Time is an amazing concept, isn’t it?  Try looking up the definition online and see the incredible number of responses you receive.  Wikipedia gets into all the various physics, mechanics, and measurements along with the philosophical and social dimensions of time.  It even mentions Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  It talks about the past, present, and future – and what viewpoints cultures and people have adopted down through the ages.

I remember as a young boy hearing those advertisements every once in a while on TV.  You know, the one would say: “Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”  I won’t say what show it was, but the title is in that quote.  And honestly don’t even know if that show has survived ‘the test of time’ – so to speak.  What is more important and interesting, to me, is what people decide and choose to do with their time.  Of course, that seems to be a loaded question in and of itself, because when we really get down to it, nobody is really in control of time.  Sure, we make decisions that will inflluence, take up, and swallow what time we have – but we aren’t in control of it.  That simply means, we have no idea how much time is left or how much time we have left.  Likewise, we weren’t given a choice as to what period of time we arrived here, or how many year we want to stay, or how and when we exit.  To the same extent, most Americans struggle with Time Management and are poor in structuring time.

When you start to talk about eternity, minds can draw a blank.  How can I possibly think or ponder or consider those things, I can hardly think about tomorrow? – is the state many are in.  Yet, as Christ followers, are we not to duly pray that our time is effective, and purposeful, and God honoring?  Shouldn’t we trust God with our time, and the time we have left, and allow His direction and guidance to be our true measure?  It is clear that as we journey with God through this life, He is to become more as we become less.  It is His Spirit that not only counsels us, corrects us, and comforts us – but He also becomes our compass.  So to really break it down and place it under a microscope:  Time, and whatever time we have, belongs to God.  We live, breathe, work, minister, and play, all in His time.

As we examine, study, glean, and seek God’s wisdom through His holy Word, we learn that we are accountable for the time we have.  One day, on that day, we will stand before God.  The ridiculous excuses, the loathing and mismanagement, and the horrific waste of time will be known by Him before we even arrive there.  I believe this is where the words of Jesus speak so loudly:  “Choose this day who you will serve.”  In other words, choose and do; act on the choice.  Why?  Because time is short and we must use it wisely for shining His light and being His hands and feet in a world that desperately needs Him.  Are we merely waiting for Heaven?  Sure, Heaven is an incredible promise of eternal implications that brings us much joy, peace, and celebration here.  But we cannot and should not lock ourselves up and just go through motions, waiting for Heaven.  To do so is against His desire, and I believe, a mismanagement of His time.

I can’t help but think of the amount of people, around the world, who woke up this morning expecting a day of appointments, work, leisure, and other necessary and fun activities who will not live beyond today.  I saw on the news last night where a terrible vehicle accident and pile up in Florida took the lives of 10 people.  No one expected that or planned for it.  How about in our own lives?  Who knows what today will hold for any of us?  Only God knows!  The key point here is this:  God knowing and being in control should be sufficient.  He really does have our best interests at heart, no matter what it may look like on the surface.  He is working all things together, for good.

None of this means that we shouldn’t care about our health, about our responsibilities, or about our part in Time Management.  Quite to the contrary, we must be (and further become) good stewards.  Yes, good stewards of God’s time – but also, of God’s resources.  Let me tell you, more than anything else today there is a heart issue that needs to be dealt with in our nation and world.  The byproduct of this is the money and economic problem, but at the core – it is a heart issue.  Let us pray and ask God for hearts and lives that are rightly centered on and in Him, so that we might live each moment, of each hour, of each day that we have left, for His glory.  That is my prayer for us all.

In His joy, hope, and love,


Talking Truth About Burnout

Surely you have heard the phrase or even ushered it yourself.  It goes something like this, “I am burned out.”  Occasionally it is loose and fluid, in other instances it is tight and solid.  People have ushered it within the framework of family relationships.  Some have made reference to it regarding their workplace.  Students, Athletes, Professionals, and quite literally people from all walks of life have thought it, said it, caved into it, and have hidden behind it.  No doubt some may be legitimately in that place.  For the authentic Christian, however, can burnout exist Can a Christ-follower ever be burned out of being God’s son or daughter?  Tired? Sure!  Challenged?  Absolutely!  But burned out?

Let me get a little more specific here.  By doing so, I want to hone in on the Church.  You see, the Church is God’s concept, not man’s.  There is no other organism that can accomplish His work because there is no other organism that is ordained and anointed to do it.  This will be true until He returns.  Then, the Church will be with Him.  It has often been said that “no ministry is done in isolation” and that is true.  Gifts have been given to the body, which is, His Church.  The gifts He gives are for the purpose of working out what God has worked in (Oswald Chambers, The Complete Works).  They aren’t for personal benefit or for squandering.  The gifts He gives are for the building up of His body.

As I have shared publicly in person, on this blog, and in other forums and gatherings, there is no shortage of materials I receive each week.  There are newsletters, web links, book previews, magazines, emails, links, brochures, resource demos, ezines, etc.  Some weeks it can be piled pretty high.  A common theme and topic that I see, in these days, relates to “Leadership Burnout” and what implications it is having on God’s Church.  Consider this statement in one of these resources:  “Studies have shown that many pastors and church staff are burning out. They feel the pressure to preach and create programs and events that entertain and inspire congregations, many of whom hardly serve in their church. This means added work for church staff and the faithful volunteers who shoulder most of the weight. The current state is taking its toll.”

I think I understand what they are trying to say and communicate, but a part of me wants to cry out, “Does truly serving, enjoying, and delighting in the Lord lead to burnout?  If it does, I cannot say I’ve ever experienced it.”  I mean, isn’t our faith a God-ordained, Jesus-led, Spirit-filled journey?  Of course!  We know it is!  I think the problem gets attributed to burnout because, to be frank, people have wrong priorities and tremendous expectations that are more influenced by the world than by the One Who made it and Who is seeing it through to completion.  I know pastors, leaders, and servants in the Church who are killing themselves in a pursuit to “make something happen” or to “get something done.”  Of all the people in the world who shouldn’t experience burnout, it is the Church.  If the Church is burned out so to speak, how will it ever be an example to the world?  Answer is, it won’t.  Ponder that for a moment.

God is sufficient.  He leads us in all truth.  He directs our paths.  He is our Strong Tower.  He provides, He sustains, He energizes, and He gives us rest.  Now, let me be clear:  The problem is not God — the problem, if any, is us.  The Church today desperately needs to return to John 17.  I have hope that it will because He is the Head!  I believe our God has an incredible plan and purpose for His Church, and I have decided and settled that I want to be “in” on that.  Not looking in on it.  So in returning to a John 17, we develop a Christ-like vision for our Christian life.  We are supernaturally connected, united with the Trinity (read John 17 again, it is Jesus’ prayer).

The Great Commission is our holy Mission, and it is our responsibility to engage the entire body and the world so that we can fulfill it.  Instead of hearing and reading all of this on burnout, and how it can be prevented and how to avoid it — I am far more interested in how we can equip the body for the works of ministry.  For it is here, in the equipping and going with the right motives that we will discover and rediscover the power of the Body of Christ moving towards full strength.  That happens when His Lordship reigns in our hearts, supremely.

Conclusion:   When pastors, leaders, servants, and the body as a whole develops  Spirit-led cultures that truly connect people to Christ and their community — burnout becomes obsolete.  As the transformed and vibrant Church prays, grows, serves, and gives of itself for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, it is contagious and life-giving.  May we be, and further become, a people after God’s own heart; and like Paul, be obedient to the Heavenly vision.

With joy, hope, and love,


Interesting and Truthful

Had a question presented to me today.  Interesting conversation.  Very practical.  This young “er” man is a new Christian; he made his profession of faith in 2011.  Here is what he asked me on the phone, “Porter, what does the Bible teach about laziness.  I have someone I care about deeply, and they say they ‘have faith’ and ‘trust Jesus,’ but there is no effort and no service in them.”  I was a little taken aback at the moment it was presented, but in a good way.  It was encouraging to know that new Christians are asking the questions and are interested in what is going on in Christianity.  You see, it can’t and shouldn’t be mere knowledge that we pursue as the body of Christ — we’ve got to be His hands and feet in a lost and fallen world.  If not us, who?  If not now, when?

I was reminded of 2 passages that are worth exploring and citing here.  One from the OT and one from the NT.  Of course, it is always wise to pray and consider the counsel of God.  There is no shortage of it and it is applicable because it is timeless.  In Proverbs 24, we are given this:  “I passed by a lazy person’s field, the vineyard belonging to a person without sense. I saw that it was all overgrown with thistles.  The ground was covered with weeds, and its stone fence was torn down. When I observed this, I took it to heart. I saw it and learned my lesson. Just a little sleep, just a little slumber, just a little nap.  Then your poverty will come like a drifter, and your need will come like a bandit.” (vv.30-34).  In essence, it is unadvised to be slothful for it yields nothing good.  From the NT, Paul writes these words after illustrating plainly that we are to live a disciplined life for the Lord:  “While we were with you, we gave you the order: Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.” (2nd Thess.3:10).

Our God is not slothful, He is not lazy.  Rather, He is active and engaged — He is involved and He is sustaining.  We learn about His activity in the OT and we see the direct, hands-on approach of Jesus and His followers in the NT.  There can be no doubt that we are to model His example and be and become more effective workers.  Not “busy-bees” or “works-focused” just to check off a list or send the message that we are doing something.  But it is out of the heart that we are led.  The grace of God, when it has its way in us, works itself out naturally.  It is the byproduct of a right heart, a right life, a right perspective.

Some take grace to a dimension that is exceptionally dangerous.  A few years ago, I got into a dialogue with someone who really believed that since they had received the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that works were optional and unnecessary.  But that is not Biblical.  You see, the body of Christ is best when each part is utilizing its gift for maximum impact.  Let us continue to be a people after His own heart.  Let us pray without ceasing that with passion, vigor, and urgency are consistently found in us, in our faith, and in our church.  All hands are needed on deck.

Lord, thank You for showing us and giving us Your eternal truth.  May it speak to us today, amongst a culture that is growing increasingly slothful.  Let Your church stand out as the city on a hill, that they may see our good works and glorify You!  In Jesus Name!  Amen, and Amen!



Making course corrections are a part of life.  Whether you are driving toward a new destination, trying to be rid of some bad “habits,” or seeking to improve your own efficiency or effectiveness  – adjusting things will generally have to be included to reach the desired goal.  Things don’t remain the same.  Not in family life, not in business, not in culture.  In other words, life is dynamic and ever changing.  I am not going to make a philosophical issue of it in this Blog.

To some measure we all typically resist change, especially when there may be uncertainty around it.  But I submit that has to do more with our preferences and preconceived notions and less to do with our own recognition that change is inevitable; a fact of life.  What if we had refused change during the Industrial Revolution?   That would be something wouldn’t it?  Or what if we insisted on riding horses and bikes instead of embracing the invention of the automobile?  How long would it take to get to Raleigh then?

Think of the Church and our Mission.  Jesus said “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…”  Think of what has changed since He stated those words of timeless truth.  There is no Roman Government with an Emperor today.  The Sanhedrin no longer exists.  We don’t write on scrolls any longer.  A trip then that would require 5 or 6 days is now reduced to mere hours.  Here’s what remains constant:  We are to take Him, Jesus, into all the world.  So let’s say it in this condensed statement:  The methods change but the message stays the same (always).

I am grateful for a church family and body (Bridgeway) that is open to seek the Lord’s will and direction.  I am humbled that we have people who are just hungry to see a movement of God and are willing to modify things as opposed to simply following tradition.  Not that there is anything wrong with tradition – it just cannot become an idol or a pillar.  No change should be done for change’s sake.  That is missing the mark altogether.  But change in order to reposition and realign yourself with your Mission – now that is what I believe the Lord wants us to do.

Some of the models and systems that worked 10, 20, and 50 years ago had their time.  They had an effect and an impact.  Some continue to work, some are holding on, and some have simply crashed, collapsed, or died.  Tonight and next Wednesday (1/18) we are praying over, fasting, tabling, and discussing what we believe to be positive, long-term modifications and improvements to our Worship on Sunday mornings and in our Christian Education Program & Life Group Ministry.  The priority is on Kid’s, Teens, and College/Young Adult Ministries (i.e. “future generations”); it is on Connections and doing life together; and it is on going and becoming fishers of men/women/children.

Between the time you read this and Wednesday 1/18 @ 6:30 pm, I would like to ask you to join us in praying, fasting, and seeking.  We do need and request all the prayer we can have on this important restructuring.  Pray for wisdom for all of us.  Ask for God’s favor on our church.  May our decisions be in line with His will at such a time as this — that we would be all that He is calling us to be, today, in the here and now, and for those who will learn of the Lord Jesus Christ through us and through His Church at Bridgeway.

Thank you friends.  Thank you for committing to this.  May we, in expectancy and with great faith, trust in the Lord and rejoice in Him alone!

Your friend and brother,


2012: The Best One Yet

   A new year is here.  Just a month ago, we were coming off of Thanksgiving and putting our attention toward Christmas.  Now, we have crossed the threshold into a new year – a new opportunity – a new chapter and verse.  I realize that for some it is merely a changing of the calendar.  And while that is true, I must say that in my personal journey with Jesus, I have used each new year to inventory what God has done, how God has spoken, where God has led me, and then, with His will at the center, evaluate and analyze my response.

Nothing different this year.  I still believe the new year offers us the invitation to reflect, revive, refresh, and renew.  The 4 “R’s” that can, and will, allow us to go deeper with Jesus.

This past September, we had our 6th Annual Renewal with Brother James Spruill, who has been generous enough to make the trip from Nashville, TN to Beaufort, NC since 2006.  I am not sure if James and Mary know how much of a blessing they are.  This past year, one of the most profound accounts of our time together came when I was with them in their RV, out in front of the church.  It was a Friday afternoon (as they had just arrived the night before) and we were trying to find an outlet for them to connect to.  After getting that done, James invited me into his RV, where we talked for a couple of hours.

On this particular day, James was talking and I was listening.  It does us well to recognize when God puts us in positions to listen and learn.  This was one of those times for me.  Anyway, James made a statement that has stood out in my mind and heart since he first made it.  We were talking about life, ministry, and what God is doing in these days.  And to the very best of my recollection, James offered this:  “You know, sometimes it’s good to remember that much like this RV, God makes our windshield for where we are going so much larger than the rear-view mirror for where we’ve been.”  There is so much wisdom in that statement.  Profound, really!  Thank you James for being sensitive to God’s voice and for sharing.

I believe that if we aren’t careful as people, as Christians, as families and churches — that we can dangerously allow history to contain us.  We remember “the good ole days” and “how things used to be” and totally miss what God is saying, and doing, in the here and now.  It’s not that we don’t savor the past and the goodness of God in giving us memories — it’s just that we can’t stay there.  On average and as a conservative estimate, your windshield is 50 times LARGER than your rear-view mirror.  Ponder that.

In 2012, is God in your day, today?  Is He in your future?  Is He still on the throne of your life?  Resolutions are a good thing.  But so many focus on self-help goals and habits.  Maybe this year, if you are making some hopeful projections of the year to come, you can start with things that will improve your relationship with God?  Developing that prayer life — getting back into His Word each day — making some new friends at church — giving yourself for the betterment of someone else — winning your neighborhood to Christ.  Whatever it may be, let Him be your Guide.

More to come.

God is not done.

We are in a new day, with His blessing, and we must make the very most of it!

Happy 2012 family and friends,