Posts

Showing posts from October, 2010

Complete the Circle

Image
The other day as I was typing some information out for a newsletter, I inserted the two little curves pictured here with some text in between them.(parentheses) The information that was in between this disconnected circle was intended to help bring the (circle) together. It was supplemental information that helped to bring more clarity to the grouping of words before it.
It made me think of what someone might place in the parentheses if they came after my name. What information would be put in there that may often be omitted but would provide the reader with a better understanding of who I was? It also caused me to think of what I might place inside the marks: what was in my parentheses?
Some of the most popular books in the wold have to do with helping you and I unwrap our purpose and do what we were designed to do. In other words, we are in search of more definition: better words to fill our parentheses. You are on the planet for a reason and you mean something to so many people tha…

Active Living

Image
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”-
Hebrews 4:12
Imagine being able to speak words from out of your mouth and seeing those words produce something wonderful in your life! God's Word is LIVING and ACTIVE. It will always accomplish what it is sent to do. Another benefit of learning God's Word is having the ability to cut out the things that do not belong in your life. It penetrates deep. And it can also control your attitudes!
Having His Word close is good but speaking that Word out of your mouth is like punching in your personal pin at the ATM machine. Once you enter the code, you activate the power and then you can access everything that is in your account. When you walk with Christ you are tapping into an account that has no limitations. The living and active Word always works for those that are actively living. A…

Take the Time...

Image
If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him.Voltaire
Each day when I start my day with a drive to the church I take a look at the trees as they change color and smell the crisp morning air and sip on my cup of joe and think...how could anyone deny the existence of God with all of this beauty around us? I must agree with Voltaire, if there wasn't a God, I would have had to invent Him!
We are usually in such a hurry that we can't enjoy the splendor of the King that glistens around us. Talk to God before you talk to anyone else. God wants to talk to YOU! Take a few moments this morning to gaze upon the glorious creation around you. Some deep breaths along with your sip of joe and you may even start to smile a little:)

Mood Swings

Image
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”-Ephesians 5:19-20
I've been a singer most of my life. As a child I would sing to Beatles songs...as a teen it was Def Leppard and Chicago and now, well I sing alot of worship songs. It's part of being the worship singer at our church! There is nothing that can change my mood faster than turning on some music and singing at the top of my voice in the car on my way to the next appointment. It makes me feel soooo much better! I've learned the art of creating "mood swings"! If your mood is going to change anyway, you might as well learn how to control it! Singing words about the Lord is also great way to show thankfulness. That's why we are told to give thanks to the Lord by singing the psalms, singing the classics and writing our own tunes. Thank Him always and in…

This May Be the Day!

Image
Ecclesiastes 1:3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Why are we working where we are and doing the things that we are doing? Someone once said that if you do something that you enjoy, you will never work another day in your life.
I think that God's idea for work was that you could and would enjoy it. That the relationships you had would grow into lifelong friends and that you would be able to take care of those you love by doing something you love.
What does a man gain from all of the work? If he is doing the work as unto the Lord he has great things coming! So clock in, roll your sleeves up and get after it! This may be the day you meet the person that changes your life forever. This may be the day that the deal closes and you are blessed beyond your wildest dreams!

Memories...

Image
Memories...it's hard to believe that it was 16 years ago today that Carman and I were standing inside the Legendary Texas Stadium about to see God make history! That evening, 71,102 people would hear the Gospel, feel the music and experience Carman's Raising the Standard Tour. It was only a couple months ago that I met someone who accepted Christ during that event. In all, more than 6000 people responded to the altar call that night! A few months later we would deliver 1.2 million signatures on a petition to Washington DC to support putting prayer back in our public school systems. Talk about God turning dreams2destiny! That event became the catalyst for me to write the book Dreams2Destiny and launch the non-profit Dreams2Destiny Center, Inc. which now houses the church I founded The Landing, The Glenpool Outreach Center and a regional W.I.C. office. All things are possible with God. Always remember, if you can dream it, YOU can do it! What's your dream?

Treasure in the Field

Image
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

I wonder how many times we neglect to truly see the value that God places on us and in us. In this story put of the Book of Matthew there was something of value: a treasure.  It had been hidden but on this day and at this time it was found. The man that found the treasure, hid it again and then went to buy the field the treasure was in. I always wondered "why buy the field when the treasure is all that you want?" What was the field worth?
Consider this: the field had value because of what was in it. Finding the treasure gave the field more meaning and made it enticing to this man. You and I have value because of the treasure that God has placed in us. That treasure is His purpose. Its living the way He designed us to live  only when we find this treasure, we don't hide it, we begin to utilize it. Findin…

Annoyed and Bothered

Image
To be persistently annoyed and bothered...it's one of the simplest definitions of the word "persecution". When you think about persecution you may focus on those spiritual heroes of our faith that were crucified, imprisoned and beaten. The fact is, there are many degrees of persecution and none of them are pleasing!
Jesus taught that "blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." You are not blessed because you are persecuted, it's on account of what you are persecuted for.
As a follower of Christ, we will experience the persistent annoyance of an enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy the things and people that matter to us. It will happen. The objective of all of this tribulation that we go through is to do just that "go through" it! Let the pain drive you into the arms of the pain reliever. A little slice of heaven is waiting right here on earth for those that walk and talk with Christ.

Instruction and Teaching

Image
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
       I will counsel you and watch over you.ps 32:8

There is nothing better than good, solid counseling. Unfortunately most of the time we get our advice and teaching from people who are just as confused as we are!(see quote at end of this blog!)
In this Psalm, David talks about a promise that he has from God...to be taught and instructed. Instruction and teaching. What's the difference? Teaching refers to a broad train of thought and presentation of knowledge. Instruction deals with the specifics or methods that are used to make sure that what is taught actually gets applied. God's promise is to give you the information and also the plan and system for getting that knowledge IN you. The Word is to be "in your heart". God's counseling comes as He walks through the situations and decisions that we must make and watches over the outcome.

Take this to heart today and know that whatever you need, wherever …

Faith-Filled!

Image
Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. Tolkien  
Faith is said to be substantial: it's the substance of all that we hope  for and evidence of what we cannot see. It's what those that came before us were commended for. Faith without the willingness to DO something is not faith at all.
In 2005 my personal life was rocked a bit as the big D hit my home: divorce. I had been married for two decades so life was about to change dramatically. In fact, today I would have celebrated 25 years. Every year this week seems to challenge me. You see when life changed, so did I. Somethjing I could not see became evidence that something was there inside of me. It was FAITH. Faith was no longer some surreal wishing for a better life, it became tangible for me. In fact many nights it was all that I had to hold on to while everything else was going away. The road was darkening. Many things I loved were saying "farewell".Right there in the midst of the darkness was a fli…

Stop Complaining!

Image
It's often difficult to deal with complaints. The most challenging part of my role as the pastor of The Landing is learning how to handle words that are critical. I usual have a tendency to take everything personally. You would think that by now I would have learned that "it's not about me"!
I have also realized that I have been somewhat of a complainer too. I can complain about lack of volunteer help, our facility, the offerings...and then it hit me: enlightenment from the Lord. It was profound for me and maybe it will resonate with you too.
Whenever I complain about something, I am agreeing with the very thing that I don't like! My words have power! Jesus taught us that we could call things that did not exist as though they did. He did not complain, he created!
It's easy to be critical and to always side on the negative of a certain situation. Perhaps we can learn to do what Jesus did and stop agreeing with the problem and start creating the solution. When …

Rock Solid

Image
Whatever is in your heart, go and do it. God is with you.” In 2 Samuel 7 David had an epiphany. He began to feel deep concern for making certain that the presence of God was secure for himself and those entrusted to his care. He wanted to build a temple, a house for the Lord to dwell in. Nathan, the prophet, uttered the words above to him after hearing of his desire. But then the Lord spoke to the prophet with a much more poignantand detailed dialogue sharing with him some encouraging words to pass on to David. The bottom line was that he should tell David not to worry about building Him a house. He was going to build the house of David! David was about to be abundantly blessed. He was saying and doing the right things and his heart was right before God. God offered a permanently secured future for his household and his children. And He promised to make his royal throne “rock solid”. Maybe today you have some doubts about God and how you fit in His plan? You may even wonder if He really …

A Whole Lotta Shakin....

Image
Matt 24 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Yesterday as I was reading my daily devotion, sitting in the recliner and sipping my cup of joe, my house shook and the chair started to vibrate! It felt soooo weird! I had to remind myself that my chair was not a vibrating one. As I blasted out a note to my social network of Cup of Joe friends in Tulsa, it wasn't long before everyone was confirming what I had felt. Soon, we learned that an earthquake did happen in Norman, OK and it was felt in many places. My mind went right to this scripture in Matthew 24.
Many strange things are goi…

Grace and Mercy

Image
"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."
God offers grace to those that need it most. He gives a chance to exercise faith and share His love. That love was displayed; it was shown by what He did on the cross. And that was the reason referred to in our verse today. Greater love has no one than this, that they give their life for another.
When I read this verse out of 1st Timothy I think of my life and how fortunate I am that God sent mercy my way. Mercy came running in my direction. Mercy offered me a clean white board, a second chance and the opportunity to right wrongs and walk His walk. Thankfully He had patience without limits!
Remember today that God is for you. He is praying for you, gently nudging you towards the right path and speaking through all that is around you. He is with YOU. When everyone else …

Love Never Fails

Image
A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. Wizard of OZ
On Halloween Sunday I begin a series that I first did in 2006 called The Gospel According to the Wizard of Oz. I am always amazed at how the Lord chooses to speak to me through art, music and the movies. There are many quotes from this movie that I will be sharing over the next few weeks. Can you learn something about God from the Wizard of Oz? Absolutely!
Each of the characters in this movie were in search of something...something that they possessed all along. It just hit you didn't it?:)
It's important to love others. And in this day and age, its important to be loved too. This was one of the wizards bits of counsel. I have to say that I have often found that the hearts capacity for love is determined by its ability to be given away. Jesus said to love others as you love yourself. You cannot begin to be the lover of mankind you should be without first looking in the mirror and app…

Number One

Image
Another great weekend of college football! Of course, since I am a Buckeye fan, it was especially great for me watching the number one team in the land go down. Have you noticed that it always seems that we want the number one to get beat. We cheer for the underdog. Maybe we just don't want a team or a person to succeed repeatedly?
It can fell this in life when we start to experience some success. There are always other people who want us to trip up. There is always an enemy of our soul that brings chaos and confusion in hopes that your reign at the top will be short-lived.
Today, I want to encourage you to keep playing and to never, never give up! You have the power within you, given to you by God, to overcome anything that tries to knock you out of number one. In fact the Bible says that "greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world." The determining factor of winning is which side you lean to...which voice you follow. God is bigger than any obstacle you f…

Lord Send the Rain

Image
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”- Psalm 63:1
Whenever I read the psalms I can clearly see the emotional roller-coaster that David was on. Like you and me had good days and days that were miserable. There were moments he felt supernaturally strong and days when, well, he was spent.
In this psalm his entire being is aching for comfort. He needed rest and he needed refreshing. Life is hard. Experience is not what happens to you, it's what you learn from what happens to you. Today, why don't you ask God for a refreshing shower of blessing...a cool drink of His spirit...maybe even a nap!
He said "come to me all of you that are weary and overwhelmed with burdens and I will give you rest."
If you are in a season of drought, your rain shower may be just around the corner. Rest is just ahead and a sweet refreshing! Call upon the Lord and then wait for it...can you h…

Pure in Heart

Image
Purity is a choice. You have to choose to stay away from things that could defile you. The farther you move from what defiles you the closer you move to what defines you.
A farmer went to the market to sell among other things, the cottage cheese and apple butter he made on his farm. He carried them in two large tubs of which he ladled out each one into the smaller containers that he sold. One day when he got to the Market, he realized that he had forgotten one of the ladles. He had no choice but to use one ladle for both products. Before long the two products had gotten so mixed up that you could hardly tell the difference.
You see when the child of God loses their purity, they are no longer different and distinct from the world. You and I are created to be like "Him", Jesus that is. To be holy as He is holy. To be in the world but not of the world.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matt 5:8
Once you have moved away from things that can taint and pollute y…

Youth Pastor Take-Over!

Image
Last night the youth pastors of The Landing took over KXOJ in Tulsa for a couple of hours to play some music, talk about the church and introduce themselves to the community. What a cool idea...a local radio station that wants to let the people in the city get to know youth leaders! Kudos, KXOJ...the station that is truly excited over Jesus!
Rachel and Bodie Sanders talked to the people, did shameless plugs for The Landing and even read some text messages from yours truly and many others that helped create excitement and lift up the name of the Lord!
Today I wanted to say thank you to KXOJ for ALL that they do to make a difference in the life of people in Tulsa and every other area that KXOJ reaches! Music from the heart that is for the heart can change the entire outcome of your day.
To all youth pastors in this area and around the world, thank you for accepting that specific calling that God placed on you to help our young people choose life, deal with trouble and walk with Christ t…

Count Your Blessings

Image
Today I want to encourage you to think positive...to remember the good times and to look for that silver lining in every cloud. When I was a child I would often hear people say to those that were discouraged or worried, count your blessings. There was even a hymn in church that proclaimed "Count your blessings, one by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!" One of my favorite songs from the movie "White Christmas" had the same message. Today as you read the lyrics, stop counting the sheep and try counting your blessings!


 When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'…

Disappointed?

Image
How do you handle disappointment? There is a great deal of news out there that is not encouraging and not pleasing to hear. Some of that news indirectly touches our lives and some of it impacts us on a more personal level. The core of the believer, one that trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ, is equipped with sensitivities and solutions for challenging reports and situations. In other words, if you are here today and you confess to be born again, the way that you handle bad news ought to be different than the person without a relationship with Christ.

This past week I was reading the story of Nehemiah. It's probably one of the greatest leadership lessons in the Bible. When Nehemiah learned that Jerusalem had been ransacked and that the walls were in ruins it says that he sat down and cried. That's right, this powerful leader, who would accomplish a supernatural act in rebuilding this walls and restoring hope, sat down and cried. He mourned for many days. And then something change…

Your 2 Cents Worth

Image
You will notice now that we have added "comments" to the bar below each blog post. One of the benefits of having a "cup of joe" together is conversation. Each week I gather with different folks at coffee shops all over time to share ideas, prayer requests and celebrate the good things that are happening in our lives. A test can become a TESTimony when the experience lives on in the life and situations of another. Your comments can help us make certain that the "flavors" we are brewing here are applicable to your taste and offer you that spiritual "pick-me-up" each day. Please feel free to share comments and tell us what you are thinking, what the post means to you and maybe even share your own espresso shot with us! If you don't put in your 2 cents worth, how can you expect change? Be blessed today!

A Prayer for You

Image
The essence of a great writer is their ability to touch your heart and shake your emotions with a simple sentence. In the Bible Paul had an incredible ability to encourage and build up people that were going through tough times. It was evident that he not only knew how to relay his heart though written words but you get a sense that he lived through the experiences he warned us about. Though in prison, he was able to set you free with a simple letter of exhortation.
As we conclude another week, I want to share with you some of his simple words. Maybe they will help pull you up and take you forward towards what you were designed to be. It's my prayer for all of you too: knowledge, depth of insight and discernment. Paul said it best:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,”- Philippians 1:9-10