a visionary gone home

05/28/2007   |      |       |    1 Comment

Many can say what they want but Jerry Falwell was a giant in the faith. He was a man who lived out of his vision for the world. I had the privilege of meeting him and seeing him several times on Liberty’s campus. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, Evangelical, Presbyterian or Charasmatic you have to respect the fruit of this man’s life. He was bold, honest, obedient, consistent and a committed family man. He was loved and hated by many yet his legacy reflects the full impact of his life. His death wasn’t a tragedy, it was a victory…

I’ll never forget the impact that he had on my life. I heard a message he preached years ago. The one thing that he said keeps ringing in my heart, “Make your vision your lifestyle.” This man was serious about fulfilling the vision that God gave him. Check out his son’s remarks as his vision continues…

From: Jonathan Falwelljerry falwell

Date: May 25, 2007

Many Carrying the Torch
My father, Jerry Falwell, was buried on Tuesday. Since that time, I have come to realize anew what an incredible team of people Dad placed around him. I would like to pay tribute to them today.

First, as readers know, Dad loved a good political battle. A few years ago, he became a colleague of Mathew and Anita Staver of Liberty Counsel and together they have uniquely influenced our culture. Mat, the founder of Liberty Counsel and the dean of the Liberty University School of Law, and Anita, now the president of Liberty Counsel, are frontline warriors in our nation’s religious freedom wars. Dad loved standing in the trenches with them and helping them educate future generations of Judeo-Christian soldiers.

Dad also loved to engage the culture through this communiqué, his National Liberty Journal newspaper and through national media appearances. I know that the Liberty Broadcasting Network and National Liberty Journal staffs loved Dad and were grateful for the opportunities they had to help him represent Christianity to a society that largely eschews our values.

At Liberty University, Dad placed around him men and women of character and passion who helped him establish and nurture what is today the largest evangelical university in America.

My brother, Jerry Falwell Jr., speaking at Liberty’s commencement exercises on May 19, confidently stated, “All is well at Liberty.” I can say with all honesty that there is no person alive today more qualified and more gifted to lead Liberty University than my brother.

Jerry, who has now assumed Dad’s role as chancellor of the university, could make this statement largely because of a great faculty and administration that will continue to train up thousands of students (Dad always called them “Champions for Christ”) who will impact their communities and workplaces with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, more than 125,000 Liberty alumni are carrying out the dream of their chancellor to be “salt and light” representatives of Christ, just as Dad dreamed.

All is also well at Liberty Christian Academy, our K-12 private school that Dad loved and had recently given much attention. As I write this column, additional construction is taking place at LCA because of a record enrollment of young people, most of whom will continue their educations at Liberty University.

At the historic Thomas Road Baptist Church, we are carrying out Dad’s original and continuing vision to be fearless and compassionate representatives of Christ throughout Central Virginia. As executive pastor at the church, I am fully aware of the sacrifice and dedication of our staff who want to carry on Dad’s plans to reach more and more people with the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Other ministries are also boldly carrying on. From our Liberty Godparent Home for Unwed Mothers and Family Life Services Adoption Agency to the Elim Home for Alcoholic Men, we are reaching out to all with Christian ministry — just as Christ called the church to do.

Dad often said that his greatest accomplishment was his family. My parents have spent their entire lives pouring themselves into Jerry Jr., Jeannie and me. They have taught us character, integrity, love for country, love for family, and most importantly, love for God. I know that my Mom will continue to lead our family and to impart to us the great wisdom that God has granted her. She is a Godly woman that shines as an example for all mothers everywhere.

During Dad’s funeral, Dr. Jerry Vines — one of Dad’s dearest friends — said that the clearest expression he ever heard for the definition of the word “anointing,” is that it is “a special touch for a special task.”

Dr. Vines noted that God uniquely anointed my father with three special anointings: to engage the culture as a prophet, to be an innovator in Christian education and — most importantly — to serve as a pastor.

Those who remain will now carry these three torches for my father. It is an honor for my family to serve these ministries as we continue to reach out to the world with the Gospel of Christ and to engage our culture.

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laugh out loud

05/01/2007   |      |       |    2 Comments

The older I get, the more I’m learning to enjoy the simple things in life.  One of those “simple” things is a hearty laugh… Stuff is really hilarious and boy, we as Christians could benefit from a good gut-wrenching laugh every now and then.  Life doesn’t always have to be sooo serious.  My wife and I have made laughing a marital criteria… She is flat out crazy.  We laugh sometimes all night about silly stuff.  Either my impersonations or something so nuts that we can’t believe happened.  What’s my point?  Laugher is “good for the soul.”  Take some time in the next couple days and bust out laughing… not at the expense of someone but at something worth cracking up over.  Peace!

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sidelined

03/12/2007   |      |       |    2 Comments

Lately, my heart has been burdened for pastors who are qualiifed and capable of doing ministry but yet are sidelined, waiting for God’s next assignment.  These are men who aren’t scandalous but men who are full of integrity and passion for God.  Although I am personally in a season, experiencing the ups and downs as well as the curve balls in ministry, I still know how hard it has to be to wait on God’s next move.  Pastors with good hearts and intentions are praying, serving but yet sheepishly waiting for the coach to call them into the game. 

It is incredibly difficult for a “called” man to watch from a distance the work he knows he’s capable of doing.  Yet I believe God uses sideline moments to affirm us that our worth is not connected to what we do, it’s connected to who God says we are.  We are worth more to God than what we do… It’s hard to distinquish who we are from what we do but God has a way of making the distinction. 

A great friend of mine is waiting on God right now.  I’ve tasted his heart cries wishing that I could snap my fingers for God to move him into his hearts desire.  But one thing God helps me to see… while he’s waiting, God is working… Please pray for Pastors in full-time, bi-vocational, or on the sidelines waiting for their next assignment.  We benefit from every minute you labor for us on your knees…

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On Duty?

02/20/2007   |      |       |    1 Comment

Is there anyone on duty to apply a healing salve to the wounds, bruises and cuts of a sufferer?  When life throws a curve ball that has no inscriptions of sin present, who is available to coach the sufferer to pick up the bat and get back in the game?  Who journeys through life with the hurting, navigating through the unexpected responses while simultaneously peering for the light at the end of the tunnel? 

As counselors, we become radar specialists in identifying sin.  However, we are off-duty when it comes to exploring the dark heart and cloudy mind of a sufferer?  It takes the compassion of God for Biblical counselors to connect deeply and patiently taste the pain of the afflicted and at the same time stretch them to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.  Counseling for the Christ-follower is more than sin-spotting; it’s a multi-faceted job description that addresses all that has impacted the human soul.  If counselors want to address the human soul holistically, we must not forget about suffering… 911 will forever be a horrific reminder to us that suffering is no respector of persons and has no gender, social-economic, racial, or demographic preferences.  Suffering continues to sucker-punch the brightest, the “strongest”, the most intelligent and the godly…  Suffering is not just for “under-classmen.” 

As we process this, let’s consider our own story of suffering in light of Christ’s resurrection power.  Within it could lie the answers, power and motivation to keep us on- duty.  Christ came, died and rose again so that we could lovingly and skillfully represent Him in response to ALL that has riveted the human soul.

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Superbowl, Race and Faith

01/26/2007   |      |       |    1 Comment

2 Black coaches

 

For all the Wellspring community and friends, check out a great thought on my good friend and mentors blog:   http://www.rpmbooks.org/blog.html

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hetero or homo

01/11/2007   |      |       |    0 Comment

search for truthGod’s love is not a discriminator…  I love that so much about God.  He compassionately loves and pursues what He has created in His image. never “sleeping”, not as if He needed it but always attentive to His creation… whether we acknowledge Him or not, He remains on our trail until we’ve breathed our last.  The true God that is due ALL our attention, chases us in a breath-taking love pursuit.  Although we pursue other things, He remains committed, hoping that one day we will grasp the magnitude of His love.  I see your love.  I’ve felt your love.  I know your love.  Thank you God!

Yet the dilemna for you who turn away and suppress God’s truth and embrace a lifestyle of homosexuality is that in many cases, you have redefined or diminished the truth.  However, God still chases, longs, pursues and desires that you embrace Him but you can’t know and experience this truth because you knowingly or unknowlingly have grown comfortable with suppressing the truth of God.  Morality has become objective and relative based upon your own choices.  because morality has been neutralized and repostured, you grow distant from God and more consumed with yourself.  You are consumed with yourself more than you are interested in God.  Yet He still pursues, still chases, still grieves, still longs… still waits. 

What’s true to you, isn’t necessarily truth.  I’ll tell you some truth – God loves you and regardless of what you think He knows or doesn’t know about your lifestyle choices, He wants to show you but you have to stop suppressing His truth.  turn to Him before He allows the full consequences of your choices to sucker punch you, to put it lightly.   Try it…  I’d love to hear how it goes. 

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quick check-up

01/10/2007   |      |       |    0 Comment

Quick Check upcan we peer into our hearts for a minute to assess our “true” commitment to the kingdom?  as I think about commitment, I can’t avoid thinking about surrender.  if I say, “I’m committed to Christ” then I’m essentially communicating that I’ve chosen to abandon and surrender the outcome of my life to Him. 

in a recent message, I spoke of the spontaneous and unpredictable nature of the Holy Spirit.  it hit me – if we are Christ followers then we possess that same spontaneous and unpredictable nature.  if I’m committed to Christ, then I have surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s nature within me as He leads me towards living to please the Father.  The words “spontaneous” and “unpredictable” don’t leave a lot of room for my will, it sets me on a course to trust Him with a deep commitment. 

let’s be real with what we say out of our mouths about commitment.  our commitment is about surrendering to the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  if you are committed, limit your words, surrender will burst out of your life as you live in the power of the Holy Spirit.  it’s crazy to think that seekers and unbelievers will surrender to Christ, if Christ followers say they are committed but are not surrendered…

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new year wisdom

01/02/2007   |      |       |    0 Comment

so often, at the end of a year and the beginning of a new year, I spend time developing elaborate spreadsheets of “new schedules” to keep me focused, faith goals, “to-dos” and big ideas… this year God has challenged me to make the “main thing” living wisely (Ephesians 5:15-20) instead of my normal routine.  he has exhorted me to make sure I’m using my time wisely by concentrating on “buying up” opportunities to do good.  my new desire for the new year is to use every chance I get to do good… secondly, I have been challenged to go deeper in understanding God’s will for my life by committing to the Scriptures in order to determine what God wants me to do this year.  so much of my new year planning in the past had been about me and what I wanted out of the new year.  this year, it’s about his will.  Lastly, I am compelled into the new year with an earnest heart that desires to be controlled by the Holy Spirit… instead of being controlled by everything but God, I desire to confront my flesh, selfish desires, ego and my responses to public opinion in order to yield more to the prerogative of God.  may you take some time before the new year cranks up to get a game plan…  if you are interested, I invite you to hear the sermon:  Living Wisely in the New Year.

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a real christmas

12/29/2006   |      |       |    1 Comment

Christmas boxIn the Christmas season, it’s so easy to unknowingly reduce the birth of our Savior to a time of celebration as well as “our time” to prove to the unbelieving world that Jesus is the reason for the season.  Yet when I read in John 1:14-18, it tells us that our Savior became human so that He could engage with people who needed him.  The Word became flesh and tabernacled in the midst of people.  Journeying further in the text, I see that His glory was beheld by those around Him.  In other words, He didn’t simply engage for engaging sake, He engaged in order to exemplify grace and truth.  The language of the text suggests that it was so profound in His life that it dripped out of his pours… Lastly, John tells us that in the presence of Jesus Christ they received grace on top of grace.  Jesus Christ gave those around Him an extravagant grace… He gave them a constant supply of undeserved love.  As we peer into the Script ures, it’s clear that this explaination of the humanity of Christ seems so different from how we respond to the Savior today.  John encourages us and I encourage you to engage with those around you during this holiday season exemplifying grace and truth with an endless supply of extravagant grace. Merry Christmas from the Wellspring community!

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coming out of the emotional closet

12/05/2006   |      |       |    2 Comments

Do pastors have real emotions or are they only limited to the emotions that are found on the “emotional expectations checklist” of those whom they serve? Aren’t pastors superhuman anyway? Aren’t they called to be seminary-trained stoics?

As a pastor, it saddens me to witness the real disconnect between pastors and their emotions. I believe we are in a personal struggle – stuck betwixt juggling and determining the difference between “positive” and “negative” emotions. Coupled with this struggle is the difficult challenge of finding a safe place, adequate time and personal permission to express and process emotions – whether in the public’s eye or in the privacy of our own hearts.

Have we knowingly or unknowingly made a mistake of negating the breadth of emotions that are available for us to express, process or discuss? Is it permissible for pastors to express righteous indignation, gratitude, joy, love, boldness, hope, courage, happiness or patience? What about confusion, hopelessness, wonder, timidity, discouragement, repentance, unhappiness or fear?

Scripture teaches us in Genesis 1:27 that we have been created in the image and likeness of God. God has given ALL mankind the ability to think intelligently, feel passionately and choose audaciously. Dialoguing about emotions biblically could stimulate opportunities for many pastors to begin processing, managing, understanding, and healing emotionally.

Despite popular opinion, it’s manly, macho, healthy and courageous for pastors to risk demonstrating that they too are created in the image and likeness of God as opposed to a dispassionate image that is void of emotions. May pastors be inspired to “come out of the closet” and begin processing and discussing their emotions.

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