“Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Friends, as much as I appreciate this poem let’s prove the poet wrong and commit to sitting with others in their pain and bearing the burden of their brokenness. It’s true that no man can help you die but The Son of Man has already gone ahead of us and taken the sting away from death. Even more, he promises to never leave us nor forsake us and, having already gone ahead of us, will come back and take us to be where he is.

“A Prayer for Focus” by Richard J. Foster

Happy Tuesday!!! Friends if your days are anything like mine have been lately I invite you to join me in praying the following…

Jesus, I desire to start this day with you. And yet, my mind keeps flitting to so many things:
the projects I want to accomplish,
the people I want to talk to,
the people I wish I didn’t have to talk to.

I wonder. Are these things distractions to spiritual concentration or invitation to see God in the ordinary?
I’m not sure.

Jesus, I know that you are that Center who knows no distraction. So I offer up my mental fragmentation to you,
O Lord my God.

May my scatteredness become your gatheredness.
As I am contemplating a thousand things, Jesus,
may I somehow be contemplating you.

Richard J. Foster; Prayers From the Heart

“Dual Sermon Preparation” Pastor Randy

Happy Tuesday! Lately I have been helping churches as they seek new pastors and one of the question often asked is, “How do you prepare your sermon?”

It is a valid and relevant question but I would also like to ask members of each congregation, “How do YOU prepare for the sermon?”

For today’s blog post I invite you to read an article by Thom Rainer that explores this very topic, then I would encourage you to implement some, if not all, of his suggested steps.

Imagine if the same amount of time and prayer went into both preparing to preach the message and preparing to hear the message!

Seven Ways Church Members Should Prepare for a Sermon

By Thom S. Rainer

What if church members began their own form of sermon preparation?

For countless decades, we have heard about the role of pastors in sermon preparation. The number of hours they need to prepare. The priority of preparation. The role of prayer in sermon preparation.

But what if church members prepared for each sermon they heard? What if they believed their roles as recipients of the Word are also crucially important?

I can see incredible church revitalization taking place if church members took on their own responsibilities of sermon preparation. Here are seven ways members can actively prepare for sermons.

  1. Pray for the sermon. For a few minutes, the church member should pray for the upcoming sermon. That prayer might take place during the week, the night before the preaching, or the morning of the preaching.
  2. Pray for the pastor who is preaching. Pray that the pastor will understand God’s message for that text. Pray that the pastor will have no distractions. Pray that God’s Spirit will fill the pastor in both the preparation and delivery of the sermon.
  3. Pray for yourself as you prepare to hear the sermon. Pray that God will speak to you through the message. Pray that you will not be distracted. Pray for clarity of mind and an open heart to receive the message.
  4. Read the biblical text before the sermon is preached. If possible, read the text from which the pastor will preach. Read it thoroughly. Read it prayerfully.
  5. Take notes. Take notes as the pastor preaches. You will have a greater focus and greater retention. Review the notes at least once during the next week.
  6. Seek an application to your life. Ask God for discernment to help you understand how the sermon should change your life. Seek to understand the sermon not only in its biblical context, but in your life as well.
  7. Share with the pastor “one thing.” If possible, share with your pastor one significant takeaway from the sermon. Pastors hear countless “good job, pastor,” or “nice message, pastor,” but they long to know if God really made a difference in the lives of the church members through the preached word. If you are able to communicate just one takeaway from the sermon in person, by email, or in social media, your pastor will be greatly encouraged.

The preaching of God’s Word is central to the life of the church. It makes sense that pastors should give it the highest priority.

But doesn’t it also make sense that church members should prepare as well?

“Pray for All People” by Pastor Randy

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Happy Tuesday friends! Today I want to talk about one of the most powerful privileges we as Christians have which is to intercede for others in prayer.

To intercede is simply to go to God on behalf of someone else and, just as Paul is urging young Timothy to pray for ALL people, I believe that God expects the same of us.

Now some people are easy to pray for, right? Your grandmother who has always shown love to you, the father who has lost his son due to a drunk driver hitting him, a political leader whom you agree with.

But what about… your family member who has not shown love to you? Or for the drunk driver that accidentally killed the man’s son and has to live with the consequences the rest of his life? Or that political leader that you don’t agree with (right after these verses Paul actually talks about praying for those who rule over us) and whom you greatly dislike? Not so easy, right?

Just as Jesus came to us because we were in need and not because we were deserving we too need to bring ALL to God’s throne to intercede for them because they are in need—not because they are deserving or because they even are aware that they need God’s help in their life. the reality is that we have all fallen into that box before. Remember Paul’s words to the Romans

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (5:6-8 NLT)

Besides, imagine what your life would look like if you started each day off by praying for others, lifting up their needs, and thanking God for them. I bet you wouldn’t spend nearly as much time focusing on your own troubles or feeding your anger at others. I bet you would start to see others with empathetic eyes and that compassion and forgiveness would come that much easier even in the midst of the most difficult situations.

You see, prayer has the power to change lives but the life that is often most significantly changed is the one doing the praying. Prayer gives us a bigger and better perspective so let us become a people of prayer!

Please respond and let me know!!!

“Playbook of Life” by Dave Good

Good day!!  Welcome back to the GSM blog. My name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray this blog is a blessing to you and brings you closer to God.  

Today, I want to speak to you about practice Most of you know that I am a huge sports fan. Over the years I have played and watched just about every sport there is. Growing up we used to play football in the street, pick up basketball, hockey in the school yard, and baseball in the empty field down the street. Sports allowed me to channel my competitive side and more importantly burn off some of my energy.

Sports have been such a blessing to me over the years. As I grow older the sports have changed a bit but they are still a part of my life. Gone are the days of football and basketball but I still enjoy biking, golf and going to the gym. I will be completely honest with you, I was never great at any sport but I was able to utilize my talents enough to not make a fool of myself. I was never the fastest guy or the strongest but I could understand the game and use my knowledge to overcome those shortcomings. This sounds like the movie, “Rudy.” If you haven’t watched that movie I encourage you to view it—you won’t be disappointed.

Through all my years of sports participation the one thing I’ve learned is that practice is essential to improvement. Any time you join a team, I don’t care what sport it is, the season always starts with a playbook and practice. In football, the playbook diagrams all the plays the offense or defense runs. In basketball the coach utilizes a magnetic board to demonstrate the player movements. In golf, the players carry around a book which contains yardages and club selections from the practice rounds. Every sport has some sort of playbook to help them be the best they can be and impart knowledge to the players.

Our life has a playbook too. It’s called God’s Word or the Bible. Reading your Bible will provide you with God’s playbook for our life. The Bible provides instructions, plays, and rules we need to play the game of life. I know, you are probably thinking that life is not a sport but I beg to disagree. The life we face has everything football, baseball, basketball, or any other sport would include. The are rules, momentum swings, adversities, competitiveness, and drama, all within one game.

The way we get better at life, and the ability to overcome and endure the adversity that is thrown our way, is to spend time practicing. Life practice involves reading our Bible each and every day. Just like an athlete trying to improve and make the team, understanding the Bible and spending time reading it is just like practice. The more you practice the better you get.

You can ask any professional athlete and they will tell you they have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours practicing and most of the time they are doing it by themselves. Whether it’s spending the time at the gym or running laps to improve their endurance, most of the time no one is around or even knows about the effort they are putting in. The same can be said about our walk with Jesus, our prayer time, and our Bible study. The Gospel of Matthew tells us in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Word tells us that we should find a secret place to practice with our Bible. I can honestly tell you I’ve spent many , many hours in His Word. I love reading what God has to tell us. I love trying to understand His commands and rules. I love digesting the plays and directions he has written out for us. The Bible has taught me so much on how to play the game called life and not only endure it but to compete at a very high level.

Just like a professional athlete we never master the game. Sure, we will have days where we feel victorious or strong and there will be days when we feel defeated and worn out. The good news is that our practice and devotion to God’s word will give us the skills needed to stay in the game and fight to the end. The best part is that not only will will be more prepared but God will play the game with us.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”Deuteronomy 31:8

The truth is that we have the greatest teammate of all. The G.O.A.T. as they say playing along with us. The Lord, himself will coach us , instruct us, and participate along side of us each and every day.

Friends, I hope this analogy from the world of sports and the game of life is helpful. I cannot stress enough how important it is to read your Bible. We need to put in the work on a daily basis to understand His Word. And, if you do just that, I promise you that the practice will pay off and you will be equipped with all the skills necessary to play the game of life at a very high level.

God bless you and I look forward to spending more time with you next week.

“Actions Speak Louder Than Words” by Dave Good

Good day!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good. I am honored to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words will be a blessing to you and bring you closer to Christ.

Today I want to explore an old saying that most of you are probably familiar with. The saying goes like this, “Actions speak louder than words.” I am almost certain we all have either heard or even said this well known principle of life. When you take a few moments and really examine the meaning of this phrase you can see the truth in it. Although this phrase is not biblical I really believe that God wants us all to live by its standards. We can find similar phrasing in Scripture though like in 1 John 3:18 where the author writes, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

I don’t know about you but this saying speaks volume to me. I am guilty of not upholding the standard we just read. I have made promises or said things that I did not follow through with. I had good intentions when I said the words, but I failed to deliver on the promise. This realization drives me to want to do better and I will definitely use it as motivation to do so.

The encouraging part of my downfall is that we serve a God that never fails on His words. If God promises to do something it is done. He will never go back on His word. The Lord models what it truly means to let your actions speak louder than words. The Bible is full of God telling us He loves us. Over and over again, God reminds his people that He loves them and will protect them. I have told a lot of people I love them but do I always show them I love them? The answer is no. I often fall short on showing my love with action. God, on the other hand, displays His love with the ultimate action. God sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for our sins. If that doesn’t show you God loves you I don’t know what will. We serve a God of action—not just words.

God is also a God of promises. He not only tells you His promises but He actually keeps them. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Friends, we may never to be able to keep every promise that we make or be able to consistently show our love like we should but with Gods as our role model good thing is God is our role model we can learn to live out our love, keep our promises, and allow our actions to speak louder than ever before. The only thing we can do is strive to be better. Strive to be more consistent. Strive to be more like the example God has modeled for us. This is not easy and we won’t always get it right but the closer we walk with God the more our actions will speak louder than words.

Have a great week I look forward to connecting with you again!


Good morning,

Today’s encouragement is short but not always simple. Today I encourage you to LOVE…

LOVE those closest to you in the way that they will recognize and receive it best.

LOVE those who have offended you and don’t wait for their permission to forgive.

LOVE your friends and family unconditionally based on who they are instead of what they do.

LOVE your enemies and treat them kindly as you would want them to treat you.

LOVE people–not things.

LOVE good–not evil


And, going along with Dave’s post yesterday about looking in the mirror, here is a good way to measure how you are doing when it comes to loving others the way that Christ expects of us.

Most people are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 whether or not you have read it, listened to a message on it, or heard it being read at a wedding, but have you ever taken inventory of how you are doing in the area of love using this passage as a plum line line? Let’s start by reading the passage together…

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (‭‭vv. 4-8‬ )‬‬

Now here’s the test. Replace the word “Love” with your name and see if it still rings true. Here is an example using my name.

“Pastor Randy is patient, Pastor Randy is kind. Pastor Randy does not envy, he does not boast, Pastor Randy is not proud. Pastor Randy does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, and is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. Pastor Randy does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Pastor Randy never fails.” (‭‭vv. 4-8‬ )‬‬

Now, I wish I could say that with these changes the passage still rang true 100% of the time but the reality is that there are areas that I fall short in and ultimately need to ask God’s help to get better in.

So now, how about you? Write your name in each blank, rate yourself (or ask a spouse or a close friend if you’re feeling daring), and then ask God to help you to work on the areas where you fall short. Ultimately though the best thing we can do to grow in each and every area is to spend time getting to know the one who perfected love—Jesus himself.

________________ is patient

________________ is kind

________________ does not envy

________________ does not boast

________________ is not proud

________________ does not dishonor others

________________ is not self-seeking

________________ is not easily angered

________________ keeps no record of wrongs

________________ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

________________ always protects

________________ always trusts

________________ always hopes

________________ always perseveres

________________ never fails

“The Race of Life” by Dave Good

Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. My name is Dave Good. I am excited about our time together. I pray my words are a blessing and bring you closer to God.

Last week, I wrote a blog called,”Who do you run to?” If you missed it I encourage you to take a minute and read it. The gist of it was that we all have someone or something we run to when things start to fall apart. We should be running to God, but that’s easier said than done. I am not going to go over all the details here (you can still access that post) I just wanted to set the foundation for what we are going to talk about today.

A few weeks ago, I decided to start running again and I signed up to run the Albion Strawberry Festival 5K. It’s a 3.1 mile race that winds through the village of Albion and down the Erie Canal. The course is fairly flat and very scenic. I have run it a hundred times over the years so I’m quite familiar with the terrain. To be completely honest with you, I haven’t really run in a few years and getting back into shape has been quite the challenge. The last time I ran this race was 2018 which was before the pandemic.

As I started my training, I decided to test my endurance right of the bat and just run as long as I could without stopping. The good news was I was able to run the full 3.1 miles without stopping. The bad news was I was so sore the next 3 days that I could barely walk. (All I can say is this getting old thing is not fun. Lol) My first run gave me a lot of confidence that I could complete the race, it also reminded me I have a long way to go. My next run didn’t go so well. I started out really fast and ran out of breath quickly and before I finished the course I had to stop and walk 3 separate times. I’ve gone out a few more times and I’m happy to report that I’m making strides. I have been able to run longer and faster and only have to stop 2 times lol. I’m getting there, I know in my heart I will be ready for the start of the race.

Now, you are probably thinking what does this have to do with my Christian walk? Our Christian walk is like a race. Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Each and every one of us has a course for our life God has planned for us. Some people call it destiny, I like to call it’s God’s plan for our life. God created us to run a specific journey on this earth. The good news is we know where the finish line is and that is life eternal with God himself. The problem is that trying to get to the finish line is not as easy as it seems

We all have hindrances that weigh us down throughout the race. It could be the sin or addiction we can’t shake, the anxiety and fear that consumes our minds, or the problems and issues of this world that seem to come at us from all directions. Our race of life is often filled with stuff that slows us down.

I am here today to tell you to just keep going. Keep your eyes on the finish line. Paul tells us, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
‭(Philippians‬ ‭3:14‬)
The course of life may be full of hills, obstacles, and long distances but God will be with you the entire time. He is faithful and will spur you on at times towards the finish line. He will point you in the right direction and sometimes even carry you up the hill. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬) That is the God I serve. ‬‬‬‬

The last point I want to make before I wrap this up is simply this: it’s ok to stop or slow down when you are out of breath. There are times in training or even in a race when you are just too tired to keep going and you have to just slow down and catch your breath. It’s OK to slow down and recover. Maybe you just need to take a day to relax, maybe you need to just spend the day reading or being still and allow yourself to be restored so that you can continue your race.

Friends, I could go on and on about what running has taught me over the years. I have learned so much about myself, my strengths and my limitations. The race we are running is not easy, it’s long and difficult. Always keep your eye on the finish line and let God run with you. He knows the way and He knows the pace we need to run to get there.

Have yourself a great week!

“God Said, No” by Pastor Randy

There is a poem by an anonymous author entitled, “I Asked God”, that I like because it helps to see things from a different perspective when life doesn’t feel fair or when it seems like God is not answering our prayers.

If you have felt like this lately please read it and hopefully you will gain a new perspective as well.

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
Her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a by-product of trials, it isn’t granted, it’s earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldy cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me love others, as much as He loves me.
God said, Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

“I Surrender All” by Dave Good

What’s it going to take? That’s the question I want to address today.

What is it going to take for you to finally turn your life over to God? Now some of you are going to say, “What are you talking about Dave? I accepted Christ years ago and turned my life over then.” If that is the case, I applaud you. However, just because you accepted Christ doesn’t mean you surrendered your life to Him. There are a lot of saved Christians who are still at the wheel and control of their life. I am one of them. I accepted Christ almost 20 years ago, yet there are still areas of my life that I still hold onto. I hold on to my financial situation, I hold on to my use of free time and pleasure, and I hold on to my decision making. In many ways I am still in control.

One of the scariest things in life is to be out of control. Ironically, a lot of us are out of control and don’t even know it. We go about our daily life, tackle all the problems that arise, and make it through the day. We head home, try to get some rest, and do it all again tomorrow. Does this sound familiar? I get the chance to interact with hundreds of people every day, as a pharmacist and one of my favorite things to do is ask someone, “How are you doing?” It’s a simple question and I get answers like: “Living the dream”, “Pretty good”, “OK”, or my personal favorite, “So far so good”. All of these are good answers but do they sound like the truth?

The majority of time we put on our happy face and bare and grin it. I don’t believe that is what God had in mind for our lives when He created us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has a plan for our life, a plan for us to thrive and conquer this life. I do not believe God created us to just make it through the day. That is why it is so important to hand over our life to His plan. His plan is a promise, we can trust Him with our life. He will never let us down or forsake us. The one who created you will put you in a career that you were created for. He will put you in a relationship that he intended you to be in. He will provide for you on a daily basis. These are all promises which God can not fail to fulfill. The problems come when our own control based decisions influence His plan for our life.

So the question arises, “How do I surrender my life fully to Jesus? “ I can honestly say that I don’t have the exact answer to that question except to say that you just have to take it one day at a time. Every day we have hundreds of decisions to make, right? How you make those decisions determines who is in control of your life. If you make snap decisions and just do what you feel is right then that is a self controlled mindset. My recommendation to you is pretty simple, when you are faced with decisions, whether big or small, prayerfully ask God for guidance and discernment. Now you may wonder how how you could say a prayer and wait for an answer when a decision needs to be made quickly? In those situations we rely on what we have already learned from reading His Word and trust that The Holy Spirit, aka The Helper, will guide us daily. That little small voice that nudges you while you make decisions, that is God’s way of prompting us to make right decisions on a daily basis. We just have to listen and obey.

Friends, I don’t even pretend to have all the answers. My life is not perfect and I haven’t always make the best decisions. I have learned over the years though that my best decisions have been made when I have gone to God in prayer or heeded to The Holy Spirit’s still, voice. God will always point you in the right direction. He will always guide you along His will for your life. The more decisions you make according to God’s plan the more you surrender your life to Christ. Surrendering to God is a daily choice but it is also the wisest choice

Thank you for you time. I look forward to the next time. Have a great rest of the week and may God bless you!

“Lessons Learned from Catching Covid & Quarantining – Part 2” by Pastor Randy

Happy Tuesday! If you read yesterday’s post you know that I was recently quarantined after catching Covid-19 and I shared some lessons that I learned from it. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post then go read it. I’ll wait… 😇

Ok, now that you are all caught up, here are a few more lessons that I learned last week…

LESSON #5 – God Is The Good Shepherd & A Good, Good Father

One of the things I love about God is that He cares about us. And He doesn’t just care about the big stuff but He cares about the little stuff too. He really is the Good Shepherd from Psalm 23:1 that supplies all of our needs and the Good Father from Matthew 7:11 who knows how to give good gifts to his children. Not only did God bless me by not allowing me to suffer some of the debilitating symptoms and side effects that some have had to go through and ultimately, I believe, healing me but He also blessed me along the way. And the best part was that he used others to do it! That brings me to…

LESSON #6 – God’s Kids Are Pretty Great Too

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post that it was tough not having anyone to talk to or touch but that didn’t mean that others didn’t talk to me via texting and social media and that I didn’t get touched by their encouraging words and generous acts. Some examples were…

  • A friend showing up w/ coffee and meds
  • Another friend showing up with tea and cough drops
  • Yet another friend showing up with coffee
  • My wife bringing me coffee in bed each morning
  • Are you starting to sense a theme here? Lol
  • Friends offering to bring me take-out or groceries
  • Hundreds of Birthday wishes online
  • $4,815 raised for my Birthday Fundraiser
  • A friend and fellow pastor offering not only to preach at the two churches I was scheduled to speak at this past Sunday but also to donate the honorariums from each to Go Scatter Ministries.
  • Friends sharing that they have their churches and friends praying for me.
  • Encouraging messages coming from other countries
  • Birthday breakfast in bed ☕️🥓🍳🥞
  • I could go on but you get the picture. 😁

LESSON #7 – I Am Not An Essential Worker

Sometimes it takes getting sidelined for a bit to realize that, whether out of a sense of self worth or in trying to live up to others’ expectations, we have taken on too much. The reality is that, like many found out at the beginning of the pandemic, we are not as essential as we assumed we were. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that it is God’s desire to partner with us in order to achieve His Will but sometimes we overstep and forget that God is God and we are not. When this happens we need to be reminded that the world will turn and that ministry will still happen without us. For me this is not a new lesson but actually one that God reminds me of often and one that I now receive with joy.

I have come to learn that there is no greater privilege than to be used by God for His Purpose but also that there is no greater relief than realizing that He can and does use a lot more people than just me. Last week I had friends cover for me with preaching, with Hospice, with Hands 4 Hope, etc. and I didn’t lose one wink of sleep over it because I knew that the same God who would have worked through me in those settings would work just as mightily through them. That isn’t an excuse to stay sidelined and leave ministry to others but rather an opportunity to reevaluate what you are doing and to ask God to reveal any areas that you took on without His prompting. To have Him refine your purpose will ultimately be a blessing to you and to others as you will accomplish more together.

Well, I could go on but seven ramblings is probably enough for now. Thank you for reading and please share any lessons that you have learned while going through a crisis, big or small, so that I can learn from you as well.

“Jesus is Bad for Business” by Dave Good

Good morning!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” Blog. It’s my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I hope my words are a blessing and bring you closer to the Lord.

Today, I’d like to talk about what happened after Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The gospels of Matthew and Mark give us a few clues of what Jesus did once he was paraded into Jerusalem. In Mark 11:15-18 it says..,

“When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.” (NLT‬‬)

When I reflect on the actions of Jesus in the temple I am reminded of the threat Jesus posed to the Jewish leaders. Jesus was truly bad for business. He shined a bright light on the corruption of the Temple and shrewd business practices of the moneychangers and sacrifice vendors. Jesus was disrupting the flow of money into the Religious Leaders pockets and he also seized the power and status from them. Jesus repeatedly called the Temple, “His Father’s House”, completely contradicting the claim of the Elders as rulers and managers of the Temple. In other words, it’s like walking into a store and dealing with the manager who thought he had the final say but the owner walks in and completely overturns the decision. Jesus put His full authority on display and there was nothing they could do about it. Once again, Jesus was bad for business.

This response of the Jewish leaders to the threat and authority of Jesus was simple. They plotted to eliminate him. Over the next few days, the urgency to kill Jesus escalated tremendously. This really was the last straw that sealed the fate of Jesus. A few days from now they would succeed by nailing him to the cross.

As I am sitting here reflecting on the actions of Jesus, I am convinced that this story is just as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. Today, Jesus is still bad for business in a way. How many people are offended by the name Jesus? How many businesses are avoided because they bare a Christian focus? How many conversations are avoided when the name of Jesus enters it? How many friendships are altered when Jesus enters into someone’s life? These are just a few examples of the impact Jesus has on the world today.

Friends, as we continue our journey through Holy Week, let us hold on to the authority and power of Jesus. To the world, Jesus is a threat. He is bad for the schemes of this world. I am here to tell you today that doing business with Jesus and modeling your life after His example will have a remarkable effect on your life. Jesus came to die and save us from the punishment of our sins but he didn’t come to be a friend of the world. Yes, Jesus may be bad for business… but he is great for our life.

“Praying Uncomfortable Prayers” by Pastor Randy

Good afternoon! Today I am sharing a previously published post I came across because I realized as I read it that I needed to hear it again and thought maybe you did as well.

I pray that your week is going well. If not, then I’m still praying for you.

And prayer is what I want to talk about today. I want to encourage you to expand your prayer life. Now most of the time when a pastor issues a challenge concerning prayer it typically has to do with the rhythm, frequency, or duration of your prayers but not this time. This time…


And what is an uncomfortable prayer you might ask? I would define it as any prayer that doesn’t fit easily into our Christian Comfort Zone such as…

  • asking God to meet a GOD-SIZED need (something we can’t control)
  • asking God AGAIN for something that we still haven’t seen any fruit from (be persistent)
  • asking God to use you to be an answer to someone else’s prayer
  • asking God to place HIS AGENDA ahead of yours
  • asking God to do a miracle (putting Him on the line w/out a Plan B)
  • asking God why such and such did or didn’t happen to you (real emotions w/out being pc)
  • asking God for something publicly (like blessing your food in a crowded restaurant)
  • asking God for healing and forgiveness (confessing your sin)
  • asking God for the strength to forgive others
  • Asking God to bless your enemies

You get the picture. Sometimes we get stuck lifting up prayers to God that are short, sweet, safe, and sanitized. What God wants, and what we often need, though is to go off script and have a real conversation with God without pretense. David excelled in this as we see in the Psalms like in…

Psalm 13:1-6 “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; 4 my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

So follow David’s lead and let God hear your real thoughts, your real fears, your real desires, your real doubts, and your real requests. He already knows what they are anyway so in being real with God we will actually start to be real with ourselves. And that’s when God can start responding to our requests in really awesome ways!

“By Your Grace” performed by Cody Johnson

Hey friends, let’s start our Tuesday together by listening to a song filled hope, mercy, and grace. Watch the video and meditate on the lyrics to Cody Johnson’s “Saved By Grace”.

I’m aware of everything that’s wrong with me
But still You accept me anyway
I live with a past I can’t get past and it still haunts me
So I’m askin’ for the courage to make a change

By Your grace, I have hope
You’ve already paid every debt I owe
Please take my chains and make me see
That by Your grace, I’ve been set free

Teach me, Lord, to seek You day by day
Let only You define just where I stand
Let me not take for granted
All the dеpths of Your forgiveness
Becausе the only way I’m gonna be a better man

Is by Your grace, I have hope (I have hope)
You’ve already paid every debt I owe (debt I owe)
Please take my chains and make me see
That by Your grace, I’ve been set free

I’ve got a long way to go
But Lord, I know
There’s not a step I’m gonna take
When You’re not with me

I’ve got a long way to go
But Lord, I know
There’s not a step I’m gonna take
When You’re not with me

I’ve got a long way to go
Oh, but Lord, I know
There’s not a step I’m gonna take
When You’re not with me
You’re always with me

And by Your grace (by Your grace)
I have hope (I have blessed hope, yeah)
You’ve already paid every debt I owe (every debt I owe)
Please take my chains and make me see
That by Your grace, I’ve been set free (been set free)
By Your grace, I’ve been set free
(By your grace)

“Animal Adventures” by Pastor Randy

We LeBarons like our animals and we always try to interact with them whenever we get a chance. I shared yesterday about our many road trips and often times a place with animals would either be our destination (Sea World, Gator Land, African Lion Safari, etc.) or a quick detour to break up a long trip (we have stopped at a lot of Zoos over the years and always find something unique about each one).

And, when I said interact, that’s exactly what I meant because as much as we like looking at animals we also like to pet, feed, hold, ride, swim with, or drive through. For example, we have petted dolphins, beluga whales, killer whales, elephants, sharks, sting rays, and more. We have fed goats, bears, giraffes, and tigers to name a few. We have held alligators, snakes, tarantulas, and lemurs. We have ridden horses, camels, and elephants. We have swam with sharks (technically anytime you are in the ocean you are swimming with sharks, right? 😏) and dolphins (Sheryl anyway), and we have given rides to many monkeys and had other animals like lions, ostriches, and giraffes try to get in or on our car. For that matter I even wrestled a 5’ alligator once (albeit with it’s mouth taped shut and a line of elementary age kids behind me waiting for their turn). Needless to say… we love animals.

I believe that God has instilled in us a love for His creation that causes us to want to interact with all of these beautiful creatures just as described in the 1st Chapter of Genesis…

“Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.” (Genesis‬ ‭1:20-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

How about you? Do you like interacting with animals? Has God given you a passion for some other aspect of His Creation or perhaps a desire to follow in your Heavenly Father’s footsteps by creating something yourself? Let me know some of the things that you enjoy and be sure to thank God today for all that He has made and all that He has given to us.

“Waken in Me a Gratitude for My Life” by Ted Loder

This month for my “Refill with Randy” videos I have been reciting different prayers from one of my favorite authors, Ted Loder, in his book, “Guerrillas of Grace”. There are two more videos coming this month, including tomorrow which you will find here, but I wanted to include at least one simply so that you can read and meditate it on your own. So please spend some time reciting the following prayer to God and make it your own.

“ In Jesus Name” by Katy Nichole

I came across these videos a few days ago on TikTok and YouTube and wanted to share this beautiful song (the 2nd YouTube video) along with the backstory (the 1st embedded video). Watch, listen, and let it speak to you throughout the day!

I speak the name of Jesus over you
In your hurting, in your sorrow
I will ask my God to move
I speak the name cause it’s all that I can do
In desperation, I’ll seek heaven
And pray this for you

I pray for your healing
That circumstances would change
I pray that the fear inside would flee
In Jesus name
I pray that a breakthrough would happen today
I pray miracles over your life in
Jesus name
In Jesus name

I speak the name of all authority
Declaring blessings
And every promise
He is faithful to keep
I speak the name no grave could ever hold
He is greater, He is stronger
He’s the God of possible

I pray for your healing
That circumstances would change
I pray that the fear inside would flee
In Jesus name
I pray that a breakthrough would happen today
I pray miracles over your life in
Jesus name
In Jesus name

Come believe it
Come receive it
Oh the power of His Spirit is now forever yours
Come believe it
Come receive it
In the mighty name of Jesus, all things are possible

I pray for your healing
That circumstances will change
I pray that the fear inside will flee in Jesus name
I pray that a breakthrough
Would happen today
I pray miracles over your life
In Jesus name
I pray for revival
For restoration of faith
I pray that the dead will come to life
In Jesus name
In Jesus name

“Good Morning!” by Pastor Randy

Good morning!!! That’s the way that most of us typically greet one another without giving it a second thought but what constitutes a “good morning”? How would you define it?

For me it would involve a cup of coffee and some quiet time before I start my day but someone else might describe a good morning as one where they can sleep in, where deadlines do not exist, or where the kids get ready for school without a fuss.

For others a good morning might simply be one where they get to see another sunrise, take another breath, and experience another day.

It obviously all depends on perspective, personal preferences, and current circumstances. So what exactly are we saying when we say “Good morning”?

All of it and then some. We are telling the other person that we hope that their day starts off in such a way that they are going to go to sleep that night counting their blessings.

Or maybe we just mean “hi” and hope to get on with our own agenda.

I would challenge you to try to make it mean the former. Even as you speak it to someone today say a simple prayer under your breath asking God to bless them and all they need to accomplish. You may say the same words but your intent will come through.

So, to all of you reading this this morning I want to wish you a very…


Now go and make someone else’s morning good as well. 😄

“Using Our Hurts to Help Others” by Pastor Randy

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

If it’s true that “hurt people hurt people” then it can be equally true that hurt people who find healing can help other hurt people find healing.

Tomorrow (January 26th) will be the 10th Anniversary of one of the worst 24 hrs. of my life. I will share more about that on tomorrow’s Refill with Randy video but, in a nutshell, that was the day that my dad died and my mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It was then a rollercoaster for the next 4 months before my mom passed.

During that time Sheryl and I struggled to care for her while also caring for our 4 young children. Between the frequent hospital visits, daily trips to radiation, more and more home care each week, and trying to do full-time ministry our energy waned and our emotions were tapped.

In spite of many rides and meals given to us from our church family we still needed more help and that is where Hospice stepped in. Between the home health aide and nurse visits, the hospital bed and other necessities, the care-givers support group, and the volunteers who offered us respite (like sitting with mom on Mother’s Day so we could be at church together), we were able to keep mom with us until the final 2 weeks. It was at that point that she moved into a Hospice Home (The Aurora House in Spencerport since Albion’s was still in the process of being built) and I met so many volunteers who had gone through something similar with their loved one and wanted to offer the same empathetic care for others. They allowed me to be a son instead of just a caregiver during those final days and I will always be grateful.

Fast forward to today and I have just begun my new position of Spiritual Care & Bereavement Coordinator for Supportive Care of Orleans (aka Hospice). Over the past decade I have been able to comfort many going through the same type of grief that I journeyed through at that time and I also experienced more along the way as I said goodbye to several church members, close friends, and all 3 of my brothers. And now I have the opportunity to continue helping others through their hurt just like others have helped me along the way.

I thank God for this new opportunity and I would ask that you please keep me in prayer, as well as those who I have the privilege of standing with during difficult times.

In what way might God use your past hurts to help people who are going through similar circumstances today?

“Living By Faith” by Pastor Randy

I am currently reading through the Bible in a year, along with many others from my church, and every time I take on this challenge (around my 40th time cover to cover and my 3rd time going through w/ BFMC) I find myself looking in the mirror and finding new things to ask God to prune in me so that I can be one more like him.

In the book of Genesis there are numerous accounts of Abraham (the Father of faith) believing God’s promises but then trying to bring them about by his own means.

For example, we learn in Genesis 12:1-7 that…

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” (NLT‬‬)

All seems good but then after a famine hit the land and they had to take a detour through Egypt he told his wife to tell people she was his sister so that they would not try to kill him to get to her. On the one hand he was trusting The Lord and on the other he was trying to make sure The Lord’s promise would come to fruition through deception because he obviously doubted that God would be able to protect him.

This backfired of course and not only were they found out but he put innocent people in jeopardy when Pharaoh took a liking to her and subsequently God sent plagues on Egypt.

Abraham apologized, justifying his actions because technically Sarah was his half sister, but he didn’t learn his lesson because in Genesis 20 he did the exact same thing—this time putting King Abimilech in harm’s way. and, in between these two incidents he believed The Lord that he would have a son but, rather than trust that it could be through his wife, he had a son with her servant Hagar which caused enmity between the two women he put Abraham and Hagar;s son Ishmael in danger.

I could go on but you get the picture. Abraham did indeed have faith but he also wavered in that faith and the result was placing his own limitations onto GoD and trying to take care of business on his own.

I can relate. I feel like I have definitely been on a faith journey since making the decision to follow Christ three decades ago, and even more so these past few years since starting Go Scatter Ministries, and I have absolutely taken my fair share steps of faith on the belief that God was calling me to do so but I have also found myself trying to “make sure” some of those things came to fruition by my own effort.

No, I didn’t tell people Sheryl was my sister or sleep with her servant, but there have been times along that way that I have tried to provide for myself when God had clearly said He would provide for me. I don’t mean in getting a part-time job but with a number of attempts to get “any” job focusing on pay vs purpose. Thankfully God helped me stay on the path and has blessed me because of it but only in spite of myself at times.

How about you? Do you find yourself trusting God initially but then trying to fulfill His promise to you in your own? I feel like Christians do this all the time when it comes to tithing, they believe that God can sustain them but then, rather than giving Him the first fruits of their labor, they give a little or give out of their leftovers—making sure to meet their own needs first.

The fact is that we all do this to an extent in one or more areas of our Christian walk but the key is to learn from it and then not repeat it like Abraham did. We serve a BIG GOD Who keeps His promises so let’s give Him the benefit of the doubt and live by faith.

“Rattle” by Elevation Worship

Happy Tuesday! If you’re like me sometimes you need an extra jolt after Monday to get going and here is the song to do it!!! Take some time this morning to watch the video, meditate on the lyrics, and pray for God to move in and through you in a new way this year.


Saturday was silent
Surely it was through
But since when has impossible
Ever stopped You
Friday’s disappointment
Is Sunday’s empty tomb
Since when has impossible
Ever stopped You

This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise, make a dead man walk again
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling, yeah

Pentecostal fire stirring something new
You’re not gonna run out of miracles anytime soon
Yeah, resurrection power runs in my veins too and
I believe there’s another miracle here in this room

This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise, make a dead man walk again
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling

Do you hear it?
Do you hear it?
Do you hear it? Woo

My God is able to save and deliver and heal
And restore anything that He wants to
Just ask the man who was thrown
On the bones of Elisha
If there’s anything that He can’t do
Just ask the stone that was rolled
At the tomb in the garden
What happens when God says to move (you gotta move)

I feel Him moving it now
I feel Him doing it now
I feel Him doing it now
Do it now, do it now

This is the sound
This is the sound of dry bones rattling, oh
This is the praise, make a dead man walk again
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling, rattling, yeah

I hear the sound (I hear the sound)
I hear the sound (I hear the sound)
I hear the sound (I hear the sound)
I hear the sound (I hear the sound)

And the bones began to rattle
Rattle, rattle
God said live, God said live
Hear the Word
And this is what He said

Live, live
Dry bones hear the Word of the Lord
Live (live), live (live)
Dry bones hear the Word of the Lord
Live (live), live (live)
Dry bones hear the Word of the Lord
Live (live), live (live)
Dry bones hear the Word of the Lord
Live (live), live (live)
Dry bones hear the Word of the Lord
Live (live), live (live)
Live, live, live, live, live

This is the sound of dry bones rattling, yeah
This is the praise, make a dead man walk again
(Open) open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live
Open the grave, I’m coming out
I’m gonna live, gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling
Dry bones rattle
Dry bones rattle

Rattle, rattle, rattle
Live, live, live
Live, live
Live, live

Songwriters: Steven Furtick / Chris Brown / Brandon Lake

Advent Week 4 – “Tuesday” by Dave Good

Hello friends, it’s Dave Good here again and this week we are delving into a topic we all seek and desire more of. I think we can all agree that joy is one of the most impactful emotions. The dictionary defines joy as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

Who doesn’t want some great delight or happiness. I know I would love more joy in my life. Joy can be derived in so many ways.

Joy can come from a newfound relationship. Who doesn’t love the feelings associated with the prospect of a new love.

Joy can come from a new job or a promotion at work. The excitement of new career opportunities gives us such hope.

Sometimes we find our joy through the victories of our favorite sports team. Who doesn’t love the feeling of walking into work the next day after a Bills win.

Joy can come from the birth of a new child or grandchild. I don’t know about you but getting to hold my daughters for the first time was an unbelievable feeling.

How bout the purchase of a new car. Who doesn’t love the smell of a new car and the exhilaration of its acceleration.

Or how about the smell or first bite of your favorite food? The joy of tasting mom’s spaghetti or a perfectly done steak always puts a smile on my face.

These are just a few examples of what we find joy in. For the most part that list is all positive and harmless right? But what happens when our pursuit of joy causes us damage or harm? For instance, a new car is nice but can you afford that new car payment? How bout that perfectly grilled steak? Can you push away from the table when you are full or will your gluttonous side persuade you to eat the last bite? What bout that victory from you favorite team? Can you keep your celebration to a limit and not rub it in a friends face? As you can see there can be an ill effect to our pursuit of joy.

Another limitation of the pursuit of joy is that it never seems to last long enough. That new promotion is turning into a lot of work and longer hours. That new born baby brings with it sleepless nights and diaper changing. That new car turns into a repair bill after a few months. That sweet victory turns into the agony of defeat in just a week. All this pursuit of worldly joy can be draining and all in vain.

The pursuit of joy as we have seen,  can be good for us, bad for us, and often short lived here on earth. It is no wonder why people have a hard time truly finding joy. Joy can be very unstable and short lived. So what’s the solution to our pursuit of joy?  It is actually pretty simple and straightforward. The Bible tells us “but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

Did you catch that? I bring you good news that will bring great Joy to all people. Yes the Messiah has been born.  True everlasting joy is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus was born that first Christmas morning to save us from our sins.  Jesus died on the cross and later rose again so that we may have eternal life with the Father.  Jesus was born to redeem us from the punishment we rightfully deserve. We can now live with hope and a future. I don’t know about you but the hope of eternal life is the greatest sense of joy I’ve ever experienced. The Bible takes the joy of eternal life one step further in the following verse: “and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

Everlasting joy will crown our head. Gladness and joy will overtake us!!! When I read encouragement like that I find it hard not to let my emotions swell. We serve a great God who loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. Just to know God and worship Him is a source of joy that this world can not duplicate. There is nothing on this earth that gives more joy than taking refuge in the Lord and soaking in His love. That is where the ultimate joy comes from.

As we enter into this final week of Advent and get closer and closer to the birth of Jesus let’s hold on to that joy. I pray that the familiar words of the song “Joy to the World” that Pastor Randy shared yesterday would resonates even louder to you this Christmas. And I pray that the Joy of knowing Christ and His love becomes the source of your happiness. I promise you if you make room for Him and adore Him this Christmas will be the most joyous ever.

Advent Week 2 – “Tuesday” by Pastor Randy

Happy Tuesday!!! For our second day of focusing on peace please take some time to listen to the song and meditate on the lyrics of Austin French’s “Peace on Earth”

Into darkness
Comes a light
Into silence
A baby’s cry
The birth of freedom
The death of fear
In a manger
Christ is here

Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth
Long awaited love
Heaven’s come for us
Let there be peace on earth

All division
May it cease
Every worry
May it flee
A weary heart finds
A thrill of hope
The world rejoices
We’re not alone

Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth
Long awaited love
Heaven’s come for us
Let there be peace on earth

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing

Peace on earth
Peace on earth

Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth
Long awaited love
Heaven’s come for us

Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth

Advent Week 1 – “Tuesday” by Dave Good

Welcome to another Advent edition of GSM’s Refill with Randy Blog. My name is Dave Good and I am honored to have the opportunity to share a few words with you today. I pray this will be of benefit to you and deliver just a ray of hope to your life.

Pastor Randy approached me and asked me to share my thoughts on the subject of Hope. At first I thought it would be great idea to bring up the areas in the world that seem so hopeless. All around us we are impacted by the long-lasting pandemic, racial tensions, vaccine mandates, political strife, rumors of wars, and what seems to be nonstop chaos around the world. People everywhere are looking for something to hold onto, something to take refuge in, something to give them a sense of hope.

When I thought about the Advent season and our search for hope I immediately recalled the journey of the Magi to see the Christ child. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of the Magi who followed a bright star to the town of Bethlehem “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”

No one is certain who the Magi were, how many there were, or where exactly they originated from, but we do know that they were searching for some hope. The Christmas narrative tells us that they had left their country in the east and followed a bright star through the desert for several weeks if not months. It is said that they led their caravan of camels and other animals on a journey in search of the Messiah—the long anticipated King of the Jews. They endured days of scorching desert sun and freezing cold nights. They probably encountered thieves and bandits as well as wild animals along the way. The journey was no walk in the park to say the least.

Another bit of information that the Gospel of Matthew shares with us is the valuable gifts the Magi brought with them. “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

They presented to the child gold frankincense, and myrrh, some of the most precious things in the world at the time. So to put this whole journey in perspective. The Magi leave their distant home, follow a bright star, and journey through the desert with valuable gifts, all to go see a child. To me the story seems a little absurd. What would make these men even consider this voyage? The only answer I can come up with is hope.

They were hoping the star they were following would lead them to the long awaited Savior. They were hoping to pay homage to the King of the Jews. They were hoping to worship and adore the Christ child. They were willing to risk it all just to find some hope.

Just like the Magi all of us are chasing after hope. How many times do you hear exchanges like, “I hope this happens or I hope I get this for Christmas or I hope the Bills win or I hope you feel better”? Hope is all around us and something we pursue on a daily basis. Hope often causes us to take risks or chances just like the Magi. Hope is definitely an integral part of life

My question for you is where, what, or who is your hope in? For some it’s a job. For others it’s a country. And for some it’s a loved one. We place our hope is so many things. I can’t decide for you what to place your hope in but I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you where my hope comes from. My hope comes from the Lord.

I can say that my belief in that same child the Magi visited some 2000 years ago brings so much hope to my life. I believe that the child born on Christmas Day grew up, died on a cross for my sins, and paved a path for me to have eternal life with my Heavenly Father. The name of that precious child is Jesus.

To be honest with you my hope in Jesus didn’t just come overnight. Just like the Magi I had to go on a journey to secure my hope and I misplaced my hope in many things along the way. Things like my career, my reputation, my status, my football teams, my talents and abilities, etc. And I will be honest with you, at some point or another all of these things have disappointed me. All of these things have let me down. The only thing I’ve found that I can always count on and hope in is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

There is so much hope in the Bible and with a relationship with Christ. I pray that this Advent season you find your hope in the Lord. I pray that you prepare your heart for when he will come again. And I pray that the hope of the Lord becomes more real and alive to you each and every day.

GSM “ThanksGIVING” Fund Drive

This is not my usual blog content but from 11/15-12/15 I am having a fundraiser through PayPal and the details and link are below. During this season of generosity I would ask you to consider supporting my mission for 2022.

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” ‭‭(2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:1-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

This fundraiser is to support Go Scatter Ministries and the ongoing evangelistic efforts of Rev. Randy LeBaron.

Much like a modern day missionary Pastor Randy must raise support through the generosity of other Christ-followers like you.

All funds raised will be applied toward GSM’s 2022 budget. The donations received make it possible for Pastor Randy to be an itinerant speaker and teacher (by subsidizing honorariums), to create content that encourages and disciples others online, and to come beside local churches and mission organizations to assist them on a volunteer basis.

If you would like to give a one time gift click the link below and you are interested in becoming a Monthly Ministry Partner you can find out how at GoScatterMinistries.Org

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Pastor Randy

You can also give by check. See below…

“I Have This Hope” by Pastor Randy

One of my favorite bands is Tenth Avenue North. Their sound, their lyrics, and even their lead singers testimony resonates with me. And so, on this Tuesday, I simply want to encourage to meditate on the words of one of their popular songs. Enjoy!

As I walk this great unknown

Questions come and questions go

Was there purpose for the pain?

Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear

I want to trust that You are near

Trust Your grace can be seen

In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and You won’t let go

But sometimes my faith feels thin

Like the night will never end

Will You catch every tear

Or will You just leave me here?

But I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and You won’t let go

Yes, I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and You won’t let go

So, whatever happens I will not be afraid

Cause You are closer than this breath that I take

You calm the storm when I hear You call my name

I still believe that one day I’ll see Your face

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and You won’t let go

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and You won’t let go

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and You won’t let go

performed by Tenth Avenue north

“None – The Ninth Hour” by Pastor Randy

[This week I am sharing about the different hours of The Divine Office. If you are new here I would suggest going back and reading Monday’s (10/25) post to get a better understanding of what this is and why I am sharing about it.]

None, refers to the ninth hour, roughly mid-afternoon. Much like with Prime, it is a time to pray for perseverance and for the strength to continue bearing fruit. It is a time when one becomes aware of the sun’s eventual setting and the strength one needs to cope with the demands and responsibilities of life.

Philippians‬ ‭3:7-21‬ ‭“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (‭‭NIV‬‬)


Stay steadfast my soul
when the waves seem too high
When my confidence wanes
and my well has run dry

Stay steadfast my soul
when the hurts of ministry cut deep
When I am sad
when I am tired
without tears
without sleep

Stay steadfast my soul
when from depression I can no longer hide
It is always hungry
all consuming
yet never seems satisfied

Stay steadfast my soul
when other’s voices drown out my own
When their troubles and their vices
on my weary shoulders find a home

Stay steadfast my soul
for it will all come to an end
When my Savior and Lord
comes back again

Stay steadfast my soul
continue to be fervent
And on that day He will say
Well done faithful servant

Randy LeBaron

“Vigils – The Night Watch”

Some of you may be familiar with a candlelight prayer vigil, where you gather together and stay up late praying for.a specific purpose, and that practice comes from the same concept of what is practiced here in The Daily Office.

Vigils are prayers offered up in the middle of the night when one would normally be sleeping but instead is up waiting and watching in prayer. It is a time of learning to trust the darkness as one is immersed into the mystery of the night. It has also been referred to as “purposeful sleeplessness” with the focus on staying awake to watch for The Bridegroom.

When I started staying at The Abbey of the Genesee this was the first office and it was celebrated right after the Monks woke up at 2am. Since then it has changed and now Vigils are being celebrated at 3:30am. Here are some Scriptures and a prayer to meditate on…

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:145-148‬ ‭‬ “I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” (‭NIV‬‬)

Luke 12:35-40 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (NIV‬‬)

“Night Time”

(a prayer poem)

As the darkness draws in,
you are the light in my heart
As the air turns colder,
you are the warmth in my soul
As the stars are revealed,
you renew my spirit
As the moon shines,
I know I am held safe in your arms.

“Thin Places” by Pastor Randy

Happy Tuesday! Today I want to talk about thin places. Thin places are considered to be those geographical locations where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and the divine is more readily felt.

In the Celtic tradition it is thought that they can relax us and transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. For some it is a place in their home, for others the altar, and for some a special place on spiritual significance. For me it is The Abbey of the Genesee.

I have already mentioned The Abbey in previous posts, including yesterday’s, but for those who are unfamiliar with it it is a small Benedictine Monastery in Piffard, NY just outside of Geneseo. It is a place where Silence, Solitude, and Hospitality are held in high regard and where I go to connect with God outside of the chaos of this noisy, busy world that we live in. And yes, it’s where they make Monk’s Bread!

I first encountered The Abbey during my time of Sabbatical almost a decade ago after the death of my parents. Having been drained after a difficult period of caregiving followed by deep depression it provided me with a place to rest, reflect, and to have my call to ministry reaffirmed. Much like with Elijah it was my broom tree and mountain cave all rolled into one. And, whenever I go back to stay or visit (which has been long overdue due to the pandemic) I feel a closeness with the Lord simply because of the healing that I received while I was there.

So what is your thin place? Where do you go where you sense God speaking louder and clearer than other places? Can you take some time to go there even for a day or an hour to bathe yourself in His presence? If so, I encourage you to do so.

Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Matthew 17:1-9 “Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (NLT‬)

“My Praise Drawer” by Pastor Randy

Good morning!

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I had kept cards and other notes of appreciation from over the years so I thought that today I would talk a little about where I keep them—my praise drawer.

This is simply a drawer that I use to keep any cards, letters, pictures, drawings, ect. that have been given to me with the primary purpose of: acknowledging something I did that they appreciated, affirming my call, letting me know that they are praying for me, or just generally something that brings a smile to my face and boosts my spirit. I use to have a criticism drawer too but decided a while back that it wasn’t very good for my mental health, especially when I realized that both drawers were filled with things from the same people. 😏 

Seriously though, I have been collecting these items for more almost three decades and every now and again when I am going through a difficult time, when I am questioning my call, or when I am hurting from something someone has said to me, I will open this drawer and read a few of the notes in an effort to counteract the criticism. I’m not saying this always works (it’s true that we tend to remember the negative more so than the positive) but it does help give perspective and is a good reminder that just because someone might act unlovingly toward me that it doesn’t mean that I am unloved.

So, to that end, I would encourage you to do two things today… (1) create your own praise drawer to put meaningful messages away for a rainy day and (2) do your best to help fill other people’s praise drawers. We live in such a negative, critical culture that a hand written note of affirmation or thanks can mean the world to someone so why not buy a card, pick up a pen, and make someone’s day. It won’t cost you much but it might mean the world to that person who is believing the lies of the enemy and needs to experience God’s love through your encouraging words.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Feeding Yourself Spiritual Food – Part 1” – by Pastor Randy

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” (Hebrews‬ ‭5:12-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

How are you feeding yourself spiritually these days? I’m not talking about going to church one hour, one day a week, and expecting to be fed steak (the reality is that you wouldn’t be able to digest it if all you lived on the rest of the week was milk) but rather what are you doing to help yourself grow in the Lord by eating right (Bible Study) and exercising (prayer, worship, and service). Too often we leave food prep to the professionals on Sunday but the fact is that we need to learn to fend for ourselves as well so that we don’t starve the rest of the week.

What are some of the methods that you use to intentionally spend time with God and nourish your soul?

For me personally the struggle is not getting into The Word or spending time in prayer as much as my motivation for doing so. As someone who is constantly studying Scripture for sermon prep and praying for others as part of my role as a pastor/evangelist it is easy for me to spend all of my time fixing meals for others while forgetting to feed myself. This is where the intentionality comes in and here are a few things I do to help stay on track.

Listening to The Bible – I’m not talking about “hearing the word” so much as literally listening to someone read it out loud. I only started doing this at the beginning of last year as it was promoted by the leader of BFMC’s Men’s Group as we started a year long journey of reading through the Bible together. I find that I not only hear things that may have not stood out in previous readings of the same passage but I also listen while I am driving, walking, even showering, and so even if the urge to write an outline for a future was there the opportunity is not and so I listen for me—I approach it as drinking living water vs using it as a tool to quench someone else’s thirst. This may sound a bit selfish but it is very necessary because you can’t feed others what you yourself are not eating and you cannot lead others toward someone that you yourself are not following.

I am finishing up my second year of going through the Bible in this manner and would offer a few tips if you want to try this yourself.

  • Use a Variety of Reading Plans – last year we simply read straight through the Scriptures  from Genesis to Revelation but this year we are using a Chronological Reading Plan which organizes passages according to actual event timelines.
  • Try a variety of Translations/ Versions –  sometimes listening to a different version than you typically use can help you see things from a different point of view. Also, some versions like The Message are easier to listen to as they use contemporary language and are written in a more casual, conversational matter.
  • Choose a Narrator that you actually like listening to – for me this is very important because years of listening to books on Audible has taught me that it doesn’t matter how good the subject manner is if it is read in a way that is more distracting than pleasing. Now personal preference certainly plays a lot in this but I can tell you that, for me, I often study using the NIV but when it comes to personal listening I much prefer the NLT because the narrator has a much smoother, and less monotone, voice adding just the right inflections. Additionally, other voices have been added in recently to create a more dramatic overall effect.

You can find many audio version online, on Audible, or even going old school with a DVD set but my suggestion would be to try the YouVersion Bible App. It has a permanent spot on my home screen so it is convenient, It has thousands of different versions and translations to choose from, and best if all it’s FREE!!!

It is also very helpful with another method I use to feed myself spiritually which I will write about in tomorrow’s blog. Until then… Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!

“The Sin of Recreating VS Being Recreated” by Pastor Randy

Something I have observed both in the Scriptures with the Israelites and in today’s times with the Christian Church is that too often we as human beings spend our time and energy trying to recreate the atmosphere we were in, the emotions we felt, and the endorphins we had on the day God began a good work in us rather than allowing God to recreate “us” and renew us on a daily basis.

Too often we would rather “feel” Christian than “be” Christian which can lead to idolatry and idolatry–whether it means putting way to much focus on an inanimate thing, on a certain style of worship, on a certain place of worship, or on reproducing a particular ritual–is a sin.

It’s a sin that I feel comfortable pointing out because it’s a sin that at one time I felt comfortable participating in and perpetuating in my own life. When the “new” feeling of my Christian walk starting wearing off I started to try and reproduce it by going back to the altar I had originally laid down my life on (nostalgia), praying the prayers I once prayed out of conviction though now prayed as if wanting a prescription filled (ritual), and when neither of those worked I tried being around other Christians more, hoping that somehow their “holiness” would somehow rub off on me (proximity vs. praxis), rather than spending the time and effort to develop my own relationship with Christ through fresh prayers and spending time in His Living Word.

Rather than expending all of our effort trying to recreate a temporary feeling and worshipping God falsely (i.e. focusing on The Golden Calf rather than God on the Mountain, The Bronze Snake rather than the God that Saves, and the Gifts of the Spirit rather than the Giver–The Holy Spirit Himself) we need to take down anything in our lives, no matter how good or instrumental they once were in our walk, so that what was once part of our salvation story doesn’t become the stumbling block that keeps us from experiencing further sanctification.

Recreating takes a lot of time and effort but is ultimately fruitless because we are attempting to control God and turn our Christian walk into a life of comfort.

Being Recreated also takes time and effort but the focus is not on trying to control God or how we feel on any given day but, rather, on giving up control and allowing God to lead us into deeper and often more dangerous waters. It doesn’t feel as safe but stepping out of the boat in order to follow Jesus never does. And it never should.

Rather than going back to a well that once brought us Living Water, but has now dried up because the water itself has moved on to where we need to go, let us like the Samaritan Woman in John 4 leave behind our water pitchers behind and look to The One who knows everything about us and can fulfill our every need. Anything less is a sin and will not lead us back toward but, rather, away from the saved and sanctified life that we so desire.

“I have decided to follow Jesus. The world behind me the cross before me. No turning back. No turning back.”

“Lord of All Pots & Pans and Things” by Pastor Randy

Lord of all pots and pans and things,
since I've no time to be a great saint
by doing lovely things,
or watching late with Thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming heaven's gates,
make me a saint by getting meals,
and washing up the plates.
Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love,
and light it with Thy peace;
forgive me all my worrying,
and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
in room, or by the sea,
accept the service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.

This is the prayer of Brother Lawrence, a monk who worked in the kitchen, who sought to speak to and honor God in all that he did. Now you may not think that praying while brushing your teeth or taking a shower is “holy” but in the day and age that we live in as ideal as it would be to always get away to our prayer closet it’s not often practical. Besides, we are to “pray continuously” in all circumstances so why not practice at the start of each day so that you will continue communing with God throughout the day.

“Our Potential in Christ” by Pastor Randy

Happy Tuesday! I hope your morning is already off to a great start (even if the only thing you’ve checked off your todo list so far is ☑️ Drink Coffee). I’m praying that God will do some amazing things to and through you today and that you will realize your potential in Christ. And its that potential that I want to talk to you about today.

po·ten·tial /pəˈten(t)SHəl/ (adjective): having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.

For the purpose of this writing I am talking about the potential that we have to live up to God’s Call on our lives. The problem is that too often when God asks us to do something we don’t see what He does. We tend to fixate on our present imperfections while God focuses on our future potential. We too often see ourselves as the sum of our weaknesses while God defines us by who we can be and what we can do when we rely on His strength. If this describes you you’re not alone.

God used Gideon to defeat an entire army with only three hundred men but when the Angel of The Lord first appeared to him and called him a “Mighty Warrior” who would save Israel from Midian’s hand Gideon replied very timidly, “Pardon me, my Lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”” (Judges‬ ‭6:12-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

God used Jeremiah mightily but when He first gave him the message, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations”, Jeremiah responded, “O Sovereign Lord, I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:4-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

God used David to defeat a giant and eventually become the greatest king in the history of Israel but when Samuel went to his father’s house in hole of anointing the next King David was thought of as too young, too undersized, and he wasn’t even called in from the fields.” (‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:10-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

You get the picture. God doesn’t see what we see, or even what our friends and family might see, rather He sees Who He called and created us to be. And the good news is that we don’t have to try to live up to that high calling on our own, instead we can rely on Him to equip us and mold us into who we were meant to be.

So when you feel like you don’t measure up or that God made a mistake when He called you to [Fill in the Blank] just remember what God told the Apostle Paul when he felt the same way, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) and then proclaim like Paul did in his letter to the Philippians, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬