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

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 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

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 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 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

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Spiders On The Field
Most preachers I know get their sermon material from the Bible, current events,, some place spiritual...I get all worked up from spiritual 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!