Showing posts from January, 2019

The number 1

Water boils at 212 degrees.  What is it at 211 degrees? Hot water.  But still not good enough to make mac and cheese. You may have heard about the 1 degree of difference or the 1% principle.  They are pretty close to each other.   The 1 degree of difference says that if you do 1% better, it can put you over the top.   The 1% principle says that if you do 1% more or better each day, it will compound into significant achievements in time.   Matthew 5:41  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Put in the extra effort is actually a Biblical principle.  In Jesus' day, a Roman soldier could conscript you to carry his belongings for one mile.  After that, you were no longer obligated to help.  Jesus taught to go the extra mile.  Be a servant and do so with a willing and cheerful heart.  What if we applied that to our job today? What if we applied that to our family? What if we applied that to our ministries?  What would happen? 

How do you care for others?

Philippians 2:4  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. How do you care for others?  How do you as a leader (a mom, a dad, a friend, a pastor, an employer, a team leader - whatever) make a difference? Care about yourself first. Destroying yourself for your cause doesn’t inspire the troops. It scares the daylights out of them. You care about them first.  You set the example.  If you want others to care, lead the way. Listen to their needs.  Maybe you can do something, maybe you can’t.  Listening is power and it goes a long way. Share your life.  Yes, you are a leader but you’re not a super leader.  Let them know what you need. You'll be surprised how much people care. Determine to care together.  Pray for each other daily. Connect to each other through texts, emails and phone calls.  Follow up and believe with people. PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I want to care about others more than myself today.  AMEN  

Feuding With Outrage

I am reading Ed Stetzers book, "Christians In The Age of Outrage."  Excellent book about ministering to our culture today. People are outraged after New York passed a law allowing for abortions up to the day of a child's birth. People are outraged over a confrontation between an American Native Indian and teenage school kid. People are outraged over MAGA hats. And the list goes on. But what do you do when it gets personal?  Over the years I have experienced this first hand.  (This outrage thing didn't start overnight.)   It works like this. A - You have or are asked your opinion. B - Someone disagrees with that opinion. C - You are treated differently because you have an opinion. D - If you do not change your opinion or at least water it down, you will be punished for your opinion.  (Outrage) On occasion, I am asked to give our opinion about a person who may serve as a leader in some capacity.  Sometimes I can support a decision, sometimes I can'

When You're Too Busy

So Sunday I got up.  Arrived at the church by 8 am.  Worship practice by 8:30 am.  Life Groups at 9:15 am.  Morning Service at 10:30 am.  Dismissed at noon.  Had a quick meeting for our upcoming, yet unnamed community block party.  Left the church at 1 pm.  Got a quick lunch on the Turnpike.  Arrived at Miami Ballet in Miami Beach by 3:30 pm.  Anneka went into your intensive try out at 5 pm.  Walked to Starbuck and then another coffee shop.  Walked back to Miami Ballet.  Loaded up and starting the drive back.  The heavens opened up about halfway into the trip.  Stopped on the Turnpike and got some dinner.  Saw more than 7 accidents which included a jack-knifed Fed Ex truck on the Turnpike.  Dropped off Annekas friend at her house then went home.  That was around 9 pm. I said to myself.  "I'll get a chance to blog today."  By the time I did, I was brain dead.  What was I thinking? James 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all with

It's Time

In 2019 I am determined to make the most of the time that I have. Now that statement can mean a lot of different things.  I'm going on vacation more.  I'm working harder.  I'm going to spend more time in prayer.  I'm going to spend more time with my wife.  Truth be known, I would love to do all of those things.   But the truth is this.  I don't have enough time to do all those things.   Eph 5:16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. I've quoted this verse before, but as with all Scripture, it's timeless.  This means that God can speak something new into my heart today.   Ask God what to do with your time.  Allowing Him to prioritize your time will help you realize your true purpose and potential.   Ask Him to help you get self-control over your time.  We are distracted by huge time wasters.  Email, Facebook, Instagram just to name a few.  Put limits on those things you don't need to pay that much attention t

Quick! Click Here!

You won't believe this!! But I made you click on a link.  "No, you didn't Russ I choose to click on it."  Really?  For what reason.  The words Click Here are so ingrained into our culture that we, without thinking, just do it. Now, what's my point? Every one of us is creatures of habit.  That's no secret.  The better question you need to ask yourself is who are creating these habits?  You or the world around you?  Ask yourself this question today.  Why? Why do you check your emails 50 times a day? Why do you go on Facebook 10 times a day? Why do you take a selfie every day? When you find yourself doing something that is habitual ask yourself why? 2 Peter 1:5-8 Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in incr

NY Did What?

I don't even know what to say.  My heart is grieved at the announcement of late-term abortions in New York state.  I would like to rant and rave at this, but another part of me says, don't. The preacher in me wants to preach. Psalm 139:13-16 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. If God knows I exist before I was born, then I'm not a fetus - I'm a living being. But the question I have to ask myself is.  What is the foundation of their opinion?  I know that it isn't the Word of God, but what is it? Governor Andrew Cuomo has said, “With

Balaam Ticked God Off

This morning I was reading in Num. 22 the story of Balaam Num 22: 20 - 22  20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only do what I tell you.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God's anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. Why was God angry with Balaam after telling him to go?  It doesn't make sense, does it? Balaam was a prophet, and he wasn't a false prophet but he was a wicked one. I took a few moments to soak that in.  How many people are followers of Jesus, but they refuse to follow Him with all their heart? Balaam was hired by the King of Moab to curse the Israelites.  But each time Balaam blessed them.  Needless to say, the King was mad.  In the end, the king got what he wanted when Balaam told


Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Joy is a powerful and beautiful thing.  It isn't happy or happiness per se.  You and I live in a joyless world. Oh, they have fun and can create for themselves some version of "happy" but at what cost? Joy is something that you can only receive from God.  His presence in your life can give you a foundation of hope that nothing in this world can defeat.  Even in the worst of our times, He is there to provide us with joy.   Joy is built on our eternal hope.  Our joy isn't dependent upon our current circumstances.  It is dependent upon our faith.  There is a God, and we will spend eternity with Him.   Joy is a spiritual expression.  It comes from God and therefore is a part of our faith and life with Him.  Joy is a constant.  God never changes.  His love will endure forever.  His promises are true.  His joy w

Blood Moons, Referees and Shutdowns

Did you see the blood moon last night?  It was beautiful!  I've heard that some people have connected a recent series of blood moons to Biblical prophecy.  I never heard about any doom or judgment linked to moon phases in all of my biblical studies.  I just offended someone. The refs blew the Saints / Rams game.  I even read an article that the NFL commissioner could order the teams to replay the game because of this blunder.  It won't happen.  But I just offended someone. The government is still shut down.  Politicians are acting like spoiled brats.  Yup!  I just offended someone again. We live in an age of offense.  We are a culture that either walks on eggshells or puts on our army boots and stomps on them.  It seems that regardless of how you stand on an issue you'll offend someone.  Someone once asked me where I stood on a particular topic.  I told them that I didn't have an opinion, I honestly didn't know what they were talking about.  I offended them.

I Love It When God Shows Off

So the story I'm about to tell you was given this morning during service. During the worship service, the Holy Spirit let me to call all the men forward and speak into their lives.  If you don't know what I mean by that, God had a special message just for them this morning. It was an encouraging message from God to be who God created them to be.  Whether they are fathers, husbands, boyfriends, grandfathers, employers (and the list goes on) ... ... Colossians 3:23-24  23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. I prayed for the men.  For their success.  That they would be Godly fathers and husbands.  That they will follow God will all their heart and that in all they say and do they will lead.  I prayed that their families and marriages will be blessed.  I prayed that their workplaces will be blessed.   I encouraged them to be leader

Us Vs. Them

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Every day can be a struggle.  We know that.  But what are you struggling against?   Yourself?  Some people get up in the morning, look in the mirror and see their own worst enemy.  They disgust themselves.  The idea of them doing anything successful only depresses them because they know how it is going to turn our - failure.   Others?  Some get up, and before they even look in the mirror, they are thinking about who they are going to

I Can See Clearly Now!

"I Can See Clearly Now" is a song by Johnny Nash from 1972.  Why I was thinking of the lyrics this morning is beyond me.  The song wasn't from my era or genre.  But I was thinking about the lyrics,   I can see clearly now the rain is gone I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It's gonna be a bright (bright) Bright (bright) sun-shining day It's gonna be a bright (bright) Bright (bright) sun-shining day Not that I'm trying to spiritualize this song, I'm not.  But there is a truth here that I want to share with you.  There are times in your life that you cannot see what God has in store for you.  Often times we blame God for this lack of vision, "Well, He hasn't told me."  But I believe that it's more about us.  We are afraid to know what is coming next because it might be bad news.   When we settle our hearts and listen, the rain goes away, and we can see the obstacles that are in our way.  

I’m Frustrated

I’ve been working on a computer project most of today.  It was supposed to take about an hour.  8 hours later I was losing it. So I took a few minutes to drop off my daughter at dance.  On my way back to church I drove by a guy dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume.  He was waving at people as they drove by with a sign encouraging them to have their taxes done there. I honestly thought how I would rather be out there waving at traffic than to be back at my office working on a seemingly impossible task.  Really! I heard a pastor once say that frustration is eventually productive.  He was sharing a story about when he first started preaching he locked his knees and passed out behind a pulpit.  That was bad enough but he grabbed the pulpit as he passed out and pulled it down on top of himself.   Isaiah 41:10  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Now I doubt that
About two years ago I wrote this blog.  I reread it today, and it inspired me.  I thought I would share it with you again.   The desert was a proving ground for Isreal. But there is an even stronger example of this in the New Testament. Matthew 4: 1- 2 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. After Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert. There He would be tempted personally by Satan himself. You can read how Jesus faced each of these temptations with the Word of God. Oddly enough, the same words were spoken to the nation of Isreal while they were wandering around in the desert. My first assignment in ministry was a wilderness experience. I don't like talking about it too much because it makes the church where this happened look bad. But that was 30 years ago now. Both the church and I have changed - drastically for the better.

What Did You Experience Today?

God created you to experience His presence and character every day.  I know that some people think that it's a Sunday only thing, but really?  Do you think that God only works on Sunday? Lamentations 3:22-23 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. God is a creative God.  That means that He's never boring or dull.  The world would like for you to think that a relationship with Him takes all the fun out of life, but I'm here to tell you that isn't true.   Each day God is going to share some new truth, a new vision, a new song or a new challenge to bless you with.  Each day God is going to help you see more than you've ever seen before.  He is going to help you discover more than you've ever known.  He is going to empower you with more than you can imagine.  The question is, "Do you want it?"  Every go to someone's house, and they ask you,

Evolution vs. Creation

No this isn't the age-old argument about whether God created us or if we evolved from apes. But I do want to talk to about how your life changes.  Does it evolve or do you create it? One definition for evolution says, "the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form." While creation is, "the action or process of bringing something into existence." One newspaper has reported that the average age of females is 81.2 years; for males, it's 76.4 years.  So for all of those years did your life just evolve or did you create it?  Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  (NIV) Too often I see people living from crisis to crisis ever evolving and changing to adapt to a new problem or situation.  Over time, the quality and purpose of your life is nothing more than an accumulation of these changes.  Good or bad you get what you get.   I can't embrace the idea that God&

Bounce vs. Splat

You've heard the old saying, "You'll bounce back!"  The problem with that is I've never heard the "boing" when I've fallen down.  I've heard "splat" many times though. James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Perseverance is an act of faith.  Why do I say that?  Because you have to believe that something is worth coming back for.  Even after you have taken it on the chin. Colossians 4:2–4 2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, How do you recover from a "splat" so well that it looks like you "bounced" back?  First of all, face your failures or mistakes with fai

You Were Created To Pray

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Confession is good for the soul, but hard on one's reputation.  When we confess our weaknesses to each other, especially the ones that snare our souls in sin, we must be careful who we speak to.   Choose someone who is rich in mercy.  This person can listen without judging.  Choose someone who understands the struggle.  The will forgive because they are forgiven.  Don't hold offense against someone else.  Confess, repent and move on.  Lack of repentance here can prohibit the healing you need in your life.   When you pray this way, you will become the righteous person whose prayers impact the lives of others.  Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication (interceding in prayer) for al

Praying Through

I was reading about the plagues of Egypt this morning.  You know, frog, flies, blood, and stuff.  I noticed that in the beginning things didn't go well for the Jews.  After the first plague, Pharaoh ordered the Jews to make clay bricks and to get their own straw too.  They couldn't reduce their daily quota of brickmaking either without punishment.  This means that the Jews had to work twice and made three times as hard. They gave Moses and Aaron an earful for it. Exodus 5 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and they said to them, “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” The Jews have been living in Egypt for nearly 400 years.  For much of that time, they have been slaves to the Egyptians.  They have been praying for God to deliver them.  They have waited a long, long time for an answer to their prayers and

Still Praying?

Philippians 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. As I said yesterday, being obedient doesn't come naturally to us.  In fact, the opposite is true.  It is natural for us to be rebellious and arrogant. Often we do not count the cost of being a bunch of rebellious brats or worse, we ignore it.  Rebellion, prideful arrogance, and selfishness always breed worry, doubt, and anxiety. Now before you start emailing me with the, "Who are you, you don't know what I am going through?"  Understand that this isn't about your circumstances.  It's how you respond to your events that require your obedience. Paul told us not to be anxious about anything.  "Easy for him to say?"  I don't think so.  When you read his biography, it's a string of beatings, imprisonments,  rejections, and attacks that none of us would ask for.   He th

It's Time to Pray

Here are a few truths you need to know about prayer. It doesn't come naturally.  Prayer is a learned discipline, not a natural habit. Prayer isn't your holy, heavenly, Godly, to-do-list. It isn't like getting the oil changed in your car in 30 minutes or less.  Prayer takes time and patience. Prayer is more about others than it is about yourself.  Faithfulness is always selfless. I am reading Jesus on Leadership by C. Gene Wilkes.  In it, there is a principle you will discover, God always honors the obedient over the ambitious.   If you get this principle, you'll be liberated from a lot of guilt.  The world and even the community of faith that you are a part of can impose its dreams and goals for your life.  If you don't hit those goals, they will determine that you are a failure. Prayer is more about your obedience than your ambition. As Jesus taught in Matthew 6, not my will but Yours be done.   Jesus prayed often.  What did He pray for?  The wil

What A Great Day!

What a great day at FFWC!  I've already started hearing great stories about how the Holy Spirit is working in peoples lives. But for some of you, it's Monday.  Not only is it Monday, but it's Monday of the first full work week of the year.  YUCK! Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Today is a great day to allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life.  His power and presence can take a yucky day of a yucky week and turn it around into something beautiful.  But how can you do that?  First, of all tell your cynical self to take a back seat.   Secondly, as you pray - tell God that you are making room for Him to be a part of your day.   Thirdly, keep your eyes open for the good stuff.  The world has already told you the opposite.  Don't listen to t

Resolution Vs. Breakthrough

What do you need?  To make a resolution or do you need a breakthrough.  I'm the first to say that sometimes the two go together.  But for the purpose of this blog, let's consider this. Often times we try to resolve our problems ourselves (resolution) instead of allowing God to intercede in our need (breakthrough). Daniel 10:12–14  12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” Daniel had been praying and partially fasting for 21 days.  An angel finally shows to answer to his prayers. This angel tells Daniel that he has b

How's That New Years Resolution Going For You?

Philippians 4:13 tells us, I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. I believe that with all my heart, I hope you do too.  But there is something about New Years Resolutions that seems to fly in the face of this truth.  New Years Resolutions.   80% of all resolutions are abandoned by Feb. 1.   Dishearting, I know.  So what can you do?  #1 - Don't make a New Years resolution in January.  I know - odd, but follow along.  January is the most depressing month of the year.  The first full work week after the holidays is called Yuck Week.  The most depressing day of the year is the third Monday of January.  Don't try to do something positive in your life when time is working against you.   #2 - Prepare to do your resolution in advance.  The success of a resolution is in the preparation, not in the execution.  Here is the big key.  Learn how to change your habits.  Whatever you are trying to do, you're going to have to change some habits.   #3 -

Ready, Set, Go Part 5

If this video is not opening in your email, then click on ( open this email in your browser feature ) Here is the last installment of Ready, Set, Go.  Thank You for taking the time to watch these clips.  I hope that they have helped in some way. This last installment is all about learning.  Often times tt is the difference between victory and defeat. PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to grow in knowledge about You and about my life.  AMEN

Ready, Set, Go Part 4

If this video is not opening in your email, then click on ( open this email in your browser feature ) Learning how to fail is huge key to your success.  The greatest most successful people will tell you honestly and openly.  They have failed and failed often. So how do you do it? PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I have failed and I will fail.  Teach me grace through my failures.  AMEN

Ready, Set Go Part 3

If this video is not opening in your email, then click on ( open this email in your browser feature ) After learning the value of time, understand how God made you.  To many of us are so frustrated with life.  It's is possible that the wrong part of you is in charge. PRAY: Dear Jesus, revive my spirit to be in sync with You.  AMEN!