Posted by Russ Jones On 3:03 PM
Years ago I was preaching and used an old line that I'm sure many of you know.  "Would you like some cheese with that whine?"  A few days later a woman brought me a wedge of cheese and told me that she was a whiner.  That Sunday she discovered that the problem wasn't everyone else, but herself.  She wanted to quit whining and complaining.

Complaining is second nature to all of us.  We can do it at the drop of a hat.  In fact, I think we can do it before the hat even hits the ground.  We complain when things don't go our way.  We'll complain even louder if we think that we know better than anyone else.  Now I have observed that there are different kinds of complainers.

These people complain but they don't do anything about it.  They complain to complain.  What you will notice about them is this.  They will complain themselves out of progress, advancement and even joy.  But after they have complained themselves out of something, then they will complain about not having it.  It's a vicious circle.

These people complain until they get what they want.  They are professionals.  Really!  They get paid to complain.  They get paid when they get their way.  I've seen people complain about something followed by a threat of action on their complaint.  It's always negative like: "I'll quit giving my money if you don't . . ."  or  "I'll stop shopping here if you don't . . . ".  You get the picture?

These people complain with a purpose.   Complaining isn't bad, if you have a good purpose in doing so.  If you are going to complain about something, follow it with a solution.  "Here is my problem, but what if we did this . . .?"  Now I'm not saying that your solution will work.  But instead of whining about something - be an active part of the solution.

So which one are you?

Now let's apply this to your life - what would happen?

Let's take your Marriage for example.  If you are a Level 1 complainer, you will always be miserable.  But you will not do anything about it.  You will not take some kind of positive action to begin restoring your relationship with your spouse.  You will not allow your marriage to achieve a place where you can find security and joy.  Most of the time, the other spouse will eventually divorce.

Let's take your Job for example.  If you are a Level 2 complainer, you will be unemployed - A LOT!  At best, your employer and fellow employees will hate your guts!  If you try to get some of your fellow employees to complain with you - as Level 2 Complainers like to do - your insurrection will go badly.

Let's take your Family for example.  If you are a Level 3 complainer, then you can work through your problems in a positive way.  Your children will learn to deal with their needs in a healthy way.  You will know that whatever you have to face, there are options for you to embrace and consider as you work through it.

When you treat complaining as a process rather than a event - you will discover that it's your point of view that matters more than anything else.  When you see people from a servants heart - rather than seeing people as your servant - you will discover a joy you have never known before.
Posted by Russ Jones On 10:04 AM
The need for information is so great in our culture today - we will get it any way we can.  The problem is, we don't check sources or credibility anymore.  Leaking information and spin doctoring is  at an all time high and no wonder.  We are more exposed than we have ever been.  With the internet, social media and security cameras watching your every move, you can't do anything without someone knowing about it.   When I was a kid, don't ask when, we got information two times a day.  The daily newspaper and the daily news broadcast.  Even then, questions you needed answers to were days late.  For example:  The Air Force decided to test one of it's new supersonic jets.  The sonic boom was heard for miles.  Everyone was talking about it.  It shook the windows, the dishes and everything else for that matter.  But what was it?  No one knew.  Then three days later an article came out in the newspaper explaining it all.  Was there panic in the streets for those three days?  No.  Was there a congressional hearing convened to study the reason why there was a big boom?  No.  People just waited for their information.  Was there some speculating, yes.  It went something like this.  "There must have been a large explosion somewhere!"  That was it.

Patience always delivers truth.  But when we get impatient we will believe anything, even if its just for a little while.  Then when that information brings some sizzle to the conversation or attention to the person who is leaking it to the public - it can be a thrill.  That's makes it gossip.

I have a saying that I like to use from time to time when someone brings me "news" about something or someone.  "Wait for it."  When I think that someone is getting caught up in gossip - wait.  The truth will expose itself shortly and the messenger is usually red faced after the fact.  Don't be red faced with them.  Guilt by association, you know.

Gossipers like to associate themselves with impatient people.  It's like pulling the pin on a grenade and watching it blow up.  It's fun and wrong.  Patience is a learned/taught character trait.  Gossipers are not patient and they like to associate with people like themselves.

#1 - Wait - Resist the urge to act upon something you cannot confirm or prove.  Even if the person telling you the information is urging you to take action - don't.   FYI - when you do that to a gossiper, they will quit gossiping to you.

#2 - Watch - The truth will reveal itself, if necessary.  (Let's be honest, most gossip isn't worth paying attention to at all.)  But you have to practice some simple mathematics here.  Remember you have one mouth, two ears and two eyes.  Use them proportionally.

#3 - Wisdom - Allow wisdom to be your guide, not just the facts.  First of all I guarantee that you don't have all the facts.  Period.  So think it through and don't jump ahead of yourself (impatience).
Posted by Russ Jones On 7:32 PM
This is what my wife posted on Facebook this morning. 

Only God knew that two people, a Hillbilly and a City Girl would fall madly in love with each other. Only God knew that despite their great differences, that when joined together they would become an unstoppable force. Only God knew the tragedies, sorrows, joys, and triumphs they would face together. Only God knew that they would beat the odds. I'm thankful that only God knew, and He made it perfection. Happy 30th Anniversary Russ! I Love You!!!

I really couldn't say it any better than this. 

But on this day 30 years ago I said, "I do."  I tried to put the wedding ring on the wrong finger.  My shoes were 3 sizes too big.  Someone stole my tennis shoes and my mother in law hid the grooms cake.  (It was shaped like a coffin and it said, "I'll never rest again.")  Well, that's how things got started.  I have to say, there hasn't been a dull moment ever since.  

Marrying Betty was the best decision I could have made.  But 30 years ago I was too young and immature to know it.  Time has told a story of tragedies and victories, bright of moments and dark times.  I have fought the world for her and I fought her too.  (Not the smartest thing I've ever done.)  I have been there for her and I have failed her.  I've made the best of decisions and the worst.  Yet through it all - she stood by my side.  

When I didn't know what to do - when it was all closing in - she didn't run away.  When I would throw up my hands and quit - she wouldn't.  She has, and always will, give me a swift kick in the seat of the pants when I need it.  She will also hold me when I cry in despair.  She is my biggest fan and now I couldn't even imagine what a day would be like without her.  The words she speaks to me are more important than anyone else's.  I love her so much,

I willing let her shape my life and speak to my soul.  

I can only hope that I can do the same for her.  To love and to cherish, for better or worse, till death do us part.  

The only thing that I can say to you Betty is, "I Love You Too!"  But for anyone reading this out there, I'm sorry that you don't understand what that means.  30 years has changed the words, "I love you" to something more.  So much more.   That isn't to say that you can't ever understand.  You've just got to do it like I did and discover it for yourself.  Then you will know what I mean.  I am so happy that Betty taught me what "I love you" means.  

Posted by Russ Jones On 5:04 PM
It is Sunday afternoon and I am here at my desk thinking about this weekend.

The Saturday service was awesome.  Ok we had some problem with the sound, but we got that fixed by Sunday.

I was encouraged by how many people told me that they would attend a Saturday service.  (they work on Sunday)

My wifes voice is GONE!  Two extreme children's churches, two song services with two solos - WOW!

105 people in this mornings service.  THE HOUSE WAS PACKED!  It really did look good.

The worship team sounded really good.

Deana and her team did a great job with the Easter Egg hunt and Easter Games!

Thanks to all the 4HIM youth who helped - we couldn't have done it without you!

The golf cart - to help people to and from their cars - was a GREAT idea!

Hey!  Did you know that Dan and Stephanie got engaged?

We found a lot of nickels up at the front of the church.  (You had to be there)

Greeters did a great job of greeting!!

Parking attendants - we couldn't have done it without it.

The unsung heros!  The custodial crew (this church is CLEAN!) and the ground maintenance crew - what an awesome job!  The church looked great!

166 in attendance and 10 people gave their hearts to Christ.

Many people really, really, really like the service!


Posted by Russ Jones On 7:25 PM

If you don't know, Pastor of Calvary Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale, Bob Coy, has confessed to church leadership of his moral failures and has subsequently resigned. 

What these moral failures were,  and when they happened, isn't and shouldn't be speculated on.  Bottom line, it's really none of our business.  Sin has happened.

So now what?

Well, we can fall in line with all the cynics and point our fingers shouting, "See! See!  I told you, you can't trust them!  All megachurch pastors are bad!  All they want is your money!  They don't care about you!  They don't answer to anyone!"

We could lump all ministers into the same category and make them pay for the mistakes of others.  Judge them as immoral, criminal or even hypocrites.

We could look up to heaven and tell Jesus, "I love you - but I'm not going to church because it's corrupt and can't be trusted."

I STRONGLY suggest that you do none of that.  And here is why.

Remember, this isn't a scandal.  Don't believe everything you read in the media.  As a church leader, I've have had to, on occasion (thankfully not frequently) deal with ministers and their moral failures.  From what I know, a serious problem was revealed (somehow) and the church leadership did what they have to do.  Hold the pastor accountable and take appropriate action.  In this situation - Pastor Coy resigned.

Remember, there is a church in pain.  I've pastored churches where my predecessor had failed in some way.  The people feel shame, regret, pain and anger.  The relationship of trust, which a church cannot live without, has been damaged.  You will see a variety of responses to this event.  Some will leave the church and go elsewhere.  Others will respond with mercy and offer forgiveness.

Remember, God knew about this before we did.  Everything is happening in His time.  While we may not ever know or understand everything, God does.  He already has a plan for Bob's life and future as well as the church's.  He will take care of this - you will see.

Listen, to the motives - not the excuses.  At some time, we will hear from Bob.  When that happens, I hope that it will be to tell us how sin got ahold of his life - not some excuse that dismisses his behavior.  Regardless though, listen.  What he says may save you in the future.  Learn from his mistakes.  

Remember you're forgiven.  If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior - then you know that you can't judge others for their sins.  That only God can do that.  But if you don't understand that, let me put it to you another way.  If Bob Coy can't be forgiven, neither can you.  LET IT GO  - God is better at being God than you are.
Posted by Russ Jones On 2:40 PM
I have to admit - I haven't been blogging for a few months.  I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.  It isn't that I didn't want to or that I didn't try.  But now I know what it means to have writers block.  The words were there, I just couldn't get them to cooperate.

I love to write.  That's funny considering I am a product of the Arkansas educational system, raised in the hills of the Ozarks where they used words like "tars and uppity." (translation: tires and concieted).  That's right, I'm a hillbilly.

I didn't think that there were any famous writers from Arkansas, until I did a little research (Google) and discovered that John Grisham is from Arkansas.  Hey!  There's hope for me yet!

So with all of that said, I hope you're not thinking, "Oh, no!  He's back!"  Instead, I hope that you and I can enjoy some laughs and address some of life's challenges together.  I know I've missed you.

God Bless
Posted by Russ Jones On 12:38 PM
PBC, St. Lucie Co. public schools closed
I 95 shut down
Hundreds without power in Palm Beach Co.
Flood in Fort Pierce
and more! 

While we are high a dry (well as dry as you can be through this) this "florida blizzard" still wreaked havoc all across the Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast today.  Yes we are in the "dry season" but no one told that Polar Vortex to come down and pay us a visit either.  

There are a couple of things that I can share with you about all of this.

Normal isn't normal any more.  Sure the "global warming" "save the planet" crew and in full swing claiming that years of environmental abuse has brought all of this on us.  I have my doubts about that.    Other scientists claim that this is a cycle of climate behavior that can be traced back hundreds of years.  Whatever.  The fact of the matter is this.  You and I live in a world where EVERYTHING IS CHANGING.  I mean everything!  I am not surprised that the weather patterns are changing too. 

God is in control.  Sure this is a statement of faith that brings comfort to our hearts - but it is also a statement that can scare the living daylights out of us too.  To say that "God is in control" doesn't mean that He will always protect us from the tragedies of life.  It means that He is in control through those tragedies.  When we look to the Bible, we see some of the greatest men and women of faith go through some of the toughest trials of their day.  God was in control then just as He is now.