This Old Bible

Rusty Mott   February 9, 2016   2 Comments on This Old Bible

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As many of you know, I am a Bible collector. Like many Christian homes, I have several Bibles. But my collection is larger than most! Study Bibles, reading Bibles, and high quality Bibles.

But over the years, few Bibles have matched my first preaching Bible! Now, to be clear, when I call it a “preaching” Bible, I simply mean that it is the first Bible I preached from regularly. The Baptist Student Ministry Director at Dallas Baptist University bought a slimline English Standard Version Bible for me upon my graduation. As I moved to Garland that Summer to begin full-time ministry at Freeman Heights, this became my “go-to” Bible.

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Since then, I have been through a lot with this Bible. About three years ago, I decided it was time to get a new Bible. My old one was literally falling apart. I had pages taped together, there were parts of the text worn down from studying, crying, and pointing at certain passages over almost 10 years of use.

So I have been on a journey to find my new “go-to” Bible. I haven’t found it yet- but I still believe it is out there!

But a couple of weeks ago, I got this old Bible back out. And as I have carried it and studied it, I can’t help but think about why it is in the shape it is in.

This Bible is scuffed up and torn up because I literally took it everywhere with me. I ministered to recovering drug addicts on the street with this Bible. It sat out in the rain as I preached to kids at an apartment complex. It went with me to some scary places, and to many camps and pulpits around the state of Texas.

It has coffee stains and salsa stains from late night conversations and prayer meetings with friends and family. The pages are literally worn down from me preaching with it- because I used to preach in unique contexts that do not have a pulpit.

And the realization hit me- my Bibles don’t wear like that anymore…

They go from my desk, to my house, to the pulpit.

This breaks my heart. I want to have the passion and zeal I had fresh out of college! Before the years of ministry and life beat me into this “professional” that I often find myself being today.

I ordered a new Bible last week. It is really nice, and I’m excited to get it. But I’m hoping it doesn’t stay “nice.” I’m hoping that in a few years, it will bear the marks of a well-used, well-traveled book. And that as I look at its marks, dings, and scratches- that I will be filled with joy as I reflect upon the work God has done through His Word!

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Bro. Rusty’s Top 10 Moments of 2015

This is the time of year for reflecting on what God has done in our lives. While I always advocate for reflecting on ALL the things (good AND bad) in our lives- this post will not include the bad. But trust me- I could easily write at least 10 moments that were extremely difficult/challenging in 2015!

Also, this order is from my perspective as the Pastor. Some of these moments, while rather personal- are still tied to the church in my view. So don’t take this list too seriously, and don’t get offended if one of your “moments” isn’t included! This list is by no means comprehensive! This is just meant to be fun and to remember some of the things God has done in our Church this year.

Enough disclaimers- let’s do this:

10. Thanksgiving Community Worship
This may seem strange to many of you- because there was only one Cornerstone member not named “Mott” at this community service. But we saw God show up in a very special way. Our friends at FBC Kountze joined us, and the music, message, and fellowship were like finding a stream in the desert! Even though it was not highly attended- this night was very important to our church and THE Church- all of us who call ourselves Christ followers in our community! Pray about joining us for these services in 2016!

9. Joint Board Meetings
We have always tried to have monthly meetings with our Elders and Deacons, but have not always been successful. But 2015 saw a change that helped us grow closer to each other- and it was the classic Baptist solution- FOOD!

Each month, dinner was prepared by one of our amazing wives, and we shared a meal and fellowship before tending to the business of the church. This was a highlight of the year for me, and a tradition we look forward to continuing in 2016.

8. Summer Preaching
This may seem personal- and it is to a certain extent. But the truth is- without Cornerstone, no one would be calling me to preach at special events. But this Summer, I preached 15 times in 13 days. It was an insane experience. But what made it even crazier is that I contracted a terrible case of poison ivy that was all over my face, legs, and stomach. It was an absolutely miserable experience. I itched terribly for the entire two weeks that I preached in the middle of Southeast Texas summer camps.

But I saw God work in a mighty way through my weakness. I am still in awe of what God did dispite my misery. Over 50 students gave their lives to Jesus during those two weeks. In light of eternity- that poison ivy was no big deal! And the Lord used it to teach me to rely on Him in a way I haven’t had to before! Hopefully, I’ve learned that lesson enough to not have it again in 2016!

It is a blessing to have a church that allows me to take our ministry beyond the walls of our church!

7. AWANA Opening Family Night
To close out our Spring AWANA season, we had an amazing family night/carnival. We saw more people than we expected, and made a lot of great connections with people. Our AWANA team decided to try a similar event to open our AWANA year- but we were not sure if people would turn out for it.

But they definitely did! We had a huge amount of parents, kids, and volunteers. We had bounce houses in the sanctuary (a personal highlight of my year!) and volunteers from all age ranges in our church. It was great to see youth/adults and even children serving those who were guests at our church that night. It helped jump start the highest attended AWANA year we have had to this point.

6. Vacation Bible School
VBS is always a crazy time at Cornerstone! But this year, something special happened. While on vacation in Australia, Mrs. Diane (our VBS director) met a gentlemen from Thailand (where the mission project for this year’s VBS was based). But that wasn’t his only connection. Our theme this year was “Everest,” and Dr. Gib had climbed to the base camp of Everest.

It took a lot of work for Dr. Gib and Mrs. Diane, but we were able to arrange a time to video conference and record a video to share with our kids that week. So we literally had a conversation with a gentlemen living in Thailand who had climbed part of Mt. Everest. And God set that up by having Mrs. Diane and Dr. Gib both travel to Australia and just happened to meet…….WOW! I don’t believe in random- I believe that God orchestrated this unique opportunity!

5. Washington Church Plant- Mountain Lakes Fellowship
This Summer, a pastor from Washington State called me and asked if he could come by our office. I reluctantly said yes, because he was a friend of a friend. It was a very busy season at the church and at home. In fact, we had Edda with us in the meeting!

But as Pastor David shared his heart for planting a church in Loon Lake, I asked how many his church (FBC Deer Park) ran in attendance- and was shocked at the number. (They have since seen significant growth as they reach people in Deer Park!) But I was surprised that a church smaller than ours was working to plant a church down the road.

After a time of prayer- our elders and deacons voted unanimously to help this church plant. In October, I had the chance to go to Washington to preach at the Inland Empire Association’s annual meeting. I got to spend time with several pastors in the area, and got to spend time with Pastor Jim and Mrs. Linda (the church planters) and their core team.

Mountain Lakes Fellowship officially started their weekly services in December! Continue to pray for them as they begin this new year!

4. Youth/Children’s Christmas Play
This night is still fresh on my mind! Our Chrildren and Youth worked very hard to put together a wonderful production. Written, directed, and produced (and whatever credits are available!) go to Kim Price and Jennifer Allien. Along with tons of volunteers, including many outstanding musicians, singers, and actors- they put together an incredible presentation. Our church was packed with members, guests, and first time visitors.

But after the play, the youth hosted everyone for a Christmas carnival. It was wonderful to see so many people serving and helping make this night special.

3. New Elder/Deacons
This may seem like a blip on the radar screen to most people. But this is one that in many ways helped save my ministry! Our new elder and deacons have been a breath of fresh air to our Joint Board. Not only has their fresh perspective been helpful, but their zeal for the work has helped refresh all of us. It took us a long time to go through the process of elder/Deacon selection- but it is certainly clear that God brought the right men to our church! Continue to pray for these men as they lead our church!

2. Getting Ready for Construction
Again, for many people, this is not a big deal. But behind the scenes, this process has taken almost as much time as preparing to preach in the last several months. The process of being offered the loan, accepting the loan, and then getting all of the paper work together for closing the loan was more than I could have ever expected. They don’t cover that type of stuff in seminary!

But a couple of weeks ago- our trustees officially signed the contract with the North American Mission Board. What a blessing to partner with them for this building project. In the years ahead- every penny of interest will go to fund North American Mission work. We get to advance the Kingdom in Kountze while helping advance the Kingdom across North America!

I know that there is still much to do as we look forward to breaking ground in early 2016- but I will never forget the work to get us to this point in 2015!

1. Salvations
No list is complete without the reason we do all of these things. We didn’t grow as fast as have the last couple of years (in terms of membership). But a number I care far more about is growing the Kingdom of God! And we baptized more people in 2015 than we have before! Celebrating the changed lives in our community. And asking God to bring even more to His Kingdom in 2016!

So that’s my list- again, I know it’s not complete. What were some of your favorite moments that I missed? Share them in a comment on the Facebook link!

Hello

Rusty Mott   December 29, 2015   1 Comment on Hello

I know that after reading that title, at least half of you are singing Adele’s hit song right now. You’re welcome!

But I wanted to write this late night blog post to share some things that are on my heart for our church family.

God has blessed us with many visitors over the past few years. We have seen many people come and go, and many people join our church family. But there are many others who are currently “visiting” our church. There are many weekly attenders who have not officially joined yet.

One of the things that makes Cornerstone special is our friendly/family atmosphere. We believe that the Bible literally calls us to be the FAMILY of God! And from the first time I visited Cornerstone (3 years ago this week!), I felt the love and warmth from everyone.

But we are in a strange place as a church. It is a beautiful place- but it is strange nonetheless! Our growth has led us to a place where we do not always know everyone. One of the comments I hear most often is “I don’t even know everyone anymore!” And while those comments are usually in a positive sense, amazed at what the Lord has done in bringing us more members, I also know that there is a sense of loss. A feeling that we are not really a family anymore, but a bigger church.

I have sensed this in the past few months. And as we enter a new year, and as we begin construction on our new worship center, I want us to actively work on coming together and getting to know one another. But this is going to take some work!

First, don’t be scared!
Some of you are thinking “what do you mean, scared?!” But I have heard many of our family members say things like “I don’t want to introduce myself to someone, because they may have been coming for 3 months- and I don’t want to offend them by thinking they are a visitor!”

But truth be told- it’s more offensive to sit through a service and have nobody even attempt to say hello! Don’t be afraid to take the initiative. You don’t have to say “Hello, first time visitor!” Just introduce yourself! As the pastor, I often introduce myself to people multiple times. I’ve never had anyone offended by that. It would be much more rude to simply avoid talking to them because I wasn’t sure if I had met them or not.

So put yourself on the line! If someone is visiting our church, they are visiting our family! Treat guests like you would if they were at your house! And look for them the next week so you can keep up and get to know them!

Don’t be scared- be bold and welcoming to those who join us for worship!

Secondly, Invite people to connect to CBFs!
If you are not in a Cornerstone Bible Fellowship (our version of Sunday School/small groups), then you need to be!

For those of you who are- look for guests that would be a fit for your CBF and invite them to join you! This is where the real connection begins!

I had a conversation with a young lady who had been visiting a church for several months, and in all that time, tons of people greeted her and welcomed her, but no one ever invited her to a small group. She was connected at a surface level- but never had the opportunity to let her roots sink into the family through small group interaction.

Actively look to invite people to your CBFs!

Finally, Love those who are already in the family!
One of the things that draws people to the body of Christ is the love God’s people show for each other. Our guests can tell if we are truly loving each other, or if we are just putting on a show. We don’t want to treat our guests like family- we want them to literally become family! That is hard when we are not really living as the family of God week in and week out.

Let us love those God has called to our church family- and our guests will see that love and be drawn to join the work God is doing in our church.

THIS SUNDAY
There are some simple ways that we can work to get to know each other better. One simple, yet effective way is going to start this Sunday. We’re calling it “NAME DAY!” On the first Sunday of the month, we are going to ask everyone to wear a name tag. This may seem ridiculous to some, but this is a simple way to take down one of the primary barriers of communication. We want everyone to get to know everyone!

So come Sunday, get a name tag, and get to work welcoming and fellowshiping with the family of God that worships at Cornerstone!

Pastor Problems

Rusty Mott   October 13, 2015   4 Comments on Pastor Problems

I often use the hashtag “#pastorprobs” on my tweets and Instagram posts, but the truth is, I rarely talk about the real problems I face as a Pastor. In my experience, no one wants to hear about your problems. Instead, we choose to keep our struggles to ourselves. Instead of being honest, we put ourselves together and go about our lives as if everything is perfect.

Mallory had the opportunity to go to a conference for Pastors Wives this past weekend, and she came home talking about some sobering statistics she heard. They are surprising and heartbreaking.

Hours and Pay
90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.

Training and Preparedness
90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they
thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.

Health and Well-Being
70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if
they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Marriage and Family
80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
80% spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.

Church Relationships
70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
#1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.

Longevity
50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.

Let me start by saying that all of these do not define my situation. I love my church and consider it a blessing to serve at Cornerstone. Yet the reality is that many of these statistics are true of good situations too. Conflict is inevitable, hours can be long, and the elephant in the room comes around far too often- and its name is depression.

That single statistic shocked me. 70% of pastors struggle with depression. This number has given me the courage to write this post today. Because I have realized I am not alone. I have hesitated to talk about this problem, because there is a stigma associated with it. I have had the “suck it up, buttercup” mentality going for years. I have always been an “over-thinker.” I thought that was normal. I thought my mental and physical exhaustion were normal. I assumed everyone had times where they wanted to quit and run away from everything.

But in a moment of honesty, Mallory actually said that she has considered talking to me about “getting help” (medicine, counseling, etc) so that I wouldn’t be sad all the time. That has been a wake up call for me. That moment led to a lot of prayer and thinking- which led to me doing research and stumbling across these statistics.

Brother Pastors, this is serious. And we need to talk about it!

Church family (not just Cornerstone- all of my brothers and sisters in Christ), it’s time to get serious about praying for the people God has called to shepherd us.

You may not know it, but there are many sleepless nights in your pastor’s life. There are many moments replaying each moment in your Pastor’s mind of failures, sins, and struggles to meet expectations. This impacts their ability to love their family and their ability to serve the Lord. Pray for your pastors, show grace to your pastors, and protect your pastors!

Brother Pastors, let’s be honest with each other and our churches. Admit your struggles, stop trying to be perfect, and start the daily fight of believing the Gospel we passionately proclaim to others!

I fight depression. I need help. Daily.

Please pray for me and bear with me as I grow in Christ alongside you!

(Disclaimer: I know that Pastors are not alone. While many challenges are unique to Pastors- your job, life, etc also has many unique challenges. Know that I am praying for you daily. And if you need help, don’t pretend to be ok. Get real and let the Church love and grow with you!)

Summer Wednesday Nights

After a successful year of AWANA, we are looking forward to a change of pace for the Summer! Starting this Wednesday night, we will be starting our Family Bible Studies. Each Wednesday night at 6PM, adults and children will gather in the sanctuary to enjoy an interactive Bible study with Bro. Rusty or one of our elders. You are encouraged to bring your children! We will ask questions that we encourage them to answer and engage with the Bible!

Another thing to know is that Family Bible Study is a casual setting! In fact, last Summer, I wore shorts most nights! So come as you are and get excited about getting in the Word!

Our first series this Summer is going to be called “Flyover Passages.”

We will take several weeks to recap the series we have walked through on Sunday mornings in the last couple of years. The goal of biblical preaching is not only to inspire God’s people- but to TEACH God’s people! This will be a great chance to review and renew our knowledge about these books of the Bible. It will be fast-paced and different- because we will be taking what was sometimes a 3-5 month series and turning it into an hour long study! We will provide hand-outs and give opportunities to take notes.

Of course, we also have been known to have random fellowships on Wednesday nights during the Summer. You never know when we’ll end up with ice cream…..oh wait, without Blue Bell we’ll have to figure something else out! But anyways- it is always fun to gather around God’s Word as a family! So join us for Family Bible Study- starting THIS Wednesday at 6PM!

Our youth group will continue to meet together throughout the Summer! Talk to Bro. Ryan or Mrs. Kim for more details about the exciting things happening this Summer with our students!

Cornerstone’s Funeral

I read a quote from New York Times writer David Brooks that said,

“It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral…”

It’s easy for us to think about the “here and now” of life. But the Bible always teaches us to keep eternity in view! Brooks gives a fair warning- don’t just work on your résumé, work on your eulogy!

So with this though rolling around in my mind today, I started thinking about Cornerstone’s funeral.

Now don’t get me wrong! God is blessing our church! We have seen people saved, new members added, and we are about to start working on a new building! But let’s not be naïve- every church has a shelf life. No single church will last forever!

I have seen churches celebrate 50, 100, even 150 years of ministry. I hope that one day my distant relatives will gather at Cornerstone to celebrate our 150th anniversary. But whether we make it 20 or 200 years- the truth is, one day Cornerstone Baptist Church will be no more.

But the good news is that God’s church will never end. While we invest in our church, the call is to remember to build that which will last. Because when they close our doors for the last times, the lasting impression will not be the buildings, the numbers of members, or the programs and ministries.

When that day comes- our “rèsumè” won’t matter. But the PEOPLE who have been changed for Christ- that will be our legacy. That will be what lasts long after our buildings have turned to rubble.

So the question becomes- what are we investing in TODAY?

Buildings, programs, and ministries are not wrong in and of themselves. But we must make sure that each of these things exist for the sole purpose of making disciples.

In the same way that Cornerstone’s legacy will be the disciples it helps make, YOUR legacy will be those who you have influenced for Christ.

Let’s take the command of God seriously- Go and make disciples.

Simple Rules for Social Media

Roughly a month ago, I pulled the plug on my social media accounts.

It was a great time of refreshment and renewal for me. I had been sucked into the narcissism, foolish talk/typing that social media so easily creates and promotes.

At the time of my “disconnect,” I had no intention of ever coming back. Of course, some of you likely predicted this day. But after less than a month- I’m back. BUT, I have a renewed vision for social media. It’s not about promoting myself. In fact, I’m only using twitter, and I have established a private account. I will not add everyone!

Why twitter? Because I missed the blogs, articles, and links that were shared by the vast array of pastors I followed. And it tends to be less “drama-driven” than some of the other forms of social media. So I am back in a limited fashion. I have also established some accountability. I have some Godly friends who are committed to tell me when me posts, shares, retweets expose the flesh (cynicism, facetiousness, and complaining) as opposed to uplifting, informative, and insightful posts!

But I thought it might be useful to share a few simple rules for social media that I have established for myself. Perhaps they will be helpful for you.

1. Only Build OTHERS up!
It is much easier to post, type, and say things on social media than it is in person.

I’ve seen people post comments and status updates that they would NEVER say in person. But the reality is, social media should be considered a “speech area” in our lives. Jesus says that we will be held accountable for “every idle word spoken.” I believe that our social media accounts will be held accountable in this same way.

Is your post building others up? Great! Is it tearing others down? Don’t post it! Even worse (and much more deceptive), is your post building YOU up.

I want my social media accounts to be a vehicle for building OTHERS up. The moment I use it to tear people down OR build my SELF up, then it is becoming a dangerous source of sin.

2. Avoid Gossip or Complaining
This one is difficult for everyone. As a pastor, I live in a “glass house.” Everyone is watching everything I say and do. Even worse, they were watching every post, tweet, and comment I make.

When I complain, lament, and even justifiably express frustration- the immediate assumption by others is that THEY are the target of the post.

This is one of the dangers with social media. BUT, it is easily circumvented by not posting ANYTHING that could possible be directed at ANYONE! So this rule is huge for me as a Pastor. I will not post anything that can be applied to any individual unless it is an encouragement! And if I have a problem with a brother or sister, then I will take it up with them…in person…face to face! NOT on social media.

When we complain or express frustration on social media- nothing gets resolved! In fact, it will almost certainly make the situation worse! Most of the time, when I posted complaints or frustrations, the wrong people assumed I was talking about them, and I ended up with more people upset than there were in the beginning!

Only post positive, non-specific things!

3. Limit Your Use
Chances are, you waste too much time using social media. During my social media sabbatical, I rediscovered the time I had wasted with social media. Turn off your push notifications. Set specific times to check your accounts. And don’t allow your precious time to be wasted.

Also, I think it would be beneficial to intentionally disconnect from social media a couple of days each week. Logging off intentionally requires discipline, but I have been blessed by my time away! And it has helped me develop a healthier perspective! Pick at least a day each week to stay away from the screens!

4. Think Before You Post
This should be obvious, but it isn’t. Just like our words, our posts are permanent. People never forget what you say, post, or share. How much confusion and hurt would be avoided if we just thought before we posted?

Before sharing a blog, writing a comment, or sharing a picture- remember these rules!

Social media is a dangerous thing. In my last blog, I used some radical language expressing the dangerous nature of it. I stand by those comments. But I also know that social media can be a great blessing. But we must use extreme caution when joining the social media fray!

Join me in being INTENTIONAL about using social media for HIS glory, not our own.

A Difficult Message

At Cornerstone, we are in the midst of a series called “BE The Church.”

We are talking about how we as God’s people can actually LIVE as God’s people! That’s what the church is supposed to be! Not a place, not an organization- but the people of God.

We have been using Thom Rainer’s “I Am A Church Member” as a companion to this series. So our sermons have shared themes with each of the chapters so far.

But this week it gets a little tough for me. This week’s chapter is all about praying for church leaders. And Rainer spends a lot of time talking about the difficult and unique challenges pastors face.

So this Sunday, we are going to do something a little different. Our message will be more conversational than most. I’m going to have a stool on stage, and will just sit down with you and share my heart! I’ll share some struggles, convictions, and passions I have regarding the ministry in which God has placed me.

We’ll talk about some core commitments that I have established for my life and ministry- and how those commitments affect us as a church.

And then I’m going to challenge us as a church to pray for me as our Pastor, along with praying for our other elders, deacons, and ministry leaders.

But don’t wait until Sunday- start praying today! This is going to be a very personal, difficult, and challenging message and conversation. Ask the Lord to guide me as I prepare this week!

Know this- I am blessed to be your Pastor, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve, love, and grow with all of you!

See you Sunday!

The Elephant Room

Rusty Mott   October 30, 2014   No Comments on The Elephant Room

Starting Sunday night, our Pastor’s Study will be in a series called “The Elephant Room.”

We are taking a few weeks to discuss various “elephants” that the Church has been afraid to directly address!

We will be talking about “worship wars,” divorced deacons and elders, attractional ministry vs. discipleship ministry, awkward Baptist history, and much more!

It is my prayer that these discussions will help us to see our tendency to rely on tradition and history as opposed to the Word of God.

Of course, there is MUCH of our tradition and history that IS founded on the Word of God! And I am thankful for it.

But in our evangelical culture (especially in Southeast Texas), there is a growing movement to return “the fundamentals.” Unfortunately, if those “fundamentals” are based on human traditions instead of the Bible, this movement is as foolish as the worldly entertainment-based churches they oppose.

We want to be a people who gather around God’s Word and form our opinions and views solely from Him. So join us for the next few weeks as we try to do this as a family!

Are You A “Classic Over-sharer?”

Classic Oversharer

When I first came to Cornerstone, I told the leadership team and the entire church that I am what I call a “classic over-sharer.” I am awkwardly honest. I tell people what I’m thinking, feeling, and going through. I don’t hide my thoughts well.

This has been a blessing throughout much of my life. But as is often the case, strengths can often become weakness!

I came across a Scripture that always intrigues me in Psalm 4:4. It says “Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.”

Part of not sinning in our anger is learning to deal with our anger with the Lord as opposed to taking it to everyone else!

I think “anger” can be replaced with just about any other emotion. In the moment, our feelings can be strong, but often times, after quiet reflection, you realize that it is not a big deal. Or even if it IS a big deal- God wants to deal with YOU about whatever the situation is.

I think our culture would do better if we did more “pondering in our OWN hearts on our beds…in silence.”

I don’t do this enough. We live in a world of instant gratification. If we are upset, we react! Technology has made us as connected as ever- so there is literally no time to think about it. Instead, we post about it, call or text the person, let the world know our thoughts!

I bet every person reading this has used words, posted comments, and taken action that they regretted after further thinking about the issue.

Our world is fond of the phrase “hindsight is 20/20.”

Maybe we need to ask the Lord to help us have 20/20 vision in the present! And that only happens when we do less reacting/sharing, and more thinking, praying, and relying on Him.

Authenticity

But some would counter this by saying “We’re supposed to be REAL with each other. We need authenticity!”

I agree! And it is this point that has caused me to struggle the most. I let people know when I’m upset. It’s clear to people when I’m frustrated or hurting. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. And I have chalked that up to just “being real.”

But Christ wants us to be REALLY changed!

When we are struggling, we can and SHOULD tell our brothers and sisters. But I was thinking about the Apostle Paul. In his letter to Corinth, he informs them of what he calls a “thorn in the flesh.”

He never tells us what this “thorn in the flesh” was. But it obviously plagued his life. It wouldn’t go away. He couldn’t do anything about it. He wanted the church to pray for him and love him through it. But he didn’t broadcast the specifics of his thorn. Instead, he simply admitted that he was struggling.

He didn’t fake it. He didn’t pretend to be okay. But he also didn’t let his emotions lead to sin. He pondered in his own heart.

Conclusion

I have been going through some significant struggles in recent weeks. It seems like the enemy is attacking from many different angles. My initial reaction is to complain, react, and sin.

But God is teaching me to be real, yet be really careful about letting my emotions rule me.

Before you try to take care of an issue by oversharing with someone, or reacting quickly or foolishly- consider these verses of Scripture.

Call out to the one who knows your struggle and understands when NO ONE ELSE WILL! He knows, He understands, and He stands ready to help you through it!