#PrayFirst | Day 2

Pray For Families

Welcome to Day 2 of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign, you can click HERE.  Also, you can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE.

#PrayFirst Family

God is the Foundation of Your Family

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 (ESV)

Solomon the Psalmist said that it is vain to attempt things without the Lord.  The point is that trying to lead your family independently of God is futile. However, a person who trusts in the Lord and include Him in their family’s plan will find rest. Without the Lord, all work is in vain.

The family is not an institution designed by man. It was created by God for the benefit of man, and man has been given stewardship over it. Christian family is one that lines up with biblical principles and one in which each member understands and fulfills his or her God-given role. The basic biblical family unit is comprised of one man, one woman—his spouse—and their offspring or adopted children.

When a husband, wife, and children all fulfill their God-appointed roles, then peace and harmony reign in the home (Psalm 127:2). But, if we try to have a Christian family without Christ as Head or without adhering to the biblical principles the Lord has lovingly provided for us, the home will suffer.

  1. The members of a family can teach each other about God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
  2. Do not let sin affect your family life (Psalm 101:2)
  3. Do not bring trouble to a family (Proverbs 11:29)
  4. Husbands and wives should love each other (Ephesians 5:21-33)
  5. Children should obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1)
  6. Church leaders must have a good family life (1 Timothy 3:4-5)
  7. Families should take care of each other (1 Timothy 5:3-5)

Pray for Your Family

Heavenly Father, Please shine your light upon my family. Give us strength to overcome all of the difficulties that we are dealing with now and protect us against any and all problems we may encounter in the future. O Lord, please bring us together as we are meant to be. May the love that binds us only grow stronger as we fulfill the destiny you have laid out for us. Grant my family forgiveness for any sins we have committed. May we also forgive one another Lord, as it is sometimes difficult to do.  In your name I pray, Amen

The Single Reason Why Vacations Are Vital

It’s no secret, like most executives and business owners, many pastors are workaholics and rarely take vacations. Workaholics, please take note – a vacation is a must. It’s time to mute the noise and take an annual vacation. Regardless of what others may say, it’s time to let go of your guilty feelings and VACATE.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 2015

Welcome to the “Guilt-Free” Zone 

I use to feel guilty about taking vacations fearing I may fall behind. Sometimes I took work with me and short-changed my family in the process. A recent study shows that 82 percent of small business owners who took a vacation were performing better at work when they got back. An added bonus is that about a third of men who take this sensible step are less likely to die of heart disease.

So, If taking vacations trouble you, I’d like to share the single most important reason taking a vacation makes you better.

Vacations Inspire Creativity

“Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick-start creative thinking,” according to Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media.
For me, the church environment is hardly the place to generate new ideas, strategies, and decision-making techniques. Ministry, like any other high-demand profession, is intense. You cannot be creative or get inspiration when you are under enormous pressure.

Change Your Scenery – Change Your World

A change of scene on a vacation can work wonders. Although you cannot switch off completely, when you relax, creativity flourishes. Your mind will start asking questions you never thought of up until now. You’ll have a clearer mind because you are no longer tired.

So, forget the old work ethic that longer hours mean higher productivity. Take a vacation instead.

You can thank me afterwards.

Here’s What I Told My Son Josh on His 18th Birthday

Dear Son,

Today you become a man. Becoming a man is more than reaching a milestone. It’s a process that began on that day eighteen years ago when you took your first breath and will continue until that time in the future when you take your last.

Josh graduation

Being a man is not about accomplishments, athletic ability, academic ability or pursing popularity, power, possession, or prestige. Being a man is more about character, compassion and courage.

A man has character when he is a person of integrity who can be depended on. A man has compassion when he not only cares for others, but demonstrates it by putting their best interests ahead of his own.

A man has courage when he does what is right even what it’s difficult. I believe you are a long way along this journey to becoming a man. You have learned so much already. You show so much promise. As you journey into manhood, I’d like to share my experiences and help you go further faster.

  1. Be proud of who you are. You are a Stowers and we determine our values, why they’re important, and live them out. Don’t be afraid to be an individual.  Own it!
  2. Listen more than you speak. You will learn more by paying attention to what others have to say, and people appreciate being heard.
  3. Add value to people’s lives. Look for ways to inspire and empower others. Look for simple ways to help others.
  4. Stand on your word. Doing what you say you will do is a rare thing in our world today. It is one of the easiest ways to stand apart.
  5. Be confident but stay hungry and humble. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, so don’t doubt your abilities. On the other hand don’t think too highly of yourself.  Never get too high or too low.
  6. Keep grinding. The process of working toward a goal is often as rewarding as the achievement itself.
  7. Intelligence and wisdom are not the same. Intelligence is the ability to learn. Wisdom is using knowledge and experience to make good choices. You can be both.
  8. Never stop learning and growing. There’s a whole world to be explored beyond the classroom long after graduation.
  9. Own “IT.” Whatever life throws at you, embrace. Change, obstacles, accomplishments, difficulties, adventures, success, failure are all opportunities to grow. Enjoy the moment.
  10. Love God and people! Be a man who is known by his affections and his actions. Value your family and forge friendships that last.

These eighteen years you have been alive also happen to coincide with the best eighteen years of my life. That’s no coincidence. Your coming into this world has profoundly changed mine. No words can adequately describe my love, my pride and my hope for you. I am blessed to call you my son. And today I am also pleased to call you a man.  Happy 18th Birthday Son!  I love you man!

Your father & life coach 😀

A Tribute To My Wife – Happy Anniversary!

I would like to think it was easy to be married to me for 21 years but my wife’s commitment to be with me drew her into a life of many challenges. Don’t misunderstand, we’ve been blessed in many ways and we’ve had many good years together. Yet the life of a Pastor (or being married to him) is not easy. Shortly into married life, as I was still training for ministry, I became a co-pastor and we enjoyed a brief time in ministry. Then the opportunity came to transition to senior pastor in May 1999.  We are still here and Mars Hill has grown exponentially.

Marriage Pic

June 27, 1992
Jackson, Mississippi

Work Hard – Dreams Come True

I didn’t attend worship last Sunday at the Mars Hill Baptist Church because I was being a father.

My son Josh & I were on a requiting trip at the University of Louisville. I’m excited to share pictures of his visit to the University of Louisville. It was an exciting trip and they have a great campus, field, and training facilities. The coaches were awesome and I love that they love to develop players & WIN!!! Enjoy it!

Hello world!

Welcome back to my blog!

This is my personal blog. It is focused on “empowering people to live an abundant life.” My mission is to help you connect life’s dots while passionately pursuing your purpose. I write on personal development, leadership, finance, relationships, inspiration, and motivation. On occasion, I write about stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into one of these categories.

welcome back

My goal is to create insightful, relevant content that you can put to work in your personal and professional life. If you are in a position of leadership—or aspire to be—then this blog is for you. I typically post two to three times a week. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe via RSS feed

Thanks for stopping by!

TWO churches in ONE Location – How So?

Quick!  How do you keep the attention of a generation of church goers eternally distracted by the internet, cellphones, and technology.  You make technology your friend – you leverage it for the Glory of God.

Mars Hill – TWO Churches in ONE Location

As much as I hate to admit it, in reality, I pastor TWO distinct congregations.  Since we began offering additional worship experiences, I’ve noticed they’ve morphed into two very distinct, different, and unique congregations.  We’re still Mars Hill – now we’re TWO churches in ONE location.  How did that happen?

8AM Classic Worship Experience

Older church goers, business-types, and families with older/adult children mainly attend our Our 8AM Worship Experience.  It’s early, convenient, and 60-90 minutes long.  They enjoy softer music and love to reflect on the music and message.  It fits their lifestyle and they primarily want worship and the Word!  Period!  However, it’s quite different during our 10:30AM experience.

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Wife

Today is the one of the most important holidays in the Stowers Household: Valentine’s Day.  It’s importance ranks up there with July 2nd (Shauntai’s birthday), June 27th (Our anniversary), December 25th (She loves Christmas – her favorite season), and Mother’s day.

I have a 9-year-old daughter at home and Valentines Day has morphed into a silent, but friendly competition between the two.  My two sons could care less.  On June 27, 2011, Shauntai and I will celebrate 19 years of marriage.  I still make an effort to go all out to make the days that are special to her special to me.  As I grow older, so does my love for my wife.  She’s my best friend, helper, cheerleader, and coach.

Here’s what I love about my wife:

  1. She believes in me more than I sometimes believe in myself.
  2. She’s a true P-31 Woman (Proverbs 31) & is the Chief Operating Officer in the Stowers household.
  3. She’s immaculate & keeps our home clean, organized, and functioning like a well oiled machine.
  4. She listens to me ramble and never cuts me off.
  5. She’s funny & makes me laugh – she has a great sense of humor.
  6. She’s very compassionate & loves deeply.  You gotta love anyone who cries watching Martian Child.
  7. She loves God and is a TRUE WORSHIPER.  While she’s cleaning, she’ll go in listening to Shekinah Glory in a heartbeat.
  8. She encourages me at the right time which makes me feel I can do anything.
  9. She’s extremely serious about her relationship with God and desires to grow spiritually.
  10. FINALLY.  She’s FINE, GORGEOUS, A TRUE DIME-PIECE 😀

Question: Have you told your spouse how much you love them?

Ya Miss Me?

That’s right – I’m back!

Two weeks ago I blogged on “Investigating Christmas.”  It was informative, concise, and though-provoking (at least that what my readers thought).  After Christmas I took a break from blogging to spend time with my family, fix a few things around the house (ok, I paid someone to do it – I supervised), and work under the hood of my blog/website.

There were several changes made to my blog (all under the hood) and it’s much faster and stable.  Although you can’t see the changes, trust me: they were significant.  Once again a BIG THUMBS UP to the coldest blog designers Arcane Palette!  Chris really came through BIG TIME getting THIS SITE up and running in a SHORT amount of time.  If you’re considering starting a blog, I HIGHLY recommend you connect with the folks at Arcane Palette.

I have the greatest members in the world!

Monday, I was in official recovery mode from Sunday’s CRAZY/INSANE worship experiences!  While recovering, I received a phone call from Rolanda (a member) and she shared an amazing idea (thanks Ro).  Our church’s focus this year is three. sixty. five.  What does that mean?  I’m challenging our members to ‘BE’ the church 365 days a year instead of 52 weeks each Sunday.

Rolanda challenged me to share an encouraging word to our members EACH DAY this year and I gladly accepted her challenge (my sheep know my voice).  Additionally, I decided to use this blog, Facebook, & Twitter to accomplish the aforementioned.  Therefore, if you are not following me, please do so & encourage others to do the same.

three. sixty. five. day 1

Let’s start with this premise: THERE’S NOBODY GREATER THAN JESUS!

There’s POWER in your PRAISE!  Sometimes we must ‘STOP FIGHTING’ our battles and PRAISE HIM in the midst of our battles.  God says, “He will fight for us and He releases His Power and Provision on our behalf.”

Friday's Top 5 Ways To Tell You're Good and Grown

Have you ever noticed how circular life really is?  We start not knowing anything, and enjoy it immensely (childhood).  Eventually we think we know everything, but everyone else still thinks we don’t know anything; this causes a lot of frustration (adolescence, end of childhood).  At last we realize…no, we don’t know everything, in fact we still hardly know anything; again, we seem to enjoy this stage, in many cases a bit too much (college and professional life, the in-between to adulthood).

The legal age for adulthood is eighteen for women and twenty-one for men (never understood that).  However, we all know many enter adult well before AND after the legal age.  So, when did it occur for you?  When did you discover you were “good and grown?”

I discovered I was good and grown (an adult) when: