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Pilgrim Benham

CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Pilgrim Benham

Do you long for closer and deeper friendships in your life? Where does this desire come from? “The importance of friendship is that God has created us to be relational people,” says Pastor Pilgrim. Pastors and friends, Daniel Williams and Pilgrim Benham talk about their own friendship, the awkwardness of new friendships and how to get past superficial friendships to more meaningful ones. What are some practical ways you can start pursuing godly friendships in your life? God works through community to form relationships through mutual encouragement, challenging one another and speaking the truth in love. There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

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Unbelief by Pilgrim Benham

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
“Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.”  -Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the vacuum tube and father of television.
Everything that can be invented has been invented.”– Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.


We are all touched by unbelief in one way or another.  Many of us see it as a harmless, healthy dose of doubt that we need from time to time. But God sees unbelief as rebellious sin! When God brought the children of Israel to the promised land, they sent spies ahead to scope out the land.  Ten of the spies came back with a report full of fear, lies, and doubt.  The people listened to these men, rejecting Caleb and Joshua’s full-of-faith testimony that God could do what He was leading them to do.

The result was that the children of Israel were given 1 year of judgment for each day the spies were gone: which equaled 40 years!  Each one of the fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, and grandparents would perish in the wilderness, with only the next generation and Caleb and Joshua being allowed to enter in.

The application here is dramatic: are you living a paralyzed life of unbelief?  What is God calling you to do?  Where is He calling you to go?  He wants to bring you into the fullness of the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, but your faith is the admission ticket! Throughout the Gospels it was unbelief that Jesus marveled at, and often would not do miracles where people were doubting.  Don’t allow Satan to whisper his lies to you anymore.  

Remember this familiar quote?

You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” —Satan to Eve in the garden of Eden.  

 Give God your doubts, and begin living the fruitful life of faith today!

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Hebrews 3:7-8  

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4 Ways To Handle Rejection by Pilgrim Benham

Have you heard of the “Rejection Hotline”? Apparently it’s no longer active, but for over 10 years, up until 2013, if someone asked you for your phone number but you didn’t have the gusto to say, “I really don’t want to give you my number, but thank you”, you had the option of giving someone an actual phone number to call. And if they indeed called it, this is what they would hear as the phone picked up:

“Hello, this is in not the person you were trying to reach. You have reached the Rejection Hotline! The person who gave you this number did not want you to have their real number. I know this sucks, but don’t be too devastated. So, why were you given the Rejection Hotline number? Maybe you’re just not this person’s type. Note: This could mean short, fat, ugly, dumb, annoying, arrogant or just a general loser. Maybe you suffer from bad breath, body odor, or a nasty combination of the two. Maybe you just gave off that creepy overbearing, psycho-stalker vibe…Regardless of the reasons, please take the hint. Accept the fact you were rejected, then get over it. And please, do your best to forget about the person who gave you this number, because trust us, they have already forgotten about you.”

At their height, the Rejection Hotline was a 2.5 million dollar annual company with over 60 million callers being rejected or at least calling the number to get in on the joke.

Rejection is a terrible thing, isn’t it??

Maybe you’ve been rejected by someone you thought would be a perfect future husband or wife. Maybe you had a business proposal that was turned down. There’s no doubt that someone reading this has been fired because you weren’t what the boss was looking for.

We have all faced rejection at some point. Especially those of us who survived middle school.

Even though rejection is very difficult and can be discouraging, rejection can also be the catalyst to redirection.

Jesus, in Mark 6, went back to His hometown of Nazareth. However, the reaction of the people Jesus grew up with was worse than indifference. It was rejection. Can you imagine? Jesus was rejected by the very people who should have known Him best. So how did Jesus handle the rejection? There are 4 things that Jesus does in that moment that are very instructive for us:

1. Shake it off.

Jesus says to His disciples as He sends them out: “And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them” (v.11).  Jesus is equipping His disciples to go and do what He was doing. If Peter and James went into a town and the people rejected them, they were merely to shake the dust off their feet and go to the next village.

Isn’t there a popular song recently about shaking off the haters? Jesus is saying that dust represents their rejection and shouldn’t even stay on your feet. Have you been rejected by someone you cared about? Did a potential spouse or business partner or company turn you down? Do what Jesus did! Leave their rejection with them and move on.

2. Go where you’re received.

Jesus immediately turns from Nazareth, and Mark 6:6 says, “He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” Jesus departed from the places that rejected Him and continued to minister, this time in places that would welcome Him. If you’ve been avoided for a job offer, don’t sit and sulk. Go and apply at another company that will pay attention to your resume! It’s important that we don’t waste time kicking doors that simply will not open. Does that friend not call you back? Keep persevering; but also look for relationships where you are valued and accepted, and where your friendship is reciprocated. And if you’re really really bold, just unfriend them. It’s hard, but so worth it.

3. Focus on your gifts and strengths.

Jesus doesn’t look at what their criticism was: “He’s just the carpenter. We know His family. We know His history. He won’t amount to anything. His past will define His future.” Criticism can be very instructive, even from those who are our enemies. But if we dwell unnecessarily on the critique, rather than our strengths and gifts, we will stay unproductive and bound. Jesus moved on to do what He did best: teach. So should we.

4. Use your energy to equip others.

Jesus could have sat in a corner lamenting His rejection. But He immediately begins teaching and then equipping His disciples to go and minister. I’ve found the greatest way to escape discouragement is to pour into others. At King David’s most desperate moment, as he was hiding out in the cave of Adullum, running from Saul and other adversaries, he begins to realize he is overwhelmed and in despair. Psalm 142 was the song David wrote while in the cave, and he feels completely alone. However, right after that, a large band of troubled men went to join him:

1 Samuel 22:1-2
David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.

David began to lead these men, becoming ‘captain over them’, and then begins to rebound from his discouragement. If you’ve been rejected, find some people who receive your ministry and begin to pour into their lives. Rejection isn’t easy to handle, but we can follow Jesus’ example and allow rejection to become redirection in our lives and ministries!

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An Update Interview with Pilgrim Benham

Pastor Daniel had the opportunity to sit down with Pilgrim Benham, a church planter in Bradenton, FL and talk about his church, family, and journey following Jesus and starting a church! Redemption Church has supported the Benham family and Calvary Chapel Shoreline since they began 6 months ago. We hope you enjoy this video update from Pastor Pilgrim on all God has been doing at Calvary Shoreline in the last 6 months!

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Serve the Lord with Gladness by Pilgrim Benham

Psalms 100:1-2 

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

Recently I found myself exhorted to serve more in the body of Christ with the motive of thanksgiving and gladness, not out of a sense of guilt or pastoral pressure.  My mind scanned through old Bible memory verses and I suddenly stumbled upon this verse in Psalms 100, a verse that my grandparents taught us to sing on a mission trip to Honduras and that hasn’t left my memory since.

The Idea

I love the idea of serving the Lord not out of compulsion or force.  God isn’t the commander that has enforced the draft!  He’s not the angry employer that is demanding we do the dirty job that is normally relegated to the new hires.  He isn’t giving us a stern command but rather a loving invitation to come and join Him in the work He is doing on the earth in the hearts of men and women.

When we pray, “Your kingdom come” we know we aren’t talking about a kingdom that is contained within political or geographical borders, but the kingdom of God is His rule and reign in the hearts of His people.  When we desire to see that kingdom forcefully advance, there must be those who are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel.

Joy, not Guilt

Service is not just a command, it is a joy.  It gives us spiritual zeal (Romans 12:11) and is a test of our stewardship (Matthew 25:23).  And the psalmist implores you and I to check our motives at the door of the church.  Are we serving the Lord with gladness?  Are we motivated by guilt, or by competition, or by envy, or by a genuine desire to see His kingdom come?

Over 15 years ago I heard an announcement from the pulpit of a church I was visiting calling for a week of prayer for the direction of their youth ministry.  I remember coming to pray, and feeling a deep sense of God’s call and an obvious need.  I didn’t have training, I certainly wasn’t experienced, and I was pretty intimidated.  But as I poured out my life serving the Lord and ministering to HIM, I found a joy and a place in ministering to His young flock.

What Now?

Has the wind left your sails?  Are you like David, discouraged and overwhelmed in the battle?  Maybe it’s time to encourage yourself in the Lord, to remind yourself to make a joyful shout the Lord, and to serve Him with gladness.  Maybe you aren’t yet finding a place to fit in.  Maybe you are that puzzle piece that hasn’t found its place yet.  Seek the Lord, find a need, and then serve the Lord with His strength and His resources, giving Him the glory, and amazingly, He’ll reward you for it!

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