Archives For forgiveness

India – Part V

Jeff Scurlock —  April 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

 

Air-India-Boeing-747-412-2

 

Please Read Parts 1 – 4 First

Boarding an Air India 747 was quite an experience.  Smoking was allowed on these flights so we made sure to purchase seats in the non-smoking area.  Three things stand out in my memory about boarding the aircraft. The sights; mostly Indian people who seemed to be right at home on this airplane. The sounds; chatter in the Hindi language, some english and The smell: not to be disrespectful but one thing I’ve learned about Indian people is that they love to cook with strong smelling spices and the aroma of those spices stay with them, on their breath, in their clothes.

We found our seats just three rows from the very back of the aircraft. I would be in seat A which was by a window. Felicia was in B the middle seat and in the isle seat was a young Indian who was a student at New York University. His name was Naresh.

It was late and our decent would be into the dark skies over the Atlantic ocean. I couldn’t help but think about the TWA flight that had gone down over these same waters at about this same time of night. I was still a bit nervous about flying and to make it worse I was on an Air Indian flight, leaving New York in the dark for a thirteen hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean.  I knew the flight would go by fast because I was exhausted and ready for some sleep.

Something wasn’t right. I could smell cigarette smoke. I looked around the cabin and there were several passengers who lit up as soon as the no smoking light was extinguished.  This can’t be right because we purchased seats in the non smoking area.  I was not very happy when I discovered that not only were we in the smoking area but we were in the rear of the aircraft, the place where passengers from non-smoking came to smoke.

My eyes searched the cabin as far as I could see. Looking for empty seats. Somewhere Felicia and I could move to escape the stifling smoke that had already formed a  thick cloud.  No luck. This 747 is packed. I didn’t see an empty seat anywhere.  I asked the flight attendant who was not compassionate about our situation. “There are no other seats,” she said.

This flight would be long.  Thirteen hours to London with a short layover.  Ten hours from London to Bombay (now Mumbai) with a short lay over.  Two and a half hours from Bombay to Bangalore for a total  time including flying from Pensacola to JFK with layovers  of nearly fifty hours.  The seat was tight the smoke was thick and there was a long way to go. Felicia and I agreed the best thing to do was try and relax and get some sleep.

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Photo by Jeff Scurlock

Life as a believer is awesome. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God for anything. The joy, peace, assurance, victory, overcoming power, etc., etc., etc.,  It’s all phenomenal. There’s only one problem. We are human. We are human beings living in a world that has been flawed by sin. Because of sin and because of the battles we have with the flesh not all days include a victory march.

I know I’ll get some flack for writing this.  I guess I’m just not spiritual enough for some.  The truth is, in over thirty years of pastoral ministry I have learned that people need me to get down in the trenches with them and understand where they are.  There are so many preachers who are nothing more than glorified motivational speakers who refuse to acknowledge that as a believer I can find myself at rock bottom, emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically and more.  Or maybe they will acknowledge it but there answer is always the same. It’s either sin or Jeff you didn’t have enough faith. Ok, maybe I didn’t have enough faith but you telling me that is not what I need to hear.

What you may need to hear or read is that your not the first. Your not the first to have a bad week or a bad month. Your not the first to lock yourself into a room and cry into a pillow. Your not the first to feel like the world is caving in around you. Your not the first and you won’t be the last.

I think of three people right off hand when it comes to the subject of rock bottom

First: The author of Lamentations.  The book of Lamentations is the lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. Look at what this author says in chapter three.  “Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird. They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me; the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish.”

Second is a young, rich boy named Joseph who found himself naked and in a pit because his brothers were jealous of him.

Third is the prodigal son who took an early inheritance from his father, spent it all and found himself eating with pigs.

These tree individuals were at rock bottom and they were all there for three completely different reason.  The first was there because life was just going terribly wrong. The second (Joseph) was there because his brothers hated him. The last was at rock bottom because of sin.

So many things can cause life to take such a turn. Sometimes it just life. Life happens and sometimes it’s not good. You may find yourself shrouded in hopelessness. Proverbs says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  You fight for a thing, believed for it, spoke it, got weary and quit. You may be disappointed. Disappointed because you thought things would be different.  Sometimes our low places are because of the actions of others or wine there is sin in our life or we made a bad decision.  It happens!

There are three simple things that I want you to remember when your at the bottom.

1.  You may be exactly where God wants you.  God used the pit in Joseph’s life as part of his journey to the palace.

2.  When your at the bottom the good news is you can only go up from here.

3.  When your at the bottom, God is with you there.

What did our three examples do when they were at rock bottom?

1.  The writer of Lamentations said in verse 55 that “he called on the Lord.” Don’t underestimate the power of calling on God.

2.  Joseph couldn’t do much but wait for what was next. A pastor fiend of mine says often. “When your in trouble just get you two handfuls and            hang on.”  Get you two handfuls of God and hang on.

3.  The prodigal son repented.  Do you have sin in your life?  Are your troubles the result of you living apart from God’s plan for your life? If so tell God your sorry and repent (change directions).  Begin your climb out of the low places right now.

 

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The Preachers Daughters

Jeff Scurlock —  March 19, 2013 — 2 Comments

My television watching is seasonal. During football season it’s football. During spring fever time it’s HGTV or DIY, the shows that motivate me to do projects around the house.

Right now I’m in a reality show season. Life is good in my mind when the day is coming to an end and I’m sitting in my den with a cup of coffee or something cold and American Pickers, Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars or American Restoration is on.

Recently I’ve been seeing advertisements for a new show being aired by Lifetime called Preachers Daughters. I’ve never seen the show but he ads are enough for me. This show appears to be about pastors who have wild, loose, disrespectful daughters. It makes me sick on my stomach.

Preachers kids have enough scrutiny to deal with without this horrible reality show from lifetime.

First of all if these guys are really pastors (which I doubt) SHAME ON THEM!  If they are real and if these struggles with their daughters are real (which I doubt) they have sold the soul of their family for buck.

I have been a pastor since May of 1986. I have two beautiful grown daughters who were born in 1987 and 1991.  My daughters didn’t have a normal life growing up. It’s impossible when you’re a PK (Pastors Kid). Felicia and I tried to make life a normal as possible but it was hard.

Pastor’s kids live in a glass house and every move they make is watched, and scrutinized. They deal with a lot of unjust criticism and the agony of being wrongfully judged by people who are not the judge.

We had good times at our house and a few that were not but what family doesn’t.  Our girls had to deal with the pressures of living in that glass house and having an extremely strict father.  Strict? There were times in their young lives that strict doesn’t even qualify as a strong enough word.

When they were little girls we served a Pentecostal church in rural Florida.  Back when I was a young father I didn’t believe that girls should wear pants to church. It’s an archaic belief in many Pentecostal churches that has no scriptural foundation at all. I no longer hold to that belief.  Even on Wednesday nights when my girls would go to the girls program at our church they wore skirts. Felicia pleaded their case with me. “Jeffrey! Our girls are the only girls on Wednesday nights with skirts on.” She was right. The problem was that I battled more with what other people thought because we lived in that glass house. What would people think if the pastors daughters wore a pair of modest shorts to church on Wednesday night or even jeans? Isn’t that crazy?

Boys? I told them they couldn’t go on a date unless I met and had a conversation with “The Boy.” I stand by that practice. If a father sends his daughter out into the darkness of night without knowledge of the boy and without having a conversation with him, he’s crazy. Kara said, “Daddy ALL THE BOYS ARE SCARECD OF YOU!” “GOOD!” I would say.

I’ve had arguments with my daughters. What dad who really cares hasn’t? We had our difficult days. What family hasn’t?

Ok that’s the negative. Let me tell you just a miniscule fraction of the positive. God has blessed Felicia and I with two beautiful daughters who love God.

Both of our daughters were leaders in high school. Both were asked to give the closing remarks of their high school graduation ceremony. Both of my girls played in the band, did well in school. Both of our girls excelled in church related activities and were leaders.

Kara and Lauren have made their mom and dad extremely proud many, many, many times. Way too many times to put in this blog and if I’m forgetting something really important that should be mentioned I know they will forgive me.

Now they’re all grown up. Kara is married to a young man with a heart for God and the ministry. She is the mom of our first grandchild Jackson. She is a worship leader and vocationally she teaches music to elementary school children. Her mom and I couldn’t be more proud.

Lauren (our youngest child) is married to a young man who is a full time music pastor. Lauren has a heart for God and for people.. Right now she is leading the youth drama teams at here church. She is gifted in many, many ways.  Vocationally she is a nurse at the wellness center on the campus of Florida State University. Her mom and I couldn’t be more proud.

Kara and Lauren are survivors. They have survived being the Preachers Daughters.

Follow this link to find my book, The Eye of A Needle.

HELP

The title of this blog is Real Issues. I named it that because my plan was to write a lot about just that, the real issues of life. Now I need your help.  I need you to give me subject matter. If you will help me what I plan to do is use your suggestions for this site and for chapters in a future book.

So, what are the real issues that you deal with, that you would like for me to address?

  • The Real Hard Issues
  • The Real Discouraging Issues
  • The Real Family Issues
  • The Real Financial Issues
  • The Real Christian Life Issues
  • The Real Child Raising Isses

I think you get the idea. I’m not looking for deep theological subjects. I can use those for another project. This is just the stuff that you deal with day to day.

You can respond in a couple of ways.

  1. As a comment right here on this post. It’s simple. Just click on the Leave A Comment Link at the top then on the page that you are taken to  there is a box close to the bottom for your comment.
  2. The second way is to email me at This Link.
If possible I would like to use your name and city so please give me that information. If you would rather that I not use your name just let me know and I won’t.
Your help will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Here are some great Christmas shopping ideas. 

Here are some awesome books that readers in your life would enjoy getting for Christmas.

Hatred

Today during my early morning quite time of Bible reading, prayer and reflection I was thinking about a hard reality of life and especially leadership and even more especially church leadership.

The thing about church is that we’re supposed to love each other. That’s what the Bible says. Being a Christian means loving people. Not liking or agreeing with everything they do but being patient, loving, forgiving and trying to understand.

I must confess on the outset that  I have not always been patient. As a matter of fact, honestly, I’m the most inpatient person I know. Now is not the time to lament why I struggle with being patient with Christians. I just need to admit it.

We want everyone to like us, even love us. It’s human nature and leaders are no different. The truth of the matter is they won’t. Not everyone is going to like you, your personality, your leadership style, your decisions or the stands that you take as a leader. It’s not going to happen.

NOTE: IF YOU ARE A LEADER AND EVERYONE LIKES YOU…. YOU ARE NOT LEADING.

What has amazed me through the years is not the fact that people don’t like something I did but the hatred that I feel or even experience from people who claim to be Christians. Not dislike, hatred! I did something they didn’t like or, yes it happens there is a personality conflict.

In politics you expect that people are going to hate you. The corporate world is cutthroat and people will hate you. It’s to be expected.  In Christians circles hatred never ceases to surprise.

I’ve been involved in church ministry since I was about 16 years old. I have been in church leadership for twenty-seven years. I’ve been around the block a few times and I have some knowledge about leadership. It doesn’t matter what you do… someone is not going to like it and someone may even hate you for it.

Sometimes for me I think it’s because of my personality.  I’m not the most outgoing, warm person I know. But then I think of a really close friend of mine who is the nicest, warmest, friendliest guy I know. I’m serious, I’ve never seen, know of or even heard a rumor of this man being anything but gracious, loving and kind. What he is, is a leader. I’ve witnessed he and his family going through hell on earth because someone didn’t like the way he led and yes, he is a pastor.

So what do you do when someone hates you?

Understand that what matters is not what someone who does not know you thinks about you. The only thing that matters is if God is pleased and what those who really know you think.

Does you spouse respect you? Do your children love and respect you? Are you seeking to please God? If the answer to those three questions is yes, that’s all that matters.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the opinion of those who don’t know you.

On the other hand if people who don’t really know you think your great but God is not pleased and your family doesn’t respect you, you’ve got work to do.

 

Oh Happy Day!

jeffscurlock —  July 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

Yesterday was one of the happiest days of my life. My grandson Jackson Andrew Scurlock-Sawyer (addition of Scurlock mine) came into the world. At 8 pounds 3 oz with big hands, big feet and a big head. He came into the world with lots of volume. I’m afraid he got the big head from me. My size eight melon has caused me some embarrassment through the years. In my football days I had to have a special ordered helmet. Recently I was in a sporting goods store trying to find a bicycle helmet that fit and once again was reminded of the price of having such a large brain.

Because of his size (big) and the size of my daughter (small) Jackson had to come into the world by C-Section. My son-in law said Jackson was crying before they could get him delivered.

What an amazing feeling to hold a little life brought into the world by someone you brought into the world. I know some of you are old hat at the grandchild thing by now but give me a break. This is my first.

I feel a great since of responsibility with Jackson. What will he learn from me? What characteristics that he sees in me will he adopt as his own? I know I’m not the parent. He has two of them. I’m confident that Andrew and Kara will teach Jackson the important things in life. They will raise him going to church and hope that at an early age Jackson will accept Christ into his heart. I know Andrew will teach Jackson some of the finer things in life like how to swing a baseball bat or how to treat a lady.  I know that Jackson is not primarily my responsibility but I do feel it.  I want him to grow up knowing that his Papa is a man of integrity who loves God and always put’s God and family first.

Welcome into the world Jackson Andrew Scurlock-Sawyer.

Find my book The Eye of a Needle at www.amazon.com

My Life Journal 2012: Day 15

jeffscurlock —  January 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

Luke 11. The Lost Son

In spite of the fact that his father loved him. He had everything he needed available. Still he decided that he was better off without his father and responsibilities. He took his inheritance and left home. When all the money was spent he decided to return home and be one of his fathers servants. His father refused to accept him as a servant. He did however accept him as his son.
It was a big party. A party to celebrate the return of a son who was lost and then followed. The barbecue pit was fired up, a band hired and all the neighbor were invited. It was the party of the century. Pure celebration!
That is the love of a father. This is the love of our heavenly Father. I have people ask me all the time, “how could a loving God send someone to hell?” My answer: God has gone to every length, he has bent over backwards and given the very best he has to save us And keep us from hell. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life”
Give your life to God. He will fire up the barbecue for you.