If you heard about the lawsuit against Bay Shore Community Church and myself please click on the link below to see our latest press release.
If you heard about the lawsuit against Bay Shore Community Church and myself please click on the link below to see our latest press release.
A few weeks ago Ken Sumrall, Brother Ken as many called him, died. I can’t remember how I heard the news but I was impacted by the announcement of his death. I felt sad that he was gone. Ken Sumrall was the first leader of a large church that I had ever been exposed to. He was a visionary, a good communicator and a man passionate for the truth of the Bible. Brother Ken empowered leaders. I remember 25 or 30 elders standing in front of the church praying for people’s needs after he preached. John Maxwell came on the scene many years later espousing the idea of shared ministry in the local church; Brother Ken released ministry to others long before anyone heard of John Maxwell.
I remember sitting in Liberty Church when I was 22 years old listening to his powerful preaching. He was bold when he preached but also tender; many times he cried as he shared God’s word. I would sit beside my wife Karen in Liberty Church and experience the presence of God as he stood on the platform. I longed to be like Brother Ken when I finished Liberty Bible College. Brother Ken was also controversial at times with some of his followers. There has never been a successful leader that has not simultaneously been controversial. You show me someone that is not controversial and I will show you a bland leader. Leaders that do not attract criticism attract yawns instead. As all leaders do, Brother Ken had clay feet. His weaknesses were as pronounced as his gifts; mine are too (yours as well). Every leader exercises their gifts and ministry through their temperament. Temperaments are like flashlight batteries – they have a negative pole and a positive. I have never met a leader that did not eventually portray some imperfections and weaknesses. We all have this treasure in “jars of clay” (2 Cor. 4:7). My experiences with Brother Ken were very positive. He gave me guidance on how to lead my first church (and only one) at the age of 24. He came to the little rural town I pastor and preached for me several times when he could have stayed in Pensacola and preached to much larger crowds. He encouraged me in front of my congregation that wondered if this young man had any idea what he was doing (I didn’t). He took time to talk to Karen and I at conferences where are paths would cross. These are all good memories that I have of Brother Ken.
However, my most powerful memory of Brother Ken occurred before I was in the ministry. I had just finished Bible College and I was serving as a deacon of Liberty Church. My job as deacon was to set up the tapes before and after services on Sunday night. Each cassette tape had a specific color that corresponded with a particular Pastor that spoke at Liberty Church. One Sunday night I was packing up the tapes into boxes after the service and carried them into a storage room adjacent to the stage. To be honest I was depressed this particular night. I was down because I had finished Bible College and felt the call to preach but I was merely selling the recordings of other preachers. Brother Ken happened to walk by me on the way to his car after the service. I was busy doing my packing duty. Brother Ken exited the building. I continued to place the tapes in the boxes. Probably five to seven minutes passed when all of the sudden I felt an arm come around me from behind. I turned around and it was Brother Ken. With those piercing eyes of his he said, “Danny, God has his hand on your life and has a very special plan for you.” He turned and left as quickly as he came. Those few words from a legend I admired and respected made me feel valued and hopeful about my future. Without being melodramatic it was a defining moment in my life. As I thought back on what must have happened – he had gotten to his car pulled out his keys and felt compelled to come back and speak to me. His obedience is still a treasure in my heart 31 years later. I hope I can emulate these positive virtues of a special man of God that is now with Jesus.
*Dr. Ken Sumrall is the founder of Liberty Church (Pensacola, FL) and Liberty Bible College and was in the ministry for 57 years. He will be remembered as a spiritual father by many.
There is nothing worse than a bad case of sad. All of us have had that melancholy feeling inside. Things are not the way we wish they were and we feel powerless to change anything so we get bogged down in the internal swamp of depression. There are different levels of depression of course, some are clinically depressed and need professional guidance and sometimes medication. Regardless of the level of the big sad that may sit on our shoulder there are some things to remember.
Connect when you are tempted to disconnect. Often sadness makes us pull away from others. Ironically as we start to hibernate our depression worsens. When you are depressed it is not good to be left alone with only your thoughts. You need to hear the voice of other people – you need to see their smile, you need to be with other humans. Get out of your shell even when you don’t feel like it. You are not in life alone – there are others out there that have stories to tell. Share life with others and the life you seem to have lost will begin to come back.
Do something fun. Break out of your routine otherwise known as a rut. Sometimes when I am blue I put my bike on the bike rack of my car and head to the beach and ride down Coastal Highway. The scenery is beautiful and as my legs pump the pedals oxygen goes to my brain and I begin to feel better. When I do this I don’t have my iPod with me I listen to the breeze and the sound of the ocean and I pray as I ride. People who are depressed need to change their environment and context. Outdoors is a good place to loose sadness.
Watch out for temptation. Sadness is often a prime place in life where we stumble and fall into unhealthy activities. The acrostic HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely & Tired. All addicts of anything need to know that when they feel angry or lonely they can be sitting ducks for their addiction. When you are in the pits watch out for THE PIT (THE PIT = your personal vice in life - drugs, promiscuity or even gorging with food). Sometimes when you see someone gain excessive weight it is a sign that they are in a depression trying to eat their way out of their personal darkness.
Talk to someone. Sometimes you need to talk to someone that can help you. A counselor, a Pastor, a Bible study leader – a Christian friend or leader you respect. Let them listen to your heart, give you some advice and then let them pray for you. There is incredible power when another person prays for you (James 5:16).
Remember it is not forever. When you are sad it is easy to think this will never end. Sadness has an expiration date. Often we go through something that bogs us down for a bit but this is not a permanent picture of your life. This is not forever. The sun will shine again and you will hear the birds singing. Sometimes sadness comes in seasons but you can attack it head on and not let it pin you down. After all “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 KJV
Tomorrow is an election. Months and months of campaigning and political ads are almost over. I found myself wondering this morning what it feels like to be the person that will be elected the next President of the United States. What is going through the minds of the two presidential candidates the day before the election? In daydreaming fashion I wondered what it would feel like to actually be President of the United States and sit in the Oval Office. If I sat in the Oval Office what would I do? I think I would feel the job was too big for me. Actually the job is too big for anyone. If I were President I would have to realize that I would need lots of smart people around me that could help me with an educated perspective on issues I needed to provide leadership for. I would also know that even with all the smart people around me that would not be enough. I would need to ask the Lord incessantly for wisdom to lead our great nation. This is what Solomon did in the Old Testament. He knew his limitations and asked God to help him to be able to rule beyond his limitations with supernatural aid.
7 “Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:7-9 (NIV)
To be a great President I would need to know how inadequate I was for the job. Only wise and smart people should run for President but no one is smart enough to lead our country. A feeling of compelling adequacy is inappropriate for a President; a humble heart is more necessary to lead our country well. If I were President I would need to put my little hand in the big hand of God to help me lead our country forward.
If I were President I would have to know that I have a window of opportunity to do something courageous. I would need to make it my goal to do the right thing and not the popular thing. I would need to have the guts to listen to my conscience and not the polls. I would need to honor gender equality – empower women in great roles in the government and society but protect the innocent that are developing in the wombs of women. I would need to encourage women that have had abortions that God can heal their regrets, sins and mistakes with his unfathomable love while at the same time lifting the vision of America to protect all its’ citizens especially the helpless that are not yet born.
If I were President I would seek to convince America that we have been great and still can be great. I would remind America that this is the greatest land and people that have ever been called a nation. I would remove as many obstacles as possible to empower people to reach for their dreams and take care of themselves. I would tell America that there is more dignity in taking care of ourselves than having the government collect money from others to take care of them. I would perceive it to be my job to clear the road for businesses to sprint on and run toward their dreams and goals.
If I were President I would build great roads, a strong military and I would unleash churches across America to take care of the poor. If I were President I would try to find a way that all motivated people could get higher education and complete degrees without large financial bills at the end of their academic training.
If I were President I would kneel in the Oval Office every day and ask God to bless the land that I love. I would ask Him to pour out his Spirit on our land and give us a new spiritual awakening. If I were President I would want and need the Lord to occupy the Oval Office with me.
Karen has an hour glass in her office at home. Occasionally I like to flip it upside down and watch the sand go through the narrow glass neck of this delicate time piece. As I look at the white sand descend downward I am painfully reminded that time always is marching forward.
As I have gradually grown older I have often wished time would slow down to a snail’s pace but time seems to gain momentum each and every day. When I was a kid, and I bet you too, wished time would hurry up so I could experience certain things. I wished Christmas would hurry up and get here so I could open presents; I wished I could go to high school and get out of middle school; I wished I would hurry up and get my driver’s license; I wished I would hurry up and graduate from high school; I wanted college to be over so I could make money; I wished I could hurry up and get married and go on a honeymoon; I wished the kids would learn to walk so I could play with them in the yard. I wished many things would hurry up and get here. Hurry, hurry I thought – I couldn’t wait for certain things to hurry up and get here so I could experience them. I don’t do that anymore.
Now I wish time would slow down. It seems to go way too fast. Time is the space in which we experience incredible things on earth. Although time in an eternal sense is infinite, in an earthly sense it is finite. Time is a limited quantity here on earth. If time were like money and days like dollars we would only have so many dollars in our billfold. We are spending away our days each and every passing moment. If time is a limited asset on earth than how we spend it is very important.
Spending your time mad, bitter and angry is a very poor way to spend this great commodity called time. Wallowing in anger or in bitterness would be akin to taking a handful of fifty dollar bills and lighting a match to a dozen of them one at a time burning them to ashes. I can’t think of a better way to say it than – that is STUPID! The problem with time is it is limited and because it is limited its’ value is immense. Before we know it we will be out of it. The buzzer will go off in the game of life and the game will be over. Life is not a game but its’ transience can be compared to a football or basketball game except there are no timeouts in life; one cannot stop the clock even for a moment to prevent time from passing. If that is true – which it definitely is – than I must be very wise with my time.
I don’t have time to be mad, bitter, angry or resentful because the moments I am angry could be a moment when I could be smiling and laughing. I cannot be bitter because bitterness could occur in moments when I can stop and ponder a sunset. I cannot feel perpetually guilty because condemnation occurs in time when I could be worshiping and fathoming the marvelous grace of God. I cannot be anxious because my anxiety takes places within the confines of minutes that I could be growing in my faith and trusting the ultimate Father who has his eyes fixed on me to provide for my every need.
You see time is like gold. It is more valuable than your car, your home, your big screen TV. It is more valuable than your stocks, your savings account, your diamonds or most prized possessions. You see the problem with time is it is running out and when it is gone it can never be recaptured. The problem with time is time is running out right now. What I do with my time will determine the quality of my life. It is time to understand the value of time because the problem with time is we cannot get anymore of it while we live on this earth.