Rememberg is godly

October 16, 2011

Read this scripture then keep on reading…

Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on
them. It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the
wilderness until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done. (Deuteronomy 11:1-7 NIV)

I’m blessed to be the longest employee of Lifechurch.tv and I remember the early days – I remember wondering where resource and provision was going to come from and then seeing God come through every time- time and time again. I remember seeing people that I thought could never change be absolutely changed by His power time and time again.
Many times people look at what Lifechurch.tv has become and believe that it must have been some grand strategy by Craig or the staff. It wasn’t. It was, is and always will be the power of God working through people.
But, I’ve noticed that it’s a bit harder to see that now. We have all these campuses and lights and sound and kids ministry and student ministry and YouVersion and so many other things that are easy to point a finger at and say something like “that’s why they are so successful”. Wrong. It’s simply His power and blessing on this place.
And I believe we must REMEMBER. As a staff member I must spend time teaching younger staff members about the history of LC- I believe it’s a mandate from the scripture above.

Here’s the thing, it doesn’t stop with just what God has done at a church. It’s in you- what do you need to remember? It’s your family- what does your family need to remember? We must be teaching our children all that God has done. Allow their little hearts to share in blessing of God’s faithfulness in the past. It will strengthen their faith for the future. These are biblical mandates, not good ideas. We must do this. We must live this way. We must even talk of how the Lord our God has disciplined us and taught us.

Let us never forget all that God has done and may those memories inspire us to act in faith for the future.

Where He calls He equips

August 30, 2011

I’ve been reading the One Year Bible on YouVersion and right now. Part of what I’m reading are the details on building the tabernacle in Exodus.  Let me tell you, it’s not the most gripping reading in the bible with chapter after chapter of minute detail of how to build and decorate the place (unless your an architect or interior designer I guess).  What I started to think about after a while was how overwhelmed Moses might have felt as God gave him so much information and instruction on this stuff.  I’m not sure how he was taking notes but my guess is it wasn’t on evernote on his Ipad or some other app.  But I’m sure a sore hand was the least of his worries with this daunting task ahead of him.  But then in chapter 31, after all this instruction on what to do God sends Bezazel to Moses and later on many more skilled craftsmen and spirit filled men to do the work. Perhaps Moses never doubted that it would get done, but I would have.  I would’ve doubted I even got it all written down correctly.

It’s easy to allow yourself to be overwhelmed with a calling you’ve received from the Lord, or even just in life and day to day living.  But the truth is He has called us to parent, to be a godly spouse, to be a friend that pushes our friends closer to Jesus, to minister the gospel to the world and be the church to the church.  And if He has called us you can rest assured that He has equipped us- even if we don’t feel like it.  Where He calls He equips.  It’s the truth, period.  Believe it and rest in it.  Call out to Him for strength and wisdom.  He will give it (James chp 1).  And try not to be too surprised when your ‘Bezazel’ shows up on your doorstep.

I believe biblical community solves so many of the world’s problems.  How’s that for a dramatic first sentence?  But the thing is – I really believe that.  I’ve seen captives set free from addictions and sin through relationships with believers.  I’ve seen people come to Christ led there by a Christian group of friends.  I’ve seen communities changed through groups of people passionate about a common cause.  I’ve seen people carried through extreme tragedy and lifelong friendships formed through LifeGroups and other forms of true Christian community.  I’ve seen these groups in all forms: more traditional”meet in homes” type of groups, online groups, sports groups, breakfast clubs (great movie btw), and more.  The bottom line is getting yourself in a seat at church on the weekend is not enough.  We NEED each other.  We need more than a great sermon or worship music, we need consistent, real relationship with fellow believers who will be there for us in every way.

If you’re not in regular community, you are missing out on the biggest yet smallest part of the church.

15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.t And by him we cry, “Abba, t Father.”16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

From Romans 8

Think of some of the most powerful adoption stories you’ve ever heard, guess what? We are a part of an adoption story ourselves that tops them all! He is our King, Master, Lord, Savior but he is our FATHER. Imagine adopting a child that you fell in love with. What would we (as mere humans) do for that little one. How would we protect and love him/her. God feels this way about us but so much more it’s not possible to measure. He has adopted us! (thankfully he didn’t have to deal with DHS or anything)🙂 How much differently we would live if we could keep this first and foremost in our minds.

It’s easy to read this whole section of scripture and think that it’s only a warning to ‘watch yourself’ when u take communion.
But, it’s more than that- it’s showing us a merciful God by yet another degree. His willingness to make us sick or even kill us in order to save our soul seems strange at first glance, but then I think of eternity without Him and I say ‘bring the pain, sickness and death Lord’. And it’s not some hyper spiritual reason I say this as much as it is fear for my own soul (I guess that is a pretty spiritual thought though).

His thoughts and ways are so far beyond mine and that includes my ability to understand his grace, mercy and lovingkindness. He continually redefines those things to me. And as I understand more I also understand I need Him to be a God that will pursue me with that kind of passion, passion that may lead Him to kill me or make me sick if it somehow saves my soul. it’s funny to equate pain, sickness and death that God may bring and NOT associate it with His wrath (which is a very real thing) but to associate these with his mercy.

The old saying ‘be careful what u pray for’ comes to mind, but sickness, hardship and death are fleeting moments compared to eternity- so don’t be too careful🙂. 1 Cor 11:30 and surrounding verses

2010

January 3, 2011

Well, this last year was one of the hardest I’ve had in my life.  It’s also been one of the sweetest spiritually (those always seem to go together).  For the many who don’t know I lost my father and also had a significant job/ministry change, getting used to being a dad plus finding out we have a 2nd on the way, dealt with anxiety like I haven’t before…  wheew.  A lot of hard stuff and a lot of wonderful stuff, but A LOT.

It’s so easy to look to 2011 to be a ‘better’ year.  But I find myself asking ‘what is a better year’?  Is a better year one without pain? Or one with less bumps in the road?  No, I can’t say that and have the earlier blog that I do (you can read about it in an earlier post).  So my prayer for 2011 is to make each day better.  It is days that make up the year, for me approaching it with any longer view than ‘day by day’ is asking for trouble.  That’s when auto pilot can kick in and complacency (the biggest threat to American Christians in my opinion) rears it’s ugly head.  The bible commands us to take up our cross daily.  Luke 9:23

So, my hope for 2011 isn’t for an easier year, although I’m tempted often to hope for such.  My prayer is that every day I would seek God first.  Every day I would put others before me.  Every day I would look for a way to make THAT DAY COUNT.   Life is so short, loosing my father reminded me of this.  He is with Jesus and enjoying His presence for which we all have hope. But I’m also sure that if you would’ve asked him on his death bed if he was happy with every single day he lived he would’ve wished to have some back -like all of us.  And if a day slips by where I’ve failed I need to remember that a brand new one comes tomorrow.

We can’t go back in time or into the future, but we can live today.  365 chances await all of us in 2011 (unless it’s a leap year- I can never remember when those are).

my little guy’s smile

February 6, 2010

I’m a dad now.  Wow, that’s weird to type, but strangely those ‘oh my gosh, I’m a dad!’ moments have only happened a few times.  It’s like I’ve had Caleb forever, I can hardly remember or imagine what life was like before this little life came into mine.  Little, he is little.  Little toes, little hands, little belly button, little smile.  He also does a lot of ‘little’ things.  All the normal stuff I’m sure.  He likes to stick his little fingers in my mouth while I hold him.  Frankly, if your child would’ve done that to me six months ago (if you could’ve even made me hold em) I would quickly have handed him right back and asked for mouth wash and hand sanitizer.  But now I find myself getting spit up, poop and other assorted little stuff on myself and accepting it.  Somehow I’m able to look right past it (whatever the excretion may be at the moment) and look right at my son.  I don’t see all the stuff, I just see him.   I can’t believe how much I love the little guy.  From the moment I laid eyes on him I would’ve done anything for him.  That kind of love is new to me.  I can honestly say there’s never been another person that in the first instant I laid eyes on them I would’ve given every organ in my body if need be.  Until now.  When I come home and see his little face look up at me, recognize me and smile, wow, my heart melts.

It’s also changed my relationship with God.  Big.  I realize a small fraction of God’s view of me.  Does my smile melt his heart when I look to him and He’s watching me?  Does he look forward to spending time with me?  Is He able to look past all my ‘stuff’ and just see me?  Would He give everything to save me if I needed it?  Well, if you know Jesus in a real way you know the answers to these questions.  And now God has blessed me with a physical picture of his very real love for me.  Could I actually melt God’s heart?  That’s the question I have for all of us.  I also believe I have the answer, yes.  So if we can do such a high, lofty and precious thing, how do we do it?  Well, I would say we look up and smile at Him.  Smile at Him while worshipping Him.  Smile at him while reading His love letter to us, the Bible.  Smile at Him while loving and ministering to someone on this earth.  Smile at Him with your life.  Melt the heart of God, I believe you can.  Say cheese.

investments

January 24, 2010

Many of you know that my father has recently had a major stroke. It’s been a month now since it’s all happened and we’ve been on both ends of the spectrum in terms of what to expect. We were funeral planning 3 weeks ago and now we are hopeful for his future here on earth. Join us in praying for his full recovery, please.

But what I want to talk about right now is investments. Yeah, I know, that’s strange. 401ks at a time like this? Not exactly. My dad has left my mom in a good financial situation, which is exactly what I’d expect from him. But here’s what’s really impacted me lately. My dad has invested in much more than just finances. He’s invested his life in God, his wife, his children and his church. And now’s the payoff. We save money our whole lives waiting for the payoff. My dad invested in so many things that last far beyond what money does and I see it more clearly now than ever. I can’t even begin to write down all the lifelong friends that have visited, taken my mom to dinner, helped in different ways, stayed over night at the hospital with us, prayed and just been there. And I’m talking a TON of people. And not just people showing up to be respectful, but people that have story after story of how my father has impacted their life in one way or another and they tell those stories in tears more times than not. My dad’s not a preacher, he’s not an extreme extrovert but he’s lived a life of faithfulness and poured into the lives of others in a quiet, godly way. I’m seeing very clearly what a life of faithfulness can pay off even this side of eternity, who knows what it will look like on the other side.

Dad, thanks for showing me how to invest and be smart financially, but thanks even more for showing me how to invest in the Kingdom, family, and friends. And this investment is tax free on both sides🙂

PAIN

May 26, 2009

Ok, here’s a very deep thought for you.  Pain hurts.  I know, tough to comprehend, but you’d agree its true.  I have many friends who are going through very hard times right now and so many of them seem to be  the last people that ‘deserve it’

….  or maybe they are  the first who should get it.  Why?  Because God trusts those who will be shaped into world changers with pain.

I’ve experienced my share, i wouldn’t go back and avoid it if i even could.

Why?  (by the way, that question is the most asked during painful times, i’m convinced) because God uses pain to accomplish the most.  What’s the most pain anyone ever experienced?  Jesus, and his death on the cross.  But look what was accomplished through the most pain ever, the most gain ever- ever in the history of mankind- our way back to God.

Look at every single difference maker in the Bible, Jesus, Job, Paul, King David, Jeremiah (the weeping prophet), Isaiah, all the disciples, the old testament prophets.  What did they ALL have in common besides their faith?  Pain.  And every time God used their pain, their difficult situation for His purposes in the end.

You see, it is wonderful when we are blessed with ‘good’ things in life – money, or a wife/husband, or kids, promotions, or houses or cars, whatever.  Yes, those things are good- but what is better?  Well, God might say pain.  Because of what it produces.

Look at it this way, God trusts us with pain.  A gift.  The book of James says ‘consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds’ (look it up for the rest)  PURE JOY=PAIN?  guess so.

We have an eternity waiting for us of bliss and sinless society, perhaps we should embrace the pain now- after all it’s our only chance to do so for Him – to suffer for Christ.  It’s your only chance- and this life is a vapor, friends.

Next thing you know, you’re standing before God.  It WILL happen. Let’s literally hug pain to us when it comes- and find out what God will do through the pain, instead of just praying for it to go away.  What a waste a trial is, if all we do is move it to the back of our minds or try to drown it away with some vice until its gone.

It doens’t mean we don’t grieve.  It doesn’t mean we aren’t real with God and cry out to Him- even question Him, He’s big, He can handle it.  What’s worse is if we just turn FROM Him or grow cold to Him.

Embrace pain my friends, and remind me of this blog when my next trial comes.🙂

I have had so many worship pastors from other churches call me over the years and ask me what the secret to Lifechurch.tv is.  Is it the lights and smoke?  Is it the cool videos?  Great musicians?   And the list goes on and on.  The truth is it’s very easy to get sidetracked and focus on these things thinking they are some kind of key to get people to engage in passionate worship on weekends at your church.

I always tell them the same thing, what makes great worship is what’s happening in YOUR heart.  ‘My heart? He or she might respond’.  To which I say ‘your heart as the leader, but the heart of the worshipper that’s not on stage as well’.

My hope is that every single time you enter the doors to the auditorium at Okc campus is that you would stop for a moment and remember that you’re not here as a consumer.  But you and I are here for God.  FOR GOD.  We are all worshippers singing for Him.  You aren’t the audience that is ‘entertained’  or  ‘waiting for a good song that you like’ or whatever it may be.  Come ready and remember you are singing for an audience of ONE.  Jesus.  He is listening to you.  Don’t worry about singing in tune, I think it’s your heart at which He’s looking anyway.  Are you ready to forget about everything else and focus on Him?  BE BOLD!  SING OUT!  LIFT YOUR HANDS!  Move to the front to remove distractions for yourself.  Besides, it’s really good practice for heaven.