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Showing posts from April, 2011

Confidence to Complete

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Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"
I love to start new projects and get involved in new things. I especially love it when God begins something in my or with me that he has not done before. I like the excitement and the anticipation of how everything is going to work out. And if I am honest with you I must say that there have been many times when I wondered if what the Lord had started with me was going to be completed. I am realizing more and more that everything happens in a season and everything happens for a reason. And the way to finish is to build up confidence: confidence in knowing that what God begins will be completed.
Hang in there today and take this promise to heart. What God begins, he finishes. Keep going. Keep praying. Keep trusting and it WILL come to pass!

Joetry

Some time ago I was faced with a variety of emotions when dealing with people that "leave my life". Whether it is a relationship that is personal, corporate or ministerial, sometimes it is hard to process it. One day as I was thinking about what I was feeling, I penned a short little poem, joetry for the soul. Perhaps this will help you in your transition today! Blessings to all of you!

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 gets broke in pieces
I sit alone, sometimes I cry
As comfort comes from Reese’s.
Maybe God has got a plan
as people come and go
Just do your part and share your life
its not all about you, you know.
The time we have is precious,
though sometimes it’s not enough
I must stay close to Jesus
cause the going will be rough
And when we reach the finish line
United, we’ll all be
The ones that stayed, the ones that left
Will…

Fisherman

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And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Matt 4:18-20
Have you ever thought about why the first two folks on the list of recruits for Team Jesus were fisherman? As he put together the people that would "do life" with him for his ministry on earth he went after fisherman. And when he came to them, they were doing what they did...fishing! Perhaps he went after Peter and his brother Andrew because they understood what it was like to cast out a net and wait. People may respond to the Gospel like fish at times, wiggling away or trying to swim through the net. Or maybe it was because their character was not to quit just because the nets didn't have any fish in them. Instead they would go out every day. Maybe it was because fisherman are alw…

Transitions

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There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as change. This week I've begun looking at some stories in the Bible that can help you and me navigate the storms of change. I'm preparing for a month long series in May that will develop our coping mechanism as we go through life's transitions. The fact is that every one of us is in some sort of transition right now. Our success or demise is contingent upon how well we adjust during this season.
I like routines. I do the same things every day without even thinking about it. So when things change outside of my control, it's easy to panic. I have to program myself to respond properly.
Today, if you are really going through it, I encourage you to take a deep breath and just say "I trust you Lord". Lean on Him and not what you understand about what is happening. Determine in your heart what you want the outcome to be. As you trust in His leading He promises to keep leaning in your direction. Is today the day you start se…

Now What?

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What a wonderful weekend Easter is. People are more sensitive to spiritual things and to see churches filled with people and colorful outfits is always a sight to see! This was the first year in my nine years as the founding pastor of The Landing that we did not have some musical drama performance as our service which meant I got to preach! As I uncovered the wonderful things that God puts into our lives, things like dreams and love and hope, it was clear that we must accept these things by faith and then trust Him to bring them out in our lives. Many things are resurrected on Easter weekend as people are tuned into what God is doing in the world today. My question for you to consider now that Easter is over is to ask yourself "now what?" What do you do now with the Jesus that has given you a dream and purpose for your life? With all of the wonderful emotions and excitement that was felt in churches all over the world yesterday, how will you keep it alive in your life? We can…

Friday Night People

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Several years ago, my friend Carman penned the words, “it may seem like Friday night but Sundays on the way!” It was all about the resurrection of Christ after three days in the grave. As I remembered those words today I thought about how many of us seem to live in a "Friday night theology". We stay in abusive situations, hang out with critical people and do things that take all of our joy away. Friday night people have no smile inside because they are unable to see the incredible promise that lies ahead. The only reason that I can even consider this to be a good Friday is because I know what happened that historical Sunday. I know that more than 500 people were witnesses to the fact that not only was Jesus buried in a tomb but he was raised back to life. What he said was true. This single event is what separates Christianity and our leader Jesus from every other religious leader of our time. When will you stop working for the weekend? Are you overwhelmed by financial pressu…

One More Night

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Today is what they call Maundy Thursday. It means Holy Thursday and it commemorates the final meal of fellowship that Christ had with His disciples called the Last Supper. Jesus would wash the feet of those closest to Him and they would break the bread and drink the cup. It would be a time of intimacy and securing a deep relational attachment that shows up still today in churches all over the world.
When I think of the Last Supper I think about how it feels to "break bread" with people that I enjoy and feel close to. In this culture we have today, time with the family and friends around the table is harder and harder to facilitate. Our schedules are so busy, our stress level so high that we often grab what we can, when we can and we miss these special moments.
When was the last time you got everyone together and sat around the same table to break bread together? It was important to Jesus because He knew how connections work and that eating together breeds "co…

Heroes think He Rose

During the final week of ministry on the planet, Jesus had to face much scrutiny and criticism. The Pharisees wants to know where his power was coming from. Still today, everyone wants to know the origin, the source of that power. They say knowledge is power but in reality, life in Christ is truly the most powerful thing we can be a part of.
The debate will always continue as people "search" for Him and find ways to develop their relationship with Him. During this special week in the church, hearts are turned towards Him and people are looking for real ministry that comes from the heart. Find Jesus and you find all that you need. It's not difficult to understand, just hard to do. Perhaps it all boils down to something more easily understandable: something I read from Tim Keller:
"If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs i…

Elevator Buttons

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In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teachingyou received from us. 
2 Thessalonians 3:6
We have a choice when it comes to those we hang with. "Hang time" is only productive when we are with the people that feed our faith and fuel our dreams. During this holy week I have been thinking about people who have watched their dreams fall asleep and now they no longer seem to be engaged in the abundant life that the Lord promised them. Dreams do not die. This is a great week to blow the dust off and start to realize your life purpose in an entirely new way! One of the keys to developing some success is to surround yourself with good people: God people. Choose friends who are busy and active and you will soon find yourself busy and active. Stay away from those that are idle and disruptive. Friends are like buttons on an elevator: they will either take …

Why are We Running?

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Yesterday was Palm Sunday. Our young kids at The Landing came into our worship service waving palm branches and singing Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The atmosphere was festive…celebratory…it was like a street party.
Now this made me think of church today in the 21st century. Today it's so important to have video screens, powerpoint presentations, screaming guitars, moving lights and of course, singers. The more colorful and dynamic your presentation is today the more that people seem to show up at your location. Churches are erupting today. But why are people coming out? Are the modern day churches seeming to erupt the same way now that they did then? Is it over the manifestation of the supernatural…over the appearance of the miraculous? What are we chasing? Are we are spending too much time running after healing when we should be running after the healer?
When we go after a movement rather than the MOVER, we set ourselves up for disappointme…

Fat and Flourishing

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Psalm 92:12 "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing."
When was the last time you had a buffet for your spirit? Consider God's Word as an all you can eat buffet that is open 24 hours a day for your enjoyment!
In order to flourish as you and I were intended to we must eat the right things. Feasting on His Word will build up your faith and cause you to be filled with incredible power and strength. When it comes to life in the spirit, don't let fat blockers keep you from living the abundant life in all you do. You were made to be fruitful. Fruitful your entire life! You are designed to prosper in every area of your life!
So loosen that belt, get your plate and let's feed our spirit today! Add some pounds of His presence to your body. It's time to b…

Use Your Gift!

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Romans 12:6We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
I am in my ninth year as the pastor of The Landing. Every day I am amazed at the variety of talents that God assembles and the way that they are called to work together. Often it is a struggle to get us all doing what we should be doing. But we keep moving forward and every year it just gets better and better.
As I read this scripture I thought about how I feel when I give someone a gift and I never see them use it. Maybe you have had that happen to you as well. I am disappointed and even angry at times. Which leads me to my more humbling thought: how does God feel when I don't use the gifts that He has pla…

Slowly...

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Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.  Chinese Proverb We are so caught up in growth these days. We want to SEE growth and we want to see it now! This Chinese proverb speaks of the art of growing slowly.  Our goal should be to keep moving forward, one day and one step at a time. Are you different today than you were yesterday? Are you better? It's often hard to stay in the flow of life. It seems easier to isolate ourselves and disconnect. As a person who grew up afraid of crowds and being around lots of people, I have to tell myself each day that I must keep moving and not stand still. I convince myself every morning that the blessings and favor of the day is tied to someone or someplace outside of my home and the only way to have a chance at it is to get out there and mix it up. Often the growth is so gradual and subtle that I can't see it. But just because you don't see it does not mean you haven't grown.
So I encourage you to keep moving. S…

The Carrot & the Horse

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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 the hors…

A Little While

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And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
If I was a betting man, I would have bet the farm on the fact that not one of us got up today with a goal of suffering today! Every week I have conversations with people of all ages and from various backgrounds that are struggling and suffering in some way. Lack of love, money. friendship, etc. the list is long and overwhelming.
The good news for today is that you have a God of GRACE who has called YOU. That means He has a plan for you and that He is championing your cause. He is setting things up for you to ultimately succeed. Here's the twist...oftentimes the road to success involved some suffering and pain. The challenge we have is to look at those seasons of difficulty and embrace them know the last part of this promise: that our God of grace will restore you Himself and make you strong,…

Choose Good

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Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11
There is not a day that goes by where I do not say to myself, "what are they doing?" I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of some folks and the blatant disregard they have for each other. People do some strange things these days and many times they seem to forget the simple instruction penned for us in 3rd John.  There are only two teams to play on, good and evil. What YOU do will determine where you land.
Good things benefit others and ultimate will bring good things to you. Bad things harm others and bring no benefit at all.
Why not consider today what kinds of things you are imitating. What team do you want to play for? It's up to you. There are some tough decisions ahead so...choose good!

"Joe in the Know" Book Review

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The Bible tells us on Proverbs 18:14 that it is the spirit of a man that sustains him in weakness. We know that we must feed our faith and starve our doubts. Faith comes by hearing and also by reading this wonderful book by Tony Campolo, "Stories That Feed Your Soul". Through a variety of short yet poignant entrees, Tony continues to feed your faith page by page. In just a few moments you can snack on several encouraging items and find yourself smiling, lifted up in spirit and on your way.
With so many menu items to choose from on the web and in the local bookstore, this special feature will satisfy your appetite for spiritual growth and entice you to return for seconds too! "Above all else, I want you to be in health and prosper as your soul prospers."(3 John 1)
In other words your health and your good fortune are tied to how well the soul is doing. Take your soul out to dinner and feast on this one!

T.E.A.M.

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I so enjoy my Tuesday morning coffee with Pastor Doug from South County Community Church in Glenpool, This week our discussion revolved around pulling ministries and ministers together. We talked about how alliances are formed and what makes a good one. We realized that other attempts at alliances had failed because we kept talking about what each of us were doing individually and not what we could do together.
There is a natural pull to want to grow and DO more and BE more to your community when you are a church. Our challenge comes as we face the BUSY-ness and miss the real business that God wants us to do. If we really want our "kingdoms"(churches) to grow then we ought to be the most interested in growing His kingdom! It was Ken Blanchard that said, "none of us is as smart as all of us". When we come together as a TEAM everyone wins. Together Everyone Achieves More!
Today, why don't you pray about making some strong alliances that feed your faith and the fa…

Your Story

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Imagine your story begins today. Every activity, meeting and conversation is about to be scripted into a wonderful chapter called Tuesday. There is a plot that is unveiling with every moment. Different characters will be introduced throughout the day. Somewhere in this chapter we will get a glimpse of the villain and somewhere we will see you, the hero, rise to the occasion.
I like to think of my life as an incredible story that is unfolding each and every day. Starting the chapter is always the hardest part. As I begin to put each sentence together the words start coming. As I move through the day each paragraph is written and the plot begins to surface. The story I am writing is one of success, laced with joy and peace throughout, strength in the midst of adversity and the gradually but overwhelming conquering of evil with good. My desire is that others will want to read this story. Everyone likes a story with a happy ending and this one is spectacular. The hero not only saves the d…

Stay Close!

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Elijah was one of those guys that knew how to bring God down to earth. He was going from Bethel, to Jericho and finally to the Jordan with the one he was mentoring... Elisha. When the two got to the other side, Elijah asked a simple, but very important question: “what do you want from me before I go?” I suppose he could have said…well you have that nice home and beautiful acreage…you could give me that. He could have said, I have always liked the jacket you are wearing…I’ll take that! But what he was tied too was not what Elijah had…it was what had Elijah. “Give me a double portion of the spirit that is upon you!” He was saying, I don’t want what is around you…I want what is IN you! Then Elijah replied…"You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so." Keep your eyes open and stay close and it will be yours. I wonder how many times we have been stuck on the hill, watching, wondering wha…

Passion for "Joe"

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Passion is defined as intense or overpowering emotion;such as love, joy, hatred, or anger. I rarely run into someone that is so passionate about something or someone as Tor Nordstrom. He owns a coffee shop called Nordaggios in Tulsa and when it comes to coffee, well I would have to put Tor way ahead of Juan Valdez!
A few weeks ago he stopped by The Landing so we could talk about cup of joe, his coffee and my new book to see what God was doing with both of them. As he began to speak about his latest acquisition, Kenya Peabody, his eyes lit up and his voice became bolder than any dark roast I have ever experienced. He described the texture of the beans, the roasting process and then even showed me the beans, still bundled up in burlap and bags, which I feature today in the picture on the left. I was so moved by his passion for coffee that if Kenya Peabody could have given an altar call I would have been saved right there!
After he left I wondered why more of us aren't this passionat…

Joetry: Grace

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Grace is the reason salvation can come
grace brought Good News, Christ's work had been done.
Grace saves the man, stills the heart, justifies;
it has nothing to do with how hard a man tries
Noah "found" grace as did Jesus and Paul
the lowly are favored with grace through it all
Its the kindness of God and a pardon for sin
just don't use it and go out and do bad again
when its all said and done and your works are completed
you'll be glad you found grace Cause His grace is all you needed!


Grace is so much more than a prayer before a meal and favor from God on those who don't deserve it. It's a reminder to you and I that Jesus paid a price, his life, for our sin so that it could no longer have power over us. Our responsibility is to live right for grace reigns through righteousness.
(charis basileuon dia dikaiosunes)
So I pray for you today as Paul did..."Grace be unto you, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ"