Saturday, March 31, 2012

Most things Don't Endure

We live in a culture where so many people seem to be wanting and screaming, "More! More!" It's as if what they have is just never enough. Sometimes this can be a good thing, and other times it isn't. But really, have you ever had one of those moments where you just wished you had a little more? Perhaps it was in a bathroom that had no more toilet paper. Or maybe it was a hot day and you just finished your ice cold Coke and needed one more sip. All natural things in life eventually run out and obviously don't last forever. However, don't worry because there are some incredible things which do last forever. And as you'll notice with each of these things, they all describe some aspect or attribute of God. The Bible is full of examples such as these I've given and by no means is this an exhaustive list. But here are some that I think are significant in the fact that they last forever. There is His mercy (1 Chronicles 16:34); the Lord Himself (Psalm 9:7); His goodness (Psalm 52:1); His name (Psalm 72:17); His truth (Psalm 100:5); His glory (Psalm 104:31); His righteousness (Psalm 111:3); His praise (Psalm 111:10); His faithfulness (Psalm 119:90); His righteous judgments (Psalm 119:160); His dominion (Psalm 145:13); His love (Jeremiah 31:3); and His word (1 Peter 1:25). What an amazing God! Although most things will and do pass away, it's such a comfort knowing that God and these things will always last and endure forever :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Can't Get Enough of This

If you asked me, "What is something special I love doing?" One of the first things out of my mouth would be, "Going on dates with my girls and doing special things with my son." I know that today's younger generation loves hanging out with their friends, sitting in front of a TV or game console, being preoccupied with their cellphone, and many other things. The relational disconnect between kids and parents continues to increase. But when it comes down to it, my kids need quality time with me. Time where we can talk, play and connect :) I did this a few nights ago with my youngest daughter. We went to her favorite Starbucks, and not because of the coffee, but because they have the best furniture. I got her favorite drink (a blended juice), then we played cards and talked on her favorite chaise, for the next 45 minutes. I must admit she did crush me in cards, but I wouldn't trade our time together for the world. I needed to talk with my daughter and she needed to talk with me. It was such a wonderful "daddy date." I realize that we all have very busy schedules with a lot going on in our lives. However, there aren't very many things that come before being a parent. I must make time to do things like this. It must be a priority. Being a parent takes time and hard work, but it's well worth it. Dads, I especially challenge you. Go and do something with your kids. Let them know how you love them and how much they mean to you. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Make it a priority because before you know it, they'll be all grown up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seeing the Obvious

Several people have talked with me this week about their need to develop and strengthen their personal prayer and devotion life with the Lord. As Christians our most vital relationship must be the one we have with the Lord. We are simply sinners who are in need of God's grace on a daily basis. I don't want to be like so many others who are wise in their own eyes or rely simply on their own strength. I know precisely what I am and who I need. Each day I spend time with the Lord and it's there that I ask for His strength, His wisdom, His grace, His mercy and His forgiveness. I'd be a fool to think I could go a day in my own strength or abilities. I'd be crazy to say that I have it all under control and don't really need Him. Yet this is how so many people live. Their need for Him only arises when there's a need. Two of my favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5-6 which tell us in the Amplified, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths." Their is so much wisdom found in these verses if only we'd do what they say. Today, recognize your great need of the Lord. Don't try to make it through on your own strength or without Him. Live in His strength, receive His grace and follow His leading. It's as simple as surrendering your day to Him :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let Them Live and Be Loved

I realize there's a huge debate going on right now in the Idaho Statehouse about whether or not a mother should need to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. In fact it's a very heated debate and at times downright nasty (well nasty from the side that's anti-life). I believe that a every child has the right to live life, which includes those in the womb. The Bible clearly states in Psalm 127:3, "Children are a gift from the Lordthey are a reward from him." Recently I've had a first hand opportunity to watch a young mother do what God has called her to do and that's to love her baby. I've seen her cherish, nurture and watch over her little gift from God. This is something that all parents are called to do. Every baby desperately needs love. Unfortunately in our culture, babies can often be seen as inconvenient, a burden and even a mistake. How could anyone even think that? When you look at the intricate handiwork of God that's seen in a baby's face, hands, feet and the rest of their body, how could you not cherish these little bundles of life and energy. There really is something amazing about life. Having the opportunity to hold life in your hands and see it grow and blossom. I take my hat off to every parent who values a child's life and sees a children as gift from God. Being a parent is one of the most incredible responsibilities someone could ever have, and at the same time it's one of the most rewarding. Today I challenge every parent to see their child as a gift from God, and to love their precious little ones just as the Lord does :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gross Yet True

One of the most obvious compare and contrast topics the Bible makes is between the fool and the wise. There are literally hundreds of them. In our culture being foolish often seems to be fun and normal. But as you take a closer look in the Bible, being called or known as a fool is not complimentary at all. In fact it indicates many negative things. I've challenged many people to spend a month in proverbs, listing all the characteristics of the wise man and wisdom, as well as the characteristics of a fool and folly. It's quite a remarkable and yet opposing list. One of the most interesting verses dealing with the fool is Proverbs 26:11 which says, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness." I know this is pretty gross but I want you to get a picture of how gross this really is. For many of you who own dogs, you're well aware that when a dog vomits, often it will eat its own vomit, and sometimes even the vomit of another dog. This clear picture is how a fool is described as they repeat their folly. They're foolish and the result is foolishness, but it doesn't stop there. Once they've been foolish, they return to it and play in it some more. It's like they can't stop their foolishness. It's as if they take pleasure in being a fool. Yet this isn't God's desire for us. His desire is for his people is for them to be wise. If there's no reference to foolishness when it comes to God, His character or His nature, why would anyone desire to be foolish? All of us have opportunities to choose wisdom or foolishness throughout our day. Your choices will indicate whether you're choosing wisdom or eating vomit :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Small Things That Get Under Your Skin

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the smallest things can frustrate us? Maybe it's the long line at Starbucks, a slow internet connection, the driver going under the speed limit, or the stapler that's empty of staples. No really, we allow these things to get under our skin, irritating, agitating and bugging us. I guess it's partly due to our wrong thinking where we expect everything to be perfect, especially when it comes to what we want or when we need it. Have you ever gone throughout your day being agitated? Or maybe frustrated at something? It's easy for us to say that when it comes to our day, it's really not about us, but others. However, upon closer examination we can see that so much of what frustrates us actually stems from us not getting our way or in our timing. In all honesty, things bug us! Things frustrate us! Is the long line at Starbucks, the slow internet connection, a slow driver or an empty stapler, really deserving of stealing our peace and joy? Absolutely not! Romans 15:13 tells us, "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." This is also my desire. That we'd be filled completely with joy and peace as we trust God and overflowing with hope. When things don't go just how you expected or in the timing you wanted, think about the peace and joy that fills you because of Christ. Don't allow irritation, frustration, agitation, anger or rage gain a foothold in your day. It's really not worth it because of everything Christ did for you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover...

One of the biggest mistakes a person could make is to judge a book by its cover. I've done it before and I'm sure I'm not the only one. The same thing can easily happen when it comes to people. Some of my closest and most loyal friends are those that I would never have expected. If I were to only look on the outside, I would have missed the precious gold that was in them. Judging people by the way they look on the outside is done frequently in our culture, and couldn't be a bigger mistake. I'm thankful God doesn't base everything on what He sees on the outside of us. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us this plainly and what the Lord does, "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I remember watching a TV story about two individuals, who at different times entered "Britain's Got Talent", the show "America's Got Talent" was modeled after. Both of these eventual winners shocked the judges the first time they sang. Just looking on the outside, both were laughed at and not much was expected from them. But as soon as they began singing something powerful happened. It's like what was on the inside was released. As you go about your day, don't just pass by people because of what they look like. Why you may ask? Because you might be completely missing the gold right before your eyes. Check out their clips at the following links and enjoy :) and also  These links have over 6 million and 90 million hits respectively. Why? Because they were truly gold that was found. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

How Come They Have...

Have you ever thought about how blessed you are? If you listed everything you don't have, compared to those things you do have, it may look a little lopsided. But upon closer examination, the truth of the matter is that we're blessed. I may not have a smartphone, but I'm still blessed. I may not drive a newer car (or even one with under 220,000 miles on it), but I'm still SO blessed. I may do most of my clothes shopping at Goodwill, but I'm still blessed. I may not have the biggest house or the fanciest furniture, but I'm so blessed. I may not make a six figure income, but blessed I am. In terms of our culture, I may not have even a fraction of what others may have, but you definitely can't say the Lord hasn't blessed me. I may not have a smartphone, but my old school Blackberry continues to work well. I may not have a newer car, but my old truck never seems to let me down. I may shop for most of my clothes at Goodwill, but sometimes I can't believe the incredible things I get for pennies on the dollar. I may not have the biggest house or fanciest furniture, but our home and everything that's in it is more than we could ever ask for or dream of. I may not make a six figure income, but the Lord continues to provide and watch over us as only He can, when it comes to every all of our bills. You see, when it comes down to it, we're blessed. Blessed beyond measure. In fact, abundantly blessed. Proverbs 10:6 tells us, "The godly are showered with blessings..." Take a moment to thank the Lord today for all He's blessed you with :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Key Ingredient of All Relationships

If I asked you what you believe is the most essential ingredient in a relationship, what would you say? I think most people would say something like "trust". Even among the many necessities of any relationship, it usually all boils down to trust. Whether or not a person can be trusted. Why is trust so vital to a relationship? Because without it, a relationship will simply fall apart because of distrust. What is trust? It's simply relying on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of a person or thing. What's interesting about trust is how long it takes to build and yet how quickly it can be destroyed. In fact, some relationships never recover because mistrust can't be erased, and trust can't be re-established. So how do you build trust? As my pastor says, "By making daily deposits into the bank of trust, and by not making erratic withdrawals from it." To trust anyone, you must make yourself somewhat vulnerable, and vulnerability is not something everyone does with ease. Being vulnerable means that sometimes you have to be honest, open, admit your wrongs and even ask for help. If you have a desire to strengthen your relationships, allow trust to become a pillar in them. You may have no control over what another person does, but you do have that control in what you do. Be a person who infuses trust into your relationships.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life and Weather Can Have A Lot In Common

Have you ever thought about how life can be like the weather? Unpredictable, with the ability to go from one extreme to the other. One day you can be on top of the world and the next day your world comes crashing down. Or it can go from being at an all time low, to all of sudden being on a mountain top. Yesterday in our valley we had some snow, wind and cold temperatures. While today the weather forecast is for mild and 65 degrees. In a matter of hours things can be completely opposite. Life can sometimes be the same way. In all of the ups and downs of life there is one constant, God. I read a church sign recently which said, "Sometimes God calms the storm and other times He calms His child." Isn't that the truth! Sometimes we want God to calm the storm and get us out of it, when His plan is to calm us as we go through the storm. God never said He'd change the circumstances or storms in our lives (that doesn't mean He doesn't or can't), but what He did say is that He wouldn't leave us. In Psalm 57:1 the psalmist says, "...I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by." Sometimes all we can do is hide under His protection. Truly God is faithful in every way. You may presently be going through a difficult time, season or situation. Never forget that God is with you through every moment and that just like the weather, things can turn around dramatically when you walk with Him. And if you're praying for God to take the storm away, don't forget that sometimes the storm is His doing, to see if you'll trust and obey Him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breaking Chains and Experiencing Freedom...

This past weekend I had the privilege of being part of our church's Encounter ministry team. This was our 50th (give or take a few) Encounter, and as usual, God showed up POWERFULLY! I'm always amazed at how a person can begin an Encounter so bound and chained up with the sins of life, and yet by the end of it, they're a completely different person. So many of these people are experiencing freedom for the first time in years. They stand on John 8:36 which declares to us, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." And that's exactly what happened with this group of eighty or so attendees. They became free! Not because of what any person did at the Encounter, but solely because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. They experienced Colossians 2:13-15, "Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross." As with any person, if you're hungry and desperate for God, He will meet you. He will be found. Why? Because He's a loving Father who created you for relationship with Him. God's faithfulness and love towards those He died for is so obvious. Thank you Jesus for the freedom you gave us, not because of anything we can do (except believe), and for your amazing love :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Winning Worth More Than the Relationship?

As a pastor I'm frequently helping couples strengthen their relationship with one another. One of the most common destructive habit patterns I see in couples is an unwillingness to drop an argument. Unfortunately both people want their point of view to win the argument, and unfortunately this comes at a costly price. Is making your point more important to you than the relationship? Is your stance more important than the other person? The sad reality of these questions is that a person is often more willing to be right about something, even at the costly expense to their relationship. Sometimes it can be the husband and other times it can be the wife. So what's the key here when it comes to relationships? Is it stomping all over your spouse and doing a victory dance? Absolutely not! The key to healthy and successful relationships is humility. It's being willing to say, "the outcome isn't as important to me as our relationship." It takes a person of courage and loyalty to be able to say this. Romans 12:10 tells us to, "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Many divorces and separations are the result of pride and an unwillingness to honor the other person. If a person loves with genuine affection in a relationship you'll see them truly honor the person. To them it's not about winning, it's about loving. So if you drop something does that mean that you were wrong and the other person was right? Nope! It just means that you value the relationship more than winning or proving your point :) What do you value more?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ultimate Protection...

Sometimes I think we live in a culture where there's an overemphasis of protecting yourself. This can take the form of many different things. And no, I wasn't thinking of Chuck Norris either :) Whether it's in our home, in a car, on a sports field, or anywhere else, protection is usually a big deal. Now I'm certainly not saying this is a bad thing, but is there some other sort of protection that sometimes we can miss? Maybe the obvious? Psalm 3:3 tells us, "But You, O LORD, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the One who holds my head high." Now that's some serious protection! The Lord is a shield around us. Now this doesn't mean we don't ever do anything to protect us, as that goes against wisdom. But we should know the Lord surrounds us. And not only is He a shield around us, but He He's our glory and the One who sustains us, holding our head high. Every day I ask for the Lord to surround my day, my family, my friends, our church, and many other things. He is our ultimate protector. He protects us like no-one can or nothing else can. And why does He choose to do this? Simply because He loves us so much. Thank you Lord for being my protector :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Random Question...

Do you ever have random questions that pop into your head? Things that you wonder, "where in the world did that come from?" Well I have one one of those questions for you. If Jesus were here with us today, in our culture, in the flesh, what kind of vehicle would He drive? "Yep" I agree with what you're thinking right now :) It is totally random. Would he drive an exotic car? A muscle car? A classic? A hybrid? A minivan? A sports car? What do you think? Would it be a Honda? Toyota? Hummer? Lamborghini? Ford? We know He's the Son of God, loves people, and usually went against culture with everything He did. I know what I think He'd drive nowadays, which I'll post in a comment later, but how about you? Maybe some of you think it might be a Honda Accord, because His disciples from time to time were in "one accord." I'd love to hear your feedback :) Think about it and let me know. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Where Does Your Hunger Drive You?

For many of us our Bible can mean so much and is highly treasured. That's no different for me either. For the past 5 or so years my sword of choice has been an amazing, old school Nelson NKJV wide-margin Bible, which is bulky and weighs about 2lbs. It's so marked up and has been used extensively. I have no intention of ditching this workhorse Bible of mine, but due to its size and weight it's not the most easily transported sword. It will still be my mainstay for studying and in the office, but for transportation purposes I purchased a sweet Holman ultra thin Bible. If my wide-margin Bible is my sword, I guess you could call this new and smaller one my dagger :) As I've been reading this new Bible over the past few days, I've noticed something amazing. Just like someone who's starving for food who goes to an "all you can eat" buffet, I've found myself with the same appetite for my brand new, unmarked, unused Word of God. There's something about reading a Bible that's not all marked up. There's no underlining, highlighting, circling, notes to self, or anything else. So as I'm reading, it's like everything is new, fresh and exciting. It reminds me of when I was first saved and how sometimes I wouldn't even go to bed at night because I couldn't put down my Bible. Hebrews 4:12 is as real to me today as it was in February 1989 when I became a believer when it says, "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." The Bible is amazing! And I'm so excited to keep digging into my new one and allowing it to speak to me, strengthen me, instruct me and help me grow in my faith. Have you dug into your Bible today?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Broken Life + Jesus = New Life in Him

One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 1:18 which says, "The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God." How true this is! I was once headed for destruction and mocked at the message of the cross, but in a moment everything changed. I saw the great love God had for me. I recognized my sin separated me from Him. I recognized the only way this problem could be rectified was by confessing and repenting for my sins and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The message of the cross was no longer some "out there" philosophy. It had become a reality in my life. I know there are those who have mocked the transformation in my life over the past twenty or so years, or who have tried to discredit what Christ has done. However this old saying can't ring any truer, "A man with an experience will always win over a man with an argument." What I've personally experienced cannot be taken away because I've lived it first hand. My life was broken and Jesus met me in that brokenness, and together we've never looked back. My testimony is simply, "My broken life + Jesus = New Life in Him." One of the most incredible things about being a pastor is seeing others with broken lives come to meet Jesus as Lord and Savior, and seeing their journey into new life begin. Seeing them experience the power of God personally is one of the most amazing things. Thank you Jesus for Your love, Your forgiveness, Your healing, Your plan for my life, Your provision, Your protection, Your body (the church), and Your cross.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Even When It Hurts...

I've been listening recently to the new release of one of my favorite Christian artists, Kari Jobe. It's a great CD by someone you can tell truly loves the Lord. Many of the lyrics in this album are definitely right on the money when it comes to living the life of faith. As I was praying this morning, listening to this album, the following lyrics jumped out at me, "Even when it hurts, even when it's hard, even when it all just falls apart. I will run to You, cause I know that You are lover of my soul, healer of my scars. You steady my heart." I think this is something every person can easily relate to. Life can be hard, can hurt and at times can even fall apart. It's not a matter of if these things will happen, but when? And when they do happen, the most important question is what will you run to? Often people run to those things which won't comfort, satisfy or help. They run to the things that bring temporary satisfaction (perhaps), but really all these things end up being are band aids. When your life seems to be hard, when you have hurts or when everything seems to be falling apart, the only real option we have is to run to the One who can help. The lover of your soul and healer of your scars. The One who can truly settle you, Jesus Christ. Why is it easy for us to run to everything else first, and Him last? Yet He's the only one we need. Never forget what Isaiah 61:1-3 says referring to Jesus, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Allow Him to settle you today :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Everything Changes...Or Does It?

I was going through a drawer in my desk last week and came across one of my first cell phones. It was an old Motorola Star Tac flip phone. Back in its day it was the bomb! It was the envy of every cell phone user. If you look back over the past 15-20 years, the progression of cell phone technology is crazy. In fact, with most everything in life, the progression of things is quite amazing. I guess when you think about it, everything in life seems to progress and change around us. Sometimes that's for the better, but at other times it's not. However, there is one thing I'm so thankful for, that never changes, and that's Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. "Regardless of how my day is going, or what's going on around me, He doesn't change. His nature, His attributes, His love or anything else about Him don't change, regardless of what anyone does. Unlike cell phones, whose technology is constantly changing, improving, or being outdated. Jesus Christ doesn't change, and there are no improvements that can be made to Him because He's perfect. So today, whether things go well for you, don't forget Jesus Christ is your unchanging Lord and Savior. Whether your day is bumpy, don't forget Jesus Christ is still your unchanging Lord and Savior. His faithfulness, goodness and His love toward you are consistent. Regardless of everything else that changes or becomes outdated, He doesn't :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Highs and Lows of Shopping

Yesterday I experienced the both the highs and lows of shopping, and definitely had to keep things in perspective with my attitude. I love North Face jackets, although I don't own one, I just think they're sweet.  For my birthday I received a little extra cash and so yesterday I wandered into a great sale. And wouldn't you know it, they had a North Face jacket. But this wasn't just any North Face jacket, it was a $300 jacket, reduced to $130, plus another 50% off, making it a sweet North Face jacket for only $65. Amazing! It was the right color, right price and was in my budget. Immediately I was experiencing a shopper's euphoria with my find. I pulled it off the rack in what felt like slow motion. As I unzipped it and took it off hanger, I immediately went for the size. To my excitement it was my size, a men's large. I took off my hoodie and tried this coat of my dreams on. All of a sudden my dreams came crashing down. It was a little tight. Oh no! This couldn't be happening. But yes, it was. It was at that moment I felt disappointment crashing my party. It was knocking on my door and wanting in. It was too small. What I chose to do next would be pivotal. I put the coat back on the hanger and then the rack, and walked away. I began to thank the Lord for all He's blessed me with. I prayed that someone who really needed that coat would find it. And just like that, what could have easily turned into a disappointment was thwarted and I was full of peace and joy. Everyday we have opportunities to allow disappointment to enter, or a sad or discouraged attitude to overrun us. Don't allow it! Don't surrender your peace or joy for anything and let an attitude of thankfulness fill you. Don't forget what Romans 14:17 tells us, "For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Stop Blaming Others

Have you ever noticed how culturally acceptable it is to blame someone else for just about anything. It's so easy to point your finger at others and pass the blame on to them. In sports, politics, work, churches and just about anything else, it's an epidemic in our culture. One of the classics we see when it comes to playing the blame game is found in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3:11-13. When God questions Adam and Eve for their choices, neither takes responsibility but does what easier, which was to blame others. In these verses we read, "Who told you that you were naked?" the LORD God asked. "Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?" The man replied, "It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it." Then the LORD God asked the woman, "What have you done?" "The serpent deceived me," she replied. "That’s why I ate it." As we read on, we see that God was not at all impressed by their blame shifting. When we choose to blame others for things, as we read in Genesis 3 we see it's none other than a product of sin. I'm shocked to hear some of the things people try to blame others for without taking any responsibility themselves. Yes it is easier to blame others and harder to take responsibility yourself, but isn't life about doing the right thing and not the easiest? As parents we're always encouraging our children not blame others, but to take responsibility. But why do we not seem to do this very thing as adults? Today you will will probably have some opportunities to point the finger at others and blame them for things. But don't fall into the trap like Adam and Eve did. Can you imagine how different our great nation would be if people stopped pointing fingers and blaming others? 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Does It Bother You When Others Get the Credit?

If you've ever watched the NBA you're aware that this professional league is made up of teams. Each team is made up of players, who in theory play as a team towards a common goal, winning. But if you've ever watched the NBA or other professional team sports, selfishness, pride and egos are rampant when it comes to these professional leagues. I guess that's why it's so refreshing to watch a Jeremy Lin burst onto the scene in the NBA. I'm amazed at the garbage that goes on between the huge egos of players who are on the same team. One of the most obvious areas with this is seen is when it comes to getting credit. When it comes to a team, if the the members on that team have the same goals, should it really matter who gets the credit? If I take the winning shot and win the game, does that mean that I'm the one who should get all the credit for winning the game? Absolutely not! I may take the winning shot, but it's the team who played the game and helped achieve the outcome. Did one shot win the game? No. It's the teamwork over the course of the game that won it. Unfortunately, when we look around in culture, this same philosophy takes place. People are always trying to get the credit for things, even when it deserves to go to someone else. If you're part of a team, don't get hung up on who gets the credit for success. Do your best to help your team succeed, regardless of whether you're recognized or not. I love watching great teams succeed, especially when there's no superstar on the team. They win because of them working together and not because of the abilities of one team member. Today, if someone on your team gets credit for something, rejoice with them. Don't let envy or jealousy make its way in. Don't let it bother you when others get the credit :) Heed the warning in James 3:16, "For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind." God will do incredible things on your team if you're not worried about who get the credit.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thanks To All of You

Everybody loves celebrating birthdays and I'm no exception. Yesterday I celebrated my 45th birthday and I want to use today's blog to thank everyone who called, texted, emailed, dropped by or Facebooked me, to wish me a happy birthday. Like so many other people, my love language is words of encouragement. So when people say even the simplest thing, with me they get a huge bang for their buck. I always cherish words of appreciation and encouragement. It's easy to think that a person like me never needs encouragement or affirmation, but you'd be wrong. I think everybody appreciates kind words spoken to them every now and then, especially me. In our culture, it's such a breath of fresh air when people give those around them encouragement and show them kindness. I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. People who seem to say the right things at just the right time. To all of you again, thank you for making my day so meaningful and special. I appreciate every single one of you :) May your day be blessed!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Never Underestimate the Impact You Can Make

When I think about making an impact, I think about all the possibilities we have before us as Christians. Every day we have opportunities to let the name of Christ be seen through our lives. One of the easiest ways this can be done is in our work. Whether it's at our full time job, a part time job, volunteering, or something else, never underestimate the impact you can make. As Christians we're called to be lights that shine brightly. In how we live, those around us should be able to see that there is something different about us. And that difference is our relationship with Christ. How is your reputation when it comes to work, job or commitments? We are called to be excellent, hard working and reliable. Colossians 3:23 in the Message tells us, "...don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God..." If we lived this way we'd make a huge impact. When others do the minimum, we should go above and beyond. When the goal of others is to simply get by, ours should be to thrive. When others settle for mediocrity, we should aim for excellence. When others work to please man, our focus should be to please the Lord. The goal of everything in our lives should be to bring honor and praise to the Lord, and not ourselves. Today, you will have many opportunities to make a huge impact in this world. What will you do? Who will it affect? How will it touch others? Will it point to Jesus? Take the plunge and never underestimate the impact that God has called you to make in this world today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's As Simple As Trusting God

Trust is one of the most important things found in a culture. Once trust has been broken, it can be very difficult to restore. Think about this for just a moment, when it comes down to it, who or what do you trust? Everyone experiences something or someone letting them down from time to time. But there is someone and something we can fully trust, without ever having to worry about being let down. These two things are God and His Word, the Bible. Two of my favorite Bible verses (quite possibly my favorites) are Proverbs 3:5-6 which say, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."A lot is being said in these two simple verses, and yet the fruit of doing what they say can be priceless. The command for us is to "trust" in the Lord, which implies a waiting upon Him, full of faith and hope with joy, without complaining or doubting. Not only are we to do this, but we're also not to lean on our own understanding. How many examples are there in the Bible who did this, and suffered the consequences? Why is it so easy for us to assume we're always right or think we know what's best? Not leaning on our own understanding can often mean walking by faith and not sight, which opposes the very thing we think is right. If we choose to acknowledge God in every area of our lives, the reward is huge. The promise to us is that He shall direct, or make smooth or straight, our paths. Often we want the path before us to be obvious, clear and straight, yet what we do can hinder this from happening. How you might ask? By not trusting God with everything, by leaning on our own understanding, and by not acknowledging Him in everything. Think about it and choose to live the golden nuggets of wisdom found in this verse :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hair and Wisdom

I'm off to get a haircut this morning because it's that time. We all know that as you get older, some people do tend to lose some of their hair. I'm no different and yes my hair is thinning out on top a little. But just because I don't seem to have thick locks of hair right now, doesn't mean that I never have. I found a picture from my senior year of high school, and as you can see I do have a lot of hair. In fact I think my wings look pretty sweet :) As we're all aware, as you get older your body does go through changes. Maybe you don't have as much hair, strength, energy or stamina you once did, but there is one thing that only continues to grow, if you allow it. That thing is called wisdom. Have you ever noticed that people who have been around a long time can have a lot of wisdom? Usually it's because of the many life lessons they've been able to draw from or the experiences that they've lived. The Bible values wisdom as such a precious thing and even says in Proverbs 4:7, "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom." Wisdom can be such a priceless thing to a person. Wisdom can be the difference maker in decisions, and which in direction to go. It can be also be the great equalizer in battle. Wisdom is something everyone should desire. In fact it really is available to us as James 1:5 says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."Need wisdom? It's available, just ask God. But always be on your guard not to become wise in your own eyes, as the Bible warns. Wisdom is such an amazing thing and if you'll allow it, it will only grow as you get older.

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's a Pleasure to Meet You Jackson

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Jackson for the very first time. He's a quiet, yet very inquisitive young man. Healthy, strong and already growing. And let me tell you, his hair is amazing! So thick and dark, making me wish mine looked like his :) Actually Jackson is the 2 day old son of an amazing woman named Emma. It was such a privilege to hold him and admire the intricate details of God's handiwork. Life truly is a miracle! Just 48 hours ago Jackson was enjoying the warmth and protection of his mother's womb. What a difference a day or two can make. All of a sudden it's hello world and he's breathing on his own, eating, sleeping, crying, being held by people he's never seen before. Plus he's become one of the main attractions at the hospital. To look at little Jackson and see all the details that go into making his body, let alone those I can't see, how can you not believe that God's not involved? This young life is a miracle from God Himself. According to Psalm 139:13-14, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it." As I admire little Jackson, I see a young life that's been knit together by God. A life that has so much purpose and destiny. A life that's been made by God to do His bidding. Life is indescribable. It's sometimes too deep to even try to wrap your arms around it. As I held this little miracle, I couldn't help but think about all the great plans God has in store for him. I look forward to seeing God use him mightily.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fear Failure?

As believers, fear is something that we must guard against, except when it comes to a healthy fear of the Lord. There are many kinds of fear we must fight against, but one of the most vicious and destructive is the fear of failure. This aspect of fear usually goes hand in hand with fear of man. It's very easy in our lives to allow our focus to be on pleasing man, instead of pleasing God. If your goal is to please man, fear of failure will become a giant in your life. It means that everything we do will be done with an emphasis on satisfying and pleasing a person, which can easily get our focus off what God wants. If we make our priority pleasing the Lord, it will free us from living to please man. Proverbs 29:25 in the Message says, "The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that." Think about this for a minute, but what's your motive for saying what you say and doing what you do? Is it to please man? Or is it to obey the Bible? In our culture we can get so tangled up in human opinion and what we see, read or hear, that it becomes our priority, rather than living the Bible and desiring to please its author. So how do you get breakthrough in this area? Live to please the one who died on the cross for you, loving what He loves and hating what He hates. This means focusing more on what the Bible says rather than what man, TV or the internet says. If you believe everything you see, hear or read, you're airing on the side of foolishness and not wisdom. Choose to please the Lord today, and you won't be disappointed. If you do fail in something, make things right, and get back up on your feet, trusting the Lord completely :) Proverbs 24:16 brings such encouragement to us with this, "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again..."