Get Your House in Order!

As I press on toward the upward call in Christ Jesus Philippians 3:14 here in Missouri, I am praying for certain direction from the Lord regarding my status.  Who I am is not what I do, rather, who I am is who I am; what I do is a reflection of that.  I am Christian man first who loves Jesus with all of my heart. I am a husband to Debi whom I love.  I am a father who loves his three adult children, their spouses, and their children, our grandchildren.  I am a minister, a credentialed pastor who is currently serving in a lay capacity; while I am willing to serve as a Lead, I am currently serving as a Lay.  I will do whatever the Lord has for me to do. 

My house on 1st Street is becoming my home.  The work it takes to get is settled is considerable, yet, attainable. Everyday Debi and I are working diligently to establish our new base for our family and church.  As I pray and seek the Lord regarding this season in my life, I sense Him telling me a series of specific things:

  1. Get your house in order.
  2. Wait on the Lord for the right job, at the right time, for the right pay, in the right place.
  3. Trust God as He daily leads me in doing those things He has called me to do.
  4. Everything that I do I do as unto the Lord, be it simple or complex; it’s all done for God’s glory.
  5. The relationships that I am forming are part of the next chapter of my life; embrace them!
  6. The habits that I am developing here are important as God is preparing me for the next thing.
  7. My masculinity is not defined by my job, rather by my faith in God and my walk with Him.
  8. Launch ‘Encourage-Men’ and get your truck registered.
  9. Continuing reading and studying to show yourself approved and to be ready to speak and for service.
  10. Stay fit and be a good steward of your mind (thoughts), body (physical), and emotional health.

A closer look at these ten mandates are as follows:

Get your house in order has everything to do with my physical house on 1st Street and all that it entails. It also refers to my physical body, my spiritual house, that place where the Holy Spirit dwells within my life.  This includes my marriage, my family relationships, and my love and support of those precious people entrusted to my care; primarily family, but also my brothers and sisters in Christ.  An orderly house, both physical and spiritual, is critical to a healthy spiritual life foundation of faith.

The Apostle Paul said it this way,

“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop (overseer, pastor), he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given (addicted) to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous  (loving money); one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice (new convert), lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”         – 1 Timothy 3:1-7

  • I am this man in all aspects, and I will continue to be so, even if I never host a church again.  While it is my desire to do so, I must wait on the Lord for what He has for me in this next season. In the meantime, I will continue to steward well my house, my home, and my church; and all that it entails.

Wait on the Lord for the right job.  This is easier said than done.  My prayer all along has been that God would provide me ‘the right job, at the right time, for the right wage, in the right place.’  I have a unique skillset and I can do a lot of things. I am not lazy, and I have a mind to work, however, I would like to be doing that thing that God has called me to do and getting a decent paycheck for it, but in the meantime, I will occupy by doing what God has tasked me with each day.  While I am willing to work at a big box store, I find that my skillset of helping people and doing handyman type of jobs better suits me.  My leadership mindset tends to make it hard for me to work for someone else, unless of course, that is what God has for me. 

“What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God.”                                                                                                          – Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

  • While I am willing to work and do just about anything, I am not willing to come all this way just to do something that is menial or outside of what God has intended for me.  I will be responsible with what God has entrusted to my care, but I must use my time wisely as it seems to be running short these days.

Trust God as He daily leads me.  It would seem that I have been working from sunrise to sunset each and every day, doing a variety of tasks that are germane to my calling here and my role as a husband and father.  While I am occupying each day and living it to the fullest, I am also seeking to make the most of each moment, serving those I love well and continuing to build and establish a good foundation for our lives here. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct (make smooth or straight) your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.”                                                                                    – Proverbs 3:5-12

  • Everything I am doing here is about faith and trust in God. Leaving Gardena and moving to Missouri was a major step of faith; one that was as timely as it was necessary.  It would seem that God would have me to continue my faith journey here and so I am, always trusting in Him as I take each step.

Everything that I do, I do unto the Lord.  It would seem that replacing a light bulb or cleaning the garage isn’t very spiritual, however, it’s all part and parcel to the living by faith mandate.  Every house needs a good maintenance shop, and every field project needs a good base from which to draw tools and resources.  If I am to  live this life each day as unto the Lord, I had better live it well, for my life and my days all belong to the Lord.

“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”            – Romans 14:5-8

  • What a powerful truth nestled within the sacred text of scripture.  The Apostle Paul reminds all of us as believers in Jesus that our days are numbered; they all belong to the Lord.  We must live our days well if we are to gain the reward Christ has promised us at the Bema Seat (FMI keep reading in Romans 14).

The relationships that I am forming are part of the next chapter of my life.  I am making new friends along the way. Since I have been here I am developing friendships with certain men, and some ladies, who are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  While I have learned to guard these people well and maintain good and healthy boundaries, I am also appreciating and respecting my role in their lives.  It’s nice to be loved and appreciated.

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.”

                                                                                                                                                            – 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

  • Paul is referring to the local church where we worship, fellowship, and support.  I must do this well.

The habits that I am developing here are important.  My latest read, Atomic Habits, is helping me to develop new and good habits in this new place I am now calling home.  While I am maintaining some old habits that are helpful in my walk and life, I am learning to develop some new ones that will enhance my ability to go where God is taking me. Being here is a new thing, but I still reminisce the old life I left behind in Gardena; press on!

Paul said it this way,

“Not that I have already attained (arrived at), or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (obtained it); but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”           – Philippians 3:12-14

  • Lately all I can think about is going home to heaven and being with Jesus and all those who love His appearing. It would seem that everything that I am doing in this life is menial and so temporary. Like a MASH unit posted up on a battlefield somewhere, so I feel about my life, this place, and the work I am looking to do. I am not bored or depressed per say, I just need a greater purpose as I travel this sod.

Right now that purpose is centered around getting my house in order, which is the underlying thought of this write.  As I put my home office together I am opening boxes and rediscovering items that were germane in my old office where I had a purpose, a position, a place.  Some items I am just keeping in a box as they relate to old habits and an identity (being a Lead Pastor) that no longer has a place in my life; at least for now.

My masculinity is not defined by my job.  In a world and culture where so many men get their identity by what they do, I am embracing what God has for me and called me to do outside of a paycheck or pension.  While a good job with a benefits package that supports the quality of life I am used to is a good thing, it’s not everything. I am a man of God whose faith in God is strong, not by what I do for God, but who I am in Christ.

“After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.”                                                                                                          – Acts 18:1-4

  • The first century believers needed to work and minister, this was the way it was and for many ministers who are not full time, it still is.  While it’s nice to be a full-time pastor and get a paycheck for doing your calling, it’s equally true that sometimes you have to make tents or tan hides and such to make a living while you live for Jesus.  This may be my lot in this next chapter, and I am okay with it.

Who I am as a man is not defined by what I do for a job.  This premise is clear in my life and this is why I have been able to work these past several months without a paycheck, yet I am fulfilled in knowing that I am doing the Lord’s work by getting my house and home in order.  Who I am in Christ is what is drawing me toward helping my family with their homes and families as best I can. Launch ‘Encourage-Men.’  This pastoral blog is long overdue and needs to be launched ASAP.  God has put so many things in me to share and having a healthy and appropriate outlet for others to read and benefit from is all part of the ride.  While the name pertains to men, the ladies are also invited as they too will benefit from this work.

As far as the Tahoe registration goes, I contacted the leasing agency who is holding the note and title on my truck and they told me that they have already petitioned California to release the title to them as I have moved.  This process, I was told, could take weeks, which I don’t have. I flew back to CA last week and registered the truck for another year at a local AAA.  I am good till February ’22.  As a result, I was able to do some pick up work for a few days at the church, speak last Wednesday night, and meet up with Pastor Brad and Drew.

As far as Encourage-Men goes, it’s launched. The fact that you’re reading this attests to that. 

The Apostle Peter said it this way,

“But sanctify (set apart) the Lord God (Christ as Lord) in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”             – 1 Peter 3:15,16

  • While the words that I wish to portray will be encouraging to the readers, I am sure there will be some who will read it and be offended or put off because of my stand for Christ.  I want to be an encouragement for my brothers in the Lord (and potential brothers) and any ladies who may be reading along.  I am being refined during this season and I am hoping that whatever God has for me in the future, it will be the best fit for my skillset and calling.

Continuing reading and studying.  This is something that never ends for me. I never did my devos out of obligation, but my love for the Lord and a hunger for His Word.  As a pastor I benefitted for many years by being able to study God’s Word and prepare many a sermon in the process.  Now I am just studying God’s Word, listening to some good preaching, and benefitting from it all.  I love God’s Word, regardless of my pastorate.

The writer of Hebrews said,

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

                                                                                                      – Hebrews 4:12,13

  • A love for God’s Word is a love for Jesus, the Living Word.  I find that as I read the Word and produce these little devos, I am the first to be lifted up in my faith.  While I enjoy reading and studying other work that is supported by the Bible and builds my faith, nothing beats a straight read from the Bible. 

I find, like Jeremiah, it’s like a ‘fire shut up in my bones’ and having the ability to release and share this great news with others is what I have been called to do.  My hope is that whatever God has for me in bringing His Word to that next group of people, that I will be ready. I need it to just happen. I need the Lord to open the right door at the right time.  In the meantime, I will continue to read and study to show myself approved.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”                                                                                                    – 1 Timothy 2:15

  • I feel that I have been a good steward of my faith and walk, even as I travel this sod I am watching and waiting for God’s leading for the next chapter of my life and ministry.  I am not doing anything that I should be ashamed of and my assessment of God’s Word as I read and teach it is rightly divided.

Stay fit.  While being a good steward of this body and mind are important things, they are not the only things.  This being understood, I must and will maintain a state of fitness that includes cardio, weights, a good diet, plenty of rest, and a regiment of other activities and disciplines that will protect my body and keep me healthy and strong as I enter into the next chapter.  So many let their temples go and pay the price in the end.  I want to keep my temple in as good of shape as I can while serving the Lord and listening to His promptings.

“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.”                         – 1 Timothy 4:8,9

  • Paul’s challenge to his readers doesn’t discount physical exercise so much as he wants us to keep it in proper perspective to the spiritual matters at hand, namely living a godly life that is profitable for all things, including being a good witness and staying in shape as we are.  I’ll do my best to stay fit.

While these marching orders may seem regimented and structured (because they are), they serve as a guide for me as I listen to the voice of the Lord in these trying times.  All of my steps are ordered of the Lord and as I realize that there are fewer days ahead than are behind, I just want to make the most of everyday God gives to me.  While I am hoping for a miracle in my own situation, I will be a good steward of everything and everyone that the Lord has entrusted to my care.  I know that I must give an account one day of how I lived my life and how I stewarded those people and things that God gave to me.  I want to be able to give a good report to the Master when all of this is finally done.

I feel bad for those people who have lived their lives, made their fortunes and fame, and died without Jesus.  Actors and actresses, musicians, political figures, and other well-knowns I never met, but knew of, who are lost forever, suffering for the consequence of dying with their unforgiven sin.  In the same way I am delighted when I hear of a faithful saint who passes into glory because I know they are finally home, the place I long to be, with Jesus and all of those people who love Him, received His forgiveness, and who long for His appearing.  Clearly this is the truest meaning and purpose of life, to know God and to make Him known to others. This life, my life, will NOT be wasted. I will not chase emotional rabbits (as I like to call them) that only lead to distraction, despair, and a separation from what and where God has called me to.  This is a short life that we live in comparison to the eternal state where we will exist on the other side of the veil.  Each of us must choose for ourselves what we will believe and live for.  This new neighborhood that I am living in is nice.  The people who live here have a lot of money and nice things.  I count it all rubbish (to quote the great apostle) in comparison to what God has instore and laid up for me in heaven.  I believe that the Lord gives us a sliver, a glimpse at times of what is to come on this side, but alas, it’s only a glimpse.

I am thankful for my life and God’s many manifested blessings He has provided for me, but alas, none of this matters if I don’t feel loved.  I can only express my love to others as the Lord enables me to do so, but it’s from my lack.  While I would change history if I could, I am very thankful for my life and the history that God has created for me over the years.  My choices sum up where I am today and for that I am ever so grateful.  I am not looking for a bigger house, a better car, or a better life.  I am only looking to please the Lord and not allow myself to become distracted or dismayed over those things that are out of my control.  It’s a precarious place to be, living at Sid’s house and knowing that he needs to be loved also.  I long for Andy’s house and the life that it entails, but until then, if at all, I know that one glorious day we will all will finally be home.  My prayer is that I may be found worthy to escape all the things that are going to hit this earth (aka seven-year tribulation) and be found faithful in God’s sight and judged accordingly at the Bema Seat.  As I live my life I do so to the glory of the Lord.  I belong to the Lord and all my praise is to Jesus, my personal and eternal Lord and Savior whom I have confessed as my Lord, forevermore.

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