Stop Fighting People and Start Fighting Hell

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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

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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

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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!

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!

Growth from the Rocks of Life in 2013

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I took this picture while up hiking a couple of weeks ago and thought it was pretty cool.  It’s a small tree growing from a rock formation that we stopped by while in the mountains. I was thinking today about this coming year and all the challenges that are ahead.  This small tree is flourishing in an environment that would not be considered ideal for growing strong and healthy.  It is hard for me, even as a pastor, to always see the importance of making the most of every situation in life because our flesh wants to always be focused on being in control and that includes our surroundings.  When this little seed landed between the crack in the rock it found soil, or something sustainable for its life, and began to grow.  Maybe that small seed is you at the start of this 2013.  You don’t feel like you are in “proper” soil to grow and be the person you want to be.  Maybe you need to just look around at what can sustain you and let God bring the growth.  As I mentioned in my New Years Day thoughts about giving God control of your life this year in the face of the unknown, really think about what you are doing to give yourself a fighting chance at happiness this year.  When i was sick, I was tempted (and actually did for a while) walk the path of anger at God for the things I thought He was needlessly allowing in my life. But in reality, I see what he was doing in the difficulty to help me understand the importance of giving complete trust in all parts of my life to Him.  Let 2013 be a year of growth for you but not because of the perfect soil and growing conditions that the world and its marketing will tell you exists.  Life is about ups and downs but the one thing that can stay consistent is a relationship with Jesus.  let growth come out of the hard or stony times of your life by trusting that God can bring the increase in any and all circumstances and situations.

What if the world ends on 12.21.12?

Had to get your attention. 🙂 So I do not think the world will end on the 21st of this month but it does give us some interesting social interaction in America and around the world.  If I had not become a pastor so many years ago I would have been a sociologist.  I am fascinated with the interaction of people and people groups.  The internet is replete with “doomsday” projections and people moving to small towns in distant countries based on who knows what.  As a follower of Christ, it makes me think about my personal belief system that promises a return of Christ someday to earth in what is called the rapture.  I think the church has done a lot of straying from preaching the return of Christ in the place of “living right” messages.  I am not against helping people understand the importance of living right lives, but if I don’t help people focus on their eternal existence as much as their temporal activity on earth then I am doing them a huge disservice. If you are a believer in Christ and you knew the world would end (like people who think 12.21.12 is the end) then what would you be doing differently than you are now?  Would you be loving your family more? Telling more people about Jesus? Moving to some obscure country town to “wait it out”? I remember when I was really sick with my eye and was thinking about what the end of my life would look like.  I definitely acted different back then. Now that I am “out of the woods” with my health I don’t think some of the same things which is not necessarily a good thing.  Jesus says in Mark 13:35 to “keep watch because you do not know when the master of the house (Jesus) is going to return”. Do we really live each day in a place of expectation? The funny and weird thing is that a “doomsday prophecy” needs to be a personal inventory about how we are each living our lives and if they are focused on the right things and not the wrong ones like status, pride, looks, money and basically everything that Hollywood and the world’s marketing system tells us we need.  I know that my focus needs to be less on me and more on the world around me looking for answers to tough questions that need more than an emotional validation but true healing. So THANK YOU doomsday Mayan calendar.  You have helped me remember what is important in my life and give me a desire to act better in the world I live in.

Update from Nepal – Day 3

I really think I will be a different person after this trip to Nepal. Its like I have been immersed in a world of sights and sounds that are challenging me and what I have always known. I have only been out of the country 4 times in my life and nothing even close to what I am experiencing here. I know that there are things I am learning about selflessness and thinking about people who are not only less fortunate that I am but who have challenges beyond my comprehension. We drive the streets of Kathmandu and I see row after row of people just standing around with nothing to do. No hope, no drive to make a positive difference in the world around them because of so much spiritual oppression but also possibly a lack of a will to change the situation. At the orphanage, we see such hope in eyes and a desire to move past the lifestyles of the other people around them and a chance to escape the trappings of living in a third world country. I have such a great burden in my heart for these people and know that I must do everything I can to see these orphans and this orphanage be a useful tool to getting kids off of the streets and becoming constructive members of society. I talk with Emmanuel and Hannah (the couple running the orphanage) and realize all the things they have given up to answer the call to come and help these kids from probably dying on the streets. I don’t feel like I have time to feel sorry for them or to beat myself mentally because of the many things I have back in the states. I only have time to provide as much prayer and emotional as well as financial support that I can to make a difference in their lives that will last long after I return home the end of this week. Please continue to pray for wisdom and direction for me and Yolanda as we are here and I am changing my perspective on life from the inside out.