Here are some videos of the magic show I performed at the Phelps County Baptist Association Children’s camp!
What can we excuse in another person as a quirk in their personality and what do we hold each other accountable to as believers? Have you ever heard someone say: “He just has an abrasive personality, he doesn’t mean anything by it” or “She is kind of a worry wort, she can’t help it”? Ought we to permit the “abrasive personality” or the “worry wort” mentality as unchangeable traits in another or should we admonish each other to a higher calling?
I have often heard statements such as these and let them pass but in review of the fruits of the Spirit recently I began to reconsider. For example, if the Spirit of God in us is to produce gentleness (Eph. 6:22), can we really overlook abrasiveness (ungentleness) as a fluke character trait? My concern is that we may allow sin to grow in our lives and in the lives of others by attributing it to personality.
Now I do want to affirm that many of these traits are ones we have had since a young age or even born with. However, this does not mean the traits are acceptable. As the Psalmist said: “I was born into sin.” (Psalm 51:5). We are all brought forth into iniquity possessing specific flaws that manifest more strongly in one than another. That is why our Father prunes the branches in our lives that don’t bear fruit (John 15:2). The spiritual fruit may be stunted and should be allowed to grow freely!
Below are some examples of excusing fruitlessness as personality quirks. Some of these may not necessarily be a sin issue but I believe all of them can be used as excuses for a sin issue. My hope is that your prayerful consideration of these behaviors may allow God’s Spirit to produce a great harvest in your life and those around you!
|We may say …||God says the fruit of the Spirit is …|
|“I’m not an emotional sort”
“He’s not the sort to express his feelings”
“She’s not a people person”
|“I’m better at seeing the downsides of a situation”
“He’s a pessimist”
“She is more the serious sort”
|“I’m a rebel at heart”
“He loves to challenge other people”
“She is a hard person to get along with”
|“I cut off relationships that drag me down’
“He has high standards for others”
“She expects others to get it right the first time”
|“I’m not the sort to follow the rules of politeness”
“He doesn’t feel the need to be politically correct”
“She says what comes out of her mouth, she doesn’t walk on eggshells”
|“I make my own rules”
“He does things his own way”
“She isn’t everyone’s cup of tea”
|“I’m a laid-back sort, I try not to make commitments”
“He makes his own schedule”
“She marches to the beat of a different drum”
|“I don’t mince words”
“He calls like he sees it”
“She has an abrasive personality”
|“I try to be true to myself, I do what I want”
“He goes where the wind blows”
“She is impulsive”
Have you experienced the silence of God? Perhaps it is a prayer or a question left long
unanswered. Or maybe you have felt a spiritual void, empty of the felt presence of the Almighty.
For those experiencing the silence of God, a question comes to mind: What should we do? How
do we endure these dry spiritual seasons? In addition to mournfully admitting our hunger for
God’s voice, it is of primary importance to never let go of the pursuit of God. In these times more
than ever, it is tempting to turn away from prayer and instead numb the ache of our spiritual
stomachs with worldly things. And so this is the time more than ever to doggedly hold on to the
practice of prayer. In the 13th Psalm we find a great example of persevering in trustful prayer:
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my
enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I
sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who
trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in
Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
The Psalmist obviously is experiencing great dissatisfaction with God. He feels ignored, unable
to access the Lord, alone and uncomforted. But rather than turning away from the silence of
God, he chooses to shout his questions into the darkness, unwilling to give up on being heard.
He writes his requests down and places them in a bottle, hoping someday, somehow they will
wash up on heaven’s shores. The silence is not evidence of God’s absence to him, but rather
an opportunity to trust that God is still God and that God is still good in spite of all evidence.
Defiantly, he sings to God in the silence of heavens!
Admittedly, this is not easy! Perhaps this is one of the most difficult tasks in the Christian walk,
to learn what it means to pursue God in the absence of instruction, to praise Him in the absence
of present blessing, and to worshipfully embrace the seeming void. This is a task that takes
courage, even boldness. So, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).
Where do we find this courage? Our boldness in increased when we confess and trust these
three great truths. First, that God and God only can provide what we need. Second, that He is
gracious and merciful, desiring to help us. Third, that the craving for His voice within us is
sufficient enough of a prayer in itself. As Paul wrote, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our
weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us
through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans
The sum of it is, we can faithfully endure the quietness of God when we trust His power, His
grace, and His sympathy with our hurt.
Ending with this thought might lead us to believe that the voice of God is waiting just around the
corner of a genuine, heartfelt prayer. Although this might be the case, it is far from promised. In
the book of Revelation, we find the martyrs, the faithful who placed all their hope and trust in
God, experiencing the same frustration as King David in Psalm 13. They ask the same question
uttered millennia ago. “[…] How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our
blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it
was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow
servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:10-
It would seem that the anticipation for a fulfilling response from God may very well stretch from
the present prayer to the precipice of the end of times. With this knowledge, we must brace
ourselves for the perseverance the martyrs before knew was necessary to trust God through the
present age. We must learn to accept that there are prayers which may rest silent until the day
of the Lord’s return. Fortunately, John the author was also given a glimpse of those prayers
being stirred into a final resonating, thunderous response:
“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I
saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then
another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much
incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was
before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended
before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the
altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an
earthquake.” (Revelation 8:1-5)
It is by this thunder that the destruction of all that stood between us and God begins. And it is at
this point the answer to every prayer begins to be fulfilled. Christ, the “Amen!” and the answer to
our prayers now begins to “make all things new”. So take heart! The silence of the heavens is
but half an hour long, but the voice of God, that will thunder throughout eternity!
How do I invite someone to Jesus?
We are in the middle of an emphasis on inviting people to church. I have enjoyed
hearing the stories of how God has opened opportunities to share Christ and
invite others in to the body of believers! I know we have ALL been hard at work!
More than it is our goal to invite people to church, it is our goal to invite people to
Christ! As we continue, here is some bread from God’s Word to sustain your
Colossians 4:2–6 — 2 Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with
thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a
door to us for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am in
chains, 4 so that I may make it known as I should. 5 Act wisely toward
outsiders, making the most of the time. 6 Let your speech always be
gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer
Here in Colossians we have 7 good reminders:
1. Be in prayer: When we are in a rich relationship with God, others will be
attracted to it as well!
2. Stay alert: There are opportunities every day, don’t miss them!
3. Pray for open doors: As you pray, ask for God to arrange opportunities to
share. He answers!
4. Speak the mystery: The gospel we believe speaks of invisible things and a
love that most have not begun to imagine. Pray that you will have the right
words and that they would understand.
5. Act wisely: Consider who you are talking to and what is the best way to
6. Make the most of the time: It is good to build friendships, but the need is
URGENT! Use the time you have with people to make Christ known!
7. Be gracious: When your words demonstrate love, grace, and compassion, it
will add flavor to a person’s day like salt to a bland dish. When our tongues
are covered in the salt of grace, we will have the right words at the right
Hi, I’m Brent!
I am singer/song writer who plays piano and hammered dulcimer. I also lead revivals focused on group worship and group prayers.