Showing posts from May, 2018

Fix My Life

I'm starting a new teaching series this summer at my church.  The name of it is Fix My Life. In the first month, we are going to talk about how to gain Godly wisdom. You and I live in a world today that is full of knowledge.  Don't believe me?  Google it.  We know more than we ever have and we're only getting started. But what do you do with that knowledge?  As one commentator put it, "Knowledge is knowing how to shoot a gun, wisdom knows when to pull it from the holster." We live in a world that is devoid of wisdom.  That is frustrating, to say the least. So how do you get wisdom?  Well, you might need to get a checkup from the neck up.  (credit: Zig Ziglar) Elijah was running for his life.  In the midst of his trouble, he let God have an earful.  He told God that he was the only one left in all the land that still worshipped Him. God replied in 1 Kings 19:18  Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, an

God Is Up To Something

Revelation 4:11  "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." In a few minutes, I am going to go teach on the Theology of Worship.  I know the title sounds boring, but believe me, this subject is anything but boring.  Put yourself in John's shoes.  He's the one who wrote the book of Revelation.  The Roman government has exiled him to a remote island.  Island may be giving it to much credit.  It's just a rock in the middle of the Mediterranian.   From the place he can do, nothing.  He cannot preach to the lost, visit churches he's planted, minister to his friends or help those in need.  It is a bleak place and a gloomy time for John.   Now switch gears.  God is the God of all creation.  He speaks, and something will come from nothing.  He spoke the universe, the heavens, and the earth into existence.   So if you find yourself

What Is Your Story?

Every day is a story.  Something happens that you will probably repeat to someone.  Because of Facebook, texting, and Instagram, we hear more stories than ever before. Today I've heard some stories.  Why a house burn down last night?  How a doctor took charge of his profession and care of his patients.  How a local store owner mourned the loss of a young and valued customer.  Some of these stories were only one sentence long.  Others took some time to tell. You've got a story.  I've told mine before.  I admit it is a tough story, but it is still beautiful. What has God done for you?  So many followers of Jesus complain about what God hasn't done for them, that they forget or don't even notice what He has done.  I also find that some of the complaints I hear have to do with personal comfort, not real needs. Luke 8:39   “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had

God Is In Control

Long story short the county messed up our churches drainage.  That’s ok as long as it doesn’t rain.  It didn’t rain yesterday, it was a monsoon.  Water flooded the street, then started creeping up the parking lot.  Slowly it got closer and closer.  I could feel my anxiety grow.  What could I do?  I thought about it over and over. I had one plan, then another. But in the end, it was going to flood. 1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. God spoke to me clearly.  ”Do you think I can't take care of this?  Go home and get some sleep.”  Well it didn't flood, in fact, the rain stopped.  Once I remembered that it was His church, His problem, and that He was the solution, all my anxiety vanished.   PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me remember, You’re my protector, my provider, and my supply.  AMEN 

I Love Missionaries

Sam and Irene Serrano were in the house today.  They are missionaries to the Dominican Republic.  Besides the fact that they are really, really lovely people, they do an excellent job ministering to pastors, churches and the youth of the DR. In what could only be described as a moment created by God, I quoted a passage during the service that was already in Sams message this morning. Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Missionaries have a clear-cut mission.  Walk into a tribe or people group and share the Good News about Jesus in a way that they can understand.  Now, don't confuse clear with easy.  It isn't easy.  But clarity helps.  Clarity eliminates confusion.   If you know what you are supposed to be doing, you don't have to guess if you are getting it right.  Clarity makes sense of the impossible.  Elijah is instructed by God while living in a drought, to

Why Did They Try To Stone Jesus?

Luke 4:17-19  17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,  19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” Jesus was already known as a great teacher and prophet.  That He could heal the sick and cast demons out of people.  But when He was in His hometown of Nazareth, He was invited to speak at the local synagogue.  Reading from the book of Isaiah He then says to the people,  20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” That sent the locals into a frenzy.  They wanted to stone Him to death.

Research Says, You Might Be In Trouble

We've all heard the research news over and over again.  Eggs are bad.  Eggs are good.  Eggs are bad.  Eggs are good.  I just checked, and as of today, they are good.  I suggest you research that tomorrow.  It could change. This morning, as my family and I were driving to church, we were listening to a podcast.  In it, the speaker said that recent research from Harvard University says that the number one thing that will determine your success is (drum roll please) your friends, family, and acquaintances.  Specifically, the five people you spend the most time with. That means that your IQ, your degree, your experience and your skill set is not the most important things you should be paying attention to.  Instead, you need to asses who you surround yourself with. I've known this, and the research, for years.  I've told teens that if they want to change their life, change their friends.  I've said to people who have recently been released from prison that if they do

Writers Block

It happens to everyone. It happens to writers, artists, engineers, moms, and dads too.  You need a creative moment and all you hear is . . . . . . . . . . Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. We are created in the image of God.  God is creative.  So if we are in His image, we are creative too.  He created the universe, the earth, all life, and humanity.  He uses words like we use a brush or a keyboard.  He can create without limitations.  Our creative ability is limited to what is available to us.   We have to obey the laws of physics, He doesn't.  You get the picture.   God is always in character.  He is always kind, just and loving.  He always has His best intention in mind for you at all times.  God doesn't have an off switch or an off day.  We are another story.  Our emotions change with the wind.  Our strength fails.  We struggle to stay positive, we work hard to do good.   I

When God Speaks

This morning I was privileged to participate in a ministers ordination service.  I've attended 32 of these for 32 years.  I'm was allowed to open the service with prayer and even pray over one of the ordination candidates. After 32 of these, I can tell you that God shows up again and again.  Today was no different. John 10: 27-28  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand The speaker, who is a friend of mine, spoke directly into my life.  Then, he spoke directly into my daughters life - personally.   Have you ever wondered why people are so resistant to the truth of Gods Word and those who proclaim it?  Satan and this world doesn't want you to find your God-given purpose in life.  They don't want you to discover hope, love or life.   Don't allow a bad attitude, contempt or cynicism to silence Gods voice in your life.  Hear His voice clea

Patience Means To Be At Peace

Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience.” Wisdom is a supernatural act God.  It comes from Him - it is a reflection of His character - and it comes from His perfection.  He sees all and knows all. So when He says in Ps 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” You can rest in that. Our perspective is past and present.  Ours is linear and experienced through time.  God perspective is past, present and future.  He sees all simultaneously. If you don’t know, I was raised on a farm.  Like all farms there were animals.  Some were our and some were the local wildlife.  It was uncommon to see rabbits, groundhogs, deer as the occasional wolf.  But the one creature that was always around was the snake. One day, while working in the field, my Dad yelled, “Freeze, don’t move.”  I started to protest but he said it again and I could tell by the tone of his voice that he meant it.  A few seconds later the ground near me exploded as my dad either threw a rock or something at

When It All Goes South (or in my case north)

Luke 14:28  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? It has been raining in South Florida.  Raining and raining and raining and raining.  The ditches are full, and retention ponds are about to overflow.   Now the draining around the church has always been an issue.  But for the last few years, it hasn't been the "epic" flooding of the past.  Then they improved the road.  In this improvement, they dammed up the ditch that carries the water away from the church.  As soon as they did that, I raised a red flag.  But before anyone could do anything the floods came and it got ugly.   So I walked out to look at the flooding and noticed that the water in our ditch was flowing the wrong way, north.  Long story short.  It's an engineering blunder.  Someone messed up.  It happens. So what can I learn from this situation?  Patience.  You have to wait until the solution can b

Things Kind of Slow Right Now?

Everything is in its time and season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Sometimes it seems like your not being as successful as you think you should be.  Sometimes you think your marriage isn't going in the right direction or your kids are doing their best right now.  Whatever it is, life sometimes takes a breather - and it's ok.   When that happens, go with it.  God allows times in your life when you, your family, your church your business, even your relationship with Christ slows down.  The purpose is to allow you to gain strength and prepare for the next growth spurt.  What should you do when this happens.  Take some time off.  There are seasons when you should go on vacation and take some time to recharge your batteries.  Read.  Take some time to improve a skill set or address a need in your life. Sleep.  I know during growth times, sleep is a novelty.  But when things slow down, allow your

Trusting God - Yea You Can Do It

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. ... There are a few things about God you should know.  - He likes to show off.  No not in some kind of arrogant, showy way.  He loves to show off His love and mercy to us.   - He loves us.  He really, really, really loves us.  To say that He would move a mountain for you is accurate.  Matthew 17:20  - He doesn't get as angry as you think.  Yea, you mess up, but He isn't up in heaven with a 9 iron waiting to tee your head off every time you make a mistake.  Sometimes, He just points them out and then shows you the way through it.   - He thinks you are valuable.  As a follower of Jesus, He has a plan for you.  No, you are not some insignificant cog in a big machine.  You are essential to what He wants to do in the lives of others.  He really needs you - because He wants you.   He gives and gives and gives.  The closer you get to Him the more He gives to you.  Wisdom, love, grace, knowledge, spiritual gifts, h

So A Thing Happened

This week Anneka and I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up a few items.  It was late, and we were in a hurry.  As soon as I got to the register, I realized that I had left my bank card in the car.  I told Anneka to hurry and get it.  As soon as she left the lady in front of us finished checking out.  She was fumbling with a few cards, and after she was done the cashier told her, she owed another $35.  The lady then sheepishly then said, "Well I am going to have to put some of the items back." Immediately the Holy Spirit said, "Pay for it."  To be honest, I was tired and done for the day.  But all of a sudden I was awake and paying attention.  Anneka hadn't returned, and I was at a loss as to what to do.  Suddenly Anneka appears and hands me the card.  The lady turns around for a moment trying to decide what she is going to return and I slipped my bank card into the machine. The lady turns around, in shock, and says, "Thank You."  That w

Holy Frustration

Frustration is a fact of life.  We frustrated with people, life, even God. But what do you do when God dilberatly frustrates you? Paul wants to go east, but the Holy Spirit says no.  He doesn’t tell Paul what to do immediately until he receives a dream to go to Macedonia. The enslaved Jews in Egypt were frustrated when Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go the first time. In each of these examples God had a purpose say, “wait”!  What is frustrating you and why is God making you wait? Build faith.  Your current level of faith is ready for what God has planned.  So while you work through your frustration your faith grows. Develop trust.  Frustration tests your resolve to remain faithful.  Either God is in this or not.  You’ve got to believe. Victory is sweeter when you have to wait for it.  When your breakthrough happens, and it will, God will get the glory. PRAY: Dear Jesus, I’m frustread but I recognize that you are in it.  Help me today.  AMEN

You're Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked.

Rev 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. As you may have guessed I am talking about the church in Laodicea.  Jesus speaks very sternly to this church for obvious reasons.  They really don't need Him.   Years ago I was in some service, somewhere, listening to some preacher.  I really don't remember.  But I do remember what the minister said.  "We've become the church in Laodicea, we don't need God anymore, we worship Him but we don't give Him permission to enter our lives or churches."  OUCH!  I thought.   Now you might say, "Well, my church isn't that way!"  Then you stop here and praise God for that.   Now there are a few observations I want to make about the church in Laodicea you might find interesting.  They didn't know that they were wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  They had to be told.  I'm sure if you

When You Flunk Calculus

We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 So I had lunch today with someone who flunked calculus.  I am not judging.  I faked my way through algebra.  Slept my way geometry (but passed) and skipped on Trig and Calc.  So as far as I am concerned, he's still a genius.   But what did he from this experience.  "I am bad at Calculus.  I should not do it.  I will never, ever, as long as I live ever try to do that again."   That's good news.  My friend has learned a hard lesson in life.  Failure is a good teacher.  Learn quickly and move on.  God created us to do something great for Him.  That doesn't mean that He created us to be great at everything.  As the old adage goes.  Don't try to put a square peg in a round hole.  For years I counseled people unsuccessfully.  Finally, out of frustration, I visited a pastor who was known for his counseling skills.  He t

Good Morning

Normally I do not write in the morning.  But I got up and realized that my brain, “glitched”, therefore, I didn’t write yesterday.  I’ll just write it off as a casualty of Monday and move on. “ God gave Stephen the power to work great miracles and wonders among the people. ” Acts‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭ This is the first verse from my devotions this morning. Steven was one of the deacons previously chosen to assist feeding the widows who lived in Jerusalem.   The word “deacon” translates into “some one who waits tables”.  That’s it,  but how did he do it? We know that he was part of this feeding program, but apparently he also prayed for people too.  God gave him the power to see miracles and healings.  As you read on you will also discover that the Holy Spirit helped him be a great apologist for the Gospel.  He could teach and preach. It has been a while since I’ve said, “Faith + Action = A Blessing”.  But Stephen took action on his faith and became a blessing to others.  Practically, he h

But God

Here are the Scriptures I used this morning in my message.  I thought it might be a good way to start you week. Remember don’t say But God?  Declare But God! Joseph told his brothers who sold him into slavery . - Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, - He also told his brothers on his death bed. - Genesis 50:24 And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” - David, while his father in law was trying to kill him. - 1 Samuel 23:14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. - Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah - Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion

Moms Are Great Contractors

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1 I knew a wife and mother years ago whose life was taken in a car accident.  After the funeral, I was welcomed into that family home.  There I heard tales of how she built the home they were living in with leftover construction materials.  How she raised her children and provided for her family.  How she was the light and strength of their lives.  I also knew a wife and mother who taught her children how to drink, do drugs and live a promiscuous lifestyle.  From the age of 8, her children were addicted to drugs and alcohol.  By the time I met them they were just graduating from High School.  They loved their mother, but the years of abuse had soured their hearts, and they couldn't be around her anymore.   I am so blessed to have a wife and mother who strives to be the woman God created her to be.  He sacrifice and commitment are unsurpassed.  Her passion and drive are


I didn't have time for whatever she was carrying on about.  We were late, and I was in a hurry. Honey!  Come over here I need you to look at me! We were dating at the time, and I was very annoyed at whatever was going on.  I wanted to take her to the circus that was in town.  She had never been to a circus, and I was looking forward to sharing the joy of funny clowns and daring acrobats.  But standing there beside the car she kept saying.  "Look at me!"  I said, "Later, let's go."  "No!" she cried out.  "Come here and look at me!"  Finally, I gave in, walked over to her side of the car to see that she had closed and locked the door on her finger.  OUCH!  Long story short.  I sprung into action.  Unlocked the door.  Ran inside and asked for a first aid kit.  They didn't have one. (Now that I think about it, what kind of circus doesn't have a first aid kit?) Got some paper towels.  Rapped her bleeding finger up.  Went to the c

What Are Your Priorities?

Have you ever just sit down and prioritized your life? Then after doing that, did you take a realistic look at how you use your time?  Or in other words, does your day timer reflect your priorities? For most people, the answer is a resounding NO! Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. If you are in the NO category, don't feel bad.  I've been there too.  It is easy to get distracted by life and situations.  You wake up one day and say to yourself, "Where is my life going?"  Oops.  Good news is, it's never too late to get on the right track.   So let me help you with a few bits of wisdom.   Do what Matthew 6:33 says.  If you are a follower of Jesus, He is the first priority of your life.  Why?  Because it affects every area of your life.  As a follower of Jesus, you want your marriage, family, career and every other area of your life to follow Christ too.  You cannot do that if H

Where Are You Going?

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. They have been rebuilding the road right in front of the church for the last few months.  It has been a long drawn out, dirty process.  But change tends to be like that.  Tough and demanding. Over the last few weeks, I have been rerouted, hung up in traffic and detoured more than I can remember.  There came the point where I didn't even want to turn down certain roads because I didn't know if I could reach my destination. Life is a lot like these roads.  They can close down, detour and reroute you at a moments notice.  Before you know it, you are going in the wrong direction.  You want to make a U-turn. You can't make a U-turn because that road to your destination is closed.  What do you do?   Don't be afraid to make bold moves to get on the right path.  Don't complain about where you

Seeing Things Clearly

If you don't know, I wear glasses.  I have since the 4th grade.  Have you ever tried to look through a dirty pair of glasses? Today, on the way to work, Betty was driving and asked me to clean her glasses.  So I got a lens cleaner out and polished them up really good.  Then I decided to clean mine.  I polished them up really good, put them on and WOW!  Man, were they dirty. Now mind you I am riding in the car and all of a sudden I noticed things that I hadn't really noticed before.  Not that I wasn't seeing them, but clearing things up really livened everything up. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus - Philippians 3:14 For many people, their lives are like my dirty glasses.  They can see what God wants them to see, but it really doesn't impress them.  It isn't until we allow the Holy Spirit to "clean" our lives that we begin to notice His will and purpose in our lives.  That's the power of visi

Are You Listening?

What is that old saying?  "You have two ears and one mouth.  Use them proportionately." It is no secret that listening is a lost art in our culture today. Adam Bryant, in his book Quick and Nimble, concludes that among other things managers need to have more "adult conversations" — work through "inevitable disagreements and misunderstandings" — and that such conversations require careful listening. There isn't a team building book, leadership book or management book that I have read that hasn't said it over and over.  Listen - listen - listen.  But what does the Bible say?   James 1:19  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; Do you listen to God?  Do you allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you?   A few years ago, someone asked me.  Does God speak?  My answer was, "If you are listening, you'll discover that He is quite a chatterbox."  It was an off the cuff res

Are You Snake Bit?

"If it were a snake it would have bit you,"  I remember my mother using this old idiom to inform me that whatever I was looking for was right in front of me. All week God has been impressing me to look at the people who are around me and to look deeper into their lives.  I watched as the love of a father defended his daughters' opinion.  I observed a woman declare her faith in Christ against cancer attacking her body.  I listened as a broken heart lamented the pain of a lost friendship. This forced me to ask the question of myself.  "Am I missing the obvious?"  Or in other words, am I snake bit? In the book, Dangerous Wonder , Mike Yaconelli comments, “The greatest enemy of Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but who are no longer astonished and amazed.” Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands

Discerning The Will of God

Moses is doing what shepherds do.  He is taking care of his sheep.  But he notices something on a mountain nearby and he goes to check it out.  He finds a bush, that is on fire, but it is not being consumed.  Then this happened.  Exodus 3: 4 - 6 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Emphasis mine.) Moses was afraid of God.  He was afraid to be in His presence, he was afraid to hear His voice. Then after he has led the Nation of Israel out of Egypt and to Mount Sinai we read: Exodus 34: 29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Mos

I Didn't Forget My Anniversary - Finally

For 33 years I have forgotten my anniversary.  Well, not so much forgotten as misplaced.  You see, our original date to be married was May 5th.  Then, for logistical reasons, we had to change it to May 3rd.  That May 5th date has been stuck in my head for 33 years, until now.  How did I do it? I put it in my Apple Calendar and had it remind me. I put it on my iPhone and had it remind me. I put it on my todo list and had it remind me. I asked my daughter to remind me. I just finished a series of messages on marriage and family so I entitled last Sunday's message, "It will be 34 years this week." I REMEMBERED!!!!!  (My wife is laughing right now.) All week I have been blogging about blindness.  Today is no different. Love is blind. Actually, the way that the bible puts it is, 1 Peter 4:8  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Love doesn't ignore the obvious, it just chooses not to judge you for it. How i

Are You Lost?

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Jesus was speaking of the Pharisees who were the religious elites of that day.  They prided themselves on fulfilling the Law of Moses to the letter.  Jesus warned the people not to follow them.  They were spiritually blind, doomed to lead the people into trouble.  I don't know if you have ever been lost before.  I have on occasion.  It is a disconcerting feeling when it happens.  Not only am I not where I want to be, but I also have no idea where I am, and I have no idea how to find my desired destination.  It's called the Principle of the Path.  Andy Stanley coined this phrase 10 years ago and it has served me well over the years.  It goes like this.  Whatever path you are on, it will lead you to its destination.   Each of us has different paths that we are managing at the same time.  Relationships, marriage, family, career, finances, friendships,

Are You Blind?

Following up on yesterdays blog, What Do You See?   I would like to ask, Are You Blind? I started reading a book this morning entitled. Pursuing God's Will Together by Ruth Hailey Barton.  Now bear in mind that I wrote yesterdays blog before choosing to read this book.  Talk about God's timing. In the first few pages, she relates the story of Jesus healing the blind man.  You should read it here . What struck me was how many people were blind to the obvious. The disciples were blind to the compassion they should have been extending to the blind man.  They were trying to figure out why he was blind.  Jesus asked, in essence, a better question.  How can God be glorified through this man?  Are we so occupied with the "whys" that we are blind to the opportunities? The neighbors were blind to the fact that the man could see.  As Ruth puts it “we only see what we are ready to see, expect to see and even desire to see.” Their faith couldn't see the obvious.