Showing posts from March, 2017

How To Recover From Being Stabbed In The Back

I've been blogging about trust and betrayal all week.  As we approach Easter (April 16th) such things weigh heavy on my mind. Why?  Because in some small way I can identify with Christ.  Or better yet, Christ can identify with me. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus knew that someone would betray us.  A spouse, a business partner, an employee, a friend or even a family member.  He was aware that it would hurt and that there would be collateral damage.  But what can you and I do to recover from this?  Well, you have to make some choices.   #1 - Don't take it personally.  This is hard but necessary.  If you take it personally, you will make the betrayer and their actions the center of your life.  Jesus is the center of your life, and anything that replaces Him is an idol.   #2 - Mourn successfully.  I am not suggesting that you

When Someone Betrays You

Remember our verse yesterday?  1 Peter 3:9   Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. Who wrote it?  Peter (Duh, it says it right there in the reference.)  But what did Peter do at Jesus' crucifixion?  He lied about knowing Jesus.  The man who had earlier said, "Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." was now cursing people like a fisherman and denying any relationship with this man.  Ouch! This kind of betrayal is painful and all too common.  There are those who call themselves followers of Jesus, who when challenged outside of the church either outrightly deny any relationship with Jesus or devalue their relationship with Him significantly.   But what do you do when someone denies knowing you?  This can happen.  Sometimes we call it disowning someone or just, "taking a break."  Can a relationship be revived?  Can a love lost be regained?

When Judas Betrays You

Easter is coming in a few short weeks, and at that time we will recall the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. This story includes a disciple named Judas.  He was the one who betrayed Jesus.  Even though all he did was direct the Chief Priests to the place where they could arrest Jesus in private and identify who Jesus was with a kiss on the cheek, his was an act of betrayal. Have you ever been betrayed?  I have.  More times than I care to remember.  Each time it was a person who I considered to be a friend.  Someone who ate my food and enjoyed my hospitality.  Someone who I had made sacrifices for on their behalf.  Someone who I had invested my life into for the purpose of helping them build a better life for them and their family.  Each time the betrayal was painful, expensive and unnecessary. I wish I could tell you details, I know that it would add credibility to what I am saying here, but it would probably cause more problems that the story is worth. It to

Trust - It's Important

Trust is an important part of life.  Without it, you cannot have a marriage, a team or a life.  In fact, there is very little you can do without it.  So how can you have more trust? Be trustworthy. Titus 2:7 S how yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, If you want trust from others, give it away.  This is where action speaks louder than words.  Be a good model of trustworthiness.  Your word is your bond and you will not if at all possible, break it.   Also, you will need a track record of consistency.  The longer you are trustworthy, the more integrity you will acquire.  People will look to you for assistance in their life if they believe in you.  Integrity is necessary.   Show dignity.  This is a rare commodity these days.  So when you show someone dignity, they will respond with joy.  Trust demands that you treat others better than they probably deserve.  Why?  Because trust believes that people can be better

Trust Is A Big Deal

Proverbs 3:5 says  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding . But trust doesn't come easy for us, does it?  At one time in our lives we have probably had our heart broken by someone.  I would also venture a guess that it hurt - badly. Betrayal, whether it is marital, business or in a friendship, always does damage.  But why?  We have a clue in 1 Cor.13: 6-7 6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.   Trust is rooted in love.  While the English language uses the Word, "love" exclusively, we understand that there are different types of love.  Classical Greek, the language that the New Testament is  written in,  uses different words to describe, "love."   For example, "Agape" ( A self sacrificing that does not expect anything in return ) is the love you will find within a marriage.  This is different from,

It Is A Good Morning (Somewhere)

As I write this, it is 10 am, EST in Florida.   Recently I reviewed my sites stats and discover that many people are reading this blog from: - Coast to Coast is the USA - Norway, England, France, Italy,  - Africa, Middle East, India - Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. It's a good morning somewhere.  How do you start your morning?  Psalm 143:8 says  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. What you do in the morning sets the course for your day.   - If you choose to do nothing more than get up and go, then your day will take you where it pleases.  - If you get up and choose the course of your day, then your day will go in that direction.   #1 Start with Jesus.   - Read your Bible.  #2 Read something that will challenge you to change and improve.  - Read from the wisdom of people who are where you want to be.   #3 Write down something grateful.

Are You Gritty?

My daughter saw a t-shirt the other day that said. "If ballet were easy it would be called football." The guy who inspects our fire extinguishers every year at the church noted that his son has developed a strong self-confidence since joining Tae Kwon Do. I recently read a book by Angela Duckworth entitled, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance which noted that successful people have more "Grit."  She defines it as, "perseverance and passion for long-term goals." Romans 5:3 - 5 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Seeing long-term challenges through requires endurance.  That means that you have to keep your eye on your goals and work every day towards them.  "But Pastor, when w

New Level - New Devil

Have you ever heard that before?  New Level - New Devil.  It was a saying that some pastors used to communicate truth.  That truth being, as you excel in your relationship with Jesus, new challenges will appear. If you have been a follower of Jesus for any amount of time, you know the truth of this statement.  But allow me to expand on this for a moment.  As you grow your business, your family, your future, and your life - you're going to have to face new challenges and temptations. I like the lyrics that Toby Mac raps in "Til the Day I Die." You say you doin' work, but you're asking where the couch at How you doin' work when you asking where the couch at? God is not a crutch, you can use Him when you wanna You only look to heaven when you goin' through some drama And when they goin' through some problems and that's the only time they call Him We can be tempted to, "take it easy" or to, "coast along."   We can be temp

When You Run Out If Time

Someone said to me the other day.  "If I have enough money, I don't have enough time.  But if I have enough time, I don't have enough money."   Our culture considers time and money to be valuable resources.  I agree, but I believe that there is a greater resource than these.  Faith.   I believe that God has given what I have. That time and money are a gift from Him.  I also believe that I am to be an excellent manager of these resources.  That this responsibility of managership is a matter of faith.   Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Paul writes,  but understand what the will of the Lord is.   When you know what God wants you to do then you know how to spend your time and money.  ... making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.   CNN, NBC, ABC prove this

When you feel like a pinball.

Ever played one of those pinball machines?  If you haven't, try it some time.  It can be frustratingly fun! But have you ever felt like the pinball?  Do you feel like you are getting bounced from problem to problem at the speed of light?  You're not alone. This morning we visited our tax preparer.  Ding! The cat refuses to eat, we have to go to the vet.  Ping! The cat has pancreatitis.  Ping!  Ding! Important unscheduled phone call.  Thump! Transmission slipping in the car.  Ding! Thump! Some people would come home after a day like this and growl at their family and complain about their life.  Then they would determine that they must have done something very, very wrong for their life to be the way it is. Here's the deal.  Jesus said in  John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." My schedule is in Jesus' hands.  Before I ever got up, He knew what I was going to be up against.  He made provision for those thi

When Vision Is Frustrating

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. How long have you waited for God to answer a prayer?  How long are you willing to wait?  There will be times in your life when you have waited so long for something to happen that even the thought of it is painful.  But . . .  ... the greater the wait, the greater the reward.  When vision becomes a reality the joy of experiencing it can be overwhelming and humbling.  ... when waiting is painful.   The process of waiting is a process of patience and faith.  People have told me for years, "I will never pay for patience."  My response is simple.  You don't have to wait for it, it's going to happen anyway. Don't focus on the pain, focus on your faith.  God hasn't forgotten you, and He isn't going to abandon you.   PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I know that you are going to teach me patience, give me the faith to see it through.  AMEN

Seeing What You Can't See

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. How did you start your week?  With vision and hope for the days to come or with dread and sorrow for each hour that passes?  It's your choice.  But what do you choose with?  Facts or Faith?   When we look at our world through our facts we are limited by only what we see.  But when we look at that same world through our faith, we can see so much more.  You can see what God sees.  You can see what His purpose is for your life.  You can see your life with new hope.   Now, is your faith convinced what your future looks like?  PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I want my faith to see more.  AMEN

Vision and Willpower

2 Tim. 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. I read this week that willpower is like a muscle.  But that you have to exercise it if it is to serve you well.   If vision is ever going to be a reality, you're going to need self-control or willpower.  That ability to set your heart on something and see it through.   We have to have willpower over your distractions.   There are so many things that can tempt you from doing the next right thing in your life.  When you give into those distractions, it is usually done with good intentions.  " I'll get to it later." We have to have willpower over your weaknesses.  There are things in your life that are your Achilles heel.  If you are not diligent at keeping them away, they will trip you up.  The goal here is to stay away from them as far as possible. We have to will power over your challenges.   There are things in your life - even people - who will challenge

Vision Through God's Eyes

I blogged yesterday, AND I didn't hit the publish button.  Funny how technology is completely unforgiving.  Thankfully I serve a God who is more forgiving of me than my iPhone.  I'm on a trip.  I can see the destination, but I have no idea how I am going to get there. When Betty and I decided it was time to have children we didn't take the decision lightly.  (No one should.)  We waited until we felt we were mature enough to be parents and that was going to be after our 5th year of marriage.  But before that "magic" number arrived Betty became very ill.  Her doctor declared, "You will never have children.  Try, and it will kill you." So 5 years became 15 years.  Through a series of miracles, Betty was now able to have children.  When we asked the doctor for his profession opinion, he gave us his overwhelming approval.  (Yes, the same doctor.)  We could see the destination, and we thought we knew how we were going to get there.  But one miscarriage

Vision Needs Momentum

This morning, Anneka and I studied David and Goliath.  If you don't know the story, you can read about it here . This event in Israel's history is full of wonderful bits of wisdom.  But one of the most important is about momentum. If you have a vision for your life, family, business or adventure you know that it will never become a reality unless you have the energy (momentum) to get there.  Just like the vision for the church I pastor, without momentum, it will never be realized. Don't allow others to determine who you are.    When David arrived and inquired about what was happening (Goliaths challenge to Israel) his brothers told him that he was a brat and to get out of the way.  I have pastored FFWC for 21 years now.  In that time I have had some people try to tell me what kind of Pastor I should be and what kind of church FFWC should be.  If I had listened to them, we wouldn't even be here now.  If you want momentum, know who you are in Christ and what your

Curve balls

What do you see in your future?  Is it what you were looking at a year ago?  Maybe.  5 years ago?  Probably not. Life has a way of throwing a curve ball at you, doesn't it?  Your plans go out the window, and you are left thinking, "What am I going to do now?" Vision has to adapt.  If it cannot adapt, it will be nothing more than ball and chain around your future. You can see it, but you will never get there.  An unwillingness to change only slows you down. So what can you do? Remember Malachi 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change;. . . .   In a world where change is a way of life, God will serve as the anchor of your vision. Remember Ecclesiastes 3:1  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:   Solomon understood that life has an ebb and flow to it.  While today may not fulfill your vision, that doesn't mean that the rest of your life will be the same way. Remember Ephesians 2: 4 - 6 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because

What do you see?

Prov. 18:19 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. (NIV) Someone once defined vision as the picture of your preferred future.  If you were to look to your life 1 year, 5 years even 10 years from now what would you see.  The question is, what do you want to see? Solomon words in Prov. 18:19 are so true.  If you cannot see what God is going to do in the future (revelation) then you are doomed to do anything.  In other words, without God's wisdom to lead you, you are living aimlessly.  This is true of individuals, marriages, families and churches.  All of us are one path.  You know how your life will turn out if you stay on it.  Hoping that it will be different is like walking into a McDonalds and ordering a Filet Mignon.  Hope all you want, it isn't going to happen.   If you want your future to be different, then you have to do something different.  I know, profound wisdom, right?  But the f

Be Grateful

How was your day?   Mine was awesome, thank you for asking. Attitude is everything.  Each morning when I get up, I write down in a journal something that I am grateful for.  I would suggest that you do the same.  Starting your day properly is so important.  It really makes a difference. Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. But what if you know that you are facing something this day that isn't very pleasant.  That you have to make a difficult decision or that you may receive some bad news?  Start with gratefulness. If you will take the time to be grateful it will help you to facing the menacing problems of your day. PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I am grateful for ( insert something your grateful for here).  AMEN.

Let's Get Ready To . . .

GO TO CHURCH!  You thought I was going to say, "Rumble" didn't you? Bruce Buffer, the man who made that statement famous, get's paid 25,000 to 1 million dollars every time he says it. You heard me right. Psalms 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! What would you pay for God to say to you, "Goob job!  You've been faithful to Me!" What would you pay for God to say to you, "I am your friend!" What would you pay for God to say to you, "Don't worry, I've got this!" Here is the truth.  Those words are not for sale.  They are free.  #1 - You'll never have enough money in the world to pay for them.  You cannot do enough good deeds to earn them. You cannot do enough penance to deserve them.  Your debt is paid. Knowing that you could never hear those words without His help, Jesus paid the price for you. So why are you going to go to church tomorrow?  To worship Him, thank Him

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

Remember in the original Matrix, the good movie, when Neo is offered a choice between the red and blue pill? Morpheus says, "You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." I've been re-reading the book "IF" by Mark Batterson where he makes a reference to this scene.  As followers of Jesus, we have to make the same kind of choice every day. The Red Pill refers to the times when we pray and fasting.  We face reality, but we do so with the knowledge that God is working on our behalf and that we are following Him faithfully. The Blue Pill is what many people do.  They remain oblivious to what is going on around them allowing others to run their life and "hope" that everything turns out alright. The Red Pill keeps life interesting, the Blue Pill is boring.   The Red Pill allows God to move throu

When You Need A Miracle

This is a picture of our church projector.  It burned a bulb out last week, so I ordered a new one.  After replacing said bulb, I went to turn it on and . . . . nothing.  So I called a friend of mine who understands these machines, and he knew what was wrong.  It blew a fuse.  That should be an easy fix.  (Why did I have to say that out loud?)  1 hour later I was elbow deep in projector surgery and no fuse in site.  That's when we discovered that the fuse is on the motherboard.  (That's the green square you see in the pic.)  Anything that runs on software has a motherboard.  Your computer, your thermostat, your TV - you get the picture.  Would you like to know what the most expensive part is to replace in anything that uses any software?  You got it.  The motherboard.  In short, it will be wiser to buy a new projector than to replace this motherboard. So I need a miracle. I want to walk you through what I do when I need a miracle. #1 - I talk to God.  But how do I ask?

God Needs To Sell A Cow.

Psalm 50:1 For every beast of the forest is mine, (GOD) the cattle on a thousand hills. Money is an issue for everyone.  It doesn't matter if you have a little or a lot, it seems that you have to work hard to get it and that you have to work even harder to keep it.  So it is no surprise when people ask for financial miracles.   26 years ago I was pastoring in Coral Springs, Florida.  There was an elderly couple in my church who loved Jesus very, very much.  They had spent their whole lives serving Him in one way or another.  But twilight years were becoming burdensome, to say the least.  Physical challenges, coupled with some serious financial problems, was making this couple's life miserable.   It became evident to everyone that they needed to move into a better residence.  But this couple had no money (they were living on social security) and where they were living didn't have enough equity to help.  They asked the church to pray; I asked them specifically

Where's My Miracle!?!

A woman stormed into my office one day and asked me that question.  "Where's my miracle!"  I could tell she was highly agitated.  I asked her to have a seat and explain to me what she met.  "You know what I mean!  You've been preaching about this for weeks now and I want to know where my miracle is at?!" This took me off guard, especially the level of anger she approached me with.  I knew that she had asked Christ into her life just a few months prior and that she was just discovering her new found faith.  But where did this come from? After settling her down I learned that she had been praying about a very urgent need.  She assumed that she wasn't doing something right because her prayer hadn't been answered. We read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3.  While they needed a miracle, they trusted God even if He didn't save them from the firey furnace. In verse 16b - 18 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in

Do You Have A Need Or A Solution?

Psalm 147:5  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. Sunday I shared with everyone how a relationship with Jesus can make all the difference.   Some people pray out of their need.  That isn't to say that their need isn't pressing or that it isn't necessary to pray.  But when you pray out of your need, your need is bigger than your solution.   When you pray and ask Christ to do some work in your life, you are making Him bigger than your need.  Or in other words, you are praying out of your solution.   So today, here is what I would like for you to do.   List all the needs that you have.  You can mentally assemble your list or even write it down.  Now I want you to go through this exercise.  I want you to say each of these need out loud following the phrase, "Jesus is bigger than . . ."  PRAY: Dear Jesus, I am making you larger than any problem I face today.  I will put my trust in you.  AMEN

Miracles Do Happen

If you are reading this on Monday, here is some encouragement for your day. 1 Thessalonians 5:1 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We heard how God healed my Mom after her fall last August.  We heard how God healed another person after a horse stepped on them.  We heard how God healed someone's back after months of pain.  I want you to know that God is on your side today.  He is your biggest fan and He really does think the best He can for you.  Rest in that and live for Him.  PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I know that you still do miracles today.  I give you my problems and make you bigger than them.  AMEN

Peace! Be Still!

Mark 4:39   And he (Jesus) awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. If you don't know the story, the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee one night when a storm overwhelmed them.  Jesus was exhausted from the day's events and was asleep in the back of the boat.  They woke Him up and asked Him if He didn't care if they drowned?  (They wanted Him to help bail water.)  Instead, He spoke to the storm and said, "Peace! Be still!" and the storm ceased. The disciples looked at each other and said, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  Good question. One Sunday, a young lady I had never met came forward for prayer.  I asked her what I could pray with her about, and she told me the story of her life in just a few minutes.  It was a mess, and it was overwhelming her.  She didn't know what to do.  Panic had set in, and she was frozen in fear. She was looking f

It wasn't about the 5 Dollars.

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. If you are going to put your trust in God believe me when I say, it tests your resolve.  It's easy to do when you have everything you need.  But what do you do when God asks you for your last dollar?  That happened to me once.  Betty and I were in our first year of marriage which was also our last year of college.  We were living on a pretty tight budget, and this was the week when all the bills came due.  After paying the bills, we were left with $5.  It was Sunday night, so we went to church.  A missionary was speaking that evening, and at the end of the service, the pastor announced a special offering to help him.  I don't remember the missionary, but I do remember God telling me, "Give the $5"  "What?"  I thought.  "Are you kidding me?"  My plans for the $5 was to go to McDonald's an

There Was No Hope

1 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. A young man sat down in my office to inform me that his wife had left him.  It was sudden and shocking, to say the least.  The family had gone through some tough times, and they were exhausted.  NOTE THIS: If your marriage and/or family are going through stressful times exhaustion will set in.  If you don't get some rest, it can cause someone to either fight or fly.  Your mind and body can only take only so much.  He was madly in love with her and didn't want to just, "give up" on his marriage.  So #1 we prayed.  I knew that we were going to need a miracle.  #2 He submitted himself to marriage counseling.  Even though she wouldn't attend, at least he could understand what was happening and what he could do about it.   Months went by that were long and painful.  The wife wasn't going to make this easy, and he wasn

The back brace just flew off!

As I mentioned in my last blog, March is all about miracles.  God still does miracles and will continue to do them.  Here is another example. One Sunday night we were praying for people who needed healing.  In Pentecostal churches, this isn't uncommon.  I remember a very tall gentleman approaching me all hunched over.  It was obvious that he was in pain and needed relief.  I asked him what I could pray with him about, and he told me how his spine was degenerating.  The pain from the pressure was excruciating.  So we prayed. I bowed my head and closed my eyes.  I placed both hands on his large shoulders and began to pray.  It was an intense and serious time.  He was desperate, and I was praying just as desperately.  All of a sudden he breaks free from my grip and beings to complain about his pain.  "Ow! Ow! Ow!  Get me out of this thing!"  he says.  I didn't know what he was talking about, all I know was, his shirt was coming off.  His wife and kids eyes are as b