Showing posts from 2004

When a Revival is Needed

In my reading this week, I came across this quote from Charles Finney in his classic work, Revival Lectures:

1) When there are dissensions and jealousies and evil speakings among professors of religion, then there is a great need for revival.

2) When there is a worldly spirit in the church. . .

3) When the church finds its members (and leaders?) falling into gross and scandalous sin, then it is time for the church to awake and cry to God for a Revival of True Religion. When such things are taking place, as give the enemies of religion an occasion for reproach, it is time for the church to ask of God, "What will become of thy great Name?". . .

4) When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is of the firemen to awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city. The church ought to put out the fires of hell which are laying hold of the…

What Are You Seeking?

What are you seeking today?

Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What do you seek first?

· The approval of people or the smile of God?
· Your will or God’s will?
· To be understood, or to understand?
· To be loved, or to love?
· To fulfill your desires or to fulfill God’s desire?
· To be blessed, or to be a blessing?
· Receiving attention from others, or giving attention to God?
· A good name, or to honor God’s name?
· Control or to give God the control?
· Your plan or God’s plan?

I have discovered that we too often wait for the greater things to seek us, while we go out seeking the lesser things.

If we seek the Kingdom of God first, the other things will be added. If we seek the other things first, we will fall short on all accounts.

Whatever you seek first – that is your greatest treasure.
“Where your treasure is, your heart will …

"Thar She Blows!"

Mt. St. Helen's has been steaming lately, and the pundits are venturing guesses as to when she's going blow.

That reminds me of human relationships -- steam, steam, steam -- and "Thar She Blows!"

Some people have a low frustration tolerance. At the slightest annoyance, they over-react with a tantrum.

I saw a sticker on a box a while ago which made me smile. It said, "Warning: contents may explode under pressure."

Wouldn't it be great if people wore stickers like that?

"Warning: if you bother me right now, I'm going to snap your head off!"

Sometimes, we're tempted to stuff our stress and pressures down into our souls. Instead of resolving issues, we shove them down and try to ignore them.

Unfortunately, an unresolved issue is like a dead skunk. You won't get rid of it by shoving it under the bed. Ignoring it just makes everything smell worse!

For the times you are all stressed out and "likely to explode at any moment"…

Live for the Long Haul

You were designed to live for the long haul!

With that in mind, it's vital to keep the big picture in mind. Most of us get so caught up in the minutia of the moment, that we forget to look beyond our current circumstance.

Most of today's pressure points aren't really that important in light of the bigger scheme of things.

The next time you're worked up about something, ask this question, "Will it really matter ten years from now?"

That question will put things in perspective for you.

A long haul life requires some long range thinking.

What are you willing to sacrifice today for a greater gain tomorrow?

What habits today will destroy your health and/or relationships tomorrow?

If you continue in the same direction and at the same pace as you are going today, where will that lead you tomorrow?

If your money management patterns today continue, what will your financial picture be tomorrow?

What does your spiritual condition today say about your spiritual direc…

Ministerial Etiquette

From my years of ministry, and also being raised in the home of a very good pastor, I have developed the following rules of ministerial etiquette:

Return all phone messages. (The only exception may be an out of town salesperson from a mega-corporation – but even then you have to be careful.)

Return all phone messages within 24 hours.

Answer all letters within a week.
Be sure to send a thank you card for every gift. (vocal thanks is not enough)


Reply to all personal e-mails within 24 hours.
No need to reply to forwards – but it might still be good, if you know the person sent it to you specifically.
Never correct or rebuke via e-mail. If it CAN be taken wrong, it WILL!
If it is a group e-mail which is a means of communication about something coming up, or something that needs to be addressed (ie. Staff memo) it is best to reply – so the sender knows you have received the info.


Always keep your appointments with people. It is a major violation to miss it.…

Facing the Storm

A Wyoming cowboy was once asked what was the greatest lesson he learned from his experiences of ranching.

"The Herefords taught me one of life's most important lessons," he replied. "We used to breed cattle for a living, but the winter storms would come and kill 'em off. It would take a terrible toll on the herd.

"Time and time again, after a cold winter storm, we'd find most of our cattle piled up against the fences, dead as doornails!

"They would turn their backs to the icy wind, and slowly drift downward until the fences stopped them. There, they just piled up and died."

"But the Herefords were different than that," he continued. "They would head straight into the wind and slowly walk the other way until they came to the upper boundary fence where they stood, facing the storm.

"We always found our Herefords alive and well. They saved their hides by facing the storm!"

When the storms of life are raging, our nat…

The Mega-Watt Church

The Megachurch has received a lot of attention in recent years -- and that's not bad. Huge, growing congregations such as Willow Creek, Saddleback, Fellowship Church and Mars Hill serve as an inspiration to the rest of us.

However, Willow Creek has more attendees on a weekend than the entire population of Sawyer County. Sometimes, it's difficult to translate what's happening in the larger context into rural/small town communities.

Considering where we live, Hayward Wesleyan is a large and thriving congregation (percentage-wise, we're much bigger than Willow Creek!)-- but, demographically, it is difficut to imagine ever becoming a "mega-church" (Megachurches are defined as having more than 2000 in worship attendance.)

I'm not really interested in developing a "megachurch" but I am absolutely dedicated to developing a Mega-Watt Church!

"Mega-Wattage" is not determined by the size of congregation or community. (In fact, some megachur…

The Small Town Chuch

From time to time, I run into a pastor who feels isolated in a small community. The complaint runs along these lines: "If I was in a bigger place I'd have a better ministry."

Ah, but is a bigger place a better place?

Being in a small community myself, I've pondered this question and here's my conclusion:

God specializes in small communities! Don't believe me? Look at the Bible!

Bethlehem was a small place -- and it was selected to welcome the King of Kings.

Nazareth was a small place -- and this is the very place the Father selected for the growth, nurture and shaping of Jesus during his childhood.

Capernaum was a small place -- and it served as headquarters for Jesus' ministry.

Are you in a small place? Be glad and praise the Lord! He has chosen you to share in his own heritage.

Your Ministry Matters to God

Perhaps you feel like you are slogging away in the remote backwaters of obscurity and you're wondering if you're making a difference at all.

Well, I have some good news for you! Yes, You Are Making a World of Difference!

As long as you are obedient to the Lord, trusting Him with all your heart, and loving the people, then the difference making is automatic.

Does your work matter? Of Course It Matters!

God would never call you to something that didn't matter. Even if it didn't matter to any other soul on the face of this planet -- It matters to the Lord, and that's good enough to serve for a lifetime!

Jesus Christ gave his life-blood for you, and He calls you to give it all for him.

The "return on investment" may not be exactly what you had anticipated. You may not be as "successful" in the world's eyes as you had dreamed in earlier years. But, who cares about being successful in the world's eyes?

John Knox did not pray, "Give me succe…


I'm Mark O. Wilson, the Senior Pastor of Hayward Wesleyan Church in northwestern Wisconsin.

Hayward, Wisconsin is a small town of about 2000 people, but is also a world class community, hosting large scale events such as the World Lumberjack Championships, the American Birkebeiner (North America's largest cross country ski race), and some of the best fishing in the U.S. The National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is in Hayward.

I have pastored this congregation since August of 1991, and it has been a wonderful adventure.

Our church has grown from 65 to 650 in worship attendance, and there are still many "unchurched fish" in the lake. As long as one person in our community does not know Jesus, then our outreach efforts are not complete.

Our aim is to reach lost people, build them into fully devoted and fully developing followers of Christ, and deploy them into the world to make a difference.

We want to touch the world from Hayward!

I've learned a lot about minist…