Monday, December 18, 2017

That Little Baby (12.17.17 Notes)

That Little Baby - #CountryChristmas - 12.17.17 from Revolution Church on Vimeo.

“That Little Baby”
Country Christmas Week Three
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Scripture: Luke 1:19-45 (NLT)

19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” 

The first chapter of Luke begins as a SORROWFUL story turns miraculous, as God is often involved in bringing children to those who have no hope of having them.

Zechariah was a Jewish prophet and his wife Elizabeth was not ABLE to have children. So God promises them, but Zechariah temporarily loses his ability to talk because he did not initially BELIEVE.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Mary was the mother of JESUS.
Elizabeth was the mother of JOHN THE BAPTIST.

This is not the first, nor the last, time these two would be CONNECTED.

Your family is a gathering of impossible stories with incredible beginnings and UNFULFILLED purpose. While John (not the apostle or the Gospel writer) and Jesus had yet to grow and fulfill their earthly purpose, their mothers both knew how SPECIAL this story would be.

And Mary and Elizabeth had families a lot like yours!

What do you think the families of Elizabeth and Mary were like?
Unbelievers who are living nowhere close to God
Brokenness, shame and guilt with lots of unforgiveness
Unresolved hurt
Gossip and painful talk, arguments and fights
Good people who love one another
Saints who seem to tie it all together

God’s Word is a narrative of PROBLEM and PAIN turned into PURPOSE and a PLAN.

39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

One little baby was the forerunner to the Savior, the voice that cries in the wilderness, the preacher who would shout and proclaim the story of a lamb who would come and take away the sins of the world!

One little baby was the incarnate son of God, the holy one of Israel, he was Emmanuel, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father and the government and all the world would sit upon his shoulders. He would grow, minister, heal and teach and give his life as a ransom for many and then on the third day after his death, rise again where he would sit at the right hand of the Father!

That little baby in a little Jewish town
One day will rule the universe and creation will bow down…

That little baby he was born of a virgin
He was sent down to save us and to bear every burden
He was God in the flesh, so let the Hallelujah’s ring
That little baby is the king.

That Little Baby, The Gold City Quartet, Revolution Church CCLI #3259924

What could happen to the smallest of beginnings in your life with the biggest of plans?

#RevWhiteHouse #CountryChristmas

Sunday, December 10, 2017

God Loves Ugly People (12.10.17 Notes)

“God Loves Ugly People”
Country Christmas Week Two
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Scripture: Romans 5:1-11 (NLT) and Isaiah 64:1-12 (NLT)

Romans 5:6-11
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Christmas - the celebration of the BIRTH of Jesus, which is more about the celebration of the INCARNATE Christ sent to earth as the Savior of the world!

Today is “ugly sweater Sunday” - and it’s one thing to feel ugly on the OUTSIDE and laugh at ourselves a little bit for it. But what do we do when we feel ugly on the INSIDE?

Isaiah 64:5-6 (NLT)
5 You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? 6 We are all infected with impure sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

But here’s what’s odd…an “ugly” people full of sin expected a Savior, the Messiah, who looked much different than them. What the common people expected the Messiah would be:
1. A king (like David)
2. A powerful prophet (like Elijah)
3. A rebellious zealot to overthrow oppression (like Moses)
4. A commander (like Joshua)
5. A wealthy royal (like Solomon)
6. An urban, city dweller (from Jerusalem)

But then, God redeemed the ugliest of sin with the most HUMBLE of ways!

    • Jesus was of royal lineage, but from the lowly regarded city of Nazareth
    • Jesus earthly family was relatively common and poor
    • Jesus was born in a borrowed location
    • Jesus was sent to earth as a baby, not a conqueror

Isaiah 57:15 (NLT)
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

  1. My sin might be ugly, but my Jesus is BEAUTIFUL

Beautiful Savior. Wonderful counselor. Clothed in majesty, Lord of history.
You’re the way, the truth and the life.
Star of the morning. Glorious in holiness. You’re the risen one, heaven’s champion.
And you reign, you reign, over all.

Beautiful Savior, Casting Crowns, CCLI #3259924

  1. My past might be ugly, but my future is GLORIOUS

While we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13 NLT).

  1. My shame might be ugly, but my heart can be SET FREE.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV).

  1. My self-worth might be ugly, but my righteousness in Christ is WORTHY.

Always thanking the Father, for he has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light (Colossians 1:12 NLT).

I am glad God loves ugly people! And I am glad Jesus is a Beautiful Savior!

#RevWhiteHouse #CountryChristmas

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Papa's Chair (12.03.17 Notes)

“Papa’s Chair”
Country Christmas Week One
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Scripture: John 1:1-14 (NLT)

1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. 6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

This is not your TYPICAL Christmas sermon, but I want to talk about the spiritual and historical origins of Jesus.

Does everybody remember that person in your family that always had their CHAIR? No one else sat in the chair but them! Who was that person in your family? ______________________

What are the most common qualities you remember about the person who sat in that chair?
Well-experienced but life-weary
Happy, joyful, jolly
Or maybe….they were ASLEEP!!!

Our view of God the FATHER is often like a wise, old grandpa rocking in a chair and watching over his family, but at the latter end of a long life.

However, the Bible tells us that there is a three-wide EQUALITY to the God-head. This concept is not used as a word in scripture, but it’s known as the TRINITY (TRIUNE) of GOD.

God the Father - the creator, the sovereign and wise
God the Son - the savior, the human form, the prophet/servant
God the Spirit - the guide, the comforter

God was not CREATED, but neither was Jesus or the Holy Spirit! God always WAS, always IS and always IS TO COME.

I am the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come--the Almighty One. (Revelation 1:8 NLT)

God is described as one who sits on the throne! But the qualities of Jesus and the Holy Spirit complete the full picture of God as three in one.

GOD - This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place?” (Isaiah 66:1, Acts 7:49 NLT)

JESUS - John 1:14 is INCARNATE - God in the flesh and dwelt among us, then…
Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. (Romans 8:34 NLT)

HOLY SPIRIT - But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26 NLT)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26 NLT)

How do we understand that the same Jesus who we celebrate and remember as a baby, has the AUTHORITY and RIGHT to sit upon the throne of God and judge, rule and reign forever? He is the only one worthy to sit in Papa’s Chair!

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. (Ephesians 1:19-23 NLT)

And then, there is a promise for YOU!

Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

Everything Rises and Falls on Communication

The following is a synthesis research project for Trevecca Nazarene University and has some critical steps about the things I have learned as a leader and how to be more effective to those around me.

I hope you'll take something from it, too, and thanks for reading.


Everything Rises and Falls on Communication (and my complete ability to screw it up!)

by Kris Freeman

Leadership is word used often in an individual context. A person of certain esteem, emerging and arising for the purpose of influencing and developing others. However, a study of leadership breaks this stereotype and reminds us of the power of leadership within the context of group and organizational behavior. The greatest leaders are those which influence, serve, listen and develop the groups of individuals entrusted to them. This is the goal of group behavior.

In the book A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction, author Stewart L. Tubbs analyzes the complex approach of collaboration and cooperation in a systems context to work toward a common goal of group behavior and interaction. This, in turn, is incredible leadership development. Systems teach us to utilize the resources around us and within us to enhance how we interact with others and work toward a common goal. As leaders develop others, group interaction fosters development within the leader, too.

Having had the privilege of serving in a leadership capacity in several avenues (sports, business, church, commerce), the last six weeks has provided a greater understanding of the power of “each other” in a two-fold purpose. My development is critical to my leadership, and my leadership is critical to the development of others. These two concepts work hand-in-hand and are best exhibited in group interaction.

Tubbs states “small group interaction is the process by which three or more members of a group exchange verbal and non-verbal messages in an attempt to influence one another” (7).  So be definition, group interaction has as its goal the same goal as leadership: to influence others. Serving in leadership roles has taught me both the energy and success derived from leading others, but more importantly the personal development experienced as many influence me.

Therefore, this analysis will center on three concepts which group interaction has produced better learning within me, all of each are explained in detail by Tubbs. The most important parts of group interaction, personally to me, are: understanding verbal and non-verbal communication (chapter two), revenant background factors and diversity (chapter three) and leadership and social influence (chapter five). Using the techniques outlined in the book and applying the same to real-life experiences, I feel I have become a better manager, teammate, coach, pastor, father and classmate by learning and listening to the experiences and wisdom of those in my circles.

Author and speaker John C. Maxwell is famously quoted as saying “everything rises and falls on leadership.” This may, indeed, be true. However, the more interactive a small group becomes, it’s evident leadership rises and falls on communication. Groups, and the individuals within them, must learn to communicate with each other to cultivate leadership.

Tubbs relates the lack of a good communication process as a contributing factor to judgment and trust. This is a critical flaw of poorly functioning groups, and improper function damages group health and produces little personal growth. This is exemplified by Princeton University research which found “people make very quick judgments about a person’s trustworthiness, competence, aggressiveness, and even likability within a fraction of a second. And people don’t usually change their perceptions” (Tubbs, 51).

A big growth step in leadership is learning the elements of verbal and non-verbal communication, and I feel this is an area of personal growth for me individually as a leader. My respect and trust for a person mirrors the Princeton study; I am much more apt to offer my attention to a person whom I have deemed to be worthy of a listen. What if, however, a personality quirk and non-verbal cues cause their voice to shadowed by my judgment? Three practices I have learned in my classes at Trevecca Nazarene University have enhanced my communication experience and how I see the input of others.

Pay close to attention to non-verbal cues and the deeper meaning, both those received and those exhibited within self. A non-verbal cue is a signal or symbol of a deeper meaning. Often, this describes personality traits and interactive skills of others. By paying attention to non-verbal cues, I better develop group interaction skills and become more aware of what is being said before what is actually being said. This leads to the next opportunity for growth in communication, which involves better listening skills.

As an announcer, coach and pastor, my experiences are exhibited by speaking. I need to be - and have become - a better listener. I do not need to dominate the room, nor the conversation, to be a leader. Instead, I can lead by listening, and I grow through wisdom of the contributions of others.

Finally, I am a better communicator as I learn to trust and listen by sharing in collaboration. Others have input which is important, even if the direction of their comments are misguided. Collaboration teaches us to value communication as an idea development and explore a teamwork approach to a solution. Collaboration allows each person to contribute to the result, even if there is a spokesman who takes the lead verbally in presentation. I am a better leader because of the verbal and non-verbal cues I have learned to respect and honor in others.

In chapter three, Tubbs explores relevant background factors in effective group interaction. No leader of any merit with an eye on the future can ignore this principle. We are now conducting business and personal interaction in the most globally-connected marketplace in the history of the world. Diversity, culture and background is so critical in understanding each other.

In a classroom presentation, I was glad to be able to discuss learning conflict management in virtual groups from chapter seven (339). Having been in four countries, three continents and serving alongside missionaries from at least 24 areas around the globe, I become a better leader by understanding the relevant background factors of my peers.

Those factors include gender, race and ethnicity, socio-economic demographics, culture, style, political science and religion. We are all more effective as leaders when due respect and equality of thought and opportunity is presented to those in which we interact, no matter the background factors which influence them. 

I recently completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and scored as a high-functioning extroverted, moderate intuitive, moderate thinking and high-functioning judgmental decision maker (ENTJ). The Myers-Briggs type exhibited by my assessment is very common among leaders of an organization. With this understanding, however, comes a challenge to see those differently from me as teammates and contributors and not lesser peers. 

In a classroom of 16 people at Trevecca Nazarene University, there are only two others adult students which share the same Myers-Briggs type. Culturally, there are less than three people in the class with a similar cultural background. These are good things. It forces an understanding of diversity, and my fellow classmates. I have watched during class presentations how each of them use relevant background factors to present information and debate in a way which would never be present to my experiences,.

I have enjoyed celebrating diversity to work for a common cause, and watching a higher level of respect for me develop within the group as I learn and value each of them individually. In our previous class, a team of eight presented a chapter on conflict management and our group was a picture of global diversity in both gender and ethnicity. Even communication skills differed and we learned to be flexible as generational differences were exhibited in whether we call, text, email or prefer face-to-face interaction. The presentation was successful because we celebrated relevant background factors, and so will every group be the same.

My attitude toward the background factors of others will determine my aptitude and altitude of potential growth.

Over 70 years ago, Gorden Allport defined an attitude as a mental and a neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related. According to Frymier and Nadler, attitudes have three components: a cognitive component, which refers to an idea or concept; an affective component, or the emotion related to the idea; and a behavioral component, which is the readiness to act (Tubbs, 139).
To understand how my attitude determines success, it is required of me to utilize relevant background factors of my group peers to the cognitive, affective and behavioral approach to attitudes and how they affect the group’s success. Where we originate, how we look and what demographic we reside is not the single most important determination in who we are. Who we are, rather, is defined by our attitude on those concepts and how it relates to others, and how we use those background factors to cultivate success.

Relevant background factors play a key role in leadership styles, which is outlined by Tubbs in the leadership and social influences of chapter five. Business School Dean Thomas S. Robertson of the University of Pennsylvania states: “What’s important as a new graduate, the set of technical skills that gets them the job, becomes less important as they get into middle and senior management:” (Tubbs, 239). This causes Tubbs - and personally within me - to ask the question, “which type of leadership is best?”

The author uses three styles of leadership to exhibit traits: authoritarian, laissez-faire and democratic. Democratic leadership evolves into team leadership in effective groups. However, the most successful groups are moderated and facilitated by super leaders, a term used to describe “a person who gets a lot of people involved is said to develop super teams” (Tubbs, 242). I believe in team leadership, and though a positional leader may be given the title to take charge in decision-making and accountability, the best groups learn to value every team member.

Bill George is the founder and CEO of Medtronic Inc., a medical supply company which grew from $1.1 billion in market cap to $60 billion under his leadership (Harvard Business School). In writing the books Authentic Leadership and True-North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, George centers his philosophy of development around this principle: “you are only as good as those you surround yourself with” (Huffington Post, 2011). 

Bill George is a “super leader.” He valued his team, and used the group interaction to explode the growth of a billionaire company which now leads the world in production of insulin pumps. In 2017, Medtronic released the first-ever artificial pancreas external pump, the Medtronic MiniMed 670G, which interactively reacts to the body’s systems to deliver insulin and measure glucose levels free of manual entry by the patient. 

His leadership of his team is critical to me as a leader in two ways. His team leadership models are very successful and worthy of modeling in business, and as an individual, I have recently been prescribed the 670G pump and a team of Medtronic employees and researchers worked for three years to get approval for the device by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

I am a better leader because of those around me. I am a better person because of the influences and wisdom of others. I am a healthier individual due to the contribution of teams working together for success. This is a great model of leadership, and this is what effective systems for small group interaction can teach all of us.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Reaching a Bar No One Else Sees

By Kris Freeman, Revolution Church

It was Christmas break of 1993, and I sat down on the ottoman at a family member's home. My dad and step-mother talked with family, my sister looked at the Christmas tree in the other room and my brother was giggling and wrestling in the floor.

And with those happy thoughts was a world crashing inside of my own heart. It wasn't long before the question came, and without thought I blurted out an answer and regretted it from the very second. My extended family asked how school was going, and here I was one semester into my first year.

I was an elite high school student. I was on a scholarship for "scholars" awarded to superior academic kids. I was in four honors classes and had 18 hours of credits and working a 50-hour a week job. Yet before my father could get his words out his mouth to brag on my achievements, I silenced the room with a knife through hot butter.

"I failed. I lost my scholarship. I just got my grades. I failed. It's over."

My dad's face turned to utter shock. The whole room went cold, dead silent. I cried, got up, left and then he followed me and I got the chewing of a lifetime in the back room that I will never forget.

At 18 years old, I listened to the wrong advice and abandoned my dream of being a journalist and declared my major as business administration. I chased my future as a CEO, because I thought that's what someone wanted me to be. I was the first person in my family to go to college and have the potential of graduating and becoming rich. All the signs were there. And with honors American history, honors English literature, business economics, statistics (not the sports kind, mind you but more like trigonometry on steroids), accounting and golf, I waltzed out of my first four months of college with a cumulative GPA of 1.6. I failed two classes. I made a D in another. I surrendered my scholarship.

I was one semester away from academic probation and I took out my first credit card to pay for my own tuition to stay in school so that my parents wouldn't find out. It took me 10 years of my young adult life to pay off that card. I had no financial aid, because collectively my divorced parents made too much money to apply for grants.

But you don't understand, with my scholarship, EVERY SINGLE THING was paid for. I had money for tuition, books, food, gas and even some to spend on a sweatshirt. And it was G-O-N-E-See ya.

I completed that freshman year with a 1.9 GPA. I had to retake five classes before I graduated a two-year degree in three years with a ridiculously low GPA by every academic standard. I switched my major to journalism and communications, where I had a 4.0. But ghosts of academic pasts don't go away, and since accounting, stats and economics weren't required courses in the second major, I left some Ds sitting on the table.

You know why I failed? Not because I am not intelligent. It may sound arrogant, but I don't mean it that way. I should NEVER make a failing grade or below average grade in a class. I am well-brained enough to pass with flying colors. That's why until Christmas of my senior year in high school, I never made below a B. In anything. And then, it happened. I dumped my dreams to pursue what someone else wanted for me and then I blew it. I blew it. Not them, me.

And the chasing of the ceiling began. It was a bar that no one else could see that has haunted me for the rest of my life.

Now, I met my wife there. I learned how to be a broadcaster. I coached some amazing baseball teams and I worked some incredible sporting events. I enjoyed my time in communications. It does not mean that I don't wish some things to be done again.

You see, I won the award for music in my high school. I had letters from Duke University, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and even dreamed of attending Vanderbilt. I took the ACT and made a 25, but I didn't even try. I had to go to the bathroom the last two hours of the test and just marked answers to get it done so I could, well....go. And with academic and music offers all around me, a small school dropped a scholarship offer in my lap. The minimum? A 3.8 GPA and a 25 ACT. I took it. I gave up music, I ditched my dream of broadcasting and journalism, and I walked into a small school so arrogantly believing that in two years, I would be the top student on campus. I'm telling you, I believed that.

And so, I loaded my schedule, didn't take breaks at work, and I quit trying. Why did I fail? Well, for one, I hated economics, accounting and statistics. I loved golf. Thank God for golf. It was my only A. I made a C in English Lit and I'm a writer! I attended class about 70 percent of the time. I spent more time at Taco Bell than the academic building. I partied late with friends and never told my parents where I was. I mistreated young ladies and ended every relationship because I was foolish and didn't take their affection serious. And looking back to that mid-semester in senior year of high school, I figured it out. That's when they locked in our grades and I was awarded the scholarship. You know what I did the final semester of high school? I goofed off. I made two Cs. I irritated my teachers. I worked my butt off at a fast food restaurant and played a lot of golf.

So if you've read this far, you're probably wondering why I wrote this now.

That's because tonight, I busted the bar.

I completed a pastoral ministries degree in 2001. It was a three year school, but no accreditation with normal institutions. So with a two-year degree in 1996, an unaccredited ministry diploma and unfinished business, I enrolled at Western Kentucky University in 2007. Taking two classes at a time, I was scheduled to graduate in 2010 but we moved home to plant a church and Noah was diagnosed with a hip disease and placed in a wheelchair. I quit school again, and this time I honestly believed my time had passed.

Last year, I was offered a chance to step away from my church and take a position in full-time athletics. As a result, there was a possibility I would be able to be paid for my work full-time, and then also have my academic work paid for by a stipend. I sat down with an advisor and realized how close I was to completing my Bachelor of Arts degree. Within four years, with the right precision and dedication, I could complete my Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate.

I declined the offer to go to work and remained with my church after prayer, believing it was the right decision. However, I was intrigued by the educational opportunities, so I pursued them and paid for the school out of my own pocket. People often ask why I work so many hours announcing, and this is part of the reason. My church salary does not afford me enough money to pay for my education, vacation or my taxes effectively, and raise a family. So I chose with the majority of my debt eliminated, to pay my own way.

I am five classes from finished with my Bachelors Degree. Because of schedule, I will not officially be done until late, 2018. I have to wait to take my final class next fall.

My GPA entering Trevecca Nazarene University was carried over from my two-year degree, and my class work at WKU. The cumulative GPA had always hovered under 3.0.

I currently have a 4.0 at Trevecca and plan to keep it that way. I had a 3.8 at WKU, with my only B coming in a very difficult honors Hebrew Old Testament class taught by an agnostic professor.

For the first time in my academic life post high school, tonight my GPA reached 3.019.

That was the bar. The "average" number that haunted me finally shattered tonight at the age of 42, 24 years to the month that I lost that scholarship.

Why was 3.0 the bar? Because 3.0 was the number I was required to maintain to have my school paid for. It has been like a nightmarish ghost floating in my mind for 24 years. A beacon of failure, incompletion and turmoil.

My lack of a degree is embarrassing. There are pastors with doctorates and academic profiles that would make Jesus look like a peasant who secretly make fun of pastors like me, who work their tails off to learn the Bible and don't have a Ph.D. at the end of my name. I would LOVE to be teaching, but I walk through the halls of our high school every day and know there are 24-year-olds fresh out of college coaching and teaching at WHHS and I can't dial it back and go where they are now.

I stare at the certificates and diplomas on my wall and realize there's an empty space. You see, I don't need a degree to be a servant, or a counselor of friends, or a hero to the broken. I don't need paper to validate my spiritual credentials, but I realize the immense pressure and power and respect it brings to obtain it. I know to ever teach, I need it. I have to complete. You couldn't stop me right now with a bulldozer if you tried because I am determined.

But the expectation I placed on myself to shatter that bar was nothing more than a figment of some false imaginary god I had lorded over my own failures.

And if you're still reading, God bless you, because you have one, too.

It could be a relationship you ended, a job you lost, a promise you broke or a situation you blew. And you're chasing this bar that no one else can see and determined that when you reach it, everything else will change.

I have news for you. I logged in tonight and received the A that put me over the bar, and no cameras flashed. No confetti popped. My family is asleep and I am sitting in front of a computer screen with Family Feud and Sportscenter competing for the tv screen in the background.

The only one who noticed the bar was busted was me.

And I'm the one who set it in the first place. So what could God do with your life if you erased these imaginary expectations and decided that no one could stop your dreams of the potential you have that God has placed within you? What if you learned to forgive (and figured out that YOURSELF is the first target)? What if you quit making excuses, quit putting yourself down and quit believing that you are validated by some paper tiger you framed in an four-dollar plastic 8x10 idol.

What if, for once, you went after it?

Don't let the bar be your standard, instead let your dream be bigger than the bar can hold.

John Maxwell says every person has a lid. Unlock it. Bash it. Hammer it. Throw away the key. Own it, live it, make it, dream it, serve it, achieve it.

And if anybody gets in your way, give them a little Will Rogers with a smile.

"You might be on the right track, but you're gonna get run over if you just sit there."

By gosh, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. And Satan, with all due respect, get the heck out of our way.

That's an A-plus paper right there, so frame this sucker cause when you make it, I'll celebrate with you.

I love you, and these are my thoughts.

Pastor K

The Vow of Prayer (11.26.17 Notes)

“The Vow of Prayer”
#TheVow Week 4
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Scripture: Genesis 3:7-10 (NLT)

Genesis 3:7-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man[a] and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

Remember, in this series, we are learning the vows to God and to our spouse.
  1. The Vow of Priority
  2. The Vow of Pursuit
  3. The Vow of Partnership
  4. The Vow of Purity/Prayer

  1. I promise that God will be my first priority and my spouse will be my second.
  2. I promise that I will always pursue my two.
  3. I promise our marriage will be about WE and not ME.
  4. I promise to CONFIDE in you and not HIDE from you.

For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:8)

You will never find healing in the DARK. Shame grows fastest in the dark, but the light brings life and healing.

How to find healing:

  1. Confess to the right PLACE
  2. Commit to the right PEOPLE
  3. Construct the right PATH

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)

The path to intimacy is paved with PRAYER.

1. Replace your TEMPTATIONS with better COMMUNICATIONS.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)

Prayer is the communication CHANNEL between you and God, but can also be the key to intimacy with you and your SPOUSE.

Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy.

2. Seek God - a PASSIONATE pleasing God! 

He is a God of SECOND CHANCES not a God of SHAME!

Jesus came, so that we are not under the law, but under grace. We have a responsibility not to sin, but we also have a restoration when we do!

The word buwsh (boosh) means to be ashamed, to be completely worthless.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were sinners. (Romans 5:8)

You are not worthless, but God is WORTHY! Let’s flip the script and remember the covenant!


Find the Bible reading plan for this series by searching “The Vow” on YouVersion!