Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Truth Of God's Word


Great devo that I read today. Enjoy! (you can get great devotionals sent to your inbox by signing up here)

Keep the Truth
Today's Scripture


“Guard and keep [with the greatest care] the precious and excellently adapted [Truth]…”

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

The Truth of God’s Word is a precious treasure entrusted to us. It empowers us to overcome every obstacle. It’s important to keep this Truth in your heart and establish it in your life. How do you establish the Word in your life? When you make a habit of praying and reading God’s Word it becomes more and more alive to you. When you choose to obey it, you are guarding and keeping the Truth. For example, the Bible says that love covers an offense. When you choose to walk in love even when someone has offended you, you are guarding the Truth. When you choose God’s way, instead of the world’s way, you are guarding the truth. Society has so many different ideas of what is right and acceptable. We have to always choose God’s way. And when you choose God’s way, you get God’s results! God’s results include a blessed and happy life. Start today by asking the Lord to show you His Truth by the power of His Spirit. As you keep the precious Truth of God’s Word, you will be empowered to live the life of victory the Lord has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Truth which sets me free. I invite you to search my heart and mind today and lead me in Your ways. I bless You today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tim Hawkins - Cletus Take the Reel

We will be showing this at our weekend service this week. Absolutely hilarious! Enjoy your day!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Great Weekend!



This past weekend got kicked off with my daughter and I making our first snowman (or girl) of the season. That was a real joy to hang out with her. We then packed up the fam and traveled to Gettysburg to visit one of my mentors, Gerry Stoltzfoos, to enjoy some time away. Saturday we invited some of the leaders at our church to join with Gerry and his team for some training. That was a great day together. I had the chance to spend some quality time with my wife and children, as well as some friends. I had to much quality time with my youngest Colby! He decided to wake up constantly both nights and torture us. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be home and have the kids in their own beds! I look forward to sleeping tonight in my bed also! (word to the wise, don't ever purchase a nice bed, it makes going away & sleeping in another bed very difficult, I know that sounds wimpy! Those of you with nice beds know exactly what I'm talking about) Anyway, we capped our weekend by joining some friends locally for a birthday bowling party. That was a blast and my kids loved it! I love watching my kids, they really are a blessing. My wife gets prettier by the day and is a wonderful woman. I thank God for good days. We never know what tomorrow holds, but I am grateful and blessed for weekends like this past one. I hope yours was well also!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Forget 40 days of Purpose, welcome 30 days of...

I think we have found a way to get more men into our church. This idea had to come from a group of guys. What great men of God. Hilarious! Read the news article below and then click on the site for more info.

YBOR CITY, Fla. -- A Florida church issued a challenge for its married members on Sunday: Have sex every day.
Relevant Church head pastor Paul Wirth said the 50 percent divorce rate was the catalyst for The 30-Day Sex Challenge.
The church set up a Web site concerning the challenge, Local 6 reported.
"And that's no different for people who attend church," Wirth said. "Sometimes life gets in the way. Our jobs get in the way."
Oh, and the flip side of the challenge? No rolling in the sheets for the unwed.
Church member Tim Jones and his fiancee agreed to take on the challenge, though he acknowledges it'll be a tough month.
But he added: "I think it's worth trying to find out other things about each other."

click here

Blog Message, "Road Rage, How To Avoid Arguments" Part 3

This is the last installment of our blog messages on James for now. Sorry that I'm a little late on this one, I had a busy weekend. The last of these points are adapted (as was our series) from Rick Warren's message series on the book of James. Here you go!

You do four things to diffuse any conflict conflict:

1. GIVE IT OVER TO GOD

"Submit yourself then to God." v. 7. Let God be God in your life. Give Him control. Put Him in charge. Yield yourself to Him. This is the starting point. Quit trying to run your own life. In v. 1 it says "...your desires that battle within you..." James says that conflict that happens with other people happens because you have conflict on the inside. You don't get along with other people because you've got a civil war in your life. This is the real issue. If you're in charge, then anytime somebody comes along that doesn't go the way you want to go, then you get uptight. You get irritable. You get upset. You blow up at your friends, family and so on... You want things to go just the way you want them to go and when they don't go that way, it makes you mad. But if God's in charge of your life, it doesn't irritate you as much.

Colossians 3:15 "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart." When we have the peace of Christ in our heart then we'll be at peace with other people. If we don't have this in our life -- God's peace in our hearts -- then we try to manipulate others, try to control them and try to move them around to get what we want out of life.

2. KEEP THE HIGH BEAMS ON SATAN

Be aware, be alert. Realize what he's doing. Realize where the conflict comes from and that he's the source behind it. Don't be stupid. Don't be ignorant. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." The word "resist" is a war term. It means to be prepared. To stand against. Withstand an attack. The devil wants to destroy your marriage. He wants to destroy every other good relationship. Why? Because he loves conflict, arguments. He wants to cause confusion, arguments, stress, hurt feelings, disappointment, anger, chaos. He loves to do it. James says you've got to give if over to God, let Him have control. Then you've got to do some defensive action. You've got to resist the devil and realize what he's doing. If you get up in the morning and you don't run into the devil, head on, it means you're already going in the same direction.

2 Cor. 2:11 "In order that Satan might not outwit us, we are not unaware of his schemes." Paul says, to keep the high beams on so that you can see and remain aware! Recognize his tactics. Know how he operates.

3. GROW CLOSER TO GOD

How does this affect arguments? First, how do you grow closer? By reading the Bible, by going to church, by getting involved in a Bible study -- all of these kinds of things help you grow closer to God. I have made an amazing discovery that the more time I spend alone with God, the better I get along with other people. Count on it! The more time I spend with God, the more I become like Him. I am a nicer person after I have spent time with Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 "He will keep him in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord." When you spend time with the Lord, you turn your thoughts to Him, then you get along better with others because He keeps perfect peace in your heart and you're not as irritable.

4. WAVE PEOPLE ON AND FORGIVE

Whenever someone pulls out in front of you, cuts you off or causes an accident on the journey, you have a choice to make. Do you wave your finger at them or do you wave them on? If you want to stop the conflicts in your life, if you want to get along with other people, avoid arguments, learn to ask forgiveness from God and from those you hurt. v. 8 "Wash your hands ... purify your hearts..." Our hands represent our conduct and hearts represent attitudes. He's saying, clean up your act. Wave people on, give them the benefit of the doubt and forgive.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

There is no mid-week due to the combination of ice and a parking lot on the side of a hill. The comedy night meeting will take place next Wednesday night along with all of the other scheduled activities.

Blog Message, "ROAD RAGE, How To Avoid Arguments" Part 2

James 4:1-10

The last 2 desires that cause conflict, which we are all aware are...

The Desire Have Stuff (Pleasure) "... you want only what will give you pleasure" (vs. 3)
There is nothing wrong with pleasure. I personally appreciate the fact that God allows us to experience pleasure. But when pleasure becomes the number one goal in your life -- if it feels good, do it -- you're asking for conflict. Seeking self-pleasure will lead you down the wrong road.

The Desire To Be Important (Pride & Power) "Pride leads to arguments ..." Prov. 13:10 (LB)
It's a desire to impress. It's the desire to be full of pride, to be number one, to impress others.
James defines the fact that blowouts (arguments) occur because of these three desires that battle within us. James goes onto tell us two reasons why our desires aren't fulfilled. Number one: We don't pray. We don't ask God. We look to the wrong source. We look to people to fulfill our needs instead of looking to God.
(vs. 2-3) "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives..."Conflict with God (vs. 4-6)"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (vs. 6)
The second reason is our pride, which I mentioned earlier. To be in opposition to God is a dangerous place to be. You're on a collision course. There's no way you're going to win. Ultimately, if these desires, pride specifically, are the cause of arguments...

WHAT IS THE CURE FOR ARGUMENTS? THE ANSWER IS HUMILITY RESULTING IN GRACE.
"God ... gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (vs. 6 & 10)
What is grace? Grace is God's power to change. What would you like to change about yourself? Whatever it is, you need grace to do it. What do you want to change about your relationships, your marriage, your family? Whatever you would like to change, you need grace. You can't change it on your own. You need God's power and that's called grace. Grace is the power to change, and there is only one way you get grace. You humble yourself.
That's the foundation. Tomorrow I'll give you the 4 things that you have to do in order to diffuse a conflict Road Rage before it explodes into your life...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Interesting Stories from today's headlines


You just can't make this stuff up. Finally a grown man that I can out lift. I'm sure that we'll see this guy in movies sooner or later. Is it appropriate to find this immensely funny? I'm not even sure why I think it is funny. Maybe I am just mean, judge for yourself and don't snicker.
click here

Also, I think I found my english teacher from high school! click here How did this guy teach for all of those years without ever knowing how to read? It makes me think of how I've gone on all of these years without understanding algebra. Crazy...

Blog Message, "ROAD RAGE, How To Avoid Arguments" Part 1

James 4:1-10

We're going to be looking at what James has to say on “How to Avoid Arguments”. As I talk with couples one of the most common complaints I hear from people is "We just can't seem to get along. We argue so much. We love each other. Why is it we have major blowups over such minor issues?" I talk with parents who say, "With my kids there is constant drama tension. I don't understand why we're always in an argumentative mode."

James talks about that. In this passage on how to avoid arguments he gives us both the causes and the cures.
At the very start of this message, think of the person that causes the most conflict in your life. You're going to get the most out of this message if you think about the person who causes conflict in your life and how to avoid arguments with them.

James doesn't beat around the bush. He gets right to the point. Long before modern psychology came along he had some profound insights on the cause of conflict. 4:1 "What causes fights and quarrels among you. Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" James says that the cause of arguments is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants the sparks are going to fly. Any relationship can end up being involved in serious road rage if they do not perform certain check-ups.

Conflicts begin early on in life. If you don't think so, that's because you've never had the privilege of hearing a baby scream when they don't get their own way. Maybe you've never found yourself arguing with a 2 year old. Arguments affect everyone (of all ages). There are always going to be conflicting desires. Frustrated feelings cause fights.

What desires? The Bible makes very clear here and other places in Scripture that there are three basic desires we have that cause conflict. These desires are legitimate desires unless they're out of control. They are God-given desires. But when you put them above other people, when they become number one in your life, they will cause conflict. What are they?

1. THE DESIRE TO HAVE

We want to have things. Materialism. Possessions. v. 2 "You want what you don't have ... you long for what others have." God created things to be used and to enjoy. That's what they're there for. We use things and love people. The problem is when we start loving things. We start loving things and using people. e.

It's very easy to fall in love with things these days with all the TV commercials and slick marketing. The desire to have becomes number one in your life and that creates conflict. Someone asked Howard Hughes one time, "How much does it take to make a man happy?" He said, "Just a little bit more." The thrill wears off very quickly. We've got to learn to deal with the desire to have. If you decide to base your life on comparing it to other people, you will never be happy no matter how much you get. There's always something more.

Avoid road rage today by avoiding the desire to have!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Do you have friends?


Tonight I had the opportunity to hang out with my small group. Michele and I (and the kids) get together every other week with 4 other couples to enjoy and encourage one another. I love each of them deeply and it is so cool to grow together and to see what God is doing in each of our lives. We shared this week about all of the people that are coming to our weekend services and how they are coming to know Jesus! That's what all of this is about, Jesus. We talked about how we want to grow in our walk with God and prayed for one another. What a great night. It's so rewarding to have friends that encourage you in your walk with Jesus! Do you have friends? If not, pray for some and take a step, you'll be glad you did!
This week I'll be sharing one more blog message, so stay tuned...

What Are You Expecting?



This past weekend I had a great time hang'in with my family. We spent one of our nights enjoying a meal together, playing uno and downing some serious chocolate fondu. My kids were incredibly silly that night and it was great moment together. Unfortunately, my wife and I ceased to realize that filling our kids with sugar at 8 p.m. would hinder their ability to be quiet. It would hinder their ability to eventually go to sleep as we had expected. As we played uno we kept trying to get our kids to 'settle down.' What were we thinking? What were we expecting? We were expecting the opposite of what we should have based on what we gave them.
We do that in our lives all of the time. We believe God to do great things, but often times we don't always fill our lives with the rights things. We need to fill our hearts with faith and good things from God's word. I want to challenge you to fill yourself with the right things this week. Fill yourself with God's word and allow faith to rise up in your heart. When you do that you will no longer just believe, but you will begin to expect the good things that God has in store for you!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rick Warren & Mark Batterson, Part 2

Rick shared that If you want God’s power in your life, you need to overcome these three temptations (sins) and he gave the antidote to overcoming each one:

(the scripture reference is 1 John 2
1. Lust of flesh, -the temptation to feel good (feels good, do it- hedonism) sex passion
Integrity (means wholeness, from the word integer, meaning 1, not compartamentalized) “what you see is what you get” the titanic myth- 1st boat in which they built the hull in compartments. The assumption is you could take on water in one compartment but it wouldn’t sink. Theoretically that is true, but a hole in the boat is a hole and will sink you. You cannot sin and not hurt other people.

2. Lust of the eyes- the temptation to have (I see it and I want it- materialism) salary possession
Generosity (every time you give, you become more like Jesus) You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving
*Psalm 72- Solomon's prayer for fame- This seems like an odd prayer, but God gives us affluence and influence for a reason. “so that the King may support the widow and orphan...” God gives us influence and affluence so that we can stick up for those who have neither.
*Greatest things in life are not things- Jesus said that the abundance of life is not about things or storing up treasures for ourselves)

3. The pride of life- the temptation to be (I am in charge) status position
Humility (means being honest about your weaknesses) ex. Jesus didn’t die for junk, he loved us so much that he reached out his arms for us. We are valuable. Humility doesn't mean thinking less of yourself, it means not thinking of yourself at all.

Rick ended by encouraging us to remain pure. He said, "I’d rather die than embarass my family or Jesus Christ." Great stuff!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pause for Politics

Let me pause from my normal blogging for a moment and post a speech that I just read by Mitt Romney. He has ended His bid for the white house but it is one of the best speeches that I've heard in a long time. It's worth the read even if you don't like Him or if you're a democrat. (ignore his democrat references if it bothers you). Great stuff!
click here

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mark Batterson & Rick Warren


I'm was in Washington D.C. today at a coffee house called 'Ebenezzer's.' It is the ministry center of an innovative church called, 'National Community Church,' led by Mark Batterson. He was hosting Rick Warren (pastor of Saddleback church and author of the Purpose driven life) for an informal luncheon. I traveled down with one of my mentors (Dan McNaughton) who is an incredible Pastor and Leader in his own right. I don't get away enough so today is a special day. I got to spend about 6-7 hours in a car connecting with Dan. It was a real privilege. Back to Rick Warren. Here are a few of the thoughts that Rick shared to a group of 75-100 pastors. (including me)

*More people attend church on one weekend than attend sporting events all year long combined. The local church is important and the hope of the world.
*Never confuse significance and prominence. (You may not be prominent, but you are significant to God)
*Courage is not the absence of fear, it's moving ahead in faith despite the feeling of fear.
*It takes more than sermons to grow in Spiritual maturity. Going to meetings do not necessarily grow your faith.
*It's easy to impress people from a distance, but you can only impact them up close.
*The Church is people, not a steeple.
*Personal, Spiritual growth is intentional. It is a choice. We grow by making commitments.
*You make the commitment and then you grow. (you grow through, example- parenting)
*There is a difference between growing old and growing up.
* You are as close to God as you want to be. Remember, God doesn't move away, we do.
*You cannot live in life without making commitments.
*Spiritual growth is incremental. Step by step. It is true physically and spiritually.
*Everything grows in seasons. Stay encouraged during the fall and winter, because spring and summer are coming.

What an incredible day. Rick shared some other thoughts that I will post tomorrow and he prayed a blessing over each of us. He's the real deal and is an encouragement to pastors all over the country. He's definitely one of my heroes in the faith. Stay tuned for more thoughts on Rick and what he shared tomorrow.

What A Great Day!

What an awesome day we had yesterday! The church family came together and we saw God visit us in a powerful way. The music was fantastic, God's presence was awesome and the word was challenging. It was one of those messages where I hear myself speaking and say, "that's God stuff, because I'm not that good." I'm so thankful to be a part of a great church with truly great people!

Blog Message, Part 2, "Give People The Right Of Way"

3. Give people the right of way by not minimizing their feelings.

"Wisdom is ... considerate" "gentle" (GN) "courteous" (LB)
"Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit." Prov. 15:4


This is a tough one to do, especially when someone's feelings are biased and off base. You can still listen even without agreeing with the other person. Other times you just don't want to hear what someone else has to say, even if it is legit. This one is tough, especially for married couples. (experience tells me)


4. Give people the right of way by not criticizing their opinions or suggestions.

"A fool thinks he needs no advice. A wise man listens to others." Prov. 12:15 (LB)
This is a great verse to remember, especially when you believe you are always right. I never struggle with this one, how about you?

5. Give people the right of way by not focusing on their mistakes.

"Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends." Prov. 17:9 (LB)
We all blow it from time to time. When you focus on extending grace to others during times of struggles, you fulfill the mission of Christ himself. So look for someone this week that needs God's mercy. Look for someone who has done something really stupid and caused a wreck out of their lives and the lives of others. When you find them, offer God's grace. Give them the right of way.