Mr. C's Blog

Rev. Rick Calloway

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 

During my work career, I have always wanted to know exactly what I was responsible for doing and who my boss was and their expectations. I like to know upfront who is responsible for what. Unfortunately, many times people confuse those roles. Conflict and stress are inevitable when someone tries to do things that are not their responsibility. The same thing can happen to us in our spiritual lives. We begin to get the idea that we are responsible for doing great things for the Kingdom on our own. John 15:5 makes it clear that this was never God’s plan for us.

In that verse, Jesus tells us that that He is the Vine and we are the branches. It is interesting that He uses this analogy of a plant or tree. The vine is part of the tree that provides the nutrients and ingredients necessary to produce fruit. The branches simply bear the fruit.

What Jesus is telling us here is that He alone produces the fruit in our lives. As much as we try, we cannot produce fruit like love, joy, and peace in our lives that will last apart from Him. What then are we responsible for? We are responsible for staying in close relationship to Him.

With John 15:5 in mind, our responsibility is to abide in Jesus. What exactly does that mean? The idea of the vine here is that we must be connected to Him to receive the things necessary for us to produce fruit in our lives. Not only must we maintain the connection, we are also dependent on the vine for our direction, our hope, and our path forward. Also, we must continue to abide in Him for us to stay fruitful for the Kingdom.

All of this is reminding us who is responsible for what. We are not responsible for producing fruit. We are responsible for abiding in Jesus. This means that we are to no longer pursue our agenda for our lives but instead commit the control of our lives to Him. To do this, we must daily cultivate our relationship with Him through prayer and study of His Word.

I love how Frances Chan described this idea when he said: “There are periods that we forget that in the pursuit of fruit, that if we just abide in Him, then fruitfulness is a guarantee.”  May we all find comfort in knowing that Jesus will do in our lives what only He can do if we remain in Him. Because “apart from Him we can do nothing.”

Rev. Rick Calloway

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 

Sometimes we Southerners use expressions that people outside the South do not understand. One of those phrases we use sometimes is the phrase “I am fixing to.” Translated it means that we are getting ready or prepared to do something.

In this crazy world we live in, I want to do all I can to be ready spiritually for all the issues of life that will come my way. I am convinced that if we are not ready spiritually we will miss out on the peace we all so desperately seek for our lives. I want to be focused and fixated on Him daily.

Isaiah 26:3 above gives us an incredible prescription for finding peace for our lives. In this passage, Isaiah tells us that God will keep “in perfect peace” all those who trust in Him and who are focused or fixated on Him.

As I thought about this idea of placing our trust in God, that is what we as Christians did when we received Christ as Savior and Lord. At that time, He secured our eternal destiny. This is the first step of gaining peace with God as the verse above says. We are secure in Him for eternity. Hebrews 9:12 describes this: “With His own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

We are secure in Him and that should bring us peace. The second part of gaining that peace is in being fixated or focused on Him.  I researched the definition of fixed. Webster defines it as “securely placed or fastened.” Once we are saved and in relationship with God, we are to daily place our hope and trust in Him for all the issues of life. He is our anchor that will hold our lives calm and steady regardless of whatever the storms of life may bring us.

 Hebrews 6:18-19 confirms this when it declares: “Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:18-19 

He is the only hope that can truly bring us peace. The primary thing we should be “fixing to do”, as the Southern expression says, is to allow our thoughts, our lives, and our hopes to be fixed on God!

Rev. Rick Calloway

“Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7

Growing up, I heard my mom say many times “you do not understand what is going on now, but someday you will.” That statement never made sense to me as a child. I wanted to know now why something was happening. Even today, I think we all struggle with why certain things happen to us or people we know. Life does not make sense many times, whether it be in trying to find a career path or trying to understand why a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In John 13:7, Jesus tells us that even though “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” What a great truth and reminder! In Isaiah 55:8, God reminds us “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”

These verses teach us that God is at work in our lives many times behind the scenes and in a way that is far superior to anything we could think of. I am living proof that God’s plan is a lot better than mine. When I was fresh out of college, I really believed that my career path would solely be about finding the right business career.

It was not long that I was miserable in those business jobs. I began to pray and ask God, “Why do you have me here?” Answers did not come right away, and it appeared I was trapped in something I hated. When I look back on those times, I see now that it was as if God was telling me to hang on and learn all I could where He had me and that someday soon He would reveal to me His plan.

That was exactly what He did. He used the business experience in my life to help prepare me for the role to lead Metrolina. I did not have to wait to long for the Lord to give me that “someday.” He planted me in a role that I went back to school for and used those earlier tools in business to make a difference in ministry. I did not know then, but all these years later I gained an understanding of what God was up to.

What about you? Maybe you are in a place today that you don’t why something is happening in your life. I would remind you that God has His best planned for you if you will trust Him. Especially if you will trust Him to deliver you in His own unique way. I want to leave you with some verses that I pray will give you hope that someday you will understand.

“The Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you.” Deuteronomy 23:14

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” Psalm 34:19 

“Then call on me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15

Rev. Rick Calloway

“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11

Everyone remembers the key phrase from the Declaration of independence which says:“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We are blessed to be Americans and live in this great country. I especially love the statement the “pursuit of happiness.” We are free to pursue happiness. In fact, I believe most if not all people long for happiness and to enjoy life.

1 Peter 3:10-11 gives us incredible insight into what enjoying life may look like. That passage tells us if we want to enjoy life and many happy days then we must do a few things. First, we must learn to control our tongue. How do we do that?

“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11

Everyone remembers the key phrase from the Declaration of Independence which says:“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We are blessed to be Americans and live in this great country. I especially love the statement the “pursuit of happiness.” We are free to pursue happiness. In fact, I believe most if not all people long for happiness and to enjoy life.

1 Peter 3:10-11 gives us incredible insight into what enjoying life may look like. That passage tells us if we want to enjoy life and many happy days then we must do a few things. First, we must learn to control our tongue. How do we do that?

I believe that we must stay close to God through the reading of His Word and spending time with Him in prayer. I am convinced that if we make Him the focus of our lives we will be different. His Word will change our focus, or speech, and our conduct. How do I know His Word will change our speech? Look at Hebrews 4:12 and Isaiah 55:11 below.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” 

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” 

Spending time in His Word will keep us from speaking evil and will instead enable us to uplift others with our speech.  1 Peter 3:10-11 also reminds us that we should seek peace with others and “work to maintain it.” Romans 12:18 also instructs us to: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” 

From this passage, we are taught that to enjoy lie and see many happy days then we are to control our tongue and seek peace with others. As I think about this truth, I see the wisdom in what God could truly do for my life by submitting to this. Most of the problems I encounter are when I do not control my tongue and seek to live in peace. More importantly, this reminds me that finding real joy and happiness begins with me committing my life to God and following His Word. God will honor that kind of lifestyle. 1 Peter 3:12 confirms this when it declares: “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.”

Rev. Rick Calloway

“Discipline your children and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.” Proverbs 29:17

Discipline is not an activity that we enjoy as parents. What makes it even more difficult is knowing how to discipline. This is an area I struggled with early on as a parent. During those days, my wife and I sought the Lord for how to effectively discipline our kids and make sure that the punishment fit the crime.

Through time with the Lord, He gave my wife and I the wisdom to put discipline into two categories as a tool for when and how to discipline our children. The first category is what I would call “deliberate disobedience.” That is when our children deliberately do something they know to be wrong. This type of disobedience I believe requires a more severe approach in our disciplinary approach.

The question of what we should do with deliberate disobedience is the subject of much debate today. Many today believe that spanking is harmful and will damage a child’s self-esteem. What does the Bible say about this issue? Let me give you two verses.

  1. Proverbs 23:13: “Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them.”
  2. Proverbs 22:15: “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away."

These verses tell us that it is necessary and helpful to discipline and at least consider spanking our children. I will say as disclaimers that spanking is a punishment designed for younger ages and that we should never spank when we are mad. Regardless, deliberate disobedience requires a more serious consequence.

The second category we have used is that of “careless or irresponsible disobedience”. These are times when they are disobedient through careless or irresponsible acts. In these situations, I wanted to apply a punishment that fit the crime.

For instance, my wife and I would regularly assign chores for our girls to do around the house. On one such occasion, one of our daughters was not happy with the chores that her mother gave her and as a result did not perform them well. When confronted with her effort, she began to complain and make excuses. We felt that the correct punishment would not only be to correct her sloppy work but also to add additional chores to her list.

Another example would be when our children began to drive to school. We told them that a consequence of being late to school would be a loss of driving privileges. The idea here is that we want to correct and hold our children accountable for irresponsibility. This type of disobedience requires consistency in teaching them to be responsible and careful in all they do.

You might be sitting there thinking that we were too tough on our children. One of the goals we have for our children is to learn to be responsible while they are young so that one day they may not have to suffer the consequences of irresponsibility by getting fired on the job.

My prayer is that my children will be responsible and trustworthy young women who bring honor and glory to God with the way they live. These traits do not happen by osmosis. They require much prayer, much teaching, and corrective discipline.

Rev. Rick Calloway
MCA Head of School

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