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Showing posts from February, 2009

Train Through the Pain

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
(Hebrews 12:11-13)

Nobody likes pain. Yet many people are in situations that are very uncomfortable and they are feeling the pain. The Marines say that "pain is weakness leaving the body". That could be true but even if you believe that, it still hurts while it is leaving! When we are able to endure a season of "chastening" which really means divine correction, we will find peaceable fruit of righteousness on the other side. But that fruit only shows up for those that have TRAINED through the PAIN.

There are lessons to learn in the midst of pain. When our bodies ache, they are telling us something. When your heart hurts, i…

Evaluate What's On Your Plate

I've been on a road trip for the past couple of days. Road trips for someone that likes to drive are exhilarating and adventurous. It was a business trip but it was a trip of discovery as well. And it went right in line with what I have been sharing with all of you. The objective was to help increase the impact of another ministry and look at the way they were doing things and how that meshed with their long term vision and dream.
Too often we forget to update our methods and evaluate whether we are still connecting with our target audience. Each organization must go through this exercise. In this day that we are living in now, many folks are taking a second look at what they make, where they spend it and how they can save more. After spending time in the music business for years, I realized that every musician has to reinvent their sound at least every decade and their look every 5 years. (with the exception of the Rolling Stones!) These are maximum limits. These limits are usuall…

Exponential

For any exponentially growing quantity, the larger the quantity gets, the faster it grows. I have been feeling something inside of me that speaks of the ministry that we are involved in as being ready to exponentially grow. I have heard many people use the word exponential so I wanted to know what that really means. Everything I found ties to the first sentence of this blog...the larger a quantity gets, the faster it grows. It appears to be tied to momentum. Once you got it, you really start rolling. In fact you start playing above your present talent level!
In church life exponential growth seems to happen organically. People are attracted to a speaker, a band, a building or a special children's program. Others are attracted to the place that their friends go. I have always struggled with these ideas because I felt in my heart that we should be attracted to the Lord and a place where the Word was preached without hesitation. Scripture says that if the name of the Lord is lifted up…

Maintenance Plan

Nothing can work forever without a maintenance plan. Not your car, your marriage, your business or your ministry. Too often we treat our life and the relationships in it like we treat our car. We go way beyond the date when maintenance should be done and try to get more and more. Eventually, without proper maintenance, the engine shuts down. All types of things can go wrong when we are not diligent in our maintenance plan.
When we have allowed ourselves to go too many miles without any attention to what is going on, we may run the risk of having to replace some things that would not have been necessary if we had just paid attention. We see it all the time. Couples that stop talking. Employees that cut corners at work. Even people that play church and hope that they can fool everyone. Unfortunately what each of us will find out is that without a maintenance plan, we will all end up in the same place: the car shop, the counselors office or the Pastors Study.
Do you have a maintenance plan…

Failure to Launch

There is a moment in every ministry endeavor, every outreach, every step of faith that requires launching. Launching is the assertiveness to actually step out on nothing and have complete trust that God is going to allow you a place to land. It's not very hard to "talk" faith. It's easy for most of us to have grand ideas and wonderful plans that we feel God is leading us into. But when the talk is over and the "walk" must begin, well, that is where the rubber meets the road.
Jesus wasn't afraid to step out of the ordinary. He "launched" out into the deep often and met needs every time. Once he asked Peter, a renowned fisherman, to "launch out into the deep". Not a crazy request for a fisherman. But He asked it after Peter had just had an all-nighter on the lake without catching a single fish. He was tired and he was....done. Jesus asked him to get the nets back out, go deeper and throw out the nest again. That is where most of us are.…

You Have the Mind of Christ?

You will find that scripture in 1st Corinthians 2:16. It applies to the person that has made Jesus Christ the Lord of their life. Old things have passed away and all things have become new...one of those things is a new mind...the mind of Christ.
I am a bit uneasy by that first as there are many moments where I do not feel that my mind is thinking like Christ at all. Have you ever been there? Certainly the Lord would not have had that thought!
To operate with the mind of Christ requires you and I to be DILIGENT and dedicated to read the Word so that our mind can continue being renewed. I realize that my mind needs fresh manna every day in order to stay crisp and sharp.
Today, stop beating yourself up over thoughts that you seem to have that seem off the beaten path. Ask God to make His word fresh and alive to you and to keep reprogramming your mind to be more in tune with Him. Just because you have the mind of Christ does not mean that you can't allow the mind of the world to influe…

I'll Give You the keys...

It's what Jesus told Peter when Peter realized who Jesus was. He said "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven". Now that's a set of keys that we would not lose! Peter had a revelation from God and that put him in position for an all access pass to everything God had prepared in advance for him.
You don't give your keys to someone you don't know. If we don't KNOW Christ, we have no keys. That means our access is limited. It means our power to lock out harmful influences is diminished. You'll find this scripture in Matthew 16. And once you read it, you will probably realize that you need those keys. And to get them you have to KNOW Him.
It's hard to imagine that there are people who are doing things in the name of the Lord that the Lord doesn't really KNOW. Yet that is what Jesus said in Matthew 7. They will even cast out devils and prophesy in His name!
So how can we make certain that we know Him...I mean really KNOW Him? We pursue a ge…

Community

Call it a clan, call it a tribe, call it a network, call it a family; whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
Jane Howard

The most necessary thing that each of us desires is the sense of belonging. We were created for fellowship and community. It is the place that God made us for. So we pursue it not for the emotional or physical benefits but rather because it fits our spiritual DNA. Someone once said that "our job was to create islands of shalom in a seas of isolation." In our culture its often hard to allow ourselves to experience true community.

Consider the porcupine for a moment. It is not generally thought of as a lovable animal. I don’t know anyone that has one for a pet. Porcupines don’t always want to be alone. Their dilemma is ours…how do I get close without getting hurt. Our barbs have names like rejection, resentment,and envy. Fact is, by getting close we may get hurt but we must strive for that connectedness.

Mother Teresa warned that loneliness is t…

wait...

I have often quoted the scripture that comes out of Isaiah which says, "they that WAIT on the Lord shall renew their strength." It goes on to say that they shall mount up with wings as eagles. We will run and we will walk.
Waiting on God does not mean that we cease from activity. We must diligently keep pressing forward. Keep praying. Keep working! Good things don't come to those who wait, they come to those that are obedient to the subtle leadings of God's spirit.
Have you stopped moving forward and convinced yourself that you are waiting on God? What if He is waiting on you? Today may be the day that a wind of adversity causes you to soar like an eagle. So run and don't be weary! Walk and don't faint! Strength is building in you right now! The wait is over!
[Posted by iphone]

Look Around

Yesterday at The Landing the sermon was called The Gospel According to the Wizard of Oz. I would assume that some folks came into the service, got their handout and thought: "what in the world does the Wizard of Oz have to do with God and our faith?" Others that have been around me for any period of time probably chuckled and said to themselves..."here he goes again!" It's true that when it comes to thinking about God I may veer off the beaten path once in a while. Interestingly enough as I get older I start to look for God in everything. I see Him in nature of course and in the way that my days seem to be "orchestrated". But I also seem Him in the creativity of others and signs that I pass and stories that I read shared from the heart. God is all around us and if you and I could look around, we may see some things that we never noticed before.
Consider this...if He cannot speak to you in conventional ways He may choose to try another approach. Why? …

My Best Friend

This week my little miniature dachshund and I took a trip to the office of a local magazine. We were part of a feature in the magazine called Preachers Pet. As we arrived, Midnight(that's his name) started to check out the office and get a feel(I mean a smell) for what was going on. After a few moments we snapped a picture and we talked about life together. Well I talked and he continues to sniff the perimeter!
Each night Midnight wants a few bones. I have a jar of bones in various colors and he loves them! In fact he will go lay down by the pantry and wait until I come to the kitchen so that he is in position to grab his treat. He does not like me to give them one at a time but rather wants me to lay them all down. Then he grabs one at a time and goes to a different room to hide it and save it for later. It's as if he thinks that the bones may run out and he may have no more food so he wants to make sure that he knows where he can get that little snack. Perhaps he is aware of…

Love Protects

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13: 6-7

Love is a wonderful thing. Michael Bolton sang that. The Beatles said it was all we need. Bacharach and David told us that its what the world needs. Whether in a song, on a card or spoken from the heart, love has power. It gets happy about truth winning out. It always protects. And what that means is that there may be times when you have information that you should let stop with you. Most of us are quick to justify our pain and lash out a verbal diatribe about what happened to us. But what if we let LOVE have its way. Let it surround the offense and enclose it. Let it do what it does best...trust without cause, hope without seeing the end result and persevering until the end result comes.

That trust is something that you can be happy about. You are protected by the love of God. Love covers a multitude of sins. It believes, it hopes and i…

You have a say....

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success”

In times like these where everyone seems to be on pins and needles, a kind word may make all the difference in the world. I spent a day away from the television yesterday and I have to tell you, I felt better by just not hearing all of the desperate voices and silent screams. I was going about my day interacting with people and sharing my life with others. As I arrived home I realized that I had been part of a wonderfully blessed day by the Lord with no drama and no disruptions.
Now I am not saying that you can simply ignore what is going on around you. I am saying that you have a say in how those things impact you. What I allow myself to feed on will provide the nutrients that help me grow. (or shrink)

People today need to be lifted up. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. So why not brighten the day of another person today? Find something nice today and pass it on. It's easy to cheer when…

There shouldn't be an US in Stimulus!

The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
- Henry Kissinger

I have been thinking and praying about this whole stimulus thing. I must confess that I lost quite a bit of faith after the last one was given out and there were no controls in place to gauge where the spending was taking place. If we handed out money like that in our personal lives or at our offices we would never make it. I think the whole idea of this is to stimulate the economy, arouse interest in consumers and jobs and cause a physical response in the American people. Maybe we should ask for a detailed accounting of the rest of the un-dispersed monies from the last one before we agree to consider this one? When I read this quote from Henry Kissinger, I have to say that if we do nothing, we would probably come out better off. It’s too late to spend money to make money. We already tried that. So am I worried? Concerned is a better word.
What has happened in me is a new fervor to pray for this nation and th…

Listen, do you want to know a secret?

You may remember the song. It goes on to say, do you promise not to tell? I have been examining my prayer life to see how much time I spend talking and how much time I spend listening. In James 1 we are told to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Listening is so important. I am quite certain that many times I have prayed and left the building with God ready to speak and no one left to hear what He would say.
People love to hear secrets. As I kid, one time that you never talked was when someone was telling you a secret. And then they ALWAYS asked you to promise not to tell. So there you were with this juicy bit of gossip and no one to tell it too. Kind of like the preacher that skipped service to play golf on Sunday morning and got his first hole in one!
Well, the secret is out. I need to listen up more. I need to tune in to the still small voice of God. How about you? Do you go to the Lord with your personal "help me" list and fail to be quiet long enough to hear the helpf…

Come unto me...

Jesus called for those that were weary to come and He promised to give them rest. Something that I have realized is that "rest" in God's dictionary doesn't necessarily mean inactivity! He said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. So when we come to Him we are supposed to exchange loads...our heavy, cumbersome life filled with trials for His lighter load of peace, joy and the Holy Ghost. You learn this as you begin relinquishing the control we talked about yesterday.

When we are working for the Lord and not for others, the work does not burn us out but rather empowers us to get more of Jesus burned in to our hearts. Ask yourself today why you are doing what you are doing? Do you constantly feel exhausted? Is all the fun gone from your day to day life? Take a trip to the foot of the cross and lay your stuff down. Exchange loads with Christ and you will find that refreshing, replenishing rest that can only come from a relationship with Him. So this weekend, g…

Relinquish Control

I have been trying to learn how to take my hands off of the wheel and give control to the Lord. I do realize that He is in control but so often I find myself trying to intervene because I think that I can get the end result faster...after all it was God through the pen of James that tells us to let patience do its thing. Though I always seem to end up in a waiting room, God's timing is perfect.

Perhaps today you are struggling in an area of your life. Maybe you are trying to drive something forward that is being put on hold for a very good reason. Someone once said that the best things in life come to those who wait. I would say that the best things in life come to those that will let God take charge and follow His lead. So go ahead, sing it out with Carrie Underwood...Jesus take the wheel!

Rewards

"Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his own reward according to his labor" ! Corinthians 3:8

I like reward systems. I have developed a Triple A Strategy for rewarding our employees...Acknowledge-Appreciate-Applaud. Valuable people create valuable products and when you acknowledge them, you start adding value to them. Appreciating them can be done in words, notes and cards, and there can be monetary appreciation built in there too! Applauding them, well, that not only works for them but really affects everyone around them. Rewards are good. My credit card gives them to me. Even Best Buy gives them to me. But God is the ultimate reward giver. He rewards those people that DILIGENTLY seek Him. He rewards us based on our motives and the work that they inspire. Notice in the words I shared that there is a planter and one who waters. Planting is good. Watering is necessary. But only God can bring growth.

When we acknowledge those around us we are plan…

True Hospitality

In 1 Peter 4:9 we have an instruction from God...offer hospitality to one another. How well do you prepare yourself when you know that you are going to have visitors? True hospitality is to open your heart to your visitors and to make them feel welcome. Romans 12:13 tells us to "share with those who are in need. Practice hospitality."
I wonder if we would be more hospitable if Jesus was coming to our house? I am sure we would pick up all the clutter, vacuum the floor...even dust! Yet Jesus told us that when we help others it is as if we are helping him! There are only a few people that I have met in my life that have made me feel like the only person in the room when I was with them. I think that is true hospitality.
Today, try to focus on your concern and interest in those that you engage in conversation with. Forget about trying to speak. Ask questions about them and what they are talking about. God has given us so much. And we know what He wants from us...true hospitality!

Incredible!

This weekend was amazing and inspiring on so many ways! There was a great deal of hype leading up to our church Super Sunday and Chili Cook-Off. And boy did The Landing deliver! Watching talented people use their gifts to glorify God not only inspires me, it thrills my soul. I am so blessed to be connected to such a great group of folks. Sunday was filled with fellowship...lots of fellowship. It was true koinonia. Koinonia is the anglicisation of a Greek word (κοινωνία) that means communion by intimate participation. It describes the type of gatherings held by the first church groups in Acts 2. They met together at homes, broke bread(communion), and became transparent with each other. If there was a need they found a way within the group to meet it. It's described as community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Intimate participation. Incredible!

As we mature in Christ we realize that we must live each moment being authentic and real. Though we feel vulnerable, …