Billy Graham: Lessons from a Life Well Lived

This morning I woke to news that Billy Graham had died at the age of 99. I have always been fascinated with the fact that most people were not turned off by his message of the gospel and would actually embrace him and his teachings. He was not watering down what he believed whenever he would speak or make special allowances for people who disagreed with the Bible. He even carried the title “America’s Pastor” from not just people in the church.

Then I thought of his lifestyle and how he was known around the world: as a man of integrity. Never can I remember a headline that mentioned him embezzling money or being inappropriate with funds from his ministry or a news story about how he was caught in some illicit affair with a woman or that he was seen stumbling out of a party doing or saying/quoting something that he didn’t remember and that was offensive. Of course, I am not saying that Reverend Graham was perfect and I am sure he had his faults, but it seemed like he was concerned about his “non-religious” actions and how people saw him because it would affect the Gospel he represented.

So I think the answer in how to minister the Gospel, which is FULL of opposition to the current culture we live in but carries all of the answers to life, is to not just think about our religion but our personal relationship with Jesus. When we recognize that people will not care about what we say about God until they see how we VALUE that relationship, we will have a much greater influence on culture and infusing the love and purposeful direction of Christ in people’s lives.

Today, every single believer in Jesus needs to take an inventory as to how we are viewed and if we are living a life that is concerned with how Jesus is seen through us as much as the words we speak about Him. If we are using social media platforms to try and belittle people we disagree with and make sure they know that we are right and they are wrong instead of pausing before reacting to everything. That we are leading with LOVE for people and not just trying to shove the truth of the Gospel down people’s throats. (By the way, leading with love doesn’t reduce the truth of the Bible and actually amplifies it to people because it doesn’t happen as much as it needs to). Maybe we need to reach out to someone we possibly offended and make it right to bring alignment in life. It may be a great time to get a couple of accountability partners in an area of personal weakness to make sure you are actually living the life you think you are in your mind.

With the passing of a man like Reverend Graham, we need to evaluate our actions and tighten up areas of our life that we may think are irrelevant to the words we speak about Jesus. If we want to be operating at maximum capacity in our Christianity we need to even consider our life as a whole and not compartmentalize our relationship to Jesus and our relationship to people.


I Prayed for You, Yes YOU!

If you are reading this post, right now and at this very moment, you have been prayed for. As I type this post I am praying for each person that visits my website and needs to know that someone cares to pray for them to hang on one more day and find a functioning relationship with God. The cool thing about prayer is that it doesn’t need to be happening the moment someone has a need. It is a conversation with God that says, “God, whatever you have cookin up in heaven, make it also so down here with your glory, provision, direction and hope for people when they need it and not based on when I think it should be given.” That is JUST a teenie weenie smidgen of the awesomeness of God.
Love you all and know you have been PRAYED for.

Update from Nepal and a Lesson from the Supermarket

Yesterday we had a full day of shopping for the kids for a years worth of supplies and then went to look at land to possibly purchase and build a compound a few miles outside the city. Everything in the city is expensive and it would be wise to invest in our own land and buildings that we know are safe and for all of our kids to be in the same area versus spread out in houses around town. We are praying about the timing and funds for such a huge transition.

When I go to foreign countries I always go to grocery stores and try to find funny English names on products that don’t match or are misused. I saw some soap today that said “whitening” soap. I had to think for a minute what whitening soap was and figured it out to my disgust. 

Most products here in Nepal are from India which has a Cast system that basically deems people with lighter skin of a higher class in society. The “whitening” soap is a sales ploy for people of darker skin to think that if they wash with this soap it will make their skin lighter so they would look more like a Brahmin class person. 

It is ridiculous to try and be someone you are not to be treated better in society. When we realize that we are the full righteousness in Christ and he created us just the way we are for a reason then we will begin to live with a focus on loving others because we love ourselves. 

Have a great day!!

Do We Worship, Worship? 

We attended church yesterday morning as our first thing on our Nepal orphanage trip. We started worship and it contained songs that I used to sing when I was first in ministry in the 90’s and even a couple when I was growing up in church. No Hillsong. No Bethel. No fancy new or hip songs to help entertain the crowd and make sure everyone knew that the church could compete with the best concert in town.

I had a REAL revelation about our church services in America. PLEASE hear me. I am not saying that all of the worship songs and the new songs that are coming from supernatural revelation are bad, but that we have lost our focus. 
Every time Yolanda and I come to Nepal and sing songs that have been around for years we feel the same presence of God as any of the hottest new tunes that we seek out for worship services back home. I am also not saying that we need to do all “classic” worship songs but to be careful about deeming the “spiritual level” of a song purely based on its newness and “hipness”. 

The only way our worship services can have the true power that people need is when we realize that the only thing the church has is the Holy Spirit and His power in their lives. Worship is to open a door and let the power of God touch people’s lives. I think many times, we stare at the beautiful and ornate “door” of worship instead of simply opening the door and allowing God to walk in and change the atmosphere. 

We also need to stop thinking that the FORM of worship is going to grow our churches more than the FUNCTION of worship which is to make sure people see the worship team lifting up Jesus and not just their beautiful voices. 
When we all realize that people simply need an encounter with Jesus in church as well as in our daily lives we will see the true power of God exhibited without us getting in the way of those transformational moments we all want to see in the lives of others.  

Nepal Orphanage Trip 2016 Update! 

We had a great Mother’s Day here in Nepal! The picture with this post is of Yolanda standing in the pulpit at the church where she and her mom preached when they came to Nepal about 13 years ago. We had a great Sunday am service and heard a wonderful message about the never ending love of a mother which is like Jesus’ love for us. 
We then spent some time with our home managers and their  kids goofing around and were able to give them the gifts we brought them. It was funny when they were so excited about things we take for granted everyday like ranch dressing mix. 🙂 

We then ordered a delicacy that the kids are never able to eat because it is so expensive, pizza, and had everyone over to our manager’s house to play a bit  and eat dinner together. 
God always gives me reminders about thankfulness and being appreciative of not only the things I have back home but a reminder of the many smiles and relationships here in Nepal. 

It was exciting to see kids that would not really smile when we came just 3 years ago. joking and smiling and enjoying time with their brothers and sisters. 

I am going to do a follow up post to this one in the am (nighttime for all of my USA peeps) about something God showed me during the worship service today. 

Please continue to pray for safety and that tomorrow we would find the best deals in town for the years worth of supplies we are getting tomorrow. 

Be a Part of God’s Pursuit!

Stop Fighting People and Start Fighting Hell

I went on a little run tonight in my first town I lived in when I got married, Worland Wyoming. As ran and prayed I asked God to show me what was happening in the Spiritual realm in town so I could know how to pray while I am here. I felt impressed with something that almost changed the paradigm of ministry to people and even what I am trying to do with Christian Television in Denver.

I felt like he said, “it is time for people who follow me to stop fighting other humans and start fighting hell.”

I think there are too many people who stand behind the wall of “what they believe” and throw rocks at all the people they don’t agree with or disapprove of. I really have no idea where that mentality came from because Jesus sure was not like that when he was on the earth interacting with people who probably did not line up with his belief system.

It is much easier to tell people what you are against than to stand up for what you do by leading with love and acting like Jesus. For some reason, we feel that interacting and working with people we disagree with in some way is going to “taint” our “super-holy walk” with baby Jesus. This is EXACTLY the mentality that the devil wants believers to have.

Until we start to see people who are dealing with the struggles of life just like us, we will continue to judge the actions of people we disagree with instead of loving people FIRST and then praying and looking for our role in their lives.

Stop acting like the religious people of the Bible. They were the ONLY ones who Jesus argued with in the Bible, by the way.

I want to be known as the one who doesn’t agree with everyone but loves LOUDER and FIRST with EVERYONE I come in contact with during my life. That’s what Jesus did and that is what I am going to do. Want to join me?

I Got Mad for the Orphans Today…OOPS

Today I got angry. I know this surprises everyone that I actually lose my cool every so often (haha) but today was especially interesting. I got angry about the orphanage that Yolanda and I oversee in Nepal. Sometimes, I can get negative about people that I think would and should support what we are doing but don’t want to get involved. I mean, they are ORPHANS for crying out loud!

The interesting thing was that I preached a message at a church a few weeks ago about not having to defend God, the Bible and what He wants to do on the earth. I said, “We don’t need to defend the Bible, we need the Bible to defend US!” (Plus, I knew that was from God because it was too good for me to come up with such a clever line) I had lots of passion and meant every word I said. I am not sure why, but I threw all that good teaching for EVERYONE ELSE out the window and got ticked for the sake of the orphans!!

I need to remember and listen to all that good teachin’ I am happy to give others and remember that our kids in Nepal are HIS kids and not our responsibility. We are just to do our part, present the vision and trust God for the support. We have already had others who are fully behind what we are doing and I know that God is going to bring even more people to us to take care of the kids.

Today, think about something you are worried about or gotten angry about because you thought you were defending the less fortunate or even God, for that matter. Remember that He has way more power than you, has been around a lot longer and has the ability to actually protect YOU and not the other way around.

Ok. Now I feel better getting that off my chest. Have a great weekend!

A Life Lesson from a Piece of Pyrex

So this is the last day of 2015. So many people reflecting back on the past year and what they felt like they learned and making promises to make changes next year and hopefully planning a better outcome in all areas of life.

Something happened this am that was a perfect ending to my year yet was so simple and profound to me. I was getting my day started and prepping a chai to warm up in the microwave. I normally pour everything into a glass-measuring cup, put it in the microwave, take it out and then that is where the challenges begin. EVERY SINGLE TIME since I have been using this process to make my chai I end up pouring about 1/3 of my warmed drink into the sink instead of my cup because of, what I viewed, as a defect in the lip of the glass container. Today though, I thought to myself, “what if I poured it slower than my usual I-am-in-a-hurry light speed way?” I did and the glass container worked brilliantly!

Now you are thinking, “Wow. That is about 3 minutes of reading this blog that I will never get back” but there are three important end-of-year lessons in this illustration.

1. I was accusing the glass-measuring cup of being defective versus taking responsibility for my pouring action.

As you reflect back on 2015, where there things that happened that you blamed someone or something else instead of considering if it was something YOU were doing? When we have challenges in life, we need to ALWAYS start with our actions and how they may have played into making a situation better or worse. If we don’t, we may be blaming other people or situations on our own mistakes.

2. Pouring my drink slower allowed for the glass container to work properly.

How many times in my relationship with God do I think or maybe even say, “do it in my time and not yours, God.” When we put God in control of our life, we put our life on HIS timetable. When we try and “get” God to do things faster than he wants them done, we either miss the things along the way we are supposed to learn or move on our own inadequate power to get things done in life instead of letting God’s power and ability perfect everything. This new year, stop asking God WHEN is this going to happen and start to say WHAT are you trying to teach me through it.

3. I will now, NEVER use that glass-measuring cup incorrectly again because I saw how well it worked when I did it right.

In life, the best version of yourself comes from learning from mistakes, or being corrected from others in life, including God. When we think everything we do every time is correct and there is no room for error or for an ability to get better at living life, then we will live a very shallow incomplete version of ourselves and far below the ability that God sees in us. Let 2016 be a year of correction. I know that doesn’t sound like a fun objective or something to shoot for. When we realize that life is made up of mistakes then we can focus on the speed of correction in life instead of thinking that a lack of experiencing correction was a successful year. The greatest things you have ever learned in life have probably not come from doing things right but making a mistake, learning from it and appreciating the lesson.

I am praying and believing that this new year is going to be the best one yet and that we all are in a mode of listening and learning even from the most simple things in life. God bless you and have a wonderful 2016!