Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Shepastor: “Be Sure of Your Footing…”

He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. Proverbs 18:33, NLT

The older I get, the more I hate winter! Of particular concern for me is navigating our icy drive way as I walk from our back door to the garage. As I slowly, carefully looked for dry or snowy patches weaved in and around icy patches, I prayed, “Lord, please don’t let me fall.” Thankfully, I was able, with the help of the Lord to make it to the garage safely. This experience caused me to think about the importance of “sure footing.”

The psalmist declared that the Lord made his feet “surefooted” (NLT) like that of a deer, enabling him to stand upon high places. The hooves of deer are shaped in such a way that that are able to grip the sides of mountains. While other animals or even humans may find mountain sides slippery and dangerous, the deer appear to effortlessly leap upon them.

Life presents many slippery places for us to navigate…places that make us feel unsure and insecure…dangerous traps to make us fall. But just as God helps the deer to climb mountains, the Lord can make our proverbial feet surefooted, keeping us from slipping into disaster. Even if we slip, the Lord is there so raise us up.

What slippery place are you fearing today? Spend time in the presence of the Lord, asking Him to develop your “deer feet,” so that you can walk upon the high places that have been ordained for your life! God Himself can and will make you “surefooted!”

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Shepastor: “The Disturbance of Deliverance”

Matthew 8:28-34 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[a]two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

These two men had many evil spirits that were possessing, controlling, destroying, debilitating them. They were, to say the least, disturbed. It is interesting to note that these two men were able to hang around each other, but no one else could deal with them. They were disturbed together. Be careful with whom you choose to “buddy up." We don’t know how these two ended up possessed together, but somehow they were able to hang out in dead places with one another. Don’t allow people to drag you into their tombs. Don’t allow people to pull you into their disturbed, dysfunctional, destructive arena. Be careful. Do what you can but avoid ending up in a co-dependent situation! If you are not careful, you may find yourself possessed, disturbed, dysfunctional and in dead places!

In this text, Jesus does not even speak to the men. He interacts directly with the demons who recognized him immediately. The demons begged Jesus not to have to leave the man and go into the abyss, so Jesus allowed them to be cast out into a herd of swine or pigs.
Not even the pigs, however, wanted anything to do with the demons – rather than be possessed by them, they ran down into the lake and drowned themselves! When the pig owners saw what happened they ran and told the towns people. Everyone came running out to see what happened. You would think that they would give God high praise that the men were delivered. But instead, they begged Jesus to leave! Deliverance can cause a disturbance!

The herdsman lost their livelihood – a disturbance. These once dysfunctional, crazy men are now clothed and in their “right mind,” and the towns people didn’t know what to think or how to deal with them – a disturbance! The demons had to find somewhere else to go – A DISTURBANCE!!! The people had learned to accept and live with the demons. The deliverance created a new learning curve! For some, it’s easier to accept the demons than to do the hard work associated with deliverance.

Demons come in all shapes, and forms and sizes. They are not the mythical figures we see on television or in cartoons of red creatures with pitchforks with horns and jagged teeth. Nor are they reserved simply for those who we think are crazy or evil.
The devil is much more cunning than that. “Demons” are anything that oppress, shackle, depress, isolate, crush and come in the middle of our relationship with God. And while we may not go and hang out in literal grave yards, there are things that can separate us, isolate us, oppress, depress, hinder, obstruct, and yes crush our spirits, such that we even pull away from others and our relationship with God.

If you are pushed down long enough, you can begin to stop looking up.
If you are criticized long enough you can stop dreaming and reaching for higher. If you are failed repeatedly without any path for success you will deem yourself a failure. Even if you begin to succeed you will begin to make yourself fail so that you will fulfill your acquired MO.

Demons that shackle, demons that oppress, demons that tear at the very soul of our beings DON’T HAVE THE LAST SAY!!! Jesus is saying, TODAY get out of my daughter! TODAY, get out of my son! TODAY, get out of their situation! With the help of the Lord, deliverance can happen. But once deliverance happens, the challenging work of healing, thorough healing, full healing, complete and total deliverance begins. You may not have the support that you thought you would have from the same people that saw you in the tombs. The people in the text did not come to help them find a new place to live, get food to eat, clothes to wear. They were delivered, but their deliverance created a new reality not just for them but for everyone in the town.

You must realize that everyone will not be excited about your new found healing. Like the people in our text, there will be those who don’t understand what Jesus did for you. There will be those who have grown accustomed to your craziness! There will even be those who have profited from your sickness. There will be those who don’t want Jesus coming to town because he just might expose the demons in them!

When you walk out in the “new you,” there will be those who will question your authenticity, question your motives, question your glow of glory, question your new walk, your new talk, your new “swagger,” but you don’t have to answer them, just start singing to yourself, “I know I’ve been changed… the angels in heaven done signed my name!”

The challenge of deliverance is that you’ve got to fill up the empty spaces that have been created because the demons have left. You have to develop new habits, you’ve got to develop new relationships or at least change the dynamics of the relationships wherein you found yourself. You may have to change the places that you go, the activities in which you engage, the thoughts that you think, the words that you speak. For some, going back to the tombs may seem easier. But don’t you accept or believe that lie! Deliverance is a challenge, but you can do ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST that strengthens you!

Deliverance will disturb somethings in your life, but if you will press through the disturbance, healing is on the other side. Peace is on the other side. Wholeness is on the other side. Joy is on the other side. THE NEW YOU is on the other side!!! Don’t waste your time trying to convince anyone of your healing, your deliverance, your break through. It’s not for them, it’s for you and those who will be blessed and healed and delivered because of your testimony. There will always be those who want to stand in the way of your deliverance, but you let God handle them…you just keep moving forward.

Do you want to come out of the tombs…the lonely dark places, that place where you are broken and bruised, shackled and ashamed? Jesus can speak to those demons in your life and say, “COME OUT!” Even in their demented state, the men had enough within them to come out to meet Jesus. Yes, Jesus stepped onto the shore from the boat, but the men came out to meet Jesus.

You’ve got to come out to meet Jesus.
In other words, you’ve got to present yourself to the Lord…He knows you need healing…He knows you are shackled and broken and bruised…He knows that you desire to get clothed, your mind healed, your body healed, your self-respect restored…The Lord knows…but you’ve got to make that step and open up to Him. The Lord will never force Himself upon you. Won’t you open up and receive Him and get delivered today?

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Deliverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Shepastor: "Gratefulness Pushes Us Beyond Our Pain..."

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 136:1, KJV

Dear Shepastor readers, it is my prayer that each of you will embrace the goodness and mercy of God with a thankful heart, not only during the Thanksgiving season, but each day of your life. In the midst of life's struggles, gratefulness is a choice. In the midst of pain and despair, gratefulness can be a struggle, yet a choice. In the midst of frustration, misunderstandings, doubt and fear, gratefulness may seem to elude us, yet gratefulness remains a choice.

Gratefulness pushes us to see beyond our pain. Gratefulness opens our heart to receive insights and possibilities that bitterness cannot afford. In despair, gratefulness may appear beyond comprehension. In our own strength it may not be possible. But with the help of God, all things are possible.

Open your heart to gratefulness and behold the that is not perceivable with the natural eye.

May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Shepastor: “STOP! Going the Wrong Way…”

The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Proverbs 22:3, NIV

The other day as my family and I entered the on-ramp of the expressway, we observed two big bright signs that read, “STOP – WRONG WAY.” The signs have been enlarged and conspicuously placed right near the on/off ramp of the highway.

Recently, there has been an uptick in the number of cars going the wrong way on the highway. Unfortunately, several accidents have occurred as well as several fatalities. Highway officials are making every effort to ensure that drivers can clearly see the signs posted so that if they find themselves going in the wrong direction, they can find a way to quickly turn around.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life provided literal big red signs that read, “STOP – WRONG WAY!!!” While no such signs physically exist, certainly there are warning signs that yell at our spirit and tell us “STOP, TURN AROUND, DO NOT ENTER – YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!” How often do we ignore the warning signs?

Proverbs reminds us that when we “see danger” we should take refuge. In other words, when we hear the voice of the Lord saying to stop or the wise counsel of an elder, mentor, friend or even a stranger, we should never ignore those warnings. When we keep going in a direction that we have been warned to avoid, we are “kicking against the pricks.” When we behave in this way we are behaving “simple,” and will have to pay the penalty for our willfulness.

What words of wisdom are you ignoring? What warning signs are yelling “STOP – WRONG WAY” and you continue to keep going? Are you allowing pride to stop you from turning around? Isn’t it hard for you to kick against the pricks? Your simple behavior may not only harm you, but others. Just as a car going in the wrong direction can produce deadly results, your decision to continue to move down a path that is ill advised can produce long-term circumstances that cannot be easily or quickly remedied. Remember, your choices will not only impact your life, but the lives of those around you. Be wise, turn around. Stop. Back up. Begin again. Your life and the lives of others may be spared from major heart ache.

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Until next Wednesday,

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Shepastor Highlight: "Hit Reset..."

Today, Shepastor highlights a blog post that first appeared on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016. In this season when many are re-thinking actions, words, thoughts and deeds, it is good to know that with each new day we have an opportunity to begin again. This post talks about hitting the "reset" button. Enjoy...

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10: 4-5

Some years ago, in order to reduce the risk of getting shocked, electricians developed new outlets that use three pronged plugs, instead of two pronged. These outlets, though thought to be safer, are sometimes annoying. You go to plug in your lamp and low and behold, the light does not come on. So you run to the cabinet or upstairs or down stairs to get a new light bulb, go back to the lamp, plug it in and it still does not turn on. UGGHHH! What in the world could be wrong?

It finally occurs to you that you need to press the rest button. A fuse was tripped or burned out and the plug needs to be reset before it can produce the electricity necessary to turn the light on. In the same way, our minds, our brains, our psyche, at times need to be reset…reset because wrong thoughts of a garden variety can drain you of energy, joy, life, healing, wholeness and vitality in Christ.

Our focus scripture reminds us that we don’t have to fight off unhealthy patterns of thinking on our own. The children of God have weaponry that is not of this world.

The child of God has weapons with “divine power to demolish strongholds.”

What is a “stronghold?”

The literal meaning of stronghold is,
A place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack
Synonyms for stronghold are: fortress (A heavily protected and impenetrable building) - fort (A fortified building or strategic position) citadel (A fortress, typically on high ground, protecting or dominating a city.- castle - fastness – bulwark (a defensive wall)

In the spiritual sense, a stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. Strongholds have the capability of affecting our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life, and can play a large role in hindering our spiritual freedom.

The Psalmist declared,
“I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law].” Psalm 119:15 Amphv

The Bible instructs us to meditate upon God’s Word. The Psalmist said that he spent a lot of time meditating upon the “precepts” of God. In other words, he spent a lot of time thinking about, praying about, pondering God’s ways, God’s instructions and God’s teachings. Psalm 1 tells us of the condition of the individual who meditates upon God. It says that we will be blessed, we will be like trees planted by the rivers of water, our leaves will not whither and whatsoever we do will prosper…

We must learn to cast down “mind binding spirits…”

Mind binding spirits are the spirits that seek to literally tie up your mind with thoughts of defeat, depression oppression, failure, inability etc. These spirits are strong holds that seek to thwart, lock up, bind up your faith and distort your outlook on life. You must learn to cast these demonic thoughts down and replace them through prayer, determination and meditation upon God’s Word. How? Consider the following…

Be careful what you think!

Consider Mark 4:24 in the Amplified version of the Bible…

"…Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you who hear."

This scripture suggests that the more time we spend thinking about the Word we read and hear, the more power and ability we will have to do it, to follow it, to live it!

Romans 10:17 declares, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (KJV)

“Think about what you are thinking!”

“Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind…” Ephesians 2:3 Amphv

This passage warns us not to be governed by our sensual nature or to obey the impulses of our flesh, the thoughts of our carnal mind. We must determine to replace our carnal thoughts with thoughts purified by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word.

Romans 12: 1-2. Tells us to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds…”

Always remember that your mind plays an important role in your victory!

Remember our primary scripture…

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10: 4-5

Determine today to take “every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.”

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Shepastor Highlights: "Are You a True Friend?"

This Shepastor blog post first appeared November 4th, 2015. Prompted by a conversation with my daughter about friendship, I was inspired to re-post this message today. Enjoy…

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Proverbs 18:24 (NRSV)
24Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.

In today’s society, we use the term “friend” rather loosely. Often we say "friend" when we really should use the term, "acquaintance." The term “friend” connotes something much deeper than a casual relationship. To be a friend means some very important and specific things…

The Biblical concept of friendship is lifted up throughout the scriptures. God called Abraham his friend. Saul’s son, Jonathan and David were the best of friends. The Bible even gives a negative example of friendship when it speaks of how Herod and Pilate became friends when they joined together in a decision to try, abuse and eventually crucify Jesus. (Luke 23:11-12 states: And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends, together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.)

The scriptures are filled with examples of real friendship. Consider the following verses:

Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
24 A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

The New Revised Standard Version declares:
Proverbs 18:24 (NRSV)
25 Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.

Sometimes God places people in our lives that can relate to us, support us, love us, encourage us, and through their prayers, faith and witness, empower us even more than our own flesh and blood relatives. For many, the Church… the people of God are those which stick closer than flesh and blood.

Some people have never had a true friend. They are hungry for real friends.
There are many people who are “play friends…” those who want to stand with you in the good times, but not the bad…those who want to hang around you as long as it is advantageous for them. There are those who are interested in what you can do for them and not necessarily what you all can share together – you’ve seen them, “play friends.”

Proverbs 17:17 from the NRSV states
17 A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

God’s Word states that “a friend loves at all times,” which means that godly friendship endures and the love is unconditional. None of this, “I’ll be your friend if…” There may be times when we must love someone from a distance. Times change and people change, but love remains.

In true friendship, time, space and distance don’t change the love shared. Situations, circumstances and difficulties in real friendship don’t change the love shared. A friend loves at ALL TIMES.

The following verses further describe friendship:
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
13 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

True friends hold one another up. Human beings were made to be in fellowship with one another. God’s words concerning Adam, that it’s not good for him to be alone, extend beyond the husband and wife relationship. Human beings are meant for fellowship. We are like burning coals. As long as the coals stay together, they remain hot, they glow and produce heat. But if you take one coal away from the bunch and set it off to itself, the coal will soon go out.

God knew that if we did not have fellowship our coals would go out. There is something sweet about the sincere fellowship of God’s people. We lift one another up. We encourage and inspire one another. We give one another hope. We strengthen one another’s faith. God uses the testimonies of the saints to build up the body of Christ.

"Two are better than one. Woe unto him that is alone when he falleth for he hath not another to help him up again." We all trip now and then. But if we are standing close enough, we can catch one another before we hit the ground! And that’s what so special about the next verse:

Proverbs 27:6
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Real Friends will tell you the truth in love. It’s important to have friends that will tell you the truth. So many of us walk around like the king in the “Emperors New Clothes…” with no one to tell us that we are not fully clothed, but in fact naked! Real friends will tell each other when they are “naked,” even if the world is declaring that their “new suit” looks fabulous. Sometimes when we share the truth with our friends, they will be hurt or might even become angry, but in the long run, those “faithful wounds” will heal and the individual will be made whole.

Allowing a friend to go in the wrong direction while we remain silent is tantamount to knowing a person has a time bomb in his or her house and not warning them to get out! Real friends will take the risk of being misunderstood, and share, in love that which may hurt for the moment, but bring healing ultimately.

Finally, consider what Jesus said about friendship:

John 15:13 (NRSV)
13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.

True friendship is sacrificial. True friendship is willing to put self aside for the benefit of another. True friendship is willing to acquiesce or in other words, step back and allow your friend to be blessed. True friendship is willing to be the wind beneath another’s wings. True friendship rejoices with the one rejoicing and weeps with the one weeping. So often people can “weep” with you, but they struggle to “rejoice” with you! True friends strive to do both.

Jesus exemplified true friendship when he sacrificed his life for you and I. Jesus desires that we love each other as He loves us and also as we love ourselves.

Biblical friendship may be summarized as follows:

True friends love at all times
True friends hold one another up
True friends tell the truth in love
True friendship is sacrificial in nature

Are you a true friend?

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until Next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Shepastor Highlights: “Lessons From Ants, Badgers and Lizards Part III: The Lizard…”

Over the past several weeks, Shepastor has reached back to 2014 to highlight the series, "Lessons from Ants, Badgers and Lizards." Today we focus upon the last lesson presented in that series, "Lessons from Lizards..." Enjoy...

Four Small Wonders
24-28 There are four small creatures,
wisest of the wise they are—
ants—frail as they are,
get plenty of food in for the winter;
marmots—vulnerable as they are,
manage to arrange for rock-solid homes;
locusts—leaderless insects,
yet they strip the field like an army regiment;
lizards—easy enough to catch,
but they sneak past vigilant palace guards

Proverbs 30: 24-28 the Message Translation

This is our last lesson in our three week series, “Lessons From Ants, Badgers and Lizards.” Today, Shepastor focuses upon the lizard.

From the ants we learned to be disciplined and not spiritually lazy. From the badger, a creature the Scripture refers to as “vulnerable and powerless,” we learned to build our homes “among the rocks,” and use our spiritual jaws to hold on tight and our spiritual feet and hands to “dig deep.” The lizard teaches us how to move past, “gate keepers.”

Proverbs 30: 28 in the Message translation of the Bible states,

lizards—easy enough to catch,
but they sneak past vigilant palace guards

“How in the world did you end up there?” “What right do you have to be there?” “You are not welcomed here…” These are all statements that could be made about a lizard ending up in a palace. Lizards are not the prettiest creatures. If I saw one in my house I would probably jump, scream, and call my husband or sons to come and get it out immediately! The Scripture, however, calls the lizard “wise.” Although it seems to be easily caught, it is able to get past even the strongest guards. What can we learn from the lizard? The lizard is not concerned about what people think. The lizard’s objective is to get into the palace! It is not concerned about its appearance, whether or not it belongs or even if it will be stopped. It heads for the palace.

What has hindered you from “heading for the palace?” What high and beautiful places has the Lord called you to and you have allowed the opinions of others, the negativity of others, or your own low opinion of yourself to keep you from leaping towards higher plains? When will you accept God's view of you, even above your own? Why not accept the Lord's invitation to the palace?

The lizard knows when to leap… lizards hang out in the corner until the right time. When it discerns that its chances will be best, it quietly throws its tail in the air and propels forward, leaping towards its destination. It is able to successfully move past event the strongest gate keepers.

The term, “gate keeper” conjures up images of armed guards. But gate keepers can simply be people or anything that stands in the way of you gaining entrance or access. Sometimes people are gate keepers…deliberately blocking access or entrance to other people, positions, groups, relationships, etc. Sometimes our emotions are gate keepers – blocking us from entering psychological or real arenas. If you think that gatekeepers are blocking your access to something, ask the Lord to show you when and how to “leap.”

Psalms 75: 6-7 declares,
For promotion cometh neither from the east,
nor from the west, nor from the south.
7 But God is the judge:
he putteth down one, and setteth up another

Promotion comes from the Lord.
While human beings may throw up road blocks and hindrances for a season, God ultimately can show you when, how and where to “leap” towards your “palace.” No human can stop God’s will and purpose for your life. If the gate keeper, however, is your own fear and trepidation, you must first process the reasons why and seek God’s guidance and godly counsel so that you will be able to place trust in God above your fears.

Finally, lizards swing their tails up and keep them moving…

Consider these facts about lizards:
Scientists found that the way lizards swing their tails upwards mid-leap is key to a 'safe landing' on a tree - but that throwing their tail in the air isn't enough. Lizards move their tails in mid-flight to stay stable during a leap.

University of California, Berkeley, biologists and engineers studied how lizards manage to leap successfully even when they slip and stumble, and found that swinging the tail upward is the key to preventing a forward pitch that could send them head-over-heels into a tree
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Lizards turn themselves upward and keep their tails moving! Even when they slip and stumble, they continue to swing their tails upward and keep moving. We will have times of “slipping and stumbling” on our upward journey. But if we continue to turn ourselves “upward,” looking to the Lord, seeking God’s face, taking hold to the wisdom, guidance and promises of His Holy Word, by faith, we will be able to keep moving toward our God given goals.

Like the lizard, let us ignore those who suggest we shouldn’t be here or there. May we go where the Lord leads. Like the lizard, may we use godly wisdom and discernment to know when and how to leap past gate keepers. Like the lizard, may we continue to turn ourselves upward and keep on pressing toward the mark of our high calling in Christ Jesus!

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until Next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris