As I read through the Old Testament with the guys in my accountability small group I have been captured by the numerous times that the writers refer to God’s steadfast love. More than just the term steadfast love, I have been moved by a song or a declaration that has been repeated over and over as I have read through Psalms, Ezra, Jeremiah and Chronicles.

We see this song/saying quoted in 2 Chronicles 5:13, ” For He is good, for His steadfast love endures for ever.” It was sang by the Levitical singers, it was prayed by Solomon and declared by David, other Psalmists, and even the Lord himself in His promise for peace for the house of Judah and Israel to Jeremiah. This is a song that has been the declaration of the church from old testament times to today.

Declare his goodness today! Thank Him for his steadfast love in this very moment! To be steadfast is to be firm, stable and constant. In a world where people fall in and out of love, where love is given and withheld based on performance and hinges on a “what have you done for me lately” mentality; God’s love for you has been unwavering. It is time for us to declare this song. God you are good and your steadfast love endures forever.

Maybe you find yourself in the depths of despair, pain or hurt. Remember the only one whose love for you has remained steadfast. Declare His goodness in the midst of the storm. In 1 Peter 2:9 we see that we belong to God for the purpose proclaiming His excellencies. Our identity is found in the declaring of this great song of the church. Church warm up your vocal chords, it is time to sing the song of the redeemed.

“Our God is good, His steadfast love endures forever.”

Scriptures

* All of these talk about God’s Steadfast Love (This list is a work in progress)

1 Chronicles 16:34,41

2 Chronicles 5:13

2 Chronicles 7:3

2 Chronicles 20:21

Ezra 3:11

Psalm 57:10

Psalm 59

Psalm 61:7

Psalm 62:12

Psalm 63:3

Psalm 66:20- thanks God for not removing His steadfast love from him.

Psalm 69:13, 16

Psalm 100:5

Psalm 106:1

Psalm 107:1

Psalm 118:29

Psalm 136: 1-2

Jeremiah 33:11

My Mamaw

On August 28th, 2012 my MaMaw passed away in Victoria, Texas.  I wanted to share here, what I shared at her funeral about the legacy she left.  Here is a link to her obituary–> CLICK HERE

From her funeral on 8/31/2012…

“In track and field we celebrate those who run a good race. We celebrate those who cross the finish line.

Multiple times in scripture we find our lives compared to a race.  We find that our purpose on earth as God’s people is to proclaim His praises and press on toward the goal of becoming more like Jesus.

Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Today we celebrate a woman who ran the race well. Who lived her life as one who wanted to please God and love people.

Many of you know her as Hazel, but I called her Ma Maw.

Mamaw was the definition of love because she was patient and kind.

1 Corinthians 13- 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails

Mamaw always sought to point out the best in people and never sought to illuminate their flaws.

Mamaw was a great listener

Mamaw was one of the most encouraging people in my life. She always supported the things I wanted to accomplish even my keyboard rap songs, my books and my ministry.  She even told me my rap songs were good… SHE LIED !

Mamaw was an artist. She would take my baseball card magazines and recreate the drawings to make me shirts.

Mamaw was a great cook. Pecan Pie. Egg Noodles. Poached Eggs and adding extra cheese to cheap totinos pizzas were some of my favorites.

Mamaw was a servant. She spent her life walking side by side with PawPaw, loving her family and making sacrifices all along the way.

I am going to close with my favorite Mamaw story. Many times as I was in high school my Mamaw would look at my hair and ask me, “Is your hair getting wavy?”.  That was always a hard question for me to answer.  She would preceed to say,” I am just asking because Donald’s hair was wavy and then it fell out.”  Donald is my father for those who do not know, my bald father.  Was MaMaw saying that my wavy hair was a sign of future baldness?  Turns out that my MaMaw was a profit.  This is the one time I remember my MaMaw not encouraging me 🙂

Today if Mamaw was here she would be able to say this verse with confidence.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Let us celebrate the life of Hazel Halk who ran her race well and crossed the finish line a winner because of her relationship with Jesus Christ.

Praise be to God for Hazel Ruth Jones Halk.

Darrell Day Reflections

* from 2011

Well as many of you already realize, yesterday was a new national holiday called Darrell day, August 31st, the day I entered the world.  This was the 34th annual Darrell day celebration and tons of rootbeer, burritos and celebrations were had by all.  I had a great day filled with things that characterize the joys that are a part of my everyday life: My girls (Tiffany, Rylie, Macee), friends, Chuy’s Mexican food, rootbeer(thanks for the rootbeer Sterling and Brittney), the students of Southmont Baptist Church and preaching.  All of these are things I love dearly, not to mention being humbled by the 250 plus people who took the time to say happy birthday to me via text and Facebook.  I feel very blessed to be  a part of the life that God has given me.

It is milestones like birthdays that cause us to reflect, and cause us to count our blessings.  As I look back over this last year of my life I realize I have experienced so many incredible blessings.  There have been ups and downs, but God has been faithful to teach me the lesson of contentment.

Philippians 4:11-13 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I wanted to end this post with ten photos that speak to God’s faithfulness to bless me this year.

TOP TEN HIGHLIGHTS OF MY 33RD YEAR (No Particular Order)

1.) The Birth of my daughter Macee- We were told that it was a great possibility that we could not have any other children, but on January 13,2011, this beautiful little girl entered the world.

2.) God opened the door for one of the greatest dreams of my life to be fulfilled when my first book “No One Really Knows” was published by Lucid Books in February 2011. www.norkbook.com

3.) Southmont Youth Group- I have seen God do amazing things in the lives of these kids this year and I feel so blessed to be their youth pastor and call them my kids.

4.) Met one of my childhood heroes and got to sit down and hang out with him for 30 minutes: Spud Webb5.) Got asked by my friend, former Major League Baseball All-Star, Glenn Wilson, to co-author his biography with him.

6.) Got to watch my daughter Rylie cheer at Upward basketball games

7.) Splurged on the most expensive meal of my life on an awesome date with my wife Tiffany to Pappas Borthers Steakhouse for our anniversary.  We try to go to really nice restaurants in Dallas twice a year for her birthday and our anniversary.

8.) Got the opportunity to join the program staff of Camp 220 and speak at both weeks as a Team Bible Study Leader.  I love this ministry and I am glad I get to be a part of the behind the scenes of all that God is doing. www.twotwenty.org

9.) Got to coach Rylie’s softball team

10.) Saw the Texas Rangers go to the World Series and the Dallas Mavericks win the NBA Championship.  Okay, this does not directly involve me, but it brought me lots of joy to see both of these events happen.

*Honorable Mention: Launched one of the worst webshows in the history of YouTube- Darandumb Moments: http://www.youtube.com/user/durkel777

Suicide in Sports

The news of former Cy Young award winner Mike Flanagan’s death by suicide is still fresh on my mind as the story was released today. He becomes another on the list of athletes from my childhood years who has taken his own life over the last five years. I will post a list at the bottom of this message of those players.

From all reports Flanagan took his life due to being upset about financial concerns.It breaks my heart to see so many who see death as the only option to rid them of their pain. If only we could go back and tell them that there was hope. If only we could go back and tell them that they were loved by their families, friends and fans.

If you are reading this and feel life is hitting nothing but deadends please talk to someone. Seek out help from a trained counselor or local pastor. There is hope, God has placed you here on Earth for a purpose. Jesus came and died to set the captives free and he came that we might have a full and abundant life. He loves you, and His love for you never wavers or changes, no matter how many times you fail.

I have helped a family walk through suicide in the past and I know how tough it can be on families. Pray for the families of those listed below, especially the Flanagan’s as this is so fresh.

Suicides

NBA
Mel Turpin 2010

NFL
Dave Duerson 2011
Kenny McKinley 2010
Shane Dronett 2009
Andre Waters 2006

MLB
Keith Drumright 2010
Brian Powell 2009
Mike Flanagan 2011
Hideki Irabu 2011

National Suicide Hotline 1(800)273-TALK

5 Reasons Why I Love Chuy’s-Denton

Not hard to believe for people that know me that I am here talking about mexican food, but I had to share my new affection for Chuy’s.  So far I have made two trips to this fine establishment since it’s opening on August 2nd.

1.) They Allow Bald Men to Live Their Dream of Having Hair

One “Dare” led to me wearing this wig to my first visit to Chuy’s on their opening day.  The hostess could not bear to look at me without giggling.  I realized this day the extent of discrimination against guys with flowing black hair.

2.) Queso Compuesto


This plus chips= Heaven in a bowl

3.) More Tasty Sauces than Should be Allowed in a Single Restaurant


Boom Boom Sauce, Deluxe Tomatillo, Tomatillo, Jalapeno Cool Ranch, Queso, Salsa… Need I go on?

4.) Tasty Chimichangas and Burritos= 5 Star Restaurant

* Best Chimichanga I have ever had, and I have had quite a few in my time.

5.) They built their Denton location right down the road from my work.

With this restaurant being so close to my church job, I am sure it is going to bad news for the pocket book and the waist line.

All this said…If you have not ever given Chuy’s a chance, stop being dumb.

Asking the Right Question

In the last few weeks I have had more than one person approach me about feeling a lack of passion or dryness in their pursuit of Christ. Many seem to associate Christ with feelings of shame and guilt, so they want to avoid Him all together. So many of us have become so accustomed to living a legalistic, rule based Christianity that when our performance fails we cannot escape the guilt of our failures. Many of the thoughts below came from what God has helped me learn in my journey, what God taught me this Summer in studying to teach Bible Studies for Camp 220, and hearing others teach this summer.

First thing I need to remind you, IF you belong to God, meaning you have a relationship with Him, then Romans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This verse has meant so much to me, because it promises that in the midst of our failures God in his grace and mercy forgets our trespasses against Him. It is almost as if God is telling us I do not condemn you, QUIT CONDEMNING YOURSELF. Quit living a powerless Christianity swallowed up with guilt. When God looks at you as a Christian, he does not see your failures; He sees Christ’s righteousness that has covered you.

Zephaniah 3:12-19 is a beautiful picture of the joy that God finds in who we are. God sees someone worth singing over, he has taken away his judgments over you, he fights for you and he is near to you. God says you are so worth all Jesus did.

So first we must see ourselves in the way that God sees us, but second we must ask the right questions about how to get back the passion and zeal that seems absent. Many times we begin with the question how can I pray more, how can I read the Bible more, or what can I DO to draw closer to God? I believe this is the wrong question to begin our thought process.

1.) The question is not how much am I doing to draw close to Him, it is how much am I letting Him do in me?

Does he have my whole heart?

What things in my life steal my affection for Him?

Am I living out Philippians 3:7 that everything compared to Christ seems like dung, poop, or rubbish? It is not an obedience problem as much as it is a love problem. When Jesus has all of our affections no one has to tell us to pray, or read our Bible, we just desire to do it. The prayer is not God help me increase my Bible study time, but help increase my love for you, help remove the things that steal my affections from you… Come and have my whole heart.

Many of us are like the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2, we are checking off all the duties of a Christian, but we have lost our passion and love for him in the midst of doing things for Him. The question must come what am I letting him do in me?

Have I surrendered my spiritual gifts and passions to be used by him? These gifts are not accidents, but are intended to be used by him for his church. Some of the most excited students in my youth ministry right now are those who have realized their spiritual gifts, asked God to take those gifts and use them and seen God begin to work in them and through them. It is in giving God complete control that our passion and desire to be in word and pray increases.

2.) The next question we must ask is by whose power am I living in? 1 Corinthians 4:20 says the kingdom of God is not in Word but in power. Paul tells the people if he comes he will not judge their closeness to God by what they say, but by the power which they live by.

What are you living in that takes God’s power to complete? Are you living by his power or living in what is comfortable and manageable for you? The reason most Christians never move forward in their walk with Christ is they spend their whole life walking in and praying for things they can accomplish without God.

What are you letting him do in you? Have you been just a follower in words or are you living each breath, each step by his power?

3.) How big is your view of God? What God is able to do in and through us is relative to what we believe he is able to do. So many Christians spend so much time arguing what God can’t or doesn’t do anymore. I am persuaded that if we worship a small God who has a list of things he can’t do and we have a holy spirit who is mute and serves as just a glorified conscience then we limit what God is able to do in us and through us. Check out Mark 9, part of our drawing into a powerful life changing relationship with Christ is admitting the areas of unbelief and saying God help me believe in the depth of your power.

Is your God manageable, understandable and full of things he can’t do or doesn’t do anymore or is he the powerful God of the Bible? Part of letting him do what he wants in us is having an accurate view of Him.

4.) Lastly, we will all spend time in the desert or times of dryness; it is how we navigate through that time that tells if we fully belong to Him. It was in Jesus’ time in the desert (Matt 4) that he was tempted, he responds by clinging to Scripture. In dryness we must cling to the Word, not as a duty but because we need it.

What are you allowing God to do in you?

Mark Matlock endorses No One Really Knows

BOOK

Check out the newest endorsement received for my
coming book No One Really Knows.

 

Mark Matlock- Wisdom Works Ministries (Planet Wisdom) and Vice President of Event Content at Youth Specialties
mark

“Leave it to Darrell Halk to capture the lives of real teenagers as they experience life and faith. Darrell has been in the trenches with teens for years walking with them through the trials, triumphs and tragedies of navigating a life of faith in Jesus Christ. “No One Really Knows” captures his insights along the way and offers real hope.”

 

Book Synopsis, Pre-order Info and other Endorsements–> CLICK HERE

By Our Love

I always intend to write here, I really do, but somehow some way I find other things to occupy my time.  Today I HAD to write, something is stirring my spirit and I cannot put it aside.  I guess it even relates to some of the blogs I have posted in the past but this one is more than anything directed to all of us as who labor as Pastors.

This verse has been really birthing repentance in my heart for the last few days as I have thought on it, meditated on it and have sought to be intentional about living in light of it.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

I attended the C3 Pastors Conference last week and was really shaken by every single message that was preached.  Some were delivered by ministry legends like Ed Young Sr., others by pastors I had oftenly judged with scepticism like TD Jakes and Ed Young Jr and others by pastors whose name I had never heard like David Hughes, Leon Fontaine, Dr. John Cross, Samuel Chand, Dino Rizzo and others.  All that to say, I am different because these guys listened to God’s Spirit and shared from the depths of their soul what God had spoken to them.

It got me thinking, especially in light of all of the publicized attacks on Ed Young Jr, Pastor of Fellowship Church in the last few months, why do we as pastors seem to ” eat our own” so to speak.  It is obvious that Ed is anointed and gifted by God to be a voice to help those without Christ see their desperate need for them.  So in his time of attack, why are we blogging about him, slandering him, speaking out against him when I am sure most of us only know of him personally what the media has told us is truth.

What does it gain for us or the kingdom for us to be the cheerleading bloggers that are adding to the fire of those who are questioning his motives? It sickens me that  sometimes I feel it gives us some kind of joy when we see one of the “big dogs” in Church leadership fail because then we can pat ourselves on the back and feel better about our shortcomings as leaders.  All of us who pastor know how difficult being a pastor is, the behind the scenes stuff that can steal our joy and exhaust us if we do not stay intune with God himself for filling, contentment and power.  Many of us know the pain of slander that has been aimed at us or our family.  So why are we the ones sitting behind our comuter screens firing darts of accusation at one of our fellow co-laborers for Christ?

Don’t we believe that Ed needs prayer from us right now? If the pastors aren’t willing to stand with their own who will? Whether we agree with his actions, his theology, his method of ministry, he is still one of us. One of us who is impacting lives all over the globe for the kingdom. Rather than perpetuate the slander, lets unite to pray!

I was also convicted by my quickness to judge or be skeptical of the motives of pastors that I really knew little about.  I will tell you I felt pretty foolish that I had long been skeptical of TD Jakes when I heard him preach God’s Word Friday.  This man allowed God to work through him in a way I have seen few others do. He spoke with power, he spoke biblically, but most of all he allowed the Spirit to use him as a vessel. His message ate my lunch, gave me hope, pointed me toward Christ and helped trim away some dead branches in my life.

I guess in all of this the principal I learned is we can spend a lot of time slandering other leaders, jumping on our blogs and facebooks when another leader “fails” legitmately or by our standards or we can be a people who stand with one another, pray with and for one another.

Does the world know we are followers of Christ by the way we love each other or conversely do they see people who are quick to cast a stone at easy targets. God is telling me to put my rock down, that unless I have not failed as a leader then my stone belongs as an ornament of the dust rather than a weapon of accusation. Honestly I think this is a universal principle, who needs more prayer than our government leaders right now? Who needs to know the Lord more than the celebrities and atheletes that we see fall into moral failure?

We can continue to comment on our opinions of peoples failures or we can become serious about standing in prayer before God as broken people praying for other broken people, I know the road of change God is leading me down. I have no voice nationally, no one knows who I am in the Christian world but my prayer is that the things God has convicted me of will affect and resonate with Christian leaders around the globe

Praying, Loving and Standing with other broken leaders,

Darrell Halk

Calvinism: Idea that is changing our world?

Time magazine has just labeled Calvinism as one of the top ten ideas that is changing the context of our world.  I too have noticed that so many ministers are going back to this doctrine that was embraced by so many of the early reformers like John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine and more recent leaders such as Al Moehler, John Piper. Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler and Francis Schaeffer.

Thought it was interesting that Time picked up on this shift happening in Christendom.  Check it out!!
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1884779_1884782_1884760,00.html?imw=Y

Faith Required…

I just finished reading a book by Francis Chan entitled Crazy Love .  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to live out Christianity in the crazy radical way that God has called us to pursue Christ.  So much of what he said really resonated with my heart but one reflective question he asked has been spinning through my mind for the last few days.  I thought it would be awesome to share that quote with you today.

“What are you currently doing in your life right now that requires faith in God?”

A life lived for Christ, is a life lived based on faith.