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Showing posts from September, 2008

4th Quarter

Today marks the end of the 4th quarter of 2008. In football, at the end of the 3rd quarter the players begin the 4th by holding up 4 fingers together and rallying the team one more time. One more quarter to play. Stay in the game, keep pressing on and doing all you can to win. That's the way we need to set ourselves up for the rest of this year!

I've been developing the art of approaching the Lord with boldness. My confidence in God comes as I learn how to talk to Him and how to listen. I have tried to trust the instincts that He has given me this year and move out in faith whenever He spoke to my heart or I felt compelled to do something. I have had 3 quarters of great playing time, exciting plays and yes, I have enjoyed the victory dance in the end zone many times. But the games not over. The year is not over. I have to go into the 4th quarter as if I just began, the same enthusiasm, the same tenacious spirit the same fire in my spirit. It's too soon to quit. I cannot let…

Carrying the Bones

As we concluded our series on Joseph the Dreamer at church this weekend, Joseph died at the age of 110. He left word with his family that his bones were to be carried out of Egypt. You will have to read on to follow their course. In Exodus 13 Moses takes them on as they make their way out of Egypt (over 400 years later) In fact as they went through the desert, Moses and his people carried two boxes, the box containing the ten commandments and the box with the bonesw of Joseph. Keep reading until you get to Joshua, Moses' successor who takes the bones to a place that Jacob purcharsed in Shechem as an inheritance for his sons. Wow! We know that Joseph led a thrilling life but the journey of Joe's bones was quite a ride too!

Often I hear us talk about not taking things from our past into our future. In this case, Joseph was teaching lessons in his death as he interpreted dreams in his life. Where we are is not where we will end up. Those bones represented responsibility for Moses …

TapOut-BurnOut-BailOut

I've been a fan of UFC since Royce Gracie dominated the sport in the 90's. In fact you can still see me on the front row next to Carman in one of the early classics that was filmed in Tulsa! One of the modern day sponsors is a company called TapOut. It fits so well because the ultimate goal of this competition is to get your opponent to quit...to tapout. As someone who spends most of their life helping others keep fighting this cause a dilemma at times. I hear people say at church many times that they are burned out. They have no desire to keep burning...the flame is gone. And now, the country, the US of A and its American Dream philosophy is talking about the big bail-out.
The common thread in these three scenarios is that the people stop moving forward. They tapout, burnout and bailout. It's always too soon to quit. Fighting the good fight of faith should be our goal. Why? Because without faith we cannot please God. Faith can give us endurance when we really want to tapou…

Get Your Feet Wet!

This summer at the community pool I was enjoying some time being a bit wet and wild. I was being refreshed by the water and burned by the sun and it was...fabulous! After splashing around for a bit, I took a break and began watching people. What I saw were three types of folks: edge walkers, waders and divers. The edge walkers would circle the pool, occasionally dipping a toe or foot in the water to check the temperature. The waders would start at the shallow end where the steps were and begin to walk in. Little by little they would move forward as the water level would rise up their bodies. The divers, well they were jumping in from all sides and doing it over and over again. The splash they created from diving in was fun to watch. All of them experienced the water but in very different ways.

Perhaps we approach projects in our lives the same way. I know at our church I see these three types of people. Some walk around the edges and look at all of the activities going on and once in a…

The "if" in Life

Seems that many of my days are spattered with unknowns. OK, every day of my life carries with it undisclosed variables: situations that I did not plan for, things that I did not anticipate and people that I don't really enjoy. Boy, that's brutally honest isn't it?

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. Each day I am creating a picture. Unfortunately, on this instrument I am using(talents and abilities)there is no eraser. And still I continue to draw things at times that I really don't like. Why? Because I choose to control the pencil more often than not. When I draw, an eraser is almost always necessary. But when I allow the Lord to control the writing, there is no need for an eraser. He can take some lines that appear to be out of place and add another line or two to make something beautiful. Every shape, every line has value and is being used to make an incredible masterpiece. My son, Brandon, is an incredible artist. He can take a pencil and make a rose, a h…

Attitude

Attitude: its one of those things that can propel us to greatness or spiral us towards defeat. You have probably heard someone say that your attitude determines your altitude. In other words, if you want to rise to a higher level, you change your attitude. Coach Lou Holtz described attitude in comparison to ability and motivation. “Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

There are many things in the course of my day that I do which are really not fun. In fact, you could say that I don't like them at all. But these particular happenings are not by choice but rather part of my lot in life. I used to do them grudgingly while trying to consider that each time I did them I was planting a seed towards something great in the future. In reality, I was just bitterly doing them. So I was planting a bitter seed and expecting a non-bitter result.Then one morning I decided that I needed to change the way that I thi…

Pursuit of Happiness

Proverbs 21:21 tells that "he who pursues righteousness and love(mercy) will find life, prosperity and honor." In Matthew 5 where the Beatitudes are found, it says that those who show mercy to others are blessed and God will show them mercy.(Matt 5:7)

We are spiritually poor without God. Bankrupt in every way. When our agenda is surrendered to God, His agenda takes over. We begin to make the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons: which means we are in right standing with God. When you watch out for others God will watch out for you. When you lift others up, God will lift you up. By doing the right things with a merciful and loving heart, we can find ourselves in an environment of vibrant life. All of our needswill be met. Honor will find its way to us.

Don't just pursue righteousness and mercy today. Grab ahold of it!

Endure

Six years ago on this day I experienced the darkest hour of my entire life. What would happen after that changed my heart, my life and my spirit. I was "forced" to mature in every area of my life and make some tough decisions. At this terrible moment in time, when I was out of breath and confused, I had to chose whether to run to the Lord or away from Him. That decision did not happen instantly. It took place over a few months time.
Scripture says that Jesus, for the joy set before Him(eternity with God) endured the cross, despising the shame. Today He looks over the canopy of heaven and makes intercession for us. Jesus was going through a very dark time. He was being crucified. Dead. But He wasn't looking at that. He was looking at what was on the other side. The joy of what was coming gave Him strength for what was happening. But I noticed something, He ENDURED it. To endure is to bear with resistance and patience.I don't think He got over it. It lingers and so do …

You Will Know...

In Genesis 22, God is building the character of Abraham. It's a test to see if he can follow instructions. He tells him to take Isaac, his son, to the region of Moriah and to sacrifice his son on one of the mountains. But he did not tell him which one. Moriah was filled with mountains! All he said was to Abraham was that "you will know it when you get there".

Most often when we are being led and our lives are being shaped by our Creator, we have no complete picture of the where we are going. It seems to be on a need to know basis. Faith requires us to start walking and to begin doing and God promises that when we get to the right spot, we will realize it. Have you ever had someone give you directions to go somewhere and they could not fully describe the destination but they gave you all of the information they could and ended with that phrase, "you will know it when you get there." You will see it. When you get to the place you are being led in God, you will kno…

PERSONALity

Several years ago I was going to work for a large church and part of the interview process was to take a personality test. I had never taken one before and really did not see any benefit for me. What I learned was that the test was for the benefit of my employer. The information gathered from this test helped them to place me in the right situations and with the right people.

Personality is defined as the visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others. Your personality is sort of the first impression to anyone who meets you. What we are learning at our church is how you can uncover the design of your life as it was intended by understanding your personality and your spiritual giftings. This collection of qualities, aka your personality is unique and should be proudly displayed for all to see. In fact look at the first 8 letters and you will see the word...personal. Remember today that you are "fearfully and wonderfully" made. After God created the land and seas …

The Standards

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord

God chooses us even though we may not appear to be the best choice by the worlds standards. But God's standards are different. Rather than call the qualified, He qualifies the called. So no matter how wise you are by the worlds standards, no matter how influential or noble, God is ready to get you into His program and move you towards…

Flexibility

You look for it in athletes. You need it to run companies. It diminishes as you get older...physically speaking! Being flexible is a learned ability. It means not letting the small stuff keep you from doing the right stuff.
I was supposed to be in Texas today. My meeting was to be right where the hurricane hit. It was going to be a very exciting meeting and something I was so glad to be going to. All the arrangements were made: flights, hotel and then...it all changed. I went from being excited about me to praying for all of those that were evacuating and weathering the storm.
Sometimes weather changes. Sometimes jobs change. People change too. Jesus asked us to not be anxious about tomorrow because it will take care of itself. Did you know that we get the word anxiety from that word anxious. Anxiety destroys flexibility. It prohibits it too. Today, ask God to help you limber up. As someone once said, don't sweat the petty things: and don't pet the sweaty things! Be flexible!

Is it in you?

This week at our church we took what they call a spiritual gifts assessment test. The purpose of the test was to help us find our place in ministry by identifying the things that are already inside of us. Scripture tells us that God has "gifted" each of us with the ability to do certain things. Some of these are clearly evident and others seem to rise to the surface at just the right time. God gave each person something special according to the purposes that they are to serve in this world.

What amazed me as we talked a little about our results was how diverse the group was at our church. And just as the bible tells us, every gift was represented within the mid-week crowd that was there! We learned that we are a unit as a body of faith. We saw how God has placed many members within that one body with specific abilities and if we allow what is in us come out, well the end result will be incredible.

You too are gifted. Make sure you hear that! No matter what others have told you…

Thankful

Today I woke up from sleeping through the entire night(which never happens) and I have an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. I just feel thankful. Thankful to have my health. Thankful to have some wonderful children. Thankful for friendships. Thankful for our church.
It was Paul who told Timothy "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service". Paul realized that there was something else happening...outside force being exerted upon him that was moving in him and through him. Today, I realize that I am being positioned to be overwhelmingly successful. No matter what happens, everything is going to be thoroughly mixed together so that I come out on top at the end of the day. That is the way my God wants me to live! He counted me faithful. He placed me in service for Him. Now I am required to do the best I can with what has been entrusted into my care.
So I feel thankful right now. I'm alive and ready to…

To Will and To Do

When was the last time you made a decision that required action but you fell short in completing the task? Yesterday? This morning?
Being willing is only part of the process. Good intentions are great but they must be followed up by good actions. Phillipians 2:13 tells us that "it is God at work in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure".
When you have a "will" to do something it speaks of your desire. The "to do" part is what we need more of.
Perhaps today we can all pray for a burning desire to serve Christ and then we can follow-up that will by DOING something with that desire.
The Lord will give YOU the desires of your heart. What you do with them will all be left up to you and how you let God work in you. So ask yourself...
What are you WILLing TO DO?

Passionate Patience

I am a huge fan of research and development. It's part of my daily journey. I research God's Word to identify the things that are necessary for my growth and once I see them, I begin to develop them in me.
Romans 5 in the Message bible says, "There is more to come.We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us."

Passionate Patience. I probably would never have put those two words together because if truth be told, I'm not very passionate about waiting for anything! As I re-frame the way I think and develop more Christ-like characteristics, I am at the same time strengthening my ability to wait. Not just to wait, but to be passionate about it!

They say good things come to those that wait. Those that wait on the Lord renew their strength. They rise high like eagles and they run when others walk and keep going where others stop. If you are feeling hemmed in today just remem…

Solitude

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine all of lifes white noise dissipating into the distance. The stillness and the quietness now saturate where you are with a silence that calms your nerves, alleviates stress and brings you incomprehensible peace.
In psalm 23, perhaps the most famous of psalms, it says that the Lord leads us beside still(quiet) waters. We can find a place of solitude even in the midst of the multitude. Let the white noise that screams its distracting voice towards you fade away. Let the Lord guide you to a place of refreshing and tranquility. This week don't let life shout at you. You can overcome any obstacle and you can silence the disruptions. Take a deep breath in through your nose and gently exhale through your mouth. Solitude rocks!

Decision 2008

Everyone is talking about the election. Millions of dollars are being spent to promote both candidates and to throw lavish parties to help the people of our great land make a decision to choose one of them to be the leader of the free world. As my television is pelted with the barrage of ads, I began to wonder what this whole ordeal would be like if we reduced it down to a 30 or 60 day process. How much money would be saved that could be used to retire some of the trillions of dollars of debt we have in the United States? Americon Idol makes money to choose our best singer! What if we could find a way to make money to find a president?
Decision 2008. We still have nearly two months left before we have to go to a chosen location and make up our mind who we think is best. So I guess I will head to the bookstore and hunker down with a few good books until the political promotional campaign is over. Who to choose? I know, it's hard. Jason, David C or David A.? Oh wait, wrong idol!

Whom…

Bloomability

I've never heard that word until my daughter showed me the book she was reading at school. Bloomability is the title.
The ability to bloom is a gift. Some folks just succeed in whatever situation you put them in. In the book of Genesis, Joseph had bloomability. His brothers conspired to kill him and threw him in a pit. It wasn't long before circumstances led him to Potiphars house, the commander of Pharoahs army. He ran the entire household and controlled the business. Everything he touched prospered. Read on and you see him set up and thrown into prison. But he had bloomability. Soon he was out of jail and over all of the business affairs of Egypt!
We are given bloomability by God. No matter what happens around you, like Joseph we can decide to not get bitter: we can get better! Allow your faith to blossom into something beautiful that pleases the Lord today. Exercise your bloomability!

Sharing?

Someone gave me some great advice years ago. They said, "never share your problem with someone that can't solve it." Think about that for just a moment. Our tendency is to open our mouth and start talking about our troubles wherever we are and no matter who is around is. Imagine what could happen if we started to watch the way we unload our thoughts and emotions? Not only do we like to talk about our problems, we like to talk about each others too! In the world they call this gossip and murmuring. In church we call it "sharing". Whatever term you put on it, the end result is destruction.

As fully devoted followers of Christ, our mission is to lift up the spirits of those around us. To edify, exhort and encourage our friends, neighbors and co-workers. If you start talking up other people they may stop talking down everyone else. So today, think before you speak. Stop talking off the top of your head! If you have some problems, take them to the Lord. Cast all of …

Wonder Pets!

The other morning I sat down with my daughter and she was watching a show featuring a gerbil, a turtle and a little bird. The plot is the same everyday. There is an animal in trouble somewhere in the world and their mission is to save them. This dynamic trio are truly Wonder Pets. Throughout the entire day I found myself singing their theme song!
Oh if I could wake up every day and be as excited as the Wonder Pets were to go out and save others like me. Somewhere out there today someone will be in trouble. I may be able to bring a word of hope and life.
Today, make someone smile. Rescue a friend. You have even more potential than Tuck, Lenny and Ming Ming! This is your day to show how fearfully and WONDERfully you are made!

Amazing exodus!

As I was staying updated on the hurricane and praying for all of those in its path, I watched in amazement as the nearly 2 million folks left the Gulf Coast. It seemed to go so smoothly after the warnings and you could tell that everyone remembered Katrina 3 years ago. To see that many folks in a synchronized move of obedience to authority was quite a sight.
Old Testament accounts talk of the exodus out of Egypt which I am guessing looked about the same except for the camels instead of cars. God was rescuing people then and He is doing the same now.
Moving in unity will always be news worthy,with or without Mother Natures help.
May His hand be upon the people that remain, the sick and the elderly, the animals and the rescue teams. May the Lord use this exodus once more to unite all of us. Have a safe holiday!