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Monday, July 28, 2008

S.T.A.N.D. (The Importance Of Pain)

Lately, I've been examining CHANGE in my life. Earlier this year (2008), I told my wife that I felt that God was preparing my heart for something to happen. I told her, "This will be a year of change for us". We felt hopeful and encouraged that maybe God was starting to move in our lives in a new powerful way. We had been praying for His will expectantly, but up to that point nothing had happened (that we could see).

We're still waiting . . . and to be honest, life has been a tad difficult since we felt that initial encouragement. I have learned, however, that God gives us inspiration in spite of our circumstance and that true, effective CHANGE can only come out of CONFLICT. What we are always struggles with what we need to become. This is how life is designed to work in a fallen world. This is how God salvages Creation, using "all things" for His purpose. In fact, the Fall of Man and the resulting gift of Reconciliation is the supreme fulfillment of this principle.

Pain finds its purpose in Pleasure. Failure finds its purpose in Success. Conflict finds its purpose in Change. In this, our Enemy wounds himself. What he means for evil, God gives it a new purpose - to mold us to His image.

God gave me this acronym over a year ago. I'm just now finding where to place it in my life.

S - stop living in Fear of pain or failure
T - take massive action to implement right principles
A - accept each moment as an opportunity to learn and move forward
N - never give up
D - demand ongoing excellence

See, most people know what is right. In fact, the overwhelming frustration I hear when talking about this subject is the fact that we all know what to do - we all know the principles for success - but, for some inexplicable reason, can't force ourselves to do it! I have found that I fear the pain. I fear the failure. I fear the conflict. I never really get to the principle.

God is using this year to CHANGE me, and as usual, it is in an unexpected way.



© Copyright Derek Hickman 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

There Is A God

I love it when God moves in and through us. It is our deepest fulfillment to have that happen. In my experience, God uses us for two purposes. He uses us to minister to each other as the body of Christ (whether to exhort, admonish, or teach), and He also uses us to show the world who He IS (either by His Story, His Gospel, or our Example).

My fulfillment for several years has been in the area of exhortation. God has used me to encourage other brothers and sisters in Christ towards praise and thankfulness, introspection, and true worship. I love what I do, and for quite some time have longed to do it full-time. God will someday open that door, for sure. Until then, however, He is constantly stretching me, opening my eyes to new avenues of ministry.

Another aspect, less known, has been my ministry to our town's youth. I grew up as a violent, oppressed young man, enslaved by sin and vice. When God changed me, I was drawn toward youth ministry that reached the hardened hearts of the "problem" kids. I remember one of the biggest questions I had was whether or not there even was a God . . . and I was a preacher's kid! Today I frequent the streets of Winchester picking up whoever wants to come to our church. I try to develop those all-important relationships that are necessary for us to impact their hearts and minds.

Some of you know that I've been leading worship at First Fire at Movies 9 on Sunday mornings (for two weeks). That is going well. My prayer is that someone will find God this coming week. I think I'll sing this on Sunday.

There Is A God

(Verse One)
A thousand lonely beacons, a thousand points of light
A thousand burning hearts are reaching for the sky
A million different reasons for us to question why
As the whole world searches for a sign

What if we find Him, what if He's really listening?
What if our sin is what's keeping us apart?
What if the answers are found in Jesus?
What if He's here to heal our hearts?
I know . . . you know . . .

There is a God, and He cares for you
No matter where you're coming from or what you're going through
There is a God, and He knows our name
He can take this shattered, broken life and make us whole again
When you need someone to love you through it all
There is a God

(Verse Two)
A million different people, a million points of view
A million different reasons, so many things to do
A thousand different roads are here for us to choose
And the whole world searches for the truth

What if we find it, what if we really see Him?
What we start to know this Holy God above?
What if Salvation is only found in Jesus?
What if belief is up to us?
I know . . . you know . . .


No matter your failures, no matter your fortune
No matter your strength or the weakness you live in
No matter the walls that you've built to resist Him
No matter the choices you've made


© Copyright Derek Hickman 2008