Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crawdad Christianity
When I was a little boy my parents moved us from a suburb of Chicago to Golconda, IL, we lived outside of the small town in the middle of a several hundred acre farm. We only lived there a couple years and returned back to the Chicago area, but one of my memories is a trip to the Dixon Springs State Park, where we ran through the woods, waded in the creek and looked for crawdads. One of the interesting things about crawdads is that they back into their future, going backwards as they attempt to go forward, a strange concept if you ask me. It seems to me that this is what many Christians do as well. As progressive as we want to be, as aggressive as we attempt to become, there is something it seems within us that wants to go forward while holding on to where we've been. It reminds me of the story of the Transfiguration, Jesus meets the past in preparation for the future, His meeting with Elijah and Moses spur the sleepy disciples to build churches and to memorialize the setting rather than learning from the opportunity and stepping into the future. Yesterday was a great day, it provided a foundation and some incredible opportunities, today is a great day, we live in the present, serving a right now God and living a now faith is life. Tomorrow will become today, if we are willing to step into it! Stepping into the future means that we take what yesterday provided, learning from it and building on it, and then we press into the future, enjoying the journey, appreciating what today holds...refusing to back into tomorrow without seeing where we're going. The life of faith is not blindness, it's seeing into the invisible and believing for the impossible!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Need To Push When The Urge Is Missing
It's been awhile since I've blogged, for sometime now I haven't felt creative so I just stopped. Funny how the things we love to do fall by the wayside during times of transition, how we retreat and hide during times of struggle even though we know we need to push forward, we skip church during trials when we know that's the time we need to be there the most. I've often said that if I could do anything that I wanted I would preach and write, yet I find myself withdrawing, hiding, desiring to sleep rather than walk...tired! The incredible truth rising in my spirit as I write this simple thought is that there must be those who push until they give birth...even when the urge to push is missing, we must push when we don't feeling like pushing because nothing takes place unless we make the effort. This week I was reminded of a prophetic word spoken over my life several years ago, a minister from Rhode Island say that it was time for me to quit walking like a son and to begin walking like a father. I understood that word, within me I desire more than anything to impact this generation, to impart life and spiritual truth into others, to establish the Kingdom of God in this earth. It is my heart to build a church upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, to see a prophetic church arise that will speak life into dead places, yet in the midst of my desire I have also found myself frustrated, fearful...hiding...but it's time to push, the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Than A Feeling
Following Christ is more than feeling, more than an exciting time at church, more than feeling better when you say amen, more than having chills, thrills, and spiritual spills. Following Christ is more than having our names on a roll and even knowing that we're going to heaven, following Christ is more than doing spiritual things, it is more than what we say, it is more than what we do. Following Christ is not just an event, it is a journey, a relationship, it is a process, it is purposeful, productive, provocative, it is a life filled with problems, promises, people, and potential..but it's definitely more than a feeling! In the past few weeks I have been processing some things, walking in new places, developing new relationships and learning to leave where I've been so I can get where I'm going, I must admit it hasn't been the easiest process I've been through. This isn't the first time I've done this, but it has been the most difficult and I've learned some things about God and myself. There are gray days, mornings when the sun doesn't shine, the phone doesn't ring, and God is silent, moments when I am complacent without meaning to be, days when my feeler doesn't feel anything, but my knower knows that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, and that I will do exactly what God intends, it just takes time for me to get there. Perhaps it's an age thing with me, I consider myself a passionate, progressive, aggressive person, rock solid on my convictions, my dreams, only I will choose the hill I die on, and I will fight to the death or at least the disablement for those things I know are right...but as I age I'm not so interested in the 100 yard dash, I'm looking toward the 5K, hoping to create and develop things that last, something that will leave a legacy...so I'm learning to push past the pain, the lack of feeling at times, and move in faith toward the things and places I know we're supposed to go. Just thinking out loud!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Peek In...Push Out...Press Forward
Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyday and everything worked out just as you planned? Think about it, if every morning the sun was shining, the temperature was just right with a light breeze coming from the right direction. You made exactly the amount of money that you needed and had enough left over to do what you wanted, your kids never needed new shoes and your extended family never bothered you! And what if in your spiritual life you always understood the scripture, God always answered your prayers exactly like you thought He should, your body was always healed and no one ever got on your nerves? Wouldn't it be nice? But it usually isn't that way is it?
But what if you could do something about where you are? What if there were simple steps that would enable you to reach beyond where you are to where God wants you to be? Would you be willing to take those steps? After all, we can't expect God to do everything...can we?
Our walk with God is a journey and a covenant, there is nothing God cannot do, He is willing to do anything for His children, but there are somethings we have to do with Him to arrive at our destination:
1. Peek In-Perhaps our greatest need is to see what God is seeing, to have spiritual vision that enables us to see beyond the outward appearance and to see what is actually taking place around us. The amazing thing to me is that too often we believe that God doesn't really know what is actually taking place in our lives, we think He's surprised at the events of our lives and world, that unless we tell Him, He really doesn't have a clue...but He does. Just as Elisha had to remind his servant, God has to remind us, open your eyes and look, there are more for you than against you, surrounding you is an angelic host that is prepared to defend you and to deliver everything you have need of...just peek into the realm of heaven!
2. Push Out-Sometimes we have to push some stuff out of the way, to get rid of the things that prohibit and hinder our progression. The Apostle Paul said that we have to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us in order that we may run and obtain the prize. But not do we push out the stuff, we push ourselves out of the box, out of our comfort zones, out of the nest so that we may fly! I have to admit, sometimes it's easier to stay in the nest than it is to fly, to do something we've never done before, to go where we've never been...you have to push yourself knowing that in every step you take God is with you!
3. Press Forward-The Apostle Paul we haven't arrived or received everything Christ died for us to receive, so we press forward. Pressing is more than getting up in the morning and saying, "Well, I think I'll be victorious today!" In fact, we are victorious because we are in Christ and He is in us. Pressing forward is the determined walk that says regardless of what takes place in my life I will keep moving, I will go forward until I have crossed the finish line!
Today, take a moment to peek into what God is saying, push out the junk and push out from the safety zone and press forward into all that God has for you...It's going to be worth it!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Always A Son...End of Story
I got inspired this week, a spiritual television program spoke a deep truth into my spirit and I just cannot get away from it. While watching a rerun of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the story of a poor kid from the slums of Philly who goes to live with his rich Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air, I heard a word from the Lord...The family is all moving, going to new locations, college and no longer living under the same roof, Will, the nephew is concerned that because he is not a child of that house that he will be forgotten, reduced to a memory, yet he desires to remain a family member, to receive the weekly phone call from his uncle...and this is where it all gets spiritual...Uncle Phil looks him in the eye and says, "You are my son! You will always be my son...end of story!" Something inside of me stood up, there was a stirring within me that reminded me that this is exactly how God feels about us. Because we have entered a covenant with Him, He calls us His sons, His children, as sons and daughters we are give the keys to the Kingdom, an entrance into a covenant with Him. We are given responsibility, revelation, and relationship, our hearts are knit together with God...and that is the end of the story!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's The Deal?
Commercials for the Super Bowl are 100,000 per second, 3 million dollars for a 30-second commercial, yet this week a bill was introduced in the Senate to cap Wall Street salaries to the 400,000 the United States President makes. Former New York mayor Rudy Gulliani says that it's perfectly in order for CEO's to use bailout money for bonuses, while the Senate screamed bloody murder when the Automakers coming from the same city arrived in private planes. Is something wrong with this picture?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Blog Direction
It's Sunday morning and I'm sitting in my office getting ready for our morning service, classes are taking place, ministry is being done, and I am believing God for new things in our lives. I've also decided that I want to take my blog in a new direction, rather than just posting randomly, or just sharing some useless tidbit of stupid information, I want to discuss thoughts, leadership principles and spiritual concepts...ok, I'll still throw in a couple studpid thoughts here and there.
Perhaps it's the new journey I'm on and the new place I'm living, but I am convinced that if we will create the proper structure and environment that awesome things can take place in the Body of Christ. This is a different time in our world, people are struggling, unsure of their financial future, but we are a part of the Kingdom of God, a government whose increase will not fail, whose leader knows exactly where we're going and we will overcome!
God make us bold as lions, willing to roar in faith, make us compassionate, listening with our hearts and not our ears, harmless as doves, wise as serpents, and help us to lead others into the victorious Kingdom life!

Friday, January 09, 2009

In A Perfect World
In a perfect world the weather would always be 78 degrees with a slight breeze that never messes up your hair. In a perfect world you would always get a strike when bowling, especially when playing Wii. In a perfect world our children would never get sick, our families would never split, our finances would always be sufficient, and our prayers would always be answered exactly the way we prayed them...in a perfect world. In a perfect world political decisions would make everyone happy, the president would be everyone's choice, and Washington would be the answer to the world's issues...in a perfect world. In a perfect world churches would be full every time the doors are opened, the music would be just right, and every service all the sinners would be saved, every body would be healed, every need would be met, and things would be just right...in a perfect world!
But our world isn't perfect...is it? Our flesh fails, finances fall, bodies hurt, marriages struggle, our children get sick, and life is often difficult and unkind. There are moments when we struggle and wonder if God even knows where we live and if He listens and why He doesn't seem to be answering and beyond that, why does He answer the way that He does and why doesn't He answer sooner. In the Book of John there's a story of Lazarus who was sick, his sisters sent for Jesus, but Jesus delayed His arrival saying that this sickness was not unto death but for the glory of God. When He arrived Lazarus had died, his sisters were distrought, and their response was that if Jesus had been there earlier their brother would not have died...sound familiar?
The response of Jesus amazes me, He didn't argue with them, didn't go into some deep theological discourse with them, He simply walked to the front of the grave and called for Lazarus to come forth from the grave.
That's the power of the imperfect world with a perfect Christ, He doesn't get worked up, doesn't allow our failures or frailties to upset Him, He simply steps into the center of the situation and speaks what needs to be heard. He speaks to the situation, never allowing the situation to overwhelm Him, nor does He allow Satan to sidestep Him...he knows what is in the heart of men, is aware of the schemes of the evil one, and is able to discern what needs to be done and He does it!
So while our world isn't perfect, our Savior is and He is working on our behalf, perfecting us and our lives, bringing us into His perfect plan...pretty cool isn't it?
Just Thinking Out Loud!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This morning I was reading CNN.COM and took special notice of some pictures of President-Elect Obama's children preparing for their first day of school. In the first few pictures they appear to be an average, everyday family, backpacks and smiles, last minutes words of advice and hugs...then it all changes, you see the little one peering out the window of a limo as a motorcade takes her to school, her mother, the school principal, and the secret service detail surrounding her as they enter the building, and you think, life has certainly changed for this family. In our home we have been transitioning for several weeks, in the past week we have finally moved my wife and daughters from Florida to West Virginia, and now my children are awaiting their first day of school...transition is tough! I think that transition is useful and necessary, that it is the vehicle that moves us from what is and was into what can and will be, from the past into the present and into the future. Transition is hard, in a pregnancy it's the moment that decides if life will begin or end, will you deliver or will you die, there is pain in the choice to deliver and live, it's painful, but rewarding if you can endure the process! This week we begin a journey for the next 21 days into seeking the Lord for the new year, each day for 21 days we will read one chapter in the Gospel of John, I look forward to John 1:12 which says, "As many that received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God!" It's that process thing, transition, movement, and productivity. It's understanding that if we're going to go somewhere we've got to go somewhere! In His time...we'll get there!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Lord's Sense of Humor
I went to the post office today to pick up a package, an order I had place for our youngest daughter arrived while I was in Florida and there was some postage due so I had to go pick it up. This is my first trip to this Post Office so I arrive only to find a long line and what appears to be one window open...so far I'm not impressed. The line progresses on and I realize there are three windows open, it just seems like one it's moving so slow, one lady leaves and one seems unfriendly...guess who I get? Now, I only owe 2.58 and have the money in my hand, I sign the paper, she goes to get my stuff, hands me the package and says, "I'm not worried about that, don't worry about it!" I left saying to the Lord and myself, a small blessing and a huge lesson, sometimes in our patience and our ability to look beyond the exterior there are great blessings to be found!