How do I Know That Going to Church is Right for Me?

Why do I need to go to church? I have heard that question many times. I have an excerpt today from my book “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,”  that may give you some answers to that question.

This book also reaches out to those that suffer from anxiety, fear depression addictions, self-doubt and hopelessness. You can order this book by clicking on the “Bookstore,” icon and the top of this page.



Chapter 21

The Church Is Prayer-Conditioned


Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Matthew 7:24–25


The church today is often at the center of controversy—from within and without. The far right has its agenda, but it isn’t always right. The far left’s agenda causes it to sometimes be left out of the mainstream. Lawsuits against churches run from those bordering on frivolous (zoning controversies) to more serious charges like those against clergy who have molested children.

We are told in the Bible that this kind of divisive behavior will increase so that brothers will be against brothers, fathers against sons, wives against husbands. Not only is the controversy from outside the church, it takes place right within its walls. That is one reason there are so many different denominations. When people agree to disagree, the easiest thing to do is leave and form a congregation more to their liking.

Why does this happen? Why do people allow their differences to separate them from the true purpose of the church—to worship God?


I see one glaring reason: the lack of prayer in the church. So many ministers are what some call “current-events” ministers. They do not preach from the Bible, and speak instead about issues of the day on which they have an opinion. In the process, they do not bathe their ministry in prayer. 

That is not about worship; it is leaning on a political agenda instead. That is not what God had in mind when He laid out plans for the early church in the book of Acts and throughout the epistles.

Without prayer, a church’s foundation is laid in sand, and it will topple and crumble as easily as Saddam Hussein’s statue did in theIraqwar or as easily as a sand castle, no matter how carefully it was engineered. The church will go over a cliff just like many sheep do when they are all running in the same direction. The leader of the church will do all he can to stop them, but they will run on without him to their death.

There is a way to do a U-turn in all of this. Pray without ceasing! Here are some crucial words from Paul the Apostle: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

Is that hard to understand? I’ve told my students that when they lose their way in their studies to go back to the basics. What is the basic foundation of your math problem? What is the basic idea behind a sentence structure? What is the basic thought about this culture? The basics! Stick with them and you’ll figure it out.

The basics of a church’s survival are prayer and more prayer. It is using prayer to seek God’s will. It is using prayer to plan for the next revival. It is using prayer to withstand the enemy, who wants your church to fail.

Two things should be happening within a church to make it a growing viable church: The minister needs to be preaching from the Bible, and there has to be powerful prayer support from within.

Having the church prayer-conditioned will make for cool summers and provide for lots of spiritual growth.

I have attended several churches over the years. I didn’t stay for much more than one sermon in those that weren’t built on the proper foundation—Bible preaching and prayer. They refuse to let God run the show and eventually find themselves with declining attendance. They didn’t realize they were worshipping in God’s house, not their own house.

Check out the foundation of your church. Is it prayer-conditioned? Does it have the Bible as its guide? Or do you hear about the latest best-selling book or about why gays shouldn’t be allowed to be part of the church? These issues are about opinions and have no place in the pulpit. Church is where we come to worship God. End of story!

Try to put God first in your church, and it will be as solid as a rock.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5–6



Further Adventures

We sometimes take prayer for granted. We say, “Help me through the day, Lord.” But do we really think about what we even said. You walk out the door and go to work, and ask God to help you through the day. That is way too broad of a request. There are hundreds of thing that could happen in one day.

We do this in the church too. We pray for the sick of the church. We pray that the members will donate more money. Those prayers are also too general and don’t let God know your specific needs.

When we pray for the sick, we need to name individuals and hold them up to God. When we pray for more giving, we should point out specific projects. Yes, it takes a lot longer, and you think God will know all of the sick and all of the needs of the church. But He listens to earnest, sincere and concentrated prayers with a deeper love and understanding.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that if we trust God, we can build a foundation that will never fail

Am I Really Qualified to Know What God Wants for Me?

 It is now after Christmas and some people have not felt the joy of what the reason of the season was. Statistics proof that the month of December is one of the hardest months for people. Many battle depression, anxiety, fear, addictions, self-doubt or hopelessness. 


I have another excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to survive in an Unfriendly World.” This chapter is on how prayer can see us through the storms and trials we face each day. This book reaches out to those who suffer from the afflictions mentioned above.

Life Is Short; Pray Hard


Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that send out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7–8


It seems so easy to become complacent in our lives—to just do the daily routine, going through the motions of a life. It’s so much easier that way: Go to work every morning; come home every evening; watch a little TV; go to bed.

There’s no pressure there. Making a living and providing for our family is all that matters. It’s a comfortable feeling—right?

Surveys say that thinking is not right. Many people are unhappy with their jobs. I’ve been there. Have you? Are you disappointed about what you’ve accomplished in life? Feel depressed and dejected because you aren’t getting anywhere?

All of us have had dreams, but most of us think we’ll never accomplish them. It’s only dreaming after all. It’s too risky to change jobs to pursue a dream. There isn’t time to build that new house—it’s called a “dream” house for a reason. You really don’t think you have the talent to write that book you’ve been thinking about. You’ve always wanted to go to the mission field, but you’d have to give up too much.

Speaking of talents, Jesus told a parable about talents. Although we think of talents as things we do well, a talent in the time of Jesus was a huge amount of money. One talent was worth about a year’s wages back then. A year’s wages was a tremendous amount to the people, because of the hard times they were going through.

I will let Jesus tell the parable and see if we can see the parallels between the money kind of talent Jesus referred to and the abilities God has given us. It is from Matthew, chapter 25:

14Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.     

19After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.”

21His 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!”

22The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”     

23His 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!”

24Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

26His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In case you missed it, Jesus is telling you to get off the back burner. Get up from that rocking chair. Take the first step. Stop being a couch potato. Serve God by using your talents now, not down the road that may lead to a dead end.

God doesn’t have certain molds He uses to create people. He doesn’t say, “Well, I guess I’ll make some accountants today. There seems to be a shortage.” He doesn’t make mass copies of carpenters, real estate salesmen, or home decorators. He creates each of us—one at a time—with our own talents.

Three questions that are often asked:

  1. How do I know what my talents are?
  2. When will God let me know what He wants me to do?
  3. Am I really qualified to serve God in the way He wants me to?

Let’s examine each of these questions:

  1. How do I know what my talents are?

What are the things you enjoy doing? What do you do well? Your answers give you a hint of where your talents lie. You know that you have a talent for working with kids—because you enjoy doing it. Or you might enjoy for helping the elderly. You know you can be persuasive. You know you love to help those recuperating from an illness. You know you want to open that florist shop. You have kept a journal or diary for years. Expand on it.

Why are you waiting? You have the greatest CEO in the universe to guide you through the process. God is there.

  1. When will God let me know what He wants me to do?

He probably already has. You just didn’t think you could do it. God is planting ideas in our minds all the time. Sometimes we choose to ignore them; often, we feel like we just can’t do what He asks. Life is short—only a blink of the eye from God’s perspective. Through prayer and following God’s lead, each of us can live a fulfilling life.

     3.    Am I really qualified to serve God in the way He wants me to?

I can answer that from experience. When God let me know He wanted me to write this book, I thought, Boy, God, do You have the wrong number! God then let me know that not only did He have the right number, He also wanted me to get to the computer and get started!

Pray for guidance from God as to what He may want you to do. Trust me—nine years ago, I never thought I would be an author. Far from it. I was floundering and searching for meaning—just like you may be. I felt lost and defeated—just like you. God then woke me up and directed me to write the words I am writing now. I hope you pray hard and find out what mission God has for you to do. If we do not use our talents the way God intended, then we are failing our calling by God. Just do it!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12


Further Adventures

I have wasted so many years passing up open doors God provided for me. At one time I considered opening a group home for kids who were having trouble coping in life. It would have had its own school, a staff of counselors to help them, and guidance to help them choose their future. I kept dreaming about it, and even did a little researching. I found a man who would support such a venture. I was all set. What happened? I felt I would fail, because I didn’t have enough fortitude to stick with it. I let it go. I think back on that many times, and wonder what would have happened. It is gone now because I now know what God wants me to do the rest of my life. Well, today anyway.

Don’t let this happen to you. If you think God is whispering in your ear, clean out the wax and listen closely. He knows your talents. He knows ahead of time if you will make it or not. If He wants you to something you can be assured He will be there to help you accomplish it.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that as we get older the time seems to go faster?

People Who Are Prayed for, Live Longer

* I would like to invite you to join the RSS feed to this site. It helps us move up the Google Search Rankings.


It is only two days before Christmas. I want to wish you the merriest Christmas ever, and remember the true meaning of the day.


I have another excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” This chapter talks about people who were dying and survived through the power of prayer. The doctors could give no other exclamation.



Chapter 19


Life Is Fragile; Handle with Prayer


The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 145:18–19


I received an advertisement for a book that claims to have information in it that no industry wants you to read. It says it is full of ideas to beat the system, pay less for everything, and how to beat death.

The last claim intrigued me because I may want to live forever. (I know what you’re thinking: We all are going to live forever together with God in heaven anyway. I just wanted to tease you little bit.) I looked at the section of the ad where it listed several “forbidden” secrets to long life and good health.

The most interesting thing they found was that patients healed faster when they were prayed for—even by strangers. This was a claim thatDukeUniversityresearchers set out to test in a double-blind study of heart patients. They wanted to find out if prayer works not only if you pray for yourself, but also if some stranger prays for you.  (They probably could have saved time and money by asking us—right?)

What they found out was amazing to them: Patients who were prayed for by people who didn’t even know them had drastically lower rates of complications. The interesting thing is that these patients were never told that anyone was praying for them just in case knowing that would make them feel better by the power of suggestion.

I read through the rest of the amazing secrets, and I may check out how bananas help fight depression, or how frozen peas kill foot pain, but that will have to wait for now.

The fact that there is research on prayer is encouraging, but you and I know that it works, and we never spent a dime on checking it out. Kind of like the Nike slogan: We just do it.

I have a shocking revelation for the entire world, including those researchers: God is real and does answer prayer! I am living proof of that. I cried out to Him one day in 2001. He heard my cries, comforted me and lifted me up.

God isn’t some idol or figure you stand in front of and worship. He isn’t something artificial you pray to about something and then hope for the best and watch the movement of the stars for an answer. He came down to this earth in human flesh and became one of us. He cried. He was in pain. He was in fear. He showed anger. Then after all this, He died for you and me so we wouldn’t have to feel the eternal pain of sin, fear and sadness. When He was placed on that cross, everything changed. He bled and died so that we would have a place to come home to when we go through our time of physical death.

God listens to every word we say during prayer—or any other time—and wants to help us through the bad spots and smiles with us in the good spots.

Does it seem like there are more bad spots than good spots? Do you wonder why everything seems to be piling up? Do you want to stay strong only to have the burdens of the day weigh you down as if a rhino were sitting on you? PRAY!

God wants to hear from us. Like the bumper sticker says, “Life is fragile; handle with prayer.” When days become more than we can handle, the best option is to talk to God about it.

Day after day, the paycheck you’ve been promised doesn’t appear in the mail. The water heater bursts and you have no hot water to bathe your children. The used car you just bought has decided it would rather sleep in your garage than be driven. The landlord had said you could have a little more time to pay the rent, but he is under pressure from his boss and has been knocking at your door every day now. You fear going to the doctor because he has some tests he wants to talk to you about.

You are not alone, my friend. There are many people in very similar circumstances. PRAY!

God is a loving God, and He wants us to come to Him with our burdens. This world is tough enough with God in our lives. How scary it is to try to go through life without God. We can give Him our worries, our illness, our failures and our anger, and let Him calm the storm—or calm us in the storm. Maybe He won’t take the storm away, but He will give us His grace and peace while we go through it.

I try to focus on what God wants for me instead of on what I want from God. God wants us to depend on Him for our needs, but He is not there to fix everything for us. We can ask for direction and He will give it to us. We can ask to be rich and famous, but that may not happen.

We can—and should—ask God to fill our hearts with His love to sustain us through troubled times. We can—and should—ask Him to calm our spirits so that when the storm hits, we will not let depression overcome us. Depression lets Satan in the front door to try to convince us that God does not care or want to be of help. The prince of darkness wants us to struggle on our own—a sure road to defeat.

I have had my own battles with depression for years, and God has had His hand on my shoulder ever since I turned my depression over to Him. I still have some low days, but now I know God is there for me, and I can make it with His help.

To say that life is fragile is an understatement. I have been battling illnesses for years, and had more surgeries in a three-year time span than most people have in a lifetime. That is why I am very encouraged to see the “forbidden” news that prayer works for patients.

The nurses at my doctors’ offices know me by my first name. (Not really, but it seems like it.) And I think there’s a bed at the hospital with my name on it since I’m there so often.

Before my most serious surgery, a quadruple bypass, my whole family was there praying for me. I was smiling and joking. I had turned it over to God, and I was at peace. After the surgery the doctor said my heart was in amazing shape considering all the arteries that had been clogged. I am alive today because God was there holding my hand and guiding the doctors’ hands.

God doesn’t want us to waste our lives by worrying about anything. Jesus said that worry never added one inch to a person’s height or one day to his life. He is right. Worry only tears at the mind and soul. Life is too short to spend even a minute of it in fear.

Give it all up in prayer. Let God carry you the rest of the way—just like He is doing for me.


“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:14–16


Further Adventures

Do you feel down-trodden? Looking at high walls around you? Does it seem like you’re sinking in the quicksand? You certainly are not alone. There are many people on this planet who are in the same sinking boat you are.

But you can get out of that boat, climb over those walls and hold your head high if you let God take over your life. Don’t try to face life alone. It is a tough battle at best. Take five minutes and speak to God about the barriers in your life. In my own life, I felt an instant change come over me. I wasn’t out of the woods yet, but the path I was hiking on had beautiful flowers and lakes to see. And I wasn’t walking alone. God was there, reminding me that He had created all those beautiful things I was enjoying along the way to recovery.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny how people are amazed that prayer works?