Thursday, August 31, 2006

If you read my blog much or look at the list of friends in my links section you'll notice that most of them come from pastors or christian will also notice that all of them have various personalities, some are funny, some are serious, others are thematic, and some are quite informational...and then there's mine...And I'm not quite certain how to categorize it ! What I do know is that it is about people by people for people and that it reveals the personalities of those people and that it creates a that hopefully imparts good things into those that read it. I've tried not to be preachy, but I preach, I've tried to share humorous items, to share my family, discuss things of interest, and to not be real stupid, but to be real for real...While I'm sharing my thoughts and feelings I also want to relate to others and hopefully make an impact without intruding. When you read the Bible doesn't it seem like you're reading a blog? Track with me here, some of us have never met and will never meet, most of us have never spoken on the phone, but I consider you my friends and feel like we've connected and know something of one another. Isn't the Bible much the same? I've never met Paul, Joshua, or Moses, never went to worship with David, or been in a study group with Solomon, Elijah has never laid hands on me, and I've never been a blind man...but somehow when I read the Word of God I feel that I'm among friends and am able to relate to the people of many generations past, the Word of God and the basic needs of men are always relevant...always much the same. There is a presence that comes from the pages of the scriptures, it gets inside of you, it speaks to you, it comforts us, and it corrects us. When you read the story of the woman at the well, don't you feel like you've been there before? Jesus wants to change her life and she wants to know what church He goes to! She wants to discuss cultural and religious differences and all He wants to do is get into her heart! I've never been a woman with an issue of blood, but I've gone to church many times hoping that in some small way I could touch Him...and I guess that I really have been a blind man...just not physically...but blind nonetheless! I am thankful for the Word of God... I am thankful for the People of God...I am thnkful for the Personalities God has given each us...And I am thankful for the Presence...God's and Yours! I guess I'm just thankful!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Make's you think doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Quit
As the father of a six year old I remain candidly aware of the frustration that comes when things just aren't going your way. You should see the eye rolling that takes place when she can't make something work or if it isn't happening the way she thinks it should. Understand, this little one is passive, she isn't obstinate or rebellious, she is actually quite easy if it isn't working it's easier to quit than continue...let's just do something else.
I've felt that way a few times, some days it would be easier to give up and to give in than it is to go on. Sometimes I think it would be great to live like a hermit out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing, involved with no one...And to just quit!
In my walk with the Lord I've felt that way a few times, usually when I didn't understand what God was doing in my life at the moment, or when I was frustrated and couldn't make it work my way, or when I was broke...God never moves fast enough or uniquely enough when we're broke...where is Ed McMahon when you need him? I've moved several times during my 27 years of ministry and Ed's promise of millions always follows me, but he can never seem to find my house...I have to admit I have wanted to quit life on more than one occasion and then...
I read scriptures like Deuteronomy 8 where God says that He provided my wilderness so that He could provide for me, so that He could find out what was really in my heart and bless me...And that while I was in the wilderness struggling...He was still providing! I read verses in Hebrews 12 that remind me that He is the author and finisher of my faith and that it was His joy to be shamed and endure the cross so that I can finish the race...and He sums it all up by reminding us that we haven't resisted unto blood yet!
Today I more determined than ever not to quit, to teach my daughters the advantage of remaining in the race, to tell others that they can win if they refuse to quit...And to keep running until there's no where else to run except across the finish line!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Progressive Revelation
Our walk with God is a progressive walk, as is our walk with anyone for that matter. One never knows a person until they know the person, our introduction to God, family, or friends opens a door for us to come to see and understand one another in a progressive manner. It is true that when we come to meet the Lord that He saves us completely, but we don't know Him completely, it is a progressive journey...not a matter of salvation, it's a matter of relationship, which requires revelation. My wife and I have been married almost 20 years, we certainly know each other better now than we did while dating and when we first married, but we did have lives before we met and married and there are things we are still learning about one revelation. This phrase has been in my spirit since early this morning, I was reminded of a story in the Gospels where Jesus came into the midst of some leperous men. The Bible says of these men that evidently they knew who Jesus was, they knew of His reputation, and they asked Him to have mercy upon them...The Bible says that as they went they were cleansed. Sometimes we get the revelation, we believe in our hearts, and then we are required to walk out the revelation even though outwardly we cannot see any evidence or proof that God has done anything. The more we walk with Him the more we learn to trust in Him, and the more we trust in Him the more He reveals Himself...and the amazing thing is that He doesn't always reveal Himself in the same manner...He doesn't want to be familiar...He wants to be trusted!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Smith Family
Call it arrogance or whatever, but I got this new picture of our family today and wanted to share it. We vacationed in my home state of Illinois back in June and spent the night with our close friends Rick and Glenna Sexton, Rick took this picture of us and sent it I wanted to share. There are many that do not believe that Julie and the girls actually exist, I travel each month and talk about them when I preach, and some people say, "Show me the proof!" So here is my bride of 19 years and our two beautiful daughters!
Can you believe this? The Bible teaches that in the Last Days many will come saying, "I Am The Christ!" Who knew he would come from Florida! Look Up, Look Out, and Listen Carefully...Jesus Is Coming!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What Are You Reading?
I have the terrible habit of reading several things at the same time, presently I've been reading a couple books by Chuck Pierce, and now I'm all caught up with Ted Dekker...what a writer! Last week I read this book called "The Martyr's Song", the story of a village in the Ukraine during WWII, a small village that appeared to be untouched by the war until one day a small troop of soldiers comes upon this village and life permanently changes. If you haven't read Ted Dekker you should, he is phenomenal, I've also read "When Heaven Weeps", can't put it down! Check out his non-fiction book on "Slumbering Christianity"! What are you reading?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

At Home Watching Reba On Lifetime
I came home for lunch today, nuked a hot dog and am sitting around watching Reba reruns on Lifetime for women. She's hilarious in my opinion and has done well as a sitcom star, I like her theme song: "I'm A Survivor!" Personally, I think we have to survive sometimes before we overcome, but I do want to overcome and not just survive. Ishmael is surviving, Isaac is overcoming...I'll take Isaac!

Monday, August 21, 2006

I flew for the first time in November of 1980, I was on my way home from Northwest Bible College in Minot, ND. My biggest fear that day wasn't whether or not we would be struck by on oncoming missle, or if someone's Kool-Aid might actually be an explosive concoction, my biggest fear was if I would make my connecting flight. Each month I fly somewhere and usually give little thought to terrorism or anything else, I simply want to be ontime. Last week I was flying from Paducah, Ky to Memphis , Tn, the lady across the aisle suddenly found a piece of paper, scribbled a brief note as we were on our descent, and passed it up the aisle...I must admit I tried to read her words and for a moment felt fearful and frustrated. All she wanted to know was about her connecting flight, but there was something unnerving about her timing and the passing of a note. Today I was listening to the Schmidt Show, listening to him ramble on and on about people on plains, fiddling with things in the bathroom, andthoght to myself, if you watch commercials, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper, you might find yourself in a panic. We are living in difficult times, but as you puruse the scriptures you will hear God's promise of peace. In fact, you will hear Jesus saying, "What are you so surprised for? I told you these things would happen!" You will hear Him reminding you that these things must be, but the end is not yet, He will tell you that the events of our day are the birth pangs of a greater day and that when these things begin to happen...Look Up! Listen! and Live in a Constant State of Preparedness...The Lord Is Coming! And if He doesn't come today, tomorrow, or ten years from now...He will come! Perhaps I've chosen to live obliviously to these things, but in my spirit I sense the best days of our lives are just before us, difficult times...yes, different times, absolutely...these are days that require an all out effort to love and serve God and those around me!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Golconda, IL
When I was in the second grade my family moved from Aurora, IL, ( a Chicago suburb) to southern Illinois, Golconda, IL to be exact. We moved there so my father could cut pulp wood and we lived in the middle of Doyle Wagner's farm, it was out in the middle of nowhere and outside of Golconda, closer to Brownfield. For a little boy it was quite the exciting place, I was from the city and now living in the woods on a farm, we weren't farmers just lived on one. At the end of our lane where I caught the school bus was a fire tower that reached into the heavens, or so it seemed, it was tall and forbidden, I admitted this week in front of my mother that I have been to the top of tower...I'm 44, I should be safe from punishment by now! This past week I preached revival in Brookport, Il, had a great meeting, the church was an exciting place and the Lord did a good work, I was blessed and pray they were as well! My mother came down from Aurora, and a couple former church members from Champaign, northerners you would call them, Southern Illinois is a world unto itself. I say that not in a critical manner, but as my mother and our friends and I traveled around I noticed that in that neck of the woods things haven't changed much since we left and went back to Aurora. We only lived there from the middle of my second grade year to the middle of my fourth. In fact, I met a girl I went to school with during those years...amazing! It was almost magical as we drove through the beautiful country, leaves and limbs on the clay dirt roads, fields and ponds looking exactly like they did when I was a boy. And talk about great food, there's no BBQ like that served during the annual Deer Festival, Pope County is the Deer Capital of Illinois you know! It felt like home for those few days, I'm glad to be back in Zephyrhills, Florida, a place made famous for it's pure water from a pure water like Zephyrhills water...But I do look forward to returning, and will be sure to stop by my Aunt Linda's store, The Chocolate Factory in Dixson Springs...a sure place to find a peaceful rest, some awesome chocolate, and an ice cream cone for the weary!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'm Leaving...On A Jet Plane
Part of my job opportunities include flying somewhere each month or at least every other month to conduct revival meetings. While there I share about our missions ministries and am often able to raise some funding for our various projects. Today I am flying to Paducah, Kentucky and will be conducting a revival across the river in Brookport, IL with my good friend Pastor Charles Tate. I am anxious and excited about this meeting, it's been several years since I've been there, it's my first meeting after being off most the summer, and I believe that the Lord is going to do something there. The question is what do you say when there is so much in your spirit? Over the past year the Lord has said: "If you're going to go somewhere, you have to go somewhere; Move beyond normal, Isaac is coming, and Some must enter in!" There are other things that arise in my spirit, like the reality that if we can see into the heavens, looking past the junk of our lives and times, in the heavenlies there is new wine dripping into the earth, and that new wine is often poured out in the form of an afterward anointing...some things never arrive until after we've been through somethings, and of course, you always want to remind God's people that He loves them, and He's been thinking about them, and when God thinks about us, He always knows exactly where we are, but He also thinks about where we're going...He's got our future on His mind! So if you pass by my blog this week, and if you think of me, whisper a prayer that the Lord will use me, that He will enable me to communicate what He wants to say, what they need to hear, and not what I've got on my mind, but that I'll listen to His! Blessings, thanks for reading my blog, and for signing when you do, I love who you are and what you have to are a blessing and my earnest motivation!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ishmael Often Precedes Isaac
Several months ago I began to share a word the Lord has placed in my spirit concerning the arrival of Isaac in our lives. Isaac means joy, and prophetically speaks of the arrival of what God has promised into our lives. We know that often God speaks a prophetic word into our spirits and that we must be willing to wait on that promise or we may become foolish in our flesh and create for ourselves a substitute. In the case of Abraham, there was 25 years between the time God promised him a son and the birth of between that time Abraham and Sarah impatient and created Ishmael...and he created problems...the flesh is always too much for us to handle! The name Ishmael means God Hears, the Bible says of Ishmael that he would be a wild ass of a man, a wild man that would produce wild children. As you read the account of Isaac and Ishmael you quickly find that these were not loving brothers, from early on there was conflict. In our spiritual lives Ishmael often precedes Isaac, in our desire to produce what God has promised we get hasty, make quick decisions, and take things into our own hands. Sometimes we mean well, in fact, most of the time, our intentions are right, we're just in a hurry to help God along, and as the result we produce something that we have a hard time living with. The tragedy of it is that we want what is best for us, but are willing to settle for less just to say we have something...all the while God is saying, "Just hang in there, Isaac is coming!" As I look at the events of our day I know that Isaac is coming, that we will see the fulfillment of the prophetic word, that the last days are here and will be filled with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit...I also know that we will have to contend with Ishmael, the wild man that is fighting to find his place...don't settle for less...wait for the best!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The First Day Of School
I know, two posts in one day is too much, but it's my blog and one is for folks to comment on and the other is to talk about and show off my kids! School started today for our girls, Kaitlin who is 14 started her freshman year...High School...go figure! She wasn't happy, thinks she has at least one mean teacher, found it to be quite hectic, and couldn't find her ride home. She'll adjust and be ok I'm sure, but I do wish she had had a better day! Madison is 6, started first grade today, everytime I went by her classroom she looked as if she were slumping in her chair, come to find out, she couldn't reach the floor...she's so tiny...she's still the baby! Julie began her third year of teaching, 17 students in her class, she'll do great, she is great!
After You're Alone...Then What
On my last blog a friend of mine made a statement that stirred my spirit, he said, "We all want revival, but are we willing to shut ourselves up until God sends it?" There is a place in our relationship for being alone, in the book of Genesis the Bible says of Jacob that he was left alone where he wrestled with a man until the breaking of the day. Every great man or woman of God, every great move of God, every ministry that has produced awesome things for the Lord has been birthed from people who have learned to be intimate with the Lord, people that have spent time alone...but aloneness cannot produce the harvest, because one thing can produce nothing. What we receive in private, what God births within our spirits is meant first to change and minister to us, and secondly, to be released into the lives of others. Genesis says that it is not good for man to be God made a helpmeet. Alone time is that moment when we make things right with God, when in private God speaks and deposits His deep secrets into our spirits. We must have alone time, the deepest things you will ever experience will not come in the crowd, they will come when like Jacob, you get alone and wrestle things through...but when the fight is finished there will be a release of power...intimacy shared with those of similar streams of thought. The Kingdom is progressing, the earth is groaning in preparation for the soon return of the King!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

If It Is To Be...It Really Is Up To Me!
"God, I really want to be closer to You, help me God to draw closer to You, make me do what I'm supposed to do so that I can be nearer to You!" Sound familiar? I'm quite confident that I've prayed that one more times than I can count, and then I sit waiting for that magical moment when God divinely reaches down out of heaven, makes me feel something that I've never felt before, so I'll know that He has heard and answered my prayer...because without that magical feeling, I think I'll sit and wait until it comes...ever been there? When you take a simple journey throughout the pages of scripture you easily find that God has invited us, imparted to us, and encourages us to draw near to Him. Everything we need to effectively serve Him has already been deposited within us, it's up to us to get it out...really! This evening our pastor made this point extremely clear, if I'm thirsty I'll find something to drink, if I really want God the way that I say that do...I'll come after Him, aggressively seeking Him until I find Him, and once found, I'll continue to follow after Him, so that I don't lose ground. What God requires of me is that I love Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind, and that I love others. He requires of me that I remain faithful, even when it's easier to quit. He asks of me to trust Him, even when I can't see what He is doing and even though I may not like what I do see. He asks me to make the effort, to step out of the box, to be willing to be uncomfortable, and to make Him my number one priority...after all... I am His!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Back To Normal...
This past week we have been working feverishly in preparation for school to start. In Florida school starts quite early, August 8th! I have to admit I'm pretty excited about it, our oldest daughter has spent much of her summer at home, we both work and our youngest daughter goes to the summer program at the church, so I'm sure they're ready to get back in the swing of things. I return to preaching revivals this month, fly out next Saturday to Paducah, KY to preach revival in Brookport, IL, in September I'm in Toledo, OH, October is Myrtle Beach, SC, and in November I'm in Sylacauga, AL. Time will fly, the Lord will bless, Madsion will turn seven, Julie will have a birthday as well, and hopefully the hurricanes will pass us on by! As I age I realize that while I embrace and enjoy change, and a true propenant of it, I also enjoy structure, like to know where we're going and to have a general idea of howand when we're going to get there. My patience level doesn't allow me to sit around waiting and wondering, we need to do something. Change anything or change everything, but let's not sit around talking about it, and by all means let's have some type of a plan...even it isn't much! Maybe I'm Monk!