Monthly Archives: February 2011

“DISTURB-ABLE” Devo 2-28-11

GOD WILL INTENTIONALLY DISTURB OUR LIVES in order to “conform us to the image of Christ”. (Romans 8:29) He seems to primarily do this through difficulties, “curveballs” and the unexpected. Sounds harsh until you look at what we do as parents with our own kids. We willingly “disturb” our children when we see areas where they need to grow or where they might get hurt. If they are playing too close to the street…we step in and correct as needed.  If they are “hanging with the wrong crowd” we will intervene in order to protect them. If they are living undisciplined lives we will “encourage” discipline (perhaps by allowing the natural consequences to simply overwhelm them). God disciplines us as well. To make us better, to bless us and give us abundant life. Hebrews 12: 7-11  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

We see this principle in the life of:

  • David: anointed King but had a very difficult time becoming what God had promised him. (1  Samuel 16-20)
  • Paul: God interrupted his plans on the “road to Damascus” (Acts 9:2-4)
  • Peter: Denies Jesus 3 Times (Mark 14:71) He gets arrested for Preaching the gospel (Acts 12:3-19)
  • Matthew: Jesus called out to Matthew the tax collector and said “Follow Me”  (Matthew 9:8-10)
  • more…..

APPLICATION: As I write this I am still a little ‘groggy” from Disciple Now Weekend. (Mini-Camp for teenagers with groups spread out into different homes with small group leaders) Many kids gave their young lives to Jesus and their perspective has changed. They have enthusiasm and excitement for the things of God..they are changed.  HOWEVER, the world they live in is very much the same. High School is still tough, friends are “sketchy”, people are not real supportive of a life lived radically for Jesus.They will encounter “God ordained interruptions” that, when embraced will help them grow in their faith and become the strong young people God intended.Additional Reading… James 1:1-3,  Philippians 1:6


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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts


“5 Reasons My Church ROCKS!”… just indulge me.

I’m wide awake and surprisingly alert. Hard to believe that 4 hours of sleep was enough to recharge my batteries but so it is. It is very early and it is just me, my Bible and my Mac. I can’t stop thinking about my CHURCH. I’m not saying we are perfect, I’m not saying we are better than other churches, I’m not even saying our church is for everybodyBUT MAN MY CHURCH ROCKS!!!


#1 PASTOR BOB (Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1)

  • He insists we call him “Pastor Bob” even though he has the credentials to insist we use the “DR.”. Early on he said the best thing we could call him would be “Pastor”…not Dr. or even brother but Pastor!
  • He can “flat out preach”. Anyone who gets in the pulpit can put together a handful of good messages. But for almost three years, Sunday after Sunday, he gets up and “brings it!”.
  • He is a Triathlete! C’mon…how can that NOT ROCK?
  • He is not impressed with himself. Confident but self-effacing. He can laugh at his own expense…small ego.
  • He is a gifted leader that can be trusted.
  • He is willing to take some risks… Building a Jr High/College Building in this economy?…done! Starting a Satellite Campus less than 6 miles away to reach SAFB? …done! INcreasing missions emphasis locally, nationally and internationally?….done!

#2 THE STAFF (2 Cor. 8:23, Col 4:11)

  • From the Preschool Director to the Executive Pastor, they have been tested by “the fires” of ministry and been found faithful.
  • They are extremely competent
  • They work VERY hard
  • They are trustworthy
  • We are a TEAM…No “prima donnas”. We pull together, in the same direction, for the same purpose.

#3 THE WORSHIP SERVICES (Hebrews 12:28)

  • 9:15 Blended, 10:50 Contemporary, 10:50 Satellite are ridiculously good.
  • I’m sure the new Church at Sheppard will be equally good when we launch on Easter
  • Done with excellence but not “showy”

#4 LIFE GROUPS (Hebrews 10:25)

  • They are like family (not the kind you “have” to see at holidays, but the kind you want to “hang with” at the movies)
  • I know it is not “trendy” to meet on Sunday Mornings in small groups for what amounts to being “Sunday School” but these groups involve a couple thousand people on any given Sunday. It works…very, very well!!
  • They connect people to each other, teach them scripture, give em a place to serve together and help em share their story about how they came to know Jesus.
  • I have watched marriages restored, lives changed and people meet Jesus in these groups.
  • Everyone is welcome in these groups…and I mean everyone!
  • If you say they are “boring” you have never been!


  • You are welcome in shorts or a three-piece-suit…nobody cares. (well, the few that do keep their mouths shut 🙂
  • Our Sr. Adults share space with Young Adults and ACTUALLY LIKE IT!
  • We are “friendly” AND we will also be your friend!
  • Our people refuse to be DEFINED by what we are AGAINST but by what we are FOR!
  • I see “60 somethings” in suits laughing with “20 somethings” in tattoos! THAT ROCKS!

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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Biographical, Brain Dump


“Things I Prefer” Devo for 2-25-11

There are a lot of things I prefer…

I prefer:

  • Sinatra over Buble’, Mellencamp over Chesney
  • old cars over new ones, casual over formal
  • antiques over modern, Hillsong over Skillet
  • Teaching over preaching, Mac over PC
  • NIV over KJV, A camera over a gun
  • the list could go on…

Preference are a part of life… we all have them. Some are based on the way we were raised and some we simply came with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with preferences…so long as we don’t allow our preferences to divide us or keep us from obeying God.

Preferences can become a source of pride and arrogance if we are not careful. They can also keep us from the thigs that are MOST important.

  • I prefer my pastor wear jeans when he preaches but I cannot let a suit and tie get in the way of hearing the message.
  • I prefer to sleep-in on Sunday mornings but need the fellowship and encouragement that LIFE Groups/Worship offer
  • I prefer a big chior and orchestra but cannot slander the guys who lead worship with a guitar and drums (and maybe a tat or two)
  • I prefer being “accepted and liked” by EVERYONE but living for Jesus makes that impossible.
  • etc…

Jesus had preferences too…

Mark 14:32  Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,a Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

But his preferences did not get in the way of obeying and honoring God. Neither should ours.


Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts


“Son, Brother AND Slave” Devo for 2-24-11

I love the fact that Scripture calls me a “child of God”.(1 John 3:1) I’m His son…”Wooohooo!!”

I also love the fact that Scripture calls me the “joint heir” (Romans 8:17) with Jesus…I’m his brother!  “Double WOOHOOO!!!”

Nothing like being in a Royal Family!   Being a SON and BROTHER is my POSITION… it is my title, my blessing and it ROCKS!

HOWEVER, contrary to the typical “royal kid” my ATTITUDE must be one of a SLAVE for Christ.

Here is why….  (John MacArthur)

  • We are ­­­­­­­­­­­­CHOSEN (Eph1:4-5, 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9)
  • We are BOUGHT (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23)
  • We are OWNED by our Master (Rom 14:7-9;1 Cor 6:19; Titus 2:14)
  • We are SUBJECT to the MASTER’S WILL/CONTROL (Acts 5:29; Rom 6:16-19; Phil 2:5-8)
  • We are TOTALLY DEPENDENT upon the MASTER for EVERYTHING in our lives (2 Corinthians9:8-11; Phil 4:9)
  • We will be CALLED TO ACCOUNT (Rom 14:12)
  • We will be EVALUATED (2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • We will either be CHASTENED or REWARDED by HIM    (Hebrews 12:5-11, 1Corinthians 3:14)

Sounds like SLAVE terms to me.  According to Oswald Chambers, this is the Apostle Paul’s idea of being a “royal child” of God:

“I will spend myself to the last ebb for you (those whom he served); you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference.”

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts


“Marriage Verses” Don’t Help You “Hit the Curveballs” Devo 2-23-11

When Micheal Jordan quit basketball (the first time) in 1994 to try his hand at Major League Baseball he was the talk of every sports writer in the country. He was considered by many to be the “greatest basketball player who ever lived” (an opinion I happen to agree with).  And yet when the Chicago White Sox signed him and sent him to their Minor League farm team (Birmingham Barons) Micheal struggled.

It was apparent that Micheal Jordan could not hit the curveball… (at least he could not do it very often). He was great with fastballs because he had quick hands…but there was something about the curveball that got him. It turns out that the pitchers throwing pitches that “broke more severely” than anything he had seen before. Even when he knew it was coming he had trouble “making contact”.

He lasted from  February 7, 1994  March 10, 1995  (13 months and three days)

Sadly many marriages last about that long… simply because they “can’t hit the curveball”.

Marriage is full of “curveballs”

  • Your husband does not know how to lead you like you like to be led
  • Mother in law who pulls you into loyalty battles etc…
  • Loss of job and complete change in career
  • Babies on the way that were not planned
  • Finding out your spouse secret sin that almost ruins marriage.
  • Parents dying
  • Sickness
  • Financial trouble
  • Pain and heart ache that were unexpected.

THE POINT :  We often go to the “marriage verses” in scripture to help us during these time but I would argue that Genesis 2/Ephesians 5/I Corinthians 13 do not “get you through” when your marriage is really struggling…. before you stone me for point is that there is NO SUCH THING as MARRIAGE VERSES because EVERY VERSE in Scripture is a “marriage verse”.   1Cor 10:13  is a marriage verse, so is John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 John 1:9,  Deuteronomy 11:1, 2 Timothy 2:3 “Suffer hardships with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” is a marriage verse! (no kidding!) Psalm 31:6 and so on.

The only way we are going to “hit the curveballs” that come our way in marriage is to cling to ALL OF SCRIPTURE and not just the “Marriage Verses”


Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts, Family


“Introducing JESUS” Devo for 2-22-10

Introductions are important!

This video was sent to me several weeks ago from my brother Stephen. It is of the comedian Steve Harvey who closes a sellout performance in front of a secular audience by “introducing Jesus”. You would expect this at a church but in front of folks who may not be friendly to the message is something entirely unexpected. Steve Harvey gives one of the most stirring verbal endorsements of Jesus I have ever heard.

Taking nothing from the comedian (I know very little about him but I am impressed by what I know), it is one thing to SAY we love, trust, and adore Jesus…it is quite another to live in a manner that reflects that same devotion.

Mark 7:6b  “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.”

I have found that most people are pretty perceptive and can see the disconnect between what we say and what we do. If someone says “I love Jesus” and yet acts contrary to that declaration then the cause of Christ is damaged. Sometime beyond repair.

Mr. Harvey introduces Jesus with a microphone.

How would you introduce Jesus…with your LIFE?

For those of us who profess faith in Christ,  a better question might be…”How ARE WE INTRODUCING JESUS to people, with our lives?”


“THE CLOUD” Devotional for 2-21-11


I love the stories about people who have gone before us and “plowed the row”. I think of folks like my Grandfather who was German immigrant to America. He got a job with the post office and worked there for 46 years before he died. He made it possible for me and my brothers to be born and raised in freedom. Without his courage and sacrifice my life would be much much different… the book of Hebrews points out many of the heroes of the faith who have gone before us and “plowed the row” as well…

HEBREWS 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

DO YOU LEARN FROM OTHERS? – “great cloud of witnesses” is introduced to us in Hebrews 11. All these saints are not sitting in heaven watching us as has been the picture often given in these verses. But we get our word “martyr” from the greek word translated witness. They were not watching us they are bearing witness to what the Lord has done already and that He will see us through. God bore witness to them and now they bear witness to us. (Romans 15:4 – everything written in the past was written to teach us so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.)

  • Probs at home? – learn from Joseph (Old Testament)
  • Problems at work? – learn from Moses
  • Tempted to retaliate? – learn from David.
  • Wrestling with pride? – learn from Paul
  • Want to lead your family well?  – Learn from someone you know who is doing it well.
  • Want to do your job better? – learn from someone who is doing it better.
  • Want to walk with Jesus better? – get with someone who will help you in that endeavor.
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts


“Facebook Theologians”

I have had this little rant “in the vault” for several months now.

I’m a guy who really enjoys Facebook. In spite of some of the silliness of “friending/unfriending”  I have found it to be a great way to keep up with people in the midst of keeping a very hectic pace. I have over 1300 “friends” (not that I am keeping score, but I am “winning”… Sydney! haha!) I GET that much of what is shared on facebook is “image sculpting”, I GET that many of my “Facebook Friends” are people to whom I have never spoken to face to face and I also GET that I have probably passed several of my “friends” in town, never knowing we are electronically connected… you may call them “imaginary” but I am fine with still calling them friends.



Have you ever watched in frustration (and some amusement)  as “Facebook Theologians” wage an “epic written battle for the hearts and souls of their friends”  about such “life changing” subjects as Calvinism, the Reformed Church, “Missional” versus “Attractional” models of ministry, “organic/corporate” structure, giving, worship styles, etc…?   What starts as an innocuous comment, ends in a ridiculous, convulsion of anger and epithets. One posts something then the other responds then the back-and-forth starts till it gets ugly and divisive. Is Facebook really the place for those kinds of debates?


  1. When you post something to Facebook, twitter etc… the world is watching and judging you by your words… and they should!  In those forums, words are all you have. They ARE your actions. You may be of the opinion that “we should not care what other people think!”  to that I reply, “then why are you try to persuade them in the first place?”
  2. The Christian community already wrestles against reputation of being unloving and unable to get along with each other! Some people are looking for reasons to discredit your faith…don’t give them an easy way to do that.
  3. Is it really worth hurting the cause of Christ so you can explain why “churches with big buildings are evil”, why “seeker churches never saved anybody”, why “Joel Osteen is a sham” and “President Obama is the Anti-Christ”?  (these are real examples) All the while posting verses about how much Jesus loves people…(maybe just right-wing, republican, evangelical, middle class people who agree with you…haha.)
  4. So much harm comes to the “body of Christ” when Christians fiercely and publicly defend a position that has been debated by reputable scholars for hundreds of years. Did you really figure it all out after work and during weekends? More than likely you simply found something you can agree with based on your upbringing, personality and understanding. That is ok…we all do it…we just don’t all wail about it on Facebook.

I’m NOT talking about the core tenets of the Faith like the deity of Christ, salvation the through Jesus alone etc… fight hard for those… but use some discernment. There are only really about “7 biggies”.  GOD – Gen 1:1,26,27, 3:22.  JESUS – Matt.1:22-23, Rom. 1:3-4 more. HOLY SPIRIT – 2 Cor 3:17, Acts 1:8, Eph 1:13 more. SCRIPTURE – 2 Peter 1:20-21 ,Prov 30:5 more. PEOPLE – Gen 1:27, Psalm 8:3-6 more. SALVATION THROUGH JESUS ALONE – Rom 6:23, John 3:16, Rom 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9 more. ETERNITY – Rom 6:23, Rev. 20:15 more…The rest is up for friendly, redemptive, gentle discussion

If you believe strongly in a certain point of view…GET A BLOG! Write about it. Then folks who want to know more about your opinions can read all about it. The rest of us can read about our imaginary friends who got married, need prayer, watched the Grammy Awards, hate the Yankees or got to see “little Johnny” score his first goal.


Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Leadership



Expect some "Friendly Fire" won't kill ya if ya know it is coming!

I just spent the last couple of days with men I greatly admire…they are Ministers of Education from some of the SBC’s largest churches. Several of these men have been critiqued, questioned and vilified by the folks they serve almost to the point of giving up. I got to talk at length to a couple of them and reminded them of the following…I pray it helps!


Most of your wounds will be from “FRIENDLY FIRE”…! I wish someone had mentioned that early on in my walk with the Lord! It would have saved me some bitterness and frustration. 🙂

FRIENDLY FIRE is a term used to describe shots fired at you in battle… by your own men.

James 3:9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.

We all have a tendency to extend grace to ourselves and judgement to others. Examine your own life….when you cut someone off in traffic it is because: “you are in a hurry, you are late, you are justified, your priorities are superior to those on the road around you” etc…perfectlly reasonable explanations! BUT when someone cuts YOU off in traffic they are …. “a jerk, reckless, irresponsible idiots, boneheads of the highest order,  etc…”   Right?

This tendency can be especially tragic when people mix the genuine call to a high moral standard (Biblical Christianity) with our propensity to judge others. The result for some is the absolute abuse of people who stand to lead, volunteer, or serve the body of Christ.

Anyone who has ever shared the gospel, preached a message or taught a small group has their stories……here is one of mine:

The First Time I ever preached at the Met (Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston) was in the summer of 1994. I was the youth minister for the rapidly growing church and  found myself in front of about 1200 people one Sunday morning. The week before, I prepared like crazy, got very little sleep, and lost most of my appetite. To say I was “worked up” would have been an understatement. With my wife in the audience (thank God for a friendly face) I proceeded to preach a decent little sermon: 4 points, some good illustrations and even a video clip.  Several people gave their lives to Jesus that morning and I left the platform reasonably satisfied that I had honored the Lord with the message.

Apparently not everyone was all that happy with the message (on forgiveness by the way) as I received a phone call the next morning from a gentleman (I use the term loosely) who proceeded to critique just about every part of my sermon and even the fact that I was wearing a fancy suit (my only one….funerals, wedding, preaching suit. the guy did NOT like three buttons I guess).  I remember sitting in my office stunned and bewildered that someone took such offense at a sermon. (A Biblical one at that!)

…these days I can smile about it but do remember the pain and angst it caused.

Ya see…

In some cases Critique, criticism and judgement can, over time, turn a once bold “man of God” to a “quivering pile of goo”! We have all seen the Pastor who is beholden to those who critique him. He changes his preparation and thought process to accommodate his critics. He has given them power over him and tragically allowed them to take God’s place…….. sad…… but common, very common. I know dozens of men who have left ministry for good because they could not get over the fact that folks who profess a love for Jesus may very well profess a dislike for others who serve Him.

Is it wrong?….yes!

Is it part of the deal?….has been for years!

John 13:35  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Quick note: The shots rarely come from the core folks in a church. The core is too busy serving and working to reach people. The shots come from those in the stands …. the Monday morning QB’s and onlookers who treat the church like their favorite team…. taking credit for the win and casting blame in a loss.


Just knowing where the shots are coming from is half the battle.

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

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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Devotional Thoughts, Leadership


HOW’S YOUR SERVE? Devo 2-16-11


While we dream of doing “Big Things” for God, the reality is this that most of us are called to serve God in the mundane, everyday, “living out” of our faith in relative obscurity.  In our OBSCURITY we raise families, pay bills, help friends, walk with God, feed the hungry, visit the sick, meet needs, take care of the widows and simply do LIFE!

In the Summer of 1989 I sat on the back porch of our tiny rented home in our little West Texas town, dejected, frustrate and feeling terribly alone. I vividly remember praying this exact prayer… “Lord, I will do anything for You. I’ll plant a church, go on the mission field, move across country, sacrifice financially, anything you ask me to do, I will do!  Just tell me what you want me to do!”   (In my heart what I really meant was “I want to do something bigger than this, I’m tired of laboring in obscurity, while guys I know are moving on to bigger and better places, God, I am bigger than this!!!!)

In what was an incredible time of clarity in my life, God seemed to immediately respond to my prayers with this question: Will you follow and serve me when there is no applause?” It continues to be a defining question for most people who follow Jesus. I was looking to be a ‘rock star” and Jesus was looking for servants. My faith was about me and the faith He offers is about Him. I was open to do the grand things for God but “winced” at the thought of serving him in obscurity.

Richard Foster said it well when he wrote, “In some ways we would rather hear Jesus command to deny our father and mother, houses and land for the sake of the Gospel, than to hear his command to “wash feet”.

Mark 10:43-45  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • Last Sunday night was special for our church and for Brady Sharp. He was “ordained” by the church in a very special ceremony. He was “set apart for the work of the church and the Gospel ministry”…pretty cool. Brady is “called to Ministry”.  It is a good thing.
  • Some people are called serve God in some exotic mission location to tell the story of Jesus… It is a good thing.
  • Some people are called to serve God by planting a church where there are none…  It is a good thing.
  • Some people are called to serve God and make extraordinary public sacrifices for the cause of Christ… It is a good thing.
  • Most people are called to raise a family, go to work….love the Lord…… IN OBSCURITY… and it is a good thing.

(Matthew 20:26-27, John 13:12-15, Romans 15:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:24)