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Showing posts from July, 2014

Anger Management

Two church members were going door to door and happened to knock on the door of a woman who was not happy to see them. She told them in no uncertain terms that she did not want to hear their message and she slammed the door in their faces. To her surprise the door did not shut all the way, in fact it bounced open. She tried again really putting all her strength behind it only to have the same result-the door bounced back open. Convinced these rude young people were sticking their foot in the door, she reared back to give it one last slam that would teach them a lesson, when one of them said, "Ma'am, before you do that again you probably ought to move your cat." Too many times we assume things, judge people and act hastily only to find that "our own cat" is causing the trouble. We get angry and unleash the beast within. Sometimes its with words and other times its actions. All of the time its unproductive. The Bible tells us not to let the sun go down on our an…

Carrot or Horse?

Charles Spurgeon told a story how once upon a time in an old kingdom, there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot in his garden. Now this man loved his sovereign (aka the king) so he came and presented the carrot to the king, saying, "This is the best carrot my garden will ever grow. Receive it as a token of my love." Now the king discerned his heart of love and devotion and saw that he wanted nothing in return. This moved the king and he then gave the gardener far more land than he currently had for his garden, so the man went home rejoicing. Now a nobleman at court overheard this conversation. He thought to himself, "If that is the response the lord makes to such a small gift, what will he give in response to a great one?" So the next day he brought the king a fine horse, saying, "This is the best horse my stables will ever grow. Receive it as a token of my love." But the King discerned the nobleman's heart, and in response he just received th…

Endurance

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,  for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3 There are many people today facing situations that seem unbeatable. The economy is sluggish, relationships struggling, jobs being lost...if you had to name these things you could surely say that they are "problems and trials". But there is a good side to going through adversity. You get tougher. You get stronger. You develop endurance. And Jesus will be with you every step of the way! You may be facing a financial trial today that seems like a huge problem. Stay tough and rejoice in God's power and the hope of His help. Trust Him.  Emotional troubles? Again, rejoice knowing that God is going to come to your aid at just the right time with the perfect answer. In the meantime, smile about those powerful muscles that you are building! You look marvelous!
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Let it Go!

Let it go! If you have small children you sweat and even cringe when you hear that phrase because of a little movie called "Frozen" that is stuck in the DVD player in the car and at home! Let's thaw out a bit and think of this in some more serious terms. Start today by learning to let go of your wounds. Lies, broken promises, conflict, and betrayal are a few of the things that wound us emotionally. Internal wounds are much more serious than external ones. Remember falling as a kid? You don’t remember the cuts, scrapes, and bruises you got on the playground as a kid but you probably do remember the painful words that were said to you. I don't know who said that playground phrase, "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!" That just isn't true. The names often hurt the most! We remember emotional wounds a lot longer than physical ones. We cannot afford to keep playing the tape over and over again of the things that wounded us. W…

Get it Together

We need an answer to how to put life back together after an unexpected package of surprises. First of all, you can’t really put it back together, it will take God. You will only frustrate yourself like all the kings horses and all the kings men. Remember Humpty Dumpty? Let me give you 3 reminders for getting it together: 1- read the instructions…why do we always want a shortcut? If you are like me, I often look at the picture on the box of the puzzle and simply try to imitate that. When pieces are left over and it looks slightly different than that picture, that’s when I go to the English translation of those directions. There are so many translations and none of them help except the one I understand. The bible is life's blueprint. Find one that you can read! Then read it…don’t look for a crib note version to get by…forget about the seminars and how you can be rich in 30 days by buying homes for no money down! Podcasts are good...God blasts are better! Read the Word. As painful a…

Bless Others

Romans 12:4 Bless 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 us 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. When you fail to "bless" those that hurt you you stay tethered to them and the drama that they bring. When you bless them it does not say its ok. It simply releases the hold that this had on you allows God to d…

Serendipity

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Whenever someone asks me what I do I will sometimes say that "I spend most of my time teaching others how to spend theirs." When I wrote my third book “Dreams2Destiny”, I told my personal story of going from one career to another; from the contemporary Christian music world to starting a church and being a pastor. It feels like destiny. I teach about destiny. Some call it purpose. Others may call it fate. Some may look to the stars. As a Christian, I look to the One who made the stars. My destiny is to walk on the path that God has set up for me. It’s what all believers desire. We want to do what we were created to do. The word “destination” is derived from it. We want to be where we are supposed to be.  One of my favorite movies is called “Serendipity”. Serendipity means "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." I call it destiny. Some call serendipity "luck" or fate. They say that sometimes things just happen. Le…

Glory!

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. 
Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
This is a great little reminder out of 2 Corinthians 4. Not everything is always going to go your way. Sometimes life can get messy and there can be challenges. BUT, the Good News is that the trouble WILL go away. You and I will become stronger because of it. The difficulties will produce incredible blessings if we simply trust the Lord and hold on to His Word. I've been people watching many folks this summer and I've seen some that are struggling and some that are joyful. When I see those that have lost their smile or seem to be in a dark place I think about the good that the Lord is producing for them that is just around the corner. I think about the strength they are gaining as they press through. I also realize how small some of my troubles are in the grand scheme of things. What is God making in you and for you? Don't be depressed…

My Phone is Changing Me

We become what we behold. Let that sink into your spirit today.
2 Coritnhians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding uthe glory of the Lord,5 are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This past weekend as I watched people interact in the places that I went I became curious: has our communication in the digital market affected our communication in person? Is my phone changing me? It was 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the Iphone to the world and I have had one ever since. My calendar, contacts, emails, notes, and even my blog are part of this device that is with me every moment of every day. How has that changed me…changed us? As I listened to conversations(don’t judge me) and people interacting, much of their banter felt like tweets…shallow responses with limited characters. Some were like text messages…shorter and very impersonal and lacking emotion. As I walked down the sidewalk I even had o…

Rejoice!!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4 Every morning before I get out of bed I thank the Lord for breath in my lungs and health in my body. I just think its good to say thank you for allowing me another day on the planet. Then its off to the living room for devotions and coffee. When I prepare to leave for the office I have a choice as to whether I am going to rejoice in my day or be depressed about it. I try to choose the first:)  REJOICE always and in ALL WAYS. Stay happy as you move through your day. You too have a choice today to be happy or to be overwhelmed by negativity. Rejoice! Paul thought it so important that he repeated the command...REJOICE! (it is F…

The Righteous Perish

Isaiah 57:1The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart;  the devout are taken away, and no one understands  that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace;  they find rest as they lie in death
The righteous perish? Say what? There are many things that we won't understand until we see Jesus face to face. Like why some people are taken away from us earlier than we expected. Anytime I prepare to do a funeral service I think about this verse that the Lord showed me many years ago when someone close to me passed away giving birth to her first child. I was stunned by the suddenness and the timing. For quite some time I was dazed and confused. Oddly enough, I was able to find some comfort in the fact that she might have been taken early because of something troubling in her future. This may sound silly to you but whatever strategy you need to face things you do not understand ought to be embraced. I was able to move on as she ent…

Up in Smoke

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It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. James 3:6
All of us have started some type of wildfire with words. It’s easy to see the negative impact a wrongly placed word can have and unfortunately, what comes out cannot be taken back. Imagine running the world with the way you talk! You may think that is not possible but I can tell you that the wrong type of speaking will surely ruin your world. You can create trouble where no trouble existed and even destroy the reputation of another person. You can send the world up in smoke and go up in smoke yourself!
Knowing this, I wonder why we don’t think before we speak more often? Don’t be in a hurry to offer up your verbal assault. Take a few deep breaths and ask God to bring peace to …

Beautiful Pictures

Ever had one of those depressing, negative, spirit choking seasons? I'm sure you have! For the past several weeks I've felt burdens, emotions and thoughts that I should not have. We all go through times like this. What this adversity did was send me back to Christ for some answers. What am I learning in all of this?Beautiful pictures are created from negatives in a dark room. So when life gets very dark with people and things going negative, you just have to prepare yourself because some beautiful pictures are about to develop!Let that soak in a bit. Could you use a few beautiful pictures? Hang in there and let the negatives go through that darkroom. I think you're going to like what develops:)

Jesus and the Social Networks

I was thinking about this social network revolution and how important it is to people today. Then I thought about Jesus.  Would he use it? If Jesus had a Facebook profile what would it look like? Can you think outside of the norm for just a moment today with me? What kinds of posts would you find on his wall? How about… “Getting ready to walk across the sea again…really freaks out those fisherman!” Or maybe you would read… “Did you know laughter is like good medicine :)LOL?” Or “keep using MY NAME in vain and I’ll make rush hour longer!”
How about his status updates? Things like “just fed a thousands of folks with a little boys sack lunch…love to see the looks on their faces when the bread multiplies!#full#rockedit#leftovers”

Would Jesus post "selfies" or the people that he was trying to minister to? What kind of “links” would he have…perhaps a link to healing, a link for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness?(all of these would come back to Him)  Oh and don't f…

Bowlful of Water

Judges 6:36 Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said."38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Isn't this like most of us... "bargaining" with the Lord? God if you will do this for me, I'll serve you forever! I'll do some things for my church if you will (put your request here). For Gideon, it was a bowlful of water that changed everything...for a minute. He then went on to ask God prove himself again and reverse the process: to make the wool dry and the ground wet! Can't you just see the smile on the face of God? This could have been the first use of the term..."really"? Walking in faith requires you and I to simply trust and obey...l…

Seasonal Ministry

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
There are many things in life that are seasonal. Nature changes colors, groceries and produce markets change foods, clothing stores change clothes and people change too. Our attitudes may become different, our outlook on life, even our willingness to work may be affected by the seasons. After reading today's scripture I see that ministry too can be seasonal. You and I are to "preach the Word", which means share the story of Christ IN and OUT of season. In other words, ministry should take place each and every day of every month in every year.  The commandment is to get prepared and be ready because you may never know when it will be your time to speak, pray or simply show up to be a friend to someone else. Ministry is seasonal...every season!

Joetry

Today on this midweek cup, I wanted to go back into the archives and pull out a little "joetry". If you have ever had someone close, a friend or loved one leave your life for any reason, you already know how difficult it is. Being the pastor of a small church, I see many people walk in and out of my life through the years. I sat down one afternoon and wrote these few thoughts about those emotions. As people go on to other ministry opportunities and adventures, I may miss them but I know that one day, after all is said and done, I will see them again.  Enjoy and share. You can also leave a comment using the comment form on this page!

When People Leave
It’s hard when people walk away And leave your life in haste I never have the words to say Was the time we shared a waste? I take it personal at times My heart feels broke in pieces I sit alone, sometimes I cry As I eat my bag of Reese’s Maybe God has got a plan as people come and go Just do your part and share your life It’s not always abo…

Just Keep Walking

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me
… There are two words we should speak to ourselves each and every time we face uncertain or impending danger…”fear not”. Since most of you are just like me and you face some seasons of drought and difficulty, we must find a way to survive the “valley” experiences.  In the KJV version of Psalm 23 it starts this verse by saying "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death".  For me, there is nothing to say "yea" about when the valley surrounds you. But I do take comfort in noticing that you and I are walking THROUGH the valleys! These tough seasons will pass and we will come out better for the wear on the other side because God is with us! So be of good cheer today, you may be walking in the valley right now but it wont be long till you start to see the Son shining in your life again! Just keep walking!

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How Majestic!

Psalm 8:1, 4 Lord, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth!You have set your glory in the heavens. what is mankind that you are mindful of them,human beings that you care for them?As I start this week I am filled with wonder that the Creator of the heavens would be thinking about me! Often I run to the Lord with a prayer that sounds more like a list of things I think I must have...as if he is unaware of what is going on right now in my life:) Sounds a bit silly doesn't it?I am so certain today that there is nothing I could bring to the Lords attention that he does not already know. And even at times when I go off the deep end, his grace fills the gaps and his love remains unconditional and never ending. He is truly majestic!Take a moment today and think about how you talk to him. Do your prayers sound like a list of wants? Let's try some thankfulness today for the One whose glory fills the heavens! How majestic is His name in all the earth!

Faith of our Fathers

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Today we celebrate our independence as a nation which all hinges on our dependence upon God. God has a grand design for our country. When you know the design and when you have a plan, its easier to build. When you know what is expected, you have a great chance of accomplishing the task. All things work together for the benefit of those that would choose Him to be their Lord and Savior. Those are the few…the proud…the strong and the FREE! Our nation was founded on Godly principles and men with faith.  The Faith OF our Fathers is only achieved by our having faith IN our FATHER! We are a Christian nation, a land of the FREE and a home of the brave. You have been bought with a price…you can stand up tall and live an abundant life in Christ! Have a safe and blessed fourth of July!


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Psalm 15

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The other day one of my Facebook friends posted this photo. I was drawn to this because of my summer in the psalms readings. It asks a simple question and then gives the simple answer.
Who can abide with the Lord and dwell in His presence? Wouldn't you like to find yourself in His presence all the time? I am certain that life would be more fulfilling if we chose to "hang" with the Lord more often.
Who can hang out with Him? Those that walk...work...and speak! All of us can and that is His desire! Walk with integrity, work righteously and speak the truth from your heart at all times. That is all it takes to cement your relationship with Christ.

Clean House!

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God. 1 Peter 2:1-3msg There is no better time to begin to make a clean sweep than right now as we begin the second half of this year. If you look deeply, you can see that God has had His hand upon you and your journey all year long and though there have been times that nothing made sense, you can be assured that one day very soon you will see things much clearer. Remember yesterday, you need to start singing!
As believers we are supposed to be getting stronger and more healthy every year...fully mature and fully devoted to God. Imagine how silly it would look for your teenager to be drinking out of a sippy cup and having a pacifier tied to their t-shirt. Yet, many followers of Christ seem to be bottle fed year and after year and deny themselves the wonderful e…

Sing!

Isaiah 54 contains an awesome word of encouragement for people that are ready for change. If you have ever experienced a season of spiritual dryness or non-productivity, you will love it. How do you shake the drought? You SING! Right there in the pit of discouragement and with your lacking non-productive life…SING! And what is the initial reaction to that type of counsel? People say, "what have I got to sing about?" Seems we need a reason – need to see some progress – an increase in our check at work – straight A’s on our children’s progress report – then we’ll sing! Give me a winning lottery ticket and just watch me burst into song!  But Isaiah also provides us with a reason. To put it plain and simple he says you may never have experienced “labor pains” but you’re ending up with far more children than all of those childbearing women! In other words, YOUR blessing is on the way! That good news, it’s coming! It’s just around the corner! Just a little further! So SING! Fact …