Posted by Russ Jones On 3:05 PM
I like lemonade.  Especially on a hot and dusty day.  The sweetness is just enough to please my palate - the tartness is enough to cleanse it.  

But when life hands me lemons, I don't want lemonade.  I just want to chuck them at someone.  

The whole idea that life is suppose to be "sweet", is just messed up.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to enjoy a carefree life without any worries or problems.  The problem is, that's a problem.  It isn't real.  

If you desire to live the "sweet" life, you're just setting yourself up for a disaster.  The harder you try, the greater your disappointment.  Now I am not advocating that you lower your standards.  I am advocating that you take a realistic assessment of life and understand it's ups and downs.  So let's look at a few of them. 

Privileges are not rights.  We have the right to pursue happiness, we do not have the right to demand it.  If someone didn't make you happy, it's not their fault.  It's your own fault that you didn't choose to be happy. 

Work is necessary.  If Jesus had to work, so do you. 

Government can't fix anything.  Quit expecting the government to fix everything.  They are not God.  Do I have to say more?  

Nobody owes you anything.  The tighter you clench your fist, the more that squirts out.  If you want to have more, live life with an open hand.  

Life isn't fair.  Hasn't been since the garden of Eden, get over it.  

Well, as of right now you are either saying AMEN! (A fist in the air is ok here.) Or you are saying, I'M DEPRESSED! (At which time a face palm is acceptable.)  So what do you do? 

Let's start from the bottom and work our way up. 

Life isn't fair.  Still true, but think about this.  Jesus said that the world wouldn't be fair to us.   He also said that He would be just and right to us.  Would you rather have the world's praise or God's praise. 

Nobody owes you anything.  Still true, but Jesus paid the price for your sins so He could give you something.  Salvation.  It isn't fair - but it's free. 

Government can't fix anything.  Still true.  Being politically active isn't a sin.  Just don't hang the sun and the moon on your favorite politician.  They are just as human as you are.  

Work is necessary.  The easy way usually isn't the right way.  Don't be afraid of hard work and you'll discover a whole new world of opportunities. 

Privileges are not rights.  The problem here is simple.  Pride vs. Humility.  Prideful people say, "I deserve this!"  Humble people say, "I earn this."  Prideful people say, "I demand!"  Humble people say, "Please."
Posted by Russ Jones On 7:00 PM
IT’S ABOUT YOUR PRIORITIES. 

The first thing I want you to do is write down your job(s) titles.  Another way of saying it is, “How many hats do you wear?”  For example.  You might put on your list, Parent, Homemaker, Teacher, Employee, your career and so on.  (Don’t get caught up in the specifics, we’ll do that later.) 

Now, before you write that list, consider this title.  Christian or follower of Christ.  I know that some people might assume this or others might hesitate placing it on their list for various reasons.  But if you’re going to be a full time follower of Jesus, then shouldn’t this title be at the very top of your list?  Then as you begin to create the rest of your list, it’s effect will be felt on everything else.  Thus you will be a Christian parent, a Christian employee, A Christian . . . .

So I’ll share with you my list.  I am a follower of Christ, I am also a pastor, a presbyter (some might say bishop) and a worship leader.  I am a father and a husband.  I am teacher, a giver and a helper.  I am a futurist, a leader/influencer.  I am a church growth coach and a life coach.  I am a friend to sinners and saints.  I am a dance dad (as appointed by my daughter) and I sit on the advisory board of the Treasure Coast’s first professional dance company. (I didn’t see that one coming).  I am a blogger and a writer.  No, I am not a juggler - I just budget my time.  

I want you to take the week to work on this list.  At some point you need to place them in order of importance.  (My list above isn’t in any particular order.)  #1 being the most important and then everything that follows.  Take some time to pray on this and allow God to help you put your list in order.  

Now why should you do this?  Most people have too many hats.  There is nothing you can do about it.  Life will just do this to you.  However, you can budget how much time each hat gets.  It isn’t necessarily that #1 gets the most time, but it will get the best time.  While #2 or #3 may get the most time, it doesn’t necessarily have to have all your time.  Once you discover what is most important in your life, you will then being to discover the satisfaction of knowing you haven’t wasted your time or lost it.  

WHAT ARE MY PRIORITIES? 

Many times I find that people do what they are told, instead of what they should do.  For example, years ago I had a couple in my office who were headed for divorce court.  After a few questions I discovered that their whole world was about their kids.  They thought that they would be bad parents  if they didn't do everything they could do for their kids.  Where did they learn this?  From their parents, who were divorced.  Hmmm

It took some time for them to discover that they were married to each other and not to their kids.  Once they understood that priority, they made time for each other and saved their marriage.  

NOTE: Now as you might guess, I think that being a follower of Jesus should be #1.  It will have a profound effect on ever other priority in your life (IN A GREAT AND WONDERFUL WAY).  

So order your list the way you think it is suppose to be.  

BUT I CAN'T DO THAT. 

It is possible that some areas of your life are so out of control that you can't just "disconnect" from them and do whatever.  For example.  If you cannot budget your finances you may be working extra hours just to pay the bills.  Time that you should be dedicating to something more important.  

If this is the case #1 ADMIT IT.  You will never get anywhere living in denial.  #2 ASK YOURSELF "What am I going to do about this?  Until you can answer this question - you will never change your life.  

THIS ISN'T AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS. 

No it isn't.  To be honest, it took me a year and a half to get this part right.  

WHAT IS THE REWARD?

The power to say NO.  When you know what is more important, you can say no to things that are nothing more than distractions and time stealers. 

Peace - You don't have to feel guilty about things you don't do.  Plus people lose their ability to make you feel guilty for not doing what they want you to do. 

Security - When you know that you are doing the right thing at the right time.  Then there are no apologies to make later in life.  


Posted by Russ Jones On 3:15 PM
You may have noticed the news story of a pastor who had to defend himself from a employee who decided to shoot him.  Apparently everything went wrong when the pastor told the employee that he was terminated.  The pastor, who had a permit to carry his firearm, returned fired injuring the shooter.

I want to take a few moments to say, please pray for the pastor and the church.  While they would have NEVER have choosen to place themselves in this situation - they prepared for the possibility none the less.  It is the day and time that we live in people.  While you hope that no one ever does this to you, you have to be prepared.

Since the story broke I have heard again and again, "The pastor shouldn't carry a gun."  Really, with all that is going on in the world, you think that pastors and churches are exempt from the violence that is consuming our society?  I have to say that I have received my fair share of death threats over the years.  I have had pastors call me and ask me what they should do in the face of their death threats.  I have had people take a swing at me.  I've had people threaten to slash my tires.  I've had people litter my church parking lot with nails.  I've had people pull knives on me.  I've had people threaten to attack me while I am preaching in the pulpit.

Now the first thing someone might ask is, "Well, what did you do to deserve it?"  Simple.  I told the truth.  We live in a world that has taught people that whatever they want, they can have.  That they are right and everyone else is wrong.  If you don't get your way, it's their fault if you are angry about it.  So when I or the church doesn't comply with culture, someone gets offended.  Years ago, people just moved on.  But over the years I have seen the aggression mount up against church leadership like never before.  Pastors being sued by members with frivolous lawsuits.  Lies and rumors propagated to destroy the pastors reputation in the community.  Members deliberately withholding finances trying to starve the pastor out of his or her job.

Now let me say this clearly.  These are not the actions of people who follow Christ.  I would question whether or not they ever had a relationship with Christ.

Now, once you get past this level of harassment and troublemaking that there is another level of  problems you have to pay attention to.  People who are mentally ill.  They say and do things that normal people wouldn't do. Then there are people are irrationally angry and will act out in ways that they normally wouldn't do.

99% of the time, issues between followers of Christ are resolved with love, acceptance and forgiveness.  That kind of stuff will not be repeated around the water cooler or make the front page of the local newspaper.  For all the good that the church does in our society today, the bad is VERY bad. When it happens, pastors and churches alike have to be prepared for it.

The above article does not reflect the opinion or position of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, the Peninsular Florida District Council of the Assemblies of God or Faith Family Worship Center of Palm City. 
Posted by Russ Jones On 11:17 AM
As I watch the events of Ferguson unfold the last couple of nights, I have to say that I wasn't surprised.  I don't think that it would have mattered which way the grand jury ruled - riots were going to happen.  That's just my opinion.

Now before anyone thinks that I am taking sides or speaking on behalf of my race, I'm not.  I'm speaking as a Pastor and as a follower of Christ.

I know that many people see this as an isolated incident.  That the reactions are unjustified.  I know that many people see this as a breakdown in the system.  That the reactions are justified.

What I see it as is a sin problem.

Let me bottom line this for you just in case you're not going to read the rest of this post.

Racism is a sin.  It's a sin just as much as murder, theft, lying and gluttony.  Sin is sin in God's eyes.  When sin saturates a culture and it's governing authority - it's going to act like it.  So, none of this surprises me.  In other words, sinners act like sinners.  I hope that didn't surprise you.

We need a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our churches, in our communities and even in our government.  If you want to see things change you have to pray.  But?  What are you going to pray for?

Pray that people will have a hunger and thirst to have a right relationship with God again. 
Pray that people will repent of their sins and turn back to God. 
Pray that leadership will seek God's face and follow his will.  

But what about . . . ?  Listen, there are a thousand and one reasons why you or I could throw up our hands and quit.  There are plenty of reasons to write off certain people, races, the church, government and everything else.  BUT WE DON'T DO THAT!  Jesus died and rose again to overcome these obstacles.

Pastors don't preach about what is broken.  Preach about what works.  A relationship with Jesus works.  His promises work.  His Word never returns void.

Will racism ever go away?  No - Never.  We will have to be ever vigilant to confront it and deal with it.  Just like we do every other sin that tempts and confronts us.




Posted by Russ Jones On 10:49 AM
Today is my wife bday.  She usually doesn't mind me telling people how old she is, but I'm not going to risk it - you ask her if you want to know.

Did you know she is a . . .

Mom?
Well if you know Anneka, you know that Betty is her mom.  But did you know that Betty has to recover from a serious pulmonary event in her 20's in order to be able to carry and deliver a child in her late 30's?  Did you know that she endured 4 miscarriages before Anneka? So when Betty comes off a little overprotective (And what mom doesn't?) I know she earned it.

Dance Mom?
She didn't see this one coming either.  If Betty and I were to trace our lineage back to Adam and Eve I do believe that you wouldn't find anyone coordinated enough to walk and chew gum at the same time must less dance.  But there you have it and Annekas #1 cheerleader is?  You guessed it.

Ordained Minister?
- Betty graduated with me in 1985 from Central Bible College in Springfield Missouri with a BA in Bible and Theology.  She received her credentials in the early 90's and was ordained in 1995.   In those days there was only a handful of women in the Assemblies of God who were credentialed or ordained.  Seeing her ordained inspired other women to follow.  (I know, they told me.)

Pastors Wife?
- It's a given that if you know that I am a pastor, then she is a pastors wife.  But you might not understand the statement.  Plenty of people are in the ministry, but that doesn't mean that their spouses are.  Betty has been my number 1 cheerleader for over 30 years now.  I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT HER.

Children's Pastor?
- 19 years ago I needed a children's pastor.  She agreed to do it on a temporary basis.  As it turns out, she is GREAT at it.  The children she taught 19 years ago now bring their children to her.  It isn't anything high tech, fancy or over the top.  It's Betty.  The children LOVE Miss Betty.  Also, she has led these kids to give in the area of $35,000 to missions through (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge) in the last 19 years.

Leader?
- John Maxwell said that Leadership is Influence.  If you know Betty. then you know that she is a powerful influence in the lives of people.  Is it her goal to control or manipulate?  No.  Her goal is to lead you to a better future.  She will share her wisdom and knowledge freely.  She will give generously.  She will love you unconditionally and she will always expect from you what you don't even know is within you.

Singer?
She was classically trained to sing soprano.  She sang in her youth choir as a teen (which traveled the country).  She sang in our college choir.  They also traveled the country representing the Assemblies of God.  She has been singing at my side for over 30 years now every Sunday morning.  She has been a guest soloist at numerous events and for other church choral presentations.  

Oh yes, there's more.  But I think that I will save that for another time.

I think that she is an amazing woman and I have been the one that has been blessed all these years.


Posted by Russ Jones On 3:33 PM
Lives being changed for the better is always a good thing.

A year and a half ago a young lady walked into our church one Sunday with eyes wide open.  I could tell right from the beginning that she hadn't been in a church like ours before.  Everything that we did was strange and different.  While she had been raised in church - it wasn't the same.

Well a few weeks later, she gave her heart and life to Christ in a real and wonderful way.  She was excited about this new relationship and what it could bring to her.  Now I would be lying if I said that it's all been smooth sailing.  It hasn't.  But she will tell you that the trip has been worth it all.

As a result of her new found faith, her family has been transformed too.  Many of them giving their life to Jesus.  Many of them open to experiencing something new from God.

In all my years I have never seen someone's worldview change so quickly.  She no longer looks at her world through her eyes, she looks through Jesus' now.  Her heart desires to please Christ with everything she has, isn't just overwhelming - it's refreshing.

Her relationship with Jesus is always seeking His face and discovering new truths for herself.  Her love for His Church is passionate and alive.  Her desire to devour His Word into her life has changed her attitude, her life and her future.

Today is Transformational Tuesday.  Know this - Jesus will transform your life if you let Him.  Just like he did Bianca's.

See you Sunday at FFWC!  It's our annual Thanksgiving Sunday Service followed by a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.  You and your family are welcome to attend.
Posted by Russ Jones On 10:36 AM
We haven't officially started the holiday season yet and already the griper's and complainer's are in full swing. 

During this season you have people who complain that we shouldn't celebrate Christmas because:
- it really isn't Jesus' b-day. 
- because Jesus didn't command us to celebrate His b-day. 
- because many of the traditions we celebrate are from pagan rituals. 
- because Christmas has become so commercialized. 

- and so on and so forth. 

Now I don't disagree with any of the above statements.  They are all true.  But does that mean that we should abandon the opportunity to help people discover who Jesus is?

The celebration of Christmas has been embraced by Christians for generations.  Families would remember the birth of Jesus as the greatest gift that God the Father could give us.  Salvation through His Son, Jesus.  

- We give gifts to symbolize that gift. 
- We celebrate Jesus' birth as an act of thanksgiving, praise and worship unto Him. 
- We make an extra effort to exhibit the Christian qualities of mercy, grace, hope, forgiveness and love to others during this season. 

If you take some time to google the origins of Christmas (which I wouldn't suggest) you will find a hundred versions mostly based on someone's conjecture.  

So how can you keep the main thing, the main thing this holiday season?

Keep Christmas about Christ.   If you make Christmas about it's past or it's tradition, then you will lose focus.  Every gift you gift, every act of kindness you commit, every carol you sing is about Jesus, not Christmas. 

Keep Christmas about the future.  Thanksgiving is to give thanks for what Jesus has done.  Christmas is a celebration of what Jesus is going to do.  Help people discover that there is a future in Christ and you can do that through Christmas. 

Sunday November 23rd is Thanksgiving Sunday at Faith Family Worship Center.  You and your family are welcome to join us for a great service at 10:30 am and one of the best Thanksgiving Dinners you will ever enjoy at 12 noon.