Tag Archives: faith

No rain… Again!

Matthew 8:26 (NIV)

“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’
Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”

Mark 4:39 (NIV)

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”

So often I’ve read this passage and pictured that night out on the water.  I used to arrogantly and piously scoff at the disciples.  “Look how dumb they were.”  “How could they still not get it?!”  “How could they not understand that they were safe with him?!”

I’ve grown since then though… a little.  The verses just before this are Jesus teaching them how much it will cost them to follow him.  He tells them they will be homeless.  He tells them they will have to miss important, meaningful family moments.  He’s teaching them it will cost them their livelihoods, possibly their families and surely their plans.

He hasn’t given them any comfort.  And shortly thereafter, here they are… on a lake in a furious storm in a boat that’s about to be swamped.  They’ll drown.  Danger is all around.  And they run to him.  They wake him.  They beg him.

They don’t doubt his ability to save them like I used to think.  What they doubt is his awareness of the situation.  And they seem to have an idea of how he will save them when they ask.  I’m curious to know what they were expecting.  Maybe they were expecting him to raise the boat out of the water.  Maybe they expected the water to suddenly be held back from over the rails of the boat, similar to Moses crossing the Red Sea and God holding the water back.  Or maybe… they were expecting him to calm the storm.

Whatever their expectations of his actions, they were afraid.  Stressed.  Terrified.  And they were begging him for help.

In five years of CommuniD BBQs, I have no idea how many times God has calmed the storms for us.  I have seen clouds part, literally.  I have seen rain inexplicably surround a park without falling on it.  Twice.  Countless times we have seen and reaped the benefits of those words, “Quiet! Be still!”

Last Saturday.  It was raining.  The forecast called for heavier rain as the day went on.  No relief.  No hope of a break in the storm.  Just cold, miserable rain.  We had three CommuniD BBQs scheduled for the day; Detroit, Hazel Park and Southfield.  I got phone calls from all three leaders asking what to do, when to call it off, etc.  Three leaders who’ve watched these storms calm in the past with me all concerned, maybe even afraid that we’ll get rained out.  I talked them through it, encouraged them, reminded them of miracles of the past and God’s faithfulness in the present.  At the end of the day, all three events happened.  Not a drop of rain fell where it wasn’t supposed to.  Not an once of falling water was left to disrupt God’s plan for the day.  A miracle.  Again.  Amazing.

This Saturday.  It’s raining again.  It’s grey.  It’s cold.  It’s miserable weather.  The rain wasn’t supposed to let up until at least 4:00 pm.  It looked like it would linger on long past then.  We had two CommuniD BBQs scheduled for the day; Detroit and Pontiac.  I looked outside and thought, we might get rained out today.  Again, I got calls from leaders.  Again, anxious, nervous, expecting the rain to continue.  Again, I reassured them reminding them of God’s faithfulness in the past.  What they didn’t know was that this time, I was feeling the same way as they were.  I was nervous.  I was afraid.  I was grasping onto those memories with them.  I was needing the reminders every bit as much as they did.

With the shakiness in my soul of a one year old walking, in faith I continued to encourage them (and me).  I set out from living in Pontiac to drive to Detroit.  Wipers on.  Heat on.  Cold rain.  Answering calls, replying to texts and when no one else was asking me, I was still praying, hoping… no rain.  “Lord, I’m trusting you against my gut instinct of fear.  I will speak in confidence that you will again calm the storms; hoping you do.”

We are such forgetful people.  We are so quick to lose our faith.  We are so quick to be afraid.  And we run to him saying, “Lord, our event will drown!  Don’t you care?  Won’t you help us?  Aren’t you paying attention?”  I don’t think he was bothered that the disciples asked him for help.  They needed help.  What he rebukes them for is their fear and lack of faith.

I can scoff at their lack of faith all I want.  I mean, they could see Jesus right in front of them after all.  But I am every bit as deserving of that scoffing myself.  I may not yet have seen Jesus physically in front of me.  But I have seen the fruit of his words, “Quiet! Be still!” countless times.

So today… AND last week… God held back the clouds!!  In these last 2 Saturdays we’ve seen over 500 people share a meal together.  There have been 5 CommuniD BBQs in 4 locations with 14 partnering groups.  It’s been an incredible couple weeks!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen God work miracles with the weather on Saturday afternoons.  Five years and we’ve cancelled only 4.  That’s quite a track record of good weather!  And yet every time I can hardly believe it!  Our God still calms the storms!  And He creates space for His Body to form and love at a common table.


Be faithful letter

I have a friend that has been going through some hard times. I have been through some hard times in my life. But nothing compared to the hard times that this friend has and is going through.

He recently wrote me telling me that he is sometimes discouraged and frustrated that although he has faith and a good work ethic, he still isn’t getting the opportunities he wants to do all that he knows he can do.

Wow. I think at times we have probably all been there. I know I certainly have.

Sometimes when I feel like God gives me something to say to someone, I feel like it’s for me as much as it is for them even though they’re who asked the question. Maybe it’s because I have the same questions or struggles inside of me, but I just haven’t realized it yet.

The following is a letter I wrote him back. As I wrote, I knew God was speaking it to me too. So I thought I’d share it here too…

“Part of having the work ethics is in putting in the long and difficult hours, weeks, months and sometimes years of unseen work in order to get to the proper stage to show it.

Jesus walked this earth for 33 years. But for the first 30 years he was unknown. He spent that time growing, learning and developing. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) This verse is about what happened when Jesus wasn’t yet known; before he broke out.

I myself have felt called into full time ministry. I went to college for it and have been working towards it. But it’s been 9 years and I’m not there yet. But the last 9 years have been spent growing, learning and doing. I went back to college and finished my degree. I’ve started doing this ministry called Elevate Detroit. Elevate Detroit and the CommuniD BBQs have been going for almost 4 years. June 18th will be our 4 year anniversary celebration. But I’m still not doing it full time. I pray and I pray that I get the opportunity to do what I feel called to do and what I want to do. And in the meantime I do what I can. “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'” (Matthew 25:23). I have tried to be faithful for years with the small things. And over time, over a long time, I have seen God give me slightly bigger things to take care of and do. And as he does, I stay faithful in those as well.

Think of it in terms of your son, _____. I don’t know how old he is, but you’ve called him your baby son. You wouldn’t let him drive a car right now, would you? Or raise a family of his own? No!! Of course not! He can’t yet. But in time he will grow and be able to drive and raise a family and so much more.

We are God’s little kids. He is not as concerned about getting us whatever we feel like we want right away. He is more concerned about our WHOLE life. He is more concerned about ALL that we need to learn to get us from here to there.

You’re not trying to teach your son about how to respect women right now or how to drive a car or do algebra problems. You’re concerned about teaching him how to walk, how to speak well, how to eat with a fork instead of being fed by you or his mom. Driving a car will come in time. But there are many things he must learn first.

So it is in our spiritual lives. God knows what we need to learn, what we need to experience and he knows when we’re ready to do the work we were created to.

What’s even more, God is more concerned about the journey. He wants a relationship with him all along the way. When you’re with _____, your desire isn’t simply to see him learn this task or that. Your desire is to be with him all along the way. Your joy comes from him learning, yes. But it really comes from the two of you being a part of the whole learning process all along the way. God doesn’t just want you to do a certain thing or say certain things. He wants to be in relationship with you all along the way.

God is our heavenly Father. He looking after each one of us. And he’s created each person, you, me, _____ and every other person, with tremendous gifts and abilities to love, forgive, teach, learn and do good things for His Kingdom. But it takes a lifetime to see those things come to full fruition.

Yes, you have faith and you have work ethic. But God is trying to grow in you much more faith and a much greater work ethic. And He is teaching and growing in you so much more than that as well. In the same way your mind was blown the day [experienced Christ’s love for the first time]… there are greater things yet to come. But in the meantime we must be patient and faithful with the small things. For it’s only in being faithful with the small things that we walk in step with the Father in preparation for the greater things.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

My prayer for you is that you would feel the presence and grace of God wherever you go; at all times. I pray that you would be constantly reminded that God is a God of the big and the small. I pray that those constant reminders would build into you patience and perseverance (Read James 1:2-4). I pray that you would sense his walking with you so that you would know your steps are not in vein, but the first steps of a lifelong journey with the loving Creator God; the Creator of both time and space.

Grace and peace to you my brother.

Chris Brown – Give Me Faith

Tonight I visited The Eastside Vineyard Church. Tonight was their final monthly “preview” service. Next Sunday they begin meeting every week.

Dan Kopp shared an excellent message about spending time with God. He challenged us to spend as much time preparing for the day spiritually as we do physically (showering, dressing, etc.). He hit the nail on my head.

For this week I’m going to try to spend an hour every morning every day reading, praying and singing worship. I’m also going to try to set aside one hour every day in the morning for creative time. I’m also going to work out regularly in the morning.

Along with a great message came the introduction to a great worshipful song. Here’re the lyrics:

Chris Brown – Give Me Faith

I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life

All I am,
I surrender

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

Verse 2:
I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

I may be weak
Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will (repeat)

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

I may be weak
Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will (repeat)

Advertisement & Hunger

I got the e-mail that’s copied below forwarded to me from a friend today. 

The following are my thoughts/reflections after reading it… take them for what you will.
I sent them into the AFA too.  I figured, “Why not?”

It saddens me as much as anyone that Faith Financial was told they can’t advertise their faith while they advertise their business.  It’s a great thing to hear that a Christian owned company wants to use their resources and influence to build the Kingdom of God.  However, I wonder something…  Would you have a problem with a Muslim financial company that was told the same thing?  After all, if we’re going to fight for freedom, we need to fight for everyone’s freedoms…:

We need to ask ourselves…  What would our reaction be if we saw a financial institution that was Muslim based being advertised and supporting Muslim causes?  Would we be offended that they were allowed to use the advertisement of their financial institution as a means to spread their religion and their ideals?  I suspect if we’re honest, the answer would be “yes.” And if the answer is yes, then we cannot get offended when we’re not allowed to do the same thing.  After all, we feel like it’s our right and our duty to advertise and promote our religious values and ideals.  However, that doesn’t mean that it’s also Morningstar’s duty to help us.  They have their own rights. 

I am a Christian.  In fact, I work in ministry.  I am always glad to see Christians using their influence in the secular world to make an impact for the Kingdom of God.  I think it is what we are called to do.  I think it is why God gives us that influence and position. 

It saddens me greatly though to think about organizations becoming so up in arms about a “Christian financial” company not being allowed to advertise on a certain network when there are 30,000 kids dying every day of starvation… that’s the equivalent of ten September 11ths every day.

How much good could a “Christian financial institution” do if they came alongside an organization like “the ONE campaign” and were determined “make poverty history”? 

Let’s look at our reaction to the one September 11th that our country went through.  It happened one time, six years ago. But do you know what happened around the world yesterday?  Ten of them… and mostly women and children, just starved to death.  You know what will happen today?  Ten more.  Tomorrow?  Ten more.  Between those three days, that’s 90,000 people.  Dead.  These people didn’t die because they worked in the world’s financial district.  They didn’t die because of anything their country did.  They didn’t die because of terrorists.

These people starved to death as we drive our SUVs and as left-overs rot in our refrigerators.  These people died because we, Americans, killed them with our greed.  And we’re worried about our Christian investment company’s advertisements?

That’s 90,000 people starving as the average American home now has an extra refrigerator or freezer just to help hold all the extra food.  90,000 dead as we have fully stocked pantries and shelves in the basement or the back room to hold the food that won’t fit in the pantry.  Today, 30,000 people will die from what is the most preventable death ever… hunger. 

What will we do about that?

I write this as a brother in Christ,

Mike Schmitt
(248) 259-1937



Morningstar, One of the Largest Financial Information Companies, Rejects Ad that References “Christian”

Anti-Christian bias has become the norm in Hollywood and the media in recent years, and now there is evidence of this bigotry growing in the financial services industry, as well. We have learned that our friends at Faith Financial Planners were denied a paid advertisement on the website of Morningstar unless they removed the “Christian” content from their advertisement. Morningstar — one of the largest providers of financial information on mutual funds, stocks, and portfolios for individual investors and institutions in the world — told Faith Financial that the company had to “change the message completely and eliminate the Christian undertones.” This is a clear example of bigotry just because Faith Financial represents a Christian message about values and investing. Faith Financial is a company that, through one of its subsidiaries, provides information for Christians to use in reflecting their values in their investments. The information alerts values-based investors to those companies that are involved in pornography, abortion, the homosexual agenda, etc. Faith Financial’s website is faithfinancialplanners.com. Faith Financial is based in the Nashville, Tennessee area.

In an unprecedented move, after a contract had been signed by both parties, an ad sales agent for Morningstar informed Faith Financial that Morningstar had reversed its decision to accept the ad and decided that Faith Financial must censor the “Christian undertones” in order for the ad to be acceptable. American Family Association is asking you to let the leadership at Morningstar know that this kind of Christian bigotry is unacceptable.

You can send a message to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joe Mansueto.

Click here to Take Action!



Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

P.S. Please forward this e-mail message to your family and friends!


Four Years gone by…

Four years gone by like a breathe on summer breeze.  Seems like another lifetime ago and yet yesterday.  Where did the time go?  Where did I go?  Sometimes I’m glad you’re gone and glad you’re there.  Sometimes I miss those times you were here.  Sometimes I don’t miss you at all, but most times I miss you in the Fall…

To my faithful Mother,

I wish not to read this before you, till peace everlasting has found you.
The race is done, you stayed the course.  No one could prouder be.
And though I cry, ’tis not for you, for you are now at Home.
These tears will fade, but memories won’t, of Love and life and peace.
Falling on a body loved, though now an empty corpse.
I bid you now but long farewell, tho’ permanent ’tis not.
For mine will come, and I’ll be done, and I will see you then.
I pray a faith like yours may grow, post these tears I shed.
These tears will fade, but lessons won’t, of Hope and trust and love.
I thank you now for all you’ve done.
As I know I cannot see, the smile you wear everlong, in dancing, singing, praising, to He.

I still love you.  I will never forget you.  I will see you soon.
So while you’re dancing, smile.
Smile because I’ll see you soon, and save just one for me.

Four years gone by like a whisper on the winter eve.
Shattering the silence, deadened by the warmth in snowflakes.