God DOESN’T Just Love You…

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The Bible tells of instances where people came to Jesus because they knew who He was. Those people would be considered “believers” in our day. But it is also FULL of times where Jesus went out to minister to people needing help and not even knowing that Jesus could fix what was broken. They would be considered “lost” in our day.

If you are a follower of Christ, it’s not just about coming to church on Sundays, praying, reading your Bible and spending time with Jesus for self consumption. It’s about following Christ’s example and going out to get the lost. The church does not only exist for us to consume good teaching and feed only ourselves for the week. No one will know how great Jesus is and how the church can help them if we don’t go get them!

The question is what does it look like to “go get” people? For some, it is making sure that we find and tell people what they are doing is wrong and that we don’t show an ounce of care because that would be justifying what they are doing. Others have been led to believe that Jesus came to this earth to simply love with nothing else in mind. That is also incorrect. His love for people was and always is there regardless of the situation, but his REAL purpose for being on this earth was to bring CHANGE. It was change for Jesus’ followers to have to leave their known professions and follow Him and his teachings. It was CHANGE in the lives of people to be healed from disease that had plagued them for years. It was CHANGE for the religious officials who were more concerned about keeping the religious laws of the day rather than doing what Jesus directed which was helping the poor, sick and broken.

We are now the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are looking for a change in life and maybe don’t even know it yet. That means we love everyone no matter what but we are constantly asking God what we need to do to be an agent of change in their lives. It may be loving someone unconditionally while telling them that you think they may be making a poor choice. It is still love to care for someone and disagree with their actions. Jesus loves ME when my actions might not line up with what he thinks is best for me and because of that love I know where I can go when I want to make a change in my life.

It is very important to remember that we are not the ones who BRING change in people’s lives but that we set the stage for GOD to bring change. When we are focused on setting up opportunities for God to move in people’s lives it takes the stress off of us to think that we have to make something happen in people’s life. When I love with the knowledge that I am not going to MAKE anyone change, I can let God work in their hearts and then be there if they want to go in a different direction in life.

Today, consider how you are going to go get the lost tomorrow by setting the stage for God to bring CHANGE in the lives of others. Jesus trusts that you are not going to screw it up so just go and love with a purpose!!

The Importance of God NOT Being “Early” in Your Situation!

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I have two friends, Matt and Jill, who moved their family from Colorado to Washington recently. He had been out of work for a very long time and living off of the severance package from his former job. He is a great employee and was looking for jobs everywhere but it was always not the right fit. They were feeling God’s direction to move to Washington without any real firm leads on a job for him and massive transition for them as a family with their three girls.

 I felt impressed to pray for them as a family the other day and texted them that I was doing a “run and pray” for them and believing that God would open doors that no man could close and close doors that no man could open. Jill texted me the following day and said that Matt had gotten a job offer that day and possibly another one by the end of weekend! Jill and I texted back and forth a few times and she said that they had just gotten their last severance check that day. She said, “God thinks he is so funny!” I responded and told her that in my life, “God has NEVER been early but He has never been late.” Jill responded and said that was so true. Then I thought of the countless times I have said that same line to people through the years.

Then it hit me. I responded something that I know came straight from God. I texted “If God was early, we would think it was our talents, connections, whining or complaining that made it happen.” All of which are NOT true!!” Wow. My fingers were typing it as I was thinking about why God is never early in our situations in life. It all made sense at that moment and I texted Jill that I felt a blog comin on!! Haha

Maybe you are in a situation where you are trying to give something to God and trust him for the outcome and wondering why God is not coming in early and making the changes you want to see. You are probably anxious about the situation and curious as to how God is going to “pull this one out” of the fire. Just remember, if God was early in meeting your need in life then you would probably give yourself the credit for “praying hard enough, complaining enough or just crying enough” to make it happen. Trust is essentially believing something is going to happen when nothing in the physical realm seems to be changing.

Today, pray and make your request known to God but then trust HIM to do HIS part in your situation. I am not saying this is going to be easy. In fact, it will probably be some of the hardest prayer/trusting you can do in life but will be the most gratifying when you truly release something to God and then see Him bring the increase. Just ask Matt and Jill and their journey these past couple of years. Good stuff.

Take Heart and Trust God!

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John 16:33
…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The world will be full of problems and trouble of all kinds. Even in the book of John in the Bible, there is a factual statement Jesus makes about problems and pain life saying that “this world will have trouble.” So it is not a question of IF there will be pain but WHEN and to what degree.

The term “take heart” means to evaluate your heart and where your trust is in difficult situations. This verse was not when Jesus and the disciples were lounging next to a lake eating figs and enjoying the cool fresh breeze. It was before Jesus’ arrest and the beginning of a very difficult time for his followers.

Today, think about where your trust is located. Is it in temporal earthly possessions? Is it in your looks or your personality? Or is it in Jesus who is the one who has overcome the world and all the destruction that will continue to occur around us? Find hope, peace and strength in Jesus and maybe start to give him control of even one area of life. You can do it. I am praying for you and believing for the BEST in your life.

GPS….Just…WOW!

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I was typing an address into my car’s GPS the other day and thought, “Wow. We have come such a long way with navigation in this world.”

I can remember when I used to have to just know where to go and my own crappy directions. We also used to go to AAA to get a “TripTik” for longer vacations. It was basically a map that was spiral bound at the top and about 4 inches wide and 8.5 inches long with your route cut into 25 miles increments. The AAA agent would have to use a stamper to let you know where construction or obstructions were going to be on a trip. There was no guarantee that you would not get lost using the map because it was still up to you to find the turns.

I have voice-activated navigation in my car that has real time traffic as well as a Garmin in Yolanda’s car that you can wake up by saying its name and tell it where you want to go. It just boggles my mind how technology has advanced when trying to get around.

Then I thought about the life we live in general. What are we allowing to give us direction in life? Is it trusting ourselves and our knowledge of what we have experienced to help us navigate life, like when I first started driving? Is it just based on other people we know and their experiences as in the case of going to AAA to get a TripTik? Or is it looking to God with a global network of satellite “life” images and accurate positioning to trust in our journeys? I know now that if I were to not have GPS in my vehicles that it would be much more difficult to get to where I wanted to go and I would most likely get lost.

When we give God control of our lives we basically say, “God, I know you have mapped out every place that I would need or ever want to go and I trust in following your directions in everything I do.” The key as well with GPS is that you still need to make the turns!! You don’t put in the location you want to go and then just sit in your car. You need to still drive and follow the directions.

Think today about giving navigational control of your life to God by reading the Bible and seeking God in prayer. If you don’t know how to do that, then click the “Connect” button above and send me an email. I will be more than happy to help you calibrate and start using the “God GPS” in your life!
Have a great day!

Casual Christianity Sucks – Three Points for Lovers of Jesus to Live By

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I posted a blog about the times that are changing for someone to be a “casual Christian” and the events of the day moving people to know what they believe and what they are willing to lay down their lives for. We have seen this more often oversees with Christians being rounded up by groups like ISIS and killed because they are followers of Christ. It seems that we do not have a problem with freedom of religion in the United States but a problem with freedom of Christianity and I think I know why.

1. Don’t be surprised when people who are not followers of Christ don’t understand why you love them the way you do.
Many times in the media, and just in our culture, the focus is normally on how people identifying themselves as Christians judge others instead of how they (should be) loving others. We all follow rules in life. It can be seen in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the sports teams we cheer for or the places we work. The key difference is that as a true follower of Christ we need to love like Jesus, tell the truth like Jesus and let Him be the only watermark for our actions. This is only seen in the Bible and the instruction it gives. If you don’t know the Bible then you don’t know how to love people.

2. Don’t just love people, also tell them what you believe.
These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I cannot recall an instance in the Bible where Jesus expressed true life-changing love without providing that person with knowing the truth about what he came to do, which was to alter the destiny that they were convinced was either their lot in life or made them the most happy. That was why Jesus was the anomaly when it came to loving people; he loved louder and more than ANYONE else but it didn’t stop at just expressing love and helping people feel accepted and listened to. It was about a difference of opinion to help people consider if what they were choosing for their life really was the best path. I believe there are many well-meaning Christians in this world that are trying to convince people what they are doing is wrong without loving them first. This method has never led to ANYONE truly giving God control of their life. It is a form of manipulation and it’s wrong.
Love, Listen, Lead – Love FIRST, Listen to where people are in life and then Lead them to Jesus (with your actions and words if necessary 🙂 (Click Here to see resources for people who have basic questions about Christianity)

3. Don’t think it’s your responsibility alone to get everyone to heaven.
Many times, especially if you grew up in church, we forget that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to draw people to Christ and not our convincing words. I have mentioned this before in other blogs, but it is important to understand that we are each just a part of the greater process that is the miracle of someone giving Jesus control of their life AND their destiny. I am not on this earth just to help people think that it’s important to give Jesus control of their life while here on earth, I want to be an agent of change for people’s destinies!

Have a great week and know that God will give you the ability to live a successful life on this earth loving people but still being able to disagree with life choices. Just make sure that your love for people is deafening. There is NO GREATER LOVE than loving someone who hates you. THAT is the true love of Jesus that this world needs and the only thing that will shock people out of where they are to where God wants them to be.

Some Old Books Contain Timeless Truths

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Anyone who works from an office and has a lot of books will realize something very interesting when you have to move to a new area; you will find books in your collection that are out of date. I have acquired not only books myself through the years but also a full library from my mother-in-law when she died which had ones she got from a pastor friend when he died.

I have always had more books than shelf space through the years and moving into my new office was no different. It was time for me to go through my books and pair down the ones that I was probably not going to use or read anymore. When I was working full time in church as a pastor I would get books from people like George Barna or whoever the “stat” guy/girl was who was talking about why people do what they do in relation to the church and God. I found all kinds of “how to” books on doing things to get people into church but the dates were from 1998, 2003 and a couple from 2010. The thing I realized when I was holding those books is that they were out of date and, in general, irrelevant at this time in history.

Then I came across 2 Bibles that had dates signed in them from 1910 and 1907. Two books that were almost 100 years old and still had relevant truth, timelessness teachings and powerful words to change lives and alter destinies. A book that I try to implement in my life everyday to the point that I have a question that I am going to ask myself starting in 2015. It is the simple statement, “will what I do/say right now give Jesus a good name?”

The teachings of the Bible have shaped me and molded me into the person I am today and will stay with me until I am no longer on this earth. Men through the ages have been known for many things but I want to only be known for living the truths of the Bible out in my life. That is the legacy I want to leave on this earth and to know that I bettered the lives of those I came in contact with from a life-giving, life-changing and life-empowering book, known only as the Bible.

Resolutions, Resolve and Making Change Stick!

Today I had a revelation about my year coming up. I was driving back from skiing and was trying to think through a meeting that I had to make with a person and thought, “I can’t really do Tuesday’s because I have pastor’s meeting on that day.” The only issue is that I am no longer working for a church and don’t have that obligation each week anymore. Generally, for the past 20 years of my adult life, I have had a “pastor’s meeting” in some form or fashion every week. I know that now working in the television world that I will still have some kind of staff meeting, but it will be at a time I choose. I then called my wife, had a good laugh and continued to drive home. Then I was thinking about how many times we make decisions in life based on the familiar and not the truth. I was modifying my meeting time with something that didn’t even exist in my life anymore because my mind had been programmed to remember staff meetings every Tuesday.

Now think about something you want to change in your life this new year. It is not as simple as just deciding to do something different. Deciding to change is definitely a start, but not the deciding factor of whether your life is modified or not. There is going to need to be what I call “repeated disciplines” that you commit to in the process of your life each day. One of the BEST ways to shift thinking is to read the Bible. Even if it is not something necessarily spiritual, reading the Bible can have amazing effects in your life. I know many people think the Bible is just a dusty book of life suggestions, but it has been such an integral part of my life growing up and now as a person who tries to let Jesus be seen in everything I do.

I want to challenge you this new year to make reading the Bible a staple in your daily life if you are deciding to make some kind of positive change. You can start with the book of John which is such a great book about the love of Jesus and is a fairly easy read. I would read The New Living Translation or New International Readers Version instead of the good ol trusty King James which can be difficult to understand. Maybe you already read the Bible each day but you are reading it out of obligation only. Maybe that needs to be your “change” this year in that you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal new truth to you before you read one word. I know that I always get more out of the Bible when I do that before I start to read.

Have a wonderful new year this week and do more than make resolutions that are filled with good intentions but lack a positive game plan for execution. Praying for you all!

The end of the world…or is it?

I was reading 2 Thessalonians 2 for my devotions this am and was thinking about all the “end times” talk that we hear from time to time. There is a billboard on Broadway that has a self proclaimed prophet who says that he knows when the end of the world will be and that the tribulation has already started. This blog is not to talk about whether I think he is wrong or not (although I do believe differently) but more the fascination with trying to predict when Jesus will return. First, I think trying to predict the end of it all is a waste of time. 2 Thessalonians and even other sections of the Bible says that no one will know the exact day but can see the seasons changing. I do agree that there are many things pointing towards a one world government for example. Look at the disaster in Japan and the effect it is having on the global market including Toyota car production even here in the US which says it will have to cut back or suspend some cars for now. Look at the debt we operate in around the globe and our gas prices that are so connected to the oil production of countries experiencing unrest right now.
The bigger question to me is what is the motivation of people who claim to know the end of the world? Some are just plain crazy. That has been proved over time and has had some disastrous consequences. Some people are possibly so dissatisfied with life that they want to know the end of it all just to get it over with. I know when I went through my eye stuff and had thoughts of suicide I really didn’t care about living anymore. Other people use it as spiritual manipulation to get people to convert to Christianity which I think is also wrong. The people who follow God the best and make the best spiritual decisions are the ones who have come to the end of themselves and have no more answers inside and have to look to a loving God who wants to fill that God shaped hole in their heart. Not ones who are motivated or operate in fear and just “don’t want to go to hell.”
I want to live my life everyday to the fullest whether I live to be 100 or I die tomorrow or the world ends in 2012 🙂 I want my life to be a reflection of the love of Christ and I want to see people through God lenses. So don’t waste your time on this earth looking to see when it will all end. There are going to be “wars and rumors of wars” like it says in the bible but we need to be focused on Christ and who he can be in our lives. If you don’t have a real relationship with Jesus I encourage you to find a good bible believing church this Easter and listen to the message about how a loving God sent his son to die for your sins. Let the “end” be to the things you used to do to gratify your flesh and start living for a higher purpose. God created you, he loves you and you have the ability to be everything this world needs you to be for the glory of God. Have a great day and God bless.