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Showing posts from January, 2009

Super!

Yes it is Super Bowl weekend! You are going to hear the word super at least a million times. This weekend they play for the $12000 trophy and a $6000 ring if they win, and a little $3000 one if they lose. More food will be consumed this weekend than any other day of the year except for Thanksgiving. On the flip side, antacid sales will increase by more than 20%!
At our church we have our annual chili cook-off right after service and everyone comes dressed in jerseys and I have to say, we bring the party! It's super!
The players on the gridiron this weekend have fought a good fight and have faced every challenge to rise up and be on this very special, highly public stage. What they do on this stage can shape their life forever. In the same way, this stage that you and I play on every day must be utilized to its fullest. We must play with all our heart, use our talents and gifts and finish the game! 1st Corinthians 9:24 says: do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but o…

Light Troubles?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I've never really thought of the troubles that I go through as light and momentary. In fact, when I go through difficulties they seem heavy and never-ending! I find myself asking God how can I not lose heart? But notice that it says are troubles are ACHIEVING for US an eternal glory that far outweighs all of those troubles! In other words, if we can hang on, stand firm and press through this season we will have an incredible payoff on the other side! The only way to make this happen is to fix our eyes not on what we can see but what we have faith to believe. I see myself healed. I see myself abounding in grace and mercy.…

Dad, I'm bored!

I have heard that phrase at least a million times from my kids. It means that they have no friends to hang out with and no place to go. Often I will come to the table with ideas...let's go to a movie...out to eat...to the funhouse...Wal_mart? But they don't want to do that. Why? Because it's not cool to hang out with your dad like that.
I am still surprised by how easily they become bored. I remember a few years ago I took the kids down to Six Flags over Texas. We spent the entire day riding rides, going into shops, eating food and did I say, riding rides? After 10 hours of non-stop adventure we got back to our hotel and cleaned up a bit. In less than an hour, one of the, uttered those words again...Dad, I'm bored!
Could boredom possibly have nothing to do with activity? Is it a mindset? I'm not exactly certain at the triggers for boredom. Stimulating your mind, your emotions and your body all the time sounds a bit exhausting to me. As we sat in the house yesterday …

Ice Ice Baby!

Yesterday afternoon it started...a wet drizzle that became a layer of ice on our streets here in Tulsa. The television was crammed full of reports about the weather and cars were crashing into each other and flipping over right and left. It was a bit misleading because it looked like rain but gathered like ice. Ice, ice, baby!
As I made my way home safely I began to think about how deceptive the streets look. You can be going along just fine as any other day and then all of a sudden your car starts to spin out of control. Life is like that sometimes. You have a great day or some fantastic news. And then something happens...the bottom falls out and you start to spin out of control.
The key to driving on ice is taking it slow and keeping a good distance between you and the car in front of you. Driving through life can use the same advice. Keep some distance between you and things that you could crash into that could cause harm. And take it slow. Sometimes it is the busyness that can ruin …

Synergy

Synergy is a wonderful thing. It is the term used to describe a situation where the final outcome of a system is greater than the sum of its parts. For people that are in the ministry it is a great reminder that the reason we do the things we do is so much more important than the way we do it. Don't get me wrong...the way is important but the motives are crucial. None if us is a good as all of us.
Yesterday I sat down with a group of friends and talked about the things that God was sharing with us. As ideas began to pop so did the energy. That energy became an idea which caused a plan to develop. Before long, the idea and plan had a system and a team ready to implement it. It really is great when things all start to come together.
The opposite of synergy is antagonism, the phenomenon where two agents in combination have an overall effect that is less than that predicted from their individual effects. Most of us are in antagonistic situations with antagonistic people. Out of this c…

Stubborness

I have been reading the story of Moses and the multiple requests that he made of Pharoah to let the people go from Egypt. Even after all of the plagues he still refused the man of God's request. I would have thought that the frogs and the flies would be enough. But then add locusts and boils on the bodies of the people! Just how stubborn was he? Pharaoh did not relinquish his hold on the Israelites until the tenth plague came upon him. God came through at midnight and killed all of Egypt's first born males. There was the sound of anguish, despair and the stench of death throughout the land. It was enough. He let the people go.

It made me think about how many times I am stubborn. How often do I rebel against God and not allow myself to be led by His spirit. Yesterday we alluded to two types of fires, fires that destroy and fires that purify. Check out this verse in Romans:
Romans 2:5 (The Message)
5-8You're not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God(being…

Going Through the Fire

This week as I was reading Daniel Chapter 3, I was challenged. Daniels three buddies were asked to bow to the image of the king which they, like Daniel, purposed in their heart not to do. They held to their convictions just as they had seen Daniel do. The king had them brought in and told them they would bow or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Without hesitation they told the king that they would not bow, God would deliver them. And then they said something incredible: even if God does not deliver us, we will still not bow to that image of you! So into the fire they went!

I was challenged because I wondered if I could face such a disaster with the same tenacity as these Hebrew boys. Would I be willing to go through the fire to get to the glory of God on the other side? There is a fire of destruction and there is the fire of God's spirit. The fire of God's spirit glows brighter and consumes the other which explains why the king was able to see the fourth man in the fire, glowing,…

The Honeymoon is Over

I was thinking about what this day could look like for our new President. Yesterday was an amazing day to watch and it was clear that there is a great deal of support for Barak Obama. But now the parade route is filled with work traffic. The streamers and decorations are being removed from the dance halls. The songs and the dancing are gone. Today he wakes up to all of the troubles that were here before this multimillion dollar campaign started. This morning he must begin making decisions that he will answer for. The buck stops with him.

As our nation rallies behind this "change" we will all be looking intently at the first few major decisions that fly out of the White House. The parties over, the people are waiting and the nation is postured for success. Say a prayer today for Mr. Obama that God would begin orchestrating even more historic steps in the future that will make our lives level out a bit. Yesterday was a defining moment. How he is defined will be a result of how …

You Are a Star!

Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

Every time I read this verse it is a reminder to watch how I talk to others. To pay attention to how I engage in conversations and meetings. To go about our days and our business without complaining or arguing is not always an easy task. But it is a necessary one. There is much to be said about living a peaceful and quiet life. We need to remember that others are watching us at the grocery store, at the restaurant or at church. Your life is a living testimony of what you believe and what is important to you. You become more and more pure as you develop your ability to stop complaining and arguing. We live in a crooked and depraved world. But we have a responsibility: to shine like stars in the universe. To stand out and be outstanding!

Do you shine like a star or are you oft…

The Lions Den

Daniel had what may be defined as a traumatic experience because he chose not to defile himself by doing things that were contrary to his God's plan. In Daniel 6 he and his buddies are thrown into a den of lions because they prayed the their God and not the gods of the king. All night long they were in the den with man-eating lions. That's where God showed up and shut the mouths of the lions so that the next day, they were able to testify once again that Daniel's God was the One worthy of honor and praise.
This weekend, about 40 men gathered at The Landing for a Lions Den encounter. We had many wonderful speakers that brought the passion for Christ and His purposes to the forefront and God visited us in a special way. It was a 24 hour event and though it was a bit uncomfortable to change our daily routine, God was there for us because we were there for Him. I realized that night that He will meet you even if you are in the middle of a traumatic situation just like Daniel wa…

Simplify

"A pretentious, showy life is an empty life. A plain and simple life is a full life." Proverbs 13:7 MSG
Over the holidays I received a book called "101 Ways to Simplify Your Life". Seeing as I just entered a new year and did not want to carry over into 2009 anything that could burden me, I was intrigued by the title. As I began to go through the "simple" ways I could diminish the chaos and create the calm, I felt the Lord really burning in this verse in Proverbs into my soul.
Too often my life feels like a merry-go-round that just won't stop. Activities, meetings, children, work...the list goes on and on and sometimes I just want the carousel to stop! What I have realized is that if I am going to pursue God and His holiness, there are activities that I must cease from doing. I have the wonderful ability to schedule my day and prioritize my life. The secret to simplifying is to put Christ in the first slot.
So this weekend as you try to relax a bit and u…

Your Darkest Hour

Today I was reading Psalm 3. Its one of the fourteen psalms that contain a hint in the title about what David was doing when he wrote it. Psalm 3 was written when he fled from his son Absalom. The psalm summarizes the heartbreak of a father, the humiliation of a deposed monarch, and the overthrow of a great military leader. Absalom is preparing to usurp the throne and this is David's darkest hour. You can feel the pain in the first two verses and the desperation in David's words. But then a dramatic change occurs.
In verse 3 David takes his eyes off of the problem and places them on the Problem Solver. He remembers all of the things that God has done...You are my shield, my glory, my hope...the lifter of my head. You can almost see David's faith rising!David began to stand his ground. And standing your ground is easier when you're grounded in faith.
Many times you and I get overwhelmed by circumstances. Often its hard to rest when so many things are spinning out of contr…

Where Are You Going?

Dave Matthews sang the line. Today I started out thinking about Abraham. God asked him to take his son to a place that he would show him and sacrifice him. Besides this being such an overwhelming request, God did not tell him where to go. He said you will know it when you see it. What a great way to start the day. Walking out towards an undisclosed location with your knife in hand knowing that soon you will have to give up your kid.
Abraham was an amazing man. He had already left family and friends to follow God with no destination mentioned. He left not knowing where he was going. Perhaps obedience is more important than revelation? Could knowing who is sending you be more crucial than knowing where you are going? The answer....absolutely!
As Abraham reached the mountain he knew this was the spot. As he raised the knife at that altar to sacrifice Isaac a ram rustled in the bushes. God had sent the real sacrifice so that Isaac could live to be a child of promise. That ram had been divin…

Draw Near

God has opened a way for us to communicate with him. Now, because of the sacrifice that Christ made we are able to come into His presence with confidence. And because we have that access we are instructed to do some things to enhance our life in Christ.
Let me show you what the Word says...
Hebrews 10:22 "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching".

The first thing we must do is draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. Drawing near to God requires doing things that God would do. Faith pleases God. …

Diligence

When we come to God we must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Diligence is the keyword for our church for 2009. It's defined as a steady application of His power to move us forward in a positive direction. Another definition is a constant or earnest effort to accomplish what is being undertaken.
Ministry is like a marathon. How you finish is much more crucial than how you start. I have always enjoyed starting new things. I think most of us have no problem on the front end of a project. But when the newness wears off, when months have gone by, and when some of the fun has been replaced with tedious details and personality conflicts; well that's when we must have diligence kick in. It was CERVANTES that said “idleness never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.”

How can you become more diligent? Start moving. Keep moving. We cannot afford to become lazy and inactive. As we put our whole heart into what the Lord is doing…

Keyword

This weekend at our church we have our annual Keyword service. Every year we focus on a word that we feel best directs our vision and fulfills our mission for the year. I will tell you what this does for all of us...it centers us and gets us on the same page at the very beginning of the year.

In Hebrews 12 the bible talks about fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. You see what we focus on we bring to life in a powerful way in our lives. So at The Landing, we will set our viewfinder on our Keyword for 2009 and then take the snapshot. That image will stay in front of us and be burned on our minds all year long.

Do you have a keyword for 2009? if you had to put all of your energies behind one word that best describes where you are going, what would that word be? Maybe this is the year that you become more definitive in your focus. Some cameras have a face finder which is a square you center on the face in the picture you are taking. What will the face be on y…

How Do You See Yourself?

There are many folks today that are unable to live the life that God intended for them because they of the way they perceive themselves. Self-esteem will alter your confidence level as well as your ability to interact properly with others. When you feel insecure about your abilities you tend to isolate yourself from fellowship.
You can never rise above the image you have of yourself in your own mind. Remember Gideon? God saw him as a mighty man of valor but he saw himself as the "least" in his father's house. Until you and I are able to see ourselves as God sees us, we limit ourselves. We cannot live an enlarged life with a restricted attitude.

So how is your confidence level today? Do you realize that as a Christian you are created in the image of God? You are made according to the design He had for you. So lift up your head and be hopeful for the best to happen today. Hope is defined as "confident" expectation. God wants you to keep your hopes up! Isn't it …

You Are Different?

Tonight at The Landing we are going to begin looking into lessons found in the life of Daniel. Daniel was different. In fact in Daniel 6 it says that he had an "excellent" spirit which made a clear and evident distinction between him and all of the others that the king was trying to train to serve. When we approach our day with excellence we can expect some good things to happen. One calculation that I saw the other day said this: e= m X c2 which translates as excellence equals motivation times confidence squared. In other words when you and I get motivated and we begin to believe in our abilities and talents which God has given to us, excellence is the end result.

While in SC over the holidays I had the wonderful privilege to share the Word with the St Helena Baptist Church. Afterwards one of the ladies in attendance came up to me and told me that she liked the way I talked! She said I was different! I guess that could have been taken a variety of ways but I chose to take it…

Peace and Quiet

1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
What a great way to begin a year! Praying and interceding for those who lead, those who govern and those who guide the lives that we live every day. I want you to notice a principle in this short verse. If we can keep our mind on others, praying for their success and their good fortune, we will receive a great benefit. What's that? Im glad you asked! What we gain is a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. WOW! After your holiday has been packed with family and friends and children and NOISE...we can all use some of that!
I am applying that promise to my life right now because I cannot get enough peace and quiet in my life! So Lord, bless all of those that are governing our land today. May your favor r…

Fasting Forward

Today I am embarking on my annual season of fasting and prayer. At The Landing we call it Fast Forward. I believe that prayer can move the hand of God and fasting will move His fingers. So during this season I get very specific about what I am pressing through to become more spiritually sensitive to what God is saying to me and what He desires from my life. This year I am doing what they call a Daniel Fast...21 days...vegetables, nuts and some fruit.
In the Book of Daniel, Daniel is brought before they king and the king is trying to prep these subjects for service. So they have a three year training camp. The king wants to make these candidates prime subjects to work in the kingdom and serve. Part of the process is to serve these recruits the daily food and drink of the king. Daniel, however, did not desire to partake of the kings "rich" food but rather had his own personal convictions. So he stuck by what he knew in his heart to do. He ate vegetables, fruits and nuts and af…

Your Personal GPS

At the beginning of a new year we all tend to make some promises. Some folks call them New Years resolutions. They are promises to ourselves to change. Promises to the Lord to be more “spiritual” and to try and be more like Him. Promises to our friends and our family to eat healthier and take care of ourselves. It’s the best time to turn over a new leaf because we are starting with a clean slate. We attempt to have new thoughts and support them with new actions. What we are saying is that we resolve to be different.

This year I want to encourage you to develop your own personal GPS. I have one of these in my car that helps me find locations that I do not know. It speaks to me and guides me to the destinations that I am going towards. We need to activate our personal GPS. It’s easy to remember and hopefully it will help you stay on track so that you can follow through on your resolutions and fulfill your promises. What is this GPS formula?

G: Goals Set some reasonable goals that you ca…

Happy New Year!

Praying for all of you readers that this year is the best year yet and that God turns all your dreams2destiny!