Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Can I Just Be Normal?
I am in a readjustment period since returning from Kenya, their time is seven hours ahead of us...so my inner clock is all messed up. Last night I fell asleep around 7:00 PM, woke up at 8:30 and didn't know where I was or how I got there, my own bed room seemed foreign to me...what an odd feeling that was. This morning I awakened at about 5:15 AM, which is a bit later than yesterday, it will take awhile to get back to normal...whatever that is.
There's probably a spiritual message in all of this, I just can't find it today...In fact, today I just think I'll be like everyone else...normal...I'm not fond of normal, think we should move beyond normal, don't believe we're called to be like everyone else...but today I'm tired, my mind is worn out along with my aging body...so I'll just be normal!
Tomorrow I'll be abnormal, leap over hurdles and jump over obstacles, I'll fight devils and cast out demons...my own included...I'll give good advice and lead others into places they've never been...we'll continue to boldly go where we've never gone before...but today....can I just be normal?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just Call Me Wambua
We returned last night from our journey to Kenya, what a wonderful trip it was! Arriving last Friday, we began Saturday morning with a minister's meeting, there are fourteen churches under our covering and we were able to meet with the pastors and their spouses, their asociates and evangelists...you should hear them pray...sounds like the voice of many waters...awesome!
On Sunday I took Sean Watson, a twenty year old man who accompanied us, to Mbaani, a church located in the bush, with me to preach, it was a powerful service. After a lunch with several of our friends we went to Kengami, where I ministered that afternoon...another good service! On Monday we took Bishop Titus Kiilu with us and drove seven hours to Eldoret where we checked on our sewing school and met with pastors on Tuesday. We enjoyed a nice dinner with Neil and Jennifer Lawrence, Church of God missionaries that live in Kenya, a beautiful family. Wednesday we traveled to Nakuru and enjoyed an afternoon at the Game Preserve, we saw zebra, monkey, rhino, water buffalo, and giraffe...we looked for the lions but never found them...a baboon got into our van while we were inside the park office, stole some handiwipes and took off...a clean handed thief! Thursday we started back to Nairobi to return home, stopped in Gil Gil and met with a pastor and viewed his new sewing school...it was there I received an honor, I was given a new name: Wambua. The name means rain, while preaching for Bishop Titus I spoke of the spiritual rain the Lord is pouring and going to pour out, he then named me rain and blessed me as a friend and brother...I am honored.
I continue to be honored by the opportunity God has given me to be a part of the Kenyans, they are friends and family...every one should go there, it will change your lives!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Feeling Anxious
I left home last Saturday like I do every month to fly out for a revival...when you live in Florida everything is far away...I love Florida and I love to fly, so it's a good fit for me...what makes this trip different is I won't be returning home tomorrow as I usually do...I'm leaving South Carolina, going to Miami, resting 3-4 hours, and at 5:15 tomorrow boarding a plane for Kenya.
For me going to Kenya is just like flying anywhere else, except that it's nineteen hour flight and eight thousand miles from home...I love it...but I'm feeling anxious today. Not that I think something will go wrong, that we're in danger, or that we won't come back...everything is going to be great...but I miss my family, hope my wife will tape my picture on the television so they don't forget what I look like, and that they paint at least one wall in my office hunter green...I'm color blind, but like the sound of hunter green and think it would look good in my office.
This is a quick trip, two days traveling there, five days of ministry business, and two days traveling back home. Our youth pastor and one of our youth are going with us for their first trip, it will be awesome...pray for us!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Uncomfortable Territory I am addicted to online news and blogs. In just a few days I'm off to Kenya and will be away from the internet for several days...you know I'm to experience withdrawal symptoms...pray for me! Today as I was reading CNN Online I came across a phrase that leaped off the page at me, the article concerned a new book by one of my favorite authors, John Grisham, it talked about the amount of research he had to do while writing this book, research it said was "Uncomfortable Territory!" Our walk with Christ often brings us into uncomfortable territory, in fact, life itself brings us often into new places, areas that we've never been, areas that are not always the most comfortable. Do you remember your first day of school, high school, college? Can you remember your first date, the moment of your engagement, marriage, and the first family member who died in your lifetime? What about when you first realized your need for Christ or your first experience in church? Have you ever thought about the moment you realized that being a believer included issues and dealings with your flesh that you thought salvation covered? You know, life was going to be perfect because of Christ's entrance into your life...and then life took a strange turn! As I write these words today I'm sitting in a hotel room on a beach in Myrtle Beach, suffering for Jesus, having a great revival and believing God for good things...but there are moments when life is uncomfortable, territory that is unfamiliar, and places God is calling us that we've never been. The Book of Genesis describes the call of God to Abraham to leave his fathers house and to go sight unseen to a promised place, all he had was God's word, the promise that it would be a place of blessing, but little was said of what was in between. Uncomfortable Territory is that place where we know who God is, who we are in Christ, and we trust Him to be who and what He says He is...regardless of how we feel! We go, we step out by faith to accept the assignment and opportunity, making the journey in full confidence that we're not alone and that all along the way...He knows what He's doing in our lives and as our pastor always says: "It'll be alright!" Just Thinking Out Loud!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Does It Get Any Better Than This?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's Time To Go!
I'm preparing to leave on a huge trip, Saturday I take off for Myrtle Beach, SC where I will be conducting a revival for my dear friends Neigel and Peggy Scarborough...suffering for Jesus by staying on the beach...someone has to do it! Next Thursday morning I fly from Myrtle Beach to Miami where I meet our team, arriving in Miami at 1:37 PM, and then off to Kenya at 5:15! Thank God for Tylenol PM...right after the curried chicken!
Lately my spirit has been overwhelmed, I find myself becoming a deep thinker, I know you can't tell that by my writing...but I have a deep sense that God has a great desire to do something through on this trip. Recently I read a thread on a message board talking about our need for revival, I believe in revival, but I believe more in restoration, the process of putting things back in place, adjusting our lives to the proper order in order that we can fulfill God's original purpose for our lives. Our lives, much like our bodies, get out of adjustment, twisted and turned, contorted and manipulated, they need to rest, be rejuvenated, readjusted, and restored to the order that allows them to function in the manner God has always intended. Revival is a watch word of Charismatic and Pentecostal believers, it has roots in scripture and a place in the church, I simply fear that revival has become a series of services we have occasionaly in our churches that doesn't accomplish what most believers hope for...we need restoration and then revival will follow!
The Holy Spirit seems to be impressing me that renewal/restoration/revival are already taking place in this present time, not like we've expected it, and not in every life or every church, but it is taking place...where people are looking and open to what God is saying and doing. Do you remember the scripture in the Book of Revelation where continuously God says, "Let him who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches!"
Pray for us as we travel that God will grant us favor with God and man, for traveling mercies, and that the words of our mouths will bring healing, deliverance, and restoration in the places we go. Pray that the Holy Spirit will use us to touch the lives of the people we come into contact with, and that Kenya will experience a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit...a true life changing move of God.
Assante Sana (Thank you very much)

Monday, October 09, 2006

As The World Turns...or...Prophetic Panic?
North Korea has successfuly conducted a nuclear test, another teen-age boy has found a way to get a high powered gun into his school, kids need more time to play, and the Sudanese have discovered My Space...Our world is evolving quickly before our eyes. As I listened to the Schmitt Show this morning I realized that everyone has an opinion, an opinion that will be right in their own eyes, accepted and rejected by others...and thought totally out there by many...and then there are the christians!
Does the arrival of nuclear weapons open the doors for the rising of the kings of the East as prophesied in the book of Revelation? Has the sudden increase of voilence among youth fulfilled the prophetic word of Paul to Timothy when he spoke of last day attitudes, including the disobedience to parents? Are we in an end time decline and is it time to panic? Is the world as we know it coming to an end?
There was a time in my life when events such as North Korea would have spoken volumes to me, I would have taught a Wednesday night Bible Study right out of Time and Newsweek Magazine, and God forbid that I find an article of interest in our local newspaper, combine all of this with a couple end time Bible verses and we'd have an hour of discussion like you would never believe. But today, I don't think it's time to panic, I think it's time to prepare. This whole thing of living in what we believe to be the end times is not about panic, it's about discovering the Prince of Peace in the absence of true peace. It's about being the church rather than going to church and leaving unchanged. Some of the things we see are the results of a evolving world, a world that is constantly turning, advancing, and discovering itself, while other things we see are a part of God's prophetic plan. All of it is under His authority and control, none of it takes Him by surprise, and most of it shouldn't shake us much either...He told us what would happen.
I am convinced that there has never been a better time to live as believers than the times we now live. The Lord is sure to come, maybe now, maybe later, but now is the time to prepare, now is the time for believers to become missionaries...right where they live!
Call it my soapbox, but church members will get all excited about a missions project in a foreign land...I believe in that, I am a missionary of sorts,leaving for Kenya in a week, and I have a new project to promote...but what about family, friends, co-workers, and people that God places in our paths? Are we truly missional if we only send a check and pray for God to help us touch others, and never tell the story here at home?
Will the church of today panic in the midst of our days events or will we rise to our finest hour until all have heard the message of the King and His soon to come Kingdom?
Just Thinking Outloud!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Connect The Dots
When I first began blogging I thought it would be more of a online diary, something I would blurt out stupid things on, yell online, and vent...Now I see blogging as a means to express myself and to develop spiritual connections with people I would have never connected with. In the short time I've been blogging I've had visitors from many states, Australia, China, Germany, and the UK...some comment and some don't, but they come and read...hopefully they receive something, a blessing, a laugh, or they leave thinking about something in a different way. Isn't that what the Kingdom of God is all about...Connections? Years ago I went through evangelism classes, we learned how to canvas neighborhoods going door to door taking religious surveys...didn't win many to Christ, but tried, knocked on a lot of doors, and felt like we'd done something for Jesus. As I grow older I've come to realize that true evangelism is the development of relationships...connecting the dots with people. As a pastor I've given many altar calls asking people to come to Christ, I believe in that and will do it again...But! What I truly believe is Biblical evangelism is the connecting of one person to another, and allowing the Christ in us to be seen in everyday life...to the point that while sitting at lunch in your office with your friend you develop an authenic relationship that leads by example into a conversation and then a conversion to Christ. Wouldn't it be powerful if our lives so exemplified Christ that people began to ask how we could be so joyful in spite of our circumstances and we could share the gospel? From there we could introduce them to our cell groups and churches, help them progress in their walk with God, and eventually make their own connections? This thing of being missional in our spiritual purpose speaks volumes to me, that rather than being a "Commando Evengelist" rushing in for the kill, putting down a statistic, and leaving them to make it on their own while we're off hunting down another convert...we should be connecting the dots...intentionally developing friendships and relationships with purpose! And while I'm at it, while I would like for them to attend my church, our friendship isn't based on where they attend or if they attend...I just want them to enter the Kingdom of Heaven...Just Thinking Out Loud!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Whose Fault Is It?
This morning I was called upon to chat with a fifth grader who was caught swinging on the bathroom door of our school. This is his fifth trip to the school office in the last week, twice yesterday, and this morning he was there by 9:30, school starts at 8:30...what's wrong with this picture? When I asked him why he was swinging on the bathroom door his reply was that there was another smaller child doing it and it looked like fun. the feeling I got as I listened to this young man was that it was probably the schools fault that he was in trouble...we have bathrooms! If we didn't have bathrooms, and a school with children he wouldn't have had to swing on the door, get caught by a teacher, sent to the office, chat with the Chancellor, or write 200 hundred sentences...it's all our fault...He didn't say that...but you get the picture.
So after dealing with all of this I get online to read CNN and do a survey poll, my morning ritual, only to find that now it's the Speaker of the House's fault that Florida's Mark Foley wrote perverted emails to an underage page...He knew about this and should have dealt with, so now he should resign...before it's over it will be someone else's fault and they should resign too! Foley has been quoted as saying that he was molested by a clergyman when he was a child, so now it's that preacher's fault that he was sending nasty notes...Where does this stuff end?
The Bible says that one day we will give an account of what we have done, both good and bad, can you imagine what some people are going to say? Can you imagine standing before God with Him asking why I lied, cheated and stole, and replying, "My first grade teacher used to tap me on the head with an ink pen, it broke my concentration, and now I abhor all authority!"
We are responsible for our actions!The Apostle Peter said it this way: "Don't easily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. you didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God!" (I Peter 1, The Message)
The devil didn't make me do it, a lack of attention from my parents doesn't make me do it...I am responsible! Just thinking out loud!

Monday, October 02, 2006

I've been reading various blogs and articles concerning the church world, where we are and where we're going, and to be honest, it wears me out. A few years ago we were either Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish, now we're all of these plus, Muslim, Emergent, Seeker Sensitive, Charismatic, and the list goes on and on. As I sit at my desk today I've come to realize that we have learned to live under labels that create an attraction to what we represent. We are known by what we advertise and who we represent. What I also recognize is that I am not identified by what people call me, but by what I answer to...I have to know who I am. Our purpose on this earth is know God, to love God, and for the love of God to shown through us. How we get there, and the methods that we use to accomplish God's purpose for our lives certainly vary and take different shapes...the goal is to get there, to glorify God and to touch the lives of people for the Kingdom. Missional is a phrase that burns with me, I'm not completely sure what means in the general scheme of things, what it means to me is that we are accomplishing the purpose for which Christ died, that none should perish and that all can come to experience eternal life! Our mission is to point men to God, to make Him known in a relevant manner, and to never destroy the foundational principals of the Word of God. If we're not careful life becomes quite complicated and I am convinced that living for God isn't supposed to be complicated, He wants us to S.K.I.S., to simply keep it simple! Jesus said it this way, Love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and strength, and Love your neighbor as you love yourself...Period Not a dynamic or super thought provoking word...it is a thought though!