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Showing posts from June, 2014

Secret Place

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When Jesus asked us to come to Him whenever we were weary or overwhelmed with "stuff", I wonder if it had something to do with changing our perspective too? When you crawl up into the arms of your Savior and Lord, things not only feel different, they look different too! Every once in a while I find that in order to gain the clarity I need for all that is happening in my life, I need to look at my life from a new perspective...I need to find that secret place. I get far enough away that I can look upon life and all that is happening through a fresh lens. It's hard to get a true sense of what you are doing when you are right smack in the middle of all the circumstances. I am blessed to be able to quickly get to places that are not too far from home which provide me and this crazy mind an escape. This morning I sat in a rocking chair on a patio that overlooked a lake. There were no words...I wasn't looking for anything...I was simply lost in the awesome presence of God…

The Lord's Purpose

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails
 Proverbs 19:21 Have you ever wondered if there were more than one “perfect path” for you to travel? You grow up deciding what you want to do, who you want to be with and where you will live and work. What if I make a mistake and choose the wrong path? Jennifer Aniston was being courted to join SNL before she turned it down to be on a new show called Friends. Sandra Bullock was the star of the movie Blind Side but that role was originally offered to Julia Roberts. Will Smith could have been Neo in The Matrix but after some convincing from his wife, chose Men in Black instead. In each example there were two different ways to go but it would appear that either of them could lead to success. Call it prevailing purpose. Perhaps many times we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be right all the time. We may even be afraid to make a mistake and choose the wrong way feeling we may never recover. Oftentimes …

Thorn in the Flesh

In scripture Paul was often irritated by things that were not godly and people who did not believe the things he was teaching. He was in a position to receive an abundance of divine revelation. God was speaking to him and ministering to others through him. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 we find him being attacked by this intense, wearying difficulty which he referred to a "thorn in the flesh". As most of us would do, he prayed that God would remove it. It lingered. He prayed again. Nothing. A third time he specifically prayed for the removal of this hindrance and still nothing happened to the hindrance. God was silent. But something happened in Paul. Paul learned about grace. He learned the definition and magnitude of grace. For the Lord told him through this adversity that His grace was sufficient and that His strength would rise to the top when Paul's strength diminished. It changed the way Paul thought and they way he spoke. Now he would speak of the power of God and even …

Wait for it...

All of us will wait passively, or we'll wait expectantly. A passive person hopes something good will happen and is willing to sit around waiting to see if it does. After a short time, he gives up, saying, "That’s it! I've waited and waited and nothing's happened." The passive person has a lot of wishbone but not much backbone! The expectant person, on the other hand, is hopeful, believing the answer is just around the corner, due to arrive any minute. His belief is not a passive thing. His heart is full of hope, expecting his problem to be solved at any moment. He wakes up every morning expecting to find his answer. He may wait and wait, but suddenly what he’s been waiting for happens.” Excerpt from Joyce Meyer Nobody likes to wait. Waiting in traffic or in a check-out line at the grocery store on other people is tough. But isn't waiting on God is even tougher? The Bible tells us that there is going to be a change “in the waiting”. They that wait on the Lord s…

Can You See Faith?

Acts 14:8 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
Paul was sent out to minister by the Holy Spirit. Divine direction. I really love this miracle. One thing about Paul that I pray will also be in us is that ability, that divine ability to “see faith”. He was able to look upon a seemingly helpless and hopeless situation and see something that only God sees. He SAW that the man who had never walked had something that could be ignited, activated and bring about his deliverance and so he spoke to that faith…Stand UP! Not only did the man stand up, he jumped to his feet and began to do something that he had never done before. When we are delivered, saved, healed, we need this kind of response…to jump up and get out there and do what we h…

Where's the Help?

Psalm 121:1-8 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day,nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.I've been spending the summer in the psalms and have come to this little one today. It begins with a question that all of us will have to answer. Where does my help come from? My prayer is that every one of us recognizes that our help comes from the Creator of life, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let you slip. Notice that 5 times we are reminded that we are being watched over! You and I are under surveillance:)So take courage today as y…

Someone Searched for You

As I added a comment on a Facebook page the other day, a little ad caught my eye on the right side of the page. It's what the advertisers want me to see. It simply said, "someone searched for you". It made me smile and then I just lifted up my head and said "thank you Jesus for finding me!" As the song says, "I once was lost but now I'm found". The Lord has always been searching for me...since He set things in motion for my arrival on the planet. It was the most incredible "search and rescue" ever. He found me in the midst of my own selfishness and dysfunction and brought me to a place where I would acknowledge Him as my Lord and begin to live my life for Him. The most amazing and fulfilling relationship I have ever had has been with Jesus. It's true, someone searched for me and everything changed. Guess what? He's searching for you too!

Throwback Thursday Memory

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Thirty seven years ago I sat with anticipation in my seat at the Vets Memorial Coliseum in Columbus Ohio to see a concert. I was about to graduate from high school and trying to determine what I was going to do with my life.
After witnessing the production and being deeply moved by the emotion and performance of Barry Manilow's songs, I made a decision to follow a musical course for my life. It was inspiring to see how people would respond to music.
Since that day I have had the honor of producing over thousands of live events and doing things in the Christian music world that became benchmarks for others. Today that musical passion is still used as I play in our worship band at The Landing Community Church in Glenpool, Oklahoma.
I wrote a book called Dreams2Destiny about my personal journey towards finding my purpose in life and doing what God designed me to do. Today I try every day to help people realize their life's calling and begin to pursue it. I recognize that you mus…

Wilderness Power

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,being tempted for forty days by the devil. (Luke 4:1, 2 NKJV)It always seemed strange to me that the Holy Spirit would lead Jesus to a miserable place in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. For forty days he was bombarded with selfish thoughts, evil ideas and loveless deeds and even hunger pains. Then I noticed that he had been filled before he would be drilled. Filled with the power of the Spirit. Wilderness power! I am able to relate to this as most of my hardest challenges come right after my greatest victories. Perhaps that is your story too.There is nothing that you and I will ever be subject to that God won't give strength to endure or a way to escape. You can face anything with faith and win! So today, if you find yourself being led into a wilderness area, don't let it drive you away from the Lord. God is getting ready to strengthen you. The purp…

Try Slow-Motion

Life can interrupt you sometimes and throw things in your path that you did not expect. It also moves so quickly that we miss a lot of the things that are happening and get caught away with the speed in which we live.What if these challenges we face were God's way of dramatically altering the pace of life? Slow motion changes everything. When you slow everything down, you begin to see with more clarity and you see every detail. The seams on a baseball pitch, the dimples in the golf ball, the water droplets leaving the wave. No matter what it is, slowing it down allows you to get a better look at it and make adjustments. For most of us, its another chance to evaluate our decisions, our relationships and our future.Today, rather than running through this week at full speed, grab a cup of joe and allow God to slow down the speed of your life events and give you a better look at whats happening and how it affects you and those connected to you. Try slow-motion. You may be surprised b…

Life is a Tent

2 Corinthians 5:1For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Sometimes life can seem so temporary...like living in a tent. I have to admit that I am a city boy and my idea of camping includes electricity, safety and a laptop or television! I can go camping and stay in a tent for a short period of time but I always look forward to my home and my furnishings. I think that maybe the Lord had those feelings in mind when he talked to us about not worrying so much about the stuff we have or the places we live. Life is like a tent. It's up and it's down. It's not always stable and sometimes its easy to cave it in. But we have an eternal place in heaven that has been prepared for us.  You don't have to worry about human error in the construction of it for this eternal dwelling place was made by God! You may feel at times like your body is wasting away, your strength is diminishin…

Simplicity and Purity

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.   But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.  For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. Could Paul have recognized a common trouble we have in the Church universal? A different gospel that takes us away from the simplicity and purity of a Jesus centered life? Things like “if we behave the right way, the Lord will bless us?” As if our performance, our act is going to make Him love us more? Our leadership team has gone back to basics to take a good look at the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what Jesus did for us. He will never love you any more than He does right now.…

Am I a Disciple?

It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6: 40). That’s the whole point of being a disciple of Jesus: we imitate Him, carry on His ministry, and become like Him in the process. Excerpt from Chan, Francis; Beuving, Mark (2012-11-01). Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples (p. 16).
I’d like to think that I am a disciple of Jesus, a Christ follower. Like those that came before me, when I felt the call of the Lord to follow I had no idea where we were going or what I would be doing. I just knew that my life needed saving. God knew that too which was why he sent Jesus to die on a cross and pay for my sins with his life. God loved me that much! Because I believe today that Jesus paid with his life for me, I choose to live my life in honor and service to Him. I follow. So as a disciple, I know that my life should be a reflectio…

The Best Care

Psalm 91:14 "If you’ll hold on to me for dear life," says God,"I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life,give you a long drink of salvation!"There are many people today that are simply holding on for dear life as their world is rocked by all types of challenges and difficulties. The good news is that we have an advocate...a support system...God is ready to get you out of the trouble and move you to the other side. And in a time when our nation is talking about the terrible care we provide for our veterans and the elderly, God says I am going to give you the BEST care!So what's the secret to sustaining our healthy, positive outlook in such a sickly culture? Call upon God. The Bible assures us that when we call He will answer. No voicemail. No text. Just exactly what you need at e…

In the Moment

Psalm 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

Lord you are MY shield (protection). All around me…I am completely covered by the power of the Lord. On my right and my left, ahead of me and behind me. No weapon formed against me can prosper!
Lord you are MY glory. David was a prominent man with status and position. Yet he knew that his identity and his value was not in his job or military rank…His validation came from God! Your identity is not tied to your past…your value is not tied to your performance…He is YOUR glory…your validation comes from Him not people! You are divinely defined!
Lord you are the One who lifts my head. In those days when the king lifted up your head it meant that you were accepted. You were once again restored to the place that you had been. On the other hand when the king put his foot on your neck, it meant that rather than lift up your head he was about to cut off your head!
David was “in the moment”. He did not respond…

Don't Act Like a Hangdog!

Yesterday as part of our Summer in the Psalms series we talked about the guidance of God out of Psalm 25. The progressive pattern of guidance comes as he shows us the way, teaches us the path and leads us in the way of truth. As I read that psalm in some other translations I came across the MSG version which says in the beginning... "My head is high, God, held high; I'm looking to you, God; 
No hangdog skulking for me." Psalm 25:1 MSG
I like holding my head up high, looking to God what in the world is a hangdog skulker? From what I have learned a hangdog skulker is someone who is crafty or shifty, feeling guilty and tries to lurk in the shadows and out of sight. The person that is being led by God has no room for hangdog skulking:)
We are to face each day with joy and peace, fixing our eyes on Jesus and lifting our heads up high in the confidence that comes from knowing Christ as Savior. So, keep your head up, look up and praise God right now! He will show you the way. He wi…

Do I Really Matter?

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Today I want you to take
time to pray for YOU...
that's right, pray for yourself!
Many times you can get so
wrapped up in the needs
of your friends and your
families, your co-workers
and your church folks and
you forget the greatest asset you have...YOU!
You matter to God. And you ought to matter to you too!
In John 17 Jesus showed us a formula for maintaining a healthy and effective prayer life. Read the chapter throughout the day...you can even break it down into breakfast, lunch and dinner sections. The first thing he did was to pray for himself. Praying for yourself is not selfish, it's crucial. If you are not steady and stable you will never be ready and able. Jesus showed you the process. He gave you and I permission to pray for ourselves. Secondly, Jesus prayed for believers. Pray for those in the faith that are connected to you. Pray for those believers that are not directly connected to you but impacted by your life and calling. Pray for those that make decisions tha…

Throwback Thursday

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This throwback Thursday I went back to the ten year anniversary service of our church. We started the service with a special by the choir and  even rented red robes because the day was just that special! So many friends and family gathered at The Landing that day and it was such a joy to see faces that had been impacted by the ministry over the years. It let me know that there was a deep-seated connection we had made and a bond of love that was created as we served the Lord together.
People come into our lives for seasons. That means many of them will move on and are just passing through. Some may linger a while. And still others will stay a lifetime. Cherish all of them for whatever time the Lord gives you.
Today I want to encourage you to keep moving forward and trusting God as His plan unfolds for you. I never thought that I'd still be preaching at this place I started in 2002 but I am so glad that I am. Every week I get to see families fight the good fight of faith, young peo…

Burning Desire

"WHEN Edwin C. Barnes climbed down from the freight train in Orange, N. J., more than thirty years ago, he may have resembled a tramp, but his thoughts were those of a king!
As he made his way from the railroad tracks to Thomas A. Edison's office, his mind was at work. He saw himself standing in Edison's presence. He heard himself asking Mr. Edison for an opportunity to carry out the one CONSUMING OBSESSION OF HIS LIFE, a BURNING DESIRE to become the business associate of the great inventor.
Barnes' desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It was DEFINITE." excerpt from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Burning Desire is what set Mr. Barnes part from all of Edison's other assistants. As I read this story I started to think about some life lessons I have learned, specifically one piece of advice that was given to me: "don't burn bridges!" It was usually in the context of relatio…

Whole Lotta Shakin!

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O Lord, our Lord,
 how majestic is your name in all the earth!
  You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
 you have established strength because of your foes,
  to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens,  the work of your fingers,
           the moon and the stars,  which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,
     and the son of man that you care for him? PS 8:1-4 esv
For the last few weeks I have lived within the songs(psalms) in the middle of my Bible preparing for a series called Summer in the Psalms. I love reading them, even singing the ones that I know have songs I am familiar with that go with them. Sometimes I even make up new ones! As I get ready to preach this psalm on Sunday it really landed. I started to shout right after the first line: O Lord, our (MY) Lord, how MAJESTIC is your name in all the earth!!! When I think about the magnitude of God’s power, God’s provision and God’s prote…

WHEN You Give

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Jesus taught many wonderful lessons in the short period of time ministered here. In Matthew 6 we can see a few nuggets of wisdom. Each of these come after the words "when you" indicating that you and I should absolutely be doing these things. Matthew 6:2-4“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Again notice that this text says WHEN YOU GIVE. Giving is a lifestyle not an action or task. You and I are to be generous on every occasion. We are to be givers. But just being a giver isn't the only requirement. We know God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a generous giver. God loves a subtle giver...one who d…