Available for Ministry

I have been in the ministry for thirty eight years. I feel like I have been somewhat successful in my ministry to the Church. I have served as volunteer, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, Royal Ranger leader, evangelist, pastor, church planter, sectional youth representative, community ministerial president, chairman of Teen Challenge of Alabama, chairman of Alabama Prison Ministries, Crisis Center Counselor, Alabama State Youth Director, Presbyter at large, National Speed the Light director, National Aim Director, Light for the Lost field Representative, Convoy of Hope Church representative, and on and on. I have led camps, conventions, revivals, churches, committees and boards. I have built buildings and organized ministries. I have rubbed shoulders with leaders in the highest offices of our fellowship and worked alongside some men who were great but chose to serve in difficult and hard places. I have had a good run at this thing and I am not done by any means.

But when I listen to some of the things purported by some of the qualifications of ministers I would have never been able to get off first base. If God has placed in you a passion to minister then do it where you are and move forward. Learn and grow into the work. Don’t be stymied by the opinions of others. Ministry is not rocket science it is service to The Lord and His people. I guess I have never been in awe of the fine oratory of some among us. I never have felt because others spoke well, knew more and had more talent than I, that I was disqualified to minister and serve.

The best advise I could ever give a person with a desire to be in the ministry is just get in where you are and with what you have. Every person has something that God can use to help others. I am not excusing laziness in study and preparation. I am not saying that if you have the opportunity to stretch your mind and skills that you should not do so. I am saying that ministry is available at any level and to any person who will commit themselves to God through serving others.

20130630-184042.jpg

Greater Than My Fears!

Greater than my fears!

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

The fact that God is greater in us than he,them, problems, fear or anxiety is a fact! The trouble comes when we allow other things to block us from allowing Him to dominate our thoughts. If the enemy can violate our thoughts he can unseat Christ’s power in our lives. Now he has no power to do that unless we yield our thought life over to him. The anxiety that will fill our life will block out the hope and power brought by Christ.

All great men of God have faced moments and days of deep dark depression. It is natural for those who operate under the anointing to be open to these attacks in the slack moments of life. Elijah faced the agonizing dark hours of depression. It was after a great victory that it came. I have no doubt all through the scripture this fight for the heart and life of the man of God was there.

How can you defeat the depression and the darkness?

Fill your lonesome moments with alone moments with God. Feed in the Word of God. Pray the Word and sing the Word. I have even put the Word on at night to play so in my sleep the Word was penetrating my mind and Spirit.

Pray in the Spirit all through the day and wake up praying in the Spirit. Saturate your time in prayer. Let the Holy Spirit pray and groan through you. Victory will come!

Get the focus off of you and on to others. God called you as a minister. A minister is a waiter! He is one that serves others. We can’t get what we need from God waiting on ourselves. We have to wait on God and others! Our reward and release comes in the serving and the waiting. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Yes, God is greater if you refuse to allow your doubts, fears, anxieties, mountains or people to sit on the throne that was made for Christ. Christ has set His throne up in your heart but you have to set Him up in your mind. Get your head and your heart set that Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world, and He will be greater! Some loads we were not meant to carry. So unload the stuff and put Christ back in your mind and heart!

20130620-010321.jpg

Fight the Good Fight, Finish the Job and Keep the Faith

Fight the Good Fight, Finish the Job and Keep the Faith

2 Timothy 4:[7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

The Apostle was coming to the end of his time on the earth. He had some reminiscing of his life and it was put in a nutshell in 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Not much more can be expected of a life well lived. Today we have the ability to live deeper, longer and higher than Paul in that we have modern technology, tools and travel at our disposal. But side by side most of us would fall far short of the success of Paul.

When God sets before us a work to do I hope when our time is served we fought the good fight, finished the job and kept the faith that was given to us.

1. Fighting the Good Fight!

To do the work of God you will always have to fight. It is a struggle to do the right thing. The biggest issue will be to fight the good fight and not just any fight. I have been amazed through the years at the men who fought everything that challenged them but it was the wrong fight. Sometimes that is because we are fighting with ourselves as to who we are and what we are suppose to do. There are just too many fights some people get themselves into to ever win the good fight. You can never win the good fight if you are fighting the wrong fight. It is not people we should be fighting. It is not issues we should be fighting. It is not even evil that we should be fighting. We are fighting for the purpose of Christ to be established in the world we are living in. We are fighting to know what it is Christ wants done. We can’t be fighting ourselves and others and ever fight the good fight. The fight is to work the works of Christ while we can and where we can and however we can.

2. I have Finished the Job!

It is not enough to start something and leave it unfinished. Your responsibility is to see the task finished. Christ on the Cross when He was about to die said, “it is finished!” Not His life, but the work He had come to accomplish. Death was not taking him until He finished. No sir, He had set His face steadfastly, firmly, stubbornly to finish His work. It drove Him to walk, work and witness until he had established His Kingdom in the earth. His part was finished but He handed off to us, the Church our part to finish. Paul said, “I fill up that which remains of the work of Christ!” He had to finish his part and so do you and I! Our task is to finish the task. We are to take the commission of Christ seriously. We are to obey the commission even to our detriment. We are to take the message of the Kingdom to every end of this world. [18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

“Matthrew 28: [19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

We cannot come to the end of our time as individuals or as the collective Church and not have finished the task. We dare not waste the sacrifice of Christ on the selfishness of self-centeredness. We dare not waste the blood of the Martyrs, the plodding of the pioneers, the suffering if the missionaries on the laziness of those who snooze on the job. I certainly hope that when our shift is done we have finished more than we left unfinished.

3. Kept the Faith

This is not something mystical like wishing and speaking wealth and things into your life. It is not the comical way people profess their walk as people of faith. Proven by the homes they live in, the cars they drive and the clothes they wear. Sir, you are no more than a clown in the rodeo of life. One day one of the raging bulls of this world is going to gore you and leave you busted.

To keep the faith is to keep the truths and standards of the revealed Word of God. Men of God have been handed and delivered the truths of the Kingdom. These are eternal truths that change lives but the truths do not change. Here we have a key to the success and significance our lives have when we have run our race. Have we been true to the truth? Have we lowered the standards that God has raised? If you have changed the truth and lowered the standard Christ has given His Church you are a traitor to His work. Non of us have the right to change the truth or lower the standards of His Word. Culture, fads, leaders, organizations must heed the truth and honor His standards. When we work from the other side and make the truth and standards fit other people and ideas then we void the power of the truth and the strength of the standards.

The honor of a man of God when his work is done is not what many think. You will have no eternal honor because of the positions you have held, titles you earned, friends you made, buildings you built or races you have won. The greatest honor to a man of God is that he fought the battle, He stayed the course and He upheld the standard and lived the Truth!

20130617-222012.jpg

40th Anniversary for David and Pat Raley June 16, 1973-2013

40th Anniversary for David and Pat Raley
June 16, 1973-2013

I heard a thought or sermon one time about the dash between the dates on a gravestone. That dash represented the greatest part of the deceased persons life. It is what they did in that dash that validates the birth and gives value to the life of the corpse. Well today Pat and I are not crawling up into any caskets. We have a whole lot more to do and life to live before the end. But the dash for us represents a whole lot of struggles, growth, fun and adventures. Today we are celebrating the validation of our marriage and the value of its love.

Let me rehearse a few of those events

1973 Wedding in Cullman, Alabama

In that ten years I worked at a steel mill, pulp wood Yard, hardware store, and a insurance company. Pat worked at sewing factories.

We lived in rental homes and struggled to pay our $55.00 a month rent.

We bought our first home, a trailer.

I committed myself to the call of ministry.

1983-1993

We were pastors of Grace Chapel. Assembly of God.
We were new parents of Jonathan (1985)
We became pastors of New Life Assembly
We bought two new homes and built a new home
Pat got her Associates degree and became a x-Ray technologist.

1993-2003
We were elected District Youth Directors of Alabama.
We lived in Montgomery, Alabama
We started Capital Christian Center
We built a Church building

2003-2013

We left to serve the national office of the Assemblies of God
We live in Springfield, Missouri
Pat got her Bachelors degree at Evangel University.
We have lived in two homes and one of those I built.
We helped start a new ministry with a friend and we are presently doing such.

We have traveled the world together, built homes together, raised a family together and dreamed together. Life has been an adventure and it has been a struggle. We have had our ups and we have had our downs. There were days that we did not have the money for what we needed and there were days that we had enough money to share. We have had some defeats and failures but we also have won and succeeded at some things. We made a few enemies along The way, for which I am sad, but wow have we made some friends. We were never poor because we did not have any wealth or money. We never considered that being without was because of who we were. Our minds were set to move forward and do the best we could with the little we had. We felt that if we gave it all we had the results would be better than letting life push down. We never thought about giving up, letting up, but moving up. We never felt like we had to have more than we could afford or be bigger than who we were. We have always been amazed at how good, kind and gracious people have been to us.

We have never been anywhere close to perfect. We started out as two teenagers who had nothing but each other. I mean really nobody gave us a a chance that we could or would succeed. We have failed on so many levels in so many ways. But we have succeeded in enough places to be here today after forty years of marriage, healed, happy, healthy, and hopeful for the future that is in front of us. If the dash in these last forty years means anything it means that nothing in our future can stop us from having a future. The Lord has shined His face upon us. He has put His hand on us to bless us. He has given us His favor and His loving kindness for life.

David and Pat

20130616-155440.jpg

20130616-155453.jpg

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day

Today is Fathers Day. This is the day that we celebrate dad. There is no doubt that dad deserves the day of celebration. So many times when we commemorate dad in our church services it is centered around what a dad should be and not what he is. It seems to take on the feel of coaching him up rather than thanking him for his role. It is really a total different feel for the mothers on their day. On Mother’s Day we have nothing but praise and highest honors. If only the rest of humanity could even get somewhere close to what a mother is then we would be highly esteemed. Now lest you think I have a problem with the praise on mothers let me say, mothers are worthy of every accolade we could give them. But could we give a little love toward daddy? Could we take a day to reflect on the struggles, challenges and unique journeys of the man who is a daddy.

When you think about the struggles of a man it may take a while. While he is a man he is still a boy. One who likes to explore because of the curiously he innately has by simply being male. That curiosity helps him develop into a man. Yet it is that same curiosity that leads him down some not so good roads. That is why boys needs daddy’s to guide and guard until the boy becomes astute enough to do so for himself.

A man needs challenges and championships to stretch him to become better. He finds his character being built in the stretching forward and competition with others. Truth is men have to deal with losing more than winning. They carry the weight of not being good enough, smart enough or rich enough. If you are second you are really just the first loser in this life. Men somewhere should be applauded for competing even though they did not win. The competing is what makes the champion not the trophy. The challenge is not the competition but the lack of appreciation after the losses.

Men are guardians, protectors, leaders, nurturers, lovers, fighters, competitors, followers, and even pin cushions. Yes, I said pin cushions! They have everything pinned on them and after a while they get testy with all the sticks. Our whole culture beats him up. He has to fight to wear he pants today but fight even more with others trying to put a skirt on him. He has no desire to take the women’s rights away but he really would like for them to leave his alone. Men were made to lead and when he has a collar put on him for others to lead him it causes a lot of confusion in him. Men have in them innately to guard and protect. It is confusing when they have to live with the fear of society wanting him to step back. The journey of each man is one in which he does not just carry his weight but all the weight of his family, career, and society.

Thankful we are for man who do a great job caring for others while few care for them. Thankful we are for the dads who did not leave when it seemed everybody left him. Thankful we are for the dad when temptation was present turned and went the other way. Thankful we are for the dad who got up early to go to a job he may not of loved because he had others he loved. Thankful we are for the dads who continued to lead when the world says sit down.

20130616-144740.jpg

Takes Some Time, But Don’t Waste it.

Takes Some Time, But Don’t Waste it.

I am sitting in a Wal-Mart in Easton, Maryland. I am sipping on a Starbucks coffee and enjoying the rain. I am enjoying the lawn chairs that are for sale. As a road warrior I have long learned how to enjoy the journey and to find soft spots along the trail. Usually I am looking for those hole in the wall restaurants to dine. Quiet places to refresh and reload from the business of life. Waste of time? Oh no, valuable time needed to do the grueling work I do of traveling. This week I dined on Rock Fish off the Atlantic, last week Crawfish from the Gulf in Lousiana and a few days before that, fish baskets in San Francisco. The travel is tough but the food is fantastic.

All of us having been given only so much time here on earth. Think about this,

In a year we spend about
120 days sleeping.
45 days eating.
31 days watching tv.
14 days on vacation
13 days in church
2 days paying bills.

Now multiply that by the years you will live. What I am getting at is, are you spending your time in such a way that when you are passing from here to eternity you can be proud of where you spent it?

God gave you time and how you spend it will totally be up to you. Remember the time you got your first nice chunk of money? Someone might have said to you, “Don’t spend it all in one place or at one time!” Well that in your mind was impossible until later that day you had a bunch of busted toys, mangled receipts and empty billfold. Time like money goes faster than you think it can. But like money once time is gone you cannot make anymore. You lose the opportunity to hold that bride when she is gone. You lose that opportunity to go to a soccer game when he is grown. You lose the opportunity to listen to a parent when they are gone.

Busy? Sure, you are! But is your busy time the right time? Could you live with less and really have more? Will you keep losing moments for money!

Take all the time you need! No, I mean use all the time you have. Because you only have so many time chips to use and then it is time to cash it in.

20130610-145749.jpg

Moving Forward Living and Loving Life!

Moving forward living and loving life!

If you are living in the past it will destroy your future. If you are living in the future it will dilute you present. If you live in the present without valuing your past and without vision for your future you will be detoured from the real success and significance of life.

Living in the past is about as unhealthy as it is to stay in bed and think your rest is making you strong. Yes you are getting rest but you are missing out on the elements of life needed to be whole. The past is a great weight that should never be carried today. Each and every day we make decisions that are wrong or walk through doors that should have been avoided. Each day brings sorrow, hurt, disappointment, sadness, defeat, pain, breakups, and failure. But what about the good things we have experienced? Most of us cannot remember those events for bearing the load of the other stuff. Human nature will leave behind the good stuff to try to fix the broken. The good stuff makes us want to look forward the bad stuff makes us want to go back to change or fix it. No one wants to hire, marry, collaborate, partner or run with someone carrying all that baggage. You cannot go as fast, think as clear, move as much or achieve anything carting around the junk yard you are hoarding. No one will feel compassion for your bad luck and if they feel anything it is sympathy for your fate. No one partners with someone’s yesterday’s. until you cut loose from your past your success is doomed.

Then there are those who can do nothing today because it could disrupt their future. If you are living in the future it will dilute you present. Daydreamers are not the same as visionaries. Your future plans are wonderful if they are seen as a goal that has a path. Your path is your present. If your present is stymied by all the lofty dreams of your future then you will never have or feel the impact of the right now. The relationships you build are the ones you have in front of you right now. The experience you bring to the future is the things you are doing and doing well right now. The partnerships of your future are hinged on the collaborations you are living with right now. The success of your future will be determined by the failures you fix right now. The impact of your future is determined by the impact you are making on others right now. Today is a day to plant the seeds for a harvest tomorrow. It may be that young man you open a door for today is the same CEO who opens a door for you tomorrow. It may be the child that you help is the same man that helps you tomorrow. It could be the children you nurture in your home today are the same ones who will not fail to visit an aging parent tomorrow. It could be the woman you cherish as your wife today is the same lady by your bed as you pass from here to your reward. Your success and significance will be determined by how you mine and work through your today’s.

Last but certainly not least is your future. If you live in the present without valuing your past or without vision for your future you will be detoured from the real success and significance of life.

Learn from your past so that the same errors are not repeated. The best teacher in life is experience. There are two ways to get experience. One, live and move though it. Second, listen to others and learn from the failures and success of others. Truthfully not many people are smart enough to do the latter. Let your past be your teacher but not your guide. Never let him be your leader. Let your vision be your leader and guide. Have goal marks to reach toward . Who cares if you reach all of them. If you do then you dreams were too low. Your goals in life make you stronger, bigger and better. the lack of goals will make you weaker, smaller and less than your potential. Your goals will keep you going on the right paths and choosing the right strategies. Too many people allow the paths and strategies to determine their future. Your goals will make you choose the right paths or create new paths. When I hear people say, “We are building the bridges as we go or making the paths as they come!” I see folks who are either too stupid to know that goals determine bridge building and strategies or they know where they are going and don’t want you to know until it is too late to change course. Never drink the koolaide of people who will not release to you the true ingredients in the glass. To vote for a legislative bill without reading the bill and being asked to trust those who wrote is suicide. You and I must always know where we are going and why we are going there. Let your values determine your goals and let your goals always determine your paths or strategies.

The success and significance of your life is in your hands. Never ever allow people, systems, organizations, parents, children, friends or enemies to think for you. You and you alone are responsible for where you end up at the end of your journey. Live life and love the life you live!20130609-102915.jpg

Who is serving who?

Who is serving who?

“In the absence of criticism every organization ends up being managed for the benefit if the person running it.” John Garner

This is a powerful and true quote. It is frightening how many times I have seen this happen in churches, ministries and organizations. No minister starts out to control but with time, power, positions and money comes a feeling of ownership. Men begin to feel that they were raised up and given the right to control and dominate that which God placed them over. The ministry belongs to God and then to His people. He chooses among His people to serve His people. Never does He choose men to become a Lord to His people. When the organization or church begins to center around the leader and his desires danger is lurking. When council is rejected from peers because the leader knows best, danger is lurking. When people are asked to agree with leadership when no communication is given, danger is lurking. When the leader is over compensated while others who serve are underpaid something is strange. When sacrifices are forced at the bottom and benefits received at the top there is a problem.

Some say that they do not believe in the Church being a democracy it has to be a theocracy! I agree in part but also declare neither is the church to have a monarchy. God does not give us emperors to think for us. God exists in His church by His Spirit. From the lead man to the humblest follower His spirit exist in all. We are to follow and honor leadership but leadership is also to yield to amd respect others.

But the biggest problem comes when everyone is silent when things are moving the wrong way. If leadership is arrogant and self-serving someone has got to speak up. The Apostle Paul was vocal to Simon Peter when error was being practiced in the church. Galatians 2:11 Paul withstood him to the face. This did not make him an enemy, a rebel, or one who disliked others. Paul and Barnabas parted ways because they disagreed but still loved and respected the other. I think Paul was in error and later realized it.

The Church is made stronger by vocal voices and weaker by silence. No one should be disagreeable to be heard and to promote themselves. Neither should there be a desire to embarrass those in leadership. But we embarrass ourselves if something is awry and we are silent. We allow the enemy to destroy the work of God when we move in a direction that does not feel good to the Spirit.

“In the absence of criticism every organization ends up being managed for the benefit if the person running it.” John Garner

20130607-063843.jpg

Fear is a Liar

Fear is a Liar

My friend, Pastor Jeff Calhoun snapped a pic somewhere that got me to thinking. The words were, “Fear is a Liar!” Fear is a horrible liar! The opposite of “fear” most people think is faith. But that is not true. The opposite of Fear is love!

1 john 4:18 [18] There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

So if fear is a liar and the opposite of fear is love then the way to destroy fear is to love. Think about it a moment. How can you fear someone you love? How can you be afraid someone is going to hurt you when you know they love you? How can you worry if someone is going to take something from you if you love? It is impossible to be hurt intentionally by anyone who loves you!

But if someone is causing you to fear then that is indication of one of two things. Either you do not love them and need to be perfected in love to remove the fear. The other thing is you know they do not love you and you know that, by how they make you feel.

You can deal with how you feel about others by loving them. Love of this kind is not an emotional love. This type of love is a commitment brought about by a decision based on obedience to Christ. I will love others not because they are good to me or are lovable people but because Christ commands me as His Disciple to love others. I may not even like them or trust them but I choose to love them and treat them as Christ would treat them.

I cannot change how others treat me. They can cause me to fear and be apprehensive of them, something I have no control over. When others try to manipulate you, being a Christian does not make you their whipping boy or door mat. You are not a rebel because you act like a man. Nor are you less than a man if you are not coward by their actions. You may choose to love them but at the same time be wary of them. You cannot change others by acclimating to their whims or manipulations. Sometimes the best way to love someone is stand up in their face and force them to see themselves. I choose to love you but I also choose to love you enough to tell you the hard truth I see in you.

Yes fear is a liar and love is the truth! I choose the truth and refuse the lies.

20130606-165252.jpg

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies

Real Eyes realize real lies

“Real Eyes realize real lies” was on the front of a young ladies tee shirt in Lafayette, Lousiana. I was captured by the truth of the statement. People that lie are hiding behind their fears. People that lie that have no fear are evil. That is right evil. It does not matter that they are in the church or outside the church. Lies are demonic!

If those lies are because of fears the lies can paralyze you. It may that some person or organization is trying to keep you from stepping up and not showing them up. Step up and their lies are exposed. It may be that lies are told to intimidate you so that your brilliance is dulled. You could never shine brighter than the liars lest your brightness reveal their stupidities. If you live with the lies you will find yourself unhealthy and sickly. Your spirit will war with your flesh. Something in you says, “something is wrong!” But you cannot put your finger on it. Get alone with God in prayer and in the Bible. If others do not line up with the Word and the spirit then draw the line. Always follow The Lord and His Word and courage will manifest itself. You must identify the truth or you will never find your true identity. The truth can be painful even to those who expose it. But not as painful as a life chained by fear.

If the lies you are believing is a thinking system then expose it and move on. Examples may be that you trusted in a system, organization, a plan that is not reaping the results you thought. Maybe you thought a Masters Degree would get you the better Church or job. But you find yourself frustrated because no doors are open. Maybe you trusted in a church but the practice is not what you understand from the scriptures. Maybe it is leadership you once looked up to and now find those same individuals with shadows. It could be that you are just a timid person that finds decisions difficult to make. So you follow the crowd letting others make the decisions. But all the road signs are leading you to the wrong destination. As one man said, “If ten million people believe on a bad idea, it is still a bad idea!” Don’t drink the koolaid prepared in the secret kitchens of others. Again get in the Word and pray for the truth. Once you know the truth decide to follow it. You do not have to take large steps. It may be that all you do first is stop following, turn around and eventually find your path back to what is right. Once you do this, the courage of that decision will give you the answer for the future steps.

Fear is a horrible master! Don’t allow fear to make you his slave. God called you to be free. Close your ears to the jeers and move to the truth. Yes, Real eyes, realize real lies! Real men follow truth and never the lies!

20130606-094658.jpg