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 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 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 I began to rebuke that 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 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 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 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 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 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?