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Showing posts from January, 2009

Busting The Myths Of A Christian Marriage

I'm doing some research for our upcoming series on sex, dating & marriage next month & I came across a pretty good article. It will take a few minutes to read, but it's excellent! It is called, "Busting The Myths Of A Christian Marriage," by Judy Bodmer. You can find it on www.marriagepartnership.com via this link, click here.

My Non-Politically Correct Son

My son made this picture for a (home) school project this past week! Like his father, he doesn't waste time being concerned about being politically correct. If you can't read the picture, here is the translation, pretty stink'in funny! I love kids!
"One day there was an ice cream shop. There was a bad bird. One day he threw ice cream on a girl and they shot it. The End."

How could you not be proud of that :)?

What I Learned From My 21 Day Fast

Today I ended my 21 day fast with some friends, some pizza and a wicked good chocolate cake! It was an incredible day @ Freedom Life as we witnessed 13 people make decisions to follow Christ. This year we have seen 22 people commit their lives to follow Jesus and become Christians. That just blows my mind!!! Here is what I learned from my 21 day fast that we did as a church to begin this year.

-10 lbs. lighter makes me feel healthier.
-I connect with God better when I'm not full of food & the distractions of this world.
-I'm more sensitive to & able to hear God when I'm actually trying to.
-I can grow so much deeper in my walk with God if I'm willing to continually make myself uncomfortable.
-Prayer & fasting works exactly like God said that it would.
-I (& our church) have a long way to grow in our Spiritual journey, but we've come a long way in a short period of time.
-I want to fast more than I ever have before.
-Did I mention that 22 people have m…

5 Requirements For Every Leader...(Pt. 4,5)

Here are the last two of the requirements. You need to be clear and you need to have character. I have struggled with clarity on many occasions and it has hurt my leadership. The most important of all of these requirements though is that of character. If you have no foundation, there is nothing for God to build on. You can restore clarity easily, but not character. Check out these leadership thoughts below.

4. CLARITY

Uncertain times require clear directives from those in leadership. Yet the temptation for young & immature leaders is to allow uncertainty to leave them paralyzed.

“The secret to concentration is elimination.” Dr. Howard Hendricks

Develop Clarity by determining your priorities. Here are some questions to ask yourself...
-What are my values?
-What are my dreams?
-What are my burdens?
-What are my convictions?
-What are my passions?

You may not be certain about each next step, but you need to be clear about the direction that you are heading.

“Our quarters and one-dolla…

5 Requirements For Every Leader... (Part 3)

I tell people often that it would be much easier for me to stay in shape if I had a coach that was encouraging (screaming at the top of his lungs) at me to workout more regularly. My wife is much less intimidating then my basketball coaches growing up so that doesn't seem to work. Anyway, this year I have begun to make coaching a much more regular part of my schedule. You have to have great people encouraging you to go to the next level, not simply people complaining that you are not there. Being a positive person on my team is a requirement & you should make that one for your team as well. Here are a few tidbits from yesterdays teaching that I did with a great group of leaders

3. Coaching

You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without a coach you will never be as good as you could be.

Questions you need to be asking in determining your “inner circle” ...

-Who prays for me?
-Who encourages me?
-Who teaches me?
-Who stretches me?
-Who adds value to me?
-…

5 Requirements For Every Leader... (Part 2)

2. COURAGE

The leader isn’t necessarily the first to identify an opportunity. The leader is the one who has the courage to seize it, initiate, to set things in motion, to move ahead.

“Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. And once they move away from the pack, they are positioned to lead.”

Courage establishes leadership. The average person fears stepping into the uncertainty & risk of a new opportunity, the leader fears missing out on that opportunity.

Three expressions of courage

1. The courage to say NO.
-Often the reason that we will not say no is because we are afraid... of disappointing people, being passed by, missing out on an opportunity.
-The ability to identify and focus on the few necessary things is a hallmark of great leadership.

2. Courage to face current reality.
-Thou shalt not... pretend, turn a blind eye, exaggerate, shoot the bearer of bad news, hide behind the numbers, ignore constructive criticism, isolate thy…

5 Requirements For Every Leader Worth Following (Pt. 1)

I've been working on some seminar material for some upcoming speaking engagements as of late. This week I'm going to blog about a leadership lesson that I am giving tomorrow. All of the material has been taken from various sources and heavily taken from Andy Stanley's book, "Next Generation Leader." I'm enjoying going through all of the material because it is helping me reconsider each 5 of these important requirements. The first one is vital and is a reminder that leaders are lifelong leaders.

1. COMPETENCY
Leaders must channel their energies toward those arenas of leadership in which they are most likely to excel.

DISCOVER YOUR COMPETENCIES
What do others do that is almost effortless from your perspective but seems like a daunting task to others?
In what arenas do people consider you the ‘go to’ person?
What do you enjoy about your job?
What do you wish you could delegate?
What do you do that elicits the most praise & recognition from others?
What kin…

What I'm learning through fasting

As I finish up my 2nd week of fasting, there are a few thoughts that I'd like to share about what I'm learning.

1. I'm learning that I will make every lame, wussified, sissified, pansy-like excuse in the book not to fast. I've personally thought of a few hundred myself today.
2. I'm learning that I get bored easily because I think at times I'm on a diet instead of remembering that I'm believing God for completely desperate and hopeless situations to turn around. I lose focus easily.
3. I'm learning that it is really easy for me to compromise. I can find any reason in the world to not follow through on my fast. Enough said.
4. I'm learning that fasting really is an incredible spiritual practice that connects us with our creator like nothing else.
5. I'm learning that I can fast and starve myself, yet still ignore God & His Word. Which really ticks me off at myself because if I'm going to take part of a day & go prayer-less & …

Fasting Week #2- Mid-Week Update

I'm hungry! I really want to eat pizza, steak, anything chocolate and ... You get the picture! I don't particularly enjoy every aspect of fasting. In fact, tonight I will probably dream about all of the food that I miss eating. The truth is that fasting is not simply dieting and it is not an optional exercise for Christians that desire to live in victory in every area of their lives. In fact, Jesus taught us in Matthew 6 that it is one of the 3 duties of every Christian: Verse 2 When you give... Verse 7 When you pray... Verse 16 And when you fast... . Ecclesiastes 4:12 reminds us that, "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." There is something powerful that occurs in our lives when we put that threefold cord into practice. When you deal with the dictator within (your stomach), it enables you to live a life of freedom. If you are not fasting, do it today! If you've given up, start again! Fasting is great for your body and even better for your Spi…

Nintendo Wii, bruised forehead & change

On Sunday night I had some friends over to watch the opening night of the hit series, "24." Prior to the show starting, I set up the Nintendo Wii that we have been borrowing and I allowed my kids to play some games with our guests. I sat on the couch directly in front of the television set and my son was about 4 feet in front of me playing his heart out. Just for the record, I told him to put the little wrist band that keeps the controller connected to his body around his wrist more than once. Problem, I never showed him exactly how, nor did I force him to do so. I now force him to do so! He was playing Wii bowling & accidentally threw a strike at my head with the controller as it escaped his hand. Before I knew what hit me, it hit me. Dead center in the forehead and exploded into many pieces. So what does change have to do with getting hit by a Nintendo Wii game controller in the head. Everything! Not really, but it does help with this point.
We as Christians…

Fasting & Praying to leave a legacy

I read this post today over at evotional.com by Mark Batterson. We are using one of Mark's books this year as the focus & theme of our church. As I am fasting and praying during these 21 days, I am believing God for great things! There is no greater thing that I desire than what God did in and through Jonathan Edward's life! I want to leave a legacy like that, how about you?!

"On January 12, 1723, Jonathan Edwards made a solemn dedication of Himself to God. It was one of the defining moments of His life. And I'll share the written vow in a moment.

Few people have left the kind of legacy that Jonathan Edwards did. He is famous for his sermons, including Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, that helped spark the Great Awakening. He graduated from Yale at 13 as valedictorian. After graduating, he is said to have studied thirteen hours a day. He also served as President of Princeton.

But the thing I find most impressive is that he spent one hour every evening with …

How Fasting Changed History, Part 2

Written by Jentezen Franklin (www.jentezenfranklin.org)
According to Scripture, Nineveh was in trouble. This city, which was full of wickedness, was headed for destruction (jonah 3:4) . . . but they were not without hope. When Jonah took this message of impending destruction to Nineveh, the people took God seriously. Their only hope was to cry out to God through prayer and fasting. And that is exactly what they did.
“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and
put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them” (Jonah 3:4).
As a nation they repented before God and fasted. This is what the
king of Nineveh decreed, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock,
taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water . . . Who can tell if
God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that
we may not perish?” (Jonah 3:7,9). And it worked!
“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;
and God relented from the disaster that He had said…

How Fasting Changed History, Part 1

Fasting can alter & change the very course & history of our lives. Over the holidays I watched a marathon of the old movies, "Back To The Future," with my family. It is an interesting story line that focuses on how one subtle change in a situation, attitude or circumstance can effect history. God wants to change the course of our lives so that they are in step with His plans & purposes. Here is an example from scripture about how history was changed by prayer & fasting. Keep fasting & praying and stay in step with God!

Written by Jentezen Franklin (jentezenfranklin.org)
72 HOURS THAT SAVED THE JEWS
Another time when fasting changed history for a nation is found in the book of esther. The Jews were on the verge of destruction because of the evil conspiracy of Haman, one of the king’s advisors. Haman was “filled” with wrath against a Jew named Mordecai because he did not “bow or pay him homage” (Esther 3:5).“Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were t…

Nine Types of Fasts- Part 2

Five: THE WIDOW’S FAST
“The Widow’s Fast” is about meeting the humanitarian needs of other people while you are fasting. In 1 Kings 17:10-16, we read the vivid story about a woman with very little who helped the man of God, Elijah. It was all part of God’s plan. The widow made a choice to fast so that someone else could eat. The book of Isaiah puts it this way, “. . . is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out . . .” (Isaiah 58:6-7). Today, you can meet the humanitarian needs of other people while you’re fasting by using the money you would normally feed yourself with to help a food bank, support world missions or give to some other ministry that is helping the needy. When you do that, it pleases God and He will meet your needs. In the story of the widow, God multiplied the meal in her barrel to last for THREE AND A HALF YEARS!

Six: THE PAUL FAST
Are you faced with a major life decision and don’t know what to do? Maybe you …

9 Types of Fasts- Part 1

Whether you need healing, direction, protection, finances or something else from God today, His Word is full of people that faced similar hardships and overcame them through fasting & prayer. Jentezen Franklin (JentezenFranklin.org) talks about the 9 different types of fasts that believers have done in seeking the miraculous to invade their circumstance. Here are the first 4:

One: THE DISCIPLES FAST
“The Disciples Fast” is a fast that frees you from addictions to sin or besetting sins as referred to in Hebrews 12:1. Besetting sins are those that ensnare us and hinder us from achieving God’s purpose for our lives. In Mark, chapter 9, Christ’s disciples were frustrated because they could not cast out an evil spirit. Jesus said, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Through fasting we can break free from the addictions and habits that are not pleasing to God. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen; To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the…

Fasting Week #1- Mid-Week Update

Well, we are first way through the first week of our 21-Day Fast! At this point, depending on what type of fast you are doing, you are probably getting a little tired of it. Maybe you really want some coffee, meat or dessert. Maybe you are tired of the type of food that you are eating like I am. Fasting is not an easy endeavor, but it is a deeply Biblical and powerful one. I want to encourage you to not give up! If you've messed up & broke your fast, start again! God wants to do some incredible things in your heart over these remaining days that will set the course of your life for the rest of the year. So go for it! Go hungry and go after God!

Bible Reading Plan for Winter/Spring '09

If you are anything like me, you always have trouble keeping up with the daily readings that are offered from the many "one year bible" reading plans. Here is a Bible reading plan that I will introduce to the church this week and that I plan on using. It enables you to read God's word in story format without following multiple stories at once. You can also do away with the daily checklist for all of you non-melancholy people like me. If you would like more options, go to youversion.com.

Tomorrow Starts Our 21 Day-Fast! Join us!

Michele and I are excited about what will occur over these next 21 days. And we are looking forward to seeing God move in our lives and the life of our church family. We know that He will work in ways we could never imagine. Together, we will take this journey. And together, we will go the distance to discover God’s plan. We wish you all of God’s best during this time! Let’s get ready to Chase The Lion!

Kick-off- Jan. 4, The Chase begins during our morning services!
First Wednesday- Jan. 7 @ 6:30 p.m.
End the fast- Jan. 25th during our morning services with Communion. (*Pastor Adam McCain will be our special guest to conclude this service. You can check out more about Adam at www.globalyouthnet.com.

SIMPLY STATED, BIBLICAL FASTING IS REFRAINING FROM FOOD FOR A SPIRITUAL PURPOSE.
The fast, as explained in the weekend service, is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. As a church, we are fasting in order to deepen our relationship with God and to walk in step …

Setup For A Comeback!

Here is a great devo that I received today. Joel Osteen provides a great reminder that if we will stay in faith and trust God, every setback can be a stepping stone to the destiny that God has for us! Enjoy!

Setup for a Comeback
Today's Scripture

“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16a, NIV).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Life is full of things that try to push us down. We all face disappointments and setbacks. Maybe you got some bad news concerning your health or maybe a relationship didn’t work out. That was a setback. It’s easy to get discouraged or lose your enthusiasm or even be tempted to just settle where you are. But if we’re going to see God’s best, we have to have a “bounce back” mentality. That means when you get knocked down, you don’t stay down. You get back up again. You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it’s a setup for a comeback!

Remember, as a believer, the same power that raised Christ …

Our theme for 2009 for Freedom Life!

Our theme for 2009 is based on a book by Mark Batterson called, “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.” It is an odd title for
a book and it comes from an obscure passage found in 2 Samuel 23:20 that says, “Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.” Our theme for the year is, “Chase The Lion!” The question is, “What will you and I do when opportunity roars?” In 2009, will you grab life by the mane and step into all that God has for you?
I personally equate Lions with fear. If I met one on the street or in my community, I would probably run, hide & cower in fear. Isn’t that what we do all to often when confronted by our fears? As we look forward to another year, we have no idea what this year will hold. We do know, though, that there is fear all around us. Fear because of the economy. Fear of losing something important to us. Fear of change. Fear of tomorrow! The Bible says this in 1 Peter…