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Posts from May 2007

Staying on Course

Img_0277So be very careful to act exactly as GOD commands you. Don't veer off to the right or the left. (Deuteronomy 5:32 MSG)

It is too easy to get distracted. There are always 'things' that demand our attention. These 'things' are not always bad things. In fact sometimes they are very good 'things'. Sometimes these 'things' are urgent, sometimes they are not. We have to deal with these 'things' as they come our way, but it is very important that we stay focused on the path that God has set out before us.

Here are some passages on my heart today...

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (Hebrews 12:2 MSG)

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 KJV)

Along with these passages, let me share a couple articles that I read today that really spoke to my heart.

  • Five Healthy Questions, Perry Noble They are all great questions and really speak to the issue of staying on course. I particularly liked Questions 1 and 4. Take the time to read his article and let me know what you think.
  • Blackaby: Church Health Linked To Pastor's Spiritual Health This is a great article! I sometimes feel guilty when I barricade myself in the office or go hide somewhere to study. I shouldn't! Just like Moses went up on the mountain to be alone with God and bring the Word of God back down to the Israelites, pastors need to get alone with God, hear from Him, and bring the Word back to God's people. I'm going to start setting time aside to disconnect with everything (including technology) and connect with God.

To summarize both articles...If you want your pastor to "BRING IT" on Sundays, he needs to spend some time on the mountain with God first.

Finally, I want to encourage you to listen to some great music! Take the time to listen to something that will minister to your spirit.

51wc5pg7gpl__aa240_Have any of you tried out Yahoo LAUNCHcast Radio? It's free and it is awesome! I go to the Christian section and then Praise and Worship. Very nice to have in the office while reading or studying. They have been playing 'Shout To The Lord' by Ruben Studdard (American Idol 2005) and it's really good! That dude can sing!

Memorial Day

SaluteI would like to express my appreciation to all of the men and women who have ever served or are currently serving in our nation's military. America is free because people like you have made a tremendous sacrifice to procure and preserve freedom for all of us. THANK YOU!

Today, I am praying for our Commander-in-Chief, our Congress, our military commanders, and our troops.

Just some random things to share with you all today.

  • I would highly recommend The Lord's Table to anyone who is trying to lose weight. I am doing this online Bible study and it is really good.
  • I'm getting pumped up about our upcoming Vacation Bible School. Check out the preview video HERE and tell me this doesn't look WAY COOL!
  • Our new Thursday night CLEAR Bible Study begins in less than two weeks! We will be studying through Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. All of the children's classes will be studying the same books and themes. I love the unity and thoroughness CLEAR will bring to our teaching program.
  • July 1st will be the first week of our new Couple's Fellowship at Harvest. We will be going through the books, 'For Women Only' and 'For Men Only' by Shaunti Feldhahm. This will be a fun and encouraging fellowship.

What Makes A Soldier Cry?

IraqsoldiercryingEven the toughest soldiers cry sometimes. I saw this photo the other day and have thought about it ever since. What brings an American Soldier to tears? The death of a fellow soldier? The carnage of war itself? The desire to be back home with family and friends? I don't know the story behind this photo but it does allow the imagination to run wild.

In the ministry there are things that bring us to tears from time to time. Lately, there seems to be a lot of things that have me brokenhearted. I'm a soldier. The Lord is my commanding officer. Soldiers need to be tough.We must also possess love, compassion, and an earnest belief in what we are doing. Keeping the warrior and the lover in us balanced is sometimes very difficult.

What breaks my heart? Well, since you asked...

  • Men who refuse to be spiritual leaders in their homes, church, and society. There are too many men these days who are content to be managers of their homes and not leaders. What will the fallout be for these families where wives are forced to be the spiritual leaders of their homes? Where are the men who will rise to the challenge of being men. God, wives, children, churches, and this world are waiting for men to step up.
  • Believers who are too busy for God. If God has given us everything then He has also given us 'time'. How can we then tell Him that we don't have 'time' to invest in the Kingdom? We can get very stingy with the 'time' God has given to us. Wouldn't it shock us if God would just audibly ask us one day, "What do you mean you don't have time? I just gave you 24 Hours this morning."?
  • Spending the majority of my time taking care of believers who should by now be taking care of others. A huge trap in ministry is to become so busy caring for the ninety-nine in the fold that we don't have the time to go after the one that is lost. The ninety-nine in the fold can drain us of the energy required to go after the one. Sometimes I feel like a candy bar that gets opened in the grocery store while you shop. By the time you get to the register all that's left is an empty wrapper.
  • People who hear the gospel and refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I wish we could just make people receive Christ and serve God. The god of this world has truly blinded the eyes of many. It's hard to watch people continue to walk a path that leads to destruction. The saddest thing is that all the sorrows those without Christ will experience in this life are not even close to the sorrow of facing eternity without Christ.

So what am I going to do about these things that break my heart?

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT)

The only thing I know to do...March on!

Lessons From A Chevy

Like A Rock

This wonderful old truck caught my eye as I drove down an old country road outside of Fairfield, Ca. I'm a Ford Truck Man myself, but you gotta give Chevy her props! This tough truck has been around a long time. This morning I was thinking about age while doing my devotions and thought I would share some verses that came to mind. I'm still a young man but I do have friends that are old (Cliff, Bob, Hank, etc). Just kidding guys!

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. (Psalms 37:25 esv)

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;forsake me not when my strength is spent. (Psalms 71:9 esv)

So even to old age and gray hairs,O God, do not forsake me,until I proclaim your might to another generation,your power to all those to come. (Psalms 71:18 esv)

They still bear fruit in old age;they are ever full of sap and green, (Psalms 92:14 esv)

The glory of young men is their strength,but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29 esv)

Just some thoughts...

  • Sometimes the church gets obsessed with the "new" and forgets that there is still beauty in the "old".
  • I value our elders. They are a gold mine of wisdom and experience!
  • I want to age gracefuly and proclaim God's greatness to future generations.

A Good Soldier

I have enjoyed Mark Driscol's books and his video podcast. Here is a message he delivered to a church planting conference this year. I love this video. If you have heard Driscol speak or read his books you know that he can be a little rough with his speech occasionally. There is a phrase in this video that I would not have said quite the same way Mark chose to, so don't hold it against me. I do think he hits the nail on the head in regards to young men in their 20's though. The clip is about 10 minutes long.

I would highly recommend Mark's book "Confessions of a Reformission Pastor" to any pastor.

God's Pie

I mentioned this video in my Thursday night Bible study group. I promised to post it to my blog so here it is...

I love pie! Pecan, Coconut Cream, Berry, and just about any other kind. I think that's why this video made so much sense to me. If I brought a pie to a get together I would be so disappointed if I didn't at least get a slice.

The Next Generation

Seniorclass2007084_copy_2I took this photograph earlier this week near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The remains of old military turrets and lookouts surround the bridge. The bars to this old holding cell intrigued me. I can't tell you how many times I would loved to have locked these three guys up and thrown away the key. I'm sure they have felt like prisoners at times. They will be "free at last" in just a few short weeks when they graduate.

Walk about Zion, go around her,number her towers, consider well her ramparts,go through her citadels,that you may tell the next generation that this is God,our God forever and ever.He will guide us forever. (Psalms 48:12-14 ESV)

I love the scripture quoted above. We have a tremendous responsibility to tell the next generation about our God. In order for us to effectively do this we must have a personal knowledge. We are encouraged to take a walk around Zion and notice some things that reveal the greatness of God.

We must share God as He has revealed Himself to us. Our opinions are not as important as our observations. God wants to be known by man and has gone to great lengths to reveal Himself to us. If we would take the time to just observe God we would learn so much.

Observe the towers. Count them. They are numerous. These towers were places for observation. It would be difficult for the enemy to surprise Zion because of these mighty towers. The towers gave Israel a huge advantage over her enemies.

Observe the ramparts, or fortified walls. They are mighty and offer the security and protection to the city within. These walls were a very large`deterrent to those outside the city who might consider attacking. They were also a very real wall of protection against those who would proceed with an attack.

Observe the citadels. A citadel was a stronghold into which people could go for shelter during a battle. It was further a place to shelter and protect the leaders from even the inhabitants of the town which they were defending. A safe place. A place of refuge.

For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will be our guide until we die. (Psalms 48:14 NLT)

The reason that the Psalmist encourages us to walk around Zion and observe these things is because God is just like this. He is our "Strong Tower". He watches over us at all times. Nothing ever surprises God. We are sometimes caught off guard, but God is not. He is our "Wall" of protection. He is sovereign and nothing occurs without His permission. He is our "Refuge". Our place of safety when the world around us is closing in. He protects us.

It is our responsibility and pleasure to tell the next generation about God. In order to do this we must take a walk around Zion and experience God for ourselves and then tell them what we have seen, not what we think.

Growing up

Seniorclass2007081_copy_2 I'm doing senior portraits today with three of our young men at Harvest. Steve, Mike, and Josh have all grown up in our church and they are some fine young men. It will be exciting to watch them graduate and be launched out into life.

Make no mistake though!These guys are crazy too! I'll be worn out by the time we get them back home. We are waiting for burgers at Grumpy's on Battery and Vallejo Streets in San Francisco. I'll let you know if this place is any good later.

Seniorclass2007067_copy_copy Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

The Other Side Of The Fence

The Other Side Of The Fence

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6 KJV)

I took this photograph in Three Rivers a week or so ago. This fence caught my attention because it was just a short 5 or 6 foot section in the middle of a grassy field. I'm sure at one time it had served a specific purpose but that particular day it served to remind me to be content with what God has given me.

You've heard the saying, "The grass is always greener"? It's so funny to drive along an old country road and see cattle stretching their necks out as far as possible to eat the grass on the other side of the fence. They are standing in literally acres of the same stuff but they just want what's on the other side of the fence so bad. God has provided us with all that we need to be happy and healthy but we are always examining and stretching our necks out to reach the other side of the fence. We would be so much better off if we could just learn to be content with where God has placed us and with what He has supplied us with.

Can Christians Have Fun?

Absolutely! Some of you missed our Valentine Dinner here at Harvest and have asked if Kathy and I really played Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash that night. Here's a clip! Hope you enjoy a moment of laughter. We're just here to make you smile.  :)

Thanks a lot Patricia! We thought we got away with this! :P