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Showing posts from May, 2010

Thank you!

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It’s the day we remember all that you did
Using weapons and fighting, when still just a kid
You defended our honor, our freedom you bought
Sacrificial giving in every fight that you fought
We remember your faithfulness, a life that you gave
For the land of the free and the home of the brave!

God bless all of those who paid the ultimate price
for the freedom we enjoy!

Remember...

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EX 13:3 And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place."
This was a day to remember. The day the children of Israel came out of slavery and bondage and on to a path that would lead them to the Promised Land. This day became the official Sabbath day...the day of deliverance and freedom that was to be remembered forever. We seem to think that when God said to "Remember the Sabbath" that it means to keep Sundays free and clear and focused on God. It really means to think back to this day when they walked out of their pain and into their purpose through the land of potential.
It didn't take long before the people were grumbling about "stuff". They even asked Moses why her brought them out into the wilderness to die...at least when we were working hard and being beaten we had food! I guess they had already forgotten what the Lord told them…

Wisdom is Supreme!

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Our local pizza joint has all types of pizza's-pepperoni, sausage, greek and the ultimate supreme. The supreme has every ingredient in the shop on it all mixed together. As I was reading a proverb the other day I came across the words: "wisdom is supreme". In Proverbs 4 we are instructed to lay ahold of God's Word, keep the commands and get wisdom and understanding. Don't forsake wisdom for wisdom is supreme.
I immediately thought about that supreme pizza. What makes it different from all the rest is that it has everything. That's what separates wisdom from knowledge and understanding: wisdom has got every ingredient and it all blends together to make something delicious: a great life and a great pizza. Why do we need the supreme? Because without God's wisdom we look pretty silly. I was reading some famous people quotes the other day which illustrate my point. Let me share a few...
"Smoking kill. If you're killed, you've lost a very important …

Pour Your Heart Into It!

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Have you ever been told by someone that what you were attempting to do was impossible? Did you abandon the idea and give up? I recently read a story about Howard Schulz, the founder of Starbucks who was told that Americans would never pay more than a dollar for a cup of coffee. As I sip my $3 latte this morning I am so thankful that he did not relinquish his dream because of the unbelief of family and friends. Here's to you Howard! In his book "Pour Your Heart Into It" he cites 4 principles that may help all of us today to be more tenacious and persevere.
1-care more than others think is wise
2-risk more than others think is safe
3-dream more than others think is practical
4-expect more than others think is possible
Note the similarities in these principles:"more than others think". Your dream is about YOU and what God has planted in YOU. He places His desires in your heart and cheers you on to explore and discover those desires and to walk towards fulfilling them. …

Pentecost

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When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them….
Jesus promised power at Pentecost. Miracle working power. Ordinary people empowered by extraordinary might from Almighty God. When Pentecost came, there were 120 folks that answered the call to be present. Many more were invited but as we see at our churches every Sunday, not everyone that gets asked to come actually shows up.
Those 120 were about to find themselves in the middle of a supernatural event that still shapes lives today. A sound, a sighting, a sensation, a spiritual manifestation...it was all part of the incredible Holy Spirit experience. I have often been amazed at the things that seem t…

Rollback

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I have a confession to make: I am an avid, consistent Walmart shopper. Maybe it's because its one mile from my house. Or maybe its because I can go into one store and buy ANYthing that I need! One of the things that greets me each time I enter, (right after the nice man with the blue vest!) is this "rollback" sign that shows how the prices have been rolled back for me to save like the good ole days.
Sometimes I think about what it might be like if I could "rollback" a decision I made that went the wrong direction or "rollback" a purchase I made that I regretted. I really want to do what Walmart wants me to do: save money and live better!
Fortunately for me and any of you that have asked the Lord to live in your heart, Jesus has his own "rollback" program. It's called repentence. It's a chance to go back to the place you were at before you made the mistake. Once you have changed direction He changes the end result.
Could you use a &quo…

Change the Pictures!

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"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory."
~ Betty Smith
If you have ever found yourself in an unpleasant situation or in difficult circumstances, I want you to think about one word...perspective. The other day I decided to change a few photos that were in frames in my house. I took the frame apart and put in a new picture. Suddenly, I was looking at something totally different. The frame was the same but the image was new.
The way we look at things that occur in our lives can determine how well we will be able to manage them and endure the hardships. Perspective makes all the difference. When I read this quote today I realized the power that I had to look at things a certain way. I want more of the glory of God in my life. I want to see the "life" that is around me. I want some beautiful pictures in the frame called my life!
What pictures are you looking at today? I have hear…

The Fig Tree

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In Matthew 21 Jesus is looking for some food and comes upon a fig tree. The Bible says that the tree had leaves on it but there was no fruit. Jesus cursed the tree. Immediately it withered and died. The disciples were amazed as they looked on. Not because the tree died, but because the decline was so quick. Too often we are fascinated by the decline when we ought to be fascinated by the divine. When the preacher falls, the politician lies, the employer goes bankrupt...all stories of decline that draw attention. Jesus used this moment to teach a life lesson. It was not about killing trees!
It was all about how to deal with the things in your life that appear to be alive but don't produce fruit. Whatever is taking up space in your life, using your time and your talents and your energy but not producing fruit, you ought to curse to death! We need to be speaking death to the things in our life that do not produce anything good and speaking life to the things that must work!
IF you have…

God's Got an App for That

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Yesterday I had an interview with a local newspaper about technology in the church. How are you using technology and why do you use it? As we talked I realized that I have always utilized some type of technology at The Landing. We have podcasts that folks subscribe to and PDF sheets of the messages that are downloaded for our weekly C4 groups(Community Cell Church Connections). When you walk into the foyer there is a television monitor that will play through a powerpoint presentation of the monthly events. Continuing in the worship center you find a huge screen doing the same until service times: when it becomes a lyric sheet for worship and a chalkboard for the teaching.

I remember when we were just beginning and leasing a space at the local technology center. I was using powerpoint presentations then and when our website was created, the first thing I had on it was a sermon player. I wanted people to be able to find ministry 24/7 at The Landing so we began making the audio files avai…

Graduation

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Today my middle child is going to graduate from high school...I hope! As proud as I am I also am intensifying my prayers for him because life is just beginning. The real world awaits and there are many decisions to make, many relationships to nurture and many miles to go. He will need to make some plans and I will pray that God's plan becomes his plan.
Proverbs 16 starts out like this:
The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. Commit your works to the LORD, And your plans will be established. The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.
We all have plans but our plans will always give way to God's. The Lords purpose always prevails though it often takes us a long time to figure that out. If we ask the Lord to help, He promises to allow our thoughts to be established. That means He will help us make up our minds to…

Servanthood

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The way to measure success as a fully devoted follower of Christ is much different than the way our culture measures it. We see ads that tell us to make more money, get more stuff and move ourselves to a prominent position and then we will be a success. Jesus said in Mark 10 that if we want to be great we must first learn how to serve others. Service IS success. To be healthy and happy we must learn this.
A man spoke with the Lord about Heaven and Hell. "I will show you Hell," said the Lord. And they went into a room which had a large pot of stew in the middle. The smell was delicious and around the pot sat people who were famished and desperate. All were holding spoons with very long handles which reached to the pot, but because the handles of the spoons were longer than their arms, it was impossible to get the stew into their mouths. Their suffering was terrible.
"Now I will show you Heaven," said the Lord, and they went into an identical room. There was a similar …

Saturday Edition: Cirque Dreams Illumination

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Contortionists, dancers, 1000 costumes and props and over 28 artists from all over the world, my eyes were "illuminated" and my heart hurled into "dreams" by this event that was certainly nothing like my grandpaws circus! Seeing as my non-profit organization is Dreams2Destiny and the keyword at our church is "illuminate" this year, and sometimes church can feel like a "circus", I had a feeling that this event could hit me right in the center of my soul.
There was absolutely no way to take everything in as I am only capable of visually and mentally seeing a certain number of things at once. Interestingly enough, I was not exhausted by all of the stimulating movements: I was transformed into another dimension of fantasy where everything is possible and good things happen!
From the percussion juggler that used nine balls to play drums, to the sensational water strap flyer, my heart was awakened and my eyes astonished!
Thank you Celebrity Attractions …
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On Wednesday night I talked to our church about the ultimate search and rescue leader: Jesus Christ. I was moved by the floods that hit Nashville and so inspired by how the community was coming together. I referred to Luke 15 and how important it is to go after what is lost and pull together to rejoice when what was lost is found. Earlier this week tornadoes hit the state and impacted one of the families at the church. The message was hitting home. And then yesterday at 4:45 in the morning, 7 hours after we left our Wednesday night service, the strong winds hit our church! Part of the roof was missing and a couple dozen very old trees were broke in two. It looked like a war zone. As I drove into the lot to look at the damage, some men had already gotten together to cover up the hole in the roof and clear up some of the debris! Someone brought coffees for them and another brought breakfast and I could see the scriptures coming to life as people pulled together, thanked God for what was…

My Refuge

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I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
You find these words of David in the 91st Psalm. David says that God is a refuge and a fortress.
Have you ever wanted to get away? Find a place that was away from the drama of life and the troubles that always seem to come after us? David found such a place in God. When life got overwhelming he would say to himself a profession of faith: God is my hiding place and my protected space. My shelter away from danger. Not only is God a shelter, He also surrounds us with protection like a fortress that is not able to be penetrated. David made it personal-He is MY God. David knew that you cannot always count on people but he could always trust in God.
Faith comes by hearing. Today, say it out loud like David did...I will say of the Lord-He IS my refuge and my fortress! His favor will surround you like a shield and you will be able to regroup, refresh and prepare a counter attack against the thing…

When the Enemy Comes in...

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Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
I've been thinking alot about my friends that live in Nashville and the horrific floods that crippled the city. I lived there from 1995-2000 and was overwhelmed by the kindness of people and the down home country feel of the community. I am certain that none of the people there ever imagined the river rising above flood stage and seeing Music City under water. They say that the terrible things that happen to us are not as important as how we respond to them. That can be seen very clearly in Nashville.
They understand the scripture above...they know what it means …

Conflict Resolution

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"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”- Matthew 18:15
One of the things that most of us could do better in is “conflict resolution”. Why is that so important? Because you are going to experience conflict in life. Jesus said we would have trouble. If we can learn how to resolve the trouble quickly we can ease the stress in our lives.
If someone wrongs you, chances are you call someone you can trust and explain what they did and try to find someone to sympathize with what happened to you. But this is not the biblical way to resolve conflict. You should go directly to the one that has committed the sin against you and “show them their fault”. That simply means you must explain how the things that they did affected you. I think that many times people hurt our feelings or make us angry and they aren’t even aware of what they did! That is why we should go to the person.
As a pastor …

In Between

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“This feels like a place between what is and might have been”
“This feels like a place between being ready and being in the way”
Two of my favorite lines from the song “Lincoln Avenue” by Train.
It’s hard to handle being stuck in the middle. When one door closes and you have not seen the new one open yet there is an uncomfortable feeling of awkwardness. When relationships end you can feel like that first lyric: you are between what is and what might have been. Would things have changed if I behaved differently. What if I would have…(insert anything here).
I have realized for me that the longer I stay someplace that I am not supposed to be the harder things get. If I move in the rhythm that the Lord is causing I seem to flow right through. But when I “get in my head” and attempt to analyze things I find myself in the middle of being ready and being in the way.
Maybe you too are in that uncomfortable place “in between”. Trusting in God and waiting upon His directive is crucial. While you wa…

Mothers Day Weekend!

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The emails over the last few days have been filled with special Mothers Day poems, merchandise and a variety of momisms. Momisms are those things that only your mom can say. Some of my favorites that I read were "you're going to put your eye out with that thing!" or "look at me when I'm talking to you!". And the infamous one we have all heard, "you'll understand that better when you have kids of your own". The latter rings very true in my life today. As a single father of three children, I find myself reaching way back in my memory to try and grab ahold of some of those wonderful words of wisdom that came from mom. I wish I would have wrote some of them down!
Mom's have learned how to endure pain for the joy of something greater. They always have compassion and always believe the best of their children even when their children fall short. They nurture, guide, comfort and encourage.
My mom's favorite scripture is found in 3 John 4 where…

Pray Away!

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Today is the National Day of Prayer. My most sincere desire is that we don't just pray on a holiday but rather adopt a lifestyle of communicating with God. One of my favorite prayers is found in 2 Chronicles:
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”- 2 Chronicles 7:14
We are the people of God so this all applies to us. If we can take some time each day to humble ourselves, acknowledge the Lord, seek His face, and turn away from evil, THEN He promises to do some amazing things. Some things that are so necessary today.
When we put the Lord first, He will bring heaven down to us and cause healing to come upon our country. He will forgive the wrong choices we have made that have taken us on the wrong path.
We have been called by God, to be one nation, under Him; indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Take a few moment…

Glory to God!

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Philippians 1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Today my heart started to beat rapidly in my chest as I woke up to read these words. I began to pray this simple prayer for my family and my friends: the cup of joe readers and all of the social network friends that I am connected to.
There is nothing more beneficial at this time in our nation than having more and more knowledge and a deeper level of insight. Many things seem to be in chaos: our banking system, the economy, the housing market, and much more. When things begin to lose their balance, it is crucial that people rise up with some measure of discernment so they can make the right choices at the right time.I believe that we can do anything that God says we ca…

Joyful,Patient,Faithfulness

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"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”- Romans 12:12
Quite a reminder in this verse and some great encouragement for daily living. Living life will always include the desire for hope, the arrival of affliction and the need for prayer. How do we make the necessary adjustments to the daily changes that are hurled at us? By being joyful, patient and faithful.
The JOY of the Lord will be the strength that we need to overcome challenges. When the challenges last for a while we will need to let PATIENCE have her perfect work. And FAITHFULness shows up when we believe what we pray for and take constant steps in His direction acting as if the answer has already arrived.
You may be waiting today for some news: a job application, a doctors diagnosis, a call from someone you love. Be joyful in hope. Waiting always seems to be hard to handle but if you stay positive and expect the best you give God something to work with. If news comes that is not favorable(affliction)…

Futility

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Every once in a while the Lord dramatically interrupts my life. As I was getting ready this weekend for a work day at the church on Saturday morning, I was prompted to read more of a scripture I had taught on in a few services before. It was from Ephesians 4:17 where Paul is reminding the people not to live like unbelievers do in the futility of thinking. The greek word for futility simply means "one who has ceased to care". As I read to the end of Chapter 4 it was evident that the Lord wanted to share this Word through me with our church. I acknowledged the interruption, embraced it, and obeyed the leading that He was giving.
There are people day that are living life in the futility of their mind. Futility brings with it darkened understanding, separation from God, ignorance of God's ways, a hardening of the heart and a loss of sensitivity. What happens when we "cease to care" is that we jump on a downward escalator that leads us to abandon all that is right a…