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“GOD ROCKS!” WEEK: “Attention” Devo 4-20-11

SAUL HAS HIS WORLD COMPLETELY TURNED UPSIDE DOWN BY THE LORD…

Saul, who later becomes Paul, is “ROCKED” by God on his way to persecute even more Christians…..

ACTS 9:1-6   Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up…” 

This is the same guy whom God uses to write 2/3 of the New Testament!  Saul (who later become PAUL) had an encounter with God and was radically changed! 

MOST OF US believe that we TOO would be radically changed if we had a similar such encounter….but would we….really?

I have watched men and women walk away from powerful worship experiences and even unexplainable miracles and go right back to lives of half-hearted church involvement, arrogance and faithless living. They clearly see God, like Isaiah and Saul did,  but choose to simply dismiss it as something they can “visit” from time to time when things get bad. (I know this is true of many… b/c it it true of me….and I’m normal….ish)

WHAT DOES GOD NEED TO DO TO GET YOUR ATTENTION LIKE HE GOT SAUL’S ATTENTION?

MAYBE THAT IS WHAT HE IS DOING …..  RIGHT NOW! 

 

LEADERSHIP WEEK: “The Whisper” Devo 4-15-11

I Kings 19:11-13 11 The LORD said (to Elijah), “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

God was not in the Wind

God was not in the Earthquake

God was not in the Fire

God came as a GENTLE WHISPER”

THE PROBLEM: Most of us would never hear God if He came to us in a gentle whisper. In fact we may even miss him if he came to us as a fire!  We do everything we can do to avoid the quiet. Radio, TV, background noise etc… most guys avoid silence because it is in the silence that all of the “junk” comes to our minds”. You know the stuff we hate to think about….like our sin! So we “medicate” our brains with all kinds of noise, distractions and barriers that ensure that we will not have to deal with anything that we don’t like.

Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. So…..even after a long day of ministry and service to the masses, Jesus got up early to be alone and quiet with His Father.  We should probably do the same thing huh!

IT IS IN THE SILENCE:

  1. that God reveals himself uniquely to you
  2. the God reveals things to you about YOU and about Him.
  3. that God exposes our real motives

TRY THIS:

  1. When you get in your car…DON’T turn on the radio. Instead, talk to God.
  2. Confess your sin to God so there will be nothing holding you back from being still before him.
  3. Find a place and time to just be still each day.
  4. Embrace the quiet and stillness before the Lord
THE LEADER KNOWS HOW TO BE STILL BEFORE THE LORD
 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

THURSDAY’S “BEST OF”… “7 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Marry Him”

I have noticed that the women in my life (wife and two daughters) are “hardwired” to be attracted to the “mushy romantic stuff”. (thank you Captain Obvious) It is just “IN THEM”. In fact, after fighting it for years they have “won me” over to their side.

SOOOOOO I am publicly (all dozen of you that will read this) admitting that I’m all for “mushy love”…romantic, candlelit, corny love. The kind of love that happens in the movies…in New York City…..in the snow…. at Christmas time. You know… the “can’t breathe without you, if we don’t get married I’ll die, talk on the phone till 2 in the morning, leg popping, Pride and Prejudice kind of love”

Yep ….Thats me.

While I’m at it I have a few more random confessions…

I actually liked “The Notebook” more than I probably should have. I think Jane Austen was a great writer! The movie “Titanic” would have “sunk” without Jack Dawson and Rose. Valentines Day IS a real holiday! I believe in love at first sight, kisses mean something, “Wall-E” was great because a robot finds love. Gladiator was a romance… and the “Princess Bride” could be the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!

eh-hem.

BUT… Since that kind of “love” usually last till just after the “credits” there are some things that I want my daughters to look for besides “all of that”.

I want em to ask themselves a few simple questions about the man they will someday (presumably) marry:

1. DOES HE LOVE JESUS? Several years ago I stopped talking in terms of “being a Christian” and started asking, do they “love Jesus”?   After all, I live in Texas, EVERYONE IS A “CHRISTIAN”! But just cause he calls himself a Christian, knows some verses and wears the t-shirt does not mean much. Does he Love Jesus? Does he really walk with the Lord? Can you tell?

2. CAN HE SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY? If you have read this blog much you can see a theme here. But so much is written in scripture about a man both having authority and being under it. A man must understand both. If my daughters are gonna marry a young man one day then they gotta go for a guy who “gets” authority. The authority he will hold in the home, and the authority he will need to submit to as he lives his life. Eph 5 and 1 Peter 3 etc… Does he understand the servant leadership that he is charged with in the home that calls him to “love his wife as Christ loved the church”? Bosses, cops, pastors, banks, landlords, housing association, blah blah blah….they all represent authority he will more than like likely have to submit to. Can he submit without becoming the rebellious guy who speaks poorly of those in authority over him?

3. IS HE IN CONTROL OF HIMSELF? When a man is driven by his appetites and not his faith, he is in danger is almost every area. From food to porn he will be at risk for addiction, deception and collapse. A woman wants to marry a man who can control himself.

4. CAN HE SUFFER WELL? Crummy boss, mean co-workers, skipped for promotion, financial setbacks etc….. will he be able to live his life well when his world falls apart? Will he find a job and keep it? Will he bail at the first signs of trouble?

5. CAN HE STAND ALONE? From the moment he leaves the house in the mornings he will be wearing “a bullseye” on his back. This world, our Enemy and his sin nature will attack him and attempt to drive a wedge between him and his wife (and kids). Has he shown that he will be a man who sticks to his convictions when everyone else caves?

6. DOES HE TREAT HIS MOTHER WELL? You can tell a lot by how a man treats his mother. Typically he will treat his wife the same way.

7. IS IT EVER HIS FAULT? I understand that sometimes the things that happen in our lives are not our fault…we are the victims. BUT… is it ever his fault when things go wrong? Can he take responsibility for his own junk? If he cannot, then his wife is going to be the reason for his struggles…cause it will not be HIS fault.

So…. I say “go for the cute one, the romantic one, the rich one, the smart one etc…

just so long as he answers these questions right”!

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

HERO WEEK: “Your Resume'” Devo for 4-4-11

Resume’s are funny things…they list qualifications and accomplishments (some of which actually happened) of a potential employee. It might have past education, employment history, personal statement, etc… typically come with references too. The Apostle Paul gives us his qualifications his letter to the church in Philippi. Phil 3:4-6 If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless…. PAUL WAS THE MAN!!!!!!

  • A very religious man from the priestly tribe of Benjamin, educated in a prestigious school (Gamaliel)
  • He was a Roman with all of the rights and privileges associated with citizenship
  • Probably a wealthy man and had high standing in the culture in which he lived
  • He led the charge to persecuted the Church relentlessly (Acts Ch 8 )
  • Gives consent to the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian Martyr
  • On the road to Damascus he comes to Faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 9, I Cor 1:1,)

BUT THEN PAUL “CHUNKED IT ALL” !!!! 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

He considered all of his status, position, wealth, comfort and even his heritage to follow Jesus… hmmmm.

What can I take from his example?

 

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

FAMILY WEEK: “Mag Light for Families” Devo 4-1-11

The closet where I keep most of my clothes is kind of dark. Even with a 100w bulb there are parts of it that are hidden in shadows. Every couple of months, when I can’t find my sox or I am missing some shorts, I grab my trusty Mag Light and head to my closet. I know that more than likely I will find my missing items in corners or behind the stack of sweaters. I have found gloves, baseballs, hot-wheels, shotgun shells (I actually found shotgun shells!) receipts, keys, a cell phone, a Bible, change, thank you notes, nametags, pens, a knife (leatherman!) a Pike Pass and probably some more stuff I can’t remember! I found my stuff when I shined light on it! It could not stay hidden!

I think God is always in the process of shining light on our stuff too.

THE POINT: Every problem I have ever seen in a marriage/family starts when sin is kept in the dark. It can be as small as fudging on how much you spent on something….to hiding an affair…but the root is the same…SECRECY. Keeping it hidden and in the dark. Secret eating, porn, lies, relationships, etc…fade away when brought into the light. The “Mag Light” of God’s Word can shine light on all of our stuff.

Ephesians 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

SIN CANNOT FLOURISH IN THE LIGHT!

 

FAMILY WEEK: “10 Signs You Married a “Grown Up” Child” Devo 3-30-11

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 11   4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails…. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me…

After two days of a stomach bug I’m a little grumpy so I may come off a little bit harsh. However, I come across FAR TOO MANY married 20-40 something year old men who have a wife and kids BUT have not yet put away childish attitudes, selfishness and insensitivity.

Here are 10 ways to spot them ….

  1. His wife has to “drag him to church” (verse 5) – so much for spiritual leadership.
  2. He gripes that “she does not trust me” because she wants passwords, access to phone and text messages and accountability on the computer. (Verse 6) By the way, she should not have to ask and if he won’t give her these then she has good reason to doubt his motives.
  3. She makes him get a job and keep it.(verse 5)  How rude!
  4. He complains about how hard he works (when in reality he is a “lazy butt”!….from the Greek “lazibutticus) as an excuse for “sluffing off” his responsibilities at home. (Verse 5) –  “I work all day and come home to ….waa waa waa….  Oh brother!
  5. He sees getting a “new truck” as a NEED and a dishwasher, sofa or indoor plumbing as “WANT”…seriously?
  6. He gets mad that she tries to “control me”. (verse 5) – he is so sensitive to any correction that even the thought that he might be even a little “tensy-weensy” bit wrong offends him…sheesh!
  7. He thinks “pornography” is a no-harm-no-foul sin.(verse 6)  – it is killing him
  8. He expects a “pat on the back” for providing “food, clothing and shelter” for his family.(verse 7) all the while ignoring their spiritual and emotional needs.  (never mind the trophy he wants for emptying the dishwasher, wiping the seat or picking up his underwear)
  9. He loves his kids more than his wife…and himself more than his kids.(verse 11)  (in truth he loves how his family makes him look. As soon as they stop making him look good he is gone)
  10. He holds a grudge against his wife and even his kids for how they treat him.  “I deserve more respect” (Verse 5) – to that I say – “EARN IT!”

Verse 11 tells men to put away childish things and embrace the previous verses. We must love our wives with patience, gentleness, protection, forgiveness, truth, humility, trust, hope, etc…

As a man “on this journey I know it is a tough to follow but …that is why God tells us to start on it as young men!

I’LL BE  LOT NICER TOMORROW! HA!

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“Introducing JESUS” Devo for 2-22-10

Introductions are important!

This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8srM5DIaJBM 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 Christian Life is Supposed to be Messy! (Repost from 11/24/09)

Things Nobody Told Me About My Faith  #10

I became a Christian in 8th grade after a Dawson McAllister “Walk to the Cross” Conference. Dawson took a lot of time to explain the life of a Christian was designed to be one of exciting faith and trust in an Almighty God.  It was to be a life filled with challenges, adversity, victory, defeat and most of all “a life worth living!”.

Needless to say I was pretty “pumped” about beginning my life with Jesus.   But after a while I began to see that many of the folks that said they love Jesus, were neither exciting nor offered much challenge. In fact the goal for many of them seemed to be safety, comfort and control! The pursuit of the “Leave it To Beaver” life!

I see this quality in many men as they sit in my office and have boiled their faith down to a simple list of “do’s and don’ts”, niceties that neither satisfy or inspire.  They are neutered and many believe that is how God intended. While I am not a huge fan of John Eldredge’s theology but he was right in his book “Wild at Heart” when he proposes that men (and women) were born and re-born for more than “behaving well”.

Starting off at #10.

A HOLY LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE MESSY!

Christians are called to:

  • confront a brother in their sin (Matt 18)
  • care for widows and orphans (Acts 6, James 1, 1 timothy 5)
  • visit the imprisoned (Acts)
  • apologize for offenses to others (Matt 5)
  • stand alone when no one else will (2 Tim)
  • turn the other cheek when we want nothing more than to fight back (Matt 5, Luke 6)
  • forgive those who have offended us (Entire New Testament)
  • suffer for the cause of Christ (2 Cor.1, 2 Tim 2)
  • submit to authority (both good and bad)  (2 Peter)
  • be “salt and light” (Matt 5)
  • look at people with compassion (Eph. 4, Col. 3)
  • Etc….

I am not sure how a person does any of the above mentioned things without getting their hands dirty.

Far from being called to a “Leave it to Beaver” life of propriety and safety, God calls Christians to an exciting and dangerous life making an impact in the world that desperately needs Him.

Illustration: I was standing in line at a church cookout several years ago when one of the my friends in line picked out a diet 7Up can from the ice chest full of soft drinks. The can was silver and the afternoon sun reflected off of it brilliantly. I did not think much about it until she made a clever comment about the how it looked like a Coors Light can (only funny to Baptists). It was almost as if she had used profanity as the group within earshot got a little bit tense.

Then the “ringleader” of the other women said abruptly,”I would not know what a Coors Light can that looks like!”

Implying that the fact that my friend even knew what a Coors Light looked like showed a lack of purity and devotion to the Lord. (are we in Junior high or what?)

In my mind I thought how silly it was that the “ringleader” felt compelled to belittle my friend… especially given the fact that her husband has no problem having a beer with his meals. While I cannot speak to this woman’s heart, her actions illustrate what many folks believe is the chief end of their faith; to be separate from the world… or at least to appear that way.  She seemed to take pride in being ignorant about the culture that surrounds her….or worse, she had buried her head so far in the Bible that she was of little use outside the walls of the church. (harsh)

I’m pretty sure that was not the approach that Jesus took:

Jesus spent time with women, prostitutes,tax collectors, thieves, and yes even religious hypocrites. He did not separate himself from the world he came to save.  (of course at times He did for reflection and rest) We see throughout the Gospels how Jesus views people who have no hope….. with compassion and involvement in their lives. (Matt 9,14,26,  Luke 10,14, 15,  Hebrews 10:34, James 2…..more)

As I have grown up a little bit in my Faith I have found so much freedom in worrying less about how I look to my brothers and sisters in Christ and more about how I can reach people that do not yet know my Savior.

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

 

Wingmen Fall “Re-Cap”

As promised, here are the notes from November 17, 2010 Fall Wrap-Up of Wingmen Men’s Ministry at FBC in Wichita Falls. We kickoff again in January with our “DEEP IMPACT” SERIES.  (underlined and capitalized words were left blank during the message)  These are the main ideas behind each week’s lesson… enjoy!

WINGMEN FALL WRAP-UP

8/25   Week #1   “Dear Lord Destroy Me  (10 Qualities of a Man)

Isaiah 6:  God is usually bigger, holier, more fierce, gentler, and more aware than most of us UNDERSTAND

9/1     Week #2   “You Are NOT the Boss of Me”  (Authority)

 A man must understand and submit to the authority OVER him before he can understand and effectively wield the authority GIVEN him.

9/8     Week #3   “The Trouble with Men and Marriage

Everything in the home PIVOTS off of the man…if it doesn’t… then how can a man LEAD his family well. A man must be the servant-leader in his home.

9/15   Week #4   This Changes Everything (Forgiveness)

Forgiving others is THE MARK of a genuine faith in Christ. “Forgive as the Lord Forgave you”. Col. 3:13(c).

9/22   Week #5   A Father’s Gift(s) To His Family

A father holds the power to BLESS or CURSE his family…which will you choose?    2 Timothy 1  Paul Blesses Timothy

9/29   Week #6   Making Jesus Lord of My Home (J. Turner)

The husband and wife raise their family in a home where Jesus Christ is the FOCUS and MAIN  IDEA in the home.

 10/6  Week #7    Reminders from the “POINTMAN”

When the Enemy wants to DESTROY the home He focuses on the MAN!

10/13 Week #8   “GOD, LOVE, SEX”

God made SEX to unite a HUSBAND and WIFE together. It is one of the KEY ways He intends to increase protection, commitment, fulfillment in the marriage relationship. (oh yea, and of course “monkey love”)  Genesis 2:24, I Corinthians 7:2,5

10/20 Week #9   Lessons from a Fallen King, Pt.1

David would have NEVER given more than a FLEETING THOUGHT to Bathsheba had he understood the SHATTERING RESULTS of his sin.  2 Samuel 11

10/ 27 Week #10          Lessons from a Fallen King, Pt. 2

A man must get to the place in his fight with sin that he declares “THAT IS ALL I CAN STAND, I CAN’T STAND NO MORE!!!!!   Establish HEDGES before you are ever in the situation.

11/3   Week #11 Learning to Lead Like Jesus (Pastor Bob)

We copy a lot of good leaders…. It is time we learned from the BEST!

11/10 Week #12 He Said/She Said (Questions from Women)

We must live with our wives in “AN UNDERSTANDING WAY ”   1 Peter 7:7

11/17 Week #13 The Great Divide        

The greater the GAP in who we are PUBLICLY and who we are PRIVATELY, the greater the chance that we will FALLl.  (2 Tim. 3:5)

 

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