Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reputation or Character?

Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and the angels know of us. —Thomas Paine.

When I saw that quote this morning, I immediately thought of Truett Cathy's favorite verse in the Bible. I've heard him quote it many time from Proverbs 22:
1A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.2The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
3A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Almost every sermon I've heard based on this verse focuses on verses 1. It's certainly a great verse..I've seen it on business cards, signs, and vehicles for years. For me the key word has always been "chosen". I think a lot of people want a good "reputation", but developing Godly character that produces a "good name" requires a choice. It's not a one time choice, it's an everyday choice. How many times have we seen people of faith make one bad choice that causes unthinkable damage to their "reputation" or "name"?

So how do we do this? How do we make the right choices that will give us a "Good name" in the sight of God and of others? I think the answer is in verse 3. Here is what it says in the CEV.."3When you see trouble coming, don't be stupid and walk right into it-- be smart and hide."

Have we trained ourselves to recognize trouble and hide? The devil is still using the same bag of tricks that he always has, so why are we so slow to train ourselves to see it and hide. Instead, we often walk right into trouble, rather than "choosing" the right way.

When it comes right down to it, I think most people really do care about having a "good name" and being known as a person of character. "A good name is rather to be chosen" though, even more than great riches. It absolutely requires a choice...daily, in every circumstance, and in the most minute details!

Choose you this day whom you will serve; As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord - Joshua 24:15

Have a BLESSED day - live for Jesus!

Whatever It Takes,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"The Devil Is In The Details"

My grandmother on my dad's side, affectionately known as "Mama Betty" by all of her grandchildren, was one of the most interesting people that I have ever known. When I look back at my life, at all of the people God used to shape and mold me, she is near the top of the list!

I spent every moment of my childhood that I could at "Mama Betty and Preacher Grandaddy's" house. She was a woman who possessed very little by the world's standards, but she made more impact with a little than a lot of people have made with much. She believed that everything she had was a gift from God, and she never gave a second thought to using whatever she had to bless someone else.

The older I get, I find myself quoting things that I can remember her saying, even though I never remember a single time that she tried to "teach" me anything. I guess what I'm saying is that "her actions spoke so loudly, that I couldn't hear what she was saying"....that is another one of those things she used to say!

Another one of her sayings came to mind as I read from the Psalms this morning. She would say "the devil is in the details". Admittedly, as a child, I can't say I really understood what that meant. As I have become a man, I've seen that little saying in a whole new light!

Here is what I read this morning that grabbed me:

Psalm 37: 23-24
23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,for the Lord holds them by the hand.

What a beautiful picture..... God delights in every detail of our lives. We may stumble, but we will NEVER fall, for God is holding us by our hands.

The "devil" may be in the details, but the details can also become God's delight if we can learn to trust Him with EVERYTHING. Do you ever find yourself frustrated by the details? Does one small bump in the road cause your day to take a turn for the worst?

Maybe our problem is that we aren't talking to God about the details. We don't want to "bother" Him with the little things, so our prayer life takes a more general approach. "God is great, God is good...." or "now I lay me down to sleep...." or "Lord help me to have a good day" may really be the depth of some of our prayers, but according to this verse, God really does care about the details. In fact He DELIGHTS in them.

Maybe if we talked to God more about the details, the devil would "get in" to something else!

Have a BLESSED day and Live for Jesus!

Whatever It Takes,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Broken Furnace.....

As I sit in my office this morning, I'm a little overwhelmed at what lies ahead today. Overwhelmed, but also anticipating what this day may look like when I see it from the other end late tonight.

In addition to our normal (if you can call any day around here "normal"!)responsibilities today, God is opening a door of opportunity that began a week after we closed on the Skipstone property in January of 2008.

Just as we got the year-long process of negotiating and purchasing the property done, and were finally able to say that the property was "ours", one of the three main heating units in the dining hall died a horrible death. I remember thinking " days after we buy it, and the place starts falling apart!". It never occurred to me in that moment that God had a plan to use that old broken furnace to teach me an important lesson.

As I was in the office late the next night, waiting on the HVAC guys to come assess the damage, I remember whining to God about why this was happening now, praying that it would be a simple and cheap fix, and pretty much thinking about how much the whole process was inconveniencing me! After all, it was 9:00pm and I'm still at work, waiting on these guys, and blah, blah, blah, etc.

Meanwhile, across the office in the other desk was my amazing, patient, Godly wife, who was completely ignoring my ranting and whining, and instead was praying through and researching grant opportunities for Skipstone.

When the HVAC guys finally arrived, the boss came into our office. While I explained what was going on with the blown up heating unit, Shondi continued working on the grant research. When I finished my sob story to the boss man, he turned to Shondi and asked what she was doing. I remember thinking to myself "it doesn't matter what she's doing, you need to be under the dining hall fixing the broken heater!".

Shondi knew what I was thinking, quickly gave me "the look" (you know what I mean) and proceeded to engage in a rather lengthy conversation about the grant opportunities she was researching and about the vision God had given us. Meanwhile, I was pouting because it was bedtime and the furnace hadn't even been looked at yet. I was wondering if the service call was by the hour and if we would have to pay these guys for standing around talking about grants and foundations!

Without going into all of the details, it turned out that the broken furnace that cold night in January, and the HVAC guys being more interested in talking about grants and foundations than fixing "my" problem, turned out to be the launching pad for a relationship with a foundation that has pledged nearly a million dollars to help us complete the capital improvements here at Skipstone (which includes a new furnace for the dining hall incidentally!).

The problem that I thought was so big at the beginning of the day, has turned out to be the best problem we've ever had. God chose to work in ways we could not see or understand. He used circumstances and worked through people we never expected.

We do not yet know the end result of what was started that day, but an amazing friendship and relationship with the people of the foundation, that was birthed through a broken furnace, has brought us to yet another unexpected opportunity today.

In just a little while, Shondi and I will be leaving for a meeting with the leaders of the foundation, and one of my heroes of ministry, Dr. Charles Stanley. Dr. Stanley is a member of the Board Of Directors for the foundation. We have been invited to meet with him today to share the vision that God has given us for Skipstone. I must admit, I am a little anxious, not so much nervous, but a little intimidated and a LOT overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by God's graciousness towards me when I'm so undeserving. I'm overwhelmed by His unmerited favor on me and on this ministry!

To be honest, I often feel guilty that God is so good to us. Yes we have problems, yes we struggle to keep our priorities in order, yes we struggle to balance our call to walk with Jesus daily with our call to the ministry of Skipstone, but in spite of our weaknesses, God continues to show himself strong. His mercies are new EVERY morning!

I don't know what you might be facing today....failing health, job insecurities, a marriage or relationship in trouble, or perhaps even a broken furnace. Whatever it is, I pray that you won't be so focused on the beginning that you can't see the end. I bet God will use some people and circumstances in ways you never expected to bring you to the place HE wants you to be, regardless of the outcome.

Thank you Jesus for loving me in spite of me and thank you for my broken furnace!

Whatever It Takes,
Chip Moody

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Still Have Everything........

I Still Have Everything...from The Weekly Walk by James MacDonald

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
- 1 Corinthians 4:7-10

God is with you. Isn't that just typical of what a pastor would say? I figured you might be thinking that. God is with you, brother. And you too, sister. But what does that really mean? How does that really work?

Meet Dan. He's a faithful follower of Jesus in our church. Until a few months ago, Dan was a senior partner at one of the world's largest global investment banks. Dan worked there for 25 years and was very successful. The company was solid, blue chip year after year, with multiple billions in capital. Dan didn't have a whole lot to worry about until this year...

Did you ever see the movie, It's a Wonderful Life? Remember when everyone ran to the bank to withdraw their savings because they heard that the bank was running out of money? Everyone rushed to the tellers, shouting and demanding their cash. The whole bank would collapse since everybody wanted all of their money the same day.

That's what happened to his company in 2008. Over the course of the year, and then finally over a couple of days, their stock value plummeted, people "ran the bank," and the company collapsed. One day Dan and his colleagues were solid and stable, and a couple dizzying days later, they were bankrupt. All completely out of their control. Dan lost everything.

That's so sad, you might think. How's it going for Dan? The surprising answer is great. He's full of joy and praising the Lord. Unbelievable! I've been on the phone with him several times in the last two months. He's filled the presence of the Lord. He says, "James, my heart goes out to the people around me. They're collapsing at their desks in tears. They've lost everything." He said, "But I still have everything. I have the Lord! The Lord is on my side. The Lord is my Helper. I will not fear what man can do to me" (Psalm 188:6). Dan is going around his dying company, sharing the Lord with people in their darkest, most desperate hour.

Now how can you explain that? I'm telling you: The Lord is with him and that story isn't finished yet. Dan is finding, as you can, that you can put your whole weight down on God's great and precious promise that He will always be with you and it will sustain you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sometimes we we read a familiar passage of scripture, such as today's verses from Psalm 23, we tend not to "dig in" because we've read it so many times that we pretty much understand what it means. I caught myself doing this with Psalm 23 this morning, so I decided to read it in some other translations. I love verses 1-3!

Psalm 23 (from The Message)
A David Psalm
1-3 God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

Whatever It Takes,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Are You Looking For A Sign?

A good word this morning......

SEEKING GOD'S FACE - by Neil T. Anderson
Psalm 27:8 NIV
My heart says of you, "Seek His face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek

"If the sun is shining in the morning, I'll do it." "If he's there when I open the door, I'll know he's the one." "If I pass the class on world missions, I'll be a missionary. If not, I'll be a local pastor."

We all know better than this, but it's amazing how often scenarios just like these pop into our minds. Such propositions are referred to as "laying a fleece" before the Lord or "seeking a sign."

The term fleece comes from the account of Gideon. In Judges 6, Gideon is called by God to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Gideon questions whether God is even for Israel (verse 13), and he doubts his own ability (verse 15). So he asks God for a sign (verse 17). God gives him one, then tells him to tear down the altar of Baal. Gideon is afraid to go during the day, so he goes at night.

Then he questions again whether God will deliver Israel. This time he puts a lamb's fleece on the ground. If God will deliver Israel, then the lamb's fleece will be wet in the morning and the ground around it will be dry. The next morning it is so. That ought to satisfy him, right? Wrong! Wanting to be sure, and hoping that God won't get too mad, Gideon asks Him to do it again, but this time with the opposite result (i.e., the fleece dry and the ground wet). Not exactly the stuff heroes are made of. But God answers Gideon's request and then He reduces Gideon's army down to 300 men!

The whole point of the passage is that God, not man, is the deliverer. God chose a man desperately seeking assurance and reduced an army down to nothing so that the victory would clearly be His. The fleece wasn't a means of demonstrating faith; it was just the opposite. And it certainly wasn't used to determine God's will. God had already told Gideon what to do. Gideon was questioning the integrity of God, just as we do if we ask for a fleece when God has already shown us His will. "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign" (Matthew 12:39). As God's people, let's seek the face of God.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have looked for sign instead of seeking Your face. I commit myself today to walk only in the faith revealed in Your Word.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New! Legacy Ministry For Boys!

Skipstone is proud to announce the launch of a brand new ministry for boys ages 8-10.....

visit our website at call Chip Cofer @ 678-778-3580 for more information

Our Greatest Competitor.......

Check Out This Word From "My Utmost For His Highest"
"It Is the Lord!" - Oswald Chambers (January 19)

Thomas answered and said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ —John 20:28Jesus said to her, ’Give Me a drink’ " (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. "You shall be witnesses to Me . . ." (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.

Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Good Word From A Brother This Morning...

I recieved this from one of my brothers in Christ this morning....

How good it would be if we could learn that God is easy to live with. God is
the sum of all patience and the essence of kindly good will. We please Him
most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing
ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He
understands everything and loves us still! -Tozer

FREE Commercial Driver's License Training - CDL!

Have you always wanted to drive a bus full of screaming kids on a field trip? Do your friends say that you have "nerves of steel" or "the patience of Job"?

We are always looking for additional CDL drivers to add to our substitute list at Skipstone. One of our Skipstone family members is Marty Fisher. Marty sent me the following information about a FREE CDL training class this Saturday....

The Bus Group will hold a CDL training class on Sat. Jan. 24 starting @ 8:30AM. Depending on how many people attend, it will last till early afternoon. Lunch will be provided. There is no cost to you for this. The class covers preparation for the written test and some for the driving test. If you are interested please contact Kim Hallman or myself @770-305-0060. The class will be held at BusGroup, 1928 Hyannis Court College Park, GA 30337.

Martin Fisher
Regional Sales Manager
Bus Group
866.287.4768 (toll free)
770.305.0063 (direct)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Week To Remember!

I was a little more quiet on the blog this week than normal. I had the awesome privilege of participating in a seven day fast with fourteen guys from my church. We started last Monday and met every day at noon this week for prayer and encouragement. It was awesome to see men laying on their faces before God praying for forgiveness and a closer walk with Jesus, and strength and wisdom to be better husbands, fathers, leaders, & friends. It was an unbelievable experience for me. It's convicting and humbling to realize how much "junk" we allow to build up in our spiritual lives. It's like when you do spring cleaning and decide you are going to change your housekeeping habits. For a lot of people, it doesn't take long for things to get cluttered up again. We clean out the garage, but somehow we aren't able to park in before long because of the junk! This was definitely one of the best experiences of my Christian life and walk with Jesus. We met yesterday afternoon for prayer and sharing, and then went out to eat together last night. Thank you Jesus for loving me in spite of me!

14 hungry men! on TwitPic

Whatever It Takes,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Have You Had Your "Daily Bread"?

From's Daily Disciple Devotionals.....

Matthew 6:1-18
Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

Today’s verse is taken from what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him how to pray, He gave them this prayer as a model. Matthew 6 and Luke 11 record this prayer in its entirety. Like many people, I learned the Lord’s Prayer as a child and I have prayed it thousands of times. But how many of us really think about what we are praying when we recite this prayer? How often do I ask for my daily bread?

I guess a better question might be: what exactly is “our daily bread?” Certainly our daily bread consists of those things that we need to survive, to live on. We need food, water, clothing and shelter. We need financial resources to get the things we need. So, we must pray that the Lord will meet those needs and give us our daily provisions. There is another type of “daily bread” that applies here as well – our spiritual bread. We cannot live abundant spiritual lives without a daily portion of God’s Word. Learning to feed on His Word every day will give us the spiritual nourishment we need to live a victorious Christian life.

Ask the Lord today to give you His bread of life: to meet your physical needs here on earth, and to also meet your spiritual needs as you walk with Him. When you allow the Word of God to penetrate your heart and mind daily, you will be transformed. Make time for reading your Bible today and let the Lord feed you with His amazing Word. Start the transformation today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A "left hook" to start off the New Year!

I was overwhelmed this morning by what God showed me through a bizarre journey during my quiet time. I won't take time to explain how I got to the "left hook" that really got my attention, because I'm hoping that everyone who reads this blog will take ten minutes to watch this clip for themselves.....

Thank you Jesus for knowing, loving, and watching over me!

Whatever It Takes,