Q: As a Pastor, your heart is for people. How has God used 2020 and this pandemic to reveal what people are needing in their lives right now?
A: During this pandemic, we’ve been reminded that we need His strength, His peace more than ever. We need something bigger than ourselves to turn to. The foundation of our faith is born out of difficulties. Faith is not just for the good times, it’s for the difficult times. The Scripture says, God has armed us with strength for every battle. We have to come back to a place of peace, live out of a place of trust. We may not understand everything, but we have to know God has us in the palm of His hand.
Q: You just wrote a new book, Peaceful on Purpose. Why is being deliberate about maintaining our peace the key to not falling into the trap of fear?
A: It’s easy to go through life worried about the future, frustrated because a dream is taking so long to come to pass, upset because somebody did you wrong. You were not designed to live with fear and frustration, weighed down by troubles. When you’re worried, upset, you won’t have the strength you should. You’ll fall apart every time there is an unexpected challenge. Recognize what’s happening. At the start of the day, you need to decide no matter what comes your way, you’re not going to get upset, you’re not going to let fear in. You’ve already made up your mind to stay in peace. When you’re in peace, when you choose to live from a place of faith, not a place of fear, that’s a position of power.
Q: Why is peace a position of power?
A: When you know God is in control, you’re going to be strong. You’re going to feel a force sustaining you. But when you’re upset and afraid, that’s going to drain your energy, drain your motivation. There is always a lot of negativity in the world. We all face threats to our health and other challenges that are real, but don’t let that get in you. Don’t watch the negative news all day. Tune that out and tune in to what God says about you. The Scripture says, “Think on things that are pure, things that are wholesome, things that are of a good report.” Think on things that build your faith.
Q: In your book, you talk about the “all is well” mentality. What do you mean by that, and why is it so important for our walk of faith?
A: “All is well” is a simple phrase to remind us that God is still on the throne. When you have an “all is well” attitude, there’s a rest, a peace of mind. It takes the pressure off. You don’t live on a roller coaster. You know all is well on the mountaintop, and all is well in the valley. All is well when business is great, and all is well when it’s slow. You know God is bigger than anything you’re facing.
Q: Why do we need to understand that being in God’s perfect will doesn’t mean you won’t have difficulties?
A: God never said we would understand everything along the way. He didn’t promise that there wouldn’t be any pain, suffering, disappointments. We watch the news and see natural disasters, sicknesses, accidents, conflicts. If that’s not enough, now we’re dealing with fears about a pandemic. All these concerns are valid. If you were on your own, you would have a reason to live worried. But the Scripture says, “You have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your soul.” You are not in this by yourself. You have a protector, a defender, a deliverer. The Most High God is the Guardian of your soul. When God breathed life into you, He didn’t just put you on the earth and say, “Good luck, you’re on your own.” He said, “I’m going to guard you. I’m going to push back forces of darkness. I’m going to hide you from your enemies. I’m going to shield you from trouble.”
Q: In Peaceful on Purpose, you talk about weeds and how we don’t have to reap them. Would you explain that for us?
A: Jesus gave us a parable about this in Matthew 13. A farmer went out and sowed wheat in his field. It was good seed. He was doing the right thing. But at night while he slept, an enemy snuck in and sowed weeds in his soil. When the seeds sprouted and began to grow, the weeds sprung up among the wheat. His workers asked, “Where did the weeds come from? You didn’t sow these seeds.” Anytime you’re doing the right thing, you’re honoring God, being productive, and helping others, don’t be surprised if you find weeds among your wheat. As with this man, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. You think, I’ve been loyal to this company for twenty years. Why did they treat me badly? I’ve raised my children right, so why are they veering off course? Those are simply weeds that the enemy has sowed into your field to try to discourage you, distract you, and get you off course. The good news is those weeds cannot keep you from your destiny. If that trouble was going to stop God’s plan for your life, He would never have permitted it. Instead of falling apart and thinking, I can’t believe this is happening, your attitude should be, it’s just another weed. No big deal. I didn’t sow it. I don’t have to reap it. God said He would take care of it.
Q: Why do weeds always accompany a harvest?
A: Too often we get frustrated by difficulties, but you have to realize you can’t have a harvest without a few weeds. David would never have ascended to the throne without that big weed named Goliath. Joseph would never have been second-in-command of Egypt without being betrayed by his own brothers and falsely accused of a crime. We would never have had the former Compaq Center without a three-and-a-half-year lawsuit. There are weeds in all our lives. You’re not always going to understand where it came from or why it happened. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep moving forward, knowing that God promises He’ll take care of your weeds. When you see the weeds popping up—the unexpected challenges, the wrong thing happening when you were doing the right thing—you can be sure your harvest is getting closer.
Q: Why is staying in peace a choice, and when do we need to make that choice?
A: In the Scripture, the apostle Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God. One of the pieces of that armor is the shoes of peace. It’s interesting that God chose our feet for peace. It implies that everywhere we go, we’re going to have to choose to stay in peace. You can have on your helmet of salvation, your shield of faith, and your belt of truth, but if you don’t put on your shoes of peace, if you don’t make the decision that you’re not going to get upset, you’re not going to live offended, you’re not going to get baited into conflict, then even though you have on all the other pieces of the armor, it’s not effective without peace. When you make the decision at the start of the day that nothing is going to upset you, you’re putting on your shoes of peace. You’re saying, “God, I trust You. I know You’re directing my steps. Even if things don’t go perfectly today, I believe all things are going to work out for my good.”
Q: We often think about guarding our hearts in the context of romantic love, but you say we have to guard our hearts from losing our peace. Tell us about that.
A: In the book, I talk about guarding against offenses. Jesus says, “Offenses will come.” He didn’t say they might come. He didn’t say that if you’re a good person, if you’re kind enough, and if you quote enough Scriptures, then you won’t have to deal with grouchy people, you won’t hit any potholes. No, He says offenses will come. The word offenses in the Scripture comes from a Greek word that means “bait.” On a regular basis you will have opportunities to get upset, to live bitter and offended, to argue and try to pay people back. You have to guard your heart. Instead of letting those same things upset you, just say, “No, thanks. I’m not taking that bait. I’m not falling into that trap. I’m going to enjoy this day.”
Q: There’s a great quote in your book that says, “You can’t drag yesterday’s failure into today and live in victory.” Unpack that for us.
A: We’ve all made mistakes and done things we know we shouldn’t have. It’s easy to go around with a heaviness, feeling badly about ourselves. But living with guilt doesn’t do anything productive. It doesn’t help you to do better; it causes you to struggle more. Guilt drains you emotionally. Physically, it will wear you out. When we’re guilty, we don’t pursue dreams. We don’t believe we can overcome challenges. We get stuck. Here’s the key: The moment you asked God to forgive you, He not only forgave you, but He doesn’t remember your sins anymore. You can’t drag yesterday’s failures into today and live with victory. Let it go. God’s mercies are fresh every morning. Don’t spend another minute being down on yourself, living with regrets.
Q: Why do modern day believers have such a hard time believing God is for us, and why do we need to take hold of that concept?
A: Today, and throughout history believers have always had a hard time knowing that God was for them. The accuser will work overtime telling you, “God’s not going to bless you. You can’t expect His favor. You can’t expect to accomplish any dreams. You owe God a whole lot for that mistake.” Don’t believe the lies that God can’t use you in the way He wants. When we live feeling guilty, condemned, and down on ourselves, we don’t pursue dreams. We don’t take steps of faith. God needs you to be confident, secure, and feeling good about yourself. He has an assignment for you. God is not mad at you, He’s madly in love with you. Get your peace back. He has something for you to do right now. That mistake didn’t stop your destiny. You don’t have to sit on the sidelines of life. Start moving forward.