The Difference Between Trusting Prayer Over God

I was challenged today in my devotional time with this question, "Have you put your trust in prayer instead of putting it in God?  I have always thought of them as one in the same.  My prayers are directed toward God, therefore I am trusting in God, right?

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack."

If I were to go visit a farm with sheep, I would hear their endless bleating that would be nothing short of annoying to me.  The picture here in scripture is that of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) knowing each sheep's voice and understanding everything they say.  I understand now the challenge of the question I posed earlier.  Prayer is absolutely essential to our Christian walk.  Just as a sheep makes noise for the shepherd, we do the same to God when we pray.  We express ourselves though prayer and He takes care of us as He sees best.  What is "good" for us, is not necessarily comfortable. To simply put faith in the words we say make us religious. To put faith in God yet never pray to Him makes us distant and self-sufficient.

Remember, a great prayer life is due to our great God and that alone.  We do not have to say a perfect prayer, we simply need to share our heart with God.  He alone is our shepherd.  If you have prayed, have faith that He has heard your cry, He knows your heart, and He will act in your best interest in His time.  Prayer makes a difference because of the one true God we pray to.

If you ever want an intense devotional, check out "The Experience: A Devotional and Journal" by Henry and Richard Blackaby.  They constantly stretch and challenge me in my understanding of God's love and will for my life.


Last Trip To Salt Works For Awhile

Donna and I went for lunch at The Original Salt Works of Wilmington today. I learned early in my time at Pine Valley that this place was a local favorite.  I have had some great meals with some great friends here. This will definitely be on the must go to list when we visit.  If you ever go try the double cheeseburger special or hot dogs. Also, bring cash because that is all they take.


Where Ever He Leads I Will Go

Today was bitter sweet as I read my resignation letter to Pine Valley Church. I cannot begin to cover all the ways I have seen God move in the lives of myself and others.  God's calling for me to step out of student ministry into the role of Senior Pastor has been a long but definite process.  I look forward to posting more later about this process. For now, please pray for Donna and I as we embark on this new journey together.

My Resignation Letter

To Pastor Chuck Love and our Pine Valley Baptist Church Family,

I have learned very early in life that there is one true God.  As a minister of the gospel I treasure each day I have to serve Him and count it as an honor and privilege.  Through the years I have come to know His presence and leading in greater portions.  2001 was a great year for Donna and I because we felt His leading to Pine Valley Baptist Church.  The almost 12 years have been life changing for us both.  The youth, their families and church family as a whole have left an indelible impression on us.  The same leading that brought us to Pine Valley Baptist Church is moving again.  

Homeland Park Baptist Church in Anderson, SC has called me to be their Senior Pastor beginning in November.  This decision was neither easy nor sudden.  It is with an anxious yet heavy heart that I inform you that as of today (October 14, 2012), I am resigning as the Minister of Students at Pine Valley Baptist church and giving two-weeks notice.  Our final day with you will be on October 28th, 2012.

God has used all of you to prepare me for this calling.  He has confirmed in our hearts that the time to move is now.  Just as God is calling us to Anderson, He will be with you, too.  His ways are not our ways and His way is perfect.

23 Peace to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 6:23-24)


Rev. James Strickland