Friday, September 28, 2007

You Talkin' To Me?!?/Introduction

A series about God speaking to us and us learning how to hear Him.

God speaks to us constantly, but do we hear Him? There are many reasons we don't hear God speak. He speaks "God" and we speak "human", so we don't understand Him. Many don't look or listen for His voice because they never thought about God speaking to them (unless they blow it and He gets really mad). Many don't think they are that important for God to speak to them. They're just another one of the billions of humans alive on this planet. Many believe that God gave us brains, so our job is to "figure it out". Others would rather not "bother" God.

Whatever our reasons (or excuses for that matter) are, that doesn't stop the fact that God made us, and He made us in His image, because He wanted and still wants someone to talk to, befriend, and hang-out with. The Bible says that God no longer calls us servants, He calls us friends (John 15:15). The rest of the verse says this is because He has told us his plans. Isn't that exactly what friends do? They communicate. They let each other in on their plans. "What are you doing today?" "Wanna hang-out later?" They ask the question and then not only wait for a response, they expect one! The Bible also says in Psalms 139:16 that God has planned out our days. He not only knows what we are going to do, but He has a cool day laid out already for us. However, if we don't listen to or catch His plans for our day, we are stuck with living out our plans/our day. God's plans are not only higher than ours, they are good plans, plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future (again from the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 to be exact).

Ask someone who calls themselves a Christian about their relationship with Jesus and sooner or later many will explain it as a "personal relationship". I myself, have a personal relationship with Jesus. But how "personal" can one be if they never communicate? Even "prayer" has often become one-sided, us telling God our problems, asking Him to help. I believe prayer is to be two-sided. Not just telling God about our situation, but also finding out what He thinks about it. Prayer, to me, is finding out what God is saying to me and what He wants me to do.

So I want to help. I believe this is one reason why I exist. Why God made me. I have this "calling" so to speak, to help others connect once again to God. I say "once again" because originally we were connected! Look at Adam and Eve. And I think it is vital to look at them, because if someone wants to figure out why something was made, they need to go to the original. ie, if we want to figure out why we are made, we need to look at Adam and Eve, the originals.

So, I am starting this "You Talkin' To Me?!?" blog series because I want to try and help whomever learn how to "speak God" again. Like Adam and Eve did in paradise. I think one of the best ways to learn is through other's experiences. If we find out how others communicate with God, how others have heard His voice we might see how He has been or is currently trying to communicate through us. I think I like the word "communicate" better than "talk to" because when we say "talk to" we tend to think of hearing someone speak out loud. Yes, God does speak that way (so I've heard) but more often than not He chooses other ways. "Like what" you say? Well check this ongoing series out and you may see.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Heart of Lime Green

Since this blog page is titled "Adventures of Lime Green", I thought this blog was fitting.
It's actually a message I received from a friend on my myspace. It was a humbling and touching compliment. I asked him if I could blog it and he said yes.
So here it is. Let me know what you think.


The more I grow with God, the more I am convinced He has called me to reach out to people who are rather different than what most are used to seeing within the walls of a building we call a church. God loves His kids so much and He is desperate to reach all of them, not just the ones who think like the majority. My brain doesn't work like most people's brains do. Iric means special, but sometimes special feels more like alone...

I say this because I know that you can relate. More than that, I want you to know that other people see your lime green suit and love and appreciate you for wearing it (as do I). But, they think you then go home and simply just take off your lime green suit. I know that you can't do that. Superman takes off his suit, but he can still fly, use heat vision, stop bullets... These things are what most people look at and assume define Superman as a superhero. But that not it. It's his heart.

Your heart is lime green Steve. Your brain doesn't work like most people's brains do. But you have chosen to use your powers for good and not for evil and that makes you a superhero. Thank you. Your dedication to pursuing God, doing things that are necessary, but not always fun encourages me to do the same. Thank you for refusing to compromise the gospel. The way that you boldly, yet lovingly, share God's heart is very special to me. I reminds me that it's ok to be to me, but it's not ok not to. Thank you for living by faith, trusting your Father more than your eyes. I want to be like that.

You want to encourage pastors; well you certainly have encouraged this one. Run in such way, that though you may be sweaty and smell gross, you receive the prize.


I think Iric sees something many miss. Thankyou Iric, you honored me with that message.
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Day in the Life of Stevo

I've been asked several times in my life what I actually do during the day as an evangelist. It's a tough question to answer, because my days are always different and often unconditional. So, I thought I would write down one of my days to show what one of my days can often look like.

I love the fair! It was opening day and admission was free if I got through the gate before noon, so I thought I would go and hangout with Jesus at the fair. He speaks a lot to me at the fair, as well as the theater, drives, walks and a few other "non-conventional" places. I don't do so well hearing Him behind a desk, or even kneeling beside my bed. My brain tends to click into gear when I am moving. My wife can usually tell when I have been on a trip in the car driving somewhere, because I usually come back excited with a mess of ideas and dreams.

I enjoy hanging out with Jesus in "real-life" situations, and I think that was his original idea when he made mankind in the first place. I noticed He made the stars, plants, animals, water etc. etc. but He never made a building where He could meet with Adam and Eve and they could pray to Him. I think Jesus enjoys when we include Him in the natural, organic, everyday life situations. Romans 12:1 says "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." (The Message)

So, not only did I want to go to the fair, I felt like Jesus wanted to go too, and He wanted to go with me! How cool is that?!? (Sidenote; I think He really desires to do stuff like this with all His children, we just don't have the faith to include Him into our natural world. I think we tend to think it's foolish or sacreligious. However, I think keeping God at a distance and not allowing Him into our every-day life is sacreligious.) Anyways, I digress...

I just get through the front gate and my phone rings. It's a youth pastor friend of mine who I feel the enemy is trying to mess with his brain with "vain imaginataions". He tells me he's not exactly sure what he is supposed to do about his current situation and wants to know if he can process "out loud" with me. He begins to share with me his situation with his senior pastor, what it was really about and how he should handle it. Advice came into my brain very quickly which it often does when God wants to speak through me into someone else's life. So, while I sat there waiting for some other friends who were to join me at the fair, I began to speak into his life.

The point I would like to make is that this man of God called me. When he was done processing he said "OK, I've just 'thrown up' on you. Now tell me what your thoughts are." So I started "spewing" some stuff back. Some advice I felt God had given me. You know, If I didn't know this guy, if I hadn't walked with him and developed a relationship with him that went beyond "pastor/evangelist", if we hadn't "done life" together and if he didn't trust me, I wouldn't have been a person he would've called for help.

I have a statistic I keep in my pocket pc that says that 70% of pastors don't have someone they would consider a close friend besides their mate. Actually, I would say that the percentage is probably quite higher from my experience with all the pastors I have spoken to and hung-out with. I have found that most pastors have no one they can talk to, vent to or "throw up" on. Think about it, who are they going to talk to? How can they share their problems with someone in their congregation or even in their city when often their problems are about someone else in their congregation or city? Many pastors have no oasis, no place of rest they can go to unload. But to many of them I am a safe place to go to and vent, for many reasons. I am 45. I have been in the ministry my whole life as a preachers kid and as a minister myself. I have been around the block a few times. And it's part of the apostolic calling God has given me.

He desperately needed someone to "throw up" on. He needed some advice and he needed it soon. He was in a desperate and anxious situation and the enemy was trying to get him to do something that would only hurt the situation (in my opinion). He needed someone to help him think straight.

There are times "in the life of Steve Hays" that I don't want to update the calendar on my webpage! I know how, it's not that difficult (thanks to Jared from JTechproductions) to change it, I just don't want to. It's embarrassing when I don't have any bookings. How does it look to those who faithfully, month after month, support me financially, when my calendar is empty? I couldn't survive without these faithful supporters (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ALL)! How does it look to someone who visits my site to book me and they see that "no one has booked Steve Hays-I wonder why." Let's face it, in todays culture, that tends to say that this "evangelist" isn't too successful, so why should I support or book him? Personally, I think that my job is bigger than speaking engagements. I think most would think my job is to speak to the congregation, when in actuality God has me there to speak to the pastor in his kitchen afterwards. My assignment is often not what I am "being paid for". I think God often uses the "speaking engagement" as a way to support me financially and as a way to get me into the situation where I can speak into somebody's life personally, and that often means the leadership. I don't think many pastors would respond as my friend did by calling me and telling me they need some help. And I certainly don't think there are many pastors who would pay me to come and hang-out with them in their home or in a restaurant and give them "a word from God".

On the way home from a great refreshing day at the fair with Jesus and my other friends, I was thinking about my phone conversation. (God actually gave me many ideas and things to think about and do that day. He showed me some different ways to take the message He's given me and spread it around.) As I thought about it, I began to thank Jesus for using me to speak into this man of God's life!

All the way to the fair, I was calling pastors whom God put on my heart to call, just to encourage or listen. In fact, a couple days earlier, I had called a pastor friend of mine regarding a booking at his church, and the next thing I knew, he was telling me how he was thinking of quitting. I got off the phone amazed how God set that whole thing up (and no, I didn't get the booking).

I have started a painting company to help support my family when the ministry bookings aren't enough. I thank God for giving me another way to help support my family, however, I love it when my time is full of ministry bookings, because then I have the time to pour into these guys lives. I have the time to blog, and to do many other things regarding people's lives that I just don't have the time or energy for when I am painting all day long. So, please pray for more supporters, or bookings or for financial blessing so I can do what God has called me to do. (Yes, I know painting maybe what He's called me for right now. And I do know that I minister to people while I paint their houses or business. I have many cool stories of how God has used me and my partner Jim Hance, who is also my pastor, to minister to them.)

Another stat I keep in my pocket pc says 1,500 evangelical ministers leave the ministry a month, and that the average pastor who leaves a church leaves because of 7 people. Imagine how many will stay because of one! Hebrews 13:17 tells us to contribute to the joy of their ministry and not the drudgery of it.

For all of you who support me financially, who pray for me and speak or email words of encouragement into me, I say a million thanks! And I believe someday there will be many pastors in heaven who will tell you thanks too!

P.S. By the way, on the way home from the fair, I called my friend back. I felt like our conversation wasn't finished. Like God wasn't done yet. And my friend says "Steve, your calling me at the perfect time. I am on my way to Children's Hospital to minister to a couple who don't know Jesus yet, but they know me and they want me to come and dedicate their new but dying baby to the Lord. I'm about 5 minutes away from the hospital, would pray for me that I would know what to do and say?" And as I began to pray I could feel God show up in the car and began to pray through me. It nearly overwhelmed me. My faith was high and so was my courage. I was ready to do battle. And again I hung up the phone amazed and thankful.

So there you have it, just another day in the life of Stevo.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Don't get off your "donkey", get on it!

Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. (Mark 11:1-11)

" will find a colt there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here." (verse 2)

Jesus is so cool and amazing! No one rides an unbroke donkey! No one just takes someones donkey without an explanation. Jesus was not only cool and amazing, He was different too! He rode a donkey "no one has ever ridden" before. He did things in ways never done before. I feel this is what Jesus wants His church (us) to do too! I think He was modeling it for us.

"Some people standing there asked 'What are you doing, untying that colt?'" (verse 5)

If you do things differently, you will get questions, stares and opposition. Notice the opposition came from those who were just "standing there". It's always the ones doing nothing that question those doing, or trying to do something. Also note that when the disciples told those questioning them what Jesus told them, the people let them go. I don't need to become defensive because I do things differently. I just need to tell others that ask or oppose, what Jesus told me to do (that means, of course, that I have to know what Jesus wants me to do and how He wants me to do it.) Besides, when Jesus plans something, no man or thing can stop it...unless by our inactivity, we don't try and do what He's told us to.

Listen Up

We, in the ministry, can be so fickle. When someone "rises to the top", everyone wants them. I can understand someone fresh out of college, or maybe someone who is just starting out, or just had a major life-changing event. These people are either "new" or have a "new" message. But what about the hidden? How can there be someone who struggles in the ministry as an unknown for years, and then like a rocket, burst through the atmosphere to a place where the majority want them? Did they wake up that morning a new person? What made them so immediately attractive?

Have many of us become infatuated with image over truth? Maybe many think the next "hot" thing will change our churches. Truth will change us. "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Or is truth limited by the vessel's popularity. I have nothing against momentum, ministers or even programs that have that special anointing. But are we limiting ourselves, selling ourselves short by only utilizing the current hot trend, fad or person? It appears to me that Jesus used not only the ordinary, but the invisible and broken too (I Cor. 1:26-29). If God chooses the "foolish things" and the "things that are not", why aren't we? How many of God's messengers are hiding in the bushes? They are not professional ministers. They're not hot or have the current mojo or momentum. They're just regular, overlooked fishermen.

From what I've noticed, God often changes the world by giving His message out first. And that message so often goes to the unexpected and unnoticed. That shouldn't surprise us since God rarely seems to do things the way we think He should.

Now, when I say "message", I'm not talking about a sermon. I'm talking about a voice, just as John the Baptist was "a voice crying out in the wilderness". Note a few things here. First John is crying out....I've spoken with so many frustrated voices over the last several years. They are all saying the same thing....interesting. They are frustrated because they believe God has spoken to them, but they have no platform, venue or authority to share it from so "like a fire shut up in their bones" it cries out.

Notice also that his voice cries out in the wilderness. Probably because the voice would never be tolerated in town. Could you imagine John the Baptist sharing in your cul de sac? I believe God still gives His voice out but we need to look for it. "If you seek Me, you will find Me, if you search with your whole heart." And we'll probably find it in the wilderness, not in the town square. I believe we will find his voice inside smelly fisherman, little children or in those unpopular, unnoticed ones.

However, for one to hear AND accept the voice/message from a child or someone further down the food chain or pecking list, it takes a lot of ego swallowing and humility. And maybe, just maybe, those are the ones God wants hearing, carrying and becoming His voice.