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 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!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Simple Things

Sometimes it's easy to forget how the simple things can mean so much to us. Yesterday at HITC I decided to give the students a "dress down" day today. As soon as I notified the students about my intention, I seemed to instantly become their hero. Why? Because things that may not seem like they're a big deal to you, may actually be a big deal to someone else. In school today the HITC students are full of gratitude because they were able to dress casually. Too often in our culture we're looking for the big things and can very easily overlook the little things. But it's these little things that can mean so much to others. Holding a door open for someone or simply thanking the store clerk can make such an impact in someone's day. I realize that many of you have a full day today, having many things to do. But as you go throughout your day, don't forget the little things, because often it's those little things that can mean so much to others. What may not be a big deal to you can be huge to someone else :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today Be Second...

I think most Christians would agree with Galatians 2:20, "I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me..." As Christians we have made the choice to no longer live for self, but for Christ. We've chosen to do His will and not our own. Yet if this is the case, why are there still so many selfish Christians? So many who choose to do what they want to do and not what Christ wants. Why do they say they love Him and yet choose not to obey the Bible? We live in such a selfish society that continually emphasizes taking care of self. I did a great study one time that was based off Romans 12:10 which tells us, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." In honor we're to give preference to one another. Usually that implies that we put others first. Why is this so hard for us to do? Because down at the core of who we are selfishness lurks. Can you imagine if today every Christian chose to put others first? And I mean really put others first! Isn't this exactly what Jesus did? Didn't He choose to put others first by dying on the cross? Today I'm challenged to die to self and life for Christ, doing those things that He chose to do. Today I will enjoy being second...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Having Vision For Your Kids

Parenting is one of the most rewarding and yet challenging things you can ever do. We live in a culture where we hear excuse after excuse, diagnosis after diagnosis and the blaming of anyone that could be blamed. I agree with the person who said, "having kids is easy, but raising them is the challenge". Too many parents think that if they step away from their role as a parent and try the hands off parenting approach, that their child will turn out just fine. My take on this however, is that I only have one shot at raising my kids and I'm not willing to let them grow up aimlessly, hoping they hit the mark and become world changers. In today's youth culture I see too many young people who are lethargic, lack vision, settle with the status quo of mediocrity and have an entitlement mindset. One of the reasons for this is parents not having a vision for their kids. As a parent of three teenagers, I know first hand that parenting is very hard work! It takes time, effort and sacrifice, year after year. Too many parents dream of their child being a world changer, and yet don't do anything to make this become a reality. I have vision for my children and as a parent it's my personal responsibility to do everything I can to help them become who God's called them to be. It will take prayer, dying to self, willing to be humble, learning how to talk with them, creating a relationship where they know you love them, helping them grow in their relationship with Christ, fall in love with prayer and the Bible, just to name a few. As a parent, I choose not to fall into the trap of passivity. I can't simply sit back and wait for the stage of life they're in to be over. Seize the day! You are the parent! Get a vision for your kids and take your role as their parent seriously. Your kids can become world changers, but they're going to need your help. You can do it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Beauty of Peace

Peace is such an amazing thing. Yet it surprises me how many people lack peace in their life. Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit  found in Galatians 5. Peace is something that's in your life because of the way you live as you serve Christ. Often people act like they have peace, but on the inside they know they don't have it. So why do so many Christians lack peace? One of the reasons is found in Romans 8:6 which tells us, "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace". What's going on your mind? Life and peace are the product of a mind that's controlled by the Spirit. I'm sure people would be shocked if they were able to see or hear those things we allow our mind to meditate on. Jealousy, uncleanness, agitation, idolatry, bitterness, jealousies, selfish ambitions, hatred, envy and offenses are NOT things we should dwell on, think about, or do. As Christians we shouldn't allow these to take root for even a minute in our minds. These are our life and peace robbers! They come to steal from us and lead to death. Today we can allow either our sinful nature, or the Spirit to control our minds. The fruit will be either death or life and peace. As obvious as this choice is, some will not make the right choice, and suffer the consequences for it. If we choose to live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit, which will include allowing our mind to be controlled by the Spirit. What will you allow to control your mind today? God desires us to have peace in our lives today, but the choice to have it is ours. Peace is such a wonderful blessing from the Lord to us. It's something I'm so thankful for :)