding His teaching is critical. Knowing who God is, is very paramount. To know the truth of Him and His ways is vital to decisions.

We also see that when we get in the way, our deceitful ways can mess things up. When we chose the way of truth, hold on to His ways and teachings, He is faithful to guide us into His way and plan.

We have looked in our first series titled Transition to Transformation(see link below) that God is in the business of changing us and making us who He wants us to be. It is not our doing but our allowing Him to do the work in us. He controls us. He leads and directs us. He will never lead us in the wrong way. His way will not only be right, it will lead to His ultimate glory.

Allowing Him to guide us as we make the next move, will bring glory to Him. It may be difficult for us in the moment or through the process, but, He will always be faithful. He will lead us as we seek Him.

What is your next move? Start by seeking Him. You will find Him.

This link goes to the website where the sermon series I taught at Grace Baptist in St. Helens, Oregon can be heard while serving as Interim Lead Pastor. Transition to Transformation Series

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Gentle Nudge

Following the elders meeting on Tuesday night, I was driving home and began to pray through the prayer list that I keep on my phone. Now, before you think I was looking at my phone, I wasn’t! I have a number of these requests that are on going so recall to memory was what I was using.

As I drove, I asked the Holy Spirit to begin prompting me when I need to be more sensitive and responsive to those around me that I may or may not see. As I drove home I stopped at the McDonalds for a quick meal and ran inside. Usually I would use the drive through but I was nudged internally to go inside.

Once inside, the sitting area was empty and greeted by a member of the staff.

I made my way to the counter and in front of me was a man that had ordered a McChicken and a hot fudge sundae. Hearing the order and watching him dig through all his pockets in his worn out jeans and jacket, I was nudged again to pay for his meal.

I reached forward and gave the cashier the money while he wasn’t looking and mouthed to her to pay for his meal and give him the change. Her response was encouraging as she said, “Kenny, the gentleman behind you has paid for your meal!”

Kenny although standing with a slumped posterior attempted to straighten up and turned with a smile and a tear on his cheek said, “Thank you! I didn’t have enough tonight to by my dinner. My name is Kenny and may God bless you sir!”

Extending his hand to me, we shook hands and then he turned around and told the cashier how blessed he was by my act of kindness.

Now, it was my turn to order and as I placed my order and the cashier thanked me for paying for Kenny’s meal, she said it blessed her heart that someone would do that.

I told her that I was blessed and thankful that I listened to the Holy Spirit when He prompted me.

As they were preparing my dinner I felt another nudge inside.

This time nudged or prompted to buy a gift card for Kenny and bless him with it for another meal or two at a later time.

As I paid for the gift card, the cashier asked me why was I doing this. I explained to her what I was just praying and that I felt that I needed to be more aware of the needs of people around me. This was why I was doing this.

With a huge smile on her face she said that was amazing that God answers prayers that quickly. She then asked if I believed that what God says in the Bible is real. I responded, “It is not only real, it is alive and living! It is His love letter to those that believe in Him and follow Him.”

Shocked by my response she said, “Good for you!”

My heart now is nudged to ask her, Chrissy, if she knew Jesus. Her response was, “No it isn’t really for me but maybe something that I should think about.”

As I took my food and started to leave, I told Chrissy that every time I drive by this McDonald’s I will pray for her. She smiled and said thank you.

In reflecting over this the past few days, I know that the Holy Spirit does nudge us to respond as He is prompting and that we need to respond according to His nudges and direction.

Would you join me in asking the Holy Spirit to nudge and prompt us as He sees and knows best? Would you also be willing to respond to Him when He nudges and prompts you?

Doing this, will change us, our circumstances and outlook when we follow Jesus!   

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Realizing it has been a while since I posted on our blog I had a cute little meme to share that fits well with our ministry direction. Ministry to the the military and coffee! A great combination!!

We are so excited about the way that the Lord is opening the doors for us to return to setup an international church! We now have the organization that will sponsor us for our Visa and is providing additional members to our pray and pay teams! God is so good!

Keep praying and we will keep you updated as to His plans.

Shack and Julie

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Night of Joy!

Last night, we had the privilege of going and enjoying our oldest grandson Garrett's school Christmas program.

It has been two years since we got to enjoy his last one and we were excited.  The auditorium was almost completely full with parents, children, friends and of course...grandparents!  I was one of them and not ashamed of that one bit!

As the older students began to play their musical instruments, the sound filled the room and the JOY of the season came flooding in.  I even found myself remembering the years that I played the trumpet at our Christmas programs and the joy that others felt as we played.

In the first act of the night, the kindergarten class preformed two short songs including the ringing of their hand bells.  Of course, as you know...there is always one child that is the center of attention. Dressed in a nice new black suit, white shirt and tie, he rang his bell proudly and in open view of all to see. What a joy to watch them perform without any hesitation or fear that Simon Cowell would reject their vocal efforts.

Then, it was time for the 1st and 2nd graders! (drumroll please) As this is my moment as a grandfather to be proud, excited and full of JOY! There, dressed nicely in his freshly ironed white shirt and sharp tie, stood center stage...the one and only Garrett! Okay...give me a break as I write...I love the little man! He sang well, smiled when cued to and even made eye contact with the audience...he I think is on his way to audition for the VOICE soon.

They sang their first two songs with no hitch and received positive affirmation from the crowd.  Then almost all the way through their third and final song, the most dreaded thing happened.  No, not to my Garrett thankfully, but, to one of his classmates. No, this student didn't pass out either...worse!

Yes, the nerves of the evening or the dinner he had just eaten, came out with a vengeance! Sorry, it did happen. While snapping photos, I caught the before shot of the group singing and then, looking through my view finder, I snapped the next picture and sure enough, the student was not in the frame. What happened...who knew but the night of JOY, well let's just say this will be a program we talk about for quite sometime.

When all was done, cleaned up and the next group of students took the stage, the night went on without any other  moments to steal the JOY of the night.

Well, as I wrap this up, I want to encourage you to not let something snatch the JOY of the season from you. Remember that the true reason for the season is JESUS!

Oh and yes, the student is doing better now!

Love the SMILE on his face!!!  

Merry Christmas to each of you!
May the Lord bless you!