Monday, November 24, 2014

Haman’s Fall

Esther 6:12-13 - Then Mordecai returned to the King’s Gate, but Haman, overwhelmed, hurried off for home with his head covered.  Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai is Jewish, and you have begun to fall before him, you won’t overcome him, because your downfall is certain.”

In the story of Esther, we meet Haman, who was an enemy of the Jews. Haman plotted genocide against the Jews, but had a special hatred for one particular Jew, Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him as he walked by.

In chapter six, the King realized that Mordecai once had done him a great favor that had not yet been rewarded, so he called Haman in and told him to go honor Mordecai for the unrewarded deed. Though Haman hated Mordecai, he had no choice but to do what the King commanded, even if he loathed every moment of it.

When Haman got home that night he whined to his family and friends about having to pay homage to Mordecai that day, the very Jew who had refused to honor him. He was expecting sympathy. But their answer to him was startling: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him" (Esther 6:12 NAS).

It is amazing that Haman's friends, who had no love for the Jews, recognized that the Jews were special and that Haman would not be able to stand against them. Whether Haman's friends had access to the Old Testament or not, they clearly understood the teaching of Genesis 12:3, where God promised Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Almost since the beginning of Jewish history, there have been those who have sought to destroy the Jewish people. Time and time again they have been persecuted, often with great enthusiasm. But through God's supernatural protection, the Jewish people have survived.

In our century, the media have somehow painted the Jews as the bad people of the Middle East. Any effort they make to defend themselves from far superior numbers of enemies gets spun to somehow make the Jews the aggressors instead of the victims. We may not always agree with the tactics that the modern nation of Israel uses against her enemies, but we should not be foolish enough to put ourselves in Haman’s place. The Jews are still God's chosen people, and if we stand against them, our fall is inevitable.

Lord, help us be a blessing to the Jewish people and remember that if we bless them, You will bless us, but if we curse them, then we will be cursed. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't Despair - God Has a Plan

Psalm 18:1-3 - I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.

All of us could make a list of troubles and difficulties we have experienced in life. We could also give testimony of ways in which God was our refuge in those difficult times. Like David, we can attest that the Lord is worthy to be praised.

But if we keep reading Psalm 18, we see the depths of despair that David went through before the Lord delivered him. David talked about ropes of death wrapped around him and snares of death confronting him. Both of those phrases are powerful visual images of how bad David’s situation was. Most of our problems do not take us to the edge of death and back. But David knew such deep turmoil in his soul because of the range of troubles that he had been through. Perhaps that is why his love for God shone so brightly.

When we go through difficult times we are often tempted to be angry at God for letting us down. According to verse 5, David went through a living hell, yet he did not become bitter or angry. Instead he said God’s way was perfect and that God would make his way perfect too. Difficulties make us bitter or they make us better. If we choose faith in God, we find the strength to go down the path of betterment instead of bitterness.

Though we do not always understand God's plan for our lives, we can rest in the assurance that God does indeed have a plan. God's ways are perfect, and as we learn to love Him more, He can make our ways perfect too. Regardless of what we are facing today, let us choose the path of faith and give praise to a God who has all things under control.

Lord, help the difficulties of our lives make us better, not bitter. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Interview with Jay Moore

Terry Dorsett
I want to introduce my readers to Jay Moore, a man with a tremendous passion to help ordinary people be a light of the gospel to those a round them. Recently I interviewed Jay about his ministry and about a book he has written. You can read that interview below.

Terry: Jay, you have been in ministry for 30 years. You have served as a pastor in a local church, but also have done a lot of work in the area of church planting. Can you tell us about the current ministry you are involved in and how you got involved?

Jay: At this time I serve as the Strategy Coordinator for Fellowship Of the Cross in Tucson, Arizona. FOTC is designed to be a network of small organic churches that meet in homes, offices or any place where a small group of people can gather. Also, through FOTC we provide Reproducing Disciple Making Basic Training for other existing churches that want to develop a more missional posture in their communities by training their church members to be missionaries in their own communities. We use the T4T Training process that was developed by Ying Kai while he was in China as an IMB strategy coordinator. This training was used by God to ignite the largest church planting movement in modern history and has been adapted in many other cultures around the world with tremendous success.

Terry: In this ministry you speak to a lot of leaders in churches. Tell us 2-3 key things you have learned about church members in your conversations with them.

1) The most compelling thing that I hear from church members all around North America is that they are tired of being spectators watching a religious performance. They have a Holy discontent and feel there has to be more than just going to a church building a few times a week, participating in church programs, watching a few people perform on Sundays and giving their money. Many Christians have trouble articulating this discontent, but they do know that God wants more from them and whatever that is has to be more significant than what they have been offered to participate in thus far.

2) I have also learned that ordinary Christians who have been trained to develop a lifestyle of reproducing disciple making can’t get enough of it. They are sharing with me that being involved in the Great Commission and living with that purpose has brought them the greatest satisfaction they have ever known.

3) Perhaps surprisingly, church members have shared with me that they wish their pastors would trust them more, train them better and provide more opportunities to go make disciples in their communities and not just in a church building or within the confines of a church program.

Terry: As you have learned these things, you wrote a book. Tell us about the book.

Jay Moore
Jay: THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE: A Journey Into Missional Living was written for the purpose of empowering, encouraging and equipping ordinary Christians to live powerful missional lives where the Light of Christ shines brightly through them and into their part of this dark world. It is written primarily for ordinary people who have no special theological education so they can become competent and confident in making disciples. However, even though it wasn’t written for pastors I do believe it would be beneficial for pastor to read so as to use it as a tool for training their members.

The book starts off with a missional parable of Two Brave Little Lights that leave their well lit, safe home to venture out into the dark and shine their light in obedience to what the First Light has commanded. The reader will get to join them in their missional living discovery, their fears of leaving the safety and comfort of their home and the challenges and lessons learned by going out into the dark world. This parable is intended to show how North American Christians need to leave their church buildings and get out into their communities to share Jesus – to shine the Light of Christ.

The book teaches the Three Basic Skills that every Christian needs to learn and master in order to effectively live a missional life. It will emphasize the turning of these skills into a natural part of a Christian’s lifestyle. The book will reveal Three Common Roadblocks that hinder a Christian from developing the three basic skills. These roadblocks will prevent them from forming into a habit and lifestyle. It will also give the solutions to overcome those roadblocks. Finally, the book will lead the reader through a step by step process that will help them develop their own personalized strategy for missional living.

Terry: Who will benefit the most from reading this book and why?

Jay: Ordinary Christians who are tired of going to church a couple of times per week to watch a performance and are ready to get out of the bleachers and onto the field to be part of the game. They are the Christians who feel there has to be more to this Christian life than what has been offered and they are ready to discover what it is and wholeheartedly go after it.

Terry: What is the main thing you would like people to walk away with after reading your book?

Jay: YOU CAN DO THIS! Being part of the Great Commission and becoming a reproducing disciple maker is not rocket science! Jesus made disciple making so simple and reproducible that even common fishermen could do it powerfully.

Terry: If you could offer one piece of advice to Christians and the churches they attend, what would it be?

Jay: Pastors & Churches need to intentionally raise up, train up and unleash their church members to be missionaries in their communities. Churches need to train their members to be reproducing disciple makers.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Two Sides of a Coin: Self-Promotion and Jealousy

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 - Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved.

As a Christian author, I feel called by God to write as a way to share His love with others. Part of being a Christian author is that I have to spend a certain amount of my time promoting what I write. Without question most of the Christian authors I know agree that self-promotion is the most distasteful part of their ministries. Most of us try hard to spend more time writing things that are helpful to others than we do promoting those writings, but it can be a challenging balancing act. It is especially challenging when other Christians accuse us of being self-promoters instead of genuine ministers. While there are some authors who probably are guilty of that, and they can be very annoying, most just want to spread God’s love through the ministry of writing. When people accuse well-meaning Christian authors of self-promotion, sometimes they are just jealous. The accusation of being self-promoting that is based on jealousy exists not only in the realm of writing, but also rears its ugly head in many different types of ministry.

For example, pastors of churches that do not do outreach accuse fellow pastors who use mass mailing or newsprint ads as being self-promoters. In reality, pastors using ads simply have a deep burden for the lost and want to use every means possible to reach as many as possible. To those pastors ads are promoting the Gospel of the Kingdom. Those pastors care not whether people know who they are; they just want people to know who Jesus is.

What about a pastor who has a radio or television program? Is he a self-promoter because he gains a certain degree of name recognition through those avenues of ministry? Clearly, it is possible that his ego might swell, and he could become a self-promoter. But many good pastors preach faithfully from their pulpits, and their sermons are broadcast to the community without falling prey to ego. They are not promoting themselves; they are seeking to join God in His efforts of world evangelization.

What about Christian leaders who feel led to start Bible colleges or other ministry training programs? Do they do this to promote themselves, or because they want to train others to teach and preach the Word so that all people can have a chance to hear the Gospel before the Lord's return?

In any of these examples, it is possible for people to be self-promoters, but it is also possible for them to simply be following the leading of the Spirit to expand the Kingdom of God, using the gifts and skills that God has given them. The fact that they may become well-known for their ministries is immaterial. Those who may never be known must make sure not to be critical of those who may achieve some level of fame. Jealousy is unbecoming for Christians. Attempting to mask jealousy under thinly veiled attacks on the character of others by calling them self-promoters reveals wicked and evil hearts.

Let’s rejoice when a church down the road grows beyond the size of our own. Let’s rejoice that people listen to other pastors on the radio or television and grow in their faith. Let’s rejoice that some writers have the ability to say things in ways that inspire, educate, and motivate people to grow as Christians. Let’s rejoice in what God is doing in His kingdom instead of trying to tear it down. Let’s stop using the accusation of being self-promoters as a weapon to attack those of whom we are jealous of. Instead, let’s spend our energy and efforts lifting up Jesus.

Lord, help everything we do be for Your glory and not our own. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Transforming Frustrations into Joy

Psalm 30:1-5 - I will exalt You, Lord, because You have lifted me up and have not allowed my enemies to triumph over me.  Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.  Lord, You brought me up from Sheol; You spared me from among those going down to the Pit.  Sing to Yahweh, you His faithful ones, and praise His holy name.  For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.

No matter our profession or the season of life, life is filled with both joy and frustration. As Christians, we should be expecting God to transform our frustrations into joy. My primary vocation is to help start new churches. At one new church we were planning a special service to license to the ministry, the new pastor, a young man just out of college. We had invited a number of out-of-town guests and several denominational leaders to be part of the service, and everyone was excited. When we arrived to set up for the service, the building manager informed us that there had been a last minute change in plans. They needed the large room we normally used to accommodate a special meeting for the organization’s administration, and we needed to move to a much smaller room across the large complex. With only minutes until the service began, we moved all our equipment to a different building and quickly set it up. With very little time to inform the congregation of the new location, the third floor of another building and down several maze-like hallways, it seemed like the service was going to be a disaster. Our small core group started calling and texting members of the congregation and guests to tell them how to find the new location, but our hopes for a joyful celebration service were rapidly evaporating.

However, we got everything set up and began the service only ten minutes behind schedule. People kept trickling in as they discovered where we were. To our surprise, we had a record attendance that morning! The service itself went well. As we prayed over the young man to license him, all the frustration seemed to melt away and a sense of real joy filled the room. In the end, God got the glory, and His Word was proclaimed during the service.

Life is often like that. Unexpected things happen that raise stress levels. God works through them and blesses the situation anyway. Then another challenge occurs, and God works through that too. It happens again and again, but each time God works through the situation and brings glory to His name. The frustrations of life are many, but so are the joys. The joys overshadow the frustrations. If we just keep exalting the Lord, even in the midst of chaos and sadness, joy does come in the morning.

Lord, give us joy in the midst of the struggles of life. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kingdom Minded or Empire Building

It seems that we are inundated these days with talk about the Kingdom of God. The focus of our kingdom talk is that Christians should work together building God's kingdom instead of just our individual church or ministry. When we consider what can be accomplished when groups partner together across boundaries and denominations focusing on the work of God's Kingdom instead of our own small human empires, it is very exciting. We should all be building the Kingdom.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we hear talk about building the Kingdom, it is not really about the Kingdom of God at all. Far too often it is really about building a person's little empire and they are just using kingdom terminology to get others to help them. For example, many para-church ministries say it is all about building the kingdom while they mine our church membership list for donations they can use to build up their own programs instead of working with us on an overall strategic plan for evangelism. This becomes evident when we let para-church group know that we are unable to support them financially, and suddenly we never hear from them again. That shows us how committed they were to building the kingdom. And we have all met the energetic organizer of the big city wide event that wants everyone to get involved in what he or she is planning, but who never supports big events that others are planning. They are focused more in their own plans than the kingdom. Then there are those multi-site churches. These days most of us have a mega-church near us that plants satellite campuses in areas that are already heavily churched instead of seeking to help the churches that are in the area become more effective. Such efforts are often crouched in kingdom talk but the actions taken reveal that the focus is more empire building than kingdom building.

Here is the challenging part, in so many cases we tend to think it is Kingdom work if it helps us achieve our own aims. But is that really Kingdom of God work or is that just personal empire building? We are all good at seeing empire building in others while being convinced that we are kingdom minded. I sure know it is easy for me to fall into that kind of thinking. It takes a lot of prayer and self-evaluation of motives to put to death the empire building desires in our hearts and focus on the Kingdom of God instead.

Real Kingdom work benefits the Kingdom at large, not just our own little corner of it. In fact, building the Kingdom might even require us to sacrifice something in our little empire, perhaps even walk away from it completely, so that we can re-direct our efforts to the greater Kingdom. That can be hard to do. As we consider whether we are Kingdom building or empire building, we must ask what benefit do we get out of it. If a quick list of personal benefits can be made, we are probably empire building instead of Kingdom building. When that happens, it might be time to take a step back and rethink our motivations and activities before moving forward. We need more Kingdom focus, not less, lets just make sure it is actually the Kingdom of God we are focusing on and not our own empires.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jesus versus Video Games

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

My primary ministry is to help coordinate church planting in the area where I live. In that role I get to spend time with many fine young couples who have a passion for changing their corner of the world. One of the ways I assist those couples is in finding partners who will stand with them in prayer, giving, and volunteering. Those partners come from other area churches as well as from churches outside our area. It is a lot of work to find partners willing to sacrifice their time, their treasure, and their talents to help a church they are not even part of. But the Lord touches hearts and partners join the cause.

One week a church planter sent a Facebook message to me. He had been working the social media angle pretty hard trying to find partners. Though some people had responded, many had not. In a pointed moment of realization, it occurred to him that many of the people he was contacting about partnering with him in church planting were ignoring his messages about partnering, but sending him countless messages inviting him to play games on Facebook. He found it ironic that they would talk to him a lot about video games, but not about sharing Jesus with others. He wondered what it would be like if he could get people as excited about partnering with him in ministry as they were about playing games on Facebook.

People who tell me they do not have time to volunteer seem to have the time to play on both softball and basketball leagues. People who tell me they do not have money to donate somehow have the money to drive the latest model car with all the upgrades. Pastors who tell me their church is too stretched to help plant another church find money for another round of renovations in a sanctuary that already looks pristine. Church youth groups and senior adult groups take amazing sightseeing trips on fully-equipped buses, but seem unable to take those same people on a mission trip. Once I got a letter from a mega-church asking me for money. They wanted to build a $120,000 playground for the children in their already well-funded private school. I sent back a letter suggesting they tithe off their playground fund to a church plant in New England. I never got a response.

The point I am trying to make is that we have somehow gotten our priorities all messed up. Now Christians play games and have fun instead of being about the business of winning others to Jesus. I am not suggesting that we should never have fun or play games, but somewhere along the line, we must stop playing games with our faith and start doing whatever it takes to win our nation to Jesus.

Lord, help us be serious about the business of sharing Christ with those around us. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Will We Be the One to Make a Difference?

Isaiah 6:8 - Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had preached my heart out at a rural church in a small town in Mississippi. In my sermon I had urged each person present to be the one to pray, give, and be on mission both in their own community, and in Vermont, where I was serving as a church planting missionary. At the end of the sermon I asked anyone who was willing to be the one to make such a commitment to come down the aisle and tell me so during the closing hymn. Only one person responded. I can still see him in my mind making his way slowly down the aisle. He was an older gentleman with white hair and a cane. His name was Jim. When he got to where I was standing, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I'm the one." He then put something in my pocket and slowly made his way back to his seat. Later that day, when I looked at the piece of paper he had put in my pocket, I found a check for $10,000 to the mission organization I was serving. That single check helped that organization share the Gospel with many people in Vermont for several months.

For the next 15 years, Jim remained faithful in praying and giving. He kept my newsletters by his bedside and prayed through every prayer request multiple times. He often sent notes of encouragement or called on the phone just to lift my spirits with encouraging words. Jim also continued to give generously, often at great sacrifice. In certain years he and his wife were the largest benefactors our small mission organization had. Many are now in the Kingdom of God due to Jim’s praying and giving.

One morning, the week before Easter, Jim’s wife, Margie, called. She said Jim would be spending Easter with Jesus that year. He had passed away the day before. Margie found great comfort in knowing that Jim had made a difference in the lives of others. We prayed and cried together over the phone, thanking God for Jim's life.

Jim answered the call of God to make a difference with his life. We may not all be able to do exactly what Jim did, but we can all do something to make a difference in the lives of others. We can pray. We can give. We can offer an encouraging word. Let us determine to be the one.

Lord, help us be the ones who pray, give, and go in Your name to make a difference in the world. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Heading the Right Direction

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

I was on the way to visit an acquaintance who was interested in being involved in ministry. He gave me the address where I was to meet him, but when I arrived, I could not find the house number. There were houses with numbers higher and lower, but that house number was missing. After driving up and down the road a couple of times, I called him on his cell. We realized I had gone to Stevens Street, when I was actually looking for Stephens Street. The streets are pronounced the same way, but have a slightly different spelling. They are on opposite sides of town. I would have never found the address on the first street, because that address does not exist. We had a good laugh about it when I finally got to the right place. What a difference those letters made!

That experience made me think about how important it is to make sure we get our facts right before striking off on some task, journey, or course of action. If we have a faulty premise, it will lead us in the wrong direction, and we may never find what we are looking for. Even if the underlying mistake is minor, our faulty premise will take us the wrong direction, causing great frustration as we come so close to what we were trying to do, and yet cannot quite accomplish it.

For example, when considering marriage, if we start out thinking that if it does not work out, we can just get a divorce, that will impact how we handle conflict in our relationship. Such thinking leads us to a much different conclusion than we would come to if we went into it thinking we were going to stick with the marriage no matter what, and trust God to make the relationship what it should be.

In thinking about what college to go to, if we start out thinking which school has the best recreational activities, we will end up in a much different place than if we ask ourselves which school will best help us gain the training we need to achieve our career goals.

Examples are numerous, but the point is clear. We need to start off with right information and correct reasoning so we can head in the right direction in life. How do we find the right information? Do some research. Discuss the issue with people who have already been there. Ask lots of questions. Most importantly, read the Bible and pray for guidance. The Bible is still relevant for today and God’s advice is always right. As we learn to trust in the Lord’s advice, we will head in the right direction in life.

Lord, help us listen to Your advice and follow Your directions. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary
Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Swimming Against the Tide

Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

My family likes to visit the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, a wonderful place where families can have a great time and learn a lot about marine life. As visitors enter the main building, they first encounter a huge round glass tank filled with fish. The last time my family was there, we saw most of the fish swimming the same way. But one lone fish was swimming the opposite direction. It was odd to see. As we kept watching, we noticed that lone fish was soon joined by another one. Now two fish were swimming the opposite direction. Suddenly, there were three, and then four. All at once, the entire school pivoted and began swimming the opposite direction, following the lead of one solitary fish that was willing to swim against the tide.

Witnessing the school of fish changing direction reminded me of the influence that one person can have on those around him or her. When a person first stands up for what is right, he or she is often alone. Then one or two other people come along to support the original individual. Then a few more come along to offer their support. Eventually enough critical mass is built for significant change to happen in a whole group of people.

We are living in an age in which Christianity is mischaracterized, maligned, mocked, and marginalized. But if we will stand strong for our faith, we can influence many people around us. We must not be afraid to be the lone fish swimming against the stream. God will bring others to help us. In time we can witness a significant difference in our sphere of influence as God works through a growing number of people willing to take a stand for what is right.

Lord, give us the courage to stand for what is right and holy, even if at first we stand alone. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interview with Dave Jacobs

A few years ago I became acquainted with Dave Jacobs, founder of Small Church Pastor. He has been an inspiration to me these many years. I recently interviewed him about a new book he has written and wanted to share that interview on today's blog post.

Terry: Dave, you have been in ministry for 36 years. You have served as a pastor in a local church, but have also ministered to pastors in a unique way. Can you tell us about the current ministry you are involved in and how you got involved?

Dave: I entered into the full time ministry at the age of 19 at which time I was ordained in an non-denominational church in San Jose, California. At 21 Ellen and I were sent out to plant our first church in southern California. Over the following 28 years I pastored in five different churches, three of which we planted. At the end of 2006 I retired from pastoring and founded Small Church Pastor. I tell people that my ministry now provides encouragement, resources, and coaching to pastors of smaller churches.  We live now out in the country of beautiful southern Oregon and I spend my days talking to pastors across our nation and from every denomination you could imagine. It’s a great job. I love it.

Terry: In this ministry you speak to a lot pastors. Tells us 2-3 key things you have learned about pastors in your conversations with them.

Dave: That’s a great question. People are surprised to hear me say that pastors are pretty much all the same. Regardless of the size of their church or which denomination they belong to, regardless of their age or gender, pastors tend to deal with the same challenges both professionally and personally. I recently wrote a blog on this ( that those of you reading this interview might find interesting.

Terry: Thanks for the link Dave, I hope my readers will check it out. Tell us more.

Dave: Most pastors struggle with discouragement revolving around how hard it is to pastor a church and how difficult it is to attract and keep new people. Pastors worry about the negative effect the ministry might be having on their marriage and family. Pastors want to talk about managing their time and often want to know how to be more focused and productive. But one of the most troubling thing I’ve learned over the past 8 years of coaching is how spiritually dry most pastors feel. Notice I used the word ‘most.’ This is not an exaggeration.

Terry: As you have learned these things from pastors, you started writing a book. Tell us about the book.

Dave: I started Mile Wide, Inch Deep about five years ago. I put it on hold to begin writing another book. I then put that book on the shelf and came back to Mile Wide, Inch Deep. Actually the pastor of a small church in New Jersey who I was coaching at the time planted the seed in my brain to write this book. When coaching pastors I always manage to come around to the subject of the condition of their souls, or personal soul-care. For me, soul-care is defined as the means by which we insure that our relationship with Jesus is vibrant and growing. So coming back to this small church pastor in Jersey, one day at the end of our call he said, “Dave, you need to write a book on soul-care. You could call it ‘Soul-Care For Busy Pastors’.” 

Terry: Is the book just for pastors? Why or why not?

Dave: The subtitle of the book is Experiencing God Beyond the Shallows, Soul Care for Busy Pastors and the Rest of Us. The book is obviously written from a pastor to pastors. I understand the world of the small church pastor and can speak to the unique challenges to soul-care that pastors face. However, I wanted to write a book that would also speak to leaders and laymen in smaller churches. I’ve spoken to a number of ‘non-pastors’ who’ve told me that they found it very helpful. 

Terry: What is the main thing you would like people to walk away with after reading your book?

Dave: Well for the pastors who read the book I hope that they can discover some encouragement, inspiration, and ideas about how to take better care of their souls. Experiencing God is possible for us all...even for busy pastors.

Terry: If you could offer one piece of advice to pastors and the churches they serve, what would it be?

Dave: Wow, that’s a hard one. I would bring up something that seems so elementary but is easy to let slip. Priorities. Your first priority is your personal relationship with Jesus. Your second priority is your spouse. Your third priority is your children. Your fourth priority is your church. Church is fourth. Whenever these priorities get mixed up the pastor will eventually get mixed up.

Terry: Dave, I want to thank you for taking the time to be interviewed. I hope my readers will pick up a copy of Mile Wide, Inch Deep and find a blessing in reading it. The best link for buying a copy of the book is:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Playing the God Card

Over the years I have heard many people justify certain behaviors by saying "I sensed it was the Lord leading me to do it" or "I just knew it was God's will" or "God clearly opened the door so I just walked through it." I call such comments, playing the God card. Once the God card is played, it is very difficult to continue the conversation because if we do not agree with whatever the other person claims God said, then we are going against God.

Now, I suppose if someone tells me that God has led them to bake cookies for a next door neighbor as a way to demonstrate God's love to them, I am not overly concerned if they have actually heard from God or not. After all, cookies are fairly harmless, so if it was only the person's emotions and not God, it may not make much of a difference.

But people play the God card for much bigger things than just baking cookies for the neighbors. I recall a man once telling me God had "led him" to leave his wife and marry another woman who was better suited for him. Of course, that other woman was also currently in an adulterous relationship with a different man, who was also married to someone else and also thought it was God's will for him to have the woman. Talk about a weird love triangle! Though I do not claim to speak for God, I highly doubt God wanted two marriages to break up so that one man could have a woman who was "better suited" for him. I have always thought that fellow was led by lust, not by the Lord. But once he declared that "God told him" to do this, he no longer needed to listen to a mere pastor's advice. After all, he had a clear word from God so who was I to question God?

In situations like this I always remind people that God speaks by His Spirit through the Bible, circumstances, prayer and the church. Notice that the Bible is first, because it is the plumb line through which the other methods are measured. I do not know if there is a specific verse in the Bible that deals with baking cookies for a neighbor, but I do know several that talk about lusting after another man's wife. God will never lead us to contradict His Word.

God also speaks through circumstances. If we are having to kick a door open through deceit, manipulation or coercion, then it is clearly NOT a door God has opened. Since the Bible is our plumb line, God never opens a door that goes against what the Bible has already said.

God also speaks through prayer. As we pray through the scriptures and look at the circumstances God has put us in, proper behavior presents itself. God will not tell us in our prayers to do something contrary to His Word.

Rarely does God speak to only one person about things He plans to do. There is only one Spirit and that Spirit speaks to all of us. If we think God wants us to do something, we should seek counsel from other Christians to see if God is telling them the same thing. That is why it is important to be active in a local church, so we can benefit from the godly wisdom of others in times of uncertainty. If we find that we are the only one God is speaking to about something, that most likely means that the timing is not yet right for us to proceed and we must wait until He also speaks to others about the same thing before moving forward.

In the end, if we do conclude that God has actually spoken to us about doing a certain thing, then we really must act upon that leading. However, we must remember that the prophets of old often paid a high price for obeying what God said. Why would we expect it to be any different for us? Far too often I hear people say that God told them to do a certain thing, but then when that thing gets hard, they bail. They apparently thought God only wanted them to obey when it was easy, though that goes against the whole narrative of scripture. We should be careful about playing the God card, but when we do, we should follow through with it, even if it costs us dearly.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett is a church planter and author who has lived in New England since 1993 starting churches and discipling new believers. He is a happy husband, proud father and grandfather, thankful cancer survivor, and more convinced than ever that New England is ripe for spiritual revival. Check out Dr. Dorsett's books at this link:

Monday, November 3, 2014

What is Going on in the World? - Guest Post by Dr. Tim Riordan

What is going on in the world? This question seems to be on the minds of many people today as we consider world events. Some people face these times of uncertainty with great fear and dread while others engage these times with wonder and expectation. For those of us who are Christians, there is another question on our minds: “Do world events have anything to do with Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus?” While God is clear in His Word that no one knows the time or day when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:36), He also tells us in the same passage to “keep watch.” He gave us specific prophecies in the Bible related to world events telling us these would be indicators that His return was near, and He stated that these anticipated happenings would grow in increasing intensity: “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8). The miracle of birth begins slowly, maybe even weeks before the actual delivery. Early contractions are so insignificant that many young mothers may not even notice them. As the prophecies of Matthew 24 begin to be fulfilled, they will start small and grow in significance. There is no doubt that we are seeing a growth in intensity of world turmoil, and some of these specific prophecies are becoming more pronounced with every passing day.

If we are living in the last days, what does this mean for the Church? What does it mean for you and your family? It is because of my burden for the Church and my belief that we could be facing very challenging days in the near future, I wrote my new book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. I believe that God has given Christians equipment, or armor, to help us endure the evil days leading up to Christ’s return and to bear fruit during a time of unparalleled opportunity. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” I shared these thoughts about this verse in my book: “While ‘the day of evil’ can refer to a time of intense temptation or spiritual conflict that can come at any point in any Christian’s life, it seems that God may be calling us to think about THE day of evil. Is it possible that this passage is calling Christians approaching the last days to prepare for battle by putting on spiritual armor?” With that question going through my mind, I began studying Bible prophecy about the last days comparing it to the teaching of the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6. The connection was significant, and I believe there are important implications relating the spiritual armor for the last generation before the return of Christ. These implications are not only important for us, but also for our children and grandchildren.

I encourage you to consider our times and the clear teaching of Scripture. Study Bible prophecy with an eye on the evening news and consider how the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 will help you prepare for what is to come. What do you need to do to put on the spiritual armor of God so you will stand firm in the last days? Being immovable is really not an option for the Church. The world is desperate to see strong, healthy believers standing firm in the last days. When the winds of heresy and deception blow, will you be immovable holding firmly to the truth of God? The only way you or I will stand firm is if we put on the armor of God and allow the immovable Lord Jesus Christ to live victoriously through us.

Dr. Tim Riordan serves as pastor of SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia and is the author of Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms and his newest book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. For more information on his books or ministry, visit his website at