Thoughts and Musings for Hope Connection Community


Purposeful Disciple #3

A strong follower or disciple is full of purpose. Make no mistake. When we follow right leadership, our individual purpose and design becomes clear.  At first, as we apply ourselves, we must sort through desires of our selfish nature and find the desires of the Lord for us.  This takes time and commitment to follow through when we are confused, hurt, pained, and problematic. Blame this on leaders and you fail in faith and fall in the path. Accept personal responsibility and community accountability and find growth and positive maturity.

Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?
Proverbs 20:6 NIV

Have you been angry with a lease because they did not do life your way?  Are you mature enough to go back and ask forgiveness?

Mistaking Purpose for Judgement

Strong purpose may be intimidating. Out desire bumps the purpose of another. They continue the journey seemingly with no compassion for our thoughts and feelings.  Just because you think it does not make it true. Just because you feel it does not make it right.
As leaders, assume they have compassion. Compassion wants the best for another. The leader sees a path to positive growth and wants you to follow. The intensity with which they pursue God should challenge you to a higher life. You will find pain as you cast off personal desire and take on the image of Christ, ready to give up all position, accolades, and post to grow and achieve the focus of the Father.
You might ‘feel’ judged and ‘be’ experiencing sharpening of focus and purpose. Love believes the good of all things not the bad. Believe the good and you will grow.  Believe the bad and you fail both in the love of Christ and in His design for your life.

Where have you missed an opportunity to build a follower in kindness?  Look for the next opportunity.  Do no dwell on your mistakes. Learn and live.

Toxic Leaders

Toxic leaders exist. They are the exception, not the rule.  When you fail under many leaders, it is probably you that needs fixed. God believes in you. He sends you to learn, again and again. Settle and learn. Quit moving.

Real toxic leaders are dangerous and few. An abusive style that uses people to attain personal agenda is toxic. An ego trip leader will see success by world standards, but not life change in followers. A leader may carry a wound that wounds others. That leader is not necessarily toxic, just human. There are No Perfect People. Leaders need grace, too. Discern the difference. Drop your judgementalism of leaders if you want to grow.

Have you been wounded by a toxic leader? How have you allowed God to heal your soul so you can serve under a normal leader without being overly sensitive?

Welcome Leader, I Receive You

Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.  And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Matthew 10:41‭-‬42 NIV

A disciple of Christ is a good follower and gives respect while developing a sense of purpose and design.  It is a God process.  Engage with leaders. Learn and serve. Do not let yourself be abused, but remember much is not abuse but a sifting of the chaff from your life and a sharpening of the saw of your purpose and design.

Who is leading who needs your thanks?  How can you express gratitude in a tangible way this week?

Be a Good Disciple. Be blessed.
I love you because the Great Love loves me.

When you complete this study reply in below


Bold To Victory – Disciple #2

Who am I in Christ?  That is a big question.  The weak and watered down gospel of rescue is far from what Jesus taught.  He taught victory over sin and situation.  He taught kingdom living.  He taught rescue from the power of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  He taught son-ship with the Heavenly Father.  He taught unity and peace.  He taught service to all.  He taught discipleship, following, and radical change of heart and direction.  Dare to be a Disciple.

Let’s examine three more aspects of the a Christian Disciple.  You want to know who you are now that you are following Christ in conjunction with His leaders.  Jesus worked through the principle of leadership. He selected 12 to be leaders to initiate the work of the kingdom in the church, the body of Christ.  He appointed 70 to be instigators of miracles and change.  He baptized 120 with His Holy Spirit to set off the historic birth of the church on the day of Pentecost.  Jesus lives through leaders and followers.

In Him I am a conqueror, I am confident and I am connected.  These three aspects will be our focus for the next few minutes.

I am a conqueror in Him.

Confess that.  Pray that.  Declare it over your heart and mind and body.  This life will strip you and attempt to get you to live in defeat.   Resist through your position in Christ and the power of the gospel, the good news of conquest.  A middle-aged truck driver pulled me aside for a talk.  “Pastor Phil, I want to tell you something.  When God began to send Black folk into the congregation, I became angry.  My whole life, I have hated Blacks.  But I decided I could be bigger.  So every time I come to service, I make it a point to sit by someone who is Black and get to know them.  At first, I would get angry and hot.  Now, after a few months, I have no problems.  I am joyful to sit with anyone in the congregation no matter how much they are different than me.” This man found himself in Christ.  He discovered that he was a conqueror, who is not bound to old ways and old ideas and old habits.  He expressed his conquering position through love and acceptance and repentance from dead ideas.   Romans 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

What area of life resists being conquered?  Have you taken the time to search out the Bible for a promise that empowers?  Have you let leadership guide you in your search?

I am confident in Him.

Confess that.  Pray that.  Cover your thoughts with it.  I am confident in HIm.  Loss breeds discontent. Discontent destroys confidence.  Confidence is a given in Christ.  It is a privilege and gift.  We don’t have to go and get it, but we do have the honor to live and use it.  A young director I know struggled with confidence.  At his annual appraisal with his senior executive, he admitted this had been his worst year yet.  It seemed that at the end of the year, no significant progress had been made on goals.  It was frustrating to him.  The executive looked directly into his eyes and told him that he would find that during his hardest years he would discover that he had grown the most.  His confidence boomed at that point.  He got it.  Results don’t build confidence.  It is an inside job.  In Christ, the inside job of building confidence goes on daily as the hidden man of the heart is developed over and over.  Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

What have you lost that makes you feel less than confident?  What has God given you to make up for that loss?

I am connected in Him.

Confess that.  Pray that. Resist the way of the world.  One of the biggest struggles of our century is an ailment title ‘attachment disorder’.   Many write of this ailment only in relationship to how it affects children.  Children grow up into men and women.

Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments to primary care giving figures in early childhood.” Wikipedia

Our nation is full of adults, who grew up fatherless and detached.  It is an harbinger of domestic violence and constant change in relationships.  The average person only stays in a congregation from 18 to 36 months and then moves on.  Over and over we detach and struggle.  In Christ this is not necessary.  We have a healing attachment through Jesus to the Father from whom every family gets its name and call.  We are connected in Christ.

This connection needs to be chosen.  Like all of the positions and powers we are given in Christ, we must choose to live in them.  We are to put on Christ. We are to conform to His image of us and not the image of the world.  Get connected.  Stay connected.  Through problem and pain, there is no reason to escape connections.  That is the way of the world, not the position of a believer.  Get connected and stay connected.  It is your heritage.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Are you connected in a local congregation where you give love and service as much as you receive it?  Make the commitment.  Join.


We are conquerors, we have confidence, and we have been connected in Christ.  These are our inheritance in Him.  In Jesus, we live and move and have our being.  Know who you are, what you have been given, and how to live your new life.  I love you and appreciate you.  Are you in Christ?  Then I love you and appreciate you.
Connect.  Tell me what you have learned that strengthens you today or share a prayer need



Accepted in the family. Servant to Christ Disciple #1

What is a disciple?  How do I become one?

A mentor asked me, “Do you teach those you disciple who they are in Christ?”

Our discussion covered how hard it seems for many to find rest in Christ and His goodness and live as disciples serving Him and others.  For a moment, I scratched my head and thought about my example and my teaching.  Am I being clear?  Am I being declarative?  Am I being challenging?

A disciple is a follower:

Humor me.  Do you call me pastor?  That would make you a disciple.  A disciple is a follower.  In a kids ministry, one of the workers came to me and said, “Pastor Phil, I prayed over the phone with one of the students this week.  You do that with me.  You just pray while we are on the phone.  You don’t wait to another time.  You just do it.  So I am doing that also.”  She is a disciple.  She is a follower.  Followers receive blessing.  John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 

Have you faithfully gone out into your world to bring others to meet the rest of the congregation family?

Do you deeply love and serve other members of the congregation?

A disciple is a servant:

Donese brought her family to the church campus.  I quit counting at 110 and know there were 20 more.  The blessing of watching people play volleyball, cook catfish, enjoy fellowship, and fill the parking lot is good.  Watching her run about setting tables, serving food, and checking to make sure all had a good time is good.  She served.  She served her family. She served the church, the congregation.  She served me as pastor. A disciple is a servant.  It was joy to share scripture, a lesson, and prayer with the family. Servants receive blessing. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

How can you serve the church family and your pastor this week?

How can you serve your home family and friends this week?

A disciple has authority:

While speaking at the mission, people were being healed of physical and emotional diseases.  The speaker was one that attended a Bible school, where I taught.  She took what she saw and learned and gave it out to others.  Her authority came from her submission.  In Christ, she had all authority.  As a submitted disciple, she was placed in a position to reach others and she ministered out of what she learned and saw.  Jesus uses lines of authority to enable and release us. While we all report directly to the King of Kings, He releases authority through submission not pride or arrogance or independence.  Disciples have authority. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Is there a need where authority would break you free?

Are you submitted and listening to leadership so that authority flows through you freely?

There is more:

This is just a small lesson, but powerful.  Begin to live it and you will find more peace with God.  I’ll be obedient to teach you who you are in Christ in my example and with clarity.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.


Confess Your Discipleship Position in Christ

I am a follower. I choose to follow the leadership chosen for me and to follow Christ in all I say, do, and think. John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 

I am a servant. I look for opportunities to serve my family, friends, my church family, and my leaders. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

I have authority. I am under authority and live with authority in Christ. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.








Fit For Service

Morning Moment 4 Lent
You are Loved – Made Fit
The powerful truth of the Cross on this Good Friday is forgiveness. All the mistaken living and imperfect obedience of our life is forgiven when we accept. Yes, we must accept and commit our lives to Christ to enter into that forgiveness.
Some believe that because of the Cross all will enter into heaven.. What a horrible surprise, when they die, meet Christ and He says, “I never knew you. You did not enter into the family.”
Don’t be surprised. Don’t let your friends and family be surprised by an eternity of punishment and separation. Share this note today on a great Good Friday.
I’d love to hear today that you entered into the family in solid faith.
When a person genuinely confesses and repents that we are not able to live up to the perfect love of God, I make mistakes, I deserve the punishment.
When a person hands over their life to Christ and asks Him to come in and live in me and guide me and be my Lord.

In sold out faith I step into the family of God and accept that now through Christ’s death I am offered forgiveness, through His resurrection, I am offered life eternal and that I am now in His family and He is my Lord and Master and God is my Father forever.

This is a transaction of giving up my broken life and taking on His perfect life. I am no longer in charge. He is in charge of my life. He makes me fit for living and brings joy unspeakable.

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.


the team

Teams take time.   This group has grown in every aspect.

Get introduced at our People You Should Meet Page

People You Should Meet


MOSAICS Immigrant – Migrant – Transitory

Lent is a season of introspection, confession, and repentance. It is a good time to review our intentions and motivations as individuals and as a nation.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
As we begin the introspection let’s be honest. Much of what we hear in the media and from pulpits is focused on the law not on Christ.   That is a falling away from grace.  Let’s be sensitive.  Persecution of the children brought illegally into the states and persecution of families is something not on God’s agenda.  He is greatly opposed to such action.
Exodus 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
God took strangers, illegal immigrants and made them into the nation of Israel. Seems like He has a soft spot.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  
God places strangers, travelers, in our society as messengers.  We need to distinguish between those He sends and arranges and those that just happen and those sent of an enemy.
So given these three premises, let’s take a look at our world.
Migrants:  Migrants are people who come and go into and out of a culture or area.  We have a migratory population in the church.  People come and go.  They “come to Jesus” and then return to their normal chaos and personal control. We have a migratory population in our nation.  People come and go.  They are here for a season to do a job or visit, but have no intention of staying for a lifetime.  In the church and in our nation, we need a place for these people to exist, thrive, and have free return to their world.  They can contribute fellowship and friendship for a season.
Immigrants:  Immigrants are those that come to merge into a culture or area. We have an immigrant population in the church.  People come and stay.  They come and commit to the Lordship of Christ and grow into disciples in support, attendance, prayer, worship, fellowship, study and life.  Sometimes they come in with questions and concerns and don’t know that they are going to stay and then they change, they commit.  We have an immigrant population in our nation.  People come and stay. Sometimes they come through an initial illegal means.  They have questions and concerns and then they change, they commit.  They become us.
Transitory:  Transitory people can be dangerous.  They come dangerous.  They come to take, to abuse, and to vilify others.  These are not migrants. There are transitory people in the church.  They are predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They do damage.  They gossip and slander and undermine unity.  They need to be rooted out.  There are transitory people in our nation.  They live in the dark shadows of crime and abuse.  They capture women and force them into human traffic situations.  They abuse. They steal, kill, and destroy.  They need to be rooted out.
When my father was without parents, another family took him in.  He was a migrant,an orphan. At birth and later when his mother was killed. He was a migrant.  A man named George Ollie took him into his home for a season and raised him.  George was an immigrant.  At ten years old, George hid on a boat from Syria to Mexico.  His father was working on the boat.  George was left in Mexico for a year and then his father brought him into the states.  They became citizens.  My father was raised by a Middle Eastern stowaway smuggled in from Mexico.  A migrant become immigrant.  Sometimes strangers become angels.  George was my father’s angel and mine.
Our summation:
Be sensitive in the church and in the neighborhood to who is with us and why.
Stay clear of being too engaged in the pure legal definitions.  You might miss your greatest blessing.
Remember you were a migrant when you came into the church and became an immigrant.

The Tricky Part is Timing

There is nothing that can resist the power of an idea, whose time has come. Get the idea and the timing in sync and POW!
One of my mentors says it this way, “Nothing, nothing, nothing, POW!”
Incremental and intentional steps develop momentum that moves mountains.

Since locating to Gainesville, it is my firm opinion there is a need for an innovative, dynamic, and enterprising church. Radical. Idealistic. Founded on thousands of years of considered and revealed truth focused on today with a tenacious grasp of wisdom and well being, a prosperity of mind, heart, body, soul, relationships, and economic health and stability. That place where all cultures mix and intersect and develop mind share. That place where we all discover truth and apply it to life in practical moments. Live a Biblically sound, currently practical and authentic faith.

Que problema es (the problem is), the critical mass has not been present of the right number of people with the right heart. Those interested were much more interested in leaving Gainesville to find leadership, opportunity and social connection. Even those that live here look elsewhere. The angst of an area depressed over itself and lacking a defined hope for a self-fulfilled future is lifting. That is changing. That is a good change.

Otra problema es (another problem is), the church as a whole has been insensitive, stodgy, and disconnected from the deep issues of life this generation faces. The answers have been here all along. The delivery vehicle is antiquated. Some have reached back to 90’s mode flashing lights and entertainment and applied a name and face change to the same stuff. That is good for a season, but the face falls off eventually and real change is exchanged for religion with a new face.

Really, this is a day to strip back and get to original intent and engagement. The Christian church was established in the streets, market places, and homes of the community. Face up discussion and a faith that moved mountains interrupted life as usual and demanded attention from the community. That is progressive. That is radical. That is right.



The fire of life is a consuming agent meant to cleanse and strengthen. It sure does not feel like it when you are in it.

Oh, trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it. And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, But only how did you take it. Edmund Vance Cooke

A good friend and mentor reminded me this morning that when God is prepping us for good things, the enemy launches defensive attack to stop us. Jesus knew this in the garden and prayed for us. In my struggle to stay on top of issues instead of buried by them, I needed that loving reminder. Maybe it can encourage you also.

When Jesus prayed for us in His last recorded prayer before his execution on the cross, He prayed ‘a full measure of joy’ along with a commission to live in this world “as it is not as we would have it” (Serenity Prayer – Niehbur).

He let us know that the systems of the world will hate us. How true is that today? Education, government, politics, arts, even benevolence would like to crush the heart of a believer in Christ. Even knowing that it is only the presence of that heart of genuine compassion birthed in Christ that is the eternal engine of dignity and hope in the very world that rejects Him.

It is the heart of real Christianity that sees there is neither male nor female nor black nor white nor EU nor USA in God’s family. There are just people for whom He died and lives and unites. It is the real heart of Christians that treats all with dignity even in disagreement. And it is that heart that is hated because it convicts and convinces of mistaken living and imperfect obdience.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 17:13‭-‬19 NIV

When you read this prayer, pray it over yourself and your leaders. Pray in agreement with Jesus.

Father, I agree with Christ as He stands in front of You on my behalf right now. Fill us with the full measure of His joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that shines bright in the middle of a lost and distorted generation filled with violence and greed and self fulfillment.
Your word is a lamp to us, a light to our path in the dark. We are hated for living Your word and heart. Days can be cold. Never let our hearts get cold to reach out with hope and life in Jesus. No matter the rejection, the lack of gratefulness or persecution, never let us be bitter or cold.
We are not of the world any more than Jesus is of the world. My prayer is not that you take us out of the world but that you protect us from the evil one. Sanctify us by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent Jesus into the world, you have sent us into the world. We accept and acknowledge our selection and calling as hard as it may be. For us Jesus sanctified Himself, that we too may be truly sanctified, equipped, and set out for this special task each and every day.

Stand strong, a generation separated from God needs you. You are loved and appreciated in the highest court of heaven by the King of the Universe.