Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good ol' Fashion Prayer Meetin'

Have you ever been a part of a church or group whose sole purpose was to pray together? You know, a group of folks meeting weekly to spend an hour or two praying globally, nationally, locally and personally. It is very powerful and moving. Prayer is a vital connection to God, tapping into His love, power and blessing.

If you don't have a prayer group, start one. Invite other Christians over to pray. Be sure to have some folks outside your denomination and just for fun, throw in a Charismatic or two, just to keep it lively.

Here is some exercises for prayer meetin' fun:

1. Draw names out of a hat to pray for, each individual praying 5 minutes for that person.
2. Spend the entire time praying for one person (like the president, your pastor, someone sick, etc.)
3. Lay hands on someone and pray over them.
4. Divide up in smaller groups of 3 or 4 and pray for each person's concerns specifically.
5. Invite someone in to pray over a sick person, discouraged or a pastor.
6. Write down prayers and give them to the person for whom you were praying.
7. Sing your prayers as a group.
8. Pray the Scripture together.
9. Pray while praise and worship music is going on in the back ground.
10. Pray the Scriptures together.
11. Pray the prayer of agreement together.
12. Pray where everyone is praying out loud at the same time (prayer concert).
13. Pray over the phone together during the week.
14. Take a weekend once a year and pray and fast the entire weekend (48 hours straight).
15. Fast for a day or two before the prayer meeting...have a meal after the meeting.

Get creative. Just create a weekly time to meet with other Christians for the sole purpose of prayer. Do it as an alternative to Bible class or small group meeting. Try it, God will like it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hired Guns

I watched an old western today. The wealthy rancher hired three gunmen to run the smaller ranchers out of town so he could steal their land away from them. Of course, the rancher didn't foresee all the smaller ranchers banding together and running the hired guns (and the wealthy rancher) out of town in disgrace....the theme of 80% of all westerns. Classic.

Well, I think it is time to run our hired guns out of town. You know, the ones we hired to do all evangelism and ministry work for us. Its not that they aren't good at their jobs, its that we have dropped the ball and have stopped being productive workers. We outsourced our hospital visitation, missionary work, and preaching. We have left all that to the professionals so we could get on with bigger and better things (like working too much and buying stuff). But its time to take it back so we (as laity) can begin to grow spiritually again. Listening to sermons doesn't cause us to grow, but preaching it ourselves does. Listening to a great spiritual musical production doesn't cause us to grow as much as doing it ourselves. It's time to take back prayer, ministry and all the other dirty work of the church. Ok, maybe not literally run them outta town, but we need to take a look at what they can (should) do for us and what we can (should) do for ourselves.

If Walmart was as successful at growth as the American Protestant church is, they would have never made it out of Bentonville (and we wouldn't have to stand in lines to buy cheap Chinese products, but that is a whole different post). Walmart would have gone bankrupt if it were as "successful" as our churches. No expansion, no profits and no SUPER CENTERS. If the Dallas Cowboys were only as successful as our churches, there would've been no "early nineties three peat" no SUPER Stadium in Arlington, no Jerry Jones (OK, so that wouldn't be all bad). But I digress.

The point is, I must become personally responsible for the gospel God placed in my heart. I, as untrained para-professional, need to talk up Jesus, do the right thing, heal the sick and pray for the broken-hearted. I need to take the initiative for my own salvation. I need to run the hired guns out of town and do the dirty work myself.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Being a So-So Christian

Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, are things Christ unsparingly condemned. Destitute of fire, they are nothing more than a godless philosophy, an ethical system, and a superstition. - S. Chadwick

For many Christians, if the Spirit of God left church, no one would know the difference.
- Unknown

What do you think about these two statements?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Problem With "Unsweet" Tea

I need to go on a mini-rant about something that is trivial and petty. I went though the drive up at McDonalds last week and ordered iced tea, to which the person on the other end asked, "Sweet or Unsweet?" I said, "Regular" and I got sweet. Did some buffoon take over the English language? Is this a conspiracy to label things by what they are not in order to define what they are? Do you understand what I just wrote? Is it unconfusing?

I don't understand "unsweet" tea. Who was the genius who thought of the label "unsweet" tea instead of the label "regular" tea? When did "Sweet" tea become the standard leaving "Regular" tea out in the dark? Did we vote on this or did "UnEnglished" people come up with it?

Using this logic, I have decided to name things in our world using the same logic. See if you can figure out what they are given the "un" label:

1. Uncar

2. Unboxers

3. UnCatholic

4. UnMcDonalds

5. Unsinners

6. Unilliterate

7. Unsingle

8. Unmale

9. Undumb

10. Unliberal

11. UnTexan

12. Undull

13. Unlethargic

14. Unhot

15. Unfootball

Come up with the most creative answers for this list and I will give you a mention in a later blog.
"Regular" tea drinkers need to undisorganize and unseparate on this issue and unsit-down unfor this issue.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spiritual Oppression

As I watch TV coverage from the Arab world, my heart breaks as I see women walking around in know the head to toe dress that keeps not only her face covered but her entire body covered. Like a drop cloth, it covers her. It is a metaphor for the all encompassing spiritual oppression of Islam. Looking from our viewpoint, we wonder why they don't just rebel, throw off the shackles and be free. But they don't....they won't....they can't. They don't even know they can because they have lived with oppression their entire lives. It is all they know. We can only see it because we have known freedom.

But how different is it for us? We are born into a spiritual paradigm of freedom in Christ or the oppression of a religious system that pretends like they have freedom in Christ. How would those born into oppression know anything else? How could they know when it is all they have ever known? The thing about oppression is...those in power say oppression is best...that any other way is wrong or sinful. They say that rules, laws and suffocating decrees are the best way to live, to know you are living "right." In wanting to maintain oppression, they tell their followers to reject and actively fight against freedom.....fight against Christ, grace and the Spirit.

As I think about it, there can be spiritual oppression in Christ. If we take away love, joy, peace and kindness, we are left with an idealistic set of rules that must be grace, no mercy. It just becomes another set Pharisaical laws to follow with a Christian Taliban to enforce them. Ugh. The Christian Taliban see to it that anyone who believes differently than they do is banned, excommunicated, and tried for heresy with themselves as judge and jury. Ever seen it happen?

We need to pray for freedom. For ourselves, for other brothers and sisters in Christ, for the Arab world. Freedom in Christ is the only way out....Democracy won't help and neither will war. Christ is it. Pray for it. Only God can make it happen.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Forgive Me

Forgiveness is vital to us as Christians. Why? Because people are going to let us down. People (even those who we love and consider friends) do and say things that hurt, sometimes very deeply. Those around whom we trusted break that trust like a crystal vase and people we thought were a rock turned out to be sinking sand. People can be unfair, mean, oafish and crude, each of these things hurt us. And sometimes people are callous and cruel because they themselves were hurt. And when people do hurtful things, we can either forgive or grow angry, bitter, and cynical.

The world is not fair. The world is a fallen place. And the Spirit cannot dwell in one who harbors unforgiveness, no matter how justified it feels or how severely one was hurt...unforgiveness closes the door to the presence of God.

Forgiveness takes time and effort. When the time is right, it is a spiritual tool we can use to give the world (and ourselves) hope and peace. Forgiveness sows the seeds that the world can be better a place. It is the first step toward regaining the only personal control you have in this fallen world...and that is the power of allowing God to handle it for you. God sees each and every human being as a part of a fallen and sinful world. Christians and non-Christians alike sin against each other because we have all been affected by the fallen world.

We all sin against people and people sin against us. Lying, cheating, gossiping, cutting us off in traffic, treating us disrespectfully, making fun of us, stealing from us, taking advantage of each other, manipulating and breaking promises are just a few reason why Jesus died for us, so we could live in freedom and love. He died so we could forgive each other.

Forgiveness is the wildflower that stubbornly pushes through the crack in the road. It blooms where it shouldn't but gives hope to all. When we forgive, the pain and disappointment becomes...better. It gives God's hope to the offender and gives God's comfort to the offended. Both can move on. Both can enjoy relationship with God again, even if the offense means the relationship between two people must be severed....But hope can thrive. Forgiveness is like a thousand doves being released, flying in random directions, affecting all whom it touches.

I wish I could express the regret in my heart for those I have hurt. From the kids I thoughtlessly made fun of in middle school to those I sinned against yesterday. Sorry seems so flimsy, so trite that it doesn't express the spiritual realities that underlie it all. So please forgive me. Please allow the love of God to again bloom in your heart....and mine. Forgive me so neither of us has to carry the burden of our sin anymore. Forgive me so I can, in turn, forgive those around me, passing the blessing forward so true healing can begin in our fallen world. It all begins with "I forgive you for...."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christlikeness = Childlikeness

"Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won't even enter the Kingdom of heaven."

Let's say the disciples are teenagers. And let's say in is quite natural for these teens to want to know how to become Jesus' favorite disciple....because they were all vying to be numero uno. And then the Rabbi says '...become like a child.." So what is it about a child that Jesus digs. Why a kid? Here are my top ten reason we are to be like children:

1) Children love unconditionally.
2) Children express love openly and unashamedly.
3) Children trust those they love.
4) Children can believe in something they cannot see like it is right there.
5) Children are filled with wonder.
6) Children accept what they learn as fact.
7) Children dance freely and sing loudly and they don't care who sees or hears them.
8) Children laugh loudly and express joy by smiling with their whole face.
9) Children give good hugs and holds hands while walking with someone they love.
10) Children are naive and take other's word as Gospel.

You know an interesting thing about this story is Jesus' relationship with John. John could've been as young as seven or eight when he became a disciple and we know John was the disciple whom Christ loved...Jesus could have very well been talking about John in this verse. John would've been like a son to Jesus and I think Jesus received him as such.

What characteristics of a child do you think Jesus was referring to?

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Not About How Old You Are....

Have you ever thought about how old the disciples were when they began to follow Jesus and, consequently, when they were commissioned to carry the message of Jesus to the rest of the world?

Ray Vanderlaan ( suggests that only one of the disciples (Peter) was over 20 years old. In Matthew 17.27, Jesus and his disciples go to the Temple and they are asked to pay the Temple Tax, which was assessed on men 20 years old and older. Jesus tells Peter to go catch a fish and get the money out of its mouth to pay for their (Peter and Jesus') Temple tax. Which means all the other disciples were under age twenty. hmmmm... Kinda scary that Jesus places the Gospel in the hands of teenagers. Isn't that incredible (and plausible). Now, all the pictures of bearded disciples seem ridiculous or even funny.

Two things:

1) Our teenagers need to be given more responsibility for preaching the Gospel...not just herd them into a room with a high energy, caffeine enhanced youth minister to be baby sat. Our youth need to be commissioned and relied upon to be fruitful Christians. They are good for it. If we have that expectation of them and hold them accountable, I think they would come through.

2) God wants every believer, regardless of age, to be fruitful. He wants passionate followers not passive believers. Each believer, not just ministers and pastors, has a responsibility to talk about Jesus. Each and every believer has a testimony of faith that God can use if we are willing and bold enough to speak it.

What do you think about this? Does the fact that the disciples were all "crackly voiced, acne pocked, impulsive" teenagers change your view of what they did?

Friday, July 17, 2009


Peace is not just the absence of strife, the lack of fighting. It's so much more than that. Peace is the state of completeness and well being. It is living in fullness and grace....ultimately it is living life in the the presence of God. There can only be peace in God's presence because in Him we find completeness. In Him is peace that passes understanding. If the Spirit of God dwells in us, peace will pour from us like rivers of living water.

Being content has its rewards. No wanting more. No striving to gain what you don't have. Being satisfied with what you have (or don't have). No whining about the weather or being too tired...peace. No complaints about the spouse or kids...shalom. No worries about the future or the past...complete. No stepping out of moral boundaries...integrity. No unresolved conflict...fellowship. Being OK...blessed. All have the origins of one being at peace with oneself and with God.

May the peace of God dwell in you richly...Shalom.

The Squirrel Mafia

I have several bird feeders that attract doves, cardinals, and a host of other birds. There are also three squirrels which run the feeders. They sit under the feeders and birds actually throw seeds out to feed the squirrels. What's going on here? I think the squirrels a running a protection racket for the birds.

You see, our cat sits under the bird bath and watches the birds. The squirrels can out run the cat and distract the cat from catching the birds...for that, the birds pay the squirrel in seeds. Lots of seeds. I go through a bag of seeds a day.

I occasionally find feathers and assorted bird parts under the feeder. I think the squirrels allowed the cat to dine on birds that won't feed them. The squirrel mafia whacks the uncooperative birds and my cat is the hitman. The Godfather is being played out daily underneath the feeders. I just wonder if they are putting horse heads in the bird's nest at night...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tongues as a Prayer Language

Romans 8.26 ...The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we don't know how to pray the way we should. But the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with groaning to deep for words....

I Cor. 14.2 For someone speaking in tongues is not speaking to people but to God, because no one can understand, since he is uttering mysteries in the power of the Spirit....A person speaking in a tongue does edify himself...I wish you could all speak in tongues....

I Cor. 14.14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit does pray, but my mind is unproductive...

Computers are operated by a language that I do not understand, which is, in fact so complicated, that it requires experts (called programmers) to understand it, interpret it and write it. That computer code operates all the internal workings of this laptop I am typing on, it speaks to the printer, the mother board, the programs it runs then, somehow, its translated into English. I see the product of a very complicated language interpreted so I can read it.

So here is how I explain praying in tongues. English is so limiting because it is a language we learned from other limited people. There are ideas, feelings, and spiritual things that my language just doesn't have a the words to express. However, never fear, God has pre-programmed us with the mother language, a language that supersedes English (or whatever language you learned as a child). The Holy Spirit has access to this embedded language that lies dormant until He has want of it.

Praying in tongues allows the Spirit to pray without having to go through the English language to come up with what to say. He speaks to God in God's language, which deeply expresses the spiritual realities without me trying to pollute it with my wants, whines, and demands. The embedded language, which I can not comprehend (and Scripture confirms that), is the Holy Spirit speaking. He takes what I need to God. He expresses praise to God in the purest form. He expresses my pain, my strivings, my groans directly to God without the hamper of the English language.

How does one pray in tongues? Good question. One must pray that the Spirit will take over the prayer. One must desire the Spirit to take over our language to express words we cannot understand. One must take a step out in faith to want a deeper, more edifying prayer life that is beyond our language skills and tendency to treat God like a giant vending machine with the wants and desires of our flesh.

I have prayed in tongues many times, even quietly to myself in my non-tongue-speaking church. It is incredible. It is meaningful. And I feel totally connected to the Father when I do it. It takes courage to approach God by this means.

What has been your experience with praying in tongues? If you have never done it, what do you think hinders you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

In the Center of it All

Are car manufacturers supposed to build cars that fit into our lives or are we supposed to fit our lives into their cars? Are home builders such as KB or Centex supposed to build houses that fit the home buyers needs or are we supposed to shape our needs into the houses they build? Are restaurants supposed to give diners what they want or are diners just supposed to want what the restaurant it and shut up?

Does this same paradigm fit for churches? Are churches supposed to be designed to fit into our lives or are we supposed to fit our lives into the structure of the church? What is the supposed to be at the center, my needs fitting into the structure or the structure changing to meet the needs and desires of the membership and community?

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Following God and doing church are not the same thing. Following God and conforming my life to what God wants me to do is NOT the same as going to church and having to fit into the churches' rigid structure and doing what the leadership of the church wants me to do. Or do I have that wrong?

2. If the church is the body of Christ, is the body supposed make room for me to fit in? Or am I supposed to find that a finger is missing and make myself be a finger? Who is supposed to help me decide what my part is in the church?

3. Is the Church supposed to meet the needs of the lost a dying world or is the lost and dying world supposed to only need what the church is willing to provide?

4. What is supposed to be the impetus behind what the church does? What is supposed to be at the center of it all. The world's needs? What God wants from us? The preservation of the structure and organization of the church? Doctrinal purity?

5. What would a church look like if it were centered on the teachings of Jesus, centered on meeting the needs of a lost and dying world, and centered on the God moving, helping and ministering to its members? What would have to be different?

Can you answer any of these questions?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Penn (of Penn and Teller) Talks About Talking About Jesus

I saw this video on the Vanity of Vanities Blog and have since viewed it several times. This is Penn (an atheist and magician/entertainer) describing an experience he had.

Watch this video:

What do you think about it? How do you approach talking about Jesus? Are you as passionate about Jesus as the man in Penn's story?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hidden Agendas

What do you the think the purpose of "church" is? If your answer is worshipping God, allowing Him to do HIS business and bringing the lost to Jesus, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Everything we do as a body should point to Jesus. Whether it be fellowship, communion, Bible class, praise, worship, prayer, and ministry, where is Jesus?

Many churches may think their purpose is on track but they are off track. For example, I know of churches who regularly preach how other denominations are in error (at best) or going to hell in a hand basket (at worst). So tell me, how does this accomplish the purpose of helping others find Jesus? Really? Other churches may be preaching denominational purity, superiority, and exclusivity. Others are trying to get people in the pews so they can build a new building while others are just trying to stop the mass exodus away from their church. Some churches are a puppet for their minister/pastor while others have a member or two who are at war for the minds of the members. Some ministers try to scare their membership into submission by preaching hell, fire, and/or brimstone. Arg. The problem is that praise and worship isn't really happening. The Spirit isn't even an afterthought. Jesus isn't being preached. Sad.

Just be willing to think about it. Perhaps you are in a church that is perfectly accomplishing their purpose. Great! You may realize that your church has room to grow in this area. Great! If so, what are the agendas of your church? Not "what are the stated goals" or "what should the purpose be" but what is being done toward the purpose of the church? Is it to talk about Jesus? Or is it to have a bigger church? Is it to tow the "denominational line" or to allow God to have His way? Look at the music you sing, the sermons that are preached and the amount of time spent in ministry in church. Each of these expose the hidden agendas lurking in the church.

People will see your congregational agenda. The unspoken mission statement will be lived out by the leadership. If its not about Jesus, they will know. If it's not about Jesus, you got nuthin.'

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to Speak in Tongues

This spiritual gift is probably the most misunderstood and controversial gift of the Holy Spirit. Many people are raised thinking that speaking in tongues is just "crazy talk" gibberish that means nothing...other than getting attention (at best) or Satan talking through people (at worst). I am no expert on speaking in tongues but I can at least share my experience and what helped me....take it for what its worth.

Now any rational person can agree that speaking in tongues was a part of the Holy Spirit anointing on the day of Pentecost, right? So, that part is not in dispute because of what we read in Acts and I Corinthians 12 and 14. With me so far? For me, growing up in the Church of Christ, it is hard for me to picture Paul and the Apostles sitting around speaking in tongues...I thought they spoke King James English (heh, heh). Any way, all jesting aside, speaking in tongues was a regular part of a 1st century Christian's life.

And it can be a part of a present day Christian's life. Now, before you revoke my lifetime membership card to the Churches of Christ, there are many closet tongue speakers out there...they are just afraid of the rejection and torment of public rebuking so they keep it to themselves. I have talked to 6 such persons (2 in conservative fellowships) and they regularly speak in tongues in the privacy of their own homes (3 said their spouses don't even know).

So if you want to speak in tongues, here are some helpful hints:

1. All Spiritual gifts must be practiced and used to gain some sort of proficiency at them. Our flesh doesn't want us to speak in tongues...most of our training to be "Good Christians" didn't include tongue speaking class. It is not natural, especially if you have been told that it is wrong or crazy for 35 years. A person can learn to exhibit a spiritual gift.

2. Eagerly seek. Read I Cor. 14.1. Be eager in asking God for spiritual gifts...including speaking in tongues. Ask daily (or several times daily). Say, "God, if you want me to speak in tongues, then it is going to have to come from you. I ask for more of your Spirit, so your will can be done on earth. Lord, in the name of Jesus, loose my mouth to speak the words of the Spirit. Loose my tongues to speak your prayer language, place your language on tongue. Give me the courage and desire to exhibit your gifts."

3. Get your flesh used to speaking in tongues but saying nonsense words. This just helps you not to suppress the Spirit when it actually happens. In my first experience in speaking in tongues, I uttered about 5 words then totally shut scared me half to death to not be in control of what I spoke and took me months to do it again.

4. Be patient. Allow the Spirit to move instead of forcing yourself to do it. Wait upon the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

5. Before you stand up in church and "let 'er rip," try doing it by yourself at first. Try these exercises in your car or when no one else is around. It is difficult enough without the scrutiny or pressure of someone else watching (or the horrified looks of small children and conservative brothers and sisters).

6. Get someone to pray over you, lay hands on you and pray for the Spirit to speak through you. I appreciate my "tongue speaking" brother's prayers on my behalf to speak in tongues. It helped me to hear them speak in tongues and gave me the courage to try for myself.

Well, there you have it. If you have questions about my experience, ask me. I will not claim to have any of the answers but I can at least share more of my experience with you. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Peach Pie So Good You'll Slap Yo' Mama

Are you tired of the same ol' same ol'? ****YAWN**** Here's a recipe that you absolutely have to'll thank me later, trust me. Once you try it, you'll never go back to boring ol' pies again. Enjoy.

Peach Pie


3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
12 Ritz Crackers (crushed)
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. Cool Whip
5-6 peaches

Beat egg whites until stiff. While beating egg whites, add baking powder and sugar a little at a time. Fold in crushed Ritz Crackers. Add pecans and vanilla.

Put mixture in greased pie pan and shape it into a pie crust. Cook for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Take out of oven. It will looked puffed up...put in refrigerator overnight. The next day, Mix sliced peaches and Cool Whip together. Fill the crust. Refrigerate an hour before serving.

Do not eat this pie while driving as it will roll your eyes into the back of your head. Allow time to catch your breathe after tasting. Make efforts to limit yourself to one piece.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Looking For God, Finding His Presence

Psalms 105.4 Seek Adonai and His strength; always seek his presence.

Scripture is clear. God wants us to seek after him. He doesn't want to waste His time showing up for people who would rather have religion or nothing at all. He appears to those who have invited Him over for a talk.

God isn't rude. He is a gentleman. He is not a control freak nor is He going to impose Himself on someone. No. He waits to be invited then He shows up. His presence surrounds those who sincerely, desperately want Him there. We are not in control of God, nor can we demand He show up. We can only seek, asking Him to share Himself with us.

We find what we are looking for. If we want a religious experience, we find it. If we want to be left alone to seek after our hedonistic pleasure, we can find it. If we search desperately for approval, affirmation or affection, we will find it in all of its shallow, hallow emptiness. If we seek after riches, money and success, we tend to seek after only that to the exclusion of love, relationships and peace. If we want fame, then we look to walk down that path. In the same way, if we seek the Father, we walk the path of faith, prayer and love that invites Him to walk with us.

Father, I want you to be in my life. I invite you to be here with me right now. I enjoy spending time with you, to talk, to share. I love you, Father and need to spend time with you because you are everything to me. I bless you, Father, for your presence.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What Has He Done For You?

Psalms 105.1,5 Make His deeds known among the peoples....Remember the wonders He has done, His signs and His spoken rulings...

I guess the big questions are: What have you seen God do? With your own two eyes, what have you witnessed God do? Have you seen or met someone God healed? I have. Have you seen or met someone that God radically changed? I have. Have you heard God say something to you? I have. Have felt His power surge through you during praise? Boy howdy, I have.

What are your answers to these questions? If all of them are no, something's up. Seriously. God works in His people, through His people, with His people and talks to his people....Today. Really! This isn't just charismatic, Pentecostal hype. It is necessary material for a church to remain vibrant and alive. Your testimony, your eye witness account of what God has done and is doing to you and those you know cause people to have hope and joy.

Is your church (or your own life) lacking joy and hope? Talk about what God has done and is doing to you. Tell it to those around you....There is no such thing as secret miracles. If you are wanting God to perform miracles or healing or whatever in your life, you gotta talk about it. Get excited. Be exuberant. Give God the glory for His works and you will see Him work. If you are willing to tell, He will make something happen for you to tell.

Make a list of things you have seen God do. Here is 10 of mine:

1. Healed Jim's eyes.
2. Healed Mark's knees
3. Spoke through me to Ozell
4. Healed four women so they could conceive a baby (soon to be 5)
5. Saved me from falling to my death
6. Moved through Downtown Church of Christ on a Sunday morning
7. Healed a woman who had cancer (undetectable 3 days later)
8. Caused 4 unwilling Church of Christ guys to speak in tongues (I was one of them)
9. Healed Doug of the AIDS virus
10. Has kept my oldest son alive for 17 years (he wasn't expected to live through the first week)

Now go tell someone what you have seen God do and watch God produce joy and hope in you and the other person.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

My family is in the 4th of July parade today in Irving, TX. We are driving down the street in my decorated pickup throwing out candy. Woo hoo. It doesn't get better than this. Go to a parade today. Celebrate patriotism and freedom. Keep up the Spirit of Freedom and let the world know that what we have is better than socialism, communism, tribal law or whatever else is out there. Let freedom ring.

God bless the courageous soldiers and verterans who sacrificed to make our freedom possible. I hope you enjoy the 4th of July.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The MEssiah (MEE-SYAH)

Here is a video to watch:

I love this video. It makes me laugh every time I see it. When we make church to fit ourselves, to be comfortable, we miss God. We miss our opportunity to submit, to repent and conform to the image of God (not conform Him to our image). We miss healing, prophecy, miracles and the work of the Spirit. We get religion instead. We miss God entirely and instead have a ME centered God which only does our will.

MEssiah. Yes, Jesus died for ME. Yes, he loves ME. Yes, Jesus is a personal Savior who cares for ME and wants ME to follow Him. It is about ME...ME changing, ME transforming my life to please Him. It is about ME dying to self, ME allowing God use ME to do His will. It is about ME loving my enemies, ME feeding the hungry and ME helping the sick.

OK, so it is about ME.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

God Wants Me to be Happy

I was talking to a friend who was unhappy in his marriage and he said,"I am miserable. We argue and fight all the time, she nags me 24/7, we threaten each other and I hate it. I am going to divorce her. I know divorce is wrong but God wants me to be happy..."

What?!?? Which god wants you to be happy??!!? That is not how my God works. I wish I had a god that was just interested in my happiness, my complete bliss. I wish I had a genie that would grant me 130,000 wishes a year and would be completely devoted to my emotional, spiritual, and physical fulfillment with little or no effort from me. I wish there was a god who would keep me young, allow me to eat like a hog and not gain weight, fix the lightening damage on my house, make weeds not grow in my flower beds, keep the outside temperature at 72 degrees (that god is in San Diego), and cause a 14,000 mountain to appear where Fort Worth is currently located. And while we're at it make my kidney stones disappear, my hair browner, and make my overall fat percentage drop to 3.5%. Give me a house that keeps itself clean, give me a ranch in Colorado, make my sons mind me, make my wife......well, you get the picture. If 'wishes and buts' were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas.

Think about children who get everything they want? Do you like being around them? Are they deep? Do they have character? I'll pass. Give me a friend who has struggled with life, to make ends meet, who has a sick child, who was hurt as a child and had to overcome, who has had a drug problem, sexual struggles or problems with relating to God. Someone who has had all this stuff happen to them but they overcame, depended on the grace and mercy of God, who has cried themselves to sleep only to wake up in the arms of God. I want to talk to that person, hug that person, pray with them and love them. They are real. They are deep. They are a deep drink of ice cold spring water on a hot and dreary day.

So, do you really want a god that is only interested in your happiness? To have a life without purpose other than fulfilling your every hedonistic whim? Really? Life without struggle is like water without wet. Struggle is what gives life meaning. Struggle and hardship are what make us turn to the Father for guidance and wisdom. If you think about it, struggle is the challenge of life that gives us character....uh oh, my dishwasher is making a funny noise....I am about to build some more character.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Life After People

Have you ever watched the TV show "Life after People" on the History Channel? It supposes that people disappear from the face of the earth and chronicles what happens to the earth over the next 5, 10, 50, 100, 1000 and 10,000 years. It is sobering. When we are gone, every monument, building and structure disappears...gone in a 1,000 years. Not only are we made of dust, but all our creations are dust.

Just think about what legacies you are trying to leave, the monuments that you are erecting so you can be remembered. The cars we drive, the houses we live in, land we own and our bank accounts are really meaningless as time marches on. I do my family's history and it is interesting how 5 or 6 generations back, nothing is known abou them... In just a hundred years, they only are a name on a list of ancestors but their deeds, what was important to them is unknown. What they built is gone.

What should we invest in? What do you want to be known for after you are gone? What is important to you?