Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Dare You to Go...

When was the last time you went to the gas station and they had no gas? How about going to Walmart or Winco and their shelves were empty? Coming home to no electricity? We live in a nation where we can get virtually anything we want and when we want it! Plus, we can even get it without having any money by using a credit card. Why is it so easy for us to get impatient, irritated and complain? Because too often we're spoiled! I've seen people walk out of a store because they were third in line. I've seen a customer chew out a worker because they ordered a large fry and were given a small. I seen people get angry, curse and gesture to another driver and then put everyone at risk by overtaking the car that was going only 5 miles under the speed limit. I've seen people make a huge scene when their cereal wasn't on the store shelf, but they still had their choice of 200 other kinds. What are things coming to when we allow this to fire us up, stealing from us our peace and joy? One of the things that has completely changed me was going on a short-term overseas missions trip. Going somewhere where you have virtually nothing compared to what you have in your comfortable life in the USA, will bring major changes in the way you see things and think. I challenge and encourage every Christian to go on at least one foreign missions trip. It's one of the best things I've ever done. It will put an end to your whining, complaining and lack of thanks. It will impact your life forever...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Strike Two, Bottom of the Ninth, Down By a Run with 2 Outs...

I watched an amazing game of baseball last night. One of the teams playing, on multiple occasions was only one strike away from winning a world series title. Only one strike! The other team however, was only one strike away from losing the world series. They were on the verge of losing and it everything came down to one pitch. And wouldn't you know it, the team who was so so close to winning gave up hits. The other team came through with hits, holding off defeat, and in the end managing to win the game. So often life is just like this game I watched. You can be in a place where you're only a strike away from defeat and yet the Lord comes through powerfully. He moves as only He can and defeat is suddenly nowhere in sight. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Sometimes things can look hopeless to us and we want to give up, but God is faithful. He's our refuge, our strength and our helper. I've seen God move in so many lives and so many ways, and a lot of times He moves in ways that surprise us. And often in His timing He waits till the last possible moment. But the fact is He moves! Things may come up in your life today and you may not know what to do. You may be down to your last strike, but don't for one moment take your eyes off the Lord. Never forget that the Lord sees what's going on in your life. Here comes your pitch and you desperately need a hit...and the Lord comes through :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Harvest International Training Center

My blog is titled "Insights from the HITC Pastor" and yet you may not even know what HITC is. HITC stands for the Harvest International Training Center, and is Church of the Harvest's Bible and Leadership College. At HITC we raise us leaders who will impact their community whether though full-time ministry or being in the marketplace. I believe HITC is truly an wonderful and yet very different Bible college. I see students often graduate not even resembling the student they first started as. If they are willing to allow God to mold, form and shape them, their possibilities are endless. There are many reasons HITC is different than most Bible schools. Firstly, our entire staff is involved with students on a daily and weekly basis, whether it's in ministry training or teaching classes. This includes our senior pastors, department pastors and even pastors from other local churches. Secondly, we emphasize what I call the "big 3". These are Christ-like character, ministry training and academics. Each of these are vital when it comes to a Bible college. Thirdly, our graduates will graduate with an Associate degree in one year and their Bachelor in Biblical Studies in two, both from Logos Christian College. Although the school is very intensive, the rewards and fruit have been incredible. One of the things we're now starting is having students from other local churches in our valley go to school at HITC, yet they still attend their local church, because maybe their church doesn't have a school or they don't want to go away to a Bible college for four years. We're also excited about the possibility of having some students from other nations next year at HITC. I also know HITC is one of the best money-for-value college opportunities. For $5500 students can earn their degree from Logos, keep all their textbooks (approximately 40 per year), get 2 retreats, a conference, 2 encounters and an international short term mission trip. As you can tell I'm pretty passionate and excited about HITC. If you want to know more about HITC we have an "Intro to HITC" night on Sunday November 6 from 4-6pm. You can also get more details at our website

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's On Your Feet?

Like most people I have multiple pairs of shoes. OK, so I have quite a few pairs of shoes. Some are athletic shoes, some are dress shoes and some are simply casual shoes. But when it comes to me wearing shoes there's one pair I have that are my "comfy" shoes. Whenever I get a chance to wear them, I do. I think everyone has that one pair they love to wear. They fit my feet so comfortably it feels like I'm not even wearing them. They are my Cole Haan Nike Air Estadio's. There's simply nothing else quite like them. To me there's nothing quite like being on your feet all day in a pair of shoes that your feet love. I'm so thankful for all the shoes I have, knowing that there are so many people around the world who don't even have one pair, let alone a favorite pair. I've been to some places where no-one has shoes and then I think about how many pairs I have in my closet. So the next time you go into your closet and search through all of your shoes, looking for that right pair, and yet can't seem to find them. Don't forget about how blessed you are with all the shoes you do have and that there are people around the world who wish they had just one of your pairs of shoes :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Be One of the 1%

Recently there's been a lot of media coverage recently about the "occupy Wall Street" protests and how its momentum has spread to other cities around the world. At these protests I continue to hear the term, "We are the 99%!" Essentially the protests are in opposition to corporations and the wealthy. My intent today isn't to focus on these protests but to link it to something Jesus said. In thinking about this a little more, I began thinking about a story in Matthew 7:13-14 where Jesus tells us to, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." It's interesting that Jesus uses the terms "few" and "many" in this passage. Maybe these words could be changed to the "1%" and the "99%"? As Christians don't get swayed into doing what culture does. We're called to walk the path of the few which leads to life, while the path of the many leads to destruction! Jesus Himself wasn't part of the 99% in His culture, He was one of the 1%. At times the path of the few may be lonely, difficult and challenging, however where it leads cannot be ignored, heaven. Today I encourage you to be one of the 1% who live for wholehearted for Jesus. Be one of the 1% who don't simply do what the other 99% do. Today my blog has nothing to do with occupy Wall Street, but is simply an encouragement to be a Christian. God has called you to be a light that shines brightly for Him :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Missing Piece

I've been thinking a lot lately about how strategic the Lord is when it comes to people and families. When someone is born God's the one who places them in that particular family. I don't know at times all of His reasons for doing what He does, however I fully trust Him. He has His specific reasons for placing people in the family they're in, and that family just wouldn't be the same without that person. It's exactly the same way when it comes to the local church. In 1 Corinthians1:18 we see that, "But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He pleased." Here again we see God's strategic placement of people in a local church. Too many people simply "attend" church and never see that God has placed them there, to let their roots go down, to submit themselves to the pastors of that church and for them to be builders there. It's in the local church where there's teaching and training, relationships, opportunities to serve and grow and so much more. God has placed people where He desires simply because they have a part to play and that only they can fulfill. It's like a jigsaw puzzle missing a piece. No other piece will fit except the one that was designed for that specific place. But when that piece is placed where it belongs the puzzle is whole. That's the beauty of a church body when everyone does their part and what God designed them to do. If you have been planted in a local church, be a builder and do what the Lord's called you to do. You have been placed there by the Lord Himself. In doing this you'll find peace, fulfillment, joy and contentment :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Loving Hugging

One of the most special things for me is cuddling with my kids, especially my youngest daughter Hannah :) There's something about them curling up in your arms and resting their head on you. Even though my kids are getting bigger every day, there's something about cuddling. It's not just special for them, as they rest in the arms of someone they trust and feel completely protected with, knowing how much they're loved. But I too love holding my kids, letting them know they are loved, protected and precious. More and more parents are becoming less touch and cuddly with their kids, yet a child needs to be held. Every dad can't forget that their daughter needs to be held, and if you're not the one holding her, she'll look for someone else to hold her. I think of all the verses in the Bible that tell of how much the Lord holds us in His arms when we need Him to and how it's there that we're comforted, protected and peaceful. Parents hug your children today, regardless of how big they are, because being held is a natural desire of children. Happy hugging...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aiming Too Low?

I recently heard a quote that's so true. "Most people don't aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit." Think about this for a minute! It's incredibly accurate and true. In working with HITC students we deal a lot with setting goals. Why? Because without goals people will never grow, excel, achieve or see what they're capable of doing. We live in a world where people live in a constant fear of failure. People will not step out because the possibility of failure is too great or overwhelming for them. Too many people play it safe so they'll never have to worry about failing, but is this really who we've been called to be? We're called to be people of faith and sometimes that means aiming higher. Take some time today to think about some goals if you have none. If you have goals, re-evaluate them. We can't let failure be the thing that guides and leads us! We can't let fear dictate what we do or don't do. Aim high! It's not about failure! Every single day I'm around people who have always aimed low and hit. However, now they're aiming high and also beginning to hit their target. They've frequently heard that they shouldn't aim high and so they've never tried. But as they've raised their vision and aimed higher, they're beginning to see that they are capable of succeeding. Will you aim higher today? Will you not allow fear to lead you? Today aim high and hit your target!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Definitely A Love-Hate Relationship

At 4:39am this morning my two trusty alarms began their beeping and buzzing. They pulled me from my deep sleep and were successful with their job of waking me up. Most people don't like alarms. Actually I think most people hate their alarms! As much as I dislike my alarms, simply for what they do (dragging me out of sleep), I am also very thankful for my alarms. I guess it's a love-hate relationship. Right now some of you may be thinking, "how in the world can you be thankful for an alarm"? Where would we be without alarms? Try going a day without alarms. Can you imagine your life without alarms? Would you still have a job? Would you miss your first few classes? How many business meetings and appointments would you miss? How many flights would you miss? In fact our alarms are often the very thing that get our day starting on the right track. We're called to "...give thanks always for all things to God..." in Ephesians 5:20. Tomorrow morning when your alarm goes off, choose to be thankful that your alarm woke you up so you could get a running start on your day. However, I must admit my favorite morning of the week is Saturday. Why you may ask? Because on Saturday mornings my alarms are not set. It's the one morning I get to sleep without being awakened by beeping and buzzing :) As difficult as it is for me to say, I am thankful for my alarms.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Poisoned By Bitterness

I remember talking with an elderly person one time. The reason I still remember this conversation is because of the lesson I learned from it. It had nothing to do with their wisdom or insight, but the sad fruit that they were blind to. This elderly person had been involved in a falling out with a close friend years before. In fact it was over 25 years earlier. The sad reality is that this person had allowed the bitterness and offense from this relationship to govern a huge part of their life. And unfortunately, I'm sure this person went to the grave still bitter and offended. It's so tragic when people cannot move on past being bitter and offended. I understand that things do happen to all of us, some of which cannot be controlled. I myself am no different than anyone in this area. However, our response is the key. We all have the choice to forgive and live in freedom, or to not forgive and be bound up with chains of bitterness. As I tried reasoning with this elderly person about what they were choosing to do, the sad reality was obvious. This person was totally willing to live with the pain and torment of being bitter towards someone because of offenses. Peter strongly speaks to the sorcerer in Acts 8:23 saying, "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."When you're bitter and offended, just like in this verse, it's visible to all. People can see you're bitter and that something isn't right. Are you willing to go to your grave bitter and offended? We have a choice today to experience freedom through forgiveness, and to no longer be bound by the poison of bitterness. Don't be bitter any longer :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's Your Focus, Comfort or Contentment?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much we seek being comfortable. Where we go, what we wear, what we have and what we want, are all too often comfort related. If ever we encounter something that doesn't make us comfortable, the typical response is to replace it with something that is comfortable. A term used several times in the Bible is being "content." Even thought these two words look similar, there is a huge difference between the two. One definition of comfort is, "a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety."This sounds like what our culture desires. Compare this with the definition of content, "satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else." Have you ever noticed that people who are comfort focussed are always looking for something else that will comfort them? However those who are content aren't. We live in a world that emphasizes comfort and is always telling you your need to be comfortable. Will you let that influence you today or will you be content and thankful for all you've been blessed with? Paul tells us his take on this in Philippians 4:11, "...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." He explains more if you read the next couple of verses.  Comfort cannot be our focus, however, contentment is something we all need to grow in :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Responding to the Unexpected

No matter how well you think you have things planned out in a day, there will always be things that come at us that we weren't expecting. I was recently watching a clip of a mountain biker in an African game park. As he was racing on his bike, out of nowhere came a huge antelope and totally took him out (check it out at So how are you going to respond today when something unexpectedly flies in your face? You'll have a lot of choices which essentially fall into two categories. The first kind of responses could look like anger, frustration, irritation, jealousy or offense. The second kind could look like peace, forgiving, trusting God, kind, or thankfulness. Obviously there's a huge difference between these two groups of responses, and we get to choose which one we'll embrace. Too often something that happens to us can bring out the worst in us, which can in turn affect the rest of your day or even longer. There are many examples within the Bible of people who had unexpected things happen to them, but they still chose to have the right response. Psalm 61 tells us, "From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings."When things happen today that you weren't planning on, let it be an opportunity for you not to lose your peace and joy, but to run to the Lord :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Starting My Day...

For many people mornings are a struggle. It's a battle getting out of bed once the alarm has been turned off. It's another battle to get going with your day. To me mornings are a precious time. It's a time when most people are asleep and the quietness is so peaceful, especially between 4:30--5:30am when I usually am up. Before jumping into some prayer time with the Lord, I always start my day off with 2 special things. They are my Bible and a hot cup of coffee. To many these may not sound very exciting, but to me, I love starting my day off with my Bible, slowly sipping on a cup of refreshing coffee, hoping that it encourages my body to get going :) There's something about starting my day off reading the Bible with my coffee. It's a time to think, reflect and plan, in the stillness of the early hours. I know to some it may seem dull or unexciting, but to me it's a vital time that can have a powerful impact on the rest of my day. Don't let the busyness or loudness of your day drown out those simple things that are so important. It's times such as these that we need to treasure the simple things. I hope you learn to cherish and enjoy your time in the Bible with your coffee as much as I do :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Being Critical of Others is Not a Gift

Have you ever noticed at how easy it is to come up with a list of 25 negative things about someone? Yet coming up with only 5 encouraging things about someone takes a lot more effort. We live in a world where criticism thrives. A world where people feel they're entitled to voice their negativity and criticism whenever, to whoever, about whatever. The Message encourages us in Ephesians 4:29, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." Imagine if we looked at our every word as a gift :) It's so tragic to me how little people encourage, edify or strengthen with their words, finding it much easier to tear down and destroy. Proverbs 18:21 gives us a very clear choice, "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose." Today every person in the world will have the choice to build up or destroy with their words. Being critical and negative essentially "kills." Being encouraging "gives life." Today it's time to put down your magnifying glass and looking for things to be critical about in others. Choose to be a builder, allowing your words to bring life and strengthen to others. See what a difference you can make today in the lives of those around you, simply by your words :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

There's Nothing Wrong With Hard Work!

I got my first job as a janitor at thirteen years old. I rode my bike 3 miles each way to get there, every Monday through Friday. I made $4 an hour. I have also worked paper routes, grave yard shifts, strung tennis rackets, babysat, ran errands, taught tennis, worked without pay, washed cars, worked retail, and many other jobs. I believe in hard work. I believe hard work is good for you. It was something I learned at a young age. I have no problem with people who don't like what happens when others make their billions and are successful. However, I'm amazed at how many people complain and whine when they themselves are lazy and believe they're entitled to anything. Everyone has the same opportunities in this great nation, if you're willing to work hard. In these difficult economic times, I personally know numerous people who have done what they've needed to do, to survive. They've taken second jobs, part-time jobs, worked hours no-one else was willing to work, sold belongings and so on. Unfortunately in these times people can't expect their $20-$30 per hour dream job with full benefit packages. There are people who are make things happen. They are my heroes! They will do whatever it takes to provide for them and their family. It's time for people to stop making excuses and blaming others, and take responsibility and work hard. Be thankful for your job and always be the employee that an employer can't afford to let go. I'm so proud of my wife who graduated college with no student loans or debt, was a full-time student, worked hard through college, and showed what can be done. What are you capable of doing today? :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Winning is Everything...

Something I've thought about recently is how much we focus on the present. I agree that today is of great importance, but compared with eternity? We're here on earth for 80-90 years, give or take a few, and then it's on to eternity :) Our focus while here on earth shouldn't be about pleasing self, but living for God. In the Message Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:24 lays it out well saying, "You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally." Life truly is about winning and we're encouraged to run our lives in order to win. But it isn't just about winning while we're here, but winning for eternity. We are to live in such a way now that allows us to be winners for the rest of time. Too often we can let our focus be solely on the here and now, never giving eternity any thought. What a tragedy this produces. As you go about your day today, live it in such a way that you win the prize! Live it in such a way that you show others it's more than just about today, but eternity :) How you live today will affect what happens tomorrow, so live today as a winner!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's Your Motive for Being Excellent?

I was looking over one of my favorite books yesterday, "Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be" by Leroy Eims. In it he has an amazing chapter titled "Why Some Leaders Excel." Have you ever wondered why that is? Why do some leaders excel and others don't? Too often our desire to excel comes from wrong motives, emphasizing our fleshly effort and worldly ambition. We do it to impress others in order to receive their praise. Hopefully this isn't your reason for wanting to excel. Shouldn't our reason for wanting to excel and be excellent come from our desire to please the Lord? Too often we forget that excellence is one of God's attributes, and we as Christians should always want to reflect that. His name is excellent, His loving-kindness is excellent, His greatness is excellent, His salvation is excellent, His work is excellent, His way is excellent and His will is excellent. If everything we do is in the name of the Lord, we should be certain that it reflects Him well. Today we will have countless opportunities to excel and reflect Him. Choose not to get sucked in to the cultures philosophy when it comes to this. Also don't let your focus be on perfection, but let it be on excellence, as there's a huge difference. And really the only way for us to be excellent is through Jesus, who Himself was excellent in everything He did. Today make the choice to be excellent :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Don't Let Yesterday's Failures Determine Today's Outcome

Have you ever eaten out before and the meal or service hasn't been very good? I think all of us have. Are you eager to return? Usually not. When eating out we have the choice to not return, but in life we usually don't have this choice. Have you ever had a bad day at work, and didn't want to go back? How about a rough day as a parent, and didn't want to be a parent anymore. What about failing a test in school and deciding to end your education? If we allowed our failures or downfalls in life to dictate what we chose to do, it would be tragic. Everyone has those moments or days when they're holding the towel in their hand, ready to throw it down and give in. We all have those moments where it's probably better to stay down. But life isn't about staying down! It's not about living based on your failures. Life is about getting back up when you are down. It's about finding hope, courage and strength to rise up and give it another shot. Proverbs 24:16 talks about a man who falls down seven times and yet rises each time. Have you ever thought how things might be different in your life if you hadn't chosen to get back up and get back in the saddle after being bucked off? We live in a culture that makes it easy to stay down and hard to get back up. But that's not what we're called to do. We are called to rise up and keep going! Don't let yesterday's failures determine today's outcomes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Extreme Makeover-Life Edition

Last night I went to our ROAR youth service. It was incredible! I've never seen so many young people cram into ROAR HQ like last night. The Lord's presence was precious and His power was electrifying! As we were worshipping, I began to notice people all around me whose lives have been radically touched by the Lord Himself. People who were once broken, hurting, visionless, fearful, harsh, angry, lost, suicidal, hopeless and so on. People who the world had given up on and said would never amount to anything. Yet these very same people had met Jesus. Things were quite different now in their lives. A transformation had taken place. They are now healed, have vision and purpose, are full of faith, and are being used by the Lord as lights that shine in a dark world. To me it's beautiful seeing something that's broken, meet the Master, and then seeing Him put their life back together. Maybe today you're facing something that's way bigger than you? Maybe you don't want to continue on the path you're going? For you there's great news and His name is Jesus. Jesus came to "heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening the prison to those who are comfort all who give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for heaviness..." (Isaiah 61:1-3) Just as He came and has touched the lives of so many who were at ROAR last night, He also wants to touch your life, if you'll let Him. Will you let Him?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Smiles and Kind Words...

Have you ever been into a store or maybe a coffee shop, and have been greeted by a store clerk or barista? As you make eye contact that person smiles at you and even says something kind. It's so refreshing! I guess this is easily overlooked until you come across the norm of someone who's grumpy and can't seem to get anything kind out of their mouth. Have you ever noticed what power a smile has? It can bring such peace, break down walls and put everyone at ease. However, not everyone can smile. It takes effort to allow those cheek muscles to work :) And how about the impact of kind words? When someone says kind things to you how does it make you feel? You love it! Today you can have the same impact if you say kind words to people. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted..." Can you imagine what would happen today, if instead of putting on your angry face and spewing bitter words or criticism, that you did the opposite? You have the choice to smile and say kind words and make an impact in someone's life, that you may or may not know. Yes you may stick out a little, but only because our culture isn't use to this. Go against the grain today and work those cheek muscles and allow kindness to flow from your mouth. It will be well worth it and don't forget to give me some feedback on how it went :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Will You Finish or Get Distracted?

Have you ever started something and didn't seem to finish? I think this is an all too common occurrence. How many times have you gone to Costco for a specific item and before you know it every part of the store is screaming your name. What should have been a 15 minute trip for one item, has suddenly become an hour and 15 trip and you end up with 20 items. So why does this happen? Distractions! We as a culture are so easily distracted. Attention spans are shrinking, finishing things is on the decrease and putting things on hold is on skyrocketing. It's funny to me how easy it is for distractions to prevent us from doing what needs to be done. What needs to take place is for us to "stay the course." Whether it's something small, or something that's life changing, we must become finishers. I think of Paul's words in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." This must be our resolve for today! Our world is full of those who start, but those who finish are few. Today I will not allow distractions to get in the way and prevent me from being a finisher! Be on guard, because those little distractions will be hiding around every corner, just waiting. Don't let distractions get in your way today and cross your finish line :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Your Last 24 hours to Live...

If you were told by a doctor today that you only had 24 hours to live, how would you live your last 24 hours? Fortunately most people never hear these words and unfortunately most people never live each day as if it were their last. Think about it for a moment, but really how would you live today? Who would you want to see? Where would you want to go? What would you like to do? Would you be mean, upset and angry? Would you be kind, compassionate and loving? I think this scenario would change the way I lived today. Unfortunately, too many people will allow today to be just a normal and mundane day, hoping that a brighter day is around the corner. Today, we have the ability to make our day whatever we want it to be! Today we can be selfish or giving, mean or kind, full of complaining or thanksgiving, putting yourself first or others first, tearing others down or building them up. Today is your day to make it whatever you want. My take on today is this, that "This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) The Lord has given me today to live it to the fullest. To live in such a way that's pleasing to Him and which draws others to Him. He's given me today to live in such a way that others can't stumble because of me and that others can't justify the way they live because of how I do. Today belongs to the Lord and I'm going to live it that way :) Will you live today as if it was your last?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cheap Imitation or the Real Deal?

Today has definitely signified a change in the seasons. It's much cooler and is rainy. As I pulled into the church parking lot I reached under my seat and grabbed my umbrella. I haven't needed to use it for months, but today will be the first of many days it will be used over the next 3-4 months. As I held my umbrella I couldn't help but smile. This wasn't just any old umbrella, but my $8 Totes umbrella. A few years ago I was on a missions trip to Romania where we encountered some very rainy weather. I had a cheap imitation umbrella that didn't fare too well. Because of that I now carry an umbrella that isn't an imitation, but is the real deal. It's kind of like that with many people who call themselves Christians. They call themselves a Christian, carry a Bible, and even do things that make them seem like they're the real thing, however they're not. As Christians we're called to be followers of Christ, imitators of Him. Everything we do, say and think should point people to Jesus without hesitation. Today all of us will have the chance to allow others to see the real us. Will what they see in us be Christ or a cheap imitation? Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." --Jesus (Matthew 5:16)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where's Your Peace and Joy?

As a parent, praying for my children on a daily basis has been a necessity. Seeing the Lord answer my prayers over them has been amazing, and stirs me to pray even more for them. One of the things I pray daily for my children is that they wouldn't surrender their "peace or joy." Obviously they are two of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruits of Christ living inside of us. In other words, and this is what I tell my children, no-one or no thing can steal your peace or joy. However, you can surrender it. You can give it up and allow something else to replace it. As Christians, all too often we surrender our peace and joy that's within us, allowing bitterness, jealousy, envy, anger, frustration, heaviness, and so on, to enter. Have you ever been around someone who's full of peace and joy? It's so obvious and attractive :) I'm challenged daily to fight to keep my peace and joy, choosing not to surrender it for because of what someone is doing or has said, or for some circumstance I have no control over. Will you choose to keep your peace and joy today? As fruit of Christ living inside of you it's well worth it. If you're a parent I encourage you to pray for peace and joy in your children as well as for yourself.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"I Don't Make Mistakes!"

When God made you, He made you precisely according to His plan. Even down to the last detail, in His eyes you are perfect. You are His masterpiece! You are the wonderful product of Divine design and creativity. Everything about you is exactly from the Master Craftsman Himself. Sometimes it's easy to look at ourselves and allow the door of personal criticism or victim thinking to enter. But when it comes down to it, you were made by the Creator who says, "I made you just the way I intended, because I don't make mistakes." Psalm 139 clearly tells us how He feels about us. Verses 17 and 18 say, "How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!And when I awake You are still with me!" Today we will all have a chance to look in the mirror and see what we think are imperfections or blemishes. But don't forget that when God looks at you, only words of praise, excellence and beauty will come from His mouth about you. Live today as God's masterpiece, because you are!