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Let Someone Else Say So

Let Someone Else Say So 373 396 admin

[p]The Bible tells us in Proverbs 27 to let someone else praise us and not do it ourselves. This is difficult to do in our culture for many different reasons. One of them being that we are so quick to alert everyone to our good works that they are not given the opportunity to make mention of them on their own. SO…I wanted to take the opportunity to praise someone and tell them good job.[/p]

[p]Justin Rooding lost his twin brother in a car wreck just over a week ago. Justin and his wife Lynette have been attending Northline for a while now and we hurt with him. Yet in the midst of this tragedy, God is shining through Justin and Lynette. While at the funeral home, some people from Northline were there supporting Justin and talking with family members. In the process of one conversation, one of Justin’s family members said, “I’m so glad that Justin and Lynette have a strong faith. You can definitely tell by the way they are handling this tragedy in comparison with some others.”[/p]

[p]When I heard that, I could not have been more proud of Justin and Lynette. Good job guys! It may not even be something that you are doing intentionally (which makes it even better), but people are taking notice as you EXPRESS Jesus to them in the most difficult of circumstances.[/p]

[p]Justin and Lynette, you did not ask for praise. You did not try to make much of your actions.[/p]

[p]You simply let someone else say so…and so I do. I praise God for the work that He is doing in you. I praise you for letting God work in you so you can show Him to others around you. Keep it up![/p]

An Example to the World

An Example to the World 300 250 admin

[p]What kind of example do you desire to be? What if God wants you to be a different example? Would you surrender to it?[/p]

[p]I know personally (selfishly) that I would love for God to be able to use me as a key example of His. I would want Him to say that I am a good example of godliness or humility or parenting or pastoring or leadership. My pride would love for the God of the universe to use me as an example to the generations of “How to Grow a Dying Church” or some accomplishment that I may be able to achieve. The only problem is that I am none of those things. My pride wants to believe that I am at least some of those things, but I am not a good example of any of them. Others may think so, but they only know the “public” Ryan. I get to spend significant time with the “private” Ryan.[/p]

[p]Yet so much of my energy is spent on trying to be a good example of something – something that can boost my ego.[/p]

[p]What if God wants to use me as an example? Awesome! What kind of example? Oh, wait a minute. Can’t I be an example of something better than that? These were my thoughts (very transparent I might add) as I read a pssage from the Bible today. It is found in Ephesians 2. This is what it says in verses 1-6…[/p]

[p] 1Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. [/p]

[p] 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.[/p]

[p]Now these are some verses that I have read and preached on many occasions. They remind me of who I was before Christ showed His mercy. I was a dead man that Jesus brought back to life. Then it hit me in verse 7…[/p]

[p]7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.[/p]

[p]God can point to me (His object lesson) in all of the future ages as an example not of my successes but of His grace. But wait a second that would mean that I am example of something that is not about ME. I think that so many times we forfeit how God wants to use us so that we can make up our own success story. In that story, it is usually not about Him at all. God says, “I want to use you as an example and the example is this – My grace is amazing! It is an incredible wealth.”[/p]

[p]We do not want to be that example because it doesn’t exalt us. As you focus your attention on that thought for a minute, what is God trying to say to you?[/p]

[p]You see for God to use as an example of grace, it means that we have failed not succeeded. It means that I am more example because of my failures and God’s success. God’s grace means that any successes that we may experience is because God allowed it. We didn’t do squat to deserve it. It is an example of the “incredible wealth of His grace”.[/p]


Are you happy to be an example because of your failures and God’s goodness? God help me to embrace and enjoy my role as your example of grace.


What It’s About

What It’s About 218 231 admin

Well I got to speak for my first time ever on international soil. We had a fun day for the neighborhood teens. I love African kids! They are so happy and fun loving. However, teens are teens and we were able to connect with them just like back there in the states. We had them for about 5 hours and played games, ate lunch, and then Todd and I spoke. We were able to tell the kids how much we love them and more importantly how much God loves them.

There were 2 girls that chose to accept Christ after our time of devotion. Sweeeet!!!! We were then eating last night when Dan Brown lead another girl to Christ. Holla!!!

It has been amazing and we are looking to really get our hands dirty in the next couple of days. I will tell you all about it!

Thank you for your prayers! Please keep them coming! I love and miss my wife and kids. Please love on them for me.

Until next time…


Amazing 2560 1920 admin

[p]We got to do something very unexpected today. I went on a safari![/p]

[p]It was truly amazing! I got to see all sorts of things. We got to see elephants, giraffes, warthogs, buffalo, water bucks, zebras, and a bunch of other animals.[/p]

[p]I have pictures and videos that I am going to post later. Keep watching![/p]

8400 Miles

8400 Miles 150 150 admin

I am having a hard time dealing with the time change. Botswana is 6 hours ahead of us in Michigan. I am feeling the effects of that!

Keep praying for God to mess me up! He has begun already. It is very interesting because I received some personal counseling last night from Dan Brown, president of Lift Student Ministries, that ministered tremendously to me. Yes pastors need counseling too! He lifted my spirits so much and a huge weight was lifted last night!

I thanked God for the wisdom that was poured into me. My best friend and tremendous help, Todd Spain, said that maybe I needed to come 8400 miles just to hear that! It was so true! Please pray for your pastor. I deal with everyday issues just like everyone else. I am getting healing which will enable me to lead the church more effectively.

We are excited to meet with about 150 African children to morrow and basically run a fun day! I might get my first opportunity to speak to an international audience.

Gaberone, Botswana is unlike anything that I would have expected. It is a fairly affluent area for Africa. There are people however that need to have the hope that is only  found in Jesus Christ. It is a dark place.

The potential here is huge because it is believed that the entire continent of Africa could be reached through Botswana. The reason being is that there are so many people from the surrounding countries that come here because of the opportunity. If they can receive Christ and follow Him, they could go back to their countries and change all of Africa.

Will you pray for that with me? Wouldn’t you like to be a part of something that changed an entire continent?

You can be and we will talk more about that when I get home!

Safely Arrived

Safely Arrived 150 150 admin

Hey everyone! I have arrived safely in Gaberone, Botswana, Africa.

We have met with some missionaries and seen the facilities where a future camp could happen.

I am already learning so much about the Botswana culture. Here you go: it is estimated that about 40% of the entire population of this country has AIDS. It is because sex is their culture and past time. They have a question on several billboards here that say, “Who is in your sexual network?” They are trying to get the population of people to think through the consequences of sleeping with so many people.

I don’t believe abstinence is the answer. I believe Jesus Christ is.

God is doing amazing things in me already! Keep the prayers coming!

I am beat! I haven’t slept in over 35 hours.

Good night…

Last Moments

Last Moments 150 150 admin

There was another church shooting this past Sunday in Illinois. The pastor, Fred Winters, was giving a message when someone approached him. Pastor Winters said good morning to the man and asked how he could help him. The man pulled out a gun and shot at him. The first shot hit his Bible and then he attempted to run off the stage. The shooter followed him and shot 3 more times. The second bullet went right through his heart and he died moments later.

There are a couple of things that I was challenged by as I followed this story.

The love that this church is showing to the shooter and his family is proper. While there are probably feelings of hurt and anger, this church has been extending nothing but love and support for the shooter’s family. You have to hear the interview of the guy that was active in taking down the shooter before more people were hurt. In moments like this, I am thrilled to be a part of the church. This is when it acting like it is supposed to be. The associate pastor of this church has been spending time at the shooter’s family’s home ministering to them. We can learn much from loving the lost through the times when they hurt us the most. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when He said to love and bless those who persecute you. I believe Pastor Winters is enjoying the fruits of his labor of training people to live the way Jesus said to live.

I hurt for the family and church. They have lost an amazing husband, father, and leader. I know that God’s grace will be sufficient for them especially during this time. My mind almost immediately went to the reality that that could be me. What a way to go – proclaiming truth from the Bible in hopes of changing lives forever. I cannot think of a better way to enter eternity. One moment telling people about that reality and the next experiencing it for yourself.

I also am reminded of how fragile life really is. We need to seize the moments that we are given. How would I speak if I knew it were my last time? Who would I invite to be there? The reality is that we do not know so we need to treat it like it could be this time.

It is so amazing to be a part of God’s family. To hurt with the hurting body during this difficult time and to rejoice in how they are reacting is truly remarkable. I love the church! I love when it operates like it is supposed to.

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It 150 150 admin

I have been reading in the Bible about David gettin’ jiggy wit’ it (that is dancing for my less hip readers). It is really interesting to me that what caused David to break out into dance was the ark of the covenant which represents God’s presence and promise. II Samuel 6 is where you will find the story. The same story is also told in I Chronicles 15. David was leading the nation of Israel in praise not because of what God had done, but because God had come (back). He assigned people to play the instruments. LOUD! (vs. 28)

I began reading the follow up to this story (I Chronicles 16-17) and was so freakin’ blessed by it that I just had to share. In chapter 16, David assigns people to lead the nation in worship to God. Then he writes a song that he gives to the people to play and sing. You have to read it (verses 7-36)!

Then in chapter 17, David gets convicted! This always happens when we come into the presence of a perfect, holy God. He was convicted by the fact that he was living in a beautiful cedar palace and the ark of the covenant was under a tent! Then Nathan, David’s right hand man who was in touch with God, had a vision from God that would confirm what needed to be done. Basically, Nathan came back and told King David that the Lord never required a permanent place. He also told David that God was going to make his name as famous as anyone who had ever lived on the earth. God also promised to protect His nation, Israel. He then promised to bless David’s family and set up a dynasty of kings. One of Davids’ sons, Solomon, would be the one to build the temple for God.

I am blown away by David’s response in 17:16-22. He basically prays and says to God, “Who am I that You, the one true living God, would care for my family in this way?”. David was humbled by God’s generosity! I think David is amazing, but obviously he was struggling with his deserving these blessings. He said that God was treating him like he was something great.

As if this wasn’t enough, in verse 18 David is speechless about the way that God has honored him. The kicker to this whole deal is that God knows what David is really like. God knows what we are really like and blesses us anyway! We do not gloat in that. We are amazed at that!

You have got to go read this and ask God to rattle you with it!

Room of Praise

Room of Praise 150 150 admin

We are currently in a series at church called “SPAM”. In it, we are breaking down the Lord’s Prayer slice by slice as something for us to imitate. It is our goal to pattern our prayer lives after the concepts found in the Lord’s model. I have been attempting to do what I say (this is a good practice for all of us) so as I spent time this morning with God, I had what I believe to be not only a good idea but a “God” idea. There’s a huge difference and a great article on this by Mark Batterson. Basically, 1 God idea is better than 1000 good ideas.

The “God” idea that struck me (which people have probably done) stems from this Sunday’s (March 8th) message thought. Don’t miss it and bring someone with you (set your clocks forward)!

The thought is this…we are all dependent on God. We all need to adore God for who He is and how He cares for us as a Father (“Our Father…hallowed be Your name”). His greatness is unmatched and we should be humbled by the relationship that can be had with Him. We are dependent on what He provides for us.

Here’s how we can imitate gratitude while sitting in a room…
Look around and see all of the different objects.
Those objects represent something that God has blessed you with. Your room is filled with potential praises. For example, as I sat in our front room, I saw a door, a lamp, some walls, some toys, a TV, and some speakers. So I began to thank God (with my eyes open…gasp!) for what He has provided to me and that I am dependenet on Him for. I looked at the door and its lock and thanked Him for protecting my family. I looked at the lamp and thanked Him for providing light to my life of darkness. I looked at the walls and thanked Him for shielding us from the elements. I looked at the toys and thanked Him for the health of my children that play with those toys (and my beautiful wife that picks those toys up). I looked at the TV and thanked Him for my ability to see. I looked at the speakers and thanked Him for my ability to hear. I think you get the point!

That room which sits in its same spot day after day was filled with praises that I often neglect (that is up until today).

So in order to connect with an awesome God in praise…look around and get your praise on!
I would love to hear from any of you that try this approach. Tell me what you think!

Whose Job Is It? YES

Whose Job Is It? YES 150 150 admin

I was reading the Bible today and was challenged by I Thessalonians 5:12-14. I hope that it will challenge you in some way as well.


It says

12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

In verse 14, it says that “we” (Paul, Silas, and Timothy – 1:1) urges the church to…

     1. Warn those who are idle (stagnant, just going through the motions but never

         going in motion, revving the engine but never moving, an anchor)

     2. Encourage the timid (afraid, terrified, wuss of risk)

     3. Help the weak (poor, needy, widows, orphans, hurting, sick, lonely, rejected,

         and forgotten)

     4. Be patient with everyone (urge them with patience – not a guilt driven concept)


When you look at this list, it looks like the “supposed” job description of a pastor or person in vocational ministry. Who is Paul and friends writing to? Answer: “brothers” (church – not as an organization but as individuals).


As a pastor I love verses 12-13. If those who are “over you in the Lord” work hard and admonish the church, you are to hold them in highest regard. You can begin by kissing my ring! I am completely kidding! It does say though that you hold them in highest regard because of their work.


            Why? Hebrews 13:17 points to the fact that they (pastors/leaders) do their

                      job as one that has the best interest of their lives at the forefront

                      of their minds.


The interesting thing about all of this though is that the people are supposed to be just as concerned about the progress of the church as its human leader. It is each believer’s responsibility to warn those are idle – some people need a kick in the butt for the glory of God. It is also each believer’s responsibility to encourage the timid – some people need a more subtle approach to help them be willing to take risks for the glory of God. It is also every believer’s responsibility to help the weak – not just missionaries or humanitarians but each of us do our part to help people see the glory of God through our acts of kindness. Lastly, it is every believer’s responsibility to be patient with everyone – let God accomplish the work in their lives or move them along for the glory of God.


How does the pastor and the believer work this together?

If the pastor is working hard at encouraging and equipping the church to follow God’s Word and do the work of the ministry (not just absorb the work of the ministry) and he is modeling the behavior himself, then he has done his part.

If the believer will warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, and be patient with everyone, then the church is beginning to be the church and not just go to church.


Let’s make a deal. Let’s commit together. I will turn the “if” into a “when” for myself and you do the same for yourself.


Striving to Live in Total Abandon…

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