Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Leading Like Jesus

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I pray every day for the Lord to show me my heart, the things He wants to change and mold in me. I pray for a pure heart and pure motives in all I do.  I want His will in me, not my own. 
Well when you start asking the Lord to show you things, be advised, He will.

He started dealing with me about the kind of leader I am and the kind of leader he wants me to be.
Galatians 5:22-23 came immediately to my mind and my heart.  To be the leader God wants me to be I HAVE to produce good fruit! The fruits of the Holy Spirit!  I had to take a hard look at the fruit I have been bearing, well so often, it hasn't been all of them.  Then realizing that maybe I have been depending on myself too much.  

It's kinda like learning how to ride a bike, once you think you have the hang for it, you don't feel like you need anyone to hold on to it for you anymore,  but the thing is I have to always have the Lord hang on to me and me to Him.  Make sense? 

I get on auto pilot so to speak and don't give glory and honor to the Holy Spirit for all HE produces in me.  Before I know it, I'm not producing all the right fruit, and if let go too long, there isn't any fruit and the tree dies. I never want to think I can handle anything in this life without the Lord, without His guidance, without His love and understanding.

To be the leader God wants me to be I have to then wow, not only do you have to produce fruit of the Holy Spirit, but then I have to have WHAT??? A WHAT?? A SERVANT'S HEART!

Matthew 20:28

28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We are to lead by example, by CHRIST'S example.  To learn to be humble obedience, to serve, to be open, to be loving, non-judgmental,  not condemning. 
Paul said:

1 Corinthians 11:1

11 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

Simple, right?
The Lord has shown me that He wants me to be MORE like Him.  To put aside myself, to lay down my cross, and follow Him.  To follow His example of leadership.  He wants me to bear the fruit that will win souls for His kingdom!

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

You and I may not be necessarily in a "leadership" role within your church or ministry.  We are all servants, but know this:  YOU and I ARE leading someone.  Whatever example you are setting be it bad or good someone will follow. Someone is always watching how you live your life.  Someone is always looking for the fruit you do or do not bear and the light you do or do not shine. We are ALL called to the task of making disciples, to LEAD others to Christ.

Matthew 28:19

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit fills me and produces good fruit in me. I will lead others to the truth in Christ. I WILL be, with Christ's help, the leader, the example HE wants me to be. I will follow the example of Christ. 

Who are you leading like? 

Colossians 1:9-14

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Lord give me the courage to seek out all you have for me.  Move me out of my own way that you might have your complete will done in my life.  Give me the burden for the lost.  As I start my every day, what can I do for you Lord, not what can you do for me.  Open the doors Lord and give me the boldness, courage, and wisdom to walk through them.  It's all about you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Who is driving you life?

Do you ever feel like life is getting by you, it’s out of control, things are happening left and right that YOU don’t know what to do?

The last several months I feel like God has been drilling into that “Hey, I got this!  I’m in control.”  There have been a lot of questions as to 1. God where do you want us, where are we supposed to be and what are we supposed to do.  2. Then we bought a house…Lord are we supposed to buy this house. 3.  Adoption…answering questions, the right child, etc.  Lord just WHAT DO YOU WANT OF ME??? What am I supposed to do??? How can I fix this? For a moment, I think my ears had closed to what God was saying and I was listening to my own thoughts.

Let’s talk about who is driving our lives.  In Matthew 4 Jesus came across two fishermen Peter and Andrew.  Jesus told them to “come follow me, I will make you fishers of men”. Then he came across James and John.  He said come on..come follow me.  Without question or hesitation..the bible says immediately they followed.  It didn’t say they stopped and asked 20 questions.  They didn’t ask where are we going, when will we be back, what is the long term goal here Lord.  NO, they dropped EVEERYTHING to follow him no questions asked.

As Christians here’s where we sometimes mess up:  We question God. Even when we shouldn’t question God His grace takes over and he has answers for us.  Might not be the answers we thought we wanted to hear. Here are some things you need to know.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT)
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (MSG)
11True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going.

So it appears God is telling us, “Hey I know what I’m doing.  You don’t need to know everything.  Trust me.  I know what I’m doing”.

Jeremiah 29:11  (NKJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

That’s who is driving my life…that is where my hope should be…that’s where my trust is laid…in Jesus Christ!

It’s easy to not question God when the blessings are pouring down.  But what about when the crap hits the fan??

Proverbs 16:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Lord has made everything for his own purposes,
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.

John 16:33 (NLT)
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
He never promised that every day was going to be hunky dory.  He never promised us that living a Christian life was going to be easy.  There will be times when we don’t know what to do and there is no way this could ever work out like it should. I have said before “There is no way God…..”.

Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible.”


Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

I Am called according to his purpose! It tells me in the very next verse 29

Romans 8:29 (NLT)
29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
That’s me!  That’s you! You want to know more about what trusting in the Lord and letting him drive your life..just read all of Psalm 37.

Psalm 37:23-24  (NLT)
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.

Hebrews 2:5-9 (NLT)
And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    or a son of man that you should care for him?
Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them authority over all things.”
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.

Do you understand why Jesus had to be sent to the cross for our sins?
Sometimes I don’t.  I don’t know why God didn’t zap us and just start over.  But then I hear that still small voice Because God sooo loved the world….He KNEW this was coming. God is never caught unaware!  We can’t understand sometimes…but what we have to know is HE KNOWS!  He knows the things you think you are keeping secret, he knows what you are going through, He knows the thoughts that run through your brain,  and He knows what’s ahead.  TRUST HIM to drive your life!  Pray that he removes you out of your own way so He can have HIS way in you.
There is so much more scripture I could bring you to prove to you God is in control…trust me as of late I think I have read them all.  Let me leave you with these last couple thoughts…..

Revelation 1:17-18 (NKJV)
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 

Isaiah 41:10  (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

The Lord tells us often in His word “fear not”. He’s got this. And though things may not be exactly the outcomes that we think they should be and we are always trying to give God OUR counsel…He knows what he’s doing, put your trust and faith in Him.

James 5 he urges us to have patience for one another…to pray for one another. He says in verse 16 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  Don’t be afraid to seek out wise counsel from your church leadership.  The bible tells us to seek wise counsel, but remember that Jesus IS the ultimate counselor.  Establish bible reading and prayer time and establish relationship with Him.

Monday, August 12, 2013

To Read or Not to Read...the real question is WHY?

I actually started doing some study on what the bible says about reading the word.  I know why it's important to read the word.  However trying to impress that on baby Christians and young people is sometimes challenging.  Sometimes that is just because of our human thoughts toward reading in general.  I hear a lot "Well I just don't like to read" " I don't understand it", and a multitude of other reasons as to why people DON'T read the Word of God regularly.

The Bible is so much more than a book!  It IS the VERY WORD OF GOD!  That statement alone should make us want to read it from cover to cover as often as we can.  

John 1:1

King James Version (KJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word WAS GOD!  Why wouldn't you want to know God?? Knowing His Word IS knowing HIM!

Hebrews 4:12

New Living Translation (NLT)
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

ALIVE AND POWERFUL!! I love those words!  The very power that raised Christ from the dead. It's that very power that lives inside of us as children of the one true King!  We receive power from the Word of God.

Matthew 22:29

New Living Translation (NLT)
29 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.

This was the Lord's response to the Sadducees when they were questioning him about the resurrection. For people who thought they knew so much, they didn't even realize how little they knew.  

Here is what happens when you KNOW the Word of God....

2 Timothy 3:16-17

New Living Translation (NLT)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Joshua 1:8-9

The Message (MSG)
And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

John 15:5-8

The Message (MSG)
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

Let God show who He is IN you and THROUGH you!  This is accomplished by getting his words deep inside.  I get excited when it comes to the Word of God, because IT IS the Word of God!  Because everyday I receive something new from it.  I'm strengthened in the places where I was feeling weak!

Don't think you understand...that is addressed in the Word of God as well....

2 Timothy 2:7

New Living Translation (NLT)
Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.

John 8:31-32

New Living Translation (NLT)
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Freedom in Jesus Christ.  We always want "answers".  I have one answer to every need...Jesus Christ! To know the Word of God is to know HIM!  To be set free in Him.

Psalm 19:7-11

New Living Translation (NLT)
The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.

God's Word is forever.  It was for our past, our future, and our present.  It gives us hope and encouragement when there is none.  It lifts us to heights we never thought possible and gives us understanding that can only come from Him.  

Matthew 24:35

New Living Translation (NLT)
35 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

Romans 15:4

New Living Translation (NLT)
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

There are so much more to study on this subject.  It could be a book in itself. By the end of this short study, to say that reading and knowing the Word of God will help you in your Christian walk is understated to say the least and most likely inaccurate.  Reading and knowing the Word of God is VITAL to our life as a Christian.  Without know Him and knowing who we are in Him and what power lives in us, how do we overcome even the least of things that comes against us in daily life? 

My prayer today and every day is that YOU and I read the living Word of God with eyes and ears open.  To learn and understand who each of us is in Christ. That we each have a burning desire to know God and in doing so that we have a burning need to read and know His word.  

Be brave and courageous!  Don't be discouraged, but be ENCOURAGED!  God's Word can do that for you today and everyday!

Side Note:  Did you know hearing the Word of God is just as effective???? Don't like to read...there are several ways of "hearing" the Word. Bible app, bible on dvd/cd.  GET ONE! 

Romans 10:17

New King James Version (NKJV)
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lip Service?

I was reading in 1 Samuel about Hannah and how she dedicated Samuel to the Lord and left him at the temple with Eli. Now Hannah didn't have lots of children at the time.  As a matter of fact she prayed and cried out to the Lord for a son when she was finally blessed with Samuel.  Her only son that she loved so much.  She gave him completely to the Lord.

1 Samuel 2:20-21
New Living Translation (NLT)
20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.[e]” 21 And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

She gave up to the Lord what He had given her!  How many of us are willing to give up the things most precious to us?  To give back and dedicate to the Lord what HE gave us?  Today when we dedicate our children to the Lord we promise to raise them up in the ways of the Lord.  Hannah took this son she had prayed for for years and LEFT him at the temple to grow up in the Lord's presence.

These chapters stirred my heart.  We talk about being Christians, spreading the love of Christ, and being dedicated and obedient.  But are we really? The Lord yet again shows me a place in my heart that needs some work.  Am I truly willing to be completely dedicated in all things, with all things, all that is precious to me? Is it just lip service?

Isaiah 29:13
New Living Translation (NLT)
13 And so the Lord says,
    “These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
    is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

Am I DOING and being OBEDIENT to what the Lord has commanded me to do?  Does HE have ALL of me?

When we pray for the Lord to show us change we need to make in our hearts and life, it's sometimes very difficult to take.  But we should want to be molded and made by Him on a daily basis.  To be doers of the word not just hearers. To have faith with works so that it's not dead.

That's my prayer for not only myself, but for you today as well.  That we examine our hearts, be open and willing for the Lord to mold and make us.  To be willing obedient vessels to carry the gospel to a lost and dying world.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Being Passionate about Christ

Noah was so passionate in his faith and belief in the Lord that when the Lord commanded him to build and ark and prepare for a flood (mind you at this point it had never rained) he was obedient. Genesis 6.

Abraham was so passionately devoted in his love for God, he trusted God when He told him to sacrifice his son.  Trusting God to fulfill his promise that he would have descendants as many as the stars in the sky. Genesis 15 and 22

Moses was so passionate in his devotion to God that time and time again he went before Pharaoh (even after he begged God to send someone else) as the Lord instructed him and demanded "Let my people go"! Exodus 4.

Ruth was so passionate in her love and conviction for her mother in law that she followed her out of her own lands, away from her own people.  She married Boaz and bore Obed, the father, of Jesse, who was the father of King David, whom our wonderful Savior is a direct descendant! Ruth 4

David was so passionate for the Lord when they moved the Ark of the Covenant he danced in just a linen ephod (I'm guessing like under clothes)!  And his own wife showed him contempt! 2 Samuel 6  David had so much passion for the Lord. We could talk about just him all day!

Isaiah was so passionate for the Lord, that when the Lord asked "Whom should I send as a messenger to the people?"  Isaiah "Here I am, SEND ME", Isaiah 6.

Jeremiah was so passionate for the Lord that he said His word was like a fire shut up in his bones! Jeremiah 20

Daniel was so passionate about the Lord that he would go to the lions den rather than give up his prayer to his God three times a day! Daniel 6

John the Baptist was so passionate that he cried out in the wilderness that the Messiah was coming. John 1

The disciples were so passionate that they dropped everything they were doing just to follow Him! Read the Gospels.

 Peter was so passionate about the Lord that he followed him out of the boat and walked on the water. Matthew 14

Paul was such a passionate man. Before his transformation on Damascus road, he was passionate about killing Christians.  However, after his experience and just a few days he IMMEDIATELY started preaching the gospel fueled by his passionate faith! Acts 9 Again, we could talk about Paul's passion for the Lord all day!

I could go on and on showing examples from the word and from modern times.  I know of several preachers of the Gospel that are so passionate about the cause of Christ that they eat, breathe, sleep, live to spread the Good News to ANYONE who will listen.  The list goes on, but what about you?  What about me?  Just how passionate are WE about the cause of Christ?

We had to start our journeys in Christ through faith.  Is your faith so strong and passionate that God's words burn in you?  That if you don't tell it, you feel like you are burning from the inside out??  Are you passionate enough to put Him at the forefront of you life, making the Lord the center of your life, your home?

As you move through your day, what are you passionate about?  Are you just as passionate about Christ?  I want my passion for Christ and His word to consume me from the inside out!  I want to be driven by my faith, by my passion to win the lost to Christ!

It's only about Him!  What are you passionate about?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Confidence: Do you have it?

I was asked to teach a CRAM (Christ's Redeemed And Mentored) class this next Sunday.  It's our college leadership training class that our youth pastor has started.  It's awesome.  I started praying about what the Lord wanted me to teach on and almost immediately in prayer I felt like He wanted me to teach on having confidence through the Lord.  Not just confidence in what the Lord can do, but what the Lord can do in us and with us.

I hear all the time things like "Man, I can't get up in front of people. I freeze" or "I freak out and shut down in front of lots of people" or "I don't know where to begin or even how to do that".  Most of us probably feel the same way to some degree.  However, I feel with strong conviction that when the Lord asks you to do something, it's not up to us to question it, just do it! Nike had it right with that one didn't they?



  1. The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust:
  2. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
  3. Synonyms
    trust - faith - reliance - belief - credit - credence
As I started researching this topic I realized the bible has a lot to say about having confidence.  So I'm going to list several scriptures before I log off, but bring out a few that really struck home with me.

Of course if you have been in and around church at all we all know Philippians 4:13.

Philippians 4:13

New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yes I can!  I can do it!  Not because I have the strength, but because God gives me the strength! Because when I put my complete dependence on and in Him, that is a game changer.  If you knew me pre-Jesus you would know just how fragile I was.  God has brought me through so many tests, trials, and sorrows, but through HIS strength I was able to endure.  You can too!  This wasn't just a promise for me, but for all of us. Doesn't matter what the situation (speaking in front of others, being bold, or just living a Christian life) is  HE gives us strength.

Confidence in and through Christ and the Holy Spirit leads us the boldness to complete the tasks He has given us.  The ultimate task, to win others to Him. 

John 15:1-8
New International Version (NIV)
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

So here it is "apart from me you can do nothing"!! WoW!  Do you understand that statement??? It doesn't matter how good or bad you are at ANYTHING,  because if you don't have Him, you can't do anything.  You won't make an impact and you won't reach souls.  We have to go into all things relying on Him and Him alone.  His words, His will, not our own.  We have to have REMAIN IN HIM, and He will REMAIN IN US!  This shouldn't be earth-shattering, but somehow we don't always get this concept.  Put the ego away, be it high or low self-esteem and let's get some GOD-ESTEEM in us!

Ephesians 3:7-13
The Message (MSG)
7-8 This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.
8-10 And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!
11-13 All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!

Paul understood that without God He could do nothing!  Yet he was preaching the gospel and winning souls for the Kingdom. I love how The Message bible interprets it, "And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ".  Understand this, God qualifies the unqualified.

When people say "I can't", well me either, but I know who can! We are ALL called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When God calls you to do something that is over your head, remember His goodness, His mercy, and inexhaustible riches and generosity.

Here are a few more scriptures that will shed light on this subject:

Hebrews 10:35-36
Romans 8:37
Proverbs 3:26
1 John 5:14-15
Hebrews 13:6
Isaiah 41:10
Philippians 1:6
Habakkuk 3:19
Zechariah 4:6
Isaiah 43:2
2 Corinthians 7:16
John 1:12
John 16:33

Lord, just let me have confidence through you.  To carry out the work you would have me to do.  Not my will, not my words, but let it all be you Lord.  Help me to stand firm, to be bold and courageous and shine your love to all I meet. AMEN!