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!

Two Things to STOP and Two Things to START This New Year

1. Stop worrying about defending Jesus and Bible.
The Bible and Jesus have been around for far longer than you and I have even existed. The Word of God has been staving off attacks of all kinds for many many years. The Word has stood the test of time and continues to bring life and direction to all who heed its words. Jesus is in the business of defending YOU and not you worrying about how you are going to defend Him. He is not up in heaven nervous and biting his nails to the quick…so you shouldn’t either. It’s all about asking God for wisdom and to follow the verse in Matthew 10:16 for this new year; “…being wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”

2. Stop worrying about how to evangelize people and just start loving them!
There are so many things that are happening in today’s society contrary to the Word of God and its principles. The hard thing to realize is that many, if not all, of the things happening in our culture today were happening back in Bible times as well. Our CENTRAL focus in life should be how do we “out-LOVE” people around us who are screaming by their actions that they need someone to listen and show them Jesus. The key is when the opportunity comes and someone asks you “why are you being so nice to be?” or “why do you love me even when I can’t seem to love myself?” that you don’t say something like, “well, just because I am trying to make the world a better place.” You can say, “I follow Jesus in my life and he was the GREATEST example of love there ever was or will be. I am just trying to show the world what that love looks like through me in a healthy nonjudgmental way.” Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you accept everything they do. Jesus loves YOU and he doesn’t always like the things You do either. People giving Jesus control of their lives will happen when you start SHOWING others what a healthy belief in God looks like coupled with loving others.

3. Start praying and asking God for opportunities to show true Christlike love in 2015.
It’s the age old adage; you don’t get what you don’t ask for. We need to realize that God is always speaking but sometimes we are not truly listening to what He has to say. When we ask God for his will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven” we are saying, “God, use me today to bring your love to a lost, hurt and dying world that is falling slowly out of love with itself and doesn’t even know it.”

4. Start believing for the impossible in your life.
When we go through problems in life, we can program ourselves to start believing or looking for the negative in situations. When we start believing for the impossible we open a door of opportunity for God to show up and show off to encourage our faith and lift the life of someone else. We need to start getting worse at unbelief and professionals at seeing the impossible and believing for something GREAT! I truly believe that 2015 will be a year where faith in the unseen will be needed more than ever and that God is looking for those who would see the “possible” in the “impossible.”

Have a great New Years and wonderful start to 2015!! See you next year!

Good Riddance to Moderate Christianity!

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The days of “moderate Christianity” are coming to close, and I say good riddance! I was talking with a couple of different people this past week about all of the “anti-Christmas” situations that have come up in the news. My favorite so far was a Fire Station in some town that had a “Merry Christmas” sign on it. An atheist group filed a complaint with the city so the fire department took their sign down, in compliance, and put up a new sign that read, “Happy Birthday Jesus, We Love You.” Each of these people I was talking to said that it was amazing to see the attack on Christ and Christianity in society and I said, “I think it’s great!” I said, “I think the opposition to Christ that is happening in America is good because it’s weeding out moderate Christians who only have a familiarity with Christ and not a real relationship.”

Never forget that your belief in anything will only have its personal value tested when it is opposed, and this includes being a follower of Christ. Jesus even mentions opposition in the Bible in Matthew 10:22 and also in Mark 13:13 where it says believers in Christ would not just be opposed but hated but that those who endured to the end would be saved. This was not only a forewarning of attacks but even a CONFIRMATION that they were living properly! It was also a word given for followers to make sure and count the cost of following after Jesus. I am not sure in today’s world of consumer Christianity that much cost counting is done before deciding to follow Christ, which makes me very sad. I am not saying this as a judgment but more of an observation of the society we live in and what people are willing to give up for Christ versus giving things up for self. If this wave of challenges concerning Christ and people who follow Jesus will help people get off the fence with their beliefs, I think it could actually be something amazing and good for the church. It can also be a good lesson for Christians to learn to lead with the love of Christ (shocker) instead of conjuring up a lecture ABOUT the love of Christ. Jesus’ words were ALWAYS followed up with action so if I say I am following Him, then my actions better line up in the same way. Have a wonderful holiday and Merry Christmas!

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.

The New Year can be like a game of Farkle

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My wife and I are on vacation this week and I was teasing her that I was going to practice Farkle rolls. We have recently taken up the game of Farkle which is similar to Yatzee in that’s basically based on chance.  So I was basically teasing her that I was going to practice rolls of chance which is really not possible.  I was then thinking about this coming new year and things I can and cannot control.  many times, life can feel like Farkle; just rolls of chance and hoping to “get the best score and win.” With the medical things I have been through in my life I have not always understood why things have happened to me.  I can only put my life in God’s hands and trust that He knows what is best for me.  This new year, focus your life on the things you can control and not on things you cannot.  The most important decision you can make for 2013 is putting God in charge of your life. It is a great way to start the new year and to keep the events of your life in perspective. I know that when I focus on God then I don’t have time to worry about why something happens and I can let God show me WHAT he is trying to teach me by allowing events in life that I don’t fully understand.  Have a great New Year!

I am not a Christian anymore…

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I am not a Christian anymore.  Maybe that sounds odd for a pastor to say something like this, but I had a type of epiphany this morning in my prayer time.  I was reviewing and thinking about the meaning of the word “Christian” to people who dont know Christ as their best friend and savior.  I am tired of R&B artists dropping F bombs and talking about inappropriate things in their music and then thanking God when they accept some award for a song or video they did.  I am tired of celebrities saying they are Christians on national television or wearing Christian t shirts and cursing and not living a witnessing life around others.  I am not saying that being a follower of Christ is being perfect, but it is following ONLY Christ and recognizing the sacrifices Jesus has made for my sins.  I really dont want people around me who are not Christians to look at me and see perfection because that is not what Christianity is about.  It is about loving all people with the love of Christ, constantly becoming more patient when I drive, or talking to God so much that I dont react to a situation but I step back, think about what I am doing and make sure it lines up with the Word of God and considering what Jesus would do in that situation.  I want to be known as a follower of Christ.  Not a man of perfection, but a human who follows a God that I know has my best interests in mind no matter what I go through.  That he is ordering my steps even though, at times, it feels like I am not able to take those steps.  I dont want people around me who are pre-believers to think that I take into account confucious’ positive sayings, or motivational speakers/life coaches helpful words for living a more successful life.  Being a follower of Christ is treating my wife with respect and love, being patient/loving with people around me and honoring those in authority over me as much as it is praying nice prayers and reading the Word of God on a daily basis.  God make me a complete person in the Fruits of the Spirit as much as the Gifts of the Spirit that I have in my life.