Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Next Step
We're moving, I've been gone three weeks and my family is now preparing to join me at our new assignment. I've come back to Florida for Christmas, but today we've gotten our second truck and been loading it, cleaning our house, sitting on the floor, planning on sleeping on the floor and looking forward to the next step. The adventure is not in the going it's in the arriving, what happens next? I am also anticipating our new ministry assignment, what will we do once we're all there? Will the people like us, will they accept us, will they leave, and will the Lord be with us? I'm sure of one thing, the Lord will be with us, His covenant promise is He will never leave or fail or forsake us. My mind recalls the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy in II Timothy 4: He begins challenging Timothy to preach the Word, that there will come a time when sound doctrine will not be popular or endured, he tells him to fight with faith and finish the course and then he slam dunks the point: There were those who left me, people who at one time were faithful to the ministry who are no longer with me...Nevertheless and notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me and through me made the preaching of the Gospel known. The next step is ok because the Lord will not fail, the next step is a good step because it is ordered by the Lord, the next step will work because He knows the way we take...we just have to be willing to take the next step!

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Starts...New Seasons...New Stuff
Three weeks ago our family took a gigantic step of faith, we accepted a new ministry assignment in West Virginia, leaving sunny Florida, familiar places and people, and are now living in a beautiful home located in Martinsburg, WV. This morning it's 13 degrees, the wind is over 20 mph, and I saw two deer in my backyard...pretty cool, huh! Our church is a wonderful mixture of ages and personalities, kind people, people that have been through some stuff and won, they stayed intact, are healing and progressing forward...that's kewl! As I'm learning my way around the city, finding all the places that I need to go I'm also learning a spiritual truth: each day takes me to a new place, each new place introduces me to new stuff, stuff that has the potential of changing my life as well as theirs. It's a new season, it's a new day, fresh anointing is coming my way, it's a season of power and prosperity, it's a new season and it's coming to me!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time Keeps On Slipping...Into The Future!
These were the words of a song when I was a teenager, probably wasn't all that spiritual and I don't remember much more about the song than these words...but I think there's a truth involved here. Time waits on no one, tomorrow becomes today, yesterday was today, and life as we know is moving at a rapid pace...so the question is what will we do with the time we have? The concept of process continues to haunt me, the reality that we have been set on a course, given the same exact amount of time each day, week, month, and year to accomplish our assignment, and entrusted by God to do our best...amazing when you think about it...that God would trust us with His time! Recently I was reminded that as I pursue the purpose of my life that I need not rush things, but be faithful and consistent...after all, I have years to fulfill the assignment. In my past I have often tried to rush things, thinking it was better start off running, hit the floor with both feet flying, often wearing out early in the race and losing my way. Not any more...I'm on a journey and inviting others to go with me! Remember the movie Forest Gump? One day he decided to go for a walk, that walk lasted several years and by the time it was all over there were dozens of people following him. I think that's the pursuit of God, that we are following Christ, inviting others to join the journey with us, and along the way we develop relationships and discover God in the process!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just Some Stuff
I've got a lot of stuff going on right now, our lives are taking some new turns, we have stepped into a sudden season and things are moving quickly. I continue to be amazed at the goodness and the faithfulness of the Lord and am so thankful that I belong to Him! My sleep is all messed up, for some reason I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep. Think we need a new mattress, or at least a egg shell or mattress pad, it's killing me. We cleaned out the garage this week, I know the trash guys hated us this morning. I am blessed with a gorgeous wife and two beautiful daughters. This week I went with our oldest to get a new cell phone...she just had to have a Voyager from Verizon...I like my Env2! We upgraded to unlimited text on all three lines...Julie is funny, texting is completely foreign to her...should receive some interesting stuff! Survived shopping yesterday...though I started to wonder for a minute while Old Navy! Thank goodness for Starbucks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It doesn't get any better than this! I got up this morning because of these two, I will walk through hell itself for these two, and my life, my future will continue because of these two. Julie and I are the most blessed people in the world. Kaitlin, our 16 year old is carrying a 4.1 weighted and 4.0 unweighted gpa, while also working and taking college courses, plus church and social activites. Madison, our 9 year old is an A and B, mostly A, student, a cheerleader, a praise team member in children's church...both are social butterflies. Everyday when I look at them I visualize the many nights when they were babies, I would enter their rooms and pray over them, thank God for them, and ask Him to protect them, provide for them, and help them to love Him with their whole hearts...He has answered our prayers...I am thankful!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey & Fries
That's what we're having for Thanksgiving, turkey and french fries! I know it's quite different from the traditional Thanksgiving meal, most have mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing...but our little one decided mashed potatoes are yucky and requested french fries instead...they can be the frozen kind, just as long as they're fries and on the table at 2:00! Amazing how we create our own traditions, how we view things and do things differently, and that in our own uniqness we become who we are. I'm kind of looking forward to it...after all, I get to eat turkey and hang out with my girls, you can't ask for more than that can you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If Others See Jesus Through Our Eyes...What Do They See?
I've been reading some comments from people who have recently read the number one best seller "The Shack". It's a fictional story of a man whose daughter was abducted and killed, who would later be drawn to the cabin where her attacker had killed her, while there he encounters God in three dimensions, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a unique book, one that I would certainly recommend, but also remind the reader that it is fiction. Many of the comments I've read are negative or insinuate that this book has a subtle message, I'm Ok with people not liking the book, I've read things that I don't like that others rave over...but here's the thought that floods my mind. Where many people struggle is the image of God that is depicted in the book, that God may not look like we think He looks, that His persona is not what we imagine Him to be, the truth be told, we all have a perception of God that creates the way that we view Him. I wonder if how we depict God is how we respond to Him, then is it also true that as ambassadors and representatives of Jesus Christ we are to reflect His image so others can see Him through us. And if others are seeing Jesus through us, then what are they seeing when they look through our eyes? The Bible says we are His epistles known and read of all men, so if we are the only Bible some people ever read, what do they read when they read our lives? Do others see Jesus as a loving, forgiving, and accepting Savior, do they see Him as a healer and the Holy Spirit as the comforter? Do they see grace and mercy, do they hear the voice of a tender shepherd? Or do they see One who will kick them out the door and roll them under the bus if they displease Him? Does my life reflect who and what Jesus really is enough that others will want to follow Him? Will I be like those in the Book of John who came saying, "Sirs, we would see Jesus?" If others see Jesus through me...what will they see?
In Pursuit of Pizza
There is no spiritual side to my thought today, I am in a state of confusion! Julie and I have been out of town this weekend, came home last night and our girls were craving pizza...me too! Kaitlin takes a college class on Monday evening so she leaves with the promise that there will be pizza when she gets back...Julie, Madison and I pack into the car and head for Capri's...absolutely one of the best pizza places in town, actually, anywhere for that matter...pull up in front of the plaza and it's closed. So we head for Sergio's, fantastic pizza, my favorite in town...it's closed...what's up with that? Julie thinks Monday must be an Italian holiday or something...so after being sorely disappointed, we ended up ordering Dominoes...pizza, not the game...Sunday is the day of rest, Monday is the day feasting...we're in hot pursuit of pizza...open up the pizza place!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Squash the Dream...Squash the Dreamer
If I could do what I wanted and make a living I would be a writer and preach somewhere every weekend. I'm not saying I'm a good writer or that anyone would buy my books, I'm just saying that's what I would love to do. Perhaps when I'm old and retired that's how Julie and I will live:) This week our nine year informed us that she wants to be a writer, she's preparing to write a book, I was elated...her Mother, while supportive, is afraid that she'll starve to death, writer's she says don't make much money...I quickly related the names of some quite popular and wealthy writers and she relented...but there was a spiritual side to this for me...are you surprised? We have told our children that they can do and become anything they desire, that within them is potential, promise, and destiny. They are children of God, they have a destination inside of them, they simply have to dream, prepare themselves for the dream, and walk out what is in their hearts. The prophet Jeremiah said that the prophet who has a dream should tell it, He said to be boldly proclaim what is inside of their spirits...that's what I say about our children, let them dream, let them speak boldly what is in their hearts, and walk toward that thing that lies so deeply within them. Chances are our little may desire to become several things in her future before it really hits, but what if this is it? What if God has called her for this purpose? If you squash the dream you will also squash the dreamer! To tell them they can do and be anything and to not allow them to go for it will cause them to stop dreaming...Julie and I both want our girls to dream and to dream big, to go for it, to never fear failure...they are and they will be something...and it will be great! Keep dreaming...don't let anyone squash your dream!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soles for Souls
"Hey everyone! Today launched the 50k in 50 days campaign. A great charity in Nashville is trying to get money to buy 50,000 pairs of shoes raised in 50 days... The cool thing is only $5 buys 2 pairs of shoes!! It takes under 2 minutes to donate and only three clicks – super easy! So if you think this is something you can do...five bucks, three clicks, two minutes = two pairs of shoes to someone in need, just visit http://www.50000shoes.com. More importantly, this can only happen if we spread the word...so please forward this on to anyone you know...the people you work with, your mom, whoever!! Oh, and one person who donated will win a trip to Mexico to hand deliver the shoes they bought to someone who has never owned shoes before. Could you imagine giving someone their very first pair of shoes? All donations are tax deductible of course. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mentors and Mentoring
Recently I was honored to be asked to serve on the Personal Board of Directors of a pastor and friend, a young minister that I have known for several years who felt the need to involve other ministers in a mentoring process in his life. Throughout the years I have been blessed to have the advice, the input, and the mentoring of several awesome men and women in my life, some of them continue until this day to speak into my life, while others are not as dominate in my life as they once were. As I age I have come to realize two simple truths: 1) I will always need mentors, people who speak into my life, give advise and direction, that listen to me, and who regardless of the circumstances love me enough to tell me what I need to hear...even if it hurts! 2) I need to always be mentoring someone, the things God has deposited into my life, the things we have experienced and gone through are not just for me, they are to equip, instruct, provide, and protect a future generation. Years ago I heard the story of a man who was crossing through a grave yard late at night, in the midst of the darkness he heard a twig crack, slowly he turned only to see his young son following after him...The little boy looked and said, "Daddy, I'm following right in your twacks!" I think the truth is there is someone following us, the question is what are we giving them to follow?
Taking A Happy Day Off!
I've got a lot on my mind today, trying to figure somethings out, so I've decided not to be happy today. Nothing is wrong, I'm not really depressed, just contemplating and deep in thought...I'll be happy again tomorrow!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Call Me A Dreamer
I read the blogs, web sites, and writings of a wonderful friend named Bill Isaacs, he is the Administrative Bishop for the Church of God in Northern Ohio, an author, and has a phenomenal web site called Forward Leadership, (www.forwardleadership.org). Today I received a note from him that both spoke and challenged my spirit, he talked about being willing to dream bigger, and that doing so requires surrounding yourself with people who dream big, and allowing yourself to dream larger than you presently live...sometimes that's hard to do. Recently I was with a minister friend who appears to be intimidated by ministers or pastors of larger ministries, while I was speaking in a large conference last year, a conference that had the resources to stretch him, he chose to go minister to a small congregation and meet our team later. I'm not being critical, he had the opportunity to bless or be blessed, but I also think he missed a great moment to receive some powerful instruction and impartation, partly because he may have been intimidated! Great men and women dream, they see into the darkness and find light, they stare at the impossible and see the possible, they believe they can when everyone and everything around them says they can't...they run when all around them are walking, and they live when they should have died. Dreaming is the inner sanctim of the soul, that place that creates a reachable reality, the place where miracles and ministries are born...some dreams happen and some don't, but we must never stop dreaming and most assuredly can never stop telling our dream to others! The words of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech continue to shape American and World history, the words of prophets like Jeremiah who said, "Let the prophet that has a dream...tell it!", or Habakkuk, who wrote, "Write the vision and make it plain, that they who read it may run..." Our dream is that thing that happens when you close your natural eyes and allow your spiritual, inner eyes to glimpse beyond where you are presently. You see into the future, beyond the lines of humanity, of financial bondage, of traditions, and you see through God's eyes, hear His thoughts, and allow Him to transform your thinking...when you open your eyes you may be in the same place, facing the same things, but you see them differently because you yourself can no longer be the same...I have a dream...how about you?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ramblings
Today has been one of those busy doing nothing days. This morning was cold, and I had to get my wife's vehicle tagged, her sticker expired in August, we don't drive the van much, ride together most of the time...and I had misplaced the registration letter, it had fallen behind the drawer in my desk and was on the flood under the desk...55.00 later she's legal again! Then it was off to the airport to drop off our evangelist, which meant a stop at Leroy Selmon's for sweet heat chicken and then to Starbucks on the way home...it's an addiction and an anointing:) Our nine year old had to have a tooth pulled, her first time, thankfully it was a baby tooth, but she needed to come home afterward...so I got to bring her home and spend the afternoon watching the Suite Life of Zack and Cody...she's asleep and I'm still watching Disney....something wrong with this picture? I am a blessed man, God has given me a wonderful wife, wonderful children, and He has remained faithful, even when I was less to Him than He is to me. Faithful is what I want to be, to be consistent, to become more like Jesus, to allow less to disturb me, to respond as He would, to be light and salt, less reactive to the stuff that often pulls us down...to appreciate the process more...God is good and I'm trying to be :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book Review
I'm preparing to read a new Thomas Nelson book by Pastor David Jeremiah entitled "What In The World Is Going On?" 10 Prophetic clues you cannot afford to miss! Check out this link and see what you think! I'll be posting more about it in the very near future! http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=078522887X

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You Can't Stop A Season!
I am a Chicagoian transplanted to Florida, we don't have hurricanes in Chicago, so when we moved to Florida in 2004 and experienced our first hurricane season, I was flipped out to say the least. When the first one entered the Gulf of Mexico all the models suggested it was coming to Tampa Bay, we live about 30 minutes outside of Tampa so I was quite concerned, what do we do, how do we prepare, do we board up, should we be afraid, will it hit us? These are just a few of the milder concerns I had. It ended up missing us, we would also that same season endure a couple other misses, a the lower end of a category one and the tail end of a tropical storm. It's now been four years since we experienced our first hurricane season, June through November still concerns me, I particularly get nervous toward the end of August through the end of October...but I have learned some things! Hurricane season is much like the seasons of our lives, it's on God's calendar first, He controls the wind and the waves, He orders the events of our lives and either in control of all or not at all. There is nothing we can do to change the season we find ourselves in, much like the coming of the storm, we prepare for it, make sure we have made all the necessary arrangements, have all the equipment and supplies we need, and we ride out whatever comes our way. So often we want to control everything, to figure out what is taking place in our lives, Jesus told His disciples, "It is not for you to know the times and seasons that the Father has put in His own power!" Don't understand me here, I am fully aware that God expects and needs for us to discern the times, we are to have an awareness, but we are not supposed to allow the times and seasons to dictate our victory, our ability to remain focused when trouble comes our way. The storms of life are opportunities for God to reveal Himself in real and relevant manners, He speaks and the winds and waves obey Him. Whatever season you may be going through in your life, don't try to stop, learn to walk in it and see what lessons the Lord will teach you, what glory the Lord will reveal in you as you walk out the revelation of Jesus Christ!

Drew Barrymore
It's Saturday and I'm taking a lazy day. My wife and I have been preaching a revival this week, driving back and forth, so it's been late nights since Wednesday...So I'm watching the movie "Fever Pitch" a great movie with Drew Barrymore as one of the stars. I think she's a cute girl, but sometimes I think she has a big face...just thought the blog world needed to know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Just Stuff!
I need to make a confession, sometimes I let stuff get to me...even little stuff! You know, the car breaks down, bills are unpaid, kids are driving you crazy, God doesn't seem to be at home...ever been there? Isn't it amazing how easy it is for little things to get under your skin, on your nerves, in your head, and mess up your day, your week, your month...your life? It's not that you mean for it to be that way, you want to be adult enough to recognize that it's just life, spiritual enough to know the enemy is trying to distract you, and mature enough to walk through it, but the truth is that sometimes it just gets to us.
Peruse the scripture and you'll quickly find that our Bible hero's had their moments too, Paul got ticked off and sent Mark packing, Moses killed a guy, and Peter cut a guys ear off...talking about having a bad day! The thing that speaks to me in all of this is that having stuff is human, that's not an excuse it's an opportunity! Because we are human, live in this world, and endure suffering as a part of our walk with Christ, we have to learn how to recognize the difference between an attack or assualt and simply having stuff...Satan uses everything, but not everything that happens in life is demonic in nature, though we can cause it to become that way...I am convinced that I run out of gas today that it isn't the devil, that is, until I open the door for him to invade my humanity and create such conflict within me that it becomes a place of contention!
The Apostle Paul said that in tribulation, stress, and situations, that none of these things moved him. When Joseph was taken from his father, his coat covered in the blood of an animal and presented to his father as evidence of his demise, it was just a coat, Joseph was very much alive and being positioned to revive a nation. Even though Moses was cast to the back side of the desert and forced to feed his father in laws sheep, he was not hidden from God, he was being prepared for his ultimate purpose.
Often those things that appear to destroy us are actually sent to develop us and create in us the ability to minister to others because of the stuff we ourselves have been through...I'm not minimizing the things that come our way, nor I am suggesting that the devil doesn't have his hand in working against us...I'm just saying that the hand of the Lord is upon us, that He has taken great strides in investing His best in our lives and sometimes...It's Just Stuff!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Place
I find myself feeling quite contemplative today, sitting in a hotel room, watching television, waiting to meet a pastor for lunch, looking forward to ministering tonight in a revival service. My mind is moving a million miles per second, wondering what the Lord is really saying to me for the people tonight, preparing for a revival next week in Tampa, wanting desperately to hear God's voice for both of these places, and for myself. It's an amazing thing to me, the place we find ourselves, confused and content, concerned and convinced, desperate and determined, whimsical and wondering, looking and longing...maybe that's the place I find myself...looking and longing, looking at the world around me, looking into the lives and hearts of people around me, longing for God's touch upon their lives, longing for Him to touch and change their reality, this place called life...longing to be a part of something that will make a difference...longing to do more than just say words...hoping that the words I say are the right words, God's words, and good words...it's just a matter of being in the right place...isn't it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On My Way...Out The Door!
In less than five minutes I'm out the door, my good friend and neighbor Pete is taking me to the airport this morning, and I'm on my way to Toledo, OH...via Detroit! This week I'm ministering at Faith Tabernacle in Northwoods, a tremendous church in the Toledo area. I'm honored at the opportunity, excited at the prospects, and fully aware that unless the Lord build the house, we who labor, labor in vain...with that said...I know the Lord has wonderful things in store for us this week...He is good and He is faithful! Out the door to an open door to an open heaven...can't ask for much more than that!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sanya Bella
Well, I'm back! Last Saturday I arrived home safely from a truly incredible and remarkable journey to Kenya. This was my eighth trip, but my first alone, I have to admit I was a bit nervous, also this my first time to fly Kenya Airways, a very pleasant experience, other than the crying baby on my way from London to Nairobi, and the fact that my television went off after fifteen minutes, which is huge on a nine hour flight! I left home on Sunday September 21st, arrived in Nairobi at 6:00 AM on the 23rd and was on the next flight to Kisumu by 8:00 AM and in Kisumu by 9:00 AM. My day began on the run, Sammy Franz picked me up at the airport, took me immediately to Moi Stadium where we would have outdoor crusade in the evening and in a massive tent in the mornings. That same day I was honored to meet the mayor of Kisumu and the city clerk, we would later meet with the mayor again at a dinner for the local pastors. Nearly 40 pastors joined together to sponsor this crusade with Peter and Chris Franz of GFI-Ministries and Cita Ministries, these two brother are the sons of a German missionary who planted churches and ministries throughout Kenya, in fact, Peter was born in Kisumu! During the two week crusade over 1000 people made decisions for Christ, many were healed and delivered, it was absolutely phenomenal. The Lord honored me by allowing me to be invited to speak in the day services, I spoke on Leadership principles and Relational evangelism, also spoke in the Fire Conference along with my good friend and mentor, Bishop George Gichana of Praise Celebration Deliverance Church in Eldoret. From there I traveled with Peter and Becky Franz north to the Turkana District, where I saw poverty in a way I've never seen, this is desert area, there is no income, no businesses, no buses or taxis, the people live in huts and scrape by to the best of their ability...yet, in the midst of all of this, GFI has built a church and medical dispensary, they have establshed a long term relationship with these beautiful people...I was honored to eat in the home of Pastor Nachii Johonson, ate goat for the first time...at least for the first time I was aware of it...thankfully it was good and I didn't spew all over the place. This trip opened my eyes to many things, opened doors of opportunity for me to return to this third largest city in Kenya, to minister to the people of Turkana and the pastors of Kisumu, and to continue with my passion and heart for Kenya...The Lord is good and faithful!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Journey
One of the greatest lessons I've learned in life is that life is a journey not an event. An event only last a prescribed amount of time, whether it be a few hours, days, weeks or month, maybe even a year or more, it will end at a prescribed time, no event lasts forever. A journey is a totally different thing, it does have a beginning and an end, but it is what takes place in the middle that make life exciting, that is the journey! The journey takes us down many different avenues, it introduces to people, places, and things we never dreamed we'd meet, the journey enables us to connect with other, teaches us to communicate, and it teaches us to commit. The exciting thing to me about the journey is that we are able to invite others to join us and together we discover things that event people will never find. Will you join us as we boldly go where we've never gone before?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Dynamics of the Unknown
In a perfect world we would always know what is just around the corner, who was lurking in the dark, what they really meant when they said what they said, and most of all...how everything is going to turn out...In a perfect world! We would never question what the Apostle Paul was getting at when He said that all things work together for the good, to them who are the called according to His purpose(Romans 8:28), because we would know that He really does have the whole world in His hands...In a perfect world! But we don't live in a perfect world, don't understand why things are the way they are, how things work, or why certain things happen the way they do...we are called to simply place our lives in the care of God and trust Him for His desired results. There is the dynamic of not knowing, the task of walking with God in His word and believing that Job was right when He said that God knows the way we take, and of Solomon who said we are to trust Him with all of our hearts, not to lean to our own understanding, to acknowledge Him in all of our ways...and then and only then would God direct our paths...after all, aren't the steps of good men ordered by the Lord? The dynamic of the unknown is walking in darkness and allowing the light from within to guide us, it is living by faith when the human part of us cries out for knowledge. It is following the example of Abram who left the familiar and comfortable place of his father to go not knowing where he was going, but seeing in his spirit what God was preparing for him, embracing it by faith and moving toward it...one step at a time...Our times demand this type of faith...don't they?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Second Chances...Go Brittany?
Call me a crusader for lost causes, broken people, and those considered underdogs, I am all of those! These week I was scanning cnn.com and saw where Brittany Spears had been on the MTV Awards show and won several awards...I say go Brittany! Before the religious crowd comes out of the woodwork and crucifies me understand that I do not listen to her or watch her, do not agree with her lifestyle and readily admit that she is not my idea of a role model for my daughters...however, she is a person, who has a soul, and tremendous talent and ability, she is a human being, a daughter, sister, and mother, she is someone's friend and a member of someone's family...Brittany Spears is a person who has the attention of many people! She is also an individual who was given a second chance and took it! For months we watched headlines of her failed marriage, apparent breakdown, child custody battle, parents intervening in her finances...we listened as the world said she was done, down for the count, her best days behind her...but she's back, looking healthy and thankful for a second chance! I am thankful for second chances, for I too have failed, dropped the ball, stepped out of the picture, checked out of the box, and found myself in need of family and friends, in need of redemption and the opportunity to try again. How well I relate to the story of David who returned home with a group of battle weary, tattered warriors, who were so discouraged they too considered stoning David. The Bible says that David encouraged himself in the Lord and that God's response was to direct him to go to battle and that he would absolutely be victorious and recover all that had been lost! Isn't it wonderful that God can take our failures, our breakdowns, our inabilities and turn them into places of victory? Perhaps it is this principle that intrigues me, that if Brittany Spears can be redeemed and come back in the eyes of the world, what can God do with ordinary people like me and you? I say...Go God!

Monday, September 08, 2008

People in the Process
Years ago Bill Cosby did a record, not a cd, a real life actual album that talked about how wonderful it would be if Polaroid could create an easier way for childbirth, it would make the process quicker and less painful. I would suppose women across the world would rejoice and we men who want everything in life to be quick would be happy campers...but somethings need process! I don't mind eating microwaved food, at least when it comes to burrito's or corn dogs, warming up left overs is ok, but I want pot roast to simmer all day long, if not over night...there's something that happens in the process that makes it worth the wait! Process is an important aspect of our lives, in our emotion, physical, and spiritual development, somethings need to come suddenly and somethings need to be developed and waited upon. So often in our impatience we look for shortcuts, seeking to find an easier and quicker way, not recognizing that in bypassing the process we are depriving ourselves of much needed elements. The concept of waiting is frustrating to us, standing in line irritates us, going through the various levels of process annoys us...yet, if we are willing to submit to process we will posses and become exactly what God has desired for our lives. The Apostle John talks about this in John 1:12 when he states that as many as would receive Him(Christ) to them He gives the power to become the sons of God. At the moment of salvation all that He is is deposited into our lives, but it takes time and process for it to be developed...how we need to learn appreciate and enjoy process!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back In Illinois
This morning I left sunshine and warm weather to venture off in Springfield, IL. Tomorrow morning I begin revival at Heartland Worship Center, I'm really looking forward to this meeting, getting to know the pastors and seeing all that the Lord will do. I flew Ted airlines, felt like I was on the Hee Haw Plane, to board I had to go out the rear door of the gate area, down two flights of steps, up another flight to the rear of the plane...where I was seated next to a young family flying with their two year old, who is the next two and one half hours was not still nor quiet for more than a minute, the mother the entire time wanting to move so the baby will have more room, I'm on the aisle seat, she's in the middle...I kindly moved and enjoyed the remainder of the flight. In Chicago for a layover I enjoyed a nice Chicago Hot Dog...something about being in the City...It's Home! United Airlines and Ted are now my least favorite airline, cost me 15.00 for my one checked bag which my receipt calls "Excess Baggage", how can it be excess if it's my only bag? Here in Springfield I'm staying at a nice Ramada Inn with all sorts of places to eat within walking distance...it's going to be a great week...Even if it is only 73 for a daytime high! It smells like Fall and that is something I miss!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Getting Anxious
In 18 days I will board a plane and leave for what I believe to be the trip of a lifetime. In 2004 I went to Kenya for the first time fully expecting it to be my last, before we boarded to return home I knew deep within my spirit that I would return over and over again, and I have. This upcoming trip will be my eighth trip since March, 2004 and already I am looking forward to the next time! What makes this trip exciting is that I am going to Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, the home town of the new Prime Minister, Mr. Odinga, near Lake Victoria, and will be participating in a large outdoor crusade with my good friend Evangelist Peter Franz. We will teach leaders to lead, share the Gospel, and train pastors and laity alike to share the message of Christ in the streets. Already 80,000 posters have been prepared and will be distributed, I believe many people will come to know Christ! I am excited! We will travel also to Turkana, where the second oldest people group live, descendants of the Cushites, I absolutely cannot wait. When I return to Kenya I always feel like I'm returning home, as if this is the place that I belong, not one day goes by that I do not think of Africa, that I do not dream of being there, and wish that I could spend more time there. I'm not a full-time missionary, probably not even a part-time missionary, but I am Wambua, rain in the Kamba language, the brother of Titus Kiillu, the friend of Rapheal Mutinda and George and Daniel Gichana, Pastor Maurice and many others. God has emblazed a passion within my heart and spirit for these people and I will forever be thankful that God has allowed me to journey into this wonderful land. And so I travel, and I share, and I love, and I dream, and I live in the hope that I can somehow make a difference that will not just change the moment, but the future for the better for the glory of God!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Love The One You're With!
When our oldest daughter was born I could not imagine loving a child more than we loved Kaitlin. She was and is the apple of my eye, as a baby I was consumed by her, to the point that I honestly believed that she was the only child to ever have a cold, get the sniffles, fall down, or any of the other things that happen in the lives of our children. If she went to the doctor for a routine checkup I would beg God to let her be OK and not to die...I was fanatically consumed with this child...and still am to this day...often some of our most important decisions are based on how it would effect this child. When Kaitlin was three we moved from Kentucky to Illinois, my wife wanted to have another child, while she was consumed with having another, I was content and consumed with not having another, after all, how could I love another child as much or in the same way I loved Kaitlin, and I would never divide my love for my children...I love them both equally...they are the joy of my life! This morning we had a guest minister speak at our church, he spoke of God being our refuge, our resource, and our rest, he told us that God loves us not because we are valuable, but that because God loves us we are valuable. He made a statement that spoke volumes to me, he said there are times when we give more to one child than the other and that there are times when people ask the question, "How do you give more to one than the other?" The answer, "Who ever needs more at the moment!" What a powerful thought, God loves each of us the same, but there are times in our lives when more grace is required, when our needs are greater than another's, and God in His infinite love and wisdom releases into our lives exactly what we need! Do I love my girls equally, absolutely, are there times one gets something or more than the other, certainly, but not because I am unfair or because I feel differently towards one of them, but because at the moment the opportunity or need arises and we are blessed to bless them! I guess we simply need to love the one we're with!

Friday, August 29, 2008

What If It Is...What If It Isn't?
Recently I saw a flier for an upcoming youth rally called "The Final Push" it is intended for the "final generation". The lineup looks incredible and this will no doubt be a fantastic gathering! When I read the title though the thought immediately came to mind, what if this isn't the final generation? I admit I can be cynical, but in this instance it isn't my intention, I along with many believe that we are living in the end times, but I also believe that there have been several generations that have lived in the end times...so how do we know that this is the final generation? And if it is the final generation when will it end? And if it isn't the final generation what do we do? It seems to me that the teachings of scripture taught an imminent return of Christ to the earth, but it also emphasized readiness, a sense of urgency, but not fearfulness. The return of Christ is to be the blessed hope, the passion that propels evangelism, that creates a missional church that walks out and lives daily the teachings of Jesus...not just a theme that preaches well and causes hearts to be fearful. Ted Dekker, in his book, "The Slumber of Christianity", suggests it is the lack of looking for the return of Christ that has caused Christianity to be where it is today, that too many of us are more interested in obtaining earthly fulfillment that readying the hearts of those around for eternity...I must admit that I would like to see my daughters grown, have grandchildren, spend retirement with my wife and pay off some debt before the end comes...does that make me worldy minded? Is it possible that this could be the final push for the final generation and that what Christ has called us to do is disciple the nations in the message of Jesus Christ that when He does return we are not found idle, but as Jesus said, "occupying until He comes?" So if He comes in my lifetime I am blessed and ready, but if He doesn't...I'm still blessed, ready, and getting others ready with me...Sounds like we win one way or the other!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

All That Jazz
I took an important step today...can't tell you what it was, but it was important to me, an inner thing, something I needed to do. The powerful thing about it is that I am at peace, the acid test of any decision in life is when the dust is settled, the decision is made, and the commentators have dispensed...we know we've heard God and walked in the path He has prepared for us...I am at rest, and it is good!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just Want To Testify!
In April I returned from a revival in Ohio to go through an awful bout with gout, it was one of the most painful experiences that I've ever endured. During that two week period my feet were swollen to the point that I couldn't wear shoes or stand to have anything on my feet. After trying unsuccessfully to treat it naturally I ended up at a doctor's office, my blood pressure was 160/100 and my ankles were swollen, which I assumed was because of the gout. However, after clearing up the gout I continued to struggle with this swelling, better known as edema, which often is related to heart disease, kidney or liver issues...none of which I was wanting to deal with...so I prayed, I prophesied, I proclaimed the Word of God and I worried! I raised my hand when the pastor asked if anyone needed healing...I lost weight, walked 4 miles every morning before work and changed my diet....they would go down at night, but when I awakened in the morning I could feel them swelling when I got up. I took a prescribed diuretic that didn't seem to work. A couple weeks ago we flew to Texas, spent the weekend with my relatives, my aunt spoke into my spirit the Word of the Lord, that in the last days men's heart will fail them for fear of things to come...I have been fearful that something is wrong with my heart...so I began to rebuke that fear...my feet still swelled that weekend. We traveled on the Church of God General Assembly and they were fine all week, until the weekend as we began to travel home...Strange I thought, this nothing more than stress and God has not given me the spirit of fear. One week ago this past Saturday my feet returned to normal and they have been normal ever since. I am so thankful for the healing work of God in my life, it is an act of His grace on my behalf. Today the scripture in Revelation comes to mind, that the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy....it says to one who may read this blog today that if God will do this for me, He will also minister to you...I am blessed and so very thankful!

Friday, August 22, 2008

You Have To Turn To Turn Around
A couple weeks ago I was on my way to a preaching assignment early on a Sunday morning, my mind was on the service that morning, and I was trying to get that first cup of coffee down without spilling it on my clean shirt! The route I was taking was quite familiar, but I missed my turn, drove right past the road and was on my way down a road I had no idea where it would come out...I had to turn around and go back...ever been there?
Life often takes us places we've never been, but it also takes down familiar paths, we just get lost along the way. The exciting thing about it is that we can get back where we're supposed to be, the painful thing is, we sometimes have to retrace our steps...we have to turnaround. For me turning around can be embarrassing, it means that I have to face my failure or mistake, I have to admit that I've missed it and doing something over again can be quite frustrating. Turning around also enables me to see things I didn't see the first time, taking note of things that have always been there, I just didn't notice them...I tell my wife often that there's a new house on my way to work, it's been there thirty years, but I just saw it...observant aren't I? It's easy to look over our shoulders and see where we've missed it, to observe where we need to be, to admit something needs to be done, but in order to get there, in order to turn around, you have to turn, to the left or to the right, you just have to take the time and make the effort to turn!
The prophet Isaiah said, "Then shall you hear a voice from behind saying, "This is the way of the Lord, walk in it!" God will give us direction, He will reveal His plan and the path we need to take to get where we need to go, it may require a turn around, it will require a turn...because you always have to turn if things are going to turn around...make sense?
Just Thinking Out Loud!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Life This Week
Julie and I have been in a tailspin this month, went to San Antonio the first week of August to attend the Church of God General Assembly, came home and teachers returned to school on Monday. Today was the first day of school and it was absolutely the best first day of school we've experienced since being a part of Heritage Academy! I had a tooth pulled this afternoon, one of my back teeth chipped several months ago, I let it go, but this week it went south...some of the most incredible pain I've ever experienced in my life...nothing touched the pain, ibuprofen, tylenol with codeine, oxycotin...nada. Thankfully my dentist had an opening and now I'm in good shape...one tooth less! Tropical Storm Fay is coming, we're believing it's going to miss Tampa...we'll see! Guess I've got a boring life...but the week is young, I'm certain it will spice up soon!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Saw A Statesmen
Last week my wife and I flew to San Antonio to attend the General Assembly of the Church of God, a biannual convention of the denomination that provides our covering. I have been raised in this denomination, am fourth generation and am raising the fifth generation at this present time. My great-grandmother became convinced of the reality of the present day movement of the Holy Spirit after a lady took hot coals out of a pot bellied stove, and the next day took her hands out of a sink full of soapy water to show unburned hands and a speck of soot under her finger nail. My grandmother pastored churches and preached the gospel for 48 years, my mother raised me in church, and I this year celebrated my 29th year of ministry and am raising my children to love and serve the Lord. Nearly 20,000 converged upon San Antonio to discuss the business of the church, to worship the Lord, and to plan for the future. I have to admit I went with a bit of a cynical attitude, desiring to see things change and wanting God to shake our reality. During one of the business sessions I was seated next to a friend and mentor, chatting back and forth I mentioned that I was concerned that there were no statesmen, those men and women who stand larger than life, who represent God in such a way that there is no question when they announce they have a word from the Lord. These are the people you can't wait to hear, would love to spend quality time with, if only for a moment, and when they speak...you listen...the truly have something to say! How I longed for men and women of God to stand up and prophetically declare a present truth and emerge into our generation like the prophets of old...and then I saw one! Tom Madden was elected to be the international director of youth and christian education, a young man, in his mid forties I would suppose...as he stood before the conference tears began to dwell in his eyes, his voice quivering, overwhelmed at the confidence his fellow ministers had placed upon him...he boldly announced that there is a generation rising that loves God, that has not and will not bow to the culture, a generation hungry for revival, that will be satisfied with nothing less that an absolute revolution of the kingdom...and the Holy Spirit said to me...There's your statesman! I am reminded of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, a mighty man of God who in a dark hour of time wondered if he was the only one left, the last prophet standing for what was right...in the quietness of a cave God spoke and reminded him that there were 7,000 in Israel that had not bowed down to the culture and were ready to die for the kingdom...I am convinced that there is a remnant of believers, young and old alike that love God, His house, His Word, that believe His promise will become a reality and will stand face to face with hell itself and declare the truth of God! There are unknown statesman, people whose names will never be spoken in the popular circles of christianity, who have heard from God and seek to fulfill His purpose in the earth. It's really not about the denomination or group we're associated with, it's about the relationship we have with Jesus Christ and our fellow believers...our best days are just before us...God is looking for some statesmen...could you be the one He finds?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Movings of God
This week I read the testimony of a pastor whose church experienced an incredible move of the Holy Spirit. During this move people accepted Christ into their hearts, children received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as outlined in the Bible, they danced before the Lord and worshipped with abandon. People of prominence were not only exposed to the refreshing presence of the Lord, but were embracing it and allowing God to demonstrate His power in the lives. As I read the words of the hungry pastor I rejoiced and was encouraged.
As I read the comments of ministers and pastors who were responding to this post I was discouraged, many of these men of God questioned the validity of the move, and more importantly, they questioned the necessity of a move of God in our time. I understand the feed me mentality of the American Church, that we in Pentecostal circles have experienced many moves of God and often label a good service, one that involves or includes emotional worship and experiences  as a move of God. I too tire of shouting and singing, dancing and declaring, only to return to the same path and pattern when the meeting is over...but we need a move of God!
Throughout human history and God's dealings with His very own creation there has always been a need for God to move in the lives of His people. We are frail and weak, we ascend and descend the ladders of life constantly, we are in today and out tomorrow, frustrated by life, concerned about the future, and unsure how to approach life's circumstances, unaware at times of God's presence...we need God! Political systems will not suffice, new presidents, lower gas prices and income taxes will not do. Rid our laws of those offensive policies and man will still need God. Build bigger churches, create better programs, feed the sick, minister to the poor, and satisfy the physical and psychological needs of mankind...we will still need a move of God!
Listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence-As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil-To make your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!" (Isaiah 64:1-2)
The cry of my heart is for an authentic move of God, one that doesn't just stir our emotions, but one that moves us into an authentic relationship with God. It isn't more preaching that we need, we've heard the Word, it isn't to fall down on the floor or to receive another prophetic word, we've done that...it is to realize that God is coming and we tremble at His presence and we move into greater dimensions of relationship and our hearts become ablaze with the love and passion of Jesus Christ, and from that heart flows ministry and the world around us is affected by the love of God that is constraining us!
I'm not sure about anyone else...but I need the move of God in my life!
 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It Is You...Don't Forget Who You Are!
His children captured by an evil man, angry, grown, and unable to remember who he is, Peter Banning is faced with a dilemma, everyone knows who he is...except him...He is Peter Pan! I'm watching my favorite spiritual movie...Hook! The greatest moment in the entire movie is when one of the lost boys grabs him by the face, looks deep into his eyes and says, "Oh, there you are Peter! It is you!" He then quickly begins to tell the other children that this indeed is Peter Pan, the greatest lost boy to ever live, the highest flyer, the most efficient swordsman in all of Neverland...He's simply forgotten who he is! Have you ever forgotten who you are? Have you ever felt insecure and inferior? Has there ever been a moment when the real you has been lost? Human nature and the enemy of our souls would love for us to forget who we are? The natural part of us is busy comparing itself with others, telling us that we aren't good enough, that we will never measure up. Satan, our ultimate enemy, the accuser of the brethren, also wants us to believe that regardless of how hard we try, we will never find acceptance with God or man. He tells us that we're not good enough, that our abilities and talents are insufficient, that God will never use us. He seeks to beat us down to the point that we fail to believe in God or ourselves, and if beaten down long enough we begin to hide and eventually forget who we are, whose we are, and what God says to us and about us! Who you are, what you are, where you're going, and who you belong to never changes, it's always within you...you just have to see it for yourself, to allow God to reveal Himself to you, and for the Word of God to mine the real you out of the mountains that hide the real you! The scripture says that you are bought with a price, that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit, that you, with all of your flaws and failures...that you, covered by pain and rejection...that you with all the stuff life can pile on you...are fearfully and wonderfully made, that you are the glorious work of God. It's kind of like the Intel commercial on television..."It's all inside!" Sometimes who we are is hidden from others because it's lost to us, God wants you to know that He created you who and what you are, that you are wonderful, that you have a destiny and a destination...He wants you to come out of hiding and be the person He has always desired for you to be! It Is You...Look Deep Inside!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finding Him
Words like journey and process have come to mean much more to me recently than at any other time in my life. As a recovering fast food junkie, one trying to recover my health and live to see my grandchildren, I am coming to learn that there is value to those things that take longer to cook, than someone shoving a bag out of the window and saying, "Here's your food!" I suppose that we all at some point have experience fast food Christianity, you know, living in God's 10 items or less line, walking through the prayer line hoping that at the laying on of someone's hand all of your problems will end, the devil will once and for all be defeated, Ed McMahon will show up at your door...life will finally be wonderful! The words of Job are hitting me square in the face, "Oh, that I might know where I might find Him...that I might sit where His feet are and inquire of Him!" Isn't that the crux of the matter? Isn't finding God in everyday life, and learning that in this journey we call life that God really isn't hiding from us, He really isn't all that mystical...He just wants us to follow Him? It's like putting a swing set together, having extra parts isn't a good thing, and reading the directions really is a good idea...and leaving your kid inside while you work will save years in your life...trust me on this one! Could it be that this thing of finding and following God is a matter of trust and will? That our will must become willing to trust, and that as we trust we will find ourselves in the middle of God's will and purpose for our lives? I've been reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, it's really an incredible book because he describes his search to really know God inspite of his own humanity...some days I hate being human. Donald Miller describes the emotions and confusions he has, the conflicts with friends and ideologies, his struggle to be a Human Christian and a Christian Human...not always easy I think we could all admit. I want to find Jesus, and to be found of Him, to be where He wants me, but also to be in a place where others can trace my steps and find Him as well. Perhaps amidst all the Christianese that we believers speak it would be best if our lives said that we are believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, people on a simple mission to find Him and pick some others along the way!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Presence of Perception
It has been said that how one perceives a thing determines how you respond to that thing. How we relate to our circumstances and situations, our environment, and the cards life deals us determines the outcome of whether or not we impact our generation in a positive or negative manner. This past week my family has been on vacation, while there I read a book that has challenged my spirit, forcing my to allow my perspective to be enlarged and my heart to reach beyond the borders of my comfort zone...I hunger for more, to make a difference in others, and to significantly impact my generation. The book I read is "Three Cups of Tea", the story of Greg Mortenson, the son of a Lutheran Missionary, raised in Tanzania, who went to Pakistan to climb K2, got lost and found himself in one of the most impoverished areas of the world, the area which would birth the Taliban. What he found was a need to build schools for children, especially girls, these children sat on the ground, in burned out buildings, or deserted tanks and trucks. He left to return to America with promise of returning to build one school at the cost of 12,000.00, not realizing that in the next ten years he would return time and time again building fifty-five schools and venturing into Afghanistan and continuing until this day to reach into the hearts and lives of these beautiful people. It wasn't always easy, he had to build relationships and trust, an American Christian in a Muslim country, seeking to touch their lives and meet a need, not to preach or try to convert them, he was even kidnapped at one point, yet he continued to give of himself to others. Tears filled my eyes as I devoured this book, searching my own soul, questioning the ministry God has given me, asking myself, am I doing enough and why do I do what I do, and how can I do more. There is a struggle within my spirit, a struggle for significance, not for recognition, but to make a difference in others. Is it possible that God is raising up a generation of ministers that have no names? Oh, they have names, they simply aren't known to the main stream, they minister in local churches, in the streets and in nursing homes. They stand before people and declare the unsearchable riches of God, declaring the Word of God, and modeling it with their lifestyles, not just their words or through sermons, they have become the call and the Word of God to others, painting houses, feeding adults and children, clothing the naked, and giving a drink of water to the thirsty. These people take seriously the words of Jesus who said, "If you give a drink of water to someone in My name, you have done it unto Me!" My name may never be found in a popular Christian magazine, it may never been known around the world, but it is my desire and my prayer that I will touch someone's life in a way that effects future generations! Read more about Greg Mortenson at www.gregmortenson.com or www.threecupsoftea.com, I would encourage you to buy the book, buy it from Amazon.com and 7% of your purchase will go to change the lives of children in Pakistan.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Connections
The internet, My Space, Email, Facebook, Twitter, Message Boards, all these things are absolutely essentials to my day...they create the ability to be connected, even to people I don't know. At my house no one gets the mail...that's my job, during my mother's recent visit she trying to be kind while we were at work went out to get the mail...she only did it once...that's my job! Each morning I go through a ritual of checking email addresses, My Space, and Facebook, I check in on Twitter and catch up on all the news in the message board world I'm involved in. Connection are important, they create environments for us to build and develop relationships, to expand our horizons and reach beyond our borders...they even cause us to stretch outside of imposed and self-imposed limits. I'm realizing my need to connect to people and things that don't necessarily fit my personal preferences or style, to listen to music that is different from my normal genra, to listen to ministers whose styles are not what I'm accustomed to, and to read things that don't just inspire me, but inform me and cause me to think! The scripture says that it isn't good for man to be alone, so God created an helpmeet...I think He's still doing that, creating places and people that enable us to grow and be productive, to expand our boundries and move into new dimensions and territories. I'm thankful for the people I know, the places I've been, but I don't want my past to define me completely, and I don't want to be stereotyped by myself or others, I want to be connected to life giving sources so that I myself can be a life giving source to others!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Luke 12
I'm teaching through the 12th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, I have to admit that I have been inspired by a book by Ted Haggard, "Letters From Dad"...we're only two weeks into the study, but I have to say, I've been deeply impacted by the Word of the Lord. In the first two verses Jesus warns His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and to be real, to live authentic lives, in the next two verses we are reminded to fear God, to be more aware of Him who is able to destroy both our natural and spiritual lives...Four simple verses suddenly put everything into perspective! Jesus is calling us to live the red words, not just read them and do whatever we want, He is calling us to be the church not just do church. Recently I heard of a book by Larry Stockstill called "The Remnant", in this book he states that American church has learned how to build crowds, churches are growing, in fact, there are over 300,000 churches in America, yet of that number of churches, 20% of the pastors are dealing with some secret sin, that around 75,000 men of God struggling in their walk with God, and if they're struggling, what are their members doing? And if the church is doing so wonderful, why is the world so dark? Don't misunderstand, I'm not a doomsday prophet, not a negative Neil that believes the sky is falling...great things are happening and the Lord is blessing, there's just much more to be done, and the church must rise to the occasion! The people just spoke to in Luke 12 would also be the same people Luke would record to have turned the world upside down! The church has the greatest opportunity it has ever had...will we step up, step out, and step over into the Promised Land?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Bride
In 1985 I met the most beautiful person in the world, Julie not only has outward beauty but inwardly is phenomenal. We met at a revival in Covington, KY, she came with a former member of her father's church, I gave her my card and encouraged her to get her Dad to have me for revival, I ended up marrying her before I ever got the revival. We met in October and started dating in January of 1986, I was conducting a revival in Hamilton, OH for Pastor Gary Stacy, (Phil Stacy of American Idols Dad), when I walked onto the platform on Monday evening and saw her sitting in the pew the Holy Spirit whispered into my spirit, "You've Just Seen Your Wife!" Of course I didn't tell her that that night, but 14 months later she became my bride and now 21 years later she is my wife, the mother of my two daughters, and my very best friend. Julie loves God, our children, and me, she is diligent in all that she does, a true worshipper, a hard worker, a fun person, a gorgeous girl. We talk about everything, never tire of one another's company, looking forward to seeing each other, call throughout the day, and continue to enjoy being a couple. I cannot imagine life without her and pray that we never have to face that moment...I know she's a godly woman because she endures me...and that is allot of work. I love her and simply wanted to share a glimpse of her with the blog world!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When You Step Out
Have you ever heard anyone say, "I just wish this or that would happen in my life?" or, "If the Lord would make this happen I would know this is where I'm supposed to be and I am doing what He wants me to do!" I have, in fact, I've said it many times and will probably say it again at some point, it's a human nature thing!
Don't you hate it when humanity gets in your way? :)
God often opens doors and creates opportunities that we never enter because we fail to understand a simple principal, while we are waiting for God, He is waiting for us! Everything is in life is supernatural, but most of the time it is cloaked in the natural, covered by simplicity and watered by a simple concept, to borrow a phrase from my friend Cedric, "if you walk it out, He will work it out!" Life is much like an automatic door, it only opens when you step up to it!
The Book of Joshua paints a perfect picture of what I'm talking about, Israel needs to possess the land that God has promised them, there are some enemies and some obstacles, enemies and obstacles are a natural part of life, they aren't there to destroy us, they are there to develop us. As they prepare to enter the Promised Land they come to the edge of the Jordan River, the opportunity to cross over is before them, and the promise of crossing over is given to them: "Set out from your place and go after it...You have not passed this way before...cross over before the people...When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan...And as the those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water...that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away...and the people crossed over. (Joshua 3)
It would be wonderful if everything always came easy, or at least came to us before we had to step out, after all, if it's already in our hand we don't need much faith! But God is calling for risk takers and bondage breakers, people who see it in their spirit, hear it deep inside their hearts, and start walking towards the promised land, even if they have no clue what lies before them. Much like the automatic door, if we do what God is calling us to do, if we walk in integrity of heart and obedience, the door will open at the right time and the blessings of the open door will be ours. Closed doors are not always distractions either, some times they are delays and detours that enable us to get to the right door at the right time, they help us avoid destruction, leading us to the place of blessing!
I love the words of Joshua 3:3: "Set out from your place and go after it!"
Allow me to challenge you today to set out from your place, and go after God's place of blessing and ministry for your life. God is all about the place, Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for you, there is a place of anointing, of blessing, of ministry, and of satisfaction for your life...Go After It!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

555-0123
Bruce Nolan, the frustrated news reporter is mad at God, life isn't going his way so he throws his prayer beads into the lake, challenges God, says that He doesn't listen or answer anymore...so he's done! The next day his beeper goes off multiple times, 555-0123, unaware of who it is, irritated by the constant intrusion, he throws the beeper out the window, it gets run over by a truck and still beeps...the number: 555-0123. Finally he calls the number, thinks it's a job, goes to the interview only to find that the person calling him was...God This is a brief scene from the movie "Bruce Almighty", I watched it last night and spiritualized most everything. Though I've seen this movie several times I never caught the number nor did I see the importance of this scene...I've been Bruce Nolan a few times in my life...I've been angry with God, felt like He wasn't listening or answering, and felt like throwing in the towel...or the prayer beads in this instance. What spoke to me in this scene was the thought that because things weren't going his way Bruce believed that God wasn't listening, and that when he gave up on God, God refused to give up on him, and rather than God just having Bruce's number, God gave Bruce His number...God refuses to give up on us, even when we give up on Him! I noticed a contrast between the beginning of the movie and the ending, in the beginning Bruce is frustrated, striving for preeminence, self serving, gives up on God and life...But at the end He humbles himself, surrenders, telling God...You Win, What Do You Want Me To Do? Isn't that the place we all must come to? A place of surrender and sacrifice?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Quicksand
In the movie "The Replacements" the coach asks his players what they fear the most, their response, "Spiders and Quicksand". It's a magical moment, most of the players have no clue what quicksand has to do with anything, but the definition is life changing, quicksand is the fear that one you mess up everything starts to sink and there's nothing you can do about it! I've been there, times in my life when I felt as if nothing worked right for me, that everything I tried failed or was going to fail, that the relationships I was in were destined for destruction, just because of a bump in the road. When you step into a quicksand mode your entire identity begins to change, your thoughts become consumed with what you think is happening rather than what actually is happening...you begin to sink and the only thing that can stop the sinking is you! Jesus said we are to build our lives on a rock, upon a foundation of reality and truth. "These words that I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build your life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit---but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. (Matthew 7:24,25 The Message) If you look at our world it appears to be sinking, if we're not careful we started preparing for the worst, all the while God invites us to trust Him and to know in our hearts that nothing can move us if we're built upon Him!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Keeping It Simple
I consider myself a revivalist/evangelist, the calling on my life is proclaim and to convince, to share the love of God, to defend the Word of God, and to proclaim the revelation of God. It is my earnest desire to fulfill that call through preaching/teaching/ prophesying and walking it out in my daily life. One of the things that I see in the body of Christ is this deep compulsion for something new and deep, this addiction to reaching beyond what we have and the acceptance what we don't, regardless of what it is and where it came from...we love to be confounded it seems! Yet, the scripture says that God has chosen the simple things to confound the wise. It's OK with me to not have it all figured out yet, there is much more to God than I have discovered and the journey is exciting, revelation is progressive, we see in part and we prophesy in part, I truly believe there is more to come...But I don't believe that it has to be so deep that I don't get it...am I wrong? Part of my responsibility is to meet and touch people where they are and lead them to where they're going. Notice the ministry of Jesus, He touched people where they were and told them where they should go, He always kept something in front of them, never asking them to return to their past! read the blog of a friend of mine this week, she shares her journey to a revival taking place in Florida, one her observations was that in all of it's glamor and glory, there was always a reference to experiencing what someone in the past experienced...Jesus called us to put our hand to the plow and not look back, He reminded us of Lot's wife who was turned into a pillar of salt...she looked back. In the simplicity of the gospel we find that God loves us, that He cares about us, that He invites us to more, He reminds us that there are deeper waters for us to swim in, but in all of that it is simple to be a part of...just ask, believe, and receive! Serving God ought to be simple, life is difficult enough without needing a college degree to serve God...Deep things are usually simple things, they're just deep because they call us out of our comfort zones and into places we have been afraid to go...I want to go there, it's really that simple!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Intense Hunger
Several years ago I fasted for a thirty day period, it was a directive from the Lord, I share this not to boast but to create a reference point for my thought. During the first week or so I was extremely hungry, I looked up recipes and made mental lists of places I would eat when my fast ended. After a week I was no longer hungry, my body no longer needed food, the next event was the battle of my mind, my body said it was satisfied, my mind went everywhere...and then it was over...I could sit with you while you were eating and not be bothered at all...I understand hunger and I also understand getting past hunger to the point of denying my need. Today I am hungry, I am hungry for the Lord, hungry to impact the lives of people, to make a difference in the lives of others. Our world is struggling, the earth is groaning, waiting for the sons of God to arise and to express the greatness of God. Gas prices, job insecurity, higher costs of living, and a myriad of things plague the minds of men and women, we're all wondering what comes next...And we, the followers of Jesus Christ have the answer! I find myself with a missional view of what the church ought to be, that our call is to make disciples, to create atmospheres of learning, not just to find people that make confessions, conversion must go beyond confession, our words must evolve into actions! I recognize that if I'm not careful I will become numb to my hunger, push past it, convince myself I'm doing enough, and hide in my comfort zone...The question, how can I make a difference...today?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Spiders On The Field
Most preachers I know get their sermon material from the Bible, current events, sermons.com, some place spiritual...I get all worked up from spiritual movies...like Hook, or Remember The Titans, stuff that is filled with destiny, stories that remind us that we can overcome anything and that we really are on a journey, we're going somewhere! Saturday I was watching the movie "The Replacements", the story of a replacement team for the Washington Sentinels. There's a scene where the coach has gathered the team together in the locker room, telling them that in order to be leaders they must confront their greatest fears, he then asked them what they fear the most...the reply...Spiders! The coach says, "No, I mean on the field!" The players respond, "They're spiders on the field?" The players may have missed the point, but I didn't! Spiders are some of the most useless and irritating insects on the face of the earth. I haven't figured out what their purpose is, but what I do know is that intimidate, their eight eyes looking at you, their ugly bodies and those nasty webs they spin...and they crawl on you, if you step into a web you feel like you never get all of it off of you, and if you see a spider always feel like he's crawling on you...Nasty is what they are! Spiders build webs for the sole purpose of trapping their prey, laying wait for them to become ensnared so they can eat them. I think we all have spiders in our lives, things that seek to trap us, to deceive us, to intimidate us, and to eat us. The key is discerning them, knowing what our spiders are, avoiding their traps, and learning to confront and defeat them before they devour us. Recently a big spider was scurrying across our sidewalk, I saw him and without a second thought stepped on him, he was tough and crawled out from beneath my shoe, but I got him, and the second time there was no leaving...That's how we have to be with the spiders of our lives, leave no room for a return visit!

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Day Off Plan
When I was a kid there was a record of Cheech and Chong called "Sister Mary Elephant", a Catholic nun teaching school who asked a student to tell what he did over summer vacation, his summer routine was so boring that the nun screamed at the top of her lungs..."Shut Up!" My day off today may cause some to scream the same, but I'm loving it! Slept in till 8:10 this morning, checked emails and have been watching NCIS and Law & Order all morning. Haven't showered or gotten dressed yet, my intention is to eventually make it up and take the family to Lakeland, see Indiana Jones, eat at BD's Mongolian Grill and drink some Starbuck's! I am thankful for those who have served and are serving for our countries freedom, I value and appreciate their willingness to protect me with their lives!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our Attitude Toward The End
Take a look at any newspaper, listen to any radio or television station, check your email or just talk with your friends and you will quickly find that people truly believe that we are living in the End Times. Certain current events seem to line up with prophetic scriptures that indicate that we are experiencing the birth pains that will bring about the end of the end times and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Open your newspaper and you feel as if you are reading Matthew 24, earthquakes in strange places...Mt. Carmel, IL, who would have ever thought, cyclones in Myramar, drought and famine, wars and rumors of war...just this week one of the AM radio talk shows was predicting that our president will attack Iran before the end of his presidency, and the list goes on and on and on!
Believe me when I tell I'm not a doomsday prophet, I'm not about to scream "The Sky Is Falling!", I am telling you that the earth is waiting for the people of God to arise to the occasion and become the light and salt God has always intended for us to be! I submit that this is the time to define ourselves, to come out of our comfort zones, the safety of religion and to allow the life of God to manifest through us in the marketplace!
People in religious circles are consumed with the concept of a last day revival, waiting for spiritual explosion that will cover the earth with the glory of God... I believe that God is already here and that He is already moving, and that He is saving the best for last...but it won't be like we've experienced before and it won't be what we thought...it will be all God, and it will come through men and women who are willing witnesses of God's grace!
Think about this, God may have placed you in your job just to win one person, He may have created a table in a wilderness and is using you as the saltshaker that is going to effect an entire community of people. The last revival is not about the religious, it's about the lost, the broken, and the hurting...it's about being the church not just doing church...the more we pour out, the more He will pour in!
The Apostle Peter said that seeing that all these things must be dissolved what manner of persons we should be! Our attitude of these end times should be one of looking, listening, loving, and leaving: Looking for opportunities to minister while looking for the coming of Christ, listening to His instruction, loving God with everything that is within us and loving others as we love ourselves, and leaving our comfort zones and preparing to leave this world.
This is not a time for fear or panic, this is the perfect time for outpouring and the opportunity for ministry!
Just Thinking Out Loud!