Friday, May 31, 2013

When You Think of the Future...

For many people, thinking about the future can be a pretty stressful thing. Asking yourself questions and trying to answer them isn't always the easiest thing. What will I be doing? Where will I be living?  Who will I be married to (a single person's question)? These are all great questions that you may not have an answer for. The thing to remember is that whether you have answers or not, we can't be fearful, worried, stressed or frustrated. I can't help but think of what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34, "I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds. Can worry make you live longer? Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today." These words can bring such comfort an peace when it comes to thinking about the future. Don't let the future worry you or stress you out. Trust Jesus and believe what He said :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Don't Let Anyone Crush Your Dreams

Everyone dreams of doing something, being someone or going somewhere. Some of our dreams are big and some of them are huge. Regardless of the size, a dream is a dream. One of the saddest things I see, especially when it comes to young people, is when others try to crush their dreams. What we cannot forget is that God often gives us dreams and we see many examples of this in the Bible. There are always the naysayers, skeptics, critics and dream crushers. What we need in the world are more people who will encourage others to chase their dreams. I had dreams as a teenager in New Zealand of playing college tennis and then some professional tennis. And guess what? I got to live out my dreams. What do you say to a teenager who wants to become a CEO, a missionary or even the President of the United States? It's easy to say that will never happen. Or you could never do something like that. As a pastor one of the most exciting things I get to do is hear people people's dreams. I love hearing what's on their heart and about their dreams. But not only that, I love helping others achieve their dreams. Please don't get me wrong, but I'm in no way wanting any credit or recognition for it. I simply often see myself as a cheerleader encouraging others to go for it. One of the most satisfying things in my life is seeing others achieve their dreams, especially when I knew what they were many years before. Chase your dreams! Go after them! Don't let others crush them or hold you back from those things that perhaps the Lord has put deep within your heart :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Your Words Can Give Life to Others Or Destroy Them

Believe it or not, one of the most powerful weapons each of us have is our words. Words can build you up or words can tear you down, which are some lyrics from one of my favorite songs of late by Hawk Nelson. Check the song out here As much as encouragement can build a person up, the opposite is also true when we speak negatively about someone. Speaking behind someones back, gossip, slander and backbiting all accomplish the same thing, destruction. I've recently become sensitive to this seeing the results of both firsthand. When someone is praised, encouraged and words of life are spoken to them, they blossom. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that from time to time there won't be need of instruction or correction, but for the most part they are built up. I've also seen the destruction that comes from words of constant criticism, negativity, gossip and slander. Unfortunately words of this nature cause damage that often can't be corrected. I can't forget that in my mouth I have words that can build others or destroy them. What comes out is my choice. If my desire is to be a builder of others my words will reflect that. If my goal is to be a destroyer of others my words will also reflect that. You too have the same choice today. Put a guard over your mouth and be slow to speak. Your words today may have a powerful impact on someone's life for good or they may be very damaging and fatal. And what's so amazing is that you're the one who chooses. Today Psalm 19:14 is my desire, "Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to You, Lord, because You are my mighty rock  and my protector."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Going to Church...

Yes, this is my first Sunday blog post ever, and the only reason I'm doing it today is because I'm home laying low after minor surgery on Friday. It's very seldom that I ever miss a Sunday church service. Have you ever wondered why you go to Sunday services? I go not because I have to, but because I love to and want to. Why you may ask? Now don't get me wrong, I love participating in worship and hearing encouraging messages that strengthen my faith and help my daily walk with the Lord. But most of all I love the people, my friends, the Body of Christ. Today I sit here at home and miss my friends, those I love being around. Those whose lives I've seen God touch. Those whose lives I've seen God do miracles in and bless abundantly. Not being around them truly makes you miss them. I'm so thankful that I'll see them next week and so thankful the Lord has blessed me with such incredible friends, brothers and sisters in Christ :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

I Want to Live Like That

I was reading 1 Thessalonians 5 last night and came across some verses that really jumped out a me. They were some of Paul's words where he was simply encouraging the believers there on how to live. He said in verses 14-22, "My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn’t living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. Don’t be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. Don’t turn away God’s Spirit or ignore prophecies. Put everything to the test. Accept what is good and don’t have anything to do with evil." Wow! Talk about some great things to put into practice. Now don't get me wrong, but these are challenging. They are a reality check of whether He's who I trust or not, because many of these go against my human nature. They are good and how we're supposed to live. Will you take the challenge today and live as a follower of Jesus Christ? I'm taking the challenge :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Such Fortitude and Resiliency in Moore OK

I'm sure many people are like me and have been watching the updates coming from Moore Oklahoma. Earlier this week an F5 tornado devastated the town leaving it looking like a war zone. Sadly there were 24 lives (so far) and over 200 injured, but I can't think about how this could have been so much more tragic. Many lives were saved due to the 16 minutes of warning residents had and the reactions of so many of the city's residents. My prayers and thoughts go out to the residents of Moore and Oklahoma. This community has been changed forever by this deadly tornado. But one thing that I continue to see time after time during tragedy is the fortitude and resilience of the human spirit. Whether after tragedies such as 9/11, Newtown, the Boston Marathon bombing and so on, God put such a fight within the spirit of man, that it continues to resurface in some of life's most difficult and challenging moments. I commend the people of Moore. You inspire, challenge and make us not forget our desire to live life. Thank you for helping us be thankful for everything we have, because you are thankful for your lives when you've lost everything. To everyone in Moore, you are my heroes!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hard Work Shouldn't Be the Exception, But the Norm

One thing that concerns me about our culture is the lack of hard work that takes place and the poor work ethic that seems to be increasing. Now please don't misunderstand me. There are lots of hard workers, yet at the same time there are lots of others who do as little as they can, often with poor attitudes who looking for a handout from everyone else. I'm thankful for the those who instilled within me an ethic of hard work. I was recently listening to some employers who said that the biggest battle they face in hiring is finding someone who isn't afraid to get their hands dirty and work hard, doing a great job at the same time. As I look around I see examples of laziness and poor work ethic everywhere. How can this be? People are expecting so much from doing so little. I was reading in 1 Thessalonians 2 about Paul and his words in verse 9 (from the Message), "You remember us in those days, friends, working our fingers to the bone, up half the night, moonlighting so you wouldn’t have the burden of supporting us while we proclaimed God’s Message to you." What if everyone could have that attitude and be able to say that? What if everyone had a rock solid work ethic? What if hard work was the norm and not the exception? I can't forget that in all of my work I'm not working for any man, but for the Lord. Everything I do is to please Him and I'm not wanting my work ethic to reflect poorly upon Him or other Christians. Today we all the opportunity to be hard workers or not. Will your work ethic reflect who you serve? That's my goal today :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

So Proud of My Graduate

Another milestone in my family occurs today when my daughter Amber graduates from high school. She's the first of 4 high school graduates my kids will be involved with. I just can't say enough about my Amber and I'm so proud of her and all she's accomplished. She'll be graduating tonight as valedictorian and with a GPA I only dreamed of. She's been such a light for Jesus throughout her high school years and has walked to please Him. Tonight I'll be watching her graduate, remembering how it seems like only yesterday that we came from the hospital with her. Time sure does fly, and there's no way of ever going back. If you're a parent, make the most of your time when it comes to your children. Don't sacrifice them on the altar of other things such as work or hobbies. Your time with them goes too quick to put other things ahead of them. And for you my big girl (as I've always called her), I love you so much and am so thankful that God made you my daughter :) Love you...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Be So Intense--Relax!

Has anyone ever asked why you look so intense? Why do you look so stressed? Why you look like you're about to do something you'll regret? I realize that we all go through situations and even seasons where we feel pressure. And this pressure can easily affect us in what we say, and even what we do. I can't help but think of people in the Bible who were in difficult and challenging situations, and yet how they responded to them and didn't let those situations overwhelm them. How they responded is how I want to respond. Every single day I have the opportunity to wear my intense face, or my stressed out face. But at the same time I have the opportunity to wear my "I'm trusting in the Lord" face. My peace, contentment and joy face, because of who I choose to trust in. Life is described as a vapor, here one moment and gone the next. So let's face it, life is too short to be intense all the time. It's too short to be stressed out, angry and frustrated. Psalm 55:22 in the Amplified tells us, "Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail)." What a promise! And if we truly believe these words, our lifestyles (and our faces) will reflect it. Relax a little today. Enjoy life and don't be so intense :) If your heart is full of peace, joy and contentment, then let your face also reflect this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Truly Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself

I think we all do it from time to time, sometimes it's unintentional, and yet sometimes it isn't. What am I talking about? Favoritism and partiality. I was reading James 2 in the Amplified this morning and was challenged by the words on the page before me. We're aware that verse 8 says to fulfill the royal law of Scripture, "If indeed you [really] fulfill the royal Law in accordance with the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as [you love] yourself, you do well." Loving your neighbor as yourself should be an aim and goal every Christian. But did you ever realize that this verse is in a passage specifically dealing with the treatment of others? It's a passage that declares that partiality and favoritism to be sin (verse 9). It makes me think of how I treat others. Do I prefer some people over others? Do I treat others differently because of who they are, what they do, what they have, or what they can do for me? Too often I think our partiality and favoritism can often be a blind spot in our lives. My desire is to be a man without who has no evidence of this in my life. I want to see everyone as Christ does. According to Acts 10:34 God shows no partiality, so why should we?  I will choose to love my neighbor as myself, regardless of who it is. Today I will choose to fulfill the royal law of Scripture, loving my neighbor as myself. And the only way I can do this is by not having any partiality or favoritism towards people in my own life. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

That's My Son!

I have the most incredible son! From the moment he was born I knew there was something special about him. On Sunday he turns 16 and as I reflect on his life up to this point, I can't help but smile :) I've come to realize how important he is to me and my life. Yes, he's a gifted tennis player and athlete. Yes, he's a great student. Yes, he's a total jokester at times with infectious laughter. And yes, he's an awesome drummer. But there's something that is much more important than these things I see in his life. That something is his compassion. So often I see Jesus' compassion flowing through him. Whether it's in the nursery, pre-school, Metropolis, at school, at tennis, or anywhere else. He's always trying to include others and trying to make them feel special. His desire is love others as Christ did. I'd love to see more of this in other young men and even adult men. There's something about a compassionate man. It's not a sign of weakness in any way, but is a sign of Christ-likeness. David, I'm so thankful for you, so proud of you, and so excited for everything the Lord has for you in this next year. Thank you for being such an amazing son and such a wonderful example of who we're to be in Christ. Continue being strong, courageous and compassionate :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

You Need to Be There For This...

Tomorrow night is one of my most favorite nights because it's Capstone for our Year 2 HITC students. They will be speaking in our sanctuary about what the Lord has done in them and their lives over the past two years of being a student in HITC. I have seen so much transformation and growth in them and can't wait for everyone who's there to hear everything they have to say. It's an opportunity to showcase the students and if you have a chance to come, don't miss out. It takes place tomorrow night (Friday 5/10/13) in the Harvest Church sanctuary starting at 7pm. Tomorrow night we'll have an opportunity to hear from 11 students, but I can't wait for heaven when one day we'll have an opportunity to hear from everyone :) Be ready to be amazed tomorrow night and who knows, maybe in two years from now you'll be giving your Capstone presentation as a year 2 HITC student. For more information about HITC, check out our website at

Monday, May 6, 2013

Curveballs and Life

Life isn't always the same pitch. Sometimes it's a fastball, a knuckleball, a sinker and at times even a curveball. If a pitcher had only one pitch, sooner or later the batter will catch on and start getting hits. But when a pitcher has an array of pitches, and knows how and when to use them, it can mean trouble for the batter. So how do you do when life throws you a curveball? When you were expecting something else and all of sudden it you swing and miss? I think all of us have those moments from time to time when a pitch comes that we weren't expecting. We take a big swing at it and simply "whiff" it, only to hear it strike the catcher's mitt. What I've come to learn is that life is unpredictable, with each day holding its own bag of surprises. There's not much I can do about the pitches life throws at me, but I have a lot to say about what I choose to do when I swing and miss. I have a host of options which include anger, frustration, fear, timidity, quitting, blaming, or complaining, just to name a few. But is swinging and missing worth losing my righteousness, peace and joy over? I don't think so! I know that today I will have different pitches thrown my way. I'm going to try and swing and hit as many of them as I can, but I if miss, I going to respond the way I should, and get ready for that next pitch :) Just for fun, I wonder how this person is going to react to the curveball that came their way...

Friday, May 3, 2013

So Proud of You :)

One of the most fulfilling things for me is seeing people get breakthrough in areas that have previously held them back. There's something about seeing people get victory. This may be in areas that don't seem that big to others, or it may be in huge areas of life. Either way to me, victory and breakthrough is victory and breakthrough. Sometimes people focus way to much on the final outcome of something and seem to overlook the victories that take place along the way. If you're a person today that's achieved breakthrough or victory in an area of your life, way to go! You inspire me, and challenge me to continue growing in my own personal life. It takes courage, strength, humility and a lot of the Lord for a person to change, but when it happens, it's well worth it. Life is all about change, breakthrough and victory. And as people continue succeeding with the Lord's help, it only inspires me to continue helping and praying for others :) We must also never forget 1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thank God for letting our Lord Jesus Christ give us the victory!"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There Will Always Be Haters!

Wake up! Anytime you take a stand for something there will always be those who hate you and oppose you. It's happened to me, others I know, and many I don't, and even Jesus Himself. What's made me think of this has been the recent release of Tim Tebow from the New York Jets. Just do a little research and you'll come to find out how many people hate him. You can say all you want about him, his throwing release or motion, but when it all comes down to it, I believe many simple are haters because of the man. He's taken a stand for righteousness, purity, integrity, hard work and the Lord. And because of this, people will go to great lengths to discredit, label, attack, criticize and hate the man. People can get a DUI, assault someone, swear endlessly, promote immorality and so on, and those things are soon forgotten as they go right back into their superstar treatment. Yet a guy like Tebow can get thrown under the bus for his stand on what he believes. As a Christian I can never forget Jesus' words in John 15:18, "If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first." I know Tim Tebow's aware of this, just as I am and anyone else who takes shots for taking a stand on something. But my comfort comes from knowing Jesus, and that He understands because He's been there, and will help us with whatever we go through. When people hate you it often means you're doing something right. It means you may be standing for something that goes counter-culture. What Tebow has chosen to do is to keep standing, and that's what we should also choose to do. Stand firm!