Jim Shrimplin

Are you hungry?

If there is one thing that I love to do it is eat! I love cheesecake, pizza, steak, ribs, pasta, chili, brisket, corn, carrots, tacos, and much more. This spring I purchased my first smoker. I should have done it 30 years ago. The only problem is that smoking meat takes a long time, hours upon hours. It smells sooooooo gooood. I get to the point where I don’t want to wait any longer.

As people of God, we love to have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We hunger for spiritual gifts like Paul talks about in I Corinthians 12. The problem with receiving one of the Gifts of the Spirit is its like smoking meat. It seems to take a long time to receive, if we ever do.

How do we stay hungry and wait for the Holy Spirit? Let’s face it when I smoke meat I don’t want to wait. The other night while smoking some meat I couldn’t wait. I was too hungry. I had to have something else. While I was waiting for a brisket to get done, I went in patted out some hamburgers and grilled them on our gas grill.

The problem is the Holy Spirit does not work like that or He hasn’t for me anyway. I believe the problem is that the Spirit wants us to wait until He is ready to bless us and we don’t want to wait. I don’t anyway. I go off and do other things. I let other pursuits get in my way of pursing God. I get hungry and I go eat somewhere else cause I get tired of waiting, but wait we must.

How do we wait? How do we keep from “going somewhere else?” Here are a couple of things I am going to try. I hope they work for you and for me.

The first thing I need to remember is that there is no other place to go to receive the best gifts and blessings. As Christians, we have only received part of the best gift we will ever receive and that gift is salvation. You say, “Wait! What do you mean we have only received part of salvation?” The best part about salvation, I believe, is yet to come. The best part will be when we actually see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Him for the first time! If you want the best, you have to wait.

The second secret to waiting is to keep asking. Don’t give up. Keep on seeking the Lord. I know it gets difficult; keep seeking. I know it seems like He will never answer; keep seeking. I know you want it now. We all do but keep seeking. There is nothing more the enemy of your soul would like you to do more than give up. Don’t do it! If you give up, Satan wins. Don’t give him the satisfaction. Keep knocking on heaven’s door! Jesus will answer!

The third and final (for this article anyway) thing you can do is be thankful. Be thankful for that you have the Holy Spirit in you. Be thankful that one day your home will be the New Heaven and the New Earth. Be thankful that you will get to see Jesus!

Let me go back to my smoker example. I should have been thankful that I had brisket cooking. I could have been thankful that I got to enjoy the process of smoking that wonderful piece of meat. There are plenty of people in the world that would love to be able to wait for a piece of brisket. Why? They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. I should enjoy the process of waiting for my brisket to get done. Enjoyed the great smell a smoker makes. Enjoyed the anticipation of eating a great meal which would have made the meat taste even better.

The same thing is true with our walk with the Lord. The reason we walk with the Lord and not run so we can enjoy the walk! Can you image what would have happened if the two disciple on their way to Emmaus would have ran? They would have missed the opportunity to walk and talk with Jesus. We must learn to enjoy and be thankful for what we do have as we wait for what we don’t.

Well that’s way I see it today. I hope these few scattered thoughts have helped you to wait on the Lord today! Stay HUNGRY!

Jim Shrimplin

Is There More?

A little golden bear and a white rabbit are having a wonderful lunch. The rabbit speedily makes plate after plate of honey for his bear friend. Finally after eating for hours, the bear says, “I must go now. Goodbye Rabbit” Rabbit responds, “Well Goodbye. If you are sure you won’t have any more?” The golden bear pulls is head out of the rabbit hole and says, “Is there any more?” To which the skinning rabbit says, “No. There isn’t.” The little Pooh bear says, “I thought not” and then tries to squeeze himself through Rabbit’s hole only to find he is stuck.

As Christians, we can sometimes be like the little Pooh bear, we feast on the blessing of the Lord for years and years. We go to church. We participate in small groups. We pray intermittently and dust of our Bibles when we need a word from the Lord. One reason our Christianity grows cold is our experience tells us there is no more. You can only go so far in Christianity before our experience reads likes the shampoo bottle. Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and Repeat for 10, 20, 30 or more years. We ask ourselves is there more to Christianity. Experience tells us, “No. There isn’t.” Or maybe our theological tradition says, “No. There isn’t” Unfortunately our experience agrees by saying, “I thought not.”

I have been sucking in air on this beautiful planet 6 months short of 50 years and have been a person of The Way for a little over half of those years. I write this post with a spirit of lament. I want more from the Lord. The question I have been wrestling with is “How? How do I get more from the Lord?” In the next series of articles, I am going to be write about how to receive more from the Lord. I hope it helps you as much as I hope that it helps me.

Jim Shrimplin

Cross Down

The wind was so bad in Iowa yesterday…How bad was it?  The wind was so bad in Iowa, yesterday, that it blew the cross down.  When I got to the office today I was greeted with the cross in our “front yard”  lying on the ground.  We had wind advisories which brought the possibility of damaging winds.  The winds came.  The winds blew.  The cross fell.  I am glad that is not what happens in our spiritual lives.

In our lives, every day has the potential to have “damaging winds.”  We never know when the phone will ring and bad news will be proclaimed to us.   Your spouse has left you.  The bill collector plans on garnishing your wages.  The police officer on the scene calls.  Your 23-year-old son won’t be home for spring break.  No matter the situation, we have all have times when the winds of life blow.    Life gets so difficult we wonder if we can make it.

If that is where you find yourself today, I want to encourage you.  While the cross in our “front yard” blew over, the cross of Christ will never blowdown.  All the demons of hell and the devil himself tried.  They even thought they had won 2000 years ago. The disciples scattered. The women weeping.  Christ dead!  This is the message of Lent.  That one day we all will return to dust.  We too will die.  But thank God, we know that Easter is coming.

Later today, church members will come and stand the cross back up.  They will dig the foundation a little deeper.  This cross will stand again.  The same thing can happen in your life.  People can come and help stand you back up.  Your foundation can be built on the cross of Christ instead of the shifting sand of life.  You can stand up in the strength and power of God.  You can have Easter resurrection power and you don’t have to wait until Easter.  You can have Christ in your life today!  He can transform your life and set you on the solid rock to stay.

Jim Shrimplin

Speak Through Me

Almost from the moment that I became a Christian, I have wanted God to speak through me.  I love it when God uses me to teach others about the Scriptures, but there is also an annoying side as well.  You say, “Pastor Jim how can there be an annoying side to God speaking through you to teach someone about the Bible?”

This is the annoying side, but also a wonderful side as well.  Yesterday, I was teaching Sunday School and when I teach Sunday School I don’t have a lot of notes.  I just go where the class conversation takes us.   A student asked a question and I give, what I thought was a great answer, but now I can’t even remember the question let alone the answer. Whenever I give an answer that I feel in the moment in a great answer I can tell, it is the Holy Spirit speaking through me.  I know that I could not give that “good” of an answer in my own strength.

So you have probably guessed that the annoying part is forgetting how I answered the question.  The wonderful part is that I know that God spoke through me to give a better answer to a question than I can give on my own.  I know at that moment God’s Word, God’s voice, has not returned to Him void.  His Word spoken through me and has returned to Him.  It has done what He wanted it to accomplish and that’s the wonderful part.  The reason that this is annoying is that when I get home later that day I can’t remember the teaching so that I can reflect on it and develop the thought even more.

Are you sitting there and asking, “How do I get the Holy Spirit to speak through me?”  Here at my 5 tips on allowing the Spirit to speak through you.

 Tip 1: Study.  I know not the tip you wanted to hear but there is a good reason this is the first tip.  What’s the reason?  I’m glad you asked.  People who want God to speak His Word through us need to God’s Word in us.  Don’t have it; can’t give it.  Therefore, spend time in God’s Word through reading Scripture, meditate on God’s Word, memorize passages, and listen to preaching.  I can’t tell you how many verses I have memorized because I have heard them over and over again in different preaching and teaching settings.  So Tip 1: Study.

Tip 2: Be teachable. As I write this blog it is Monday morning and kids all over America are waking up and getting ready to go to school.  Teachers are also getting ready for school and of course, the teachers will teach and the students will hopefully learn.  Now, we don’t just take people who say, “I want to be a teacher” and put them in a classroom.  No, as a society, we require them to be taught.  We ask them to be teachable enough to learn how to become a teacher.  They spend four years or more learning the basics of teaching and the good ones never stop learning.  They have a teachable spirit.

As Christians, we need a teachable spirit and a spirit that is open to the Holy Spirit teaching us.  In John 14:26, John penned these words, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”.   Notice that the Spirit will teach and we will remember.  These are our first two tips.  We study; we remember.  We are teachable; He can teach us.

Another passage dealing with the Holy Spirit as our teacher is Luke 12:12.” for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say”  I believe that this is God does for me when He speaks through me.  He gives me the words that I need to say in my Sunday school class.  He gives me the words I need when I am preaching.  He gives me the words of life to give to someone else.  I know that this passage is talking about when, as Christians, we are brought before authorities to defend our faith, but I think it can also apply in this situation as well.  After all, what I am doing when I teach the Bible?  I am “defending” the Scriptures.

Tips 3 and 4 go together.  The 3rd tip is to teach, preach, and witness every opportunity you get.  The more you do these activities the more “comfortable” you become.  The more comfortable you become, the more opportunity you will have for the Holy Spirit to speak through you.  Tip 4:  Remain humble.  When you begin to teach, preach, and witness for God and He starts speaking through you, people will come to you say, “Wonderful message. Thanks a lot! I needed that word today.”  At that moment, you need to do all you can to stay humble.  It is easy to let pride take hold and start taking credit for something you didn’t do.

What do you do to stay humble?  Acknowledge that God has spoken through you and give credit to God.  There is no better way that I know of to stay humble than giving the credit to someone else especially when you didn’t do what they are saying you did.  What do I mean by that?  You get through giving the Word of God to someone and they come to congratulate you or thank you on a job well done.  But, you know God is the one that really taught your class he only used you to do it.  Acknowledge that fact.  Say, ” I am glad you enjoyed it but truthfully that was all God. ”   So teach, preach and witness but stay humble.

The final tip, tip 5, is to be patient.  The implantation of all these tips into your life will take time; you need to be patient.  Great Bible teachers and preachers have spent a great time with God’s Word. The average English Bible has over 700,000 words in it.  You are not going to learn all there is to know about all those words in a weekend Bible study or a 4 year Bible degree.  In fact, you will never get to know all that the Bible has to say because God is infinite and so is His Word.

So if you want God to speak through you, study the Word, be teachable, teach/preach when possible, stay humble and be patient.

Jim Shrimplin

Getting Ready

  All Things Church is getting ready to launch!!!  I am looking to launch All Things Church Podcast at the beginning of 2019 and one thing that didn’t realize is all the work that goes into pre-launch.  For example, I will be conducting interviews so that means I have to come up with topics to discuss.  After I brainstorm topics, I brainstorm who could be guest speakers that I can interview.  Then I have to email them, follow up to schedule and the list goes on.  This is just the interview side of the podcast.  There is also the audio equipment side of the podcast.  I had to find or buy the right mics, mic stands, mixer, audio interface, headphone, cables to connect everything and that list goes on as well.

One thing that was kind of puzzling was how I was going to do a mix-minus so that the guest could hear me, the music but not themselves when they call in for an interview.  That’s the reason for the picture of the Apple connect.  I needed to figure out a way to get a mic input signal and an audio output signal from my phone into and out of my mixer.  Thankfully, the connector did just that when I plugged in the right splitter.  Now, I can make phone calls through my soundboard; I am ready to do some interviews.

Look for these interviews to begin on the first Monday of each month.  From time to time, I will even put out come bonus content.  Be looking for bonus content especially in the first 8 weeks.  The extra content and your rating, review, and commenting will give All Things Church a better chance of becoming featured on new and noteworthy.

Thanks and Be Blessed,

Jim Shrimplin,
All Things Church

Jim Shrimplin

First Post

All Things Church Blog

The All Things Church Blog will have all kinds of topics.  We will talk about tech in the church, the importance of theology in the local church, best practices for ministry to different ages groups, church history, current issues facing churches, and many other topics.  We will blog about different topics on a weekly basis.  We might even through in a devotional blog post from time to time.  I look forward to interacting with you so find your pew and let’s talk about church.