Barnabas Center
Barnabas Center


“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB)


We got a brick.  Not just any brick but a special brick.  Some of you may have done the same thing.  It was the Summer Olympics of 1996.  It was a fundraising opportunity for the Olympics and you could inscribe anything you wanted on this brick, as long as it was no more than 10 characters. The brick is still there in Centennial Park.  What do you put on a brick that’s going to have your name and a phrase on it for decades to come?

We thought about “You ‘da man!” but it took too many spaces, besides I think that one’s been used before.  Then we thought of abbreviating.  MGIAAG “My God is an awesome God,” but only my wife Janet and I would’ve known what it meant.  Then, only Janet would’ve known what it meant because, with my great memory, I would have forgotten.

We decided on Carpe Diem; short sweet and to the point.  Isn’t that God’s desire for us, to seize the day?  As I write this, several friends and friends of friends have died quite suddenly.  One friend’s mother died at a restaurant.  Another friend died quite suddenly of cancer leaving behind a wife and child.  My sweet sister recently died in a car accident. You never know.

It’s got me thinking, how am I doing having that abundant life?  Am I seizing the day?  In our counseling situations, we often run into individuals that are paralyzed because of their past or are afraid of failure to the point they don’t move forward.  I must admit, at times I struggle with the same issues.  How many days, weeks, or even years are wasted because we are waiting for the right sequence of events to fall in place, to ensure success and not a failure?  The reference in John says, “I came so that you might have life”.  What does it mean to you to have a life?  How would you define the second half of that verse, “to live it abundantly”?

Sometimes we’re so busy looking for that right sequence of events for that 100% guarantee, that we miss God speaking to us through the body of Christ.  God has a plan for each of us. We are each gifted in unique and special ways.  I believe part of having that abundant life is exercising those gifts He has given us.

What keeps you from seizing the day?  For many of us it’s schedules and routines.  We spend the majority of our time surviving, living from paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet.  I believe one of the greatest ways that Satan undermines the family is through our schedules.  It’s like that old story, “How do you boil a frog?”  You put it in cold water and gradually turn the temperature up.  As a result, the frog doesn’t notice the temperature change, but if you drop it in hot water, it’ll hop right out.  I think in some ways, we’re the same.  We’re ready for the frontal attacks of alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.  But we are not ready for the slow, gradual ways that our family can be undermined through our schedules and being overly committed.

Perhaps you have the same struggle that I do at times.  How can I listen to the voice of God, if I’m not being still? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  In closing, let me encourage you to examine your schedules and your life.  Are you too busy, are you able to listen to God, are you able to be still?



Keith Niager LCSW

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What Does It Mean To Be Obedient? by Keith Niager, LCSW

Only ten people showed up. You see, I had been asked to speak at a local church. I had prepared for several hours and only ten people showed up. One of them was a two-year-old. I had big plans for this speaking engagement (it was my own definition of “big plans”).

This was at a time when the Barnabas Center needed funds.  We had bills coming up, taxes due, payroll, etc… We had not compromised our benevolent fund; no one was turned away due to their inability to pay. I was told there would be a love offering taken up after my message. Are you getting the picture? I had high hopes for this speaking engagement.

Only ten people showed up. I remember when the duet (1/5th of the congregation) was singing and praying. My prayer was one of panic, confusion, and to be honest, anger. This was going to be my answer to prayer. After all, we had such needs! Shouldn’t God bless this after all I had done? I expected the place to be packed (well at least 30 people). KFC buckets overflowing with money lives being touched by God’s word, people laughing at my witty humor (I know that’s a stretch) people laughing at my jokes (rather than at me).

Perhaps you can identify with my situation. Have you ever done something expecting it to go a certain way? Prayed a prayer to God that you already have the answer for?  Experienced anger and confusion when you feel like you have done all the right things on your spiritual checklist but you still don’t get the answer you desire?

Back to my prayer while the duet was singing. I had about a minute left to find peace and to try to sort all this out… By the way, my topic was “How to Minister to Those In Need.” As the duet was wrapping up their song, I had peace and calmness come over me. I clearly remember certain thoughts come to me. They had to be from God, I was too overwhelmed at the time to think them on my own.

They were “it doesn’t matter; you are being obedient to my calling.  Let me take care of the rest.  You are not here for the numbers or the contributions; you are here because I have called you here. If one life is touched because of your being obedient to my call then the Kingdom is furthered. If 1 or 1,000 show up, if one person gains a deeper understanding of me, then it is all worth it. Keith, you’ve done your job by being here tonight.  Now go up and let me do mine

It was an honor, a blessing, and a privilege to be there that night. I remember one lady in particular sharing that she had three people in her life that were having struggles. She said she had recently felt stuck because she no longer knew how to respond. She stated the message gave her some insight into her situation. Praise God.

We all have strongholds. God showed me some of mine that night. Are there any areas in your life you may feel prompted to act on but haven’t because you don’t know how it is going to turn out? Perhaps you may not get the desired response. Maybe it is a fear of failure.

In closing, I encourage you to examine your life.  In your time of prayer, be open to God’s prompting. Be obedient, regardless of how many people show up.

Keith Niager LCSW

 (1 Th 5:24 NASB)  “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”

 If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

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