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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Somewhere in the Middle" by Casting Crowns

J.D. Greear

I tweeted, "To share Christ and minister to people you must be in their lives more than once a week."  Teresa called this morning with a ministry idea, which confirmed some things on my heart.  Excited, for everything I read has a golden thread of the same theme.  Pray God speaks to you through J.D. Greear's blog. Clarity is coming!

The gospel makes us fervant

Nov 29 | Pastor J.D. | No Comments | Digg Delicious Twitter Facebook Google Bookmark
I picked up John Piper’s new book, Bloodlines and thought this was a great passage on how the gospel transforms a heart from passionless apathy to fervent living.
“Apathy is passionless living. It is sitting in front of the television night after night and living your life from one moment of entertainment to the next. It is the inability to be shocked into action by the steady-state lostness and suffering of the world. It is the emptiness that comes from thinking of godliness as the avoidance of doing bad things instead of the aggressive pursuit of doing good things.
If that were God’s intention for the godliness of his people, why would Paul say, ‘All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Tim. 3:12)? People who stay at home and watch clean videos don’t get persecuted. Godliness must mean something more public, more aggressively good.
In fact, the aim of the gospel is the creation of people who are passionate for doing good rather than settling for the passionless avoidance of evil. ‘[Christ] gave himself for us…to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works’ (Titus 2:14). The gospel produces people who are created for good works (Eph. 2:10), and have a reputation for good works (1 Tim. 5:10), and are rich in good works (1 Tim. 6:18), and present a model of good works (Titus 2:7), and devote themselves to good works (Titus 3:8,14), and stir each other up to good works (Heb. 10:24).
And when they set about them, the word they hear form God is, ‘Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord’ (Rom. 12:11). The gospel does not make us lazy. It makes us fervent. The Greek for fervent signifies boiling. The gospel opens our eyes to the eternal significance of things. Nothing is merely ordinary anymore.
Christ did not pursue us halfheartedly. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the uttermost (John 13:1). His death gives the deepest meaning to the word passion. Now he dwells in us. How will we not pray for the fullest experience of his zeal for the cause of justice and love? ‘So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith’ (Gal. 6:10).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holy Spirit and Prayer

The Spirit helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is , because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray.
The Holy Spirit lays burdens on our heart.
The Holy Spirit produces faith in our life.
The Holy Spirit warns us of danger.
The Holy Spirit brings into remembrance all He has taught us.
The Holy Spirit brings comfort and peace.
The Holy Spirit directs all things towards Christ.
The Holy Spirit stirs our heart to love Jesus.

It is a cool thing that we can be apart of the ministry of God.  God in all His wisdom will place a specific burden or warning upon our heart.  We have the awesome privilege of going before the throne in intercession for the specific request.  As we pray, fellowship, and adore our Savior we begin to see the request being answered.  What a blessing it is when God answers this requests.  He is glorified and our faith has increased. Take time to pray and adore your Savior today. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tips for Thin-Skinned Leaders

3 Tips for Thin-Skinned Leaders

3 Tips for Thin-Skinned Leaders
Receiving criticism gracefully shows that you trust others.
Why is it that people often don’t want to hear feedback? Are you that kind of person? Are you the person with thin skin who can’t hear honest criticism without getting deeply offended? If so, today’s post is for you.

Receiving criticism gracefully shows that you trust others.

When you let your feathers get ruffled, you are assuming the worst of person offering feedback. Your core belief is that the other people never have your best interests at heart. By living this way you will always be disappointed by others.

Receiving criticism gracefully shows that you value honesty.

When you get offended by feedback you communicate that you don’t want to hear the truth. You’d rather someone lie to you or say nothing to you. Your core belief is that the truth hurts, so it’s best left unsaid. By living this way you will always have a distorted view of reality.

Receiving criticism gracefully shows that you are humble.

When you get bent out of shape over someone’s honest comments, you demonstrate that you think you’re above criticism. Your core belief is that you are better than others. By living this way you will always be full of misplaced pride.
If you’re reading this and getting mad you’ve just proven all three of my points. I dare you to quiet your anger, calm yourself down and ask yourself the following three questions. If you’ll do this and face the answers honestly, you’ll probably become a much happier person.
1. Why don’t I trust people?
2. Why do I fear the truth?
3. Why can’t I humble myself?  


Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters . . . , so our eyes look to the Lord our God . . . —Psalm 123:2

This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God. This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained and how God reveals Himself to us (seeIsaiah 53:1). Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. We wrongfully think, “I suppose I’ve been stretching myself a little too much, standing too tall and trying to look like God instead of being an ordinary humble person.” We have to realize that no effort can be too high.
For example, you came to a crisis in your life, took a stand for God, and even had the witness of the Spirit as a confirmation that what you did was right. But now, maybe weeks or years have gone by, and you are slowly coming to the conclusion— “Well, maybe what I did showed too much pride or was superficial. Was I taking a stand a bit too high for me?” Your “rational” friends come and say, “Don’t be silly. We knew when you first talked about this spiritual awakening that it was a passing impulse, that you couldn’t hold up under the strain. And anyway, God doesn’t expect you to endure.” You respond by saying, “Well, I suppose I was expecting too much.” That sounds humble to say, but it means that your reliance on God is gone, and you are now relying on worldly opinion. The danger comes when, no longer relying on God, you neglect to focus your eyes on Him. Only when God brings you to a sudden stop will you realize that you have been the loser. Whenever there is a spiritual drain in your life, correct it immediately. Realize that something has been coming between you and God, and change or remove it at once.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We Delight - Caedmon's Call

This song has ministered to my heart these last two weeks.  Hope it does the same for yours!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chambers Shallow and Profound

Shallow and Profound

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God —1 Corinthians 10:31
Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound. We sometimes refuse to be shallow, not out of our deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress other people with the fact that we are not shallow. This is a sure sign of spiritual pride. We must be careful, for this is how contempt for others is produced in our lives. And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than we are. Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby.
To be shallow is not a sign of being sinful, nor is shallowness an indication that there is no depth to your life at all— the ocean has a shore. Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did. He did them as the Son of God, and He said, “A disciple is not above his teacher . . .” (Matthew 10:24).
We are safeguarded by the shallow things of life. We have to live the surface, commonsense life in a commonsense way. Then when God gives us the deeper things, they are obviously separated from the shallow concerns. Never show the depth of your life to anyone but God. We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation, we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.
Make a determination to take no one seriously except God. You may find that the first person you must be the most critical with, as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waiting Again

Many times waiting is difficult.  We are at point A in our life and we desires to be at point B.  If you are like me you are so anxious to arrive at point B that you miss the blessings and life of living in between. There is life to be lived and a God to be worshipped  as we are waiting.

When Lilah had her accident we began waiting.
We waited on the ambulance to arrive.
We waited on the paramedics to access her.
We waited on the paramedics to prepare her for transport.
We waited on the helicopter to arrive.
We waited on the paramedics to prepare her for flight.
We waited for our time to travel to Little Rock.
We waited as we filled up the car with gas.
We waited as we traveled.
We waited for Lilah to arrive at Children's.
We waited for doctors to access her.
We waited for the test results.
We waited for the food to be removed from her stomach.
We waited for the ventilator o be removed.
We waited for her to wake up.
We waited for her to ask for a drink and food.
We waited for her to be released.
We waited for her vibrant personally to return.

What did we do in these waits?  We worshipped, we loved, we trusted the sovereign God of the universe.  God expects us to live in the midst of the wait.  We are His people.  He has placed a great hope within our souls.  He has a purpose in our wait.  Don't waste the time between point A and B.  God has ordained that time for you to experience His grace and mercy.  Live life and worship in your wait.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Unto You I lift my eyes,
O You who dwells in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
Until He has mercy on us.
Psalm 123:1-2

I am in a place of waiting.  I am waiting on the God who dwells in the heavens to give me a specific direction and revive my heart with a fresh passion for His name.  I have discovered I am helpless unless He moves and  my eyes are fixed on Him.

 I have been quiet lately as I have tried to figure out which season of life I am in.  The enemy has been playing in the playground of my mind.  I have allowed him access and play time as I entertain many of his thoughts.  I have bought into many of his lies about myself and others God has placed around me.  The enemy knows where our weakness are.  God in all His sovereignty will use the enemy to highlight our weakness.  God wants our weakness brought into the light with the desire of our confession and repentance.  Friend, don't wallow in guilt from your sin.  Turn to God, confess, and repent for forgiveness and help in your time of need is available. 

This very morning I discovered I was in the season of waiting.  For a couple of weeks, I have felt like a hooked fish flopping around hoping to hit the water.  Today through a devotion, the Lord gave me a word picture which confirmed the season of waiting.   It is good to know what season of life you are in. Let me share the word picture with you. 

I am standing in the middle of an open field.  Standing at one end of the field are all my life long comforts. These are the things I tend to turn to when I feel uncomfortable or vulnerable or unsafe.  Standing opposite of the comforts is a world of unknowns.  These are things/plans God has for me that I am unable to see or understand.  Circling over my head are vultures with the hope of causing me to run back to my old comforts,idols, my old way of life. 

I have a choice to be made.  I can return to idols/comforts of old or I can wait for God to give direction on a new way to walk and live.   I would love to have this direction colored in with details of what He has planned for me.  Waiting before I take my next step is difficult but we are called to walk in faith not by sight.  Our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is one of dependence upon Him.  Dependence is what He is wanting of me and you as well. 

I have been crucified with Christ,
 it is no longer I who live,
 but Christ lives in me,
 and the life which I now live in the flesh
 I live by faith in the Son of God,
 who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

God expects us to have boldness and confidence as we approach His throne room in prayer asking for directions.   God expects us to have confidence and dependence as we wait upon His direction.  When God gives direction, He expects us immediately to step out in faith.  Fear of failure or rejection should not keep us from being obedient, for God is able to fix all our messes.  We should have an urgency to meet with other believers for encouragement of keeping the faith.  Start by placing yourself around godly people who can challenge you to love God and be dependant upon Him.  Place yourself in situations to hear God's word.  Be open with your struggles by asking for prayer.  We are not perfect just loved and forgiven by our Creator. 

Oh, I am waiting.  I now understand the season of life I am in. My eyes look to the hand of my Master until He has mercy on me.  The vultures are circling over head but they are of no danger as my eyes are focused upon my Lord and I wait for His direction.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

7 Things Leaders Should Never Apologize For

The article came from an online  I thought it was worth sharing.


7 Things Leaders Should Never Apologize For

7 Things Leaders Should Never Apologize For
Saying “yes” to everything often means we have to say “no” to the things that are really important.

#1 – Never Apologize for Dreaming Big!

He’s God…He wants more for the church than we want for it…ask big! We have a HUGE GOD who can do things that are absolutely MIND BLOWING…and if we focus on HIS POWER rather than our limitations, we will always be willing to hear what He says and then do it…even though we don’t have all of our questions answered.

#2 – Never Apologize for Your Passion!

I once had a guy tell me, “Dude, I think you would be more effective as a leader/communicator if you would just calm down a little.” Here’s the problem…I can’t! Jeremiah 20:9 is my verse…Jesus began a fire inside of me on May 27, 1990…and it’s only gotten hotter. You can be consumed with passion…or be content with being passive. One, Jesus will use to change the world…the other, the enemy will use to dull your soul.

#3 – Never Apologize for Wanting to Lead!

If you are called by God and gifted by God to lead…THEN LEAD! Here’s the deal…someone is going to make the decisions. Someone is going to call the shots…and if that is the call that God has put on your life, then DO IT!
BTW…when you do this, it IS going to make people mad. AND…if you can’t handle the fact that people ARE going to hate you simply because you try your best to listen to Jesus and then do what He says…you may not be called to lead!

#4 – Never Apologize for Not Embracing Someone Else’s Agenda!

You have got to understand that, as a leader, if you experience any level of success, other people will always want to attach themselves and their agenda to you. I often tell people, “Your burden is not my passion!”
As leaders, we are responsible for embracing God’s vision for our lives…not everyone else’s!
I am not saying everyone else’s idea is bad…or even wrong…it’s just that you can’t embrace something that God didn’t truly birth inside of you…and doing so will only lead to personal frustration and your organization trying to manufacture energy for something that they hate!

#5 – Never Apologize for Expecting the Best from Others!

Leaders cannot be afraid to set high standards…EVER! I believe it is WRONG to expect perfection from others…we’re all humans, we screw up! BUT…it isn’t wrong to expect others to give their best. (BTW…MOST of the time, if people see the leader giving their best, it will inspire them to do the same!)

#6 – Never Apologize for Wanting to Reach More People!

From time to time, people will take a shot at me for wanting to see more people come to church…and…
I can’t help it…the change in life that Jesus has brought about in me…I want as many people as possible to hear about it! I want as many people as possible to have their lives changed. I want as many people as possible to KNOW that they KNOW JESUS! I just don’t see anywhere in Scripture where that is a bad thing.
Don’t EVER apologize for embracing the fact that God has called us to RECONCILE (not REVILE) the world! (II Corinthians 5:16-21!)

#7 – Never Apologize for Saying “No” to What You KNOW You Need to Say “No” To!

One of the biggest frustrations I’ve ever had as a leader is when I commit “sins of obligation,” you know, when I do something because I feel like I have to rather than doing it because I truly feel led to do it because of the Holy Spirit’s leadership in my life.
Just because we have opportunities doesn’t mean we need to embrace them…because saying “yes” to everything often means we have to say “no” to the things that are REALLY important.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pebbles of Pride

The enemy will come hard after a victorious week to bombard you with thoughts, attitudes, and temptations.  He plants thoughts in your mind; usually these are temptations that you are drawn to (James 1:14-15).  It is difficult to resists the thoughts if they are somewhat pleasing to you.  It is like that piece of candy--one small taste is never enough.  You cannot play around with sin and expect to win.  Our fleshly desires are to strong...I'm not just talking about sexual desires; but also coveting, anger, bitterness, etc.  They all fall into the same category.

We must be aware we will stumble over pebbles of pride along the path as we venture down from our spiritual mountain.  As we walk and reflect upon our experience, those pebbles grow to a boulders, and before we know it, we are overcome with thoughts from the evil one.  He knows our fleshly desires, even if we are not aware of them, and that is where he tends to drop the pebbles. 

We must be aware these thoughts are from the enemy and not pick them up as our own.  We are redeemed.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:12-14

I am not making light of the attack.  I'm just saying look at what is being targeted, understand where your fleshly desires are, and cling to God.  Please don't entertain them.  They will take you further than you want to go. 

You can't stop the pebbles from falling but you can keep them from becoming boulders in your life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Squirrell Highway

I asked a friend to be a guest writer on my blog.  She graciously said yes.    I hope you enjoy!

Intentionality and the Squirrel Highway

Back and forth, to and fro the bushy tailed creatures go. As long as the sun is in the sky above, they are diligent, working while the day is called today. Scurrying along the top of the narrow fence, and then jumping skillfully to the phone wires which stretch from our house to those close by. Poised with the grace of a tight rope walker another bushy tailed creature returns from the opposite direction and the process begins again. They are intentional and focused. Both for good reason. Winter is coming. The oak tree behind our house has provided them a banner crop of acorns this fall. How is it with you? Are you as intentional and as diligent as a squirrel, looking about your world for where you can be at work? Jesus sheds truth for us concerning the day and its’ light. The story can be found beginning in John 9:1. Jesus states, "We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work." Following this statement Jesus brings healing to the man born blind. May the Father use us to bring sight to the blind. Be intentional.

An excerpt from a cross-cultural worker’s newsletter reminds us of intentionality. "The fasting month of Ramadan has ended. Routines will soon return to normal in our city as families return to work and school following the customary visits to family. But the lostness continues. In our city’s unique mix, those with Christian backgrounds also return to their routines. And in most cases their lostness continues as well as they hold on to the belief that they are part God’s kingdom because of their religion. The call to both groups is, "You must be born again." May we be intentional to share the message. It does not matter where we are. If we are in the USA, across the ocean, at our workplace, or at our school. The message is the same. The word is intentional. The Holy Spirit is intentional. He is working, preparing the hearts of people to hear, repent, and receive the Message."

Back and forth, to and fro the bushy tailed creatures go. As long as the sun is in the sky above, they are diligent, working while the day is called day. They are gathering the fruit that has been prepared for them. Fruit has been prepared for the Father’s Kingdom. Gather it while the day is called today. The Father will be glorified.
The Innkeeper’s Wife

Just Fun

I once had a friend
named Laura and Jim
who I got to visit
at the Journey's Inn.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with a hug.
We visited a while than with shrug,
the library was mentioned
so off we go with great intentions.
Dewey Decimal numbers in hand
we knew what we were doing we had a plan.
The Central Library is cool
great diversity and many who have not attended school.
Books, magazines, fellowship as well
even a youth group that came to tell.
Time to leave
and hard to believe
no book in hand
but Jim had a plan.
Jonah was awaiting,
"Surprised by Grace,"
I read and I read
at a rabbits' pace.
Laura filled my belly
with dumplings and bread,
Jim filled my mind with
books to be read.
Soon the evening became late
and our bodies were faint.
Sleep was a calling
and it could not wait.
Breakfast came fast
after Laura's exercise blast.
French toast and a note of
a blog someday.  I'm still waiting
and waiting, oh would you say.
Today will be the day
O Bobbie you will see
Truth will be coming you just wait and be.
I enjoyed my time
that is true indeed
Many more to come
I'll just wait and see.