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Monthly Archives: January 2010

The God Of “PROCESS”

THE GOD OF “PROCESS”

1 Samuel 16 tells a familiar story of the prophet Samuel anointing the shepherd boy David, King (in time) of Israel. What is fascinating to me is that from that moment forward David had a lot of “growing up” to do. God would walk him through the process of being a musician in king’s court, a squire, a military leader, a giant killer, an outcast, a target of assassination, a fugitive, a vassal of the enemy and more….. Only after a long line of difficult and inconvenient circumstances would David, after the death of his closest friend Jonathan, become King.  Would it not have been easier just to give him the kingship shortly after Samuel anointed him?  That is how I would have scripted it. But God typically moves us all through a process of refinement.

PRINCIPLE #1     GOD TENDS TO MAKE LIFE VERY INCONVENIENT SO WE WILL GROW IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

Look at the LIFE OF: David was not ready to be king until he had walked a difficult road and developed into a “man after God’s own heart”.   Joseph (OT) – was a favorite son and, after his father’s lavish gift, was sold into slavery by his brothers, becomes a household servant,  Then unjustly put in prison, left there for couple of years, brought before the kings, eventually made second in command and reunited with family. Paul – story in Acts is full of difficulties and faith stretching events…. Job – check out what God allowed him  to go through…… Peter, Timothy, Isaac, Jacob, Gideon…… all walked through a series of events that were designed to stretch them emotionally and spiritually.  God calls us to something that is (rarely) convenient

PRINCIPLE #2     GOD WILL NOT ABANDON “PROCESS” EVEN WHEN HE HAS SET YOU FREE. He will develop us into what HE desires.    Phil 1:3-6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…”

PRINCIPLE #3     IT IS ONE THING TO TAKE THE LAND... IS QUITE ANOTHER TO KEEP IT! A lot of folk give their lives to the Lord and experience great release, forgiveness and peace. Far fewer are able to hold on to those qualities. (It is one thing to meet Jesus, quite another to “walk” with Him.)

PRINCIPLE #4 GOD IS VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT WHAT HE IS DOING IN YOUR LIFE. Phil 1:3-6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…”  That crummy boss, financial hardship, death of a friend…. don’t waste an opportunity to grow!

PRINCIPLE #5     IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE ANYONE FOR THE KINGDOM THEN YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO SLAY GIANTS. Must be able to overcome certain things in your life. If you are struggling with the same patterns of sin that you struggled with 5 years ago…you may have a problem with giants.

Philippians 2:12 “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling…”

PRINCIPLE #6     GOD HAS ALREADY TOLD YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO DO… SO THE IDEA IS TO ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH HIS AND YOUR PRIORITIES.  My opinion is that most of us know what God expects of us. Will we do it?

 

“Jesus Loves Strippers” (edit/repost)

MARK  6:34  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.  

A friend of mine wears a t-shirt that boldly states:  “Jesus Loves Strippers!”  We could argue the appropriateness of the shirt or whether she should wear it at all,  but here’s the thing…. after initially “wincing” at it, I think she has a good point! Jesus does indeed love strippers….. He also loves homosexuals, cheaters, thieves, gossips, Republicans, Democrats, Baptists, drunks, gossips,  etc….. (John 3:15-18) A Few Quick thoughts: 

  1.  Jesus was liberal in His Love for the lost (thieves,  immoral, unloved,  etc)  (Luke 5:30)
  2. Jesus was fierce in his condemnation of the religious hypocrites. (Gospels, all)
  3. Jesus said that people will know we are His disciples if we “love one another” and love like Jesus. (John 13:35, John 3:16)
  4. People are not the enemy…they are the objective!  If a man who does not know Jesus, behaves accordingly…how can we condemn him?
  5. Shouldn’t  our attitude be that of a beggar who has found food and want to show other beggars where to eat?

As a Christian my job is NOT to find a way to make a “bad person” good … it is to show THE  WAY that a dead person can be alive.  

excerpts from the The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007

 

7 Reasons that “Protecting the Picture” is dangerous for your family!

At least once a week I am in the homes of folks who have visited our worship services or Life Groups. Over the years I have been in hundreds of homes and almost every one has pictures of the family members. Some are simply school pics placed on the fridge with a magnate while others are ornate formal sittings. I’ve seen hunting pics, camping pics, skiing pics, Christmas pics,  prom pics, wedding pics, black and whites, beach pics, “Lady Godiva” pics (yikes), pics where the old boyfriend was torn out, and the list goes on…..  NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING PICTURES OF FAMILY… I recommend it, endorse it, it is a great idea! They give a family a sense who they are or who they want to be. My house is covered with em!

Most families do their best to represent the family well when they are “out and about”… and they should.

THE PROBLEM: Many times the family picture of warm smiles and happy embraces is anything but an accurate reflection of what is actually going on in the home. Don’t misunderstand, all families have issues to deal with. However, I have watched families, especially folks who are in church (who feel some misplaced pressure to look and act a certain way), do all they can to “protect” the happy images represented in the pictures that hang on their walls…… while their family implodes.  After the damage has been done most say they were too embarrassed to seek help….

The problems associated with deceitfulness, control, anger, lust, apathy, abuse, money, depression, suspicion, mismanagement, hypocrisy, fear, idols etc……When the family becomes a dumping ground for these issues and all members are expected to ignore, cover up and act like the “pretty family” in the pictures…it causes immeasurable harm in the following ways…

  1. teaches the kids to prioritize what others think vs. what God thinks.  (Prov 29:25)
  2. trains family members to be  (even bigger) hypocrites. (Matt 6:16)
  3. “hard wires” family members, who may want to “walk authentically” with God, to hide their sin from Him. (Psalm 32:5)
  4. builds resentment and distance between each other and those who want to get close to them. (kids future spouses)  (Job 5:2)
  5. places mother and father is the positions of “chief liars” not Godly leaders. (Prov 19:22)
  6. weaves the problems into the fabric of our homes and breed dysfunction as a way of life. (Hebrews 12:1)
  7. developes a “mini-culture” of secret-sin that become almost a family treasure.

PRACTICAL:

Men: Deal with your own junk before you fix your family. How can you lead your family if you can’t lead yourself? Get real.

Women: Don’t worry as much about what others think. Do they really care about your family…. or how they rank next to your family?

Both: Love Jesus…. yea, I know, but it will radically change your family.

 

YOUR STAFF IS….. (just for FBC folks)

I could not have been more proud to be part of the staff at First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls than I was this morning. As we wrapped up our staff retreat I looked around the room an was struck by the following thoughts…

Your staff is…..

VISIONARY – Our church was established about 130 years ago. In that time God has done amazing things. It seems that He has chosen to continue doing something special with us. He is allowing significant growth in attendance, depth and reach. As Pastor Bob mentioned last Sunday, we are exploring when to add an additional service, how best to help other churches in the area fulfill the great commission, and how to “wrap our arms around the community”. Ya just don’t see that very often in a “big, old, downtown, Southern Baptist church”!

COMPETENT – every staff member personally reaches people for Christ. They also know how to recruit, train and motivate hundreds of volunteers to carry out ministry on a large-scale. To be on this staff you have to be able to do both.

UNIFIED – We are a very diverse staff. Chief has been at the church for 40+ years….Zack for 5 months. Sherrie is detailed and cautious (good thing too because she leads the children), Mike is outgoing and willing to take risks.  Karen (who leaves in May with her husbands transfer) has raised three awesome kids… Justin has their first on the way. Rod is missions minded.  Brady is bent towards discipleship. Lowell  is a “systems guy”.  Ben a worshipper…. etc. Under Bob’s leadership, we all prayed, laughed and dreamed …. “in one accord”.

MATURE – In the midst of “spirited debate” they show class and grace towards each other. Maturity is independent of age!

TOUGH – They have been tested by the demands of ministry. Many have faced criticism, doubters, loneliness, disappointment, unrealistic expectations, disillusionment, etc….All have been found faithful.  They are a tough bunch but have a soft heart for Jesus and His people.

Most importantly…THEY LOVE JESUS!   Man,  I wish you could have been at our prayer time this morning!  Humble, deep, seeking after God. No “professional Christians” in the room. Just folks that LOVE THE LORD!

Just wanted you to know!


 
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Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Tuesday Morning “Brain Dump” (1-12-10)

Tuesday mornings are usually the first time I can “breathe” since Sunday morning at about 6am. So much happens in that 48 hours that I stay pretty focused and streamlined in my thinking. Late Monday night, however, is a time that I reflect on the previous 6 days. These are a few things that just keep coming up…..

  • My Pastor’s message Sunday morning was , hands down, the best message I have heard (anywhere) in the last 6 months. And believe me, I listen to a lot “big names” and even some of the “little ones”. It showed great humility, leadership and wisdom. Phrases about “going to people and not expecting them to come to us”, being “missional minded”, reaching out expecting nothing in return, the expectation that our church should help other churches that are struggling……. I could go on! You just don’t typically hear that at a 130 year old Downtown First Baptist Church.  That may explain the terrific growth we are experiencing…
  • Senior Adults Rock! They have more love and understanding about ministry that most of us “Young Adults”. They understand sacrifice and commitment.  They don’t just talk about service…they do it!
  • Snow does not always melt in temps above freezing. It was 58 degrees yesterday and I still have some snow in my yard!
  • My Daughter can sing! Man can she sing! Yea, yea, I know, but really….she can sing!
  • Leading people to Jesus Never gets old! – Got to walk someone across the line last week. Prayed with a young man who was empty. Deeply moved and getting plugged in. Now that is what I signed up for!
  • Seeing marriages implode  is “real old”! I’m really tired of this story…unfaithful, money probs, kid issues, jobs, insecurity, abuse, lust, jealousy…..blah blah blah….. I have heard it.  At the risk of going all “Mark Driscol” on people…”Just STOP IT!”
  • No program, counseling or personality can transform a heart like Jesus….not even Oprah.
  • I love BRIT HUME!
  • I love my S.H.W.* more than any person on the planet! Married to Margie for 21 years on January 7th.  Best friend, lover, confidant, counselor, encourager, voice of reason …. she is IT!
  • Discovered I’m not really a “Truck Guy” – Expensive lesson! Anyone wanna buy a truck?  You will love it!  Diesel, F250, Crew Cab, 4×4 call me:)
  • I like soccer – May as well get that off my chest too. Watched my son play indoor soccer (3 goals) combined with a diet of English Premier League over the last few weeks.  I have been won over…….. GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!
  • Best iphone App I have is Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening”.  Just get it and you will see.
  • I don’t dream big enough – but working on it.

aaaaahhhhhh….. I feel better!

* Smokin Hot Wife

 

5 Reasons God May Want You To Act Like a “15 Year old Girl”.

Sarah-Clare (daughter), and I wear bracelets that represent our support for the “Invisible Children” in the war-torn country of Uganda (small donation).  Getting them was her idea.  I’m not even sure exactly where she first heard about the children but before I knew it she had researched the supporting organization, formulated a plan to support the relief efforts and figured out how to get the word out around here.
Through this little bracelet, she has opened my eyes to injustice in the world….and shown me I can learn a lot from my passionate 15 year old daughter.
Here are just a few things I have learned watching her grow up:
  1. She is passionate! My daughter throws herself wholeheartedly into projects that she cares about! No cynicism, pessimism or other negative “isms”. Whether it is ballet or injustice in a country thousands of miles away, she brings enthusiasm to it. I need to be more passionate about the things that God is passionate about!
  2. She is sensitive to injustice – When I pray for my pastor and those in leadership I typically pray that they have a “thick skin and a heart like Jesus”. While she is working on the “thick skin” part, she has the “heart like Jesus” down pat!   Job 5:15-16   I need to be sensitive to injustice!
  3. Her own sin really “bugs” her! – She has not learned to “harden her heart towards the things of God”.  As I watch her grow up I see a young woman who is developing the ability to recognize when her heart is leaving the things of God. She is often quick to come back to Him.    Hebrews 3:13   I need to weep over my own sin!
  4. She “listens to the sermon” – I know, I know….we ALL listen to the sermon right?  BUT she REALLY LISTENS! This afternoon was a great example: Our pastor preached a message he called “En-Vision 2010”. In it he explained what he believes God is asking the church to do as to local missions, discipleship etc….. an absolutely great message. Afterwards, I was quickly on to the next thing…. a leadership meeting at noon and the all church fellowship tonight, outreach, and staff retreat at the end of the week.  Not Sarah-Clare…late this afternoon she “plopped down” next to me on the sofa and explained what God had told her during the message. “Wow”, I thought, “He told me to worry about the leadership meeting, all church fellowship, blah, blah, blah”)    James 1:22  She is a do-er!  I need to be a do-er and not a hearer only!
  5. She does not “change the channel” – I have gotten pretty good about looking the other way when confronted with the homeless, disadvantaged or stricken. “I can’t help everyone” or “It is probably a scam”,  I remind myself as I switch back to the ballgame.  Sarah Clare, on the other hand, is willing to look at these things with eyes of genuine concern and desire to help. She is actually frustrated the she can’t help them all!   I need to be frustrated more!

It turns out that I really need to be a lot more like my 15 year old daughter…

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in Family