Thursday, December 27, 2007

NEVER FIND on my New Year's Resolution list

New Year's resolutions are something we think about this time of year. We all have our past lists. Here are a few items that YOU WILL NEVER FIND ON MY NEW YEAR RESOLUTION list.

1. Gain 10 pounds. (This one comes pretty natural.)

2. Shave my head. (This one is happening without my assistance or approval.)

3. Give up Ice Cream. (No way.)

4. Sell my Harley Davidson. (This one makes me cry.)

5. Become a Muslim. (Ok, this one is just plain stupid. When your on the right path, the only path, why would you ever want to change that. Matthew 7:12-14, John 14:6)

6. Move to Alaska. (If God asked me I would but then . . . He would also have to shift the earth so that Alaska would become the new tropics with an average yearly temperature of 80.)

7. Stop eating beef. (NO Way - What's for dinner tonight? Yeah, you got it - BEEF.)

8. Give up my remote control and all the devices that it has power over. (And every man gasped in horror.)

9. Sell my home computer, disconnect my DSL and go back to actually writing and mailing letters to everyone. (Like a . . WHY)

10. Vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

Now it is your turn. Send me your "NEVER FIND on my New Year's Resolution list" items.

Have a Great New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The more you have the more you want....

We had an interesting Sunday school class this week. Our lesson was about experiencing "God's deeper presence." Using lines from "Joy to the World" we began our discussion on three pre-conditions to having a deeper relationship with God.

The three pre-conditions to experiencing God's deeper presence are:

1. When WE HUNGER FOR GOD we experience God's deeper presence.

Matthew 5:6 MSG "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat."

Hunger is usually related to our desire to eat. It can be real or it can be nothing more than just a desire - a want to eat moment. Looking at all the food on a Christmas table can give you the desire to eat even if you don't really need to eat. The smell of food cooking will bring on the desire. However, hunger can also be for things like love or fellowship or warmer weather (sorry I don't like winter.). Hunger is a desire to fill a need. If you need God in you life you will go after Him, hunger for His presence. If you don't feel you have a need for God you won't. That is probably why we grow closer to God when we are facing a challenge. The good times seem to draw us away from God by removing our hunger for Him.

There is always an element of choice. They say that you always make time for the things that are important in your life. Matthew 6:33 NASB "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

We used Revelation 3:14-21 to make our next two points.

2. To experience God's deeper presence we must INVITE HIM to RESIDE in our Lives.

Reside means to be present or to dwell permanently. Does God dwell permanently in our life?

3. To experience God's deeper presence we must INVITE HIM to Preside in our Lives.

Preside means: to occupy a place of authority, guidence, direction or control. Is God in control of your life?
So the question that was raised was: Do you allow God into every room in your house? From the living room to your closets, does God have free access to come in, look around and see what is going on. For most of us we do not let Him in EVERY room. We say we do but with closer examination we find that we do not. It could be small closest in the back hallway to the family room to the bedroom.
The scripture in Revelations says the Jesus stands knocking at our door. The question is will we open it and allow Him in.

One final note. A lady in our class, Dianne, said that the more you have of God, the more you want. The less you have of God in your life the less you want of Him. GREAT POINT. My wife said it is a proven fact that the more water you drink the more water your body wants. Spiritual law brought to light in the natural.

Psalms 42:2 NASB My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Never give up , Never Surrender.

I know that many of us have been through a lot this year. We have endured things that we never thought would happen to us. Death, sickness, unemployment, ice storms come at us and seem at times to not stop.

I am, like many of you, a person of faith. Faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ as my saviour, faith in God's Word. So when I go to God's word I read verses that promise deliverance from life's challenges. Challenge: that's a Christian word for troubles, problems and the miserable things that happen in life. Somehow we think if we use a word that seems milder than the event that we are attempting to survive it will be less difficult. I don't know, maybe it does work like that. But I find that is not always the case.

Faith is how you get through the rough moments in life. Faith in God because it is this faith that is based on the unmovable, unchangeable, all powerful standard. Faith in man will fail, faith in money will fail, faith in the USA will fail. Only faith in God can bring victory in the face of defeat. The face of defeat looks different at times. Sometimes it looks like diseases or unemployment or a car wreak or even damage to your property or home from an ice storm. Yes, defeat can look very different but the face of victory is always the same: GOD, the Almighty. He never changes.

Heb 13:8 NASB Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Les Brown, motivational speaker, once said, "Within you lies the power to seize the hour and live your dreams. Faith is the oil that takes the friction out of living. Faith will enable you to turn liabilities into assets and stumbling blocks into stepping stones. When you begin to have faith, your load will get heavy but your knees won't buckle, you'll get knocked down but you won't get knocked out. You've got to have faith if you are going to make it in life. You must believe in yourself and in a power greater than yourself, and do your best and don't worry about the rest. You must maintain faith and work as if everything depended on you and pray as if everything depended on God."

Great advice. God says this. Jer 29:11 NKJV For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Isa 55:8-12 NKJV "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. (9) "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (10) "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, (11) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (12) "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

As the commander of the space ship in one of my favorite movies, Galaxy Quest, would always say, Never give up, Never Surrender.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Preeminence of Christ

A number of year ago I was studying The Book of Hebrews. During my studies I picked up John MacArthur's commentary on the Book of Hebrews. The actual name of the book is, "The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Hebrews." Excellent book. Now I don't agree with all of John MacArthur's theology. But I have to tell you I believe he was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote these words.

The Preeminence of Christ:
From “The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Hebrews By John MacArthur, page 9,10.

Someone once said the Jesus Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a women. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of man that we might become sons of God. He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which he was born - and that in His childhood. He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world’s schools. His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluential. In infancy He startled a king. In boyhood He puzzled the learned doctors. In manhood he ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as he has. He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies. This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords and the healer of all diseases. Throughout history great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him. Death could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him.

As we approach Christmas Day 2007, let us remember that no gift can ever be as great as what God the Father gave us nor can any item be better than having Jesus as your saviour.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

When Winter Arrives......

Today winter has arrived in Tulsa. In Tulsa we get ice before we get snow, the joy of living on the edge of the weather fronts that pass through the mid-west. So winter has arrived with cold, freezing rain and dark - no sun. I am a sun person so when we have too many days without sun I can get down, not depressed but down. You can call it the blues, I guess. I hate winter. Hate is maybe too strong a word. Let's just say that winter is my LEAST FAVORITE time of the year. However, there are things to learn during winter and only during winter that are worth talking about.

First of all there are all kinds of winters in life. The "winter" when you can't figure out what is going on. Nothing is moving and you're not sure why. Then there is the "winter" when everything seems to go haywire. There are also economic winters, social winters and even health winters. Winters can bring disappointment, and disappointment is common to all of us.

WINTER always follows HARVEST. Therefore, we must learn how to handle difficulties; they always comes after opportunity.

James 1:2-4
v2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. v3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. v4 So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

We must learn to handle recessions; they come right after expansions. That isn't going to change. The big question is what do you do during winters in your life? Here are three suggestions.

1. You can get stronger;
Galatians 6:9 LITV But we should not weaken in doing good, for in due time we shall reap, if we do not faint.

2. You can get wiser;
Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB v15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, v16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. v17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

3. You can get better.

Remember that trio of words: stronger, wiser, better. The winters won't change, but you can."Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom." By Mr. Shoaff

And by the way, put on a sweater, start a fire in the fireplace, bake some cookies and remember spring will come. No matter how hard it snows or how cold it gets, Spring will come.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A couple of weeks ago we discussed in Sunday school what the angel actually said when he greeted Mary and told her that she was to give birth to a child. And the child was to be the Christ the saviour of the world. Here is the rest of story.

Luke 1:28-30 Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!" Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. "Don't be afraid, Mary," the angel told her, "for you have found favor with God!

Up to this point the angel spoke to Mary in such a way to calm her. I have never seen an angel, although, I have been in hospital rooms where I have felt the presence of a being that I could not see. The person I was visiting told me that was his angel, sent by God, to watch over him. I had no reason to doubt the person since I could indeed feel the ange'ls presence.

Then the angel proclaimed the four gospels -Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to Mary. Let me explain.

Luke 1:31 You will conceive and give birth to a son [The Angel with this statement said BEHOLD THE MAN - the theme of the Gospel of Luke] , and you will name Him Jesus. [He said with this remark, "BEHOLD THE SERVANT - the theme of the Gospel of Mark . Jesus means Jehovah is salvation, Saviour of Mankind, servant to do God the Father's will.]

Luke 1:32, 33 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. [BEHOLD YOUR GOD - the theme of the Gospel of John] The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!" [Behold your King - the theme of the Gospel of Matthew.]

In a few sentences the angel spoke the four truths in the four gospels. Jesus came into this earth as a man to experience life as we do. Jesus came as a servant to God the Father to do the will of the Father, to restore mankind to God so that we can, if we choose, have salvation, eternal life, a relationship with God and experience the presence of God for eternity. Jesus came as God because He is the Son of God. We cannot truly understand the hypostatic union of Christ, 100 % man and 100% God no more than we can truly understand the sacrifice, the love that God has for us to send Jesus to die and pay the price for what we done. Jesus came as KING - and His kingdom is not of this earth. His kingdom is in heaven but one day Jesus will return. The bible says with a shout of the angel and the sound of the trumpet He will come again. Not hidden in a stable. But in power and might and beauty unlike anything we have ever seen. OH boy. Are you ready? Well, are you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Time is . . . .

On Monday I put up outside Christmas lights. Not my favaorite job but my wife, Connie loves them. When she arrived home from work that evening she was very happy. She expressed true joy ans a children like appreciation for the work that I had dsone that day. That is why I love doing things like this for her.

. . . and on earth peace, good will toward men..

While my wife, Connie, was out shopping yesterday she ended up on the receiving end of what we have come to call - Road Rage. Definition of road rage is - violent behavior by a driver of an automobile, which can cause accidents or incidents on roadways. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving. In my opinion road rage is a selfish,out of control act by an individual. Selfish because road rage is all about me. Out of control because shows that a person in unable to restrain their anger or emotions because of a situation they don't like. Road Rage is a sad commentary of what our society has become.

We far to often think everything around us is all about pleasing me. We make no place for others or pay no attention to others just tying to walk out their life. Have you ever stood next to a person in a store on a cell phone talking as if no one was around them - forced into listening to their conversation. How about the mother who will doing with the crying baby she is carting around the store or the someone who is has blocked all the traffic in the parking lot so they can get a close parking space. I find this one interesting because they usually go into the store and walk around for hours shopping but somehow feel they are unable to walk an additional 50 feet to get into the store from a parking space. And you know maybe even mentioning these things is just another display of "all about me."

Philippians 2:3 NASB "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;" This is a difficult verse to live out. Even at Christmas, which is suppose to be all about buying gifts for others, we go about it almost selfishly. Pushing and shoving people to get the one gift that we MUST have. In a country blessed with much we seem to work hard at getting more, even at the expense of others.

So try something different. Don't push and knock people around to get that prefect gift. Believe God to get you the best deals and the perfect gifts. Help others to find what they are looking for. I believe that if we do this, God will see to it that everything we want to buy for someone else will be found and at a great price. Remember Christmas is all about giving so GIVE some space to the hurried person - the angry person - the worn out looking mom or dad with a bunch of kids. Give time - express love in some acts of kindness - look the other way when someone does you wrong. Take the high road. Because it is on the high road that you will find everything you really need at Christmas. Let's see it goes -Luke 2:14 KJV Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Adventure Continues

We all laugh at video's like this. The young because it makes fun of the generation before us. As youth we see this older generation as odd, certainly not plugged into the now, the today, the fast pace and up coming world we live in. Maybe we youth even see them as useless and a group of people that just need to step aside.

As the generation a video like this speaks of, we laugh because we can relate. We see ourselves and after we stop laughing, we start remembering the songs we listened to, political stands we took, thoughts of changing the world, millions of dollars we were going to make and the things we were going to do. Yes, we thought the older generation was odd, certainly not plugged into the now, the today, the fast pace and up coming world we live in. Maybe we even saw them as useless and a group of people that just needed to step aside. Sound familiar. And then life happened. Marriage with it highs and lows. Maybe the right person never came along. Career busyness, with all it's successes and failures. Children - those beautiful babies that grow up. Many high moments and some low - and all along the way the challenges of being a parent. Yes, life happens. And then one day someone creates a video about your generation and the process starts all over.

In the movie 'Rocky Balboa' there is a lesson we learn about life. The old fighter is ready to take on the young champion. As he sits in his room the night before the big fight, a young lady whom he has helped comes to wish him well. This young lady is single mom who needed help in life. Rocky gives her a job and attempts to become the father figure in her son's life that this young man didn't have and certainly needed. Rocky is scared siting in his dark hotel room. The young lady wishes him well and then says, 'Tomorrow you will show everyone that the last thing to age on someone is their heart."

I have met some old young people and some young old people. It really is a issue of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 MSG Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. This verse tells us that life starts and therefore it must also end in the heart. You are never too old to have vision, goals and aspirations. It is when you allow your heart to age that you will age and life will stop. Someone this last week told me the way to pick the age that you will die is to just retire (from life) 5 to 10 years earlier.

So let me ask you a few questions.

  • What goals have you set for yourself in the upcoming year?

  • What new adventures have you listed on your 2008 To Do List?
  • Who is on your radar as someone you will help move along in life?

  • What new thing have you decided you want to learn?

  • What character trait have you chosen to work on and improve?

  • What project have you outlined to start and maybe even complete by year's end?

When you stop growing you stop living. Growth is a function of the attitude of the heart. Real growth in life has little to nothing to do with age but it has everything to do with the heart. So examine your heart and see what age you really are.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You know you . . .

My wife, Connie, and I went to Barnes & Noble after work Monday to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation. Ordering coffee used to mean asking for coffee, black or with sugar and cream. Not any more - thank you very much Starbucks. I always order a Latte, skim milk, extra hot - 180 degrees and most of the time a tall. Sometimes a grande. My wife usually gets some weird coffee, pumpkin pie spice with whipped cream on top or a peppermint latte or chai late without water. Since all coffee or tea is made mostly of water I haven't figured out this last one but the folks at Barnes know what she is talking about. I don't try to figure it out - I just pay for it.

Last night as we sat at our table I noticed a book - You Know You Reached Mid-Life When. It was a very funny book. "You know you have reached Mid-Life when all your baby pictures are in black and white." "You know you have reached mid life when you spend 6 months researching to spend $29.95 on the best coffee maker." The book actually said toaster but Connie and I have been researching the Internet for about 6 month to decide which coffee maker we should buy so I substituted coffee maker to make it more relevant to us.

I found the book hilarious but then again that's where I am in life. So on the way home I thought of a new book title. "You know it's the Christmas season when . . . " Here is your chance. Send me your comments.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


After Black Friday, the big shopping day immediately following Thanksgiving and facing Cyber Monday, ceremonial kick-off of internet online purchasing, maybe a word about contentment is in line. Here are few things for us to reflect on.

1. Contentment doesn’t come from what I have but WHO I HAVE IN MY HEART.

Matthew 6:33 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Hebrews 13:5 ESV Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

2. Contentment doesn’t come from what I have but it is the product of HOW I THINK.

People think if they have certain things they will be content. In reality that only leads to an ever lengthening list of things necessary to help me be content.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

3. Contentment doesn’t come from getting stuff it is something LEARNED.

Philippians 4:11 MSG Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.

Paul Yancy wrote in ‘Prayer; Does It Make Any Difference?’ about a person who was a spiritual seeker. This person stopped his busy ‘acquiring stuff’ life to spend a few days in a monastery. The monk that welcomed him said, “I hope your stay is a blessed one.” As the monk showed him to his cell, a very, very simple living quarters he said. “If you need anything let me know and I we’ll teach you how to live without it.”

4. Contentment does not come from physical comfort but from SPIRITUAL COMFORT know as PEACE.

Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

To be at peace is to not be afraid. Not to be afraid of what someone could do to me. Not to be afraid that someone will take what I have. Not to be afraid that someone has something I do not have. To be content is to be at peace with your surroundings. To be content is not, not working to improve but it is to not be at war with your surroundings.

I know a man who is not rich by most standards and actually is fighting a few physical aliments. He works hard to help improve on the life his family has, continues to believe God for healing as he does what he can to easy the aliment and speed his recovery and yet he is content – he is at peace. He is not at war, he is at peace. He is content.

At this holiday season with the message of peace on earth I pray that you find the gift of contentment. It is differently one that keeps on giving.

Luke 2:14 NLT "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Moments of Time

My wife, Connie, has numerous hobbies one of which is taking pictures. Whenever we travel someplace she always carries her camera and starts taking pictures. In fact she looks for places for us to go so she can take pictures. From dead leaves to hay bails, ducks to sunsets there she will be snapping away.

The digital camera is a wonderful thing and has made such a hobby for my wife possible. No developing charges. Funny thing, there are many young folks that never had to take a roll of film to be developed. Times change fast!

Connie has the ability to see a neat picture in some funny things. Some I see and think are very cool and some I don't. But you know the ability to see images and beauty in something is like the old saying goes "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." Marcel Proust, a french novelist, essayist and critic, once wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

I guess that is what makes it interesting for me to go around with my wife. I never know what she is going to view as something of value. From prints in sand to railings on a cabin porch, there she is adding pictures to her collection.

It is, however, great fun to look at them when we get home. It has turned every outing and every trip into a special moment in time for us. We look at the pictures and remember. I can feel the sun and the wind and the cold and the heat and the joy of just being there with her. Amazing things pictures are, instant fix of the past, lived moments pulled forward in time to the present to be visited again.

James 4:14 NASB Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Moments of time are spent. You can't save them. Time seems to drag on and it also seems to melt away faster than we would like. Yet it never truly goes any faster or slower than it has since God created time. Time is gift that some of us turn into a hardship. Time (your life time) should be lived not endured. Not all moments are great fun. Sickness, loneliness, unemployment, you can make a list. Time is what you make of it. The time it took to take one of the pictures that you see above was less than a second in a day of 86,400 seconds. Yet my wife with a camera has the ability to save that less than a second moment and record it so I can recall it later. I then choose to look at that moment and think, "WHAT A GREAT DAY WE HAD." Even though I know there a few difficult moments in that very same day. I must make a decision to remember the good. I can even train myself to find the good moments.

Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!

Today, enjoy the moments. Look for the joy contained in each day. The bad pictures my wife takes we choose to just delete. So delete the bad moments if nothing scriptural can be learned from them - file the best moments of the day away to be remembered later and look forward to tomorrow with anticipation for good things yet to come.

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Road TRIP!!!

Thursday my wife and I took a road trip to Siloam Springs, Arkansas. We love road trips. At $2.99 a gallon for gasoline we have taken fewer this year than we would like. With coffee in hand we took off. Along the way my wife took some pictures.

I like the the pictures with the big hay bales. There is an interesting story about our camera and camera batteries but I will just move on. Let it be said that we had to turn around and go back to get these pictures. Why is it that you always think that what you are looking for is just a mile down the road. Ten miles later you finally find it. So it goes with the story of these pictures.

I must say I did feel sorry for vacuum cleaners in Arkansas. They stick OLD and DEAD vacuums up on the fence for everyone to look at. It was like driving up on a mass killing of uprights. I was glad we had no children in the car.

We did run into a VERY colorful character. Colorful for a couple of reasons. One reason was that he was tattooed from the neck down. Not every spot was tattooed but he was definitely working on it. The other reason he was colorful was his language. He knew about Jesus but only from the standpoint that 'Jesus' was a word used when you were upset. He dropped the 'F' bomb like we use the word 'the' in our sentences. I could have gotten upset and OFFENDED. It was a little difficult being around a guy like this. Not because of his tattoos - they didn't bother me. In fact, some of them were a tremendous display of artistic talent. But the language and the things he and his buddy talked about and found funny was actually disgusting. But let me ask you this. WHO IS SUPPOSE TO AFFECT WHO? As followers of Jesus - Jesus is a word I know but as a name for my saviour - we are supposed to affect the world and not be affected by it. As all conversations go between two men he asked me my occupation. When I told him I was a minister on staff at a church his language changed. Not as foul but he dropped the 'D' and 'H' word once in awhile. He did clean up his talk. The other guy just disappeared.

As we talked I found out he loved his wife, his little girl, baseball and being an artist. I zeroed in on raising children and how we as fathers should help them to avoid the mistakes we have made. I didn't make much headway into telling him the gospel message but I did sow every seed I had an opportunity to sow. To me he was hard ground. At least to me he appeared to be.

Jesus said - Mat 5:13 - 14 "You are the salt of the earth; . . . v14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. " Matthew 5:16 NKJV Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Well I did my best. I let my light shine and attempted to be salt to season this guy. I must admit, it was not easy. I don't know if I made any impact on this guy or his buddy. The experience did remind me that the world is dark and full of disgusting things (sin)and dying. My job is to be light and salt and let the world hear the gospel message through me. My job is not to hide out in my home or church or Sunday school class where I feel comfortable. Jesus made the greatest impact on people when He was the most uncomfortable. Hanging on the cross is uncomfortable but I rejoice because He did and now I have eternal life.

John 3:16 MSG "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Corner Known as Very Busy

Ever feel like you have a few too many things on your to-do list? To most of us that is an everyday thing. Too much to do and too little time to do it in is called "STRESS." I had a boss one time that when you asked him "How is it going?" he would always say, "We don't have enough time to talk about everything." That is kind of where I am today, for sure. Too much to do and too little time to do it in. We just don't have enough time to talk about all of it. So when you get cornered in the corner known as very busy let me make a few suggestion on how to get out.

1. Re-Focus. Often we get consumed by things to do and the details we face and forget the main goal or vision that we are working towards. We add or we allow others to add unnecessary things to our to do list.

Luk 10:41-42 NASB v41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; v42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Martha got caught up in busyness and forgot the one thing that was important. Jesus had to reminder her of this. From the way I read this story I really don't think Martha got it. She probably spent the rest of her life consumed by things that took her time and kept her from the main goal or vision.

2. Re-check your Position. You may be in some place you should not be. We often allow ourselves to get into places that we have no business being. Being in a wrong position cause us to do the wrong things and waste our time. We never get what needs done, done.

3. Re-adjust your Direction. In my truck I have a wonderful device know as a digital compass. It tells me which direction I am going. If I am not sure where I am I must first know which direction I am heading because if I am not going in the correct direction every step takes me further and further from my goal.

4. Maybe, just maybe you need to find a rest stop. Get off the road for a minute or a day or a week and just rest. We call that a vacation. Some people have no idea what a real vacation is. A vacation is to get away from the day to day tasks leaving the cell phone, emails and schedules behind. This should help you re-focus - find your position - assist you in adjusting your direction so you can get back out on the highway of life.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Evan Almighty

Last night we watched 'Evan Almighty.' I never went to see it in the theaters when it came out. It didn't look that good to me PLUS I saw it as a 'Bruce Almighty' look alike. Which it was. I really liked 'Bruce Almighty' so I avoided 'Evan Almighty.' With a desire to watch a movie last night, we ran off to Blockbusters. At 6:30 pm on a Saturday evening there wasn't to much to pick. My wife chose 'Evan Almighty.' It was a pretty good movie. Lots of funny lines and in the end we did enjoy watching the movie. Definitely a good rental.
Which brings me to this. What lessons do we learn from Noah? Here are four that I learned.

1. Don't be afraid to do something God tells you to do for the first time, even when it had never been done before.

I can't imagine what Noah was thinking when God told him to build an ark. In Old Testament days it had never rained before -according to the bible. God gave this one man and his family a HUGE task. It took GREAT faith to build something that had never been built before because something no one had ever seen before was going to happen.

2. In troubled times God always provided an Ark for His righteous people.

In the movie God knew a dam was going to break. God knows what's going on in our lives better than we do. He is like the person in the stands watching the game. He can look down field & see the defense and the offense of the teams. He can better call the plays than we can. We just need to listen. There are a two general 'Arks' He has provided. The first one is The Bible, His Word will rescue you. The second one is a GOOD church, a group of people who can help you when you need it. Like the ark, if you don't get on board you can't get help. If you don't read the bible and use it or if you don't go to church and take advantage of the resources it provides you will not receive the help you need.

3. One person can make a difference.

... for your family - help your spouse to be all they can be. Spend time with your children and don't work all the time. Stay in touch with your family even when it is hard and busy.
...for God's creation - improve your corner of the world. This goes from keeping it clean to conserving energy to taking care of animals. God told us to guard it and keep it and He never took back this responsibility.
... for future generations - mentor the guy or gal coming behind you in this world, taking you place.

4. Don't be afraid to stand out or stand up in a crowd and do the right thing.

Here is something someone sent me in an email a long time ago. It still has power.

  • People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

  • If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

  • The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

  • Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

  • The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.

  • People favor underdogs but follow top dogs. Fight for one underdogs anyway.

  • What you spend building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

  • People really need help but may attack if you help them. Help people anyway.

  • Give the world the best you have got, and you will get kicked in the teeth, Give the world the best you have anyway.

  • When no one will stand with you for what you believe is right, Stand anyway.

Friday, November 9, 2007

End of Day

It is the end of the day...well as far as I am concerned it is. I am sitting in my office under reduced lights (turned off the fluorescence overhead ones) and I am consuming M&M's. My third handful! They taste mighty good. It has been a week of meetings and situations. We all have had them. In fact I do believe my eyeballs hurt. I know I have lost some can't afford to lose hair. Life happens. Things are not stagnate but always flowing in my world. This is the type of day when you want to just go home and stare at your feet. (I think I'm going to get another handful of M&M's. I'll be back in a moment. ------ Hello again I am back.) You know I hate the blue M&M's. They look wrong. Anyway, I am rambling. Forgive me.
The weekend looks good - weather is going to be very nice. I think I will get some motorcycle riding time in. That's pretty incredible considering it is November and Thanksgiving is 10 days away.
So since it was a WEEK! what have I learned. Well after much thought here is the best I can do with a headache, eyeballs hurting, feet freezing (my office is like an icebox) and now I'm on a M&M induced high.

1. God never promised life would be easy. Boo Hiss. This is one of those promises we don't like. Gen 3:17 NLT "And to the man He said, . . . All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it (the earth). " Thank you very much ADAM.

2. We really can't make it on our own. We can put up a good front and struggle well for a while but in the end we will get counted out. Zec 4:6 NASB . . . 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.

3. Suffering is momentary. Bad moments will be replaced with GREAT moments. We must remind ourselves of this continually. Psa 30:5 NASB For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

4. We always think my stuff is worse than your stuff. No matter how bad it was it could be worse - look in your rear view mirror of life and you will see there were times when things were worse. Maybe look at people around you and you will see someone who is struggling through something much worse than you.

5. TGIF - OOHH Yeah Praise the Lord it is FRIDAY! I know that's not scriptural but . . . can I get an AMEN!! Preach it brother.

Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Here we are, Friday and ready to head into the weekend. For most men we look forward to participating in our favorite sport or at least watching it on TV or from the stands. Many of us will go watch our children play some kind of sport. We Americans love competition. General Patton once said, "American love the sting of battle. We love to win and hate to loose." I think that is true. So before you head off to that encounter with competition, let me give you some things to reflect on.

As I see it there are two goals in competing.

First Goal of COMPETITION is to WIN.
1 Corinthians 9:24 GNB
24 Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize.
I never enter any competition with the though of loosing. My chances of winning may have been slim but I fought like crazy to win anyway

PROBLEM: Win ONLY attitude leads to envy and jealousy and bitterness and hatred and PRIDE and ARROGANCE.

Jam 3:16 NLT For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. [MSG things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats.]
Pro 16:18 GNB Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall.
Pro 29:23 NLT Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Remember just winning doesn’t not mean you are a success in life. Remember also that not winning does not make you a looser. John Ortberg in his book Everything Goes Back in the Box, writes “Merely winning doesn’t mean we have always achieved our inner excellence, and losing doesn’t mean we have neglected it." Most of my WINS in life were built on lessons I learned from a number of my loses.

Philippians 3:13 NASB Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

COMPETITION involves more than just challenging others. It involves challenging ourselves.

Second Goal [the more important Goal] of COMPETITION is Self -IMPROVEMENT

COMPETITION is not just the opportunity to win but it is also the opportunity to achieve, to improve, to push ourselves to new levels. COMPETITION – good healthy competition should:

  • Cause you to move when you only want to stop.

  • Push pass old limits.

  • Study when you think your mind is unable to take in one more piece of information

  • Push when you feel you can’t push anymore.

If you didn’t push yourself, if you don’t even try then you will never become strong, better, more disciplined for the next battle. If you never push the envelope of your present day limits you will never reach into the realm of victory although you may experience some success

Hebrews 12:1 GW Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything [Weight] that slows us down [Encumbrance], especially Sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up [Endurance].

So what are some of the things that good competition should develop in is. I wrote an acronym from the the words FAST TRACK to help you remember my suggestions.

F aithful - Commitment, Diligence, Trustworthy
A ttitude - Positive, Contentment, Not Greed or Envious
S ubmissive - Humble, Peaceful
T eachable - Willing to Listen, Obey, Change

T ruthful - Honesty, Transparent
R epentative - Forgiving, Willing to Change
A vailable - Servant’s heart, Giving
C ompassion - Mercy, Grace Oriented
K nowledgeable - Wisdom, Understanding

Competition can be as healthy as clean fresh air or a toxic as poisonous gas. Competition can build us build or tear us down. Competition can launch us to new levels of hope or sink us down into a deep pit of despair

Colossians 3:12-17 NLT
v12 Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
v13 Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
v14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
v15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
v16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. . . ..
v17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

So go out this weekend and hit the playing fields. But come Monday have you improved as a person from your experience (experienced some type of character development) or do you just have another mark in your win or lost columns.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I LOVE Summer. Hot is wonderful for me. So it goes without saying that we are leaving my favorite time of year and entering into my lest favorite time of year. WINTER. However, we know the seasons will come and go as long as the earth exists. [Genesis 8:22.] There are many kinds of seasons in life. Life is about constant, predictable patterns of change.

· Baby - Toddler - Adolescent -Teenager - Young Man, etc.
· Single - Married - Family - Empty Nest - Single
· Elementary – High School – College – Career
· Career changes · Spiritual Life is a Cycle of Growth (Colossians 1:9-10)

So what are some things to remember when we face the Seasons of life:
1. We must learn to experience the changing of life's cycles.
2. We must make a constant and conscious effort to improve ourselves in the face of changing Seasons.
3. We need to maintain the correct attitude in the face of the seasons.
4. We basically choose the outcome of US in any kind of season. (Notice I didn’t say the outcome of the situation – although we do, )

There are lessons to learn during each seasons. Since we are in fall let, me give you a couple of things to think about.

FALL Lessons to Remember

  • Learn how to reap without apology or excuse if you have done well and without complaint if you have not. Galatians 6:7 NASB Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

  • We must remember that in all areas of the human existence, what we put into this world, we get back from it. It is nature's way of evening the score.
  • So regardless of the results, take full responsibility for your crop. One of the highest forms of human maturity is accepting full responsibility for our lives.

  • Which brings me back to the beginning of our discussion. We must remember that life is constantly recycling itself
Galatians 6:7-9 MSG Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others--ignoring God!-- v8 harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. v9 So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit.