Monday, December 31, 2007
1. We (pastors) found ourselves leading our church family through a very difficult time. It was exciting to be part of it and see what God did through this time.
2. This was the first year in a long time that I didn't go to Haiti. YEAH!
3. This is the first year in my adult life that I have taken 2 weeks off at the same time. It was amazingly refreshing. I think I will do it again.
4. I got the chance to ride my bike to Colorado and spend the week motorcycling in the mountains with my sweet wife and friends. I think I will do this every year.
5. On vacation this year I grew my first beard. I was surprised it was ALL gray. I think it looked pretty good.
6. I pastored at more funerals this year than I have in many years. Some of these dear ones were good friends. It's been hard in that respect.
7. I have been able to read some great books this year. I love books!
8. My dear wife has gotten very busy in the ministry, and I have been thrilled to see that.
9. We, as a church family, have seen the Lord work in amazing ways through this year. I know the kingdom of God would continue on just fine without our church, but it's been great to see God work in our little church family.
10. We found a new teaching pastor, Steve Hixon, this fall. He's a great guy, and I'm looking forward to working with him.
11. One of our pastors and a good friend is leaving us to work in missions. I'm sad that he's leaving, but excited to see what God will do in and through him.
12. I have been blessed to be able to spend some time in the word each day. I don't think I could spiritually survive the last year without that time with God each day.
13. I have been blessed to see God work in the lives of people in our church family. They have grown more than they know. Many left our church because of the problems we went through, but those that said, "this is my church" and stayed through this time have grown into an amazing church family. I wouldn't have missed it for the world or be willing to go through it again for anything!
I hope your year was one that brought you joy in your memories and growth in your faith.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The person of the year for 2007 is not one, but one represents them all. They are all the men and women who are risking their lives to protect our country and those in Iraq, Afganistan and other places around the globe. My nephew is one of them, and although war is never the best choice there are times in a fallen world when it is forced upon us. War is a horrible thing, and yet these men and women are risking everything to serve their country. For their sacrifice and service they are the person of the year 2007. Thank you all for your great sacrifice for us all.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
As we get older so does everyone around us including our parents. We are still blessed to have our parents with us, but that will not last for too many more years. Time passes, we all age and one generation departs with another to follow, but for now we will enjoy having Joye's mom with us.
I hope you all had a great Christmas with family. We still have Christmas ahead of us.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
We had a great time, rode out into the country and found some roads where we didn't see a car for miles. It was great. I got some time to "breathe" and pray. I really needed it.
I don't know if you can call this a hobby, but I will claim it as one. For me it's a great way to get away and refresh my mind and lose myself.
Christmas is a great time of year for most, but for some it's a very sad and lonely time. It may be the first year without someone they love. For others it's simply that they are alone, and this time of year is really difficult.
In this time of celebration of the love of God and his gift to man, look for those who are alone, discouraged, grieving and reach out to them. Invite them to join you for Christmas, give them a gift, call them....reach out.
Christ came to show us the love of God for us, let's do the same for those around us who simply need a warm smile, a hot meal, a friend. And if you know someone who has lost a loved one this year call them and encourage them. It's the perfect time to extend the love of God to those around us.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Christmas story is one that never gets old to me. It's the ultimate revelation of God's love for mankind that he, the one who made us would become one of us to save us.
"For unto you is born" is the language of the story. It was for us. Christmas is the revelation of God's great love for us and his willingness to humble himself by becoming a man, living here with us, dying for us and then rising again so we could have eternal life through faith in him. It's a wonderful story of God's great love. For all the social discord over Jesus and Christianity it's still the greatest story ever told...the story of God's love for us!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
updated 12:56 p.m. CT, Wed., Dec. 19, 2007-
LOS ANGELES - "Don't tase me, bro," a phrase that swept the nation after a U.S. college student used it seeking to stop campus police from throwing him out of a speech by Sen. John Kerry, was named Wednesday as the most memorable quote of 2007.
Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, said the plea made by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer on Sep. 17, accompanied by Meyer's screams as he was tased, beat out the racial slur that cost shock jock Don Imus his job and the Iranian president's declaration that his country does not have homosexuals.
Shapiro said Meyer's quote was a symbol of pop culture success. Within two days it was one of the most popular phrases on Google and one of the most viewed videos. It also showed up on ringtones and T-shirts.
I won't even list 2 through 4 on the list.....it's just too sad. If this is the best that the great minds of our country can come up with then we are in a sad place. Hopefully they chose the most notables, not the most intelligent....so at least that would give me some solace.
We got a call like that yesterday. My wife's mother is going into the hospital today. She has pneumonia. So we spend the evening discussing what we should do. Should my wife go there immediately? How to get there- drive or fly? Do we cancel Christmas and do it later? How do we fund the trip? Can I rearrange my schedule to go with her? A dozen questions that suddenly must be answered and dealt with. It's just life in a fallen world, and we all go through these things.
Once in a while though I get a glimpse behind the curtain and see what life could be without the ravages of sin on this planet, and wonder how many of the things we live with, endure and have to work through would not even exist in a sinless world. So, here's a short list of things that I think will change when this broken, fallen world is fixed and put right-
-We won't have to deal with funerals anymore...no more death...that will be nice.
-I won't have to have a Kleenex box on my desk for the spouse who is sitting in my office after finding out their mate is divorcing them. In fact the tissue companies will be out of business with the removal of tears....even that little thing is profound.
-Hospitals will be empty! No more sickness or death.
-No more glasses! I'll be able to see perfectly.
-The courts will be closed. Without sin to mess things up they won't be needed.
-Traffic lights will be turned off, you won't have to legislate "doing the right thing."
-No more politicians! How great will that be?!
-No more keys needed...without sin we won't need to secure against its temptations.
As my mind wanders I think of a dozen things (I'm sure there are hundreds) that would change when sin is dispatched. I can't wait for the day...the day when Christ returns, sets up his kingdom, and we see for the first time how life was meant to be without sin and it's impact on our lives. I think we will be amazed at how different it will be....how many things we think of as "normal" will be done away with....I can't wait.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"You don't have to be ok, you just have to be obedient." --Eric Allen
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I am a very blessed man. I have a wonderful wife, kids and grandkids. I just wanted to share a photo with you of our beautiful daughter, Lindsay, and her husband, Zach at his company party last night.
Lindsay is a wonderful blessing, and an amazing woman. I'm honored to be her dad.
Thanks, Linz, for being such an amazing godly woman.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
In my own life I see that I easily lose my focus on what's important if I don't keep my eyes on the goal. The dilemma for most of us is actually knowing where the goal is, so it's easy to get distracted. There are a lot of things that are part of this race-the world, work, family, etc. It's not simply a 100 yard sprint down a track to a finish line I can see. It doesn't take just 10 seconds and then I'm done. This race takes a lifetime...it's a marathon, not a sprint, and the finish line is not in sight for many years. When I first realized this, that it will take my whole life, it changed how I live.
So, I need your help....if you were to join me in this year of training for the race what would you want to study, what would you want to know? What do you need to help you grow in your life? What do you need to train for your race? Based on these scriptures would you give me your suggestions for what you would want to know to help you in YOUR race to the finish line?
1 Cor. 9:24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Here's another sign that piques my curiosity to know....where is this sign? It's a great sign, and as a pastor it has spiritual implications for me as I think about the tendencies of us "sheep." I have never thought of sheep "escaping into the jungle," it's quite a picture.....
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Rev 5:1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.
Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"
Rev 5:3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.
Rev 5:4 Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;
Rev 5:5 and one of the elders *said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."
Rev 5:6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
Rev 5:7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Rev 5:8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Rev 5:9 And they *sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Rev 5:10 "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
This passage thrills me. It takes me into God's very presence and introduces us to the ONLY worthy one.
There have been hundreds of religious leaders and founders of religions over the centuries, but as we come into the very presence of God we get a clear commentary on all of them when John writes, "Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy." It's clear that this is an intentional passage meant to focus the eyes of the human race on the only one worthy of our worship and praise, Jesus Christ. It's clear how God feels about all the other religious leaders of time and history.
But did you notice why he is worthy? It's because of his obedience to the father to do for us what no one else could do. No man can pay the price for his soul....it's too high, so here is what the worthy one did, "for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
Christmas is the grand introduction to the world of the only worthy one. Thank you, Lord, for sending the worthy one to provide salvation for the human race.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
And here's another one that amazed me-
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
.The Golden Compass starts today, and with all the discussion about it I think I need to see it myself, so this afternoon I'm going to see the movie. I'll give you a report when I return....
My wife and I saw the movie this afternoon. I have been trying to think of a way to describe it. It's dark, depressing, a little confusing....but the visuals effects were amazing. It was like many of the adventure fantasies being made now. The big difference was the message. There is a monolithic organization in the movie trying to control the human race. I can see how this could look like the catholic church.
There were many spiritual elements in the movie, but most people would miss them. Many of these are vague and hard to follow, and some were just upside down from our reality. It was entertaining, but the plot and story were slow. Frankly, it got a little boring at times. The movie finished with a setup for a sequel, and where that will lead would be the thing that would concern me.
After the movie we talked to two different teenagers in different settings and neither of them seemed very interested in the movie. I will be curious to see the impact of this movie. I will also be interested to get some definitions for all the spiritual elements in the movie because I still don't know where the author was going with some of them.
I rate this film a "yawn." I think it will be a non issue.
Act 27:23 "For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,"
1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
There's an amazing site in our community. In a field near our home a family has decorated a large, lone tree with Christmas lights. What's amazing about the display is that you can see it from quite a distance....the lights are a neon white, and it looks like they have put lights on nearly every branch on the tree.
What looks like a beautiful site at night is just an ugly tree by day. It's funny what a difference light makes.
I wonder if that's how we appear....without Christ just another ugly dead life, but when the light of God's presence enters our lives we light up those around us and draw a crowd.
I am noticing something in our culture that has caught my attention. I am watching to see where this all ends.
What I see is a battle between truth and passion. It appears to me that passion has gained an equal footing with truth. In other words if someone is passionate about what they believe then their view is accepted even if it's not true.
Truth as an absolute has lost its place in our culture. Now passion has replaced it.
So, I'm wondering....am I the only one who sees this or do you see it too?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
I just finished C.J.'s book on humility. In our culture of pride and self-focus a book like this is like a shoe that just doesn't fit. I really enjoyed the book. It challenged me to look at my heart. It's a painful examination.
This book is a must read for anyone in ministry or leadership.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Jesus said, "for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." Did you see that? It's not the size of your faith, it's the size of you God. It's not a focus on ME, it's a focus on God. It's not how much faith I have, it's God's wonderful will and plan for my life. It only takes small faith to do big things, but it takes a big God.
This whole perverted theology "if you only have enough faith..." makes faith into something it isn't. It's not something to accumulate for a blast at my problem, it's not measurable or powerful of itself. Faith can do nothing. Did you hear that? Faith can do nothing....it's the one you have faith in that performs the miracle. Faith has NEVER performed a miracle, and never will.....it's GOD who does the miracle.
A little faith in a big God can move mountains. I don't need more faith, I have all I need. What I need is to have faith in the right thing- in the BIG God who can answer my prayers. And, frankly I'm really tired of hearing people put the weight of a miracle on the backs of those who are least able to carry it. You will see far more miracles with a little faith and a big God. You will see far more miracles with a faith in God rather than a faith in faith.
Enough faith to move mountains? You don't need more than you have, all you need is a God big enough to move the mountain for you. It's much easier to let God be God. Take your little faith to the throne of a big God and watch those mountains move!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Jer 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
Rev 22:3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;
Rev 22:4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
Friday, November 30, 2007
1Co 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
1Co 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1Co 9:26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
1Co 9:27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Is there any way that we who are not Muslim do not offend Islam? I think in truth the answer is "no." The very fact that I am a Christian and do not believe that Allah is the true God is offensive to the Muslim who is honest.
We must be ready to deal with the fact that any faith other than Islam is offensive to the devout Muslim. So here I am, a Christian in love with the God of the Bible, worshipping Jesus, the God man who died for my sins on the cross, believing that he is the only way to salvation and that he will return to welcome me into his eternal kingdom.
To the Muslim I may be an infidel, but to the God who made me I am his blessed son.
Christians & Jewish martyrs say; "I will die for what I believe".
A Muslim martyr says; "you will die for what I believe".
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In part of my reading this morning I'm in Ezekiel. I came to chapter 20:7-8 and read these words, "I said to them, 'Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.' But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt."
It made me stop for a moment....I never read that in Exodus, but here in Ezekiel God is telling us they drug their idols through the desert for 40 years and would not let them go. After all they saw God do, how he provided for them, how he cared for them, they still drug along those worthless idols for 40 years.
I wondered....what idols am I dragging around? What am I holding onto after all I have seen God do? What "false gods" will I not let go of? Is there anything that I will not "cast away" because God thinks it's detestable? And, why don't I view it as detestable too? These are just some thoughts running through my mind. I know I do it....I know I'm "dragging idols." What are they? And am I willing to cast them away like worthless trash? How do I get God's view on all of this?
Lord, show me what idols I'm dragging around. Help me to see them as you do. Help me to cast them away...don't let me be a rebel too.......
Monday, November 26, 2007
But there is more, and here's where I think it gets hard...people don't just need time, they need someone who really cares about them, who will really listen, who will be interested in them. That's much harder because we find our lives so busy with "me" how do we dedicate the time to others that they need? It's one of the great deserts of our culture- people who will care for each other, and invest in one another's lives. For most of us, when we find it, it's like finding water in the desert, we just want to linger and drink in all we can...all the attention and love we can get because we are so needy, so thirsty....and that's where it gets hard. Like those babies who just needed some attention, we all look for someone to pay attention to us, and when we find them we hold on....not realizing that they need attention, time and care as well. Without realizing it we often run off the very people we most need.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I invited your thoughts and told you I would let you know what I told them. Here is what I said to them-