Saturday, September 30, 2006

Akeelah And The Bee
I watched this movie last night and it was absolutely fantastic. Call me a sucker for a cute kid and a ending that wins, this is the movie. I love movies that talk about destiny, of pulling what is buried deep inside of a person out of them, this movie generated something inside of me to stretch more. Movies like Hook, the story of a man who forgot who he was, Rudy, a little guy with a huge dream that refused to take no for an answer, The Rookie, you're never too old to become who you were meant to be, Remember The Titans, you can overcome all opposition and win in life...and now, Akeelah and the Bee, the story of an eleven year girl that can absolutely spell the paint off a wall, so starts out by winning a school spelling bee and ends up going to the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. Perhaps I watch too much TV and read too many things into it, but programs like this get spiritual to me, I see how God places dreams and drives within us, we don't always know how they got there, or what to do with them...But He always sends someone along to help us recognize who and what we can be if we recognize and develop what He has placed within us. It also reminds me that my two daughters have awesome gifts...I must always make sure those gifts are released and developed! Watch the movie!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Breed Of Preachers
I am thoroughly convinced that we are living in some of the most exciting times in human history. God is revealing himself and calling us to really walk with him in a fresh and intimate manner. What makes it fresh is not some new super duper revelation, it's that our journey with God is not a religious experience, a ritualistic movement, but a concentrated effort on our part to really live for God and love Him with all of our hearts.
I am also convinced that he is raising up a new breed of ministers, he is using people across the globe...people that simply are ready to speak what he is saying boldly.
Two of those people reside in my home, my beautiful wife Julie...she doesn't claim to preach, would never call herself a preacher...but she does, and God uses her. And then there's my daughter Kaitlin, she'll be 15 in January, is going on 40 right now, but a few months ago when our youth ministry went to minister in Tampa, she preached like a wild woman...and tonight she spoke in youth group on depression...she'll probably not call herself a preacher either, but she is ready to speak what the Lord is saying to her...and God uses that.
I think that New Testament ministry is about everyone being a minister, some called to specific areas, but everyone called to share the good news. It will come out different ways and various methods and styles, but the goal is to expand the Kingdom and win the lost...there is a new breed rising!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

While I Was Thinking
There is a road deep within each of us that very few are allowed to travel. It is a place within the deep recesses of our souls where the outside world is forbidden and we often wonder if we should go. It is within that place that our dreams and visions are birthed, it is there that our fears are either faced or fed, and where our issues are recognized and our faith becomes more real. The older I get the more aware I become of me, of that voice deep within me, I hear the questions of my soul, the what if's, the why's and the how's...I hear myself wondering and telling myself it will be ok, I hear the voice of my spirit reminding me that I'm not alone...I hear it telling me that my wife loves me, my children need me, and that I need them. I hear it often reminding me of how much I need the Lord...sometimes I hear telling me that I really need Him bad.
Often we excuse that inner voice, calling it ourselves or the voice of reason. We believe that it is a compilation of all the voices we've heard that day, or perhaps all of the voices we've ever heard, nevertheless, we're listening to that voice.
I was reminded today as I read the blog of a friend( that within that voice is a voice, it isn't our voice, it isn't our reasoning, it isn't the voice of those around us or of those close to us, it is the voice of the Dream Giver, it is the voice of the Lord. It is a voice of encouragement, a voice of instruction, of inspiration, a voice that imparts wisdom and direction, it speaks life, it spreads light, it is a voice that causes us to know that we are not alone.
The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 39: "My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned: then I spoke with my tongue!"
It's as if he was saying I had all of this energy pent up within me, a dream bursting, trying to get out...but I wanted to think about it, I was in deep thought contemplating my actions, and it burned inside of me and when I spoke... I spoke with conviction and fire!
These are days when there are plenty of hot heads around, people that speak without contemplating their words or actions, people who say the right things, words that bring surface comfort, but do little on the inside where it really counts.
Perhaps this is a time for musing, for deep thought, for contemplation and the stirring of the inner man. Could it be that God is speaking to those that are listening and to those that are stirring the fires of the soul?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Without becoming too political here, have you seen the interview with former president Bill Clinton and the Fox network's Chris Wallace? President Clinton almost blew a gasket, veins were popping out, his eyes got huge, as if he were testifying in a pentecostal church he would have foamed at the corners of his mouth...I know, I'm a pentecostal, I've seen it before! This guy was livid, hot under the collar, defending his stance, his actions, and his thought was amazing! He tapped on Wallace's notes, might have patted his knee a time of two, defended his record and then he said it, "I almost got him, I was closer than anyone else!" That's not a direct quote, but it's what he said. It reminded me of children playing games, we almost won, I almost made a touchdown, I almost made the basket...I wanted to email and remind him that almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and marriage engagements...almost really doesn't count...does it? The Book of Acts recounts the conversation between the Apostle Paul and King Agrippa of Rome. The Bible says that after Paul had shared passionately his testimony that King Agrippa said, "Almost, thou persuadest me to become a christian!" I'm close, I can see what you're saying, and I think that I understand what this is all about...I'm almost there...just not quite! Almost...I've been there a few times, and I suppose I'll be there again...hopefully not when it comes to something as important as my eternal soul...or the catching of a terrorist!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Leave The Devil Out Of It!
Have you ever noticed how that many believers blame everything negative on the devil? If Walmart is out of something they were looking for it must be that the devil didn't them to have it. Do you really think the devil cares if you use Charmin? Today I heard a lady talking about falling down and how she was all bruised up, her next words were, "The devil was just trying to get me!" I leaned over to my wife and said, "It wasn't the devil, she fell!" I'm not meaning to minimize the existance and the scheming of the evil one, I know and believe that he is real, and that he constantly seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. God's Word identifies him as one seeking to devour, his work is described as wiles and schemes, he is a real foe, but everything isn't the it? Scripture indicates that if your mother was a woman and you were born of a woman, that your days are full of trouble. If I fall down the steps it may be because I slipped or tripped, misstepped, wasn't paying attention, you get the idea...but everything that happens may not be may just be life! I am convinced that satan gains entrance into our lives by our own personal invitation, that when we constantly talk about him and all that he is doing, we are actually,( without meaning to) giving him access to our lives. Perhaps we need to give him less press, less credit, and less opportunity to enter our atmosphere, and to talk more about the Lord...give Him access and entrance into our lives...It's just a thought!
I love reality TV, watch stuff like Wife Swap, SuperNanny, Survivor, $40-Day Meals, I enjoy the real stuff. About a year ago I started listening to 970 AM, a talk radio station that includes Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, The Schmidt Show and a host of others, I find it interesting most of the time and enjoy hearing what others have to say...most of the time. Today I am frustrated, let me preface this statement by saying, I appreciate the right for every person to have an opinion, to share that opinion, and to have a political party affiliation, even if it is the opposite of mine...really. But what frustrates me is this continuous bashing of our country and our president. Do I agree with everything he says and does, absolutely not, would I do things differently, sure, do I think changes need to be made, of course. What gets me is the absolute lack of respect that Americans have developed for people in authority...and it starts young. When I was a child, the bus driver was a person of authority, now kids will cuss them out, if the bus driver doesn't cuss them out first. You never called an adult by his first name without permission, now schools are being told not to make a child call you sir or mame, and to not make a child say "I'm Sorry". Is it just me or have we lost something? Again, like or dislike the president, disagree with his position and when election time comes, vote someone you like better in, but while he's here let's support him, pray for him, and assist him...that's not agreeing with his every move, it's respecting the position, and that my friends is politically least I think so! Thanks for letting me vent...back to the real stuff now!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Baby Turned 7 Today!
I'm a forty-four year old man with a nearly 15 year old daughter and one who turned seven today. I am also one of the proudest Papa's you've ever met...I've got great girls. Julie and I wanted to be married five years before we had children, Kaitlin was born in January and our fifth anniversary was in March. We loved and poured ourselves into this beautful child, I didn't want anymore and could not imagine loving anyone else like I love that wife wanted another child sooner, but it took me five years to come around to the thought, and then almost three for her to concieve...and then it happened...We had the most beautiful blond haired, blue eyed baby girl you've ever seen...and when I woke up this morning she was seven and in January that beautiful dark haired and dark eyed baby will be fifteen and in the wonderful state of Florida it means she can start driving with an adult. Today we passed her dream car, a VW Bug, and of course it only costs 7800.00...Dad! So I say with great pleasure and the knowledge that I will have a child at home almost into retirement...Happy Birthday Madison...I really love you! Dad

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Are You A Missionary?
I have become consumed with a term that is new to me, but one that seems to keep popping up in the places I'm going...It's called, "Being Missional". I'm not completely certain of all this term entails but in my spirit I think it has to do with being people on a mission, of having a desire to move from being a traditional christian that sits on a pew, put an offering in the plate, sings a few songs, nods and amens at the right point in the sermon and going home until the next time...if that's what being missional is...Count Me In! The Kingdom of God is progressive, it is constantly moving forward, encouraging us to progress with what God is doing. It's not faddish, it's not even modern, it's real, relevant, and refreshing. The church must progress, it must minister to the needs of humanity where they live, and the answer is always found in an old book that is always new...The Bible! The words of Jesus in John 17:18 from the Message Bible come to mind when Jesus says: " In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission a mission in the world." Read Paul's encouraging words in I Thessalonians 1, "Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master's Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don't even have to say anything anymore---you're the message! Being a missionary doesn't mean that you move to Timbuck Too and live in a hut, it means that your purpose in life, the driving force of your existance is to love God, love people, and to share what God has done in your life with others in order for them to experience the life of God themselves! Are we winning souls or are we warming over cold's just a thought!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Which Is Harder? Being...Doing...Going?
I've got a burr in my saddle and need to get it out. I've been a christian since 1977, I've been in the ministry since 1979 and in full time ministry since 1982...things have changed since I first began this journey...and sometimes I really wonder where we're going.
I consider myself modern, love the term "Cutting Edge", am the associate pastor of a church who's motto is "Real...Relevant, and Refreshing", and I love new stuff...change is an inevitable and integral part of life...not just the christian life... just life in general.
With that said, I have noticed that there is a great emphasis these days on leaving what we know as church, not just upgrading or updating, No, absolutely moving away and stepping into new territories...I'm not against new territories, what I'm concerned about is abandoning the absolutes of scripture and developing a "religion" that says everything we've been and taught previously was rubbish, let's explore and develop something new.
People aren't coming to church much these days, and those that are walk in the door as if they've entered a spiritual Super Walmart...their first question is what programs do you have, what can you offer me and my family? I truly believe that church must have programs, and those programs must be relevant to those we are ministering to and to the culture and climate we live in...believe me, relevance is relevant...but how do we differentiate between being the church, going to church, and doing church? Is there a place where we simply remember that we are the church and that our local church and the church at large will only be as dedicated and as spiritual, and as biblically sound, and as vibrant, and as we are? I'm just asking a question, is the church lost in the dust of days gone by? Have we lost relevance in todays society, have we ventured into a new day where we need to catch up...Or do we need to discover who we are and what God is calling us to be at the place He has planted us and be the very best we can be...I'm just asking!

Friday, September 15, 2006

All I Can Say Is...Thank God It's Friday!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hot Dogs...Get Your Hot Dogs!
I love hot dogs, chili dogs, corn dogs...just love them. I know they're not the healthiest or the best for you, but every once in awhile you need was that day. I'm in the Toledo, Ohio area for a conference, went to Detroit to pick up our senior pastor who is also speaking in this meeting and we stopped by Tony Paco's for lunch. Perhaps you will remember this better if you watched Mash, Klinger was from Toledo and always looked forward to hot dogs from...Tony Paco's...a quaint little restaraunt in the Hungarian section of Toledo, today's special was two chili dogs and a cup of chili with a drink for 5.99..that's what I got! The chili has quite bite to it, and the hot dogs are Hungarian sausage style, but wonderful...followed them up with two extra strength Tums...what a day!
Our conference is going well also...I love the Northern Ohio area...though it is much colder than Florida!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Don't Lose Your Shine
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the LORD's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded. Exodus 34:29-34 NIV
When I first met the Lord there was a radical or drastic change in my life. In fact, my mother always said that I shined, that there was a glow about me. As I began my walk with God there were times that I like most christians...struggled. Sometimes I tried to hide it, other times I simply showed my struggle, or at least it came through whether or not I meant for it to or not. Mom would sometimes say as I walked by, "How's your shine?" or I would spend time with the Lord and come back asking her, "How's my shine?"
The truth is that when we walk with the Lord, live in His presence and dwell in His glory, there is a noticeable presence about the child of God, a peace that identifies us, we don't have to announce it, discuss it, and most of the time, don't even recognize it's just there!
I want to live in the presence of God, to allow my light to shine, for others to see the Lord in me, without me having to prove that I'm a believer...does that make sense? We are the light of the world, light simply shines, it doesn't announce, "I'm shining here!" We have a responsibility to share the message, but our greater responsibility to be the message...actions speak louder than words...I believe that they precede our words..."Let your light so shine that you may glorify your Father which is in heaven!"
Moses hid behind the veil so long that he never realized that the glow was gone, I don't want to come to that point...I want to glow and flow...How's your shine?
I had a bad day yesterday, I'm glad it's over. Yesterday was my day to be depressed, I was trying a new hairstyle and it didn't it cut. Thought I preached bad Wednesday night, and then got emails from church members saying it was just what they needed...reminded me it's not about's His Word...not mine! I know that the Beatle's say that they believe in Yesterday, I like Today. Yesterday had some incredible moments, good and bad, but they were...Yesterday. The scripture says that Today is the day of salvation and that now is the accepted time. My best days are not behind me...they're right now. I think it's alright to have a bad day here and there, just as long as it was yesterday...our days are numbered and we can't afford to have too many bad Yesterdays....I love Today!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Life's A Beach
Labor Day weekend...what a rush! My wife decided that we needed to go to the beach yesterday, it was a toss up between Busch Gardens, Ft. Desoto, and Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. Like most couples discussing where to go, it was the usual I don't know, I don't care, what do you want to do...we ended up in Ft. Desoto, voted one of the top beaches in 2005, a delightful, family oriented was great. Our girls swam, Kaitlin searched diligently and found sand dollars, which are now soaking in bleach water and will eventually be painted and end up as a Christmas gift for girls love to create and they love to give what they make away...they truly believe that someone wants what they make...I know that I do!
Laying in the Gulf of Mexico, getting some sun, enjoying my family, that's why you live in Florida! You can see the water for miles, it seems like it is endless, and I suppose that in reality it is.
I suppose there should be a spiritual lesson or truth revealed here, like God's love like the ocean is endless, that His creation is breath-taking, and it is...But today I just wanted to say that life is a beach, there's nothing quite like being on the water with those you love...I feel blessed, and a bit sun burned!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Next Saturday I board a plane for Toledo to speak in a conference on Spiritual Acceleration. I will speak Sunday in two services, and our pastor will arrive on Monday to speak through Wednesday...I'm starting to get excited. During 2006 the Lord has spoken several specific words to me: Can You Recognize The Season Of Change; There Is A Shifting; If You're Going To Go Somewhere...You Have To Go Somewhere; Move Beyond Normal; Some Must Enter In; and, Isaac Is Coming! As I am preparing my mind, trying to get a direction for this meeting and wanting to go there without a preconceived determination of what I'm going to say, I have found myself searching, reading what other prophetic voices are saying, and hoping that sometime between now and next Sunday the Lord will speak a directive word into my spirit...what He wants said. I am reminded of a natural illustration, that when driving, the closer we get to home the quicker I drive. It isn't always intentional or even recognized at the time, but I've had people following me that mentioned that once we got within a few miles of my home I would speed up. As we near the coming of the Lord I am convinced that things are speeding up, it's becoming quite noticable, and God is moving. One of the prophetic voices I read reminded me that we cannot get stuck and miss the present movement of the Lord, that we must seek the Lord and be sure to be at the right place at the right time so we don't miss the blessing. I am convinced that we are living in a season of suddenlies and that what the Lord is doing will be done quickly...suddenly! He may not come until I'm 112, but when you consider that a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day...what's one hundred years? I just don't want to miss what He's doing and want to be ready when he arrives...And, I want to help as many as I can to be ready also...Those who know the word of prayer, pray for me!