Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Get Outta Yo'Self - Guest Post by Chris Beltrami

            Col 3:2-3   Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.   For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
The success of dying to oneself is one of the great “keys” to fulfilling your life’s meaning and purpose.   It is also, conflictingly, one of the great “quarrels” of our flesh. 
Just when I think I am making some progress with this aspiration to selfless living, I discover that …  ‘Mother Theresa’?    I ain’t.
The other day, I had a decision to make.   Help out my friend.   Or not.   My quick split second thought was, “He really will be okay and I can remain where I am.”
2 minutes later I realized what a selfish thing I did, but he was gone and it was too late to reverse the decision.   Everything turned out okay, but I had to look in the mirror to face the self centeredness of my soul.   Really bad!    Although I saw the error reasonably quickly, I wondered why it wasn’t more instinctive to make the right decision. 
2 Cor 5:17  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a newcreature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 4:24  “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
I got a bit discouraged with myself.  I thought:
“That came from my ‘heart’!   I’m supposed to be a new creature!   A new man!   With a new nature!   Awakened!   And eyes widened to a spiritual realm of righteous wonder!  Chris, can you just “get outta yo’self?”   
I, eventually realized that, as Sarah Young would remind us, I was “scattering my energy to the winds”.    I needed to get back in the race.   Be attentive and run with grit.    Stumble and trip a bit, but get back up.   And, keep my eyes fixed upon the goal.   
I will stay determined to do the right things, whether I feel like it or not.  With great faith, I’ll believe that my ‘new nature’ reactions will become more ‘natural’ as each day passes on and that I might just …  “get outta myself”.
Matthew 23:11  “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Chris Beltrami is one of New England's most award winning photographers. For decades he has used his position as a Christian businessman to influence others to consider the claims of Christ on their lives. He has been writing a monthly devotional called "Think About It" for many years. This article first appeared in the September 2015 edition of "Think About it."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Concrete Walls and Prayer

Psalm 91:1-4 "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."

A few months ago I took a new ministry position. This new ministry put me in a strategic spot to influence New England for the advancement of God's Kingdom. I am excited to be serving in this roll. But almost from the moment I began in this role my family has been struggling. We have a home in Vermont that will not sell, so we have not yet been able to purchase a home in Massachusetts, where the new ministry is headquartered. For five months I commuted 90 minutes each way to the office. That was brutal on my family. Then we finally decided to move into a small cottage that the ministry owns while awaiting for the Lord to show us what to do about our long term housing needs. On the very day of the move, my dear wife, who had been sick for several weeks, became so gravely ill that she had to be admitted to the hospital. She was in the hospital for a week where we learned about both some immediate medical needs she had as well as some more serious long term issues. After several weeks of dealing with that, the Lord began the process of healing her. But our struggles were not over. In fact, the very day that we got good news about my wife's health, my son, who is in college, called to say he had not felt good the last couple of days. Later that day he ended up in the Emergency Room in a hospital six hours a way from us having surgery for an appendicitis. Wow, it has been a rough six months!

I have a team of missionary colleagues whom I meet with most mornings to pray. I am ever so thankful for them. The prayers of God's people have sustained us through these challenging months. This week, during one of those prayer times, one sister in Christ was praying for us. As she prayed she said "Lord, I know some people pray for a hedge of protection around someone, but a hedge doesn't sound very secure to me. So I pray for a concrete wall of protection around the Dorsett family." I have no idea how that works out theologically, but I do know that I will take that kind of praying any day!

Though we are thankful for doctors and nurses and for a place to live, our hope is not in medical science or real estate agents, our hope is in the Lord. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus and we rest in His arms, then nothing can happen to us that is not part of His great plan for world redemption. What more could any missionary ask for than to be part of God's plan for bringing the lost to Himself and strengthening believers to be more filled with His Spirit.

Whatever challenge we face, He is able to carry us through. Let us covenant together to pray faithfully for our fellow believers, especially for those in strategic places of ministry. Let us pray for concrete walls of protection around their lives, their families and their livelihoods. God is able!


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

When It is Time to Change Churches?

There is a massive shift taking place in the American church. Not only have we seen the rise of the Nones (people with no religious affiliation at all), we have also seen the rise of the Dones (people who were once quite active in church but no longer attend at all). There is yet a third trend that few people have written about, which are the "Bummed." They are people who are still going to church but are bummed out about it. It just is not meeting their spiritual needs. They do not want to become a Done, but they are not sure how long they can continue participating in their current church. Perhaps it is an old family church we have attended for decades. Perhaps our family has been in the church for generations. Even though we have close relationships with others there and the thought of leaving is frightening, we know if we do not do something soon, our spiritual life will suffer. Perhaps we have heard about a cool new church across town and their slick advertising appeals to us. Should we make the switch or stay where we are? These are not easy questions to answer.

In my position as a denominational leader, I have helped many families work through this heart wrenching processes. Some end up recommitting themselves to their current church and making it a stronger congregation. Others end up in the cool new church across town. My goal is never to promote one over the other, but to help each family seek God's perfect plan for their own lives, a plan that helps them grow in Christ.

If your family is considering changing churches, think through the following issues carefully.

Here are some wrong reasons to change churches:

1. We want a worship service that is more upbeat.
While younger people tend to like more energy in their worship than their parents or grandparents, even mature adults do not want a service that drags on without a clear purpose. But just speeding up the tempo and adding drums does not necessarily make a worship service better. We must ask if the entire worship experience, not just the music, honors Christ. Does it help the worshipers be in tune with what the Spirit is speaking into their lives? Do the prayer times and and teaching aspects of the service point people toward Christ? One church may have better music or a faster paced service, but another church may have deeper truth being taught in the sermon or more powerful corporate prayer. All of this must be considered before a wise choice can be made.

2. We want a church that is more fun.
While the Sunday worship service is important, church is more than just the weekly service. The church is a family and families should enjoy being together. While church should be an enjoyable experience, fun is not its primary purpose. The primary purpose of the church is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a community that does not know Him while also making disciples of those who have been called by God to believe. One church may have a whole menu of fun experiences, but do they also help people grow in Christ? Both are important but they must be balanced in order for a church to be healthy. A fun church may feel like it meets our needs in the short term, but if it has no depth, then that sense of enjoyment will quickly fade away. That does not mean that we have to settle for a boring church, but it might mean that a church that is less fun might actually be better for our spiritual journey. Perhaps our current needs us to volunteer to be the activities coordinator instead of just switching churches. We must consider this before changing churches.

3. We are tired of having to teach all the classes and lead all the programs for young people.
Sometimes churches get used to a small number of people doing most of the work. While we should all be willing to do our part, when we are the ones having to do so much of the work, sometimes we can begin to feel burned out. We may begin to think that our lives would be easier if we changed to a different church, other people would carry the burden for us. News flash! Every church, regardless of its age, size, organizational structure, or programming, struggles recruiting youth and children’s workers. Some people are workers. Some people are slackers. If we are workers, then it will not be long before we are working in the same ministries of the church we just left. If we change churches just because we thought it would be easier, we will be disappointed in a couple of years when we find ourselves taking more than our share of turns in the nursery at our new church.

4. The pastor (or deacon, or Sunday School teacher, or youth group leader, etc.) made us mad.
We should never leave a church in anger. When we do, we simply take the anger with us to the next church. It may lay dormant for a few months, but eventually our anger will come out at the new church. This is not fair to the new church. If someone at our current church said something to us or a member of our family that upset us, we should speak to the person directly and get the issue resolved. Running from an issue does is not the same thing as resolving it. Gossiping about the issue to others does not count as resolving it either. To resolve issues we must go directly to the individual involved and talk about it. It is possible that we will still have to change churches, but at least we will know we did everything we could to resolve an issue before we left.

Clearly there are many bad reasons to leave a church. However, there are some valid reasons to change churches. Here are some:

1. Our child does not want to go to church at all because nothing at the church relates to his or her life.
Every child goes through the occasional “I don’t feel like going to church” phase, so we should not freak out when that happens. However, when the phase becomes a clear pattern, and we have done everything we could to help resolve the situation, then as parents we have to consider our child’s spiritual well being. If we have done everything we could and the church is simply not willing to minister to our children, it is time to find a church that will relate to our child for his or her own spiritual health.

2. Our child is faithful to attend church but there is nothing he or she can do at church but sit and listen.
Many churches talk about reaching the next generation, but they do not let anyone in the next generation do anything. It is as if young people are supposed to sit quietly and be seen but not heard until they turn 25 or 30 years old. That is poor stewardship of those whom God has put under our care. Young people can help take up the offering. They can say the opening or closing prayer. They can read scripture. They can pass out bulletins. They can run the sound system or video ministry of the church. They can assist in teaching Sunday School and children's worship. Some of them might even be able to preach on youth day if someone coached them properly. If churches are unwilling to allow young people to serve, even though they attend faithfully, then something is wrong with the church as a whole. If there is a faithful group of young people coming to church and the church simply ignores then, it might be time to find a new church. We should first try to get the church to use the young people who come, because it is possible that it just did not occur to the leaders that young people are willing to serve, especially if the leaders are older. But if we have tried that and the leadership is just not interested in letting young people serve, then it is going to become increasingly difficult for our children to grow in Christ in an environment that does not value them. When that happens, it is probably time to find a different church.

3. Our church has abandoned biblical theology.
This is always a touchy subject because we must make sure we have separated biblical values from our personal preferences or religious traditions that make us feel more comfortable. However, we are living in an era when many churches have abandoned biblical theology and began to accept things that are incompatible with orthodox Christianity. When this happens, it is time to find a new church. Though it is important to try to turn our current church back toward the truth, if the leadership is determined to promote unbiblical teaching, there is no need to stay any longer than absolutely necessary to fulfill our current commitments to the church.

4. Our church leadership is in open sin and the church refuses to deal with it.
This is also a touchy subject because we do not want to become narrow minded and judgmental. We all sin, even leaders. Just because a pastor, deacon or elder makes a mistake does not mean that we need to leave the church. The bigger issue is how does the church deal with the issue? Does the person correct their mistake? Do they do whatever it takes to make it right? Does the church put in place better systems of accountability so it does not happen again? Depending on the severity of the issue, the leader may need to take a sabbatical from their position for a while, or perhaps resign permanently. If a key leader in the church is in open sin and the church ignores it, something is wrong. It is important to make sure the others leaders know about it. That does not mean gossiping about it in our small group, it means having a private meeting with whomever is in charge and sharing our concerns and then giving them time to address it. If the issue gets resolved, then this is a church worth staying in because they deal with things correctly. If the issue is swept under the rug, it should be cause for concern. We may not need to leave right away, if it is a minor issue, but if this becomes a pattern over and over again, then it is time to find a new church.

Regardless of our reasons, if we find that our family is considering changing churches, we should proceed slowly. We must pray through the situation thoroughly. We should think through the thoughts above objectively. We should discuss the subject with the leadership of our current church. If our children are old enough to understand the issues, they should be included in the conversation too. If our family does decide to change churches, we owe it to our current pastor to sit down and have an open, honest, and loving discussion of why we are going elsewhere. If we have made commitments to help lead a program, we should do our very best to remain in that position until our current term ends so that we do not leave our current church hanging. If we have made some type of pledge to the general fund for the year or financial commitment to a certain project, we should do our very best to fulfill it. When we leave, we should do our best to leave on good terms. This is not the time to post negative comments on social media or send out mass emails detailing the reasons we are leaving. We should speak to the pastor and/or other appropriate leaders, fulfill whatever commitments we have made and then quietly slip away without causing undue damage to the church we once loved so much.

Finally, we must keep in mind that sometimes both our families, and our churches, go through phases. It is possible that the church that we leave today, may change next year. Perhaps our own spiritual needs change and one day we may find ourselves back at the church we left five years ago. Which is another good reason to always leave on good terms. Changing churches is hard, and should be avoided if at all possible, but if we must do it, then we should do it for the right reasons and in the right way. Our goal should not be to prove a point and create a crisis or even to "be right" in a disagreement. Our goal should be to honor Christ in all things and to grow closer to Him through our relationship with our church. When these things are remembered, it impacts our behavior and attitude greatly. We can remain actively engaged in the life of a local church and avoid becoming a Done.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Simple Process for Experiencing Revival

Psalm 119:15-16 “I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”

When I was 13, my 8th grade Sunday School teacher taught our class how to have a daily quiet time with God. This included time for Bible reading, prayer and then reflection on what we read. She gave personal testimony of how her own daily quiet time gave her strength for the day and often helped her find answers for problems she was facing. She assured us that this was the normal way all Christians started their day.

It made sense to me so I decided to start having a daily quiet time as well. Like my 8th grade Sunday School teacher, I can testify that it has sustained me through many challenges in my life. I am thankful for a Sunday School teacher who taught me something so simple and yet so life changing.

The one thing that my Sunday School teacher taught us that turned out to be incorrect, was that this was the normal way all Christians started their day. I am sure she thought it was an accurate statement, but after nearly 25 years of ministry, it becomes clear to me that many Christians skip this important part of their day. This is reflected by the lack of biblical knowledge that even those who have been Christians for decades have. It is reflected by how we interact with each other as Christians in daily life. It is reflected in our conversations with each other, which are about so many things, but seldom about what the Lord is showing us in scripture. It is reflected in the lack of holy passion in our corporate worship, which can only come from a strong time of private worship.

If we want revival to come to America again, perhaps we might return to a simple lesson we learned in Sunday School so long ago, let us start each day with a daily quiet time. A few minutes of Bible reading, prayer and reflection can change our lives. If millions of lives are changed a little each day, that impacts the broader church, indeed, it impacts the broader culture.

Lord, call us back to simply spending time with You each day! Amen.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Don't Let the Four Horsemen Keep Us from Rejoicing!!

My devotions this morning were from Revelation 6-7. Those chapters are about the four horsemen who come and destroy so much of the earth during the last days. They are difficult chapters to read, so much death and destruction. Those chapters are not exactly the "morning encouragement" I was hoping for when I began my devotions.

Then I got to these verses: "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7.9-10)

Oh how my heart rejoiced! I could see the image in my mind. I could hear the voices crying out in my ear. I could see the Lamb standing before the throne. And I realized that that four horsemen, as bad as they are, cannot keep us from rejoicing! There, in the midst of great trial and tribulation, was evidence that God is still at work. He is still saving people from every tribe and language. He is still changing lives and moving us to deeper levels of commitment to Him. Regardless of what happens on this earth, one day all those who are Jesus' followers will all rejoice together in heaven.

When life gets rough, let us remember that whatever we are facing today is temporary, but salvation is forever. The trials and tribulations that seem so great today will be gone tomorrow. And if we know Jesus, then we have reason to rejoice! Those who don't know Jesus should receive Him today so they do not have to endure the trials of life alone and can look forward to eternity with Him. What a reason to celebrate!


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: