This comes at the expense of a broken heart. —Pastor Pablo Catala
Physical and emotional stress; personal time and freedom; often any sense of security because things change so much in your life; and struggles with self-worth as you are constantly being evaluated, of which you mostly only hear about your shortcomings. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
As a missionary it has cost convenience, comfort, seeing family… but the promised reward of souls far outweigh the costs. —Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal
What is the hardest part of pastoring?
Seeing what people need to do and watching them not do it, no matter how I present it or how I word it, no matter how much time I spent with them and then having to hear the lament of,“Pastor, you were right,” which does not comfort me as I’m seeing the carnage of their bad decisions. —Anonymous Pastor Expecting to be loved, understood, maybe even appreciated? They have no idea how needy we are. —Anonymous Pastor’s Wife
Sometimes your own children reject everything you’ve lived for and still you must keep going. —Anonymous
Realizing how much you don’t know, and feeling like you never do enough, aren’t good enough, or that you might misspeak something heretical. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer
What is your biggest challenge and most unexpected hardship in pastoring?
I guess my passion for the church gets me in trouble. —Janet Foley
I recently had the privilege of being on an outreach team to help Pastor Pablo and Nicole Catala’s pioneer church in Bridgeport CT. I was struck by how laid down, how wide open and vulnerable their hearts and lives were for God and the people of their city. I watched them love people with the love of God. I watched the ease with which they outreached, their children alongside them—truly a team, like a machine in sync. I took note of their home. Everywhere I turned there were photographs of their family and decor that shouted in unison about God and family. I learned their story later and asked them to share it. Here it is.
The Catala Story
Nicole Catala: One night my husband and I were fighting and basically done with our marriage. We both never had an example. We were only 6 months married and wanted to go for a divorce! That night my husband packed his clothes and left the house. The very next day I got a flyer from someone that there was going to be a healing crusade right across the street in Poe Park, put on by Victory Chapel in the Bronx, NY. As I was looking at the state of my life I knew I needed a miracle. I didn’t want my life to be just like the life of my family: Divorced, having multiple children from different men. I decided to go to the first night of the healing crusade. I was in a state of depression at only 18 years old and felt there was no hope for me and my eight month old son. Continue reading “From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer”
Did you think when you became a Christian you would be pastoring one day? Tell me about when you realized you were called to be a pastor /pastor’s wife?
Sophie Foley: I always believed I would marry a pastor. But then again, I’ve wanted to marry John since I was 12, and knew he was called to it.
Pastor John Foley: It was something that came to my mind but I wasn’t clear about. I had some other plans. I watched a world evangelism video of Greg and Lisa Mitchell in South Africa and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I responded to a call to preach. I still wasn’t sure but a man in the church told me if I wanted to I probably was. I felt
moved that God could use my life to make an impact by preaching to people around the world. I thought most people felt like I did. I dedicated my life to becoming a pastor but it didn’t happen for another 8 years or so.
Sophie: We arrived in Malden, Massachusetts on June 2, 2017. We promptly began Bible studies in our home and soon moved to a hall nearby and began having Sunday morning services. My husband, Pastor John, met a group of young men almost immediately, who had been praying for a young pastor for a year. That same week we met a woman and her adult children, who had been praying for a young church as well. Within a few weeks, we had 20+ people attending. It was mind blowing. Truly, God had a people here, He just needed someone to come.
We remodeled and moved into our current building in May of this year and have had such favor with the community. This really has been a dream come true, to serve God here. It is right in the heart of the new downtown development and one block from the T station. We run anywhere from 20-60 people at any given time. —The Potter’s House, Malden MAhttps://www.pottershouseboston.com/
Janet Foley, (Pastor Kevin Foley’s wife & John Foley’s mother): My parents were faithful Methodists, very active in the church, my father teaching the adult class and my mother 3rd and 4th graders, me in the youth choir, etc.. But we never heard the term “born again,” and never heard that we must repent of our sin and truly invite Jesus Christ in to our hearts, which caused a lot of problems in our home!
My parent’s marriage was rocky. I got in huge fights with my dad where he accused me of things I never ever thought of doing. Just because I had incense in my room I was accused time and time again of drugs and lying. Finally I said to myself, if he thinks I’m so bad then…I’ll be bad!!! Where’s some dope? I became a rebellious pot smoking hippie chick at 13 years old. My 21 year old boyfriend turned me on to LSD—I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I was intrigued with the music, yoga and philosophy my brothers brought home from college and the partying, flower children, and concerts of the time. Continue reading “The Call: Why Did You Become a Pastor? (Part 2 in a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastors Wives, 2018)”
Pastor Winslow, I interviewed you and your wife, Suzanne, as part of my series of interviews with Pastors and Pastor’s Wives for Pastor Appreciation Month two years ago.You were missionaries to Mexico for 27 years and pioneered and planted churches there. Can you please bring us up to date on the church in Mexico what you’re doing currently?
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Psalms 19:1 (HCSB)
But ask the animals, and they will instruct you; ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you; let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10 (HCSB)
His ear is inclined to our cry. The Bible says God saves our tears in a bottle and one day He will wipe them all away for those who follow Him into eternity.
You call Him a fairy tale. But I know Him. He is more real to me than all the here and now you can touch and see. It is only logical that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the incomprehensible majesty, the lofty thoughts and mighty ways of our fathomless, infinite God.
He is higher than happiness; He transcends and brings purpose to pain. Jesus gives joy in the journey. He is my comfort, my sure and steady reference, my passion, my God. He is all encompassing goodness and grace. He is my hope, my help, my redeemer, my beloved.
You compared faith in God to a child believing in Santa Claus. Well, in the story of Santa Claus, He comes to bring gifts to the good children. But Truth is, Jesus comes and gifts Himself to us. He gives the gift of His presence to wayward children lost in the depravity of sin and senselessness. He finds us and lifts us from the poverty and destitution of our sin and bestows us with the riches of His grace. He cleanses us and clothes us in His righteousness.
I cannot make you believe.
The Bible says all creation praises The Lord and is a testament to Him
The true story of Lee Strobel, an avowed atheist, journalist, and an award winning legal editor with the Chicago Tribune. Lee embarks on a quest to disprove the claims of Christianity, but instead his investigation reveals unexpected discoveries which could radically change his world.
For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (HCSB)
More Apologetics Resources for Seekers, Followers, Writers—and Skeptics too 😉
Stand to Reason “Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.”
How to Participate: All Welcome whether you are familiar with the books and resources or not. I lead the chats Mondays and Saturday’s about once a month. Type #HealthyFaith in the search bar at top right, then chose “Latest” at top left corner to see conversations in the chat thread in chronological order. *Make sure to include #HealthyFaith in all your comments so participants can see them.
If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 4 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉
I’m not one to put people on pedestals. Even as a teenager I never had posters of celebrities on my walls. I guess fame in of itself does not impress me and I see people as just people—flesh and blood. I see the polls online asking if you could meet or spend time with any of the people they list, who would you choose. Their lists are comprised of several Bible characters, great classic Christian authors, or other historic heroic leaders who have since died. It’s always a tough, if not impossible choice. But my heart says the one I most want to meet is not on their lists and we are blessed that God has graced us with still having my choice among us—Rev. Billy Graham.
It is one of my dreams to meet Billy Graham, but I fear I would be wasting his time as the only thing I’d probably be able to say is thank you. But maybe that’s appropriate when you are in the presence of greatness like his. Perhaps it not so much a time to talk, but a time to listen if he graced me with some of his wisdom—content to sit with him for a moment and just be—just enjoy being in the company of Billy and Jesus. When someone is as close to Jesus as Billy is, you can be sure when you are in his presence you are in Jesus’ presence too, and Jesus said, “Where two or three or gathered in my name there I am in their midst.”
Journal entry, February 21st, 2018
The day I’ve feared for so long has come and the world is a little darker for it. I cried today. I cried for me, I cried for you. I cried for the world for our great loss. But I did not cry for Billy. On this sad but jubilant day I’m sorry for myself and the world, but rejoicing for Billy as he is welcomed home by his Savior whom he so faithfully loved, served, and proclaimed.
Billy Graham was raised on his parent’s dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Great Depression. He gave his life to Christ just shy of his sixteenth birthday. He preached on six continents in 84 countries. He prayed with and gave spiritual counsel to our presidents and leaders worldwide. Through his crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies he preached to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries and touched millions more lives via television, radio, film, internet, and through his books. Billy reached out to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the least in society and God granted him audience before rulers. He was humble so God raised him to honor.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 (NKJV
Billy Graham was greatness wrapped in humility, which is what real greatness looks like. Like Jesus.
The same man known for his graciousness and humility is also known for his righteous passion. Like Jesus toppling the tables in the temple, Billy wasn’t afraid to fly in the face of cultural norms and injustices such as communism, apartheid, and segregation. He ripped down the ropes segregating blacks from whites thus hosting the first truly integrated revival meetings, and was friend and co-laborer with Martin Luther King jr. .
The deepest problems of the human race are spiritual in nature…The problem is the human heart, which God alone can change. —Billy Graham
Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Billy was a cup of comfort and a nod to can-do in a harsh and discouraging world.
A journalist once set out to investigate Billy, but found nothing to discredit him. The journalist’s conclusion about Billy Graham was, “He is a man without shadows.”
Nevertheless, judging by a few articles and social media posts I’ve read, some have formed opinions about Billy based on parts of stories about him rather than the whole, the beginning, rather than the conclusion of a matter. Billy wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes, but he admitted his shortcomings and made amends. He kept himself accountable.
Christian means Christ follower. Those who make Jesus their Lord and are governed by His Word, the Bible, will sometimes find themselves on the opposite side of issues than secular culture. God sets boundaries because He loves us and for our good. He is the definer of morality. But know this, though our beliefs differ from some, that does not mean we disdain or wish ill on those who chose to use their free will to live otherwise. It distresses me that some don’t understand it’s possible to disagree with people and still love them. Because we love people, we cannot support behavior we believe harmful to them. Because we love God we strive to be faithful to His Word and will for our lives. Christians are just sinners saved by the Savior’s grace, trying to share Jesus, the author of and answer to life.
Billy hated sin and how it destroys lives, but he loved people. Jesus hates sin, but He loves the sinner. He gave His life for us.
“If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this—God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.” —Billy Graham
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.”
Jesus said, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Billy was faithful.
He was the salute to my Sunday mornings when I was a little girl.
I was raised in Jamaica by my grandparents until I was nine years old. On Sunday mornings I’d run into their room, jump onto their bed and curl up at the foot of it. Grandpa would reach for the knob on the old wooden radio that sat atop his dresser and with a twist and a click, it burst to life with— “This is Billy Graham coming to you live…” and George Beverly Shea singing, How Great Thou Art, and we’d listen to Billy preach before we went to church.
I vowed growing up that I wouldn’t fall into the same pit some of my loved ones fell into. I didn’t want to repeat their mistakes, but as hard as I tried to climb that mountain it was like a landslide under me. At 20 years old my life was in shambles and as I stood weeping I heard the words recorded in the Bible that Job’s wife had spoken to him, “Curse God and die!” It wasn’t the first time suicide had knocked on my door. I fell to my knees. “No!” I said. “God I’m not going to curse You. I still believe in You. Help me.”
Later, I found a Billy Graham Decision Magazine in my mailbox and I remembered Billy’s preaching when I was a little girl and how it comforted me. The address label indicated the magazine owner lived on the other side of the complex. “Hello,” I said. “I have your Billy Graham magazine. But I’d like to read it for a minute before I give it to you, if you don’t mind.” He chuckled and we arranged a time to meet by the pool which separated our buildings, but I never showed up. I was so caught up reading, his knock startled me. I opened the door to meet the gentle smile of Rev. George Horton, a Baptist minister.
Billy was a stepping stone on my road to salvation. He was someone sure in a shaky world because he stood on the Rock, the foundation of all eternity.
I just wanted to say thank you for showing us what grace looks like, what faithfulness, righteousness and humility looks like.
Billy Graham was a light in the dark, a night light of sorts. A steady reference, a clarion call in the midst of an unsteady world of shifting sands. He was faithful to God and faithful to his call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now he has received his reward. The dawn of a new morning has broken on Heaven’s horizon for Billy Graham.
Our life is a vapor—shorter for some than others. I have a question for you. When you step out of this world and into eternity will you find yourself at Heaven’s or Hell’s gates? Is there eternal life or eternal night waiting on the other side for you? The choice is yours. God longs for you.
They say you should use scripture sparingly when you write. But the Word of God is alive and powerful and able to accomplish way more than any words I could ever write.
“I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with authority, quoting the very Word of God—He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart.” —Billy Graham
All your goodness won’t get you to Heaven. Jesus said our our righteousness is as filthy rags.
“You ask, ‘What is repentance?’ Repentance means that you say to God, ‘I am a sinner, I’m sorry for my sins, I’m willing to turn from my sins. But Lord, You have to help me to turn. I’ve tried so many times to give up things I know that are wrong, and I just can’t do it.’
Then, by faith, receive Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Open your heart and say, “Yes, lord Jesus, Come in. I’m ready to follow you.'” —Billy Graham
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 (NKJV)
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In your name. Amen.” — BillyGraham.org/Commitment
If you are committing your life to Christ, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association would like to know, and so would I. You may send me an email via the Contact by Email box or leave a reply in the Comment box at the end of this post.
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” -Billy Graham
Yes, Billy. This world is not my home. It’s just the road to where I’m going. Heaven is my home, and Jesus is my prize.
An Invitation from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE
An Invitation from The Billy graham Evangelistic Association:
“God has used the life and ministry of Billy Graham to impact the lives of millions around the world. Perhaps you have a testimony about Mr. Graham’s ministry. What did Mr. Graham mean to you?” To share your stories and condolences on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s site click HERE.
In all your giving and getting don’t forget The Gift.Sometimes it feels like I’m just running ahead to the next thing without ever being really present in the present, and the urgent and the flashy, crowds out the important that’s right in front of me.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. They sought shelter but there was no room in the inn. Jesus wants to shelter in your heart. Is there room within?
Are you too busy to be blessed this Christmas? You can be lonely or lost in a crowd. Maybe that something you’re looking for is Someone—the Someone called Jesus and the gift of Himself, His comfort, His peace.
The name “Jesus” means salvation.There is power in His name.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
He is also called: Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Emmanuel, The Word, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Alpha and Omega, Author and Finisher of our faith, the Resurrection and the Life… His names state His purpose, His plan, and who He is. Savior is the name that redeems us.
I think my favorite name of Jesus is the one that meets me where I am at the time.
Emmanuel means God with us, because Jesus is God incarnate—God in the flesh. He is with us when we become born again. He said he would never leave us or forsake us.
God donned human flesh and subjected himself to the human experience. He was born to die so we could live. He endured temptation without sin and defeated sin and death to offer us salvation.
The incarnation proves God’s love for us is such that He walked among us to win us to Himself.
Holy left Heaven and inhabited humanity.
He was willing to go to the extreme to redeem.
It is impossible to save ourselves. If it were possible, Christ wouldn’t have needed to die for us. The only payment for the penalty of sin is a sinless sacrifice. We all fall short. Only Jesus is sinless and therefore able to save. His mercies are new every morning when we stumble.
He is the Way and the way maker.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
You see, when God steps in, the impossible becomes possible. Jesus in us overcomes sin and births new life— new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit who conceived Christ and raised Him from the dead, resides in us—that same power. Amazing.
Most kings stay in their comfortable palaces and have little to do with the lowly. Kings are usually served, not servants. Jesus, the King of kings, traded his crown for the cross. He stepped out of Heaven and into humanity to serve and offer salvation to all—from mighty rulers to the humblest of citizens
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though Hewas rich, yet for your sakes Hebecame poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. II Corinthians 8:9
God chooses the humble for He is Humble. Those who have little, and are not distracted by the fool’s gold of affluence and self-sufficiency are often more aware of their need and open to God.
He gives grace to the humble.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty I Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)
God goes where others hesitate or refuse to go.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and The Lamb of God. His birth was first announced to shepherds
I have no gift to bring, Pa-rup-a-pum-pum. Do you know, the only things we can actually give Jesus are bad and broken things? We can give Him our anger, our hurt, our bitterness, our broken hearts, broken promises, broken lives and dreams, our sin.
Any good things, any abilities I have to offer are gifts from God. The only good in me, is Jesus working in and through me.
All I am really offering when I do anything of value, is giving back to God what is already His which He graced me with.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalms 51:17 (NLT)
I want you God. And You want me. Miracle.
Here I am, Lord; send me. Here’s my heart, Lord; use me.
Give me words to praise You. Words to lead others into Your presence.
Help me to minister to others as You will me to, Lord, and trust You to meet my needs.
I will cast my cares at the foot of the cross, in the hands of my Creator. You can too.