Monday, October 29, 2007
I believe this is what has happened to my and my love for ice cream. I love ice cream and I love it so much that if I don't have it every couple of days, well, you know what happens. I start thinking about it. Make excuses why I should have it. Don't care how much it costs. Will go out in rain, snow any kind of weather conditions to get some ice cream. Then when I do buy it, I eat a half a gallon at one sitting. Now that is OUT OF CONTROL.
It happened last night, again. Tin roof was the flavor. Excellent stuff made by Blue Bell Ice Cream. They make great ice cream. I tried the small potion but as always I ended up eating a little more than half of the half gallon. Then ALL NIGHT LONG I PAID FOR IT. Stomach turned over every 30 seconds for a couple of hours followed by the mad rush to the throne room to - well do I need to say more.
So today I am going cold turkey. No Ice cream. I say this now, the morning after - I sound like a alcoholic saying that was my last drink. Ask me by Friday. I need to learn control and balance. Neither is easy for me when it comes to ice cream. We all have an 'ice cream' in your life.
To some it is TV. To others it's chocolate or fast food or potato chips or M&M's or Coke or Pepsi or COFFEE (Here is a big one) or cars or motorcycles or work or Internet. These are the ones we joke about. How about drugs - prescription and over the counter - or alcohol or porn.
You know what yours is. You may not want to admit it but if you got honest with yourself you would know it. My ice cream one is no worse than some. But I still need to learn balance and control. Neither one is popular in our society. Hebrews 12:11 NASB All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Discipline never seems good at the time but it's reward come with time and patience and endurance. You got to see it through. The best way to see it through is to set a goal to reach that will come about by the discipline you are going through. 1 Timothy 4:7 NASB . . . On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;. Sometimes the only goal I have from the disciplines I set in my life is freedom from being held hostage by something.
This all sounds good on the morning after. Ask me Friday about ice cream and I may have a different answer for you. Proverbs 19:20 NASB Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Hebrews 9:27 GW People die once, and after that they are judged.
2. Life is a gift. It is a gift that is to be spent. John Ortberg writes in his book, "Everything goes back in the box." . . . life is a gift, every day is an unpurchased miracle, every second is overtime. . . . I know it (life) is not something we earn, create, control, or sustain. I know that one truth about us is that we forget we are going to die. The other truth is that we forget we are alive."
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.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tulsa is different. No one uses turn signals. On ramps are the worse. First of all they're like 20 feet long. Many are 'U' shaped coming right off the side streets so you have little to no time to see the traffic coming and get up to speed. The worse thing about them is the sign on the ramps which read 'YIELD.' Yield to the guys attempting to get up on the highway. Folks driving on the highway are not willing to let you in since you must 'YIELD' to them. So what you will see is people STOPPED on the on ramps waiting for an opportunity to enter traffic. Good thing we are praying people here in the bible belt. It is a experience every time you drive here in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Of course, my wife tells me that I drive pretty crazy. I threaten to put a blindfold on her. "Slow down" "You see that guy is stopping" "Use your turn signal." "If you get another ticket..." And of course there are the looks that she gives me - no words can explain those but every married guy knows what I mean.
Now I have had my share of tickets. I always felt that a $80 to $100 speeding ticket every couple of years was kind of a fee I paid for the right to speed. Say 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit.
Now the problem with driving is everyone is some persons annoyance. If you are bugging me because of the way you are driving then I must be bugging someone with the way that I am driving. When I am driving and my wife is with me I 'drive' her nuts. The reverse is true when she is driving. I'm thinking, "Go faster." "Get in the other lane." "Don't slow down speed up." "Turn here." And so on.
Matthew 7:3-4 NASB "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?
It is SO easy to see the wrong in others. Much easier than noticing the things that we do that need changed. It is human pride to think we are always right and the other guys is wrong. But we are all guilty of this. Honestly, it's hard not to. There is someone out there that see us as the bad driver on the road. I know there are some saying right now, "NOT ME." but it is true. That's why Jesus said what he said. Don't go looking for the wrong in others when you have enough of your own to think about. BIG JOB for most of us. Did I mention I have had my share of tickets - worse thing is my wife has never gotten a ticket. RATS - that's not fair.
So today as you drive around and get behind someone going slow or driving crazy. And as you start to yell about them, look around - I'll bet you will spot someone yelling about you.
Monday, October 22, 2007
And Mary rose from her bed
Was it a morning like this
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem
And two angels stood at the tomb
We seem to have forgotten that we are serving a risen Lord. NO other religion or belief can say that. NOT a God of the dead. A God of the living. A living God who is all about LIVING! Singing, dancing, laughing, playing, loving and yes, at times crying.
Was it a morning like this - When Peter and John ran from Jerusalem
And as they raced toward the tomb - Beneath their feet was there a tune
Did the grass sing - [I will not be out sung by grass]
Did the earth rejoice to feel You again - [I will not let dirt rejoice more than me at the feel of my Lord's presence. ]
Did the earth seem to pound he is risen [Is your heart pounding for God]
Over and over in a never ending round He is risen hallelujah hallelujah
When this verse came on I was smacked in the face with the feeling I haven't experienced in a while. The feeling I had when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. The feeling that only comes when you stand toe to toe with the living God - Face to Face with your Creator - so close, as one writer put it, that you could see into His eyes and feel the warmth of His face and the soft movement of his breath. Man that was good, no that was GREAT. I was no longer working out in the middle of a gym. I wasn't sitting on a machine waiting to do my next set. I was in the presence of God.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Psalms 90:10 ESV The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Psalms 90:12 MSG Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!
Friday, October 19, 2007
And then there are....................
. . . . . some mornings your wake up and it's a not so "GOOD to GO DAY." They feel like a dark, cold day. Sun may be up, grass might even be green and everything may look like a GOOD to GO great day but it feels to you cold, dark and wintry. Being human, how we feel or see things is based on more than just the environment around us but by our emotions and relationships and even the chemical balance that drives our bodies. So GOOD to GO days are based on more than just the weather. They truly are complex days based on many complex things.
Since God made us He knows what we are like. He knows that we will have GOOD to GO days and NOT SO GOOD to GO days. He is not angry or upset or even disappointed that we have these NOT so GOOD to GO days. That is why He has given us verses in the Bible like this one:
Psalms 69:2-3 NASB I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. 3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
Now isn't that a great verse? Ever feel like that? I think we all do at one time or another. What God does want from us is to chose not to stay there. To look to Him.
Psalms 3:3 GNB But you, O LORD, are always my shield from danger; you give me victory and restore my courage.
Psalms 3:3 MSG But you, GOD, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high;
Psalms 3:4 NASB I was crying to the LORD with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
Psalms 34:4 NASB I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.
Every winter has a spring, every valley has a mountain, every night is followed by a day.
Psalms 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.
SO don't feel bad about waking up in a NOT SO GOOD to GO day. JUST DON'T STAY THERE. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90 % how you react to what happens to you.
A few weeks ago I spoke on a Wednesday evening at our church. I taught on the spiritual lessons we learn for the movie "Rocky Balboa." Yes there are spiritual lessons in this movie. The one lesson that really applies here is this:
Life is not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit & keep moving forward.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 AMP 8 We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; 9 We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed;
Galatians 6:9 NASB Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary
SO shake off the winter time feeling and keep going. And oh by the way "Have a GOOD to GO Day!"
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Matthew 14:23 MSG With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
This morning like many mornings I sat in the dark and prayed. Quiet and alone I sat and enjoyed the moment. I really enjoyed the moment. I enjoyed it so much - feeling the closeness of the Lord - that I decided to forgo my workout at the gym and spend the time in the dark quiet of my office at home alone with God.
Most of us don't spend quiet time alone just talking to God. I think the reasons is that we are still afraid of the dark. The dark removes the distracts and being alone removes the interruptions. Just you and God, a scary place for some. Afraid that God will tell us to do something that we don't want to do. Afraid that God will expose an area in our life that He wants us to work on, Afraid God will say enough is enough I want you to stop smoking, gossiping, cursing, drinking, watching a TV show. Or maybe God will ask us to start doing something like go the church, visit the sick, give to the poor, pray for an enemy. You know, all those things that Christians are suppose to do but don't. We are afraid of the Dark - a quiet place of solitude where we we find ourselves alone with God. BOO!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Blu2 is an Afghan and Harley is a Newfoundland. Now Blu2 is always making sure that Harley is not getting something that he is not. This includes dog biscuits, water, attention of any kind or even the best sitting spot in the room. This continual competition or fighting, if you like, can and does get on our nerves.
James 4:1 MSG Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.
Wanting our own way. My way or the highway. I like the way it was put in a movie a few years ago. “My way, the highway is not an option.” That’s how most of the fighting starts. No discussion, mutual agreement or even listening. No, it’s my way, what I want and everything else is no good or even just stupid..
1 Peter 2:1 MSG So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.
This is were it eventually goes. Envy, hurtful talk, hurt feelings, frustration, disappointment, discouragement and even hatefulness. This verse says clean it up and sweep it all away. This is not an easy thing to do. I might be successful to do this myself. The problem arises when other folks don’t follow this verse. This is when you would like to put a blindfold on God and go for it. But you can’t blindfold God.
Here are a few things we can do in this kind of situation
1. Take the high road. Be the HERO and NOT a VILLIAN. Hero’s are those who have done the right thing when it wasn’t easy – villains are those who do the wrong things because it’s easy for them.
2. There is a reward in doing right – it’s know as a clear conscienceous.
Romans 12:21 MSG Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
3. You never overcome evil with evil. It just gets worse. Do good and you will collect back good. Sometimes it takes awhile but believe me you will.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Psalms 118:24 NASB This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
If this is Monday then it goes without saying that yesterday was Sunday. Sunday was good. I messed up a couple of times yesterday but other than that it went well. Since my duties put me in front of numbers of people messing up carries a little different weight. As I was thinking about my mistakes, I turned on TV to watch some football. I watched highlights of good plays and bad plays. They showed relays of one player who had the opportunity to intercept the ball five times in one game. That would have been a new NFL record. The problem was three times he had the ball in his hands and JUST DROPPED IT. Now they didn't show it just once but over and over again. Then they put all three dropped interceptions together and ran then over a couple of times so we could get the real sense of what it must have felt like to drop the ball three times like this poor guy did.
How would you like to be this football player. The announcer said, "He had the chance to set a new NFL record. No one has ever intercepted 5 passes in one game. A couple of players have intercepted four but never five. And this guy missed the chance." Now I started feeling pretty good about my mess ups since first of all we don't have instant reply of them. My mess ups didn't cause me to miss an opportunity to set a new record in anything. You won't see them on replayed on Monday or read about them in the paper or on the Internet. No, probably by today and I would think certainly by next Sunday most will not remember them. There will be a few but most won't. So what do I learn from this.
2. I learn that the only thing you really learn from some mistakes is how to handle failure. It is much more difficult to handle failure than success.
3. Most of the time my mess ups appear BIGGER in my mind than others.
4. Why do I feel the mess ups that I do in front of people are worst than the ones I do in private. The truth be told it's because other people see them and I get embarrassed - that boils own to pride.
5. I am glad I am not a NFL player. I don't have a camera that records my every mistake and plays it back for the world to watch.
1 John 1:9 GW God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we've done wrong.
We forget just how powerful this verses is. God forgives our mistakes, mess ups. He doesn't record them to play back later for us. In fact, when God forgives, He absolutely, totally, and completely forgets it. So if you confess your mistake [sin is what I am talking about] God forgives and forgets. So if you try to bring it up again, call for a replay, God doesn't even know what you are talking about. The tape has been erased. God has chosen to FORGET the mistake. In God's mind there are no instant replays after you ask for forgiveness.
Now then let me quote the first verse again. Psalms 118:24 NASB This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
OOH Yeah, end zone slam dunk time.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Proverbs 5:18-19 MSG . . . Enjoy the wife you married as a young man! 19 Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose-- don't ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Jesus said, in Matthew 10:39 GW The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it.
OK- motorcycle riding may not seem scriptural to some but it is living. I have experienced things that some will never experience on a bike. Early morning sunrise and evening sunsets that were incredible. Riding along you can smell life happening, fresh cut grass, someone BBQ'ing, cattle on a farm. I have even smelled meals being cooked, breakfast to dinner as I rode along. I felt the cold to a very hot wind on my face. You can not ride a motorcycle and not fall in love with life. Life that happens day by day, hour by hour.
Our church's motorcycle ministry is based on Daniel 7:9 NASB "I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire." Now this is the best description of a Harley Davidson cruising down the road that I have ever read. And YES, you guessed it - Jesus would ride a HARLEY.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB
v9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. v10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. v11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? v12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
Proverbs 18:24 MSG Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Today begins six days of vacation. This excludes Sunday (10/14) since I will work that day. I like Sunday's, being a minister that is mandatory but for me this is also very true. I really do like Sunday. Everyone must take a vacation. Definition of "Vacation" is a lengthy time away from work or school, a trip abroad, or simply a time away from home, such as a trip to the beach that lasts several days or longer. This vacation doesn't include a trip away from home physically but I will take a mental vacation away from my day to day routine. I will sleep when I want - take a few long rides on my Harley - maybe stay up late to watch TV (something I never do when I am working) and walk around my favorite places to shop. Route 66 Harley Davidson, Lowe's, Home Depot (although yesterday when I visited Home Depot they had their Christmas trees and decoration up - therefore I must avoid Home Depot now until at least December 1. Sorry Home Depot.) CompUsa, Ultimate Electronics, and New Apple Store in our local mall.
In today's world be are WAY to BUSY. We seem to be proud of how busy we have become. We compare our schedules and talk about how tired we are because we didn't take time to rest. We schedule 26 hours worth of stuff in a 24 hour day. Some think it is a sin to rest. From where I sit our business is the real sin. The devil can attack our families, health, finances, you name it and we will unite and stand against any attack we may be under. Yes, the devil found out that attacking us like this is foolish. But what he did find out was that if he can get us to get busy. Really busy. So busy we forget to pray, not just read the bible but spend time mediating on the Word, skip church because we are to busy running from one sports event to another. Well, he has found that through a busy schedule he can make most Christians totally ineffective to doing anything for the kingdom org God. Yes, the devil is pretty smart, he knows that our soft under belly is our schedules. Get us busy and he can stop us. DEAD IN OUR TRACKS.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NASB 1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-- 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.
OK, take time - put up your feet and rest. I know it will be difficult for some. Try it. Even God rested.
Genesis 2:2 MSG By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Church is about God. But it is also about people. All kinds of people. This Sunday was a particularly interesting Sunday. Many technical challenges. Worship service has become a complicated event of sight and sound. Media worship and High Tech praise is GREAT and exhausting. Fortunately, there are people who do a really good job of keeping these things going. Most people in church on Sunday will never know what goes into making Sunday morning a experience for them. One where they feel the presence of God and get renewed for the week.
Outside of the worship service exists an enormous amount of activities. Security, greeting at the doors, information areas, children's church, youth services, bookstores, coffee (yes, coffee seems to have become as important to some as the communion table.) handouts at the door and the list goes on. In our efforts to help people enjoy church we have created SO MUCH activity that at times it become the thing that stops us from enjoying church and worshipping. Here are just a few of the comments I heard this Sunday as I stood in the main entrance and attempted to be the hands and feet, legs and arms of Jesus. “Bill (names were changed to protect the innocent) don’t shake my hand. The usher didn’t smile. The children’s minister wasn’t as nice to my children as I think they could have been. I don’t like the bulletin. To many lights flashing, not enough lights flashing. Haze (some would call it smoke – that very cool theatrical look you have seem used on stage.) NOTE: People have left our church over having haze in the service. Funny, I remember people leaving church because we added a guitar. Church can’t be church; they said if we used a guitar. And then we added drums, OOHH the devils beat I heard some say. An organ or better yet the old pipe organ was the only thing that we could worship God with. You know what is even funnier than this, the same people who wanted to add the guitar and the drums are now the ones that are upset over adding the lights and the haze.
You see church is about God but it is also about people. Saved, redeemed, set apart by God, bride of Christ, Spirit filled believers. Now there are some of you who don’t understand what all this means. If your one of those email me and I will do my best to explain it. But my point to all this is church is about a God who loves people. Church is full of imperfect people trying to walk out life the best they can. And God loves them. They complain and God still loves them. They argue but God still loves them. They fight but God still loves them. They even curse, drink and smoke but God still loves them. They love guitars and hate haze but God still loves them. They wear suits, jeans, dresses, pants suits, spike their hair, get tattoos, pierce ears – eyes- nose- lips- and assorted other body parts but God still loves them. They get upset over the little things but God still loves them. They love coffee and God still loves them. They go to movies but God still loves them. You can’t stop God from loving you. I have tried and it didn’t work.
I thought as I stood in the main lobby of our church if Jesus heard people saying things very much like what I heard. I think He did. People haven’t changed much. But then again, Jesus hasn’t changed either. Hebrews 13:8 MSG For Jesus doesn't change--yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Hebrews 10:25 GNB Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more . . .