Monday, July 28, 2008

Closer Than You Think Devo!

Devotional for the day, enjoy!

Closer Than You Think
Today's Scripture


“Do not cast away your confidence, for it carries a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Have you been praying and believing for something that seems like it’s taking a lot longer than you thought? Many times, people can miss God’s best simply because they give up before they see their “due season” come. Don’t let that be you! Be encouraged today, your answer is closer than you think. If it seem like things are getting more difficult, remember, when the intensity heats up, that means you are closer to your victory. It always seems darkest just before the dawn arrives. You serve a faithful God, and He’s working behind the scenes on your behalf. Don’t cast away your confidence today because your reward is coming. And just like a new mother forgets about her labor pain when she is finally holding her newborn, you’ll forget about your struggle when you are holding on to your promise. While you are waiting, keep an attitude of faith and expectancy. Wake up every morning and say out loud, “I’ve come too far to give up now. My due season is coming. I will reap my harvest.” Stay in faith and look for His hand of blessing because He has promised you victory and it’s closer than you think!

A Prayer for Today

Father in Heaven, today I stand believing that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. Give me Your strength to continue believing until I see Your promises fulfilled in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Prayer devotional to kick start this week!

A great devotional by one of my favorite Pastor's, Ed Young Jr. Enjoy!

This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name."
Matthew 6:9

The number of ways in which people approach prayer is as vast as the number of people who pray. But in Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us exactly how we should pray. He doesn't give us a step-by-step, paint-by-the-numbers formula, because prayer isn't something that can be structured or formulated. It's fluid and vibrant. But Jesus does provide a basis for what we should pray and how we should pray.

So often, when we pray, we rush into what we want God to do for us, give us or how we want him to help us. We focus on the "me" factor of prayer and gloss right over the fact that we are standing or sitting or kneeling before God himself.

Remember, prayer isn't primarily about you. It's about God. He is the starting block for every prayer that you have. Remember who you are talking to. Don't rush into your wishes or desires. Start first with acknowledging the greatness of God, the magnitude of God, the holiness of God.

When you pray today, focus less on yourself and more on God. Because as you do, you'll discover one of the greatest keys to unlocking the power of prayer, the fact that prayer is a two-way conversation between you and your Creator.


A Prayer for Today

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pumped for tomorrow!



I'm pretty pumped to have Pastor Buddy and Chelle Watts with us tomorrow for our weekend service. Buddy and Chelle did a fantastic job helping move our church from stagnant to live giving. I've been blessed to have some great people work with me on our leadership team. They have been such a blessing to my life and I'm excited to welcome that back to our church family. If you miss it this weekend, make sure that you check the message out on iTunes. (via www.freedomlife.tv)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

He Has His Father's Muscles!



My little man (Caleb Joel) turned 6 last week and we had his party this past Sunday! Here is the crew flexing and striking a pose. I can't believe that he is 6!!!!!

You have been marked!

Sunday was a great day for our church. We celebrated our young people returning from London, England and they did a fantastic job of sharing and praying over our church. I talked about changing our legacy as we finished our series in Philemon. The bottom line for those of us that are Christ-followers is that we are new creations! The moment that we received Christ, it marked our lives and we became forever different. I told the story of Jacob in the Old Testament (Genesis 32) and how God touched him and he was changed. The scriptures teach us that he wrestled with God and from that night on he walked different. It wasn't simply that God touched his thigh and changed his physical capabilities. Jacob wrestled with who he was (vs. 27). He was a deceiver. That was his legacy. But that night he owned up to who he was and God touched him and changed his name and his legacy. God will do the same with us if we fight through our past and embrace our future in Him. Before I forget, I told the story about my son Colby biting and marking my son Caleb. I said I would post the pics so here they are!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Avoid Strife

Avoid Strife
Today's Scripture


“ It is an honor for a man to cease from strife ” (Proverbs 20:3)

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Strife is a very destructive force. It can creep into relationships by starting small, maybe through a comment or a wrong look from someone, and can then escalate into something much bigger. But when you choose to cease from strife and overlook an offense, you are acting honorably, and you are honoring God. How do you avoid strife? The Bible tells us that love covers over many offenses. It means that you give people the benefit of the doubt. You consider what they may be going through over how they reacted to you. Maybe someone was short with you at the office, but they may have a loved one in the hospital, or they may have some other concern. Instead of getting upset, walk in love—be patient, be kind to them. Choose to avoid strife. Look for ways to walk in unity with the people in your life. The Bible says that He has commanded the blessing when we walk and live in unity. Choose unity today and watch the hand of the Lord move mightily on your behalf!

A Prayer for Today

Father God, today I choose Your ways. I invite Your plan to unfold in my life. Help me to avoid strife so I can walk in peace and unity and honor you all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

very busy but very fun week!

I'm pretty tired this week. I have had a lot of great meetings the last few days and a lot more to go. I will return to the "Life's difficult questions" tomorrow. We had a great weekend and now tomorrow my son Caleb had his 6th b-day. Until later, here are some funny pics.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

...slow on the posts, pick up next week

I am planning on posting more of the questions next week, been a little slow the last few days. It's been a busy (clean up the yard) weekend and I am hanging out with an old friend, Ariel Rainey. We went to Bible college together back in the day and she is sharing for a few minutes tomorrow at our weekend service. She has been a missionary to Israel and France the last number of years and is going back to Israel in the coming months. A lot of fun catching up, it is always encouraging to know that friends are doing great and serving Jesus! It's been a fun evening.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions, Part 3- Discouragement

Questions #3- How Can I Handle Discouragement?

You may be wondering from my last post, "What is the difference between discouragement and depression?" Very simply, depression is discouragement that has won. You will experience many discouraging times in your life and how you handle them will be vital to you fulfilling your destiny. Discouragement is very common, it can be recurring, and is highly contagious. I want to encourage to read the story of Nehemiah today in your Bible and see why Nehemiah became discouraged and how he overcame it. Here are some of the principles from the story.

The reasons we become discouraged.
1. Just plain tired (physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted)
2. Frustrated (things aren't going well)
3. Failure
4. Fear


We overcome discouragement by...
1. Finding a better way to do something (reorganizing)
2. Remember the Lord (His goodness, that He is present & His power)
3. Resist the gloomy outlook (stay positive, find the good)

I've been through many discouraging times in my life, even over the last year. God has brought me through each and every one of them and I know that He will bring you through too as you trust Him!

Questions to ask yourself right now:
1. Which of the 4 reasons of becoming discouraged affects you the most? 2. What do you like to remember most about God when you're discouraged and how does that help you?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions, Part 2- Depression

Question #2- How can I defeat depression?

In the Bible a clear example of someone that was dealing with depression would be that of 'Elijah.' (read 1 Kings 19) He was a prime candidate for depression because he was physically tired, emotionally exhausted & someone was threatening his life. The Bible tells us that Elijah was a man just like us. (James 5:17) Meaning, we can experience the same miracles that he did and also the same discouragement. I want to encourage you to renew your mind (Romans 12:2) so that you can rid yourself of negative thinking and mindsets. A few tips for dealing with depression:

Tip #1- Focus on the facts, not on your feelings.
Tip #2- Don't compare yourself with others.
Tip #3- Don't take false blame.
Tip #4- Don't exaggerate the negative.


Elijah was guilty of each of these things in the context of 1 Kings 19. If we are honest, we have a tendency to do these very things. If you are finding yourself doing these things today, make a decision to stop. Of course the question leads to, "stop and do what?" Here are 5 things that you can do right now if you find yourself struggling with depression.

1. Take care of your physical needs.
2. Give your frustrations to God.
3. Get a fresh awareness of God.
4. Gain a new direction for your life.
5. Stay around encouraging voices.


Which of Elijah's mistakes are you most prone to experience in your life? What is a specific way that you can begin working on the first remedy for depression--which is your physical well-being?

Monday, July 7, 2008

God's Answers to Life's Difficult Questions, Pt. 1- Stress


I'm currently reading a book by Rick Warren called, "God's Answers to Life's Difficult Questions." I figured I would blog about it for the next week or so and share some of my thoughts (and Rick's) about various questions. Above is a picture of Rick & I (real deal, not photoshop enhanced) when we met a few months ago at an event. I'm sure He is fulfilling one of his life dreams by co-writing this blog with me for the week or 2 via his book. Anyway... Here we go with the first question!

Question #1- How Can I Cope With Stress?

I don't know about you but I have stress in my life so I like to revisit this topic just about every other day. We will be dedicating an entire series to this when we kick off our fall in a few weeks with a series called, SIMPLE- a simple guide to surviving your stressed out life. (or something like that) Remember that today matters. As John Maxwell writes, "we have a tendency to over-estimate what we can accomplish tomorrow and we under-estimate what we can accomplish today." With that said, here are some thoughts about coping with stress.

1. IDENTIFICATION-Know who you are. (John 8:12)
2. DEDICATION-Know who you are trying to please. (John 5:30)
3. ORGANIZATION-Know what you're trying to accomplish. (John 8:14)
4. CONCENTRATION-Focus on one thing at a time. (Luke 4:42)
5. DELEGATION-Don't do it all yourself. (Mark 3:13)
6. MEDITATION-Make a habit of personal prayer. (Mark 1:35)
7. RECREATION-Take time off to enjoy life. (Mark 6:31)
8. TRANSFORMATION-Give your stress to Christ. (Matthew 11:28-30)

What are 2 or 3 of the principles that you need to deal with most right now?
What are 3 specific ways that you can simplify your life this week?

July 4th weekend and a good devo

I had a really good July 4th weekend. It was pretty busy but I did get to chill with my family on Saturday and also last night. I was pretty exhausted last night though so there wasn't much connecting with my kids and wife. On the other hand, God is planting some great vision in my heart for our church and I'm very excited about our future. Yesterday I talked about going back and facing our problem as we started our series on the book of Philemon. My delivery of the message was below average and it wasn't my best day but the amazing thing is that the Holy Spirit still works in people's lives. As you face your problems today, I found a good devotional that I though would encourage you.

Thriving Every Day
Today's Scripture

"...I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows" (John 10:10 AMP).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

God doesn't want you to live with a "barely-get-by" attitude. He has new seasons of increase in front of you. He wants you to thrive, to live an abundant, overflowing life. Sometimes when things seem difficult, it's easy to slip into a "survival mode." When times get tough, it's tempting to just hunker down and settle where you are. If you're not careful, you'll develop a survival mentality that will keep you from growing and releasing your faith. You'll be happy just to "break even." But as God's children, we're not supposed to just break even; we're supposed to break through to a new level! We're supposed to believe for more of God's favor, increase, and promotion no matter what is happening in the world around us. Make up your mind today that no matter how difficult things seem, you are going to thrive every day! Take hold of God's promises and declare that you are rising higher. As you continue to expect His favor and increase, you'll see His hand of blessing in your life, and you will thrive and live in victory all the days of your life.

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for giving me life. I choose today to agree with Your Word which says I can thrive and enjoy my life to the full. Help me see Your hand at work more and more each day. I bless You and give You praise. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Great post about July 4th

Check out Mark Batterson's blog about the signers of the declaration of independence, great stuff! click here

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Funny video- Smells Like Birthday Cake

Here is a funny video put out by the comedian that we are planning on bringing in next year for our comedy night. His name is Tim Hawkins and he has a lot of funny material. This video will be especially meaningful to our GenXer's out there that remember the band "Nirvana," and there hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Enjoy the video and check out his other vids on youtube.

Busy Week

I've been a little lax on my blog lately but I'll be posting a message series beginning next week based on Rick Warren's book, "Answers to life's difficult questions." I concluded my 4th wedding in the last 6 weeks last night and it was a blast. I had the honor to see some good friends take a great faith step. I'm looking forward to this weekend and we have a lot of great stuff planned for the church in the next few months that I'm looking forward to sharing with everyone. I'm off to go say good bye to our 20+ crew from our youth ministry that is headed to England today. I'm really excited for them and I'm praying that the next 10 days will be life changing. More updates soon...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer nights!



Last week I camped out in the back yard with my kids and my back still hurts! When did I get old? Last night we made some smores and had a blast. I love the summer time and I can't believe that it is July 1st already, how about you? My goal this summer with my family is to be bored. That's right, BORED. Remember when summer lasted forever and you just wanted to grow up and no longer be bored. Now that I am grown up I want to be bored. I want to stop doing so much stuff, running from place to place, and just hang out and experience life. I want to live stories with my kids that I'll tell years from now. Doesn't that sound better than being stressed and busy. I hope to have a boring summer and that you have one too!