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Friday, February 26, 2016

On Track or Sidetracked?

Today I was thinking about how many times in life our assumptions, traditions and even things we've grown up believing can sidetrack us from embracing the truths of why Jesus came to this earth.

 I know for me there have been times in my life where I said the right things, did the right actions, prayed the right prayers and went to the right church service but my heart was far from what my actions were conveying.

 One of the things that Jesus came to do was replace rules with relationship, and if I'm honest sometimes keeping the rules is much easier than being in relationship.

 With rules it's straightforward and cut & dry. With relationship though, true sacrifice and devotion for my Savior who is my number one priority is what I want to bring because of what He did for me. Not in a robotic "must repay to earn Savior's love" kind of way but in a "He did that for me? No Way! Wow! You gotta be kidding me! How could I not worship Him and live my life for Him?" Kind of way.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

True and Better

A hundred-twenty years the friend Of God! Heart flaming to the end. And in the crystal eyes a fire From what he'd seen of God's Desire. 

An unabated strength of soul Had kept his mind and body whole. O, how he longed to lift his rod Once more and watch the arm of God Slice Jordan like a liquid snake And make the serpent's tail a lake And lead the tribes dry through the slice Back to the promised paradise!

Could God appoint a man to guide His people while the warriors died, To stand and suffer their distrust, And when for golden calves they lust. To intercede with God and spare For them annihilation there?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Man Up...

I've been thinking a lot about persecution these days, especially persecution that comes from sharing the gospel with people. 

Well actually I've been thinking more about the lack of persecution that many people face because they just fly under the radar and keep the "mystery of the gospel" exactly that...a mystery.

The more I think about the gospel the more I realize that because of Christ the mystery has been revealed and as Paul put it, "Christ in us the hope of glory" is the mystery. Hmm, once a mystery is revealed it's no longer a mystery is it? 

So, with that in mind I'm just doing some prayerful reflection on the correlation between sharing the gospel and being persecuted for it and not sharing the gospel and missing out on my purpose at least and participating in some grand "keep it hidden and just fit in" scheme at most.

When I think about all that Jesus went through for me to be able to have a relationship restoration with God words like "Excruciating pain", and "Unbearable grief" come to mind and it's interesting that when Paul gives a little Recap of what he incurred for the gospel He uses the equivalent of our word "stresses" to describe them, not anywhere close to what Jesus's suffering involved. That really got my attention and made me think about my perspective on things especially when I realize what my Savior went through for me.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

unbelievably numb

A couple of years ago we did a four week series at my church on the book of Malachi, and to say the least it was an interesting series. 

Malachi means “my message” and as we worked through it we were realizing that the message that Malachi delivers is a blatantly harsh message to an unbelievably numb group of people who really should have known better.

God responds to their “garbage giving attitude” with a declaration that He wants their very best not left-overs and worse than second best that they’ve been bringing. Then, in Malachi 2, we were introduced to a group of leaders that definitely exhibited conduct unbecoming to their profession. 

And, they did it with an air of flippant invincibility. They exhibited some fatal flaws that lead to their spiritual decline and the one that starts off the whole slide is that fact that they dishonored God’s holiness. Malachi 2:2  says…



Amplify

It’s hard to believe but for over 25 years God has used me to have a part in helping students and adults decipher the confusing messages that they get pummeled with on a daily basis, and I can honestly say it’s been a blast.

I didn’t say it’s been easy, but it has been fulfilling, to see God use students and adults joining together to impact a generation for Him!

As I was thinking about some of the best moments in ministry, moments that are etched in my brain as the kinds of things that really made an impact on me and were used of God to change the lives of many people as well, my mind goes to a late night jam session on September 13th, 2001.

I’ve written an article called “Anything Broken?” about the events surrounding the fateful week, that we hosted a huge concert with Five Iron Frenzy and Relient K three days after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tweak the Talk


What happens when you’re the coach and the first half is over, you’re in the locker room and your team is not only losing, you’re getting destroyed?

What happens when you have to deliver the speech that will hopefully reset the course for the second half, but you know deep down in your gut that your team doesn’t have a chance, what do you do then? Have you ever been in a similar place?

Well, I know I have and I remember an illustration of what makes a good speech an effective one…Truthfulness!

We were playing a team that was ranked #3 in the country according to USA Today. All five of their starters had already committed to division one programs after graduation. Their center was 7 foot 3, their forwards were both 6 foot 8, their shooting guard was 6 foot 6 and their 6 foot 4 point guard was already one of the best in the country and was heading off to UCLA. 

These guys were good, they knew it, we knew it and so did everyone else.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No Excuse

One time when I was reading my Bible, I found myself in Exodus chapter 3 right as Moses was about to come face to face with a bush that was on fire, but was not being consumed.

He didn’t know what to do with that, he didn't have a context to put that one in, this was new territory for the original man “formerly known as Prince.” I’m sure he was over-whelmed with questions about what he was seeing, and what he was about to hear…from the bush!

Have you ever been in a situation that is new ground for you? I know I have, and many times when I face situations that are brand new, I tend to find myself doing exactly what Moses did when the bush spoke to him, and gave him his marching orders.

Now we know that it was the voice of God that spoke to him and not tree beard’s cousin in a lost Lord of the Rings episode or something. It was God’s presence visibly and audibly presenting himself to His servant, with specific orders in the next steps of His plan, and Moses replies with the “E” word, EXCUSES.