Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Today is our oldest daughter's birthday...she turned 14! It's hard to believe that she is becoming this little woman, quite beautiful and with a smile that will hurt somebody. Last Monday she got her braces off which simply adds to her beauty...you would simply have to see her! I remember the day she was born, we were living in Glasgow, Ky and had gone through one of the most traumatic years of our ministry. God gave us Kaitlin at a time when we were hurting, it seemed like the nine months of Julie's pregnacy we lived in a see through tube...safe from all the stuff going on around us...and then she arrived and became a church baby. Over the years there have been powerful prophetic words spoken over her and I long to see what God has in store for her life. What is most important is that she loves God and lives to serve Him, and that she does all that is in her heart...I am now realizing that I will retire wherever my girls are and am truly hoping it is somewhere warm! What a blessed man I am, a beautiful wife and two gorgeous daughters...Feel like a king!

Monday, January 30, 2006

I'm Pumped!
Isn't it amazing how our moods change? The last time I blogged I was bored and now I'm wound tight! This weekend I preached in Longwood, Florida and we had a powerful service. The pastors there are awesome people with a real heart for God and for their people. How blessed I was to be able to minister there. Today it is raining in Florida, the temperature is dropping and the sky is gray...but it is absolutely the day the Lord has made. Last Friday I attended a seminar for school administrators that knocked my socks off. There was a lady named Sherry Hawley, a pastor's wife and educator, she spoke on conflict management...it was amazing. One of her closing thoughts was that when we have done all that we can do and know that we've done our best...we need to realize that we won't be able to solve all conflict...so do what you can, and sleep! You know, I am a fixer, try to fix everything and want everyone to be pleased...it never happens, but that's the way I like it...all of a sudden I am realizing that somedays I've nearly killed myself over things that I can't fix, so I need to leave it with the Lord and rest in His goodness...how freeing that is! Some Must Enter In...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm Bored
Thursday night has always been my favorite night for television, I love Survivor, CSI, and ER! My wife goes to choir practice, hopefully takes the kids with her, or at least one of them, I do the laundry and watch these shows. Survivor is off, and ER is reruns, which leaves CSI, and if you don't see the first part...you're so confused...at least I was tonight! Today has been an exciting day at our office though, we outlined our next four trips to Kenya. I leave May 22nd and return June 2nd, and I get to go again November 6-16...can't wait! It's just like going home to visit friends and family...some of my friends need to go with me!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Every once in awhile...maybe more often than that...I get confused about doing church. I understand that we are the church...but this thing of doing church kind of gets to me. My spiritual upbringing has been in the Church of God, a charismatic/pentecostal denomination, I like it, believe in it, and will more than likely remain a part of it unless something drastic were to happen. If Joel Osteen left his church and they asked me to come I would probably consider it...I think I'm safe with the COG. Anyway, I am an avid reader of most everything and was reading Leadership magazine this evening...people from all sorts of church life write in it and it dawned on me that if I had been raised Lutheran, I would have believe that Lutherans do it right, or Methodists, or Baptists...somewhere along the way could it be that we need to find out what the Bible says? We're consumed with being right, but I need to be right, I want to be right, I have to be right...Right with God, myself, and with those around me. I cannot be right because of adherance to denominational guidelines...and we need them...I can only be right when I conform to the image of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. All of a sudden I'm thinking that people in all denominations are trying to get to God, to heaven, and most people want to be right...some aren't, there are false doctrines and we must know God and His Word so that the Holy Spirit can correct and direct us...Isn't this what being the church is all about? As we near the end times there is a tremendous rush to be right, to do church differently, and to reach people with the message...it's hard...and I'm trying and will continue to work at relating to those God allows me to minister to...but I think I'm going to be the church not just do church and most of all...I'm going to do my best to stay right!

Monday, January 23, 2006

I am overwhelmed at what God is doing in our ministry to Kenya. Once every other month I have been conducting a revival, while there I share about our ministry in Kenya and receive an offering. There are over 30 million people in Kenya, many are starving as famine spreads throughout the nation, AIDS/HIV is prominate, people need the Lord. Over the past few months God has shown us favor, He has sent finances, one church in Kentucky has sent over 2,000.00 to buy sewing machines for our sewing schools, another church in Arkansas is having their children collect change to change Kenya...all of this to reach a people they have never seen and yet recognize that in sewing one seed they can change many lives!
What a blessing it is to be able to serve the Lord, to reach these people...I love Kenya and the wonderful people God has allowed me to befriend!

Friday, January 20, 2006

How To Make A Devil
I've been in Arkansas this week preaching revival, God touched us in a beautiful way for which I am extremely thankful. Last night I went to the room the pastors had so kindly provided for me in their home, my bags were packed, so I picked out a book from the bookshelf in my room entitled "Chronicles of the Host". It is a fictional story of the fall of Lucifer from heaven, I must admit it got my attention. In fact, it has just under three hundred pages and I read about one hundred sixty-eight pages last night and this morning...I had to leave the book so now I need to buy it so I can finish it. Though I realize it is fiction I truly believe there is some reality in it, actually, I got convicted as I thought about how an angel that was created by God, for God, to worship in the presence of God could somehow become so misguided, so full of himself, so rebellious, and so stupid, that he would lose his relationship with God and be cast out of heaven. As I was getting ready to leave I was praying in the shower and it dawned on me that sometimes I'm quite full of myself, enjoy my own authority and without even realizing it exalt myself above what I know is God's word for my life. I don't mean to do that, it's never my intention to be rebellious, or to question God, or to believe that I can do it on my own. It's not my intention to believe that God owes me anything, but sometimes I do. God didn't make a devil, Lucifer took care of that himself. God doesn't make us what we become when we step back from His plan and take our lives into our own control either...sometimes the devil doesn't do it either...we just get caught up with ourselves, like to listen to what we have to say, get too puffed up and a little devil starts to rise up within us....mean to or not it happens! I've found myself quite prayerful about this...God has made us in His image and likeness, given us a free will, the ability to choose...I want to choose life...the Christ-life...don't want no devil in me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Say What...To Stretch I'm preaching revival this week in Paragould,AR, about to freeze my Florida hiney right off! I'm not used to daytime highs of 45 anymore...I'm cold! We are having a wonderful revival, God is touching and encouraging...I actually think it's a time of renewal. In fact, I am beginning to believe that most of what we call and consider revival in local churches is actually renewal. Revival is for dead people, for things that have absolutely no live, renewal and restoration are about causing the life that is already in us to be revived and refreshed...that's another thought I suppose. I am concerned about being the church, what we stand for and what we say we believe in and what we actually are. Could it be that in our need to progress we have limited God to what we think progression is? Have far are you willing to go to be in God's presence and have we gone so far in some things that we are missing what God has desired for all along the way? Deep inside my spirit there is a need to stretch, to go deeper, to get closer, to become more authenic...but to do that is painful, it hurts when I exercise because I like comfort and not pain. I hear God speaking but don't always like what He's saying and for me to speak what He is saying is painful because once I speak it I must become it...I must stretch.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Recognizing The Seasons Of Change
Recently I was sitting in church listening to the preacher and minding my own business when the Holy Spirit spoke a word into my spirit. He said, "Can you recognize the season of change?" Now, I am a person that doesn't mind change, in the last year I've gone from a goatee with a mustache to one without a mustache, and one day I actually shaved my goatee and mustache and had just a little patch of hair just under my lip...my wife wasn't all that thrilled about it and I grew a full mustache and goatee the next week. I'm back to being without a mustache again...you just never know. I like to change things up and think it's quite healthy from time to time to simply do different. The question is do we recognize it when God begins to move things around in our lives, sometimes it is an immediate, obvious, huge change...One that cannot be hidden or questioned, while at other times it's a bit more subtle, instead of moving your mountain all at once, He does it one stone at a time. You know, you've been praying for a better nights sleep and He gives you six hours instead of three, or you are able to sleep without warm milk and a sleeping pill. He answers your prayer by sending someone to remind you that He loves you, but doesn't tell you everything He is going to do in your life. The Bible speaks of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times and who knew what Israel ought to do. Jesus spoke of being able to tell what the weather was going to be like, but rebuked the people for not discerning the signs of the times, and to Jerusalem He told them that they had missed their time of visitation. How important it is to recognize the seasons we are in, seasons are not forever, they have a purpose and a set time...we must learn to move with God according to His season...not ours!

Friday, January 06, 2006

I'm Feeling Talky...Restless
Next Saturday I fly to Arkansas to begin a revival for a former youth pastor of mine. I am excited at the prospect of being with this young couple that God gave my wife and I the privilege of imparting into. I'm not sure that we did all that much for them, hopefully taught them some good things and how to avoid some bad, perhaps we gave them an example of what to do and what not to do, and mentored them in a positive manner. What burns in my spirit tonight is the that I have an opportunity once again to make a deposit in them, and into the church that they are pastoring. I've served as an evangelist and know what it is like to have certain good sermons that I could preach, messages that touch the basic needs of people. You know, salvation, Spirit baptism, healing and the return of the Lord. I can probably come up with some "How To" sermons and tell them "How To" do somethings...or I can wait on the Lord and walk in and impart a living word into them...a word for that church and pastor. Being a christian these days is tough, church life and being a minister is tough, we face things unlike anything we've ever faced. It's been said that with each new level there's a new devil, all I know is that we are destined to overcome and to win. Deep within my spirit is that phrase "Some Must Enter In", I am becoming consumed with a present reality, a truth, that God has already determined what our end will be, in the beginning He created our present reality and our future destination...it's up to us to recognize it and enter in. Entering in doesn't mean that we command God as to what He must do, it means that we recognize His sovereign plan and announce to Him, ourselves, and the world, that we have determined to walk in the path He has created for us, that if he knows the thoughts He thinks towards us, good thoughts, thoughts of hope and a future, then He will reveal His desire and purpose in us if we will simply rest and relax in Him. It is my greatest desire to see something powerful take place in this meeting, for lives to be changed, hearts encouraged, the pastoral family strengthened, and most of all, for God to be glorified!
Am I Spiritual Enough?
I was reading a friends blog today and he mentioned how cool his pastor was, one of the main reasons was that the pastor mentioned John Wayne toliet paper being rough and ready, not taking crap off of anyone. I absolutely think that is hilarious! Crap is one of my favorite words, I struggle some times not saying it out of the pulpit, it really isn't a pulpit word I suppose, but it could be. I'm hoping Eugene Patterson will update the Message Bible and include it in the new version...do you think I'm spiritually deficient?
Do you think that there are times when we fail to reach unbelievers because they think we're so spiritual that they'll never attain their percieved level of our percieved spirituality? I'm not advocating loose conversation and most assuredly believe there should be a difference in us, and that we have swung the pendelum too far in many aspects. But I also think that being spiritual is not being inhuman, it's more of humanity attaining a goal of godliness...one day at a time. Perhaps in the future I'll mature and think saying crap isn't all that funny, but then...maybe not!
And for those of you who invite me to preach for you...I promise to be good...and for those that might have been thinking about having me and are now saying to yourselves...I'm not sure about this guy...I'm Ok...I promise!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Chronicles of Narnia
Wow! What a movie! I have never read the books but think I'll run out and get them! My oldest daughter is reading it now, other have indicated it was a school requirement for them...but I think I'll just read them for the fun of it. Kaitlin and I watched all of the Lord of the Rings movies, I enjoyed them but have to admit I didn't see all the spiritual stuff that allot of people said they saw. This movie knocks out all the props and reveals Christ in such a phenomenal way...I'll definately buy the movie. Perhaps what sticks out in my mind today is God's desire not only to save us, but to use us...He has made us kings and priests...I was reminded of the words of Jesus in the Revelation when He said to him who overcomes will I grant to sit down with Me in My throne even as I overcame and am sit down with My Father in His...He who has an ear let him hear! I'm entering in...