Ways to Increase Intimacy with God

Some of us, as believers, struggle with the idea of growing closer to God.  To be honest, from conversations I have with some believers, it’s that they just don’t know how to increase their intimacy with God.  While others simply don’t realize that they are missing something if they are not intimate with Him.  They called on Him for salvation, they try to obey His commands, but they don’t live their lives in deep relationship with Him.  The following steps can be taken to increase your intimacy with God.

  1. Confirm your salvation.  Evaluate your life and the fruit of it and make sure that you are actually a follower of Christ and not just going through the motions.
  2. Consider your church.  Make sure you are attending a Bible-believing, God-glorifying, Christ-exalting church. Now, make it a habit to stay plugged in and miss as seldom as possible.
  3. Cast your cares.  (1 Peter 5:7) Make prayer a vital part of your life.  Remember this is the way that Scripture dictates that we communicate with God.  Communication is key for any healthy relationship.
  4. Contemplate the Scripture.  Read it, study it, meditate on it, and memorize it.  Remember, the Bible is breathed out by God and is useful for believers (2 Timothy 3:16).
  5. Count your blessings.  As you evaluate your daily life realize how many gifts have been give to you by God and remember that every good gift is from Him (James 1:17).

Songs that Speak #2

As we go through life we are often in hills and valleys.  Highs and lows – its just the way things go.  Let us be reminded that when we are on the hills – we were placed there by the gracious hand of God.  When we are in the valleys – we were led there by the almighty plan of God.  This song helps me remember just that.

also watch his explanation of the song as well.

Songs that Speak #1

Sometimes songs do more for us than simply provide a good tune or give us something to listen to when we are bored.  There are songs that truly speak to us in the depths of our being.  In fact, we know that songs have often been a way for the believer to express himself to God when mere words aren’t enough.  I hope to periodically provide songs on here that have spoken to me over the years.

Today, I would like to start with one that I have just recently been challenged by.  Psalm 46 has been put to a new set of music by Shane and Shane and certainly is a great reminder of who God is to us.  He is with us wherever we go and is our strong and mighty fortress!

What do you do when there’s nothing you can do?

I like to think I solve problems.  I am one of those guys who likes to have definitive answers and likes to be able to help people figure out what the best next step is.  In my work, I am often the guy who makes decisions and keeps us moving in the direction our pastor sees best.  In our home, my wife keeps us from falling of track but she certainly trusts me to drive the train.  Even amongst friends, I find myself making decisions and moving forward.  But what do you do when you aren’t the one in charge?  What do you do when you aren’t the one who gets to make the decision?  What do you do when something is happening to you or the ones you love and you can’t fix it, solve it, or do something to make it get better?

This past Friday my youngest daughter, Lottie, had an 3.5 hour back surgery.  If you know us very well, you know that Lottie has Spina Bifida and therefore is quite used to surgeries these days.  However, this surgery was both very exciting and very extensive.  She had new magnetic rods screwed into her back.  As you can imagine, this has been pretty uncomfortable for her.  The surgery ended up becoming more complicated than originally thought and the surgeon had to do some other movements that caused the surgery to last longer and increased her neurological deficits in her legs.

So, what am I supposed to do?  When my child is hurting and my first inclination is to try and fix or solve or decide but the reality is…I can’t do anything.  There is nothing I can do to solve this.

It is during times like these that I am thankful that I know the only one who can do something.  I know the one true God.  I know that He is a far better Father than I am and a much better physician than any of the myriad of highly skilled, wonderful, doctors that have been caring for Lottie.  I know the King of kings and Lord of lords and I know that He is doing what is best for our good and His glory.

Here are the three things that I have found I can do when there is nothing I can do.

  1. I can PAUSE. I can stop, take a break, and realize that I am never really in control anyway, so pausing allows me to remember this reality and wait on God to move in the way He sees fit.
  2. I can REST. Since I have paused I am able to find myself resting in the perfect plan of a perfect God.  I am able to trust that what the Lord wants is what is best and so I don’t have to solve anything – because He is solving it.
  3. I can PRAY. Many times we take this one for granted.  We feel like this one is too small, or not even worth counting.  However, prayer is not only acknowledging God’s sovereign control over it all but it proves to be a consistent reminder to us as the communicator that we are pausing and resting in the only one who is worthy.


So, I guess, there’s never nothing I can do!

The Most Wonderful Time of Year?

Why do people say this is the most wonderful time of year?  Why is their an entire song dedicated to this very idea?  Don’t people see the frustration on people’s faces as they frantically storm through the mall parking lots and stress out over things on lay away?  Did the writer of that song ever really hear “kids jingle belling?” Don’t people notice the frustration as they try to remember all of the people on their Christmas list?

So why is it true that it is the most wonderful time of year?  It’s not because of all the snow (especially here in the south).  It’s not because of the parties, tasty food, and time off of work.  It’s not because of the family gatherings filled with laughter and fun.  It’s the most wonderful time of year because of who we celebrate and what we are celebrating that He did.

This time of year is devoted to the celebration of the coming of the promised messiah, the prophesied rescuer.  Jesus the Christ came to earth as a man, leaving His place in Heaven for the momentary affliction of the flesh of man.  Jesus’ birth is spectacular not only because the Son of God became the Son of Man, but because He came to die.  He was born for the very purpose of death.  So, His coming was further proof that the promises of God would be fulfilled.  Study the Old Testament and you will see promise after promise later fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.  Continue to read in the New Testament and note the promises Jesus made and how He fulfilled those as well.  For those promises that are still to come to fruition we can take great solace in a perfect track record up to this point.

Therefore, despite all of the reasons that this is NOT the most wonderful time of year…the celebration of the coming of the King IS the most wonderful time of year!

Top 5 qualifiers for quality Music Ministers

People are stirred by music and are often lead in their beliefs by the songs they sing.  In fact, many people, mistakenly belief that the most familiar of the songs they sing are Scripture.  A good Minister of Music will be able to explain and express the difference but will highlight the truth throughout. In addition to these truths it is paramount that the Minister of Music is able to follow the leadership of the Pastor (thankfully ours does this extremely well).

Able to teach the Bible through song – Choosing the right lyric is always paramount to choosing the right tune.  When the song has both it is an incredible gift to the congregation and when the Minister of Music leads in this way it is incredibly helpful.

Able to know and understand right theology – If he does not understand theology then he will not be able to explain it or choose songs that accurately depict the church’s beliefs.

Able to read music and sing well – It is not necessary for the Minister of Music to be the best musician in the church, however, it is key for the Minister of Music to be capable of holding a tune and understanding music.

Able to display joy while singing – There is nothing more difficult to follow than a worship leader who does not seem be worshipping.

Able to stir others to desire to worship the Lord (and not himself) – Sadly, there are too many worship leaders that seek to draw attention to themselves.  This is the opposite of stirring affection toward Christ.  Do not miss out on this significant difference.


What a joy it is for me to list these qualifiers while thinking of Brad Brand our Minister of Music.  God is using Him well and allowing our family of faith to be stirred to worship the Lord all the more as a result of his leadership.