Eliminating the Driver’s License Mentality

driver license sample picRead 2 Corinthians 5:16a

Not too long ago, I had to go to renew my driver’s license. I don’t really take too much to it, nor do I really look at it unless it is needed on the rare occasion. However, during this experience, I took a few moments to examine the information on this license. A driver’s license gives a good deal of identifying information about you. It tells about your name, where you live, your weight, height, hair color, gender, and even if you have any “endorsements.”

All of the superficial information for someone who know I am who I say I am is there. At the office, I was required to take an updated picture, which would be on my new license—this would further validate who I am.

However, these are only superficial identification markers. Yet, this is often the mindset of many. We look at the characteristics that are associated with a driver’s license to make assessments and judgments about people. Unfortunately, so many look at where you live, your looks, or other exterior marks to assess others.

Paul, however reminds us in 2 Corinthians, that if we are believers who have submitted to the Lordship of Christ, that living in Christ results in not having superficial perceptions of others. In essence, when we engage in conversation, relationships, or encounters with others, we cannot have a driver’s license mentality.

When the love of Christ controls us (2 Corinthians 5:14), the emphasis is not about the outer things, but the matters of the heart. The world looks only at the shallow, but the Lord examines the heart.

This is pivotal, as believers in our role and responsibility to be the Lord’s witnesses, to go into all of the world to make disciples. It is a reminder that no superficial barrier should keep us from sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover, it reminds us that our area of focus is not on the superficial, but the spiritual. Jesus died for all, and we should have the mindset to share with all.

How to Get the Most out of Revival


Below is a little guide I prepared for our upcoming revival at The New Home Missionary Baptist Church:

This small guide is prepared with the hopes of helping us reap the most spiritual harvest we can from our revival this year. This time of year should not merely be a place on our annual schedule or our calendar, but a true time for spiritual renewal and revival for us individually, corporately as a congregation, and prayerfully a catalyst for spiritual renewal as a community.

I pray that these tips will be reminders for us, helpful to get ourselves ready to be partakers of the Word of God this week.

In HIS Service,

Rev. Christopher M. Todd—Pastor


Be Ready for the Adversary

  • Prepare through Prayer—We ought to always pray (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). There should be no expectation when it comes to revival; however, there are some specific things that we should solicit the Lord on for this week:
    • Pray for our guest Evangelist—Pray for His travel back and forth during the week; pray that his sermons would be saturated with prayer and communicated by the power of the Holy Spirit; pray that they would be given with clarity and received with an open heart.
    • Pray for our Corporate Worship—Pray for all of the choirs and groups who will be sharing throughout the week, that they would lead us in corporate worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) and that what we sing would be pleasing to the glory of God. Also pray that the atmosphere would be conducive to God-pleasing worship.
    • Pray for our guests—Lift up all of our guests who will be with us through the week, that they would receive the word of the Lord, be safe during their travel, and that they will experience the friendly and kind hospitality that is the nature of our New Home Family
    • Pray for the unsaved—The connotation of revival is often two-fold. First, that those who are believers are spiritually revived, renewed to go, share the Gospel and fulfill the great commission to the world. Second, that the unsaved will come and know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Pray for those whom we engage with during this week that have not committed their lives to the Lord, that this would be a time when they are led by the Holy Spirit to do so. Pray that the truth of the Gospel is clearly understood and received.
    • Pray with a spirit of expectation—When you come to corporate worship, do you come with a sense that God is going to do something great in each worship experience? You should! Pray that your eyes will be opened, your mind alert, and your heart ready to receive the unadulterated Word of God. Pray that you will enter in His sanctuary with joy in your heart, with a song on your lips, and with preparation to corporately engage in the worship experience. Pray with an expectation that God will do something unique each and every night of revival, He will!
  • Prepare through Study of the Word—Prayer and the Word go hand-in-hand. God often tills the soil of our heart through devotional study and meditation on the Word of God. During each day of revival, look on our church Facebook page for morning meditation scriptures.
  • Be Spiritually Sensitive to the warfare of the Adversary—We must be aware of the fact that our Adversary, does not want us to draw closer to God. Oftentimes, his method of warfare in these seasons is through various distractions. Something will not go as planned; things will happen that never happen any other time. These are all situations and circumstances that have been placed in our life to get us off course—to distract us from seeking God with greater urgency through this week. Don’t let the devil win! Remember the scriptures: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…” (James 4:7-8a). “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your peace, your joy, and your love; continue to persevere, be patient, and kind, always showing the love of Christ. Don’t repay evil for evil, but do what is good (Romans 12:17-19).

Get Adequate Rest

If we are honest, although we find ourselves spiritually revived, we will worship together six days straight! Make sure that you are getting enough physical rest to go along with our spiritual renewal. Shut down your electronic devices early and go to bed! Make sure to eat appropriately through the week; start off with a healthy breakfast and don’t overload on unhealthy foods in the afternoons and evenings.

This is also a time where some of those big projects, home improvement items, and other out-of-the-routine things shouldn’t be scheduled. This is a season to give ourselves wholly to spiritual revival; in order to do that appropriately, we can’t overload our schedules with a lot of other agenda items

 Prepare for our Financial Responsibility

We have asked ourselves as a family to also give a sacrificial financial gift during homecoming and revival. We have recommended giving $100 per family; however, I want to ask each of us to earnestly pray and search our hearts as to the amount to give. You may have the means to give well above and beyond $100, or you may not be able to meet this responsibility. That’s OK too! Don’t let what you don’t have keep you from giving what you do have! All we ask is that you earnestly seek the Lord in this area of life and ensure you are giving a sacrificial gift. Follow the example of the churches at Macedonia, recorded in 2 Corinthians 8:3—“For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord…”


Pray Consistently

We cannot regulate prayer to the preparatory phase, but we must be in prayer throughout the week as well. Say a quick prayer when you enter the sanctuary each night, just to clear your mind and prepare yourself for the worship experience. Make sure to pray for the items listed above through the week as well. There is power in prayer!

Be Present

  • Physically—We want you to be present. Make sure that you actually come to worship! This is not something that you should get second or third hand. Make every effort possible to be with us for the entirety of the week. Remember, we start at 6:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday and our fellowship hour (with food!) on Friday is at 6 p.m. Don’t just plan to be on time but get there early! That way, you can park, get into the building, find a good seat, and be prepared for worship without rushing and running.
  • Mentally—It does no good to be in the room but your mind is somewhere else! Make sure that you are mentally present as well. Engage in the worship service both during the singing and during the sermon (A good “Amen” or the like would help). Take notes in your program each night, writing down the selected Scriptural text, the sermon subject, the main points of the sermon, and a take away point to apply to your life. Remember, you’ll only get out of the service what you put into the service.

Present your Financial Gifts

You’ve prayed and hopefully you have prepared. Now is the time to present your sacrificial gifts. Make sure that you make your extra gift in a New Home envelope; fill out all of the appropriate information and mark this offering in the “other” section so that they are recorded properly. You can give your gift during homecoming or any revival night. Just make sure you are obedient to what the Lord has placed on your heart to give and remember this is a sacrificial gift above your regular tithes and offerings.


Post-Revival Examination

Prayerfully, we have prepared, we’ve participated, and we have had a great week in the Lord. What comes next?

Apply the Revealed Word

You’ve heard the Word; you’ve received the Word with gladness; now it is time to apply the Word! Remember those points you wrote down each night? Think about how you can apply God’s Word to your daily life. Remember, we are not merely hearers of the Word, but doers (James 1:22-25).

Be Ready for the Enemies’ Attacks

Just as you prepared in the beginning, you must also be prepared at the end. It is the goal of the adversary to keep us from applying God’s Word to our lives. You will be tested! However, just as God is for us before, God is for us afterwards as well. Live a life aware of the ways of the adversary and sensitive to the work of the Spirit in your life in order to combat the threats, tactics, and thwarts of the enemy. You can do it! God is for you! He is with you!

 Don’t let revival just be a week on the calendar, but let it be a catalyst to push you to greater depths in the knowledge and application of God’s Word. Together, we will have a great week as we seek “Sovereign Impartation for Spiritual Transformation.”

Tuesday Tune-UP 3/25/2014


Read Numbers 13

Will you trust what you see or what God said? That’s the predicament the Israelites find themselves in Numbers 13. Here, the nation finds themselves potentially at the conclusion of their walking in the wilderness; they are on the edge of the Promised Land, the land promised to them by the Lord Himself to their descendant Abraham.

However, instead of going forward and trusting God, they instead, according to Deuteronomy 1:19 and following ask permission to go and explore the land first. Instead of moving forward, and without going backwards, the children of Israel are in spiritual neutral—not trusting God and moving forward, but just looking into the promise that the Lord had already given to them.

Moses sends 12 men, leaders from each tribe, with the task of exploring the land and examining its inhabitants. They come back with a report of the land and it is just as good as God told them. A cluster of grapes is so large that 2 men had to carry it on a pole! But instead of this exploratory mission fortifying their faith in God, it instead brought about fear and eventual failure to trust and obey God. Instead of trusting in what God said, they were in fear of what they saw; there were giants in the Land (V28-29).

In spite of the signs of promise—the clusters of grapes, and using that and trusting that God would take care of them, the spies instead possessed a negative scared position. The spies were caught up in what they saw instead of what God promised.

Is that your position today? Are you so overwhelmed by what you see in the natural that you have forgotten that the Lord works in the supernatural? What the spies saw as obstacles in the natural, with God’s supernatural ability are only opportunities. What they saw in the natural as problems, with God in the supernatural are only possibilities. What they saw in the natural as major, with God in the supernatural are only miniscule. Where they saw giants, with the supernatural ability of God, they are only gnats.

Don’t get caught up in what you see that you forget what God said. You cannot have a scared position because we serve a strong God. Even if the majority opinion is in the negative, take the minority position in God. Like Caleb, believe the Lord; “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Remember, if you’re on God’s side, you’ll always have enough to get to your Promised Land.

Tuesday Tune-UP 3/4/2014

Read Ephesians 5:21

On this last Sunday at New Home, we finished our sermon series on relationships. The series was entitled “Sex, Shacking, Singleness, & Submission.” I must admit that this has been a challenging series for me as a pastor. While I now see many of my colleagues look at these topics in congregations across the country, I must admit that I have never been a part of congregation where these subjects were discussed in sermon form. In fact, these issues weren’t really examined in any great significance.

While there are pastors who are taking these subjects head on, I have a feeling that there are a lot who don’t. However, when you look at both the full counsel of God’s Word and the lives of the congregants we serve, we are doing both the Lord and His people a disservice by not illuminating these parts of the Scriptures.

This is especially true of the topic of submission. There is always some thwarted thought that is ill-informed and often laced with ignorance when the topic of submission is brought up. Moreover, our culture runs as fast as possible from the thought. However, Ephesians 5 and 6 make it clear that submission is important in God-honoring relationships with other people; it is how God organizes the believers.

What I’ve been reminded of as I looked at Ephesians 5 is that before we can look at submission in practical relationships (husbands and wives, parents and children, bosses and employees) it is important for us to first be submissive to the Lord, and then mutually supportive of each other. This idea of getting what’s yours, climbing your way to the top, or moving into your new whatever, without the support, encouragement, and aid of others is honestly unbiblical. The truth is, we are called, out of our honor, fear, and reverence for Christ, to mutually support one another—to hold up each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:1ff). All of us as believers are on the same team, with the same goal—“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2).

Could it be that your life is void of joy and peace because you aren’t investing in submissive relationships? With the Holy Spirit as your help, let today be the day that you stop merely trying to “get yours” and seek to follow God’s relationship building technique and invest, encourage, support, and yes, submit to someone else.

Tuesday Tune-UP 2/14/2014

Tuesday Tune-up is a weekly devotional based off of my sermons.

Sex and Church

Genesis 2:22-25; 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

This weekend, I began a new sermon series—“Sex, Shacking, Singleness, & Submission.” This week, I dealt with the a few things that God says about sex.

During the preaching moment, when I announced the sermon series title (I exchanged “sex” for “something” and told them to figure it out) there was a literal gasp from the congregation. I could see faces turn. I could have been imagining it because of my nervousness about preaching this message, but it felt like the temperature rose in the room; it seemed like I could see beads of sweat forming on a few people’s brows!

It’s a little amusing now, but at the time, it was challenging. I know I have never heard a sermon on sex in any of the churches I have attended in my life, especially in the more traditional congregations that I have been a part of and the one that I serve in. However, as the Lord led, He says a lot about the topic! Even more so, as we combat the influence of the world to conform, the only way to be transformed in this area of our lives is to see what God says about it.

There are generations of people who said “we don’t talk about things like that, ESPECIALLY in church!” But instead of discussing it honestly and seeking God’s best in this area, we misuse it, allow the world to falsely portray it, all while the church attempts to live in ignorance and certainly silence about it.

Hear this: God designed sex! It has a God-given, God-honoring purpose, within God’s designed parameters. Our issue is not with WHAT the Lord created, but with WHERE we use what the Lord has given us. Outside of marriage, God’s provision, we blemish this valuable gift with the stain of sin.

Do you trust that the Lord knows best, that He is for you? If so, we must allow Him to be the sovereign ruler over our lives, even our sex lives. That’s the only way we can experience the indescribable joy that God has given through such a powerful vehicle without shame; only in God’s design can we experience the full pleasure that only He provides.

For the believer, while you may have never talked about it in church, God says a lot about sex. When you look at His Word, it’s not a matter of Spiritual clarity—God’s Word is clear, nor is it a not a matter of self-control—you have the Holy Spirit; when you look at His Word, the question remains—will you trust God?

I’m trusting Him through this series in spite of the audible gasp and cringing, but more importantly, I pray that you will trust the Lord with your sex life.

Tuesday Tune-UP 1/28/2014

Snow Day

Read Ezekiel 37:1-10

Today is what many considered a historic day in Alabama, at least as far is the weather is concerned. Much of Alabama has been covered with snow, sleet, and freezing rain, even all the way South to the Gulf of Mexico.

Being from a more northern climate, I am thoroughly enjoying this weather (it’s good on occasion). It reminds me a little bit of being back home, where snow days were much more regular than they are here in the south.

However, what has surprised me are the amount of people who seemed to be unaware of what could have potentially happened, especially considering much of our area has been under a winter storm advisory for at least 48 hours prior to anything falling from the ground. Now granted, the forecast may have been off as far as time and specific location, but overall, this was to be expected. I believe that it wasn’t a failure to forewarn or forecast, it was the simple fact that people don’t expect the unexpected.

Is it like that in our churches as well? Have we become so accustomed to whatever it is we do in our churches, content with mediocrity, no or little spiritual growth, or whatever we consider “normal” that we have come to not believe the possibility of the unexpected? This kind of thinking certainly demeans God’s ability and the potential that He has to use nobodies like you and I to do extraordinary things for His glory.

Someone once said, “Trust God for the unexpected, and let him surprise you by doing the unexplainable.” He’s able, do you think He’ll do it? Can God actually transform your marriage? Is the Lord able to bring about a change in our community? Can He save that wayward child?

Just like the snow, it’s possible even if unexpected; today, I challenge you to trust God with the unexpected.

Tuesday Tune-UP 1/14/2014


Tuesday Tune-up is a weekly devotional based off of my sermons.

Read Ezekiel 37:1-3

I have the humble privilege to shepherd a congregation that is in many regards a “typical” church in America. The New Home Missionary Baptist Church is situated in a rural community and is considered to be (at least by those who look at those things) around the average size church in America.

However, beyond our “normal” scope in size, there are a number of cultural and socio-economic factors that would make a place like New Home a negative to many. I probably haven’t heard them all, but I’ve heard quite a few both before and since I’ve been here. New Home is situated in a county with one of the fastest declining populations in the state of Alabama. Moreover, our area has a lower income base than many of our neighbors. This is also evident in our school system; because of our small population and little economic tax base, we have a grossly underfunded school system.

Let me give you a better idea; this county has no Wal-Mart, not even a fast food restaurant; the only businesses here are a few dollar generals, a small grocery store, a handful of gas stations and convenience stores, and some mom and pop restaurants. The largest employer is the county school system.

When you look at the social and economic well-being, the picture can look grim (I’ve been there); however, I was reminded of the children of Israel when they were in captivity. Their picture looked pretty grim as well. However, in spite of their condition, when the Lord sent Ezekiel by way of a vision to the valley of dry bones, he asked what many would consider a strange question; “Son of man, can these bones live?” I have asked myself that question as I look at the surroundings and situations of many of our church family. I have also come to the conclusion that my answer should be the same as Ezekiel’s—“O Lord God, only you know.”

What seemingly impossible situation are you facing? Do the circumstances look grim? Just as our church has seen a new breath of life in her, even in the midst of such great challenges, you must know that there is still any potential or possibility; God can do the impossible, not because of your situation and circumstance, but in spite of it.

I posed that position to our church family and I also want to pose it to you; to believe that the Lord can do anything? I mean anything! His word confirms over and over again that He is able to do the impossible. I challenge you this week to take the limits off of God. He can breathe life into any dead situation, but we must trust and believe that He can do it. “O Lord God, only you know.”

Tuesday Tune-UP 1/7/2014

Tuesday Tune-up is a weekly devotional based off of my sermons.

Read Genesis 50:15-21

Joseph’s life has shown us a great deal about how to faithfully walk with integrity and persistence, in spite of the adversity or challenges that are presented in life. This walk continues for him through the end of his life, particularly in this encounter with his brothers after their father Jacob dies.

The brother’s uneasy consciences were the foundation for their fear of Joseph. What would Joseph do to them now that their father has died? However, built on the solid foundation of Joseph’s proper perspective, he reminds them that they shouldn’t fear, but instead should recognize God’s providential and sovereign work through even their evil hands.
Joseph presents for us true forgiveness; while he doesn’t minimize what he has experienced, Joseph finds forgiveness toward his brothers because his focus is on the Lord. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…“(Gen. 50:20). While the brothers were the hand of Joseph’s life of burden, God is the one who turned the burden into a blessing. And instead of Joseph focusing on what his brothers did wrong, Joseph looked at what God did right; God worked it for good.

In the midst of the myriad of experiences you have as a part of your life by the hands of others, while they may have had evil and detrimental intentions, know that the Lord can use those bad incidents and work them through you to grow you and be a blessing to others. The hurt that you have dealt with in your past can be a divine catalyst for the Lord to use you to help someone else.

We must, however, keep this perspective at the forefront of our minds and activities. That is when we allow the Holy Spirit to use us fully to be a blessing to those who have wronged us, to pray for those who have hurt us, to show love for those who have only offered us hate. They meant to hurt you, but God can heal your hurt and use it to help others. Let that be your perspective moving forward.

Tuesday Tune-UP 12/17/2013

Tuesday Tune-up is a weekly devotional based off of my sermons.

Read Genesis 38

When you read the story of Judah and Tamar, at first glance you might be shocked about the details of the account; it sounds more like a television drama script than a story from the Bible! Yet it is God’s divinely inspired account of the lineage of Abraham.

However, in spite of the selfishness, seduction, and sin of this account, Matthew chapter one tells us that it is out of this situation that the lineage is continued leading to Jesus Christ our Lord. I’ll repeat myself. Jesus Christ is a descendent of Tamar and her seductive account with Judah. Matthew 1:1,3a—“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar (ESV)… That’s right! Jesus is a direct descendant of Judah and Tamar!

Here’s my point, out of a presumably dysfunctional family, we find the Savior of the world! What a tremendous act of redemption and a source of great hope. You don’t have to come from a picture perfect family to be divinely used by the Father. Know this: God can use anybody out of any situation for His divine purpose and plan. He can even use you!

Tuesday Tune-UP 12/10/2013

First let me give a special shout-out to my wife, Shay as she celebrates her birthday today! I love you dearly and thank God for blessing me with you.

Tuesday Tune-up is a weekly devotional based off of my sermons.

Read Genesis 45:1-15

Joseph went through a lot! Sold off by his brothers, sent into slavery in the house of Potiphar, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and sent to prison, and then forgotten about by the cupbearer after he helped him by interpreting his dream. However, in spite twenty years of turmoil, Joseph, by the hand of God makes it out of prison and finds himself serving Pharaoh as second in command. What a story!

However, the story doesn’t end with his new position. Genesis 42-50 talk about the re-emergence of Joseph’s family into his life, a family reunion that Joseph, nor Jacob’s other sons didn’t propose, but the Lord plans. Here in Genesis 45, Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers and in doing so, he also reveals God’s deeper-intended purpose for where he finds himself in life and why he went through what he went through.
Joseph didn’t retaliate, he does not seek revenge, he doesn’t even look for retribution; Joseph understood the purpose of his position and helps us to understand why we are in the places we are in even today.

Joseph went through what he went through to pardon with love. Joseph doesn’t hold a grudge, but instead of focusing he and his brother’s attention on their sins, he directs them to God’s grace; he truly forgave his brothers. If you live this life, you are going to experience pain. However, a divine outcome of the pain we experience is to show the love of Christ through forgiveness. You didn’t make it through what you went through to be bitter, but to be better and brighter—to shine the light of the Lord even in the darkest of situations. Often the vehicle of this light is through forgiveness.

A second purpose of Joseph’s position was to preserve life. God worked through the brother’s evil actions and hateful attitudes to send Joseph ahead of them in order to preserve their lives through the famine. It was through Joseph that a plan was put in place, not just to keep Egypt, but more importantly to preserve God’s promise to Israel. While others wished you dead, thought life would be better for them without you, instead see the life that you have, preserve and promote—namely new life in Jesus Christ in you.

A third purpose of Joseph’s position was to promote the Lord. You are never out of place or position to, in some way or another, to speak and share about the goodness, greatness, and graciousness of God. Bruce K. Waltke shares, “God directs the maze of human guilt to achieve his good and set purposes. Such faith establishes the redemptive work of God.”

The brothers were guilty; yet in spite of their sins, Joseph did not dwell on their wickedness but on what God had done for all of them. God overruled the brothers’ hateful attitudes and worked it out for their good. If you understand that in your own life, not only will you have greater clarity of the purpose of your position, but you will use that clarity to serve others and glorify the Lord.