Guest Blog

Travis is the Pastor of Faith Christian Outreach in Shawnee, Ok. He is a good friend, and great Pastor/Leader

Don’t Demas (dee’ mus)
July 13, 2009 · Leave a Comment

Demas was a companion and fellow-laborer of the Apostle Paul during his first imprisonment at Rome and joins Paul in sending greetings to Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus (Philemon 1:24; Col. 4:14).

Later on, Paul wrote this note to Timothy:

“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone…” 2 Timothy 4:10

It appears that the love of the world mastered Demas, and he deserted the apostle.

I think of Demas a lot since I read this story. Many of the people who will read this have never heard of Demas. Why? Could it be because he forsook his calling and exchanged it for the things of this world? Demas could have been one of the greatest men of the New Testament, but all we know about him is that he served with Paul for a season, and deserted the Apostle for questionable reasons.

Sunday night I sat with a mission’s team from Church of the Harvest- http://www.Harvestokc.com. As we began to discuss the many aspects of the trip, excitement began to fill the room. Thinking of the differences we will be making in the lives of so many people is as exciting as it is humbling. I think I can speak for the whole group when I say, “We can’t -not do this. We are called to this mission work”

The only thing that could keep us from doing such a great work in this life… is life itself. We can’t let life, or the love of this present world get in the way of what God has called us to do.

Most church members will live their whole lives without ever experiencing what it is like to go on a mission trip. Why? Is it because we are too busy? Is it because we think we don’t have the money? Is it because we are in love with our world, just like Demas?

Trust me, I’ve had some thoughts: I am about to travel half way across the world to Cambodia with a team of people of whom I just met. I will leave my family for 17 days (my wife and I have never been apart for more than 7 days). I will not be at the first 10 days of my son’s football practices (I am his coach). I will not be preaching in my own pulpit for 2-3 weekends, and I will be missing my wife’s 40th birthday. I could go on, but you get the point.

Why am I doing this? Because He has called me to do this –life happens to us all but we cannot let life stop us from fulfilling our calling.

Don’t Demas.

Now Go………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Are you still sitting here?

Check out Travis’ blog….http://travishurst.wordpress.com

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“Recieve”

“Receive”….blog I wrote in 2006

If we’ll notice there are times in life that we’re more receptive than others. This should really be a lesson for us. It seems that all people are more receptive when life is brought to its basic simple reality. We live and we die, and then life after death. When people are brought face to face with mortality it’s amazing how receptive we become. I have very distinct memories when I was 20 years old, watching George Bush Sr. Declare war in the gulf coast to save Kuwait from its impending doom at the hands of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The very next weekend our church which already had great attendance was at full capacity. In our church we could seat about 700 people including the balcony. We usually ran in attendance around 400 adults. That weekend every seat was full including the balcony, it was amazing. People we hadn’t seen in a while were at church, we had many first time guest and they were there to connect with God. People who were once a month or twice a month people all of a sudden became faithful attendees. It was a moment where we were faced with our mortality. Faced with the fact that our lives could change drastically, faced with the question are we safe? The sad part is that although we did grow overall, after a few weeks, slowly but surely people began to go back to their normal routines, God was no longer as important as He was in those moments that we desperately needed Him. I see this every time I preside over a funeral, every time I counsel someone who is in a moment of reality. I saw this Friday night, as I stood on the front lawn of Mitchell Hall on the University of Central Oklahoma Campus, as we honored the memory of an incredible young woman who was a member of our church, Hannah McCarty. They were unveiling a beautiful piece of art in her memory and to honor the scholarship that has been established in her name. What a great honor it was for me to be able to share in that moment. The head of the arts department Dr. Clinton presided over the ceremony, The president of the College, Dr. Webb was there and addressed the crowd, Jack and Pam sent out a clear message with their speech that Hannah’s life was so meaningful and continues to have meaning because of her relationship with Jesus Christ, as they say and I’m sure you’ve seen on city buses, “when you know Jesus the dance never ends.” Hannah was a prolific dancer, more importantly though she was a prolific Christian. I had the wonderful privilege of being the last speaker and had the opportunity to close in prayer. I hope that I represented Hannah and the McCarty’s and our church well in that moment, but most importantly I hope that I represented Jesus well. I simply told the truth. I told the crowd of it seemed like a couple of hundred people, how Hannah lived. She lived life with Passion and on purpose. I said to them she lived life to the full. “Many of us thinking living life to the full is filling our lives up with busyness and things, but she superseded that by living her life as busy as it was, with purpose. It wasn’t just about doing things but it was doing things on purpose.” I said.
I told them, “she looked her obstacles and problems and sickness in the eye, without complaint and simply said, I’m going to live anyway. The reason she had this Joy, the reason she had this peace, the reason she had this purpose, was her relationship with Jesus.” It was a great moment.
The context of this event was interesting, I’m sure that there were several Christians there, but there were also many very secular people there, but it was amazing how receptive everyone was. I didn’t feel a resistance at all as I spoke very clearly about Jesus Christ, I looked out on the crowd, and saw some smiling faces, some somber faces, and some faces caught in the act of introspection. Thinking over their lives, seemingly asking “am I living, really living?” It was a great moment. I am very proud for Jack and Pam, that Hannah was recognized in this way, but more importantly that they have taken a personal tragedy for them and turned it into a day to day ongoing outreach to people, who are getting saved and their lives changed. Pam told me that Hannah always said, I want to be responsible for at least one person going to heaven, and as Pam says, she has impacted many more than that.
It is very telling on us as humans that we are receptive at certain times more than others. It is very revealing when things are going well how easily we forget, how much we need Jesus and how unreceptive we become to His desires for us, and His purposes for our lives. If we could only find a way to tap into those moments of decision and understand how important it is for us to constantly and consistently be receptive to His spirit and His word.
We have been taught to be so cynical. Question everything, don’t believe anything, or believe everything. I don’t suggest that anyone go around blindly following others with no discernment. I think everything we see and hear and are a part of should be ratified by the word of God in us. Let us today make a commitment to God and to ourselves and to our church that we will be receptive. Receptive to the voice of God to His word and to His purpose for our lives. Why do we need to go about our own way until forced by circumstances to change our perspective, lets just keep a holy perspective and reverence for the things of God and watch Him use us to profoundly change our world. I am so grateful that even in our inconsistency and wavering God’s grace is sufficient, and He is not angry with us but longing for an close relationship with each of us.

Care enough to share


Isn’t it interesting, Jesus began his ministry by relationship building? He developed relationship with twelve men from all different walks of life and for three and a half years shared His life with them.

When something great happens in our lives, we want to tell everyone about it. When we graduate, get married, or have a baby we send out announcements, so everyone will know. What could be more wonderful than having a relationship with Jesus? He has freed us from our sins, He heals our bodies, He restores our souls, and although He is the God of the universe He takes great pleasure in being personally involved in our lives.

We want to share these great things with others. Some of the most rewarding relationships Janae and I have ever had have been when we decided to make a conscious effort to help lead another family to a higher level of living in Christ. It’s awesome to see people grow; it’s incredible to help them overcome problems and watch God work in their lives. This is what a relationship with Christ and His church does in people’s lives it turns them around. Yes, it takes work, and is sometimes inconvenient, but it’s the way Jesus has seen fit to perpetuate the Gospel. He designed it to reproduce through relationship.

It’s a biblical pattern. I don’t really want to use the word mentor, because it sounds so formal, it’s really just purposed friendship. Look at many of the great people of the Bible and you’ll see it. Abraham befriended Lot his nephew. Moses Befriended Joshua and led him to leadership. Jonathan, King Saul’s son befriended David and made way for his destiny to be fulfilled, while sacrificing himself. David had a host of misfit “mighty men” that he befriended and changed their lives forever. Elijah Befriended Elisha. Eli raised Samuel. Jesus had a close friendship with the twelve disciples. Barnabus befriended Paul, and John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. Paul befriended Timothy, Silas, Titus, Philemon, Aquila and Priscilla, and many others. It all comes down to one question. Do we care enough, to get out of our comfort Zone, to think beyond our immediate family, to be inconvenienced, or to realize there are people who need us?

Do you think that Barnabus knew what Paul would become to the church and the Christian movement? I don’t think he did. I think he just genuinely cared about this outcast individual. Do you think that Paul had some kind of Guarantee that Timothy would turn out to be such a force in the New Testament church. I think he hoped he would, but there are no guarantees. I believe that Paul genuinely cared about Timothy. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him; He knew that peter would deny him; He knew that all the disciples would run, in His greatest moment of trial, but he genuinely cared for them anyway.

Caring moves us to action. It causes us to go outside the norm. Do we care? Do we care for the child who has no defender, who is being treated unjustly? Yes, We do. That’s why we are doing the Royal family Kids camp, for Foster Kids and abused kids. Do we care for Young women who are at a disadvantage in life because of whatever set of circumstances? Yes we do that’s why we have “Rescue the girls” ministry. Do we care for men who have gone to prison, and because of outreach been saved there, and need help assimilating back into society, and need discipleship. Yes we do, that’s why men in our church are partnering with a local organization to mentor ex-prisoners. Do we care for underprivileged kids around the globe, yes that is why we have major initiatives in Fortaleza Brazil through compassion international and involved with the Hope RWANDA, and 08 missions includes partnering with Watoto in Uganda, and Hagar House in Cambodia. We have Youth America summer camps every year because we care for the teenagers of this nation.

The question is do we care for our neighbor across the street? Do we care for our coworkers? Do we care for that family member that’s lost? Do we care enough that we’ll contend with awkwardness in order to reach them? Do we care about that person at church that may set down the row from us, who are on the fringe and need help growing spiritually? I believe we do.

Let this blog today become an action plan for our lives, to consciously care for other people. Let’s go beyond the extra mile. If we care enough we’ll do it. So, this week begin a relationship and show someone how much you care.

-David Gadberry

American Christian…

After our trip to Cambodia last august, where we witnessed an extraordinary group of Christians who live their entire life for Christ.  He is truly the center of their existence.  They don’t have him i a compartment or say this is my “God Life” and “this is the rest of my life.”  It really challenged us as Christians to ask ourselves are we truly committed to the cause of Jesus Christ.  To His love, His grace, and to His Gospel?

A young Friend of mine, made this statement to me after we returned home.  He said, “I have realized that American Christians are more American than Christian.”  What a profound thought.  Have we allowed our culture as Americans to become more important to us than our Christianity, have we become the epitome of the Christ words when he said the Gospel could be choked out of our lives as a result of the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this life?  I Know that some have, many for that matter, but I believe that God is raising up a new breed of believer, who really cares more for the cause of Christ than any other thing in their lives, and its this Cause that informs and influences every other area of life.  Jesus, let us be as Christians what you intended, that is my prayer.

David