Saturday, December 31, 2011

Love Is the Greatest

It's hard to believe that 2011 has come to an end and 2012 is about to begin. What an amazing year it has been with so many wonderful memories being made. For my last post of 2011 I'm talking about love. According to 1 John 4:8 God Himself is love. Love is not only powerful, but is an essential part of life. It's not an emotion or a feeling, but is the essence of who we are, because it's also who God is. Love is something that's often shown or talked about, but how do you know if it's really love? To know the answer I go to 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. It's one of the most powerful, impacting and yet challenging passages of Scripture I know. It says in verses 4-7, "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." This is the kind of love I'm to have personally, as are all believers. It's challenging to the core as it goes completely counter-culture. It's a love God desires to be lived out in our daily walk. I'm excited about 2012 because people aren't just going to hear about love, but they're going to see it lived out in the lives of believers. It's going to be a year of miracles, salvations and breakthrough! Go God :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

How Often Do You Laugh?

As a pastor I'm always around or with people. I love being with them, whether it's just hanging out, helping them through a difficult time or something else. Something I appreciate about people is when they laugh. Laughter does something that you can't really explain. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." And you have to appreciate being with people who are cheerful and full of joy. When they begin to laugh it brings about such joy. I'm sure Jesus laughed lots with His disciples. I believe it was one of the many reasons people enjoyed being around Him. Unfortunately there are some people who seldom laugh. Maybe they have their reasons for this, but laughter definitely has its health benefits, which I encourage you to research a little. Laughter is so contagious. Have you ever been with someone who begins to laugh and then before you know it, everyone is laughing. I understand we live in a culture that creates stress, a culture where people can become frustrated, intense or critical, but everyone needs to laugh. A cheerful heart is good for you and one of its byproducts is laughter. Here's another interesting statistic I found, "The average American child laughs 200 times per day, while adults only laugh about 15 times." Have we become so serious and focused on things that we've forgotten to laugh? Let's do something about this and change statistics. I realize that laughing requires numerous muscles working together, but it can be learned and is very beneficial for you :) Happy laughing! Check out this link for people laughing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xH0xorgUoI

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Recently I've been intrigued reading about John the Baptist. There are so many fascinating things about him and his ministry. However, there is one statement that he declares in John 3:30 that packs a punch. John the Baptist says, "He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." It emphasizes John the Baptist's ministry decreasing while Christ's increasing. John was fully aware about what needed to happen. He was aware of the time and season that he was in, and states exactly what his responsibility was. For John to say what he said and do what he did, he needed to be a man clothed in humility. What's often heard in our culture is "It's all about you and getting what you can!" This is a far cry from what John the Baptist knew needed to happen. Again, the reason John could say this was because of humility. Yet humility in our culture has given way to the giant of pride. Wherever you look it often seems that humility has been swept under the rug as a thing of the past, giving way to a culture full of pride and arrogance. What if John the Baptist's words were echoed again in our day and age, and people responded? What if people chose to put Christ first and embraced humility? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's the Blessing of the Lord

Many of you know that one of my favorite things to do is shopping at thrift stores. It's amazing to me the stuff that people get rid of, some of which is brand new. For Christmas this year I found for myself a very nice Mountain Hard Wear jacket for under five dollars. At thrift stores I've saved hundreds of dollars on books, found many pairs of hundred dollar shoes, several top of the line ski jackets, many clothing items and much much more. In times where you don't have a lot of extra money, it's amazing how the Lord continues to provide abundantly. He not only does this for me, but for my entire family and so many other families too. I can shop at a thrift store and leave with hundreds of dollars worth of goods, having only paid pennies on the dollar. It always brings a smile to my face when people compliment me on what I'm wearing, knowing how much I paid for it and where I got it. Another reason I love thrift stores is not only because I enjoy finding great deals, but I love talking to people who are in there shopping. Often they are people who have fallen on hard times. I have so much fun talking with them, encouraging them and even sometimes blessing them by paying for what they were going to buy. I do have several favorite stores in the valley and who knows, maybe I'll run into you sometime :) May the Lord bless you abundantly in stores as He's blessed me and my family :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snow Makes Me Think Of...

I know waking up to snow this morning stirred joy, hope and excitement in many people, even if it was only a dusting. Whether it's kids wanting to play in the snow or older ones wanting to hit the slopes to ski or board, today is a start! The chance to get out and play in it, for some, is like nothing else. But what I couldn't stop thinking about this morning when I saw the ground lightly covered was Isaiah 1:18. It says, "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. What an incredible promise to all those who believe in Jesus. Just as the ground was covered this morning with pure white powder, so also does the Lord cover our sins and making them white as snow. What an amazing picture this gives us of Him and His forgiveness. What great love He has for us to do this. As we go out in the snow today, or as we hit the slopes (when we get more snow), never lose sight of this picture. His blood washing over our sins and making them as white as snow, all because of His love for us.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Breakthrough Is Often Closer Than You Think


As many of you know, trials and tests are often part of our daily walk in life. Sometimes theses can come in the shape of small things, and at times, much larger things. Usually we have two options when we encounter these trials and tests. We can stop and give up, or choose to continue moving forward, relying on God to help us be victorious. The Bible is very clear that tests and trials will come, and even says in Romans 5:3 that, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." In times of testing and trials, God desires us to keep going and to have endurance (as well as joy). In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, were told, "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed." You may feel pressed, perplexed, hunted down and even get knocked down, yet we must find our strength in the Lord and continue moving ahead. As we trust in God and keep our eyes on Him through our difficult times, He won't allow us to be crushed, driven to despair, be abandoned by Him or be destroyed. Just like a good running back in football who feels someone trying to tackle him, you must keep your legs moving and keep going. I know lots of people who in a time of trial or testing, choose to breakthrough into a season of victory and conquest. Maybe that's what God has in store for you today, if you'll choose to keep going and have endurance? 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

For With God Nothing Will Be Impossible

In thinking about the Christmas story and the miracles surrounding it, there's really nothing that's impossible for God. When you are on God's team, there's always hope and possibilities. The birth of Christ is probably the greatest moment in human history. When God Himself came to earth and became a man. It's incredible! Our response to this miracle should be just like the shepherds response. When they were told about Jesus' birth, they went to Him with haste to find Him (Luke 2:16). And once they had found Him, look at what they did next according to Luke 2:17-18, "Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. The shepherds went everywhere telling people what they'd been told and what happened next. Even today, people need to hear the great news of Jesus' birth. We live in a culture that has sucked hope, life and vision out of people, and they need to hear about Immanuel, God with us. He is the one who brings us hope, life and vision and we must be like the shepherds, and tell everyone around us about Jesus. Christmas is all about Jesus and people are usually more open to hear about Him during this season. Wherever you go during the next few days, don't forget to tell people about Immanuel. Merry Christmas everyone :) Also enjoy the cute Christmas story as told by some children from Auckland, New Zealand http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kWq60oyrHVQ 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Very Thankful For You

As I was thinking a little this morning, reflecting on this past year, I began to realize how much I've been blessed. The Lord has been so good to me, in so many ways. I think of Psalm 13: 6 which says, "I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me." This is so true! I have so many songs to sing because of His goodness towards me :) If I made a list of how He has blessed me this year, it would be huge. But as I think a little deeper about the Lord's goodness, there's something that stands out to me, that I'm more thankful for and blessed by than anything else. And that is the people that the Lord has put in my life. If I were to put a value on the quality of people in my life, I'd be a billionaire! I am a very blessed man, not just because of what I have, but because of who I have in my life. I have so many incredible men, women and kids in my life that sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. People who are faithful, loyal, truthful, generous, honest, fun, who sharpen me and most of all, who love the Lord with all their heart. If there wasn't one gift with my name on it this Christmas, it wouldn't matter, because I have hundreds of gifts in the form of amazing friends. Each one of you is so special to me and I cherish you all. Thank you so much for your friendship and love. May you cherish those around you this Christmas as much as I do :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You Not Only Finished But Finished Strong!

Congratulations HITC students on finishing your first semester of school. As you left school yesterday I couldn't help but think about how much you have grown and how many victories you have won over the past 4 months. There has been so much change :) You came to school presenting yourselves as learners, with a hunger to be taught, and God showed up as only He can. Lids that have held you down have come flying off and you are now aware of what you are capable of with the Lord. You have pressed through where in the past you would have given up. You have stepped out where previously you would have hidden. You have seen the provision of the Lord in your life in miraculous way. You have laid down your desires for His. You have fully given yourselves where in the past you would have only given part. You have learned to trust the Lord and to follow where He's led you. You are champions and conquerers! I realize that it's only your first semester, but you have done things that were once only dreams to you. The Lord has been with you every step of the way, and as you have allowed Him to form and mold you, you are becoming His masterpiece. Enjoy the break and be ready for next semester. It holds even more victories, more growth, more challenges and more finish lines to cross. Well done HITC students! Don't forget Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Do Others Do When You Open Your Mouth?

Recently at a coffee shop I witnessed something that has become an all too common occurrence in our culture. A customer didn't get the drink they ordered and began to give the poor barista an earful. It's almost as if the customer felt it was their right to. I don't think the outburst produced anything positive with anyone in the coffee shop that day. The customer was angry, fellow customers were agitated and the poor barista was shaken. As I've said before, our culture has declined to point that anyone can say anything to anyone, however they like. Whether in conversation, voicemail, email, texts, etc. I wish people would realize that usually, how something is said is just as important as what is being said. If I screamed at my wife that I love her, although my choice of words may be right, the presentation of them is not. If I'm wanting her to be open and even hear what I'm saying to her, I must not present it in such a harsh way that immediately closes the door. Could the coffee shop customer have done things differently? Absolutely! I love what the Message says in Colossians 4:6, "Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out." Unfortunately too many people get a kick out of using harsh, condescending and destructive words and have allowed it to become their norm for communication. Whatever happened to treating others the way we want them to treat us? Whether someone is a spouse, a parent, sibling, employer, employee, etc, don't communicate in such a way that shuts others down or belittles them, but in a way that promotes them to want to be open :) Allow your words today to bring out the best in others.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's In A Name?

In February 1989 I began the most incredible relationship I've ever had. No it wasn't the relationship with my wife of almost 20 years Katherine, but with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a relationship that's grown deep and intimate over almost 23 years. He is the most amazing person I've ever known. He's been my Rock, my passion and my strength. There's no-one else like Him and never will be. Someone asked me recently to describe who Jesus is to me, and after a brief pause, I began sharing about my relationship with Him. Here are a few names I used to describe my Lord, Jesus Christ. He's the Author and Finisher of my faith; my advocate with the Father; my Anchor; the Bread of Life; the Bridegroom of the church; the Creator of the heavens and earth; my Comforter; my Deliverer from evil; my Defender; the Exceeding Great Reward for all believers; the Everlasting Light; my Eternal Light; the Fountain of Life; my Friend who sticks closer than a brother; my Fortress; my Shepherd; my Guardian; the Head over all principalities and powers; the Holy Son of God; the Helper of the Fatherless; the Head of the church; my Healer; Immanuel; the Just One; my Justifier; the King of Kings; the King of Glory; my Kind Shepherd; the Lord of Lords; the Lamb of God; the Light of my soul; the Messiah; my Merciful Savior; my Maker; the Name that's above every name; my Never-Failing Guide; the Prince of Peace; my Hiding Place; my Sure Foundation; my Shield; my Strength; the Truth; the True Light of the World; my Teacher; my Unchangeable Friend; the One who holds me up; my Very Present Help in times of need; my Vision; the Way; my Wonderful Counselor and the Forgiver of my sins, just to name a few. I know there are many more names and ways to describe Him, but these are a few. Jesus Christ is everything to me and His desire is a relationship with you too :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace and Joy At the Mall

Just like many of you, I've done a little shopping over the last few days because it's the Christmas season. A time for peace and joy and goodwill to men, or so I thought. In my adventure to pick up a few small items, I noticed something very interesting. Peace and joy and goodwill to men is either way down on people's priority list or isn't even on it. I witnessed tension, frustration, anger, bad attitudes, self preference and a whole host of other things that aren't sung about in Christmas carols. Has Christmas simply become a time for good shopping deals and fighting over parking spots? As Christians we must be careful not to get sucked into the "stuff" of Christmas but rather the "who." Isn't Christmas all about the birth of the Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world? The very author of our peace and joy. Jesus Himself said in John 14:27..."Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Over this season we can't allow ourselves to forget what and who Christmas is really all about. It's also a wonderful opportunity to tell about and show others the peace and joy we have and who it comes from. Peace and joy are some of the best things we could be thankful for this Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Power of A Dad's Words

Being a dad is so amazing, yet also comes with much responsibility. There's been such an attack on men from culture, and it's easy to recognize its effects. Something I've been noticing lately is the need sons have for words of encouragement and affirmation. This responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the men around them. Even God the Father did this to His Son Jesus in Matthew 3:17 saying, “...This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” As a dad I've seen how my son lights up when I encourage and affirm him. Something happens to a son when powerful life giving words from their dad or a father figure are spoken to them. I know that as a dad you can have a lot on your plate, but we can't ignore or overlook the necessity and power that God has given us in our words. I see my son as being a world changer and influencer for the Kingdom of God and I have a great responsibility to prepare him for all God has for him. That starts right now with all I do and say as his dad. My words can bring courage, hope, strength and vision to him, all of which he needs. I cannot be passive, ignorant or timid when it comes to fulfilling my role. Now is the time for dads to take responsibility and be who God's called us to be. Today dads will have many opportunities to talk with sons. Choose to help form and mold them into men of God :) Dads love challenges and we have a great one before us. Take courage and fulfill your call to be a dad.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Stealing of Your Courage

Courage, the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Have you ever felt your courage drop and discouragement knock on your door? When we lose our courage, we allow timidity, fear, indecision, discouragement and ineffectiveness to take over. Have you ever thought that there might be something trying to steal your courage? If your courage can be stolen, think about the tragic consequences that could take place because of it. As I read the Bible, I notice how often people are told to be strong and take courage. This includes mighty men such as Joshua, Caleb and Gideon. For them to do all that God called them to do, one of their keys was to be courageous. Without courage, they couldn't and wouldn't have done all they did. The same goes for us and those things God has called us to do. As Christians, we're going to encounter situations and things that are challenging, difficult and intimidating. It's in the midst of these these that we must allow courage to rise within us. So where do we get this courage? It's from the Lord. We see men and women in the Bible go to the Lord in their times of need and it's there that the Lord imparts courage to them. And once He gives it, it then becomes the responsibility of the person to walk it out. We live in a culture where discouragement has a deep hold on people. The courage thief has plundered and left people helpless. We must rise up and heed the impacting words of the Lord found in Joshua 1:9, "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Take a hold of these powerful words and don't the courage thief to plunder you today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ever Feel Overlooked?

Something that everyone encounters from time to time is an attack on their self-worth. It's commonplace for people to be surrounded by people, and yet at the same time feel alone, overlooked and even abandoned. Someone recently sent me a story about a world-class musician who panhandled for about 45 minutes in a Washington DC Metro Station. As one of the most accomplished musicians, he played one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written, on a $3.5 million violin. In the hour he played, only a handful of people stopped to listen, giving him a mere $32. I encourage you to read the story and watch the video clip attached to it at
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.251469471583273.65508.138874852842736&type=3 This story is well worth it. Many of us can at times feel like no-one is even aware of our existence. Loneliness and being overlooked can be one of the main weapons in the devil's arsenal. I don't remember who said it, but one of my favorite quotes referring to David the shepherd, says, "David lived in a season of being unseen, while looking after lambs. David was seemingly isolated on the hills with the sheep, yet God was there with him, promoting him day by day. David chose to find contentment in his solitary circumstances with his sheep. David found joy in the sacrifice of serving and kept a song in his heart. We must learn to mine the gold in our current circumstances and discover contentment in any place we find ourselves." We cannot forget this. The one thing we must cling to is that God sees you, knows you, is with you and has a great plan for you. Take the time to read Psalm 139 and see how precious and intentional you are to Him. Today you may feel overlooked and alone, but that's not true. God is with you because you are His masterpiece :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

But...But...But...

As I was reading about Gideon last night, I saw something that happened to him, that is so commonplace in our lives also. He made excuses, some of which even opposed what God wanted to do in and through him. Have you ever noticed how often we make excuses? We make them all the time! Some are good, while others are not, but that's not the point. Excuses are simply excuses. They are simply "an inferior or inadequate specimen of something specified." In Judges 6 the Lord calls Gideon, "...a mighty man of valor" and commissions him to go and defeat the Midianites. The first things that flow from Gideon's mouth are excuses, similar to those we use in our lives. The problem is that Gideon was seeing things from his own perspective and not God's. He viewed himself as weak, wimpy and incapable. Not only did he view himself this way, but confessed it openly. Our culture thrives on excuses. Whether it's a world leader, a politician, a child, a spouse, or whoever, excuses are far easier to make than take responsibility for something. Can you imagine how things would be if nobody made excuses? Excuses shouldn't be things we hide behind, trying to cover ourselves. Don't forget, the more of them you make, the greater your fall will be. Today, make the choice to stop making excuses. Be a person of your word, taking responsibility for your words and actions, and ask the Lord to let you see things as the Lord sees them :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Living Life According to Tim Tebow

Tebow time is here! He's an incredible young man and if you don't know his story you should check into it. He was born to missionary parents, after his mother was strongly advised to abort him due to medical reasons. From the very beginning there's been something special about him. After leaving his stamp on college football, he's now turning heads in the NFL. In Tim Tebow's own words, "I'm a Christian first and a football player second." As Tebowmania continues to sweep across the nation, you clearly begin to see that there's something different about this young man. Tebow is the real deal! He's strong, masculine, courageous, bold and a natural leader. And by the way, I'm not even talking about what he does on the football field, but how he lives his life as a born again Christian. In a culture full of men who are spineless, lazy, feminine and lacking vision, Tim Tebow brings a breath of fresh air to men and Christianity. I love watching Tebow continually embarrass his many critics by what he does, and then give all the credit to his Lord and Savior. One thing that you can't help but notice about Tebow is his passion. Colossians 3:23 tells us, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men..." This is what Tebow does. He lives life with such passion and zeal that whatever he does, he does it heartily, not for his own glory, but for the Lord. I realize that people either hate him or love him when it comes to football, but when it comes to his passion for life, how can you not like the guy? Thank you Tim Tebow for not allowing culture to dictate who you are and what you do! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Morning Disappointments

Last night I had a great time at our high school white elephant Christmas party. We played games, floor hockey, ate lots of junk food and ended the night with a our gift exchange. A white elephant gift party is where everyone brings a wrapped, random or funny item from home that you didn't have to buy. Then everyone gets to pick a gift and unwrap it in front of everyone. There were so many hilarious gifts. It was so good seeing high school age kids laugh and have as much fun as they did. They had such a great time opening cheesy and silly gifts. As I was driving home, I began thinking about all the fun I saw tonight and the reality of what will happen on Christmas morning in millions of homes around the country. Kids are going to open presents and gifts and be sad, disappointed and maybe even upset, because they didn't get the things they wanted. Maybe they didn't get the Iphone, and Ipod, the clothing they wanted, or whatever, and their face and attitude will reflect it. It's so sad how much this will happen so much on Christmas morning, simply because of a young person's wrong attitude. There will be other homes where there's very little under the Christmas tree. As kids open the one small gift under the tree, their will be tears of joy and hearts full of gratitude. Maybe not for the gift, but for all those other things they have so much to be thankful for. Things like Jesus' love, a family, a roof over a head, food to eat, health, friends and so on. I pray that in your home on Christmas there's only thankfulness, peace and joy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beware! The Trap Is Waiting

Are you more concerned about pleasing man or pleasing God? Do you fear man more than you fear God? Most people will probably say God, but as you think about it, is that really the truth? Sadly enough, fearing man and what he thinks is one of the most dangerous traps a Christian can fall into. Whether it's spouses, friends, bosses, pastors or family, we can easily become consumed with focussing on what they think instead of what God thinks. Our daily focus must be to please the Lord and fear Him. Proverbs 29:25 clearly warns us, "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety." I've found that if your goal is to please man, you will always fail. However, if your focus is to please the Lord, that will take care of every other relationship. It's tragic for me to see people who live their lives in fear of man, with every ounce of their focus being on what man thinks about them. How can we get off course so easily when it comes to pleasing the Lord? This happens when our relationship with Him is not our first and foremost priority. It's a line that we walk. Once our focus moves off Him, we immediately move into the realm of pleasing and fearing man. Unfortunately today, many people will walk around caught in this trap. Choose not to join their ranks. Don't become someone who walks around on eggshells because their focus is on what others think. Live to day to please the Lord and you won't become ensnared in the trap of fearing man.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Passing the "Stupid" Test

Have you ever called someone "stupid" before? It's somewhat of a strong word meaning, "dense, foolish, thickheaded or being sluggish of mind." Before calling someone this, you'd better make sure it's what you mean. Something I've seen lately that's very concerning, is the number of people who don't like or want to be instructed or corrected, especially Christians. They have the view that no person should have the right to correct them, even when the Bible is full of verses contrary to their belief. One of my favorite verses that's been a gem in my own life is Proverbs 12:1 which says, "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." To me this is pretty black and white. We're to desire instruction and correction. Our culture constantly rams down our throats the mindset that nobody has the right to tell you what to do, and let alone correct you. To me this is the "stupid" test. This test tells me whether or not I'm stupid. How do you pass this test? By simply loving instruction and correction. How do you fail the "stupid" test? By doing the opposite and not loving instruction and correction. When you think about it, the main purpose of any instruction and correction is to help you become a mature Christian. There was a time in my life when it was hard for me to receive these, but you quickly learn from the rewards and blessings found when you learn to love them. Don't ever fear instruction or correction as it's a vital aspect of your Christian maturity. But if you do choose to ignore the warning of the Bible, I guess you really are what this verse calls you, stupid.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Off Your Couch and Get A Job

I love having our HITC students do compare and contrasts from the Bible. Yesterday I had them do one on the lazy man or sluggard, and the hard worker, or diligent man. I'm shocked at how big of an issue this is within our culture, especially in young people. We live in an entitlement culture, who expects everything to be handed and given to them. Whatever happened to hard work? Whatever happened to young people once having a reputation for being hard workers? I realize that we live in a time where the economy is down, but that's what so incredible about America. Do you know that more people became millionaires during the Great Depression than during any other time period? Why is that? Because "necessity is the mother of invention." I guess the thing that worries me the most about what I see in our culture when it comes to laziness are the attitudes involved. There's no desire to work. Young people are quite happy to sit on a couch, play video games, mess with their cell phones and other electronic devices, rather than finding a job and working hard. There are jobs out there if you look hard enough. There are so many opportunities just waiting for those who run after them. Doors won't open for those who don't knock. In Proverbs 24:30-34 we get a clear object lesson from the man who's passive, lacks initiative, always procrastinating and undisciplined. Verse 32 tells us to look at what we see and receive instruction from it. It's time to get off your couch, put your computer down, and get going! Stop making excuses do what God has called you to do, work!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

We live in a world where often the sports star with the bad attitude becomes the hero, or the entertainer whose videos are pornographic. What are things coming to when a person who's being viewed as a hero is actually the farthest thing from a hero? I have several people in my life who I consider to be a hero. Most of them are unassuming and would probably be embarrassed if you ever called them a hero. Today I'm going to tell you about a friend of mine who is definitely a hero. She doesn't have a superhero name and doesn't even wear a cape. Her name is Stephanie, and the past several years have been the most challenging of her life. Stephanie not only battled cancer, but she won! Romans 8:37 describes her saying, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Stephanie is definitely a conqueror! She has gone through the toughest battle of her life, yet she's shined as a woman who's learned to trust the Lord and find her strength in Him. Even through difficult days, she's chosen joy, encouraged others and never complained. Stephanie, because of her choices, has given so much hope, inspiration and encouragement to so many other people. Throughout her battle with cancer, she has continued to be an incredible wife and mother. One of the most incredible things I've seen in Stephanie is her tenacity and fighting spirit. As part of the Harvest dance team, she chose to dance even when she didn't feel like it. She wasn't going to let the devil keep her down, but instead, chose to jump on his head every time she danced. I'm so thankful for people like Stephanie. They are mighty warriors in God's kingdom. One additional note, she's a wonderful writer and has two great blogs found at www.lasaterland2.blogspot.com and www.lasaterland.blogspot.com. I encourage you to take a peek. Thanks for being one of my heroes Stephanie :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bogus Choosing System (BCS)

As most of you know, Boise State was last night snubbed by the BCS for a big bowl game. Boise State was overlooked, especially by the Sugar Bowl, who invited two much lower ranked at large teams. As a former Division 1 college athlete, I'm saddened by the hypocritical attitude of the NCAA and BCS. I once believed that college sports, especially football, was on a different level than the NFL, whose focus is solely on making money. The emphasis of college football was the good of the student athlete. Was I ever wrong! As a student-athlete on a full ride scholarship, the number of rules (many petty and ludicrous) a student-athlete has to abide by is ridiculous. You get your minimal scholarship check and that's it. I remember that former Bronco star Ian Johnson was not allowed to make and sell beanies. The NCAA was concerned that he would profit too much personally from his $10 beanies. Or this year, with a student being hammered because he borrowed $100. After all this, last night we have BCS bowls explaining that their goal was not necessarily to have the best teams in their BCS bowls, but to have teams who would fill hotel rooms and boost the local economy by bringing the largest fan base. I realize that the NCAA and BCS are two separate entities, yet they are essentially joined and related when it comes to college football. Sadly college football has come down to money and politics, just like most other things. Wouldn't it be funny if the NCAA imposed many of its rules, regulations and sanctions against the BCS. The saddest thing to me about what the BCS did last night wasn't about the fans, but it was the message sent to a majority of Division 1 college football programs and student-athletes. And that message was that ability, ranking and great student athletes mean nothing to us. The top priority of the BCS is greed! Great job to this year's BSU football team, millions around the country are very proud of you, just no one at the BCS.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Culture of Self...

We live in a culture that promotes self! Just visit your local bookstore and see how many book are there that emphasize self. The world encourages us to be self-reliant and self-seeking, as well as a long list of other self-focusses. We are constantly told to rely on our own wisdom and our own strength. It's interesting how so many of these things completely opposes what the Bible says. For example, Ephesians 6:10 tells us to, "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." Proverbs 3:5 also tells us to, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding." We're to be strong in Him and His power, and to trust in Him and not in our own abilities or understanding. These couldn't be any farther from what our culture tells us to do. In my life I've clearly seen the sad fruit of depending of my own strength, wisdom and understanding. Yet I've also seen the blessing and good fruit of trusting in the Lord's strength and wisdom. Sometimes it's easy for us to think we're living in His strength and wisdom, yet if you really think about it, often we're actually not. We've subtly slipped back into self-reliance and self-focus. For me to live today as the Lord desires, I must be empty of self and full of Him. If I don't live in His strength and His wisdom, I will fall short. Today He's offering us all the strength, wisdom, and whatever else we need, to live to please Him. You choose.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Danger of Indecision

Here at our Bible college, HITC, our goal is raising leaders who are passionate about God. There are many qualities that are needed when it comes to being a leader. One of the things we've been discussing and imparting into our HITC students recently is decisiveness. One of the greatest hinderances to people becoming a leader is their lack of ability to make a decision. As a leader it's vital that you be able to do this. Have you ever noticed how many people go back and forth on decisions and eventually the decision has to be made by someone else, because of their inability to make the decision? My pastor has said many times, "move quickly on reversible decisions, but move slowly on decisions that aren't reversible." This is so true. When it comes to simple and reversible decisions, make it! If it's a bigger and irreversible decision, move more slowly and cautiously. Unfortunately, there are many people who move slowly and cautiously through simple decisions, and never make difficult decisions. The fruit of an indecisive leader will be obvious to those around them. Confidence will not be inspired in those serving under them. This will then lead to them questioning every decision the leader makes. A decisive leader isn't all over the place when it comes to making decisions. They're confident to make the decision and then be able to clearly communicate it to all involved. One of the biggest opponents of decisiveness is fear of failure. Don't be led around today by this fear! As you become more confident in making smaller decisions, your confidence in making big decisions will blossom. Don't be afraid to make decisions today and don't allow failure to define who you are :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Incredible Reunions...

Some pictures are worth a thousand words and behind every picture is a story. This month will see hundreds of thousands of soldiers returning from Iraq. For some of these soldiers they've been serving overseas for multiple tours, adding up to years. For many of these soldiers it means leaving a family back home. One of the most incredible feelings in the world is when you return home from a trip somewhere and your family or friends are waiting to greet you at the airport. Many of us have experienced this and would agree :) Think about the jubilation of families being reunited after one of the parents returns home from serving in the war. Think about soldiers seeing their spouse and children after being gone for over a year. I'm not here to agree or disagree with the war, but am wanting to appreciate those who have served overseas in our military. The sacrifice they've made, whether it's being on the battlefront, or leaving their family, the sacrifices are amazing. If you've ever seen soldiers being reunited with their family, words really can't describe it. It's incredible! This next month will see multitudes of soldiers being reunited with their loved ones. You will hear about and see the bonds of love that can't be broken by distance or time. You will see rejoicing and celebration. Thank you soldiers for your sacrifices and I look forward to seeing and hearing about many incredible reunions that will soon take place.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goofed Up!

Have you ever thought about how different things can be in places around the world? After watching the nightly news recently, I saw this contrast so vividly. Firstly, there was a tragic story about Black Friday shopping. People killing others for electronics and others others spraying pepper spray on others to get items they wanted. It's tragic that people are willing to hurt others to get what they want. The next story was on a country in desperate need in Africa that's dealing with a water and food crisis. In this story I saw very similar scenes, with people virtually rioting for items. The only difference was that these people were not fighting for an Xbox or a 47 inch flat screen TV, but simply for water and food. Sometimes I wonder about what things are coming to when people are willing to hurt others for items like this. I think about the image it puts in people's minds about what America is all about. I wonder what people in other nations think when they see two grown men fighting each other for a video game? To think where our priorities are when others around the world are starving and dying because of not having food or water. We need to change our priorities and recognize how goofed up they are. We need to think about what we can to get our priorities back on those things they should be on. Each of us will have a part to play with this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A New Take on Blessing Others

Giving is one of the greatest opportunities we have to show who we really trust when it comes to our finances. Personally I love surprising people :) I love blessing others through simple things which can mean so much to them. Whether it's buying groceries, filling up their gas tank, or something else, it's such a wonderful opportunity for us to brighten the day of others. When it comes to blessing others, sometimes we bless knowing they will repay us back or bless us back with something even better. But I want to give you a new take on giving and blessing others, because I've personally experienced great joy from doing this. Bless people who can't pay you back. Give to those who can't do anything in return. Too often people bless others in their giving in the hope of getting something in return. But how about blessing others who have no way to repay or do something in return? This would definitely purify any wrong motives we might have regarding giving. As we enter this incredible Christmas season, look for opportunities to bless others. The Bible says in Acts 20:35, "And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive." God desires us to be givers! And those of you who are givers would agree, there's nothing quite like blessing others, and seeing the joy it brings :) Look for opportunities to put this principle into practice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is It Obvious Who You Represent?

Have you ever been around someone who says they're a representative of someone or something? Maybe it's a group, a product, a company or even a family. Yet because of the what they say or do makes you wonder about who they represent. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Colossians 3. In verse 17 it clearly challenges us in, "...whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." As a Christian, have you ever thought of yourself as representative of the Lord? That means whatever we say and do, whether in public or private, should clearly indicate who represent. There should be no grey here, only black and white. Unfortunately, I hear about things that have been said, or seen things that are done, which would clearly indicate that a person is not a representative of Jesus. Whether it's in your family, in the workplace, in you neighborhood, or wherever you are, let their be no mistaking about who you represent. Too many people in our culture see Christians simply as hypocrites, saying they believe one thing and yet doing another. Our lives should be lived in such a way that there can be no mistaking who you represent. Before you speak, as Jesus' representative, ask yourself whether it will be pleasing to Him? Before you do something, think if it will be pleasing to Him? Just think if Christians began living 100% to please the Lord? I challenge you to read Colossians 3 today and to make what it says become how you live :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Doing Something I Thought I'd Never Do Again

This week I did something I never thought I'd have to do again, purchasing a wedding ring. Hold on for a moment before your thoughts run everywhere. Unfortunately my wife lost her wedding ring this week of almost 20 years. She was crushed by losing it and so it needed to be replaced. Driving home after purchasing one, we were talking about how many men purchase more than one wedding ring in their life because of divorce. I realize there are some extenuating circumstances when it comes to divorce, yet for a majority it's simply the fruit of selfishness. Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, "Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended." Hard hearts and selfishness will bring destruction to any relationship. We live in a culture that has forgotten all about loyalty and commitment. A culture where wedding vows have become cheap talk. When you talk with people who have been married for 20 or 30 years and even more, you realize that marriage isn't easy and requires a lot of work. Unfortunately, many people find it easier to walk away from a marriage than try and work it out. For a marriage to work, sacrifice and preferring others will be a necessity. Yet people aren't willing to do this and just move on to another relationship until the same divisive things arise again. What kind of example are we setting for younger generations with our marriages? We need to send a different message that says divorce isn't the answer. For the most part, God intended marriages to last a lifetime. Are you going to take the challenge? To show others how amazing a lifetime marriage can be? Go counter-culture and show people that it is possible to have a great marriage that lasts a lifetime :)  (The ring in the picture isn't the one I purchased).

Friday, November 25, 2011

How Badly Do You Want It?

Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. And yes, several ladies from my home are braving it out with multitudes of others. Were there some amazing deals? Yes! Amazing deals! Would I like a nice flat screen TV for $200? Of course I would, but not by waiting in a line in the cold for 36 hours. Although there were some fantastic deals this morning, I'm not willing to stand outside in a line for that long, like others are. Seeing some of the lines of people on the news, waiting for store doors to open is mind boggling. Lines that wrap around buildings several times. I guess people are willing to do anything to save a few hundred dollars. One thing that I did think about with those long lines stirred me to pray. Can you imagine if that's how it looked for people lining up to get into church? Instead of people lining up for a product to buy, they were in line desperate to get into church. The long lines wrapping around buildings with people hungry for the presence of God. People willing to camp out in the cold because of their desire and need for God. It would be amazing! I do believe that there will be a day when people will be lining up around the life-giving churches of the valley, because it's there where they find something they can't find anywhere else. If people line up for a store sale, a concert and many other things, why not church?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful Today, Tomorrow, the Next Day and the Next...

So today is the designated day for us to celebrate Thanksgiving. For a lot of people today means football, the Macy's Parade, family and friends gathering together, and eating more food than we should have. It's a day where we show our thankfulness and gratitude. Just like you, there's so many things I have to be thankful for over this past year. What if for a moment we made some changes when it came to thanksgiving? What if we allowed the spirit of thanksgiving to be celebrated every single day. I don't mean the football, parade and food, but the attitude of giving thanks every day and not just on one day. I'm amazed how many things we should be thankful for on a daily basis. There are so many things we take for granted, just expecting it, and before long it's overlooked and there's no thankfulness shown or given for it. What if we chose to be thankful in everything? What if thanksgiving abounded more than our complaining? Can you picture a culture where people were truly thankful every day? It would be like none other. Today, enjoy your football, enjoy your parade, enjoy your family and friends, and enjoy your food. But most of all, be thankful, and not just today, but tomorrow and then the next day, and so on. We have so much to be thankful for! And don't just be thankful for what you have, but what you can do :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who Would You Dream of Having Coffee With?

If you could sit down for coffee today, with anyone in the world, who would it be? They would have to be someone who's alive, but other than that, it's your choice. It's kind of a random and crazy question, but really, who would it be? I've often sat at coffee, studying or reading, and thought, "I wish I could have 20 minutes talking with that or that person." Why would you want to meet that person? What would you talk about? People I've thought about sitting down with and talking to include (not in any specific order) Violet Kitely, my dad, Tim Tebow, Billy Graham, Cesar Fajardo and many more. I have different reasons for meeting each one and have lots of things I'd talk about. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with someone I've always wanted to, not for coffee, but for lunch. It was Bob Sorge, one of the most incredible people I've ever met. His story is so amazing and how God has used him powerfully all around the world, even through major tragedy. If you ever get the chance to hear his story or read one of his books, take the opportunity. It's a lunch that I'll never forget. Today I've asked you to dream a little. Who knows, maybe you'll get to sit and have coffee with one of those people one day. One of my dreams came true :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Treasure I Found

In this season of Thanksgiving, there are so many things and people I'm thankful for. The most precious person to me (other than Jesus Christ) is my wife of nearly twenty years. Proverbs 18:22 says, "The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord." I'll be the first to say that I've found a great treasure and favor. If I were to list all of the things she means to me, I'd run out of time. However, there are several things that are very significant to me about her. Firstly, she's a woman who fears the Lord whose passion for Him is seen in her desire to please Him in everything. Secondly, her loyalty and faithfulness is amazing. She's my best friend and always will be. And finally, she's a woman of great faith who can bring such wisdom and peace into any situation. I'm so blessed! We pray, talk, laugh and cry together, and our love for one another continues to grow. I challenge every husband to tell your wife how much you love and appreciate her. Look deep for those special and meaningful things. Buy her a card and write down your thoughts and feelings toward her. Buy her flowers when she doesn't expect it. And always honor her in front of others, whether she's present or not. A wife truly is a treasure from the Lord. I look forward to being that old couple we see, walking down the street, still holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes. I love you Katherine, my treasure :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Benefits of Zipping It

Your words are like a tube of toothpaste. Once you squeeze the tube and the toothpaste comes out, there's no way to ever put it back in the tube. It's over and your words are out. One of the most common traps people can fall into, and one I have fallen into before, is not knowing when to be quiet and zipping it. For some odd reason most people don't know when to be quiet, even though there are many warnings in the Bible about this. Two of my favorite verses warning us about this trap are Proverbs 10:19, "Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut" and Proverbs 21:23, "If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble." What rich wisdom for everyone. There are only two ways to learn something. Either by education or experience. Unfortunately, when it comes to this, most of us have had to learn from experience. I understand, because unfortunately I've done it. However, the million dollar question is whether or not we chose to learn from it. We live in a culture that promotes freedom of speech, and being able to say whatever, whenever. It's very clear, that although this is what culture allows us to do, it's not what the Bible instructs us to do. Many people should replace the massive river coming from their mouths with a small stream. If we don't heed the Scriptural warnings, sin and trouble await us! That's good enough warning for me. Know when to speak and when to be quiet, as it may save yourself much grief.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Seriously, If He Asked, Would I...

Something the Lord has been showing lately me is all about surrender. As a Christian I realize that I must surrender my life, plans, dreams and desires over to the Lord. To surrender means to hand over, abandon or relinquish something to another. As a Christian we can't say we've surrendered everything to the Lord when there are still things in our heart that are our own desires and dreams. These may even be good things, yet perhaps they aren't what the Lord wants. The story of Abraham has kept coming to mind over this last week. He desperately desired a son, and through miracle after miracle, he and his wife had a son. But the Lord asked him to give Isaac back and literally place him on the altar. In one of the most difficult things Abraham had to do, he went up on the mountain with the full intent of surrendering his dreams and placing them on the altar. The place I've come to this past week is very real. I believe the Lord's wanting all of my plans, dreams and desires. He's wanting me to do what Abraham did and place them on the altar, returning them back to Him. The Lord has asked me these questions, "If none of the dreams and things in my heart came to pass, would I be OK with that, still trust Him and still love Him wholeheartedly? If He were to use others and bring promotion to others, and not me, would I be OK? If He were to open doors for others and allow them to walk through doors that I once desired to, would I still trust and serve Him? My answer is Yes! I'm simply His servant who has made the choice to die to self, surrender everything, and live for Him. He holds my life in the palm of His hands, and regardless of what His plans for me look like, I'll love Him and serve Him for the rest of my life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Surprise! Surprise!

I think everyone truly loves surprises. When things happen you weren't expecting or you get something you weren't expecting. Surprises are simply lots of fun. I personally love surprises and over the past 2 days I've continued to be surprised, time and time again. God has showed up powerfully at Harvest Church's "Power of the Presence"conference. Whether it's in a time of worship, one of the main sessions, a workshop, or in the coffee shop, God continues to show up in ways that only He can, surprising everyone. This has been one of the most incredible events I've ever attended, and I've been to many. Today is the last day of the conference and I know God has many more surprises still left for us. I can't wait for Bob Sorge to share tonight as he follows some incredible worship. God is going to show up! He's going to move! He wants to show His power as we experience His presence. When you think about it, God is full of surprises :) He's like the ultimate surprise giver, and I think He loves doing it :) Be ready today for surprises. They will come unexpectedly and not how you thought, but they will come. Enjoy all the Lord has in store for you today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No, the World Doesn't Revolve Around You

Have you ever noticed how some people think everything's always about them? People don't realize that they are simply one person on a crowded planet of over seven million. The truth of the matter is that the world doesn't revolve around them, although they tend to think it does. Everyone on the planet has the same value and worth, not based on what they have, but on who they are. As a person they were created by God with not only purpose, but value. In Psalm 139:13-14, David tells us how God sees us, "How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, You are still with me." What an amazing description about how God feels about you. In one sense, the world doesn't revolve around you, but on the other hand, you are precious and loved by God Himself. You do have great worth and value. This isn't based on what you have or what you do, but is simply based on who you are, God's wonderful creation. Today, stop thinking everything's about youself and begin to think about the greatness of God's love toward you. He made you for a specific reason and purpose, putting His utmost thought and care into you. Yes, you may be one of seven million people on the planet, but God made you personally. Wow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lay Off Your Horn

I think all of us have those occasions when our patience, peace and joy is severely tested. Those situations where they're nowhere to be found. One of those frequent places can be while we're driving. Have you ever noticed how quickly you transform from being kind and gracious into angry and aggressive. The guy who cuts in front of you or the car that's going 5mph slower than the posted 35mph speed limit, can all try their best to steal our patience, peace and joy. Patience, peace and joy are three of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5. They are obvious fruit of a life that's controlled by the Holy Spirit. So how come we lose our cool so quickly, especially when we're behind the wheel of a car? It's probably different for everyone, but for me it's because others just don't think when they drive. Their decisions or lack of, often puts everyone else around them in harms way. However, this is no reason of justification of why I should surrender my patience, peace and joy. These are three of the most precious gifts the Lord has given me, so why should I just toss them out because of someone else's driving? I understand that car horns are there for a reason, but choose carefully about why you use it. If it's because you're mad, frustrated and angry, maybe you should turn to the Lord before laying on the horn and getting upset even more. Driving for me is an opportunity to grow in my patience, peace and joy. Regardless of the decisions of others, I'm going to choose the fruit of the Spirit. Enjoy driving today

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Listening to Gossips is Like Feeding on Trash

I was sipping my coffee at 4:40am this morning, reading Proverb 15. Suddenly verse 14 jumped off the page saying, "A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash." This verse describes so many people, both saved and unsaved. Are you a person who loves truth? Are you hungry for it? When someone brings a story or information to you about someone else, do you immediately consider it truth? Searching out truth must be a priority for us as Christians. Not partial truths, or things our itching ears want to hear, but the complete truth. Unfortunately, one of the giants in our culture is gossip. Gossips are everywhere, talking about a host of things they shouldn't be. Gossip is simply idle talking or spreading rumors, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. Gossips think they're helping by talking to others, however I've never seen anything profitable come from their gossip. It's so prevalent in our culture, having TV shows, magazines and websites whose entire purpose is to gossip. All of us have been around gossips, and instead of confronting them, we listen and then even tell others. If we could only see how much the Lord is grieved by this and how much He hates it's destructiveness. Gossiping is "feeding on trash," allowing garbage to fill your mind, which is contrary to what the Bible says. Today you have a powerful choice. Will you allow your mind to feed on trash? Or will you be a person of truth? Don't be a gossip! Instead have the reputation of being wise :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't Stay Down, Get Up!

On Saturday afternoon I listened in disbelief as Dan Goodale's potential game winning Boise State field goal sailed right. History was repeating itself. It was about the same time last year when Kyle Brotzman's potential game winning field goal against Nevada also sailed right. Both kicks costing Boise State a BCS bowl game. For many people, their world came crashing down. Although I'm a huge Boise State fan, it's not like someone missing a kick is the end of the world. Unfortunately, for many people, when things happen in life, it's all too easy to give up. People forget that failure is part of life. Tragically, people's view of  failure is wrong and it becomes the fuel that keeps people down, paralyzed and unwilling to get up and try again. Proverbs 24:16 tells us, "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked." It's not a matter of whether or not someone will trip up, but more about what they choose to do after they trip up. Just because Goodale and Brotzman missed kicks, does that mean they should stop kicking? If you fail at something, does it mean you should stop and give up? No! Life is about growing, learning and getting back up. Don't give up, walk away, or stay down. Ask God for strength and courage so you can get back up. What if I'd stayed down and given up all the times I've tripped up? To me it's not an option. Life isn't about the trips and failures, but it's about getting back up. It's about getting up when you don't think you can or don't want to. Today, don't stay down, but get up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thank You Veterans

How many times do we go through a day, a week or even a month and not even think about those who gave us freedom. Yesterday was Veteran's Day, and I couldn't stop thinking about those brave men and women who serve their country, allowing the other 95% to live in freedom. I've seen a bumper sticker that says, "Freedom isn't free" and I couldn't agree more. I'm so thankful for those who've responded to the call and serve their country in the armed forces. I remember my grandfather's stories of leaving his wife and country (England) for Europe in WWII, and not returning home for 5 years. Some of the things he experienced and endured, that no man should ever have to go through, in places like Normandy and Monte Cassino. I think about the sacrifices everyone in the armed forces has made for others. Thank you for your willingness to do what you've been asked to do. Whenever I see a veteran, whether it's in the store or somewhere else, I always try to make it a point to thank them for their service. They truly are the brave and courageous ones. The Bible says we're to honor to those to whom it's due and those serving our country in the armed forces and our veterans really deserve honor. Veterans and those presently serving, I am so thankful for you and may the Lord watch over you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Can't Afford to Miss This...

Next week Harvest hosts the "Power of the Presence" worship conference. It's going to be 3 days in the incredible  and powerful presence of the Lord. I've been so excited heading into this conference because people are so hungry for the Lord right now. God has been showing up so mightily in our Sunday services and times of corporate prayer, and I know He's about to show up at the conference as only He can. Psalm 68:3 tell us, "But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy." Next week there's going to be much rejoicing and gladness as we enter His presence. I picture an abundance of joy in the lives of those who are seeking Him. Probably the thing I'm anticipating the most is what God is planning on doing during this conference when it comes to those things He's spoken over Harvest prophetically. I believe there's going to many miracles and salvations. As we enter into His presence, we're going to see His power. He's going to use anointed speakers such as Bob Sorge, Howard Rachinski and Danny Bonilla, as well as us having unforgettable times of worship. For more information about this very affordable conference you can go to the conference website at www.harvestworshipinstitute.com. As with any great event, there's always a group of people who are disappointed. I believe in relation to this conference, the only ones who will be disappointed will be those who didn't attend. Those who heard about what took place and yet weren't there to experience it themselves, looking back on it with regret. Don't be one of these people. It's going to be incredible! See you there :)  Click Here for more information on the Power of the Presence Worship Conference.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Sting of Poor Finances

When it comes to finances, it's an area many people struggle with. I'm always amazed at the sheer numbers of those who don't have a budget, or if they do they can't stick to it. Finances frequently seem to be the one giant area producing pain, stress, grief and hopelessness. I'm shocked how many college graduates leave school with tens of thousands of dollars of student loans, or how many people drive cars and own homes that they really can't afford. The Bible has over 2000 references when it comes to money and so it's obviously a "biggie". If people would live by the following principle, it would solve so many of their financial pressures and problems. "Don't spend more money than you have and learn to live within your means" is simply what it comes down to. Unfortunately this is mostly ignored in our culture. We're told to live the life you've always wanted, even if it means having a huge debt load. With people who get into financial troubles, it never happens overnight. It's usually the fruit of small bad choice after small bad choice. It's so satisfying for me to help our HITC students when it comes to their finances. Teaching them now how to handle their finances will yield fruit as they get older. If you won't face the music now when it comes to your finances, down the road its sting will be much greater. If you struggle with your finances I encourage you to get over your pride and get some help. Find someone who has proven fruit in this area who can help you. Come up with a plan and stick to it. I've seen so many people overcome this once feared enemy, and no longer live in its pain. I challenge you today to live within your means and don't spend more money than you have :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Retaliation and Revenge

Hopefully this isn't how we look? As a family we've been looking at the wisdom and instructions found in 1 Peter 3. It's quite an amazing piece of Scripture which challenges us to the core. In verse 9 it says, "Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and He will bless you for it." Our culture tells us to pay someone back what they deserve! Retaliation and anger is justified because what was done to you or said about you. How sad when Christians fall into this trap of wanting to get revenge and retaliation. I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is "am I bent on getting even or defending myself when I'm wronged? Am I willing to be a blessing even to those who've hurt my feelings?" All too often people think that if they can just get someone back for what they did to them, that everything will be just fine. How wrong this thinking is and how tragic is the path it leads. Last time I checked, revenge, anger and retaliation were not fruit of the Spirit but fruit of the carnal man. The choice before you today is critical. I'm so glad that Jesus wasn't focused on revenge or retaliation, and today I want people around me to see Him in me. I challenge you to read 1 Peter 3 several times this week and allow your heart to open for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. It's been so good for me to read :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stop Dating the Church

As I've gotten older I've found it's usually the little things that I look forward to. One thing I always seem to get excited about is finding a good book to read. My favorite chair allures me and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee is irresistible. The book I'm about to start has come highly recommended from several others. I've enjoyed other books by Joshua Harris and this one should be no exception titled, "Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love With the Family of God". Its foreword states, "We are a generation of consumers, independent and critical. We attend church, but we don't want to settle down and truly invest ourselves. We're not into commitment--we only want to date the church". Sadly, could this be any more accurate and true? Too many people view church much like a consumer does a store. They go there, get what they need and then leave. They think it's all about taking instead of giving. It reminds me of John F. Kennedy's famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Isn't this how we should view the church? Isn't it time we had a change of heart and attitude about the local church? It's so sad seeing people that do exactly what the title of this book suggests and they only date the church. Being a youth pastor for over 10 I have seen too many painful and hurtful things take place between couples who date. It's not that I'm against relationships, but desire to see things done in a way that pleases the Lord. Unfortunately, usually dating between Christians looks no different dating in the world. Don't be known as someone who only dates the church, but jump in, settle down and become a person who truly invests themselves in the Body of Christ.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Throwing Tantrums is Unacceptable!

I was recently in as store getting a few things I needed. I began hearing the high pitch screams of a child. I couldn't tell whether someone had gotten hurt and needed help, so I went looking. As I rounded the aisle I found the culprit. There in a shopping cart was a four or five year old throwing a fit. He was definitely letting everyone in that part of the store know he wasn't happy. I could hear his mom telling him that she wasn't going to buy an item for him and the child's response was simply to go crazy. I'm amazed in our culture that throwing tantrums is acceptable. It's not only a child thing, but is done by people of all ages. When people don't get what they want, or the way they want something, they throw fits. Sometimes you can't help but want to say, "grow up!" I've seen high schoolers, young adults, adults and even older people throw tantrums in public because they didn't get what they wanted. Don't people realize that things frequently don't go the way we expected or planned? It's called life. Life will throw you its curveballs, but we can't get irritated, upset and angry about it. Life is full of the unexpected and unpredictable. This is why Proverbs 3:5-6 is so important to us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." When things don't pan out how you thought they would today, it doesn't give you the right to throw a tantrum, letting everyone around you know about it. Also stop being a victim and feeling sorry for yourself! Run to the Lord and allow Him to lead you as you trust in Him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Beauty...

One of the things I love about Fall/Autumn are the beautiful colors. Everywhere you look there's such a beautiful array of color. It makes me think about the wonderful and creative God I serve. It's as if He's moved His paintbrush to and fro across the trees, leaving His colorful imprint on them. He's so creative! His patterns and colors are unmatched by anything or anyone. Fall always reminds me of Him. It makes me think of His love, His faithfulness and His magnificence. It also reminds me that not only did He create the beautiful Fall scenery our eyes feast on, but He also created you and I. What an incredible craftsman and masterpiece maker He is, full of creativity and purpose. Today look around at all of the wonderful things He has created. Thank Him for all He's done and let your lips praise Him. He's an incredible God!