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Showing posts from November, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life!

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Well, it’s really beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Yesterday at The Landing we officially opened the Christmas season with our first Christmas Classic: a sermon based on the movie "It’s a Wonderful Life!" It’s one of the most watched movies of the holiday season. And it really has a powerful impact and strikes home when you think about it in light of this year’s financial collapse. George Bailey faced some of the same things we are all facing: bank failures, depression and anger all rolled up into one heavy stick that just keeps smacking us on the head! But George had Clarence, his own personal guardian angel. Psalm 91:11 tells us that God put His angels in charge of each of us. Billy Graham thought that to mean that we all have at least two angels assigned to us. Imagine that: you have your own personal divine messenger looking out for your best interest! After falling to the bottom of the barrel, George realized something. In desperation he cried out to heaven and h…

Black Friday is madness!

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Now don't get mad at me if you are a Black Friday supporter. I guess this won't bother you anyway cause you won't read it...you are at the mall! Many people are after what they believe to be "unbelievable sales". Stores offer a "crazy" deal to get you into the store. And though they only have a few of those, there hope is that while you are there you will buy something else, even if you miss the "crazy" sale. When catching a mouse we use this same philosophy with cheese and a mouse trap!
I am always amazed by the publicity and hype that comes regarding Black Friday. To imagine camping out in order to get a laptop computer seems strange to me. 57 million people will go shopping today and I am certain that this makes the retailers happy. In our town, one lady even went into labor while waiting in line! Now that's madness!

We have all been very frugal with our income and our spending this year. It appears that we may be turning our economy arou…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving...whether you read this forward, thanksgiving or backwards, giving thanks...it means the same thing. Saying thank you can never be taken for granted. It's not just good manners, it should be as natural to us as breathing!

Each and everyone of us has something to be thankful for today, from single parents to the widow, from the soldier to the retiree, there IS a reason to be thankful. God is always looking out for you best interest and though you may find yourself in a rough season, now that God is taking all of your challenges and difficulties and blending them together to make you something special!

Let the JOY out today. Pray for all of those around you. And regardless of what is going on in your life, GIVE THANKS and just see what THANKSGIVING can do for YOU!

The "Posse"

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"For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11

Billy Graham once said that he thought based on this scripture, that you and I had at least two angels assigned to help us. To picture in my mind that there are two divine presences surrounding me every day, guarding me when necessary and watching over me is quite a comfort. The Bible says they will lift us up, they will keep us from stumbling. Why even if I make an innocent mistake and brush up against something that is harmful, because of this "posse" I will be safe!

One of our "miracle members" at The Landing, Darrell,(rescued from a terrible crash) is being used by God in this season to preach the Good News of the Gospel and wake up people that are spiritually sleepy. A few weeks ago, he was invited to a city about an hour away and was ready to go. Suddenly, a group of folks from the church showed up at the church to caravan to that city and be the "amen corn…

The Grace of Giving

Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

Ever since I was a little boy and went to church with my parents I have heard preachers talk about the tithe. It was always defined as giving ten percent and God would bless our life. Every place I went an offering was taken. For nearly 20 years the music ministry I worked for passed a bucket to cover expenses for the concerts we produced. And all the time I was missing a great truth about God's economy.

The longer I am in the church the more I notice my focu…

A Defining Moment

This is a week to practice the thanks-living lifestyle I have been studying about. As I read the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 yesterday at The Landing, I was reminded of the power of thanksgiving. He was about to be invaded by a large army of adversaries and in the midst of this defining moment, he prayed. Others may have quit and walked away but He asked God what to do and he stayed focused. The end result was an army of priests that went out before his army praising God and then a choir that learned an 8 word song and sand it from the top of their lungs: praise the Lord for His mercy endures forever! This thanksgiving brought about the annihilation of ALL of those that were against Jehoshaphat. In fact, it took them 3 days to carry away the things that God provided for them in this divine ambush.
Life is filled with moments that will define you or deflate you. This weekend, I was experienced such a moment as a fellow Tulsa minister passed away; his life taken prematurely b…

What Really Matters?

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I think it is important to know what really matters because so many people are getting wrapped up in the wrong things nowadays. I was in one of my favorite restaurants some time ago and ordered one of my favorite things: a wrap. A wrap usually refers to whatever I have ordered rolled up inside of a tortilla. But ion this day I picked something I had never had before... a “lettuce wrap”. I thought that the chicken would be rolled up in some lettuce and then all of that would be wrapped in a tortilla. What I got was a lettuce wrap. All of the items were wrapped up in lettuce! It looked good...it looked so healthy I felt like I was losing weight just looking at it! But though it wonderful, it was nearly impossible to eat. My meal was wrapped up in the wrong thing. Not everything that sounds good is easy to handle.
We need to try and understand better what really matters. We need to strive to stay wrapped up in things that give us life. Most of us begin to realize that the longer we st…

Seek the Showers!

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"Sow for yourselves righteousness,reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up the unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12
There is much to be said about DILIGENCE: constant earnest effort...a steady application of His power moving us forward in a positive direction. If you have ever been lost on a trip before, you understand the exuberance and joy that comes upon you when you find the right way again and reach your destination. Seeking the Lord requires diligence and discipline. You train yourself to be godly. You communicate with the Lord everyday through prayer and try to find Him in every situation. And you keep seeking until the showers come!
Once you have traveled the highway to favor,reaped the unfailing love of God, and felt the refreshing showers of righteousness, you THANK Him for the process! Thanksgiving will lead to thanks-living and that is what we are after...not just in this month but each…

Break up the Ground!

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"Sow for yourselves righteousness,reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up the unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12
What a week we are having! Sowing for ourselves and reaping some powerful love for others as a result. Maybe you find it hard to get anything growing in your life. One mistake we often make is the pre-planting requirement. Our text says to "break up the unplowed ground". Imagine trying to plant something in the ground pictured here. The seeds would fall in the cracks or be snatched up by the birds or burned out by the blazing sun. Preparation always precedes success. In fact its when preparation meets opportunity that success arrives.
Have you left a dream on the shelf? Are there things that have not manifested in your life that you have been praying for? Maybe the ground wasn't ready for planting the first time. Go back and break up the dry ground and get it ready to re…

Reap the Fruit

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"Sow for yourselves righteousness,reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up the unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12
After we have planted some righteous seeds, the process of blessing has begun. Since we know that whatever we sow we will also reap, we can begin to expect something. Reap the fruit of unfailing love. Unfailing love is the fruit that never loses its flavor. In 1 Corinthians 13 we find out that Love is patient and love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.The bible says that perfect love throws fear out the door! Love NEVER fails.
By making the right choices and living with the right motives and in the right Spirit, we bring this power of lov…

Sow for YOU!

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"Sow for yourselves righteousness,reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up the unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12

Today begins by making a decision to do something better...something greater. It all starts with YOU! This scripture says "sow for YOURSELVES" righteousness. Righteousness can be defined as making the right choice at the right time for the right reason. Ultimately you will end up with the right result! You make a decision today to encourage others and to expect the best. To make one right decision after another. A righteous lifestyle comes by putting a string of these right decisions together. Strive to be positive. No one ever hurt their eyesight by looking at the bright side of things.
Sowing talks about planting. Whatever you so, you will reap. That is a biblical principle that farmers know first hand. As you start this week, plant some good things. Do it for YOU! Sow fo…

He Considers YOU!

1 Timothy 1:12 "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service."

Think about what God has done to prepare you for this moment in time. You are where you are based on your ability to harness the power of God. If you may feel like you are waffling between situations and unable to make up your mind about what to do, it may just be a result of your relationship with Christ. Tune in to Him and turn on your potential to succeed. By acknowledging Him, you and I can set ourselves up for great success. (Proverbs 16)
It is then that He gives us strength. His strength is extended to us because He considers us to be faithful. And because He counts us faithful and empowers us, we are appointed to service. His service.
His service is accomplished in many ways. You may be a carpenter, a plumber , a housewife or a variety of other things. You represent Him wherever you are. You have been given the strength and the opportu…

BTHNKFL

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COL 3:15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to
God the Father through him.

There are some keys to how to be thankful in a world so many are not at all thankful. Let’s break some of them down today...
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly
What is the Word?(bible) What are we to do with it? (dwell) Let it live in you. How do you get it in you? READ IT! For something to “dwell” with you it has to move in! Not only is this Word supposed to live in you, you and I are to be able to TEACH and ADMONISH(to warn or reprimand) one another with ALL WISDOM! We have got to be smart about helping others and doing what we can to ke…

Thank You!

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Today we remember all of those brave soldiers that defend the freedom that we enjoy. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would need be possible if these men and women were not making huge sacrifices for each of us. Mom's and dad's that are away from families and children, men and women that have protected and served for decades.
Today, and every day, we say thank you for your gift. You have given to use an opportunity for peace. You have helped make it possible for us to learn and grow. Life and happiness would mean nothing without liberty.
Thank you to your loved ones, who let you go to fulfill this calling. Thank you to your spouses and children who waved goodbye but made sure to say "I'll see you soon!". Thank you to those that are praying for you all over the world as you make this sacrifice. Thank you to all of the soldiers that have gone before you, those who showed you the hurts with their blood...those who washed away the pain with their tears. Those…

Jonah's Downward Spiral

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Today the Life in Tulsa TV crew goes to the Oklahoma Aquarium to shoot our next show. My favorite thing to see there are the Bull Sharks. Right here in Tulsa we have the largest BS in captivity. (that's Bull Sharks people!) Whenever I see a big fish and people in the same room I think about a guy named Jonah. God spoke to him and told him to go to Nineveh and tell the people to straighten up. Jonah heard the word but left for Tarshish. He had a plan. He ran...away from God! He went DOWN to Joppa. He found a boat sailing that direction, boarded it and then went DOWN below deck to rest. A great storm came upon the ship and it wasn't long till Jonah realized that it was his disobeying God that was bringing the chaos. He told the shipmates to throw him overboard and Jonah was thrown off and went DOWN into the water. Jonah was on a DOWNward spiral. Every decision he was making was taking him DOWN!
God sent a BIG FISH...bigger than the Bull Sharks in Tulsa to swallow Jonah. And once …

Perseverence

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I have been thinking a great deal about "perseverance" these days. There are so many people out of work and struggling. So many folks struggling in relationships and with their faith. Times are hard. As unemployment went over 10% nationwide all I could do was pray that we could persevere. I pray that we stick it out until the good news comes. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel but you never get to it if you don't go through the tunnel!
World renowned financier Sir John Templeton once said that "perseverance is the difference between success and defeat." In other words, you are never defeated as long as you keep on fighting...as long as you keep on trying.
It's always too soon to quit. If we are going to persevere we will have to remain faithful to an idea or situation in the face of obstacles or discouragement. If you are facing some trying circumstances today, let me encourage you to take a deep breath, keep your chin up and press on. Be confident...G…

A Plateful of Grateful

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This month is all about thankfulness. I have been putting together a list of the things I am grateful for and trying to live my life with this "thanksgiving" in my heart. As we prepare ourselves for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is important for us to develop a lifestyle of thanks-living.I am putting together a message for this weekend called "A Plateful of Grateful". As I make my way to that table of thanksgiving I want to look at what's on my plate.
Philippians 4:4-7 helps us get the portions we need and fill our plateful of grateful with the right items. It says, "rejoice in the Lord always!". Joy should be a main course; a generous portion on our plateful of grateful. In fact you can't enjoy anything else unless you have it. The JOY of the Lord is your strength. Once we have learned how to be joy-FULL, the scripture goes on to talk about "letting our gentleness be evident to all". Kindness and compassion are great "side" to …

Represent!

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us."

You are the message. People are watching YOU today and listening to what you say. In fact, you occupy a pulpit...your own personal space of ministry in your circle of influence. You are the message. The question is "what message are you?" When we ask Christ to live in our hearts we are made new...we are born again. God reconciles us to himself and then gives to us that ministry of reconciliation where we are to go and bring others to Him as well. You represent! You bring this before others and you stand…

Bless...

Romans 12:4Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

One of the hardest lessons in life to learn is how to deal with circumstances that you do not control: and people that are hostile towards you. To be ridiculed, abused, betrayed or simply talked bad about is difficult to go through without feeling the need for retaliation. Our human nature seems skewed towards vengeance and getting even. But Jesus taught another way. His plan was contrary to how we feel and how we are wired. In fact, to be like Him requires some reprogramming and some new strategies!

Jesus said to “bless those that persecute you”. Instead of raising your fist, raise a prayer. Instead of a smack down try a lift up. Bless and don’t curse. He said He would take care of the situations. He will always allow justice to prevail. The timing may not be what you had planned on but the end result will be better than you ever expected! Time spent getting even would be better spent getting ahead. So take the high roa…

Stay in the Fairway

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Yesterday I found myself filming another episode of Life in Tulsa at the beautiful Southern Hills Country Club. Some of the most beautiful holes in golf are found right here in Tulsa. While standing on the first tee box I looked out over an incredibly manicured fairway leading up to a freshly cut and watered green where my destination, the hole was located.
They say that when you play here you better stay in the fairway. Going off to the right you will find some rough conditions. And should you go off to the left you may find a trap filled with sand.
From this vantage point I see similarities in life too. To be successful in life its always best to stay in the fairway. Unfortunately we make some bad choices and slice off to the right to find ourselves in rough situations and seasons. Or we may make hook ourselves off to the left and find that we are in the trap, buried by some difficult circumstances.
For the seasoned golfer, getting out of the rough or out of the trap just takes one goo…

Sudden Surprises

I was getting decorations out for Christmas this weekend(am I crazy?) and it got me thinking about the story of Jesus' birth in Luke 2. Actually I was reading in Chapter 1 about the conversation the angel had with Mary. The Bible says that the angel of the Lord came to her and said, "Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Surprised by this divine visitation, Mary was a bit perplexed. But the angel went on to tell her "do not be afraid, you have found favor with God."
And then the angel delivered some news to her that was unbelievable. Simply put, the angel said, you are pregnant with the Son of God...right now! Mary had not yet been with a man so this came as quite a shock. But even more shocking to me is the way that Mary responded to the news. Luke 1:38, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." And then she began to sing the song that came out of her heart.
How do you handle God's sudden surprises? I a…