Friday, March 29, 2013

Thank You Jesus :)

With this being Easter weekend I can't help but think about Jesus and what He did for all of mankind. Today, just like any other day, is a time for me to reflect on the selfless love of Jesus Christ and how great His love is for mankind. Today I think about the cross experience He endured for us. The beatings He took, the pain He endured, the agony of the cross. Why would someone do such a crazy thing? Why would He do it for people He knew deserved it instead? The reason is simple-His love. His incredible love for sinful mankind. It's hard not to think that I'm the one who should have gone to the cross for my sins, but instead Jesus did for me instead. He also took stripes on His back so I'd be healed. This Man Jesus is so crazy in love with us, how can we not embrace this powerful love He has for us? I have chosen to live for Him because He chose to die for me. I'm alive today because He too is alive, conquering death and the grave. Jesus, thank you for your irresistible love that drew me to you :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Culture of Fake

Webster's defines fake as "One that is not what it purports (conveyed, professed or implied) to be." Have you ever noticed how fake our culture can be? Ask someone how they're doing and you pretty much get a pat response, even though they may be seriously hurting. Ask someone if there's anything you can do to help them and their reply is no, even though they have many things they need help with. Or how about people who act very nice to your face and yet shred you to pieces when you leave. The opposite of fake is real, genuine and true. I think Jesus has tremendous influence on others and people were attracted to him because of his genuineness and being real. He was someone who didn't let the walls of others stop Him from helping them. His desire was to help, serve and love others. Being fake is our choice. We can try to fool others into thinking what we want them to, or we can be genuine and real. I know that sometimes being genuine and real does make us vulnerable, but what Jesus is in the equation, vulnerability is a safe place. Are you going to be fake today? Or will you choose to be genuine?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Remember When Someone's Word Actually Meant Something?

I remember watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie when Pa needed to buy some supplies. Unfortunately, he had no money. So he shook hands with the food owner and said that he had his word on it when it came to paying him back, and the man honored it. My how things have changed. There was a time when a person's word meant everything. There was no need of collateral or signing multiple pages of contracts. A person's word was their guarantee, as good as gold. But nowadays we find example after example of people who couldn't be farther from this principle. Their word means nothing. They don't care about what they said, and usually have an excuse to justify what they said in the first place. Psalm 15:4 talks about people who, "...keep their promises, no matter what the cost." Can you imagine how differently culture would be if people put this principle into practice? I know I'm not perfect at this, but I am growing in it. It's a goal of mine to do what I said I'd do, regardless of the cost to me. If I say I'll do something I want others to know that they can count on my word. It doesn't take too many times for a person to break his word for others to begin to question the things they say next. My challenge is to be a man who keeps his word. Will take up the challenge with me?

Friday, March 22, 2013

People Experiencing All God's Done...

I love Encounters! Today is day 2 of our spring Encounter and God has already done so much. It's one of our biggest Encounters to date (175 people) and God continues to show His faithfulness to us. There's so much that He's done for us (and continues to do), but as people begin to realize, understand and then live out the victory He won for us, how can you not want to cheer about it. Go God! Today people will see shackles and chains come off in areas that have bound them for years. People will experience His peace and joy like never before. They will not be dominated by guilt or shame any longer. Why you may ask? Because Jesus Christ has set them free! Pray for us today and tomorrow also, and may the fruit of all He's done be evident in every person at the Encounter.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Can't Remember Life WIthout Them...

If you're like me, much of what you do with work, your personal life and so on revolves around computers, internet and smart phones. Yes, they definitely allow us to accomplish more, so long as you don't get sidetracked, but we really have become computer, smart-phone and internet dependent. Have you ever had your internet go down at work and it's as if everything shuts down? Or you forget your computer or smartphone at home and so you feel naked without them? I was trying to remember how life was before we all had computers, smart-phones and the internet. There are many young people who can't even try wrapping their minds around a world without them, but at the same time they don't even know who Michael Jordan is and think Kobe and LeBron are the greatest to play the sport. I remember using home phones and pay phones as my main sources of communication. It's funny how things change and keep on improving. One thing I'm thankful for when it comes to God is that He's unchanging and there's no way for Him to improve because He's already perfect. Technology will continue changing and we'll probably continue allowing ourselves to be  dependent on it, but when it comes to God, He's constant, steady, reliable and non-improvable :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Do You Do?

I think all of us from time to time have been asked the question, "What do you do for work?" Maybe you have your line that describes your title and responsibilities. But recently someone asked me this question, and the response I gave wasn't the normal answer I'd given when asked this question in the past. Usually my answer would be. "I'm a pastor." However, this time the words that came out of my mouth were, "I help people become successful. Whether it's in their personal life, their marriage, their family, their job, or anything else. I help them succeed!" I realize that this does describe what a pastor does, serving others and helping them grow. I just liked the way my new description sounded. Isn't that what it's all about? Taking a back seat with the goal of helping others around you to become successful. That starts with their walk with the Lord. If this can be done, everything else in their life will flow from it. I know that there are many who help others, and really there's no greater calling. I can't help but think of Philippians 2 here. Take a moment to read it if you get a chance. Think how different your day could be today if your goal was to help others. Think about the impact on the lives of others you could have. Today, will you help others around you become successful?

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Can't Take It Anymore!

If you live in Meridian, one of the best places to live and raise a family the whole nation, you're aware of some of the growing pains we're experiencing. Probably the biggest right now are the many road construction projects underway (and even those that haven't yet started). In a place where a 10 minute commute has been stretched to 30-40 minutes at times, things like this are inevitable. Unfortunately, road construction is one of the negatives of rapid growth. I really don't enjoy sitting on Main Street, Pine Street and definitely not Cherry Lane with hundreds of other commuters, but the one thing that gets me through is thinking about what's ahead. In a year or two, I'm probably going to be singing the praises of everyone who was part of the construction projects. The delays and major headaches of the work itself will hopefully be forgotten as I drive on well laid out, efficient and smooth roads. Life is a lot like this. Maybe you're going through a bumpy season, trial or something else, as we all do. What gets me through is thinking about the days ahead and how I'll be a better man for it once it's over. I don't think anyone is ever thrilled about going through difficult times or seasons of testing, but they all agree on the other side that it was worth it. I look forward to smooth drives in the years ahead here in Meridian :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Your Time Will Come...

I know that the world is full of people who deserve lots of recognition for all that they do, but for whatever reason, don't get it. I think about the mother who's up in the middle of the night with her baby; the dad who works two jobs just so he can make ends meet and put food on the table for his family; and even the person who do does everything behind the scenes where nobody would even know they existed. The world is full of people like this. I believe that a little recognition every now and then is vital to everyone, but to many people that recognition will never come, well at least not in this lifetime. However, when I think of heaven, it will be a place full of blessings, rewards and recognition for a job well done. Whether it's those who served in obscurity, those who made others around them successful, and even those who sacrificed so others wouldn't have to, all will receive treasures there. I can't help but think of Matthew 6:19-20, "Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them." There will be a day of reward in heaven for those who never experienced it on earth. There will be the recognition in heaven of those who never got a chance to receive any on earth. There will be a day of blessing for those who so richly deserve it. If you're at a place where you can relate to what I'm talking about, do everything with heaven in mind and your day will come :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

100% Dependent

Have you ever noticed how people view dependence on another as a sign of weakness? If you need someone else's help you must be lacking and weak in some areas. The comments and views about this will be endless if you allow it. However, I'll be the first to admit, I am completely and totally dependent upon someone, and that's the Lord. Without Him I'm nothing. There's not a day that goes by where I don't ask Him to help me in my day. I need His help in every conversation, every meeting, in being a husband, in being a father, in being an employee, in being a leader, and so on. I could be duped into thinking I don't need His help, and before I became a Christian I personally lived this way. And as you can imagine the results were dismal. Today I live as a man dependent upon God's love, grace, strength, mercy, wisdom just to mention few. I am weak without Him. I can't live as should without Him. He is always with me helping me, lifting me up and leading me in the ways I should go. Philippians 4:13 is my declaration," For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Yes, I am fully dependent upon Him today, and know that I'm going to be able to handle everything that comes my way, not because of me, but because of Him :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Don't Let Others Frustrate You...

Believe it or not, not everyone is like you. In fact, there are millions of people who are quite the opposite of you. You may be neat, they may be messy. You may be shy, they may be in your face. You may be diplomatic, they may be blunt. You may be diligent, they may be lazy. You may always be encouraging and they may be always critical. I think you get the picture. Sometimes you can feel like they are in your life for one reason--to frustrate you. They're there to bug you and irritate you. Now let's stop and be reasonable for just a moment. What I've found is that most of the time, someone who is very different than myself, is actually there to help me grow as a person. God has placed them there for many reasons, all of which will help me become a better man. Sometimes those people stir a compassion within me, maybe for them or something they're dealing with. At other times they can send me to my prayer closet with me asking the Lord to help me change or to have patience and kindness towards them. And sometimes being around people who are different than me can cause me to see things from another perspective that's different than mine. From my perspective these are all good things. I guarantee that today you'll be around others who are very different than you, but don't always think that you're the one that's right. Others can have good insight, perspective and ideas, if you'll just be willing to listen. Plus we can never forget that we should always treat others in the same way that we ourselves would want to be treated :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Do You Need the Spotlight On You?

Wow! My 400th blog post today. Well March 6 is my birthday, which means people will be sending me cards, posting on my Facebook and simply wishing me happy birthday in person. I really do appreciate all of the well wishing and congratulations. To be totally honest with you, I love it when others get attention, praise or encouragement. One of the biggest areas I believe the Lord has helped me grow in has becoming "others" focussed. Some people just have to be in the limelight or center stage, but not me. I've become very content having the spotlight on others. However, it wasn't always like that. Being recognized, acknowledged and praised was a craving for me. In fact it helped form my identity. I had to get credit for the things I'd done or be publicly praised for my efforts. But that's no longer me. I'd rather take the David (the shepherd) approach and simply be out in the fields with the sheep, out of the spotlight, simply doing what God's called me to do. I no longer need the credit, the recognition or the praise of men, but love doing what God's called me to do. So let me turn the focus onto someone else. Today is also Mariya Melville's birthday. So happy birthday Mariya! It's easy for someone like me to get a lot of the well-wishing today, but I want her to get some of it also. She's an amazing woman who attends our church and I'm so thankful for her. Mariya, may today be one of blessings and I know this is going to be an incredible year for you. Happy birthday Mariya :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Future Son-in-Law...

As I take a moment to think about it, I'm in a very unique season of my life. On one hand I'm going to be the daddy of a newborn at the end of the summer, and on the other hand, I'm the father of an 18 year old daughter who is of legal age to be married. Someone recently asked me about the qualities I which could see my future sons-in-law having (don't forget I have 2 daughters and maybe a third on the way). I thought for a moment and shared a few with him. As a father, there are many qualities I would hope to see in a future son-in-law, and I hope that other fathers would also have these high on their list for their future son-in-law. I'll give you 4 here. Firstly, he must be a man of unshakeable faith, who has a solid relationship with the Lord. In marriage there can be many ups and downs, and he must be the kind of man whose faith will remain steady regardless of what's going on around him. Secondly, his love for her must be constant. Whether she is at her most glamourous or not, young or old, it doesn't matter. His love for her will be constant, lining up with 1 Corinthians 13. Thirdly, he must cherish her always, willing to lay down his life for her on a daily basis. He will follow Christ's example of what He did for the church, His bride. And finally, he must be a provider, having a work ethic that can't be questioned. He doesn't have to be a millionaire, but he must be able to provide for his family. I realize that there are probably many more and I have only given a few, but these are such important qualities to me for a future son-in-law to have :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thinking About a Binky...

I am preparing myself for having a newborn in the home and thinking about some of the things I need to do to prepare. I was holding a baby this past week whose binky dropped onto the floor. I reached down, picked it up and was about to put it in my mouth to clean it, with the intent of then putting it back into the baby's mouth. Should I do that? Is it the right thing to do? Would the parent be OK with me doing it? It's been so funny thinking about things that I haven't thought about for almost 14 years. Carrying car seats, burping the baby, changing diapers and baby bottles, just to name a few. Hopefully after 14 years I can still remember what to do :) All of us from time to time go through seasons or situations where we have to learn or relearn something, and I'm no different :) I'm excited for the season of life I'm in and the changes a baby is going to bring to our home and family. When you go through a season of change, or something you maybe weren't quite expecting, your attitude can make a huge difference. Having an attitude of faith, trusting in God, is essential when you have to walk through your situation. Do you trust Him with your life, situation and stuff? Yes, things will take place, the question is how will your attitude be?