Monday, January 24, 2011

where his ashes lie as a symbol of hope... and underground churches spring forth from the Father's touch...

I cannot believe it has been two weeks since I posted. Things have been so busy.

I made an unscheduled trip to Mexico last week to set things up for our team over Spring Break. It was incredible to see the hand of the Lord meet us there, and direct encounters in such a way, as to maximize His glory! Only He could schedule others I have never met, into my time to secure our upcoming ministry.

We will have the opportunity to minister on both sides of the border in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo. Over 100,000 have fled Mexico and now reside with friends and family in Laredo. A church planter there is taking on the task of setting a schedule, along with my contact in Nuevo Laredo. We will reside on the US side of the border, but will walk across it to nearby plazas to do ministry, as well as help plant new churches in Laredo. It will be amazing!

I have a friend who is in a battle to follow Christ. In his life, he has a tendency to go the direction of the "prevailing wind."

If he is getting positive feedback from believers, he follows them. If he gets it from 'wolves in sheep's clothing,' he follows them. It seems whoever is singing the loudest in his ear, has his heart and attention.

He knows this is contrary to Scripture, but he tends to disregard that, while justifying or rationalizing his decisions based on how he "feels." The Gospel takes a back seat to interpretations of those who have adjusted it to fit their selfish desires.

He has begun to believe lies. He is listening to those who walk a path most similar to what he desires from life. He is being misled.

This amplifies the reality that each of our minds are a battlefield.

I do not wish to dismiss this brother. He matters. Neither do I have the time or energy to consistently "sing the loudest," for him.

I commit to praying for him, and I do what I can to speak into his life. However, he must learn to respond to the Truth. There are seasons of being surrounded by a "great crowd of witnesses," but much of life leaves us more alone.

I must learn to respond to Truth. I have to fight to do so. I have to resist the schemes of the enemy, which is the allure of the world, to stay after my Savior.

I know it has to break our Lord's heart to see such floundering among His own. I am thankful He never forsakes us. His grace is extended to us in spite of our many failures.

Some of us seek to be in roles of leadership or high profile positions because we think we can best impact others lives that way. What happens too often, is we end up failing in a more public way.

I see this in my friend. Sometimes watching my friend is like looking in a mirror.

Rather than seeking the spotlight and affirmation of others, we need to seek the Lord. He will bring us to the places He desires for us to serve.

Just because opportunities open before us, does not mean it's His will. We must be daily surrendering. Daily seeking Him. Daily denying self. When we walk routine obedience, we are far more apt to recognize His will and direction. When we walk to the beat of our own drum, we will seize opportunities that we have not been raised up to fill.

I don't care about position or title. I care about following the heart of my Savior.

Though I am tempted at times to seek the affirmation of others, His is all I ever really need.


Monday, January 10, 2011

My Love and me

I had the privilege of speaking to potential leaders from a youth group over this past weekend. What a blessing!

It is so easy in this world to get caught up in the stuff that happens in life. It is a huge blessing to be able to be used for one of the purposes that the Lord has me on this earth.

I have such a sense of peace when I have the privilege of bringing the Word. I confess, sometimes, it can feel like I am saying the same things. Even when it's a message I know I haven't brought before, it can follow familiar paths.

That isn't a bad thing!

I amazed at how many times I sometimes need to hear something before I actually get it. I've heard from others that they struggle with this too.

I have a friend who preaches the same basic handful of messages all over the country. I am blown away at how the Lord will use those messages to have a deep and profound impact on the lives of others. Many of those people have heard him before, and even heard some of his messages before, yet, God impacts them in a new way with the latest hearing.

I am not suggesting that pastor's bring the same sermon every week. Although, I know of pastors who have done basically that, and been confronted by a congregant or two, who wanted to know why. Their response was along the lines of, "the Lord will let me bring a different message when the body starts to respond to this one."

I wonder why that is.

Why do we hear powerful, impacting, anointed messages and sit unmoved? In some cases, we then blame the pastor for the lack of growth or depth of the body.

I wonder if we still know what conviction is?

I wonder if we are able to sense the Lord's presence any longer? Or if we are so used to shutting Him down, that we can no longer tell what is of Him? Therefore, we blame pastors for pushing their own agenda, when it IS the one the Lord has brought, but an unyielding congregation is waiting for the one that makes them less uncomfortable.

God continues to do most of His best work in situations where we are least comfortable. It brings us to rely more on Him and less on ourselves.

My daily failures prove my need to rely upon Him. I am fooling myself if I believe something different.

I am so thankful for Him! I love His Word! I need to go immerse myself in it!


Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Mother and my daughter...

I ask you to be please be in prayer over my schedule:

January 8 Ridgeway Baptist Church, Youth Leadership, Sapulpa, Oklahoma
January 18 KTIS Faith Radio Network 2:30 interview
January 19 Brookside Baptist Church Youth, Tulsa, Oklahoma
January 21-23 First Baptist Church, Newkirk, Oklahoma
February 10-24 Cambodia set-up trip for Missions
March 12-19 Nuevo Laredo, Mexico Mission trip
June 14-19 Awe Star Ministries Leadership Training
June 19-22 Awe Star University
June 23-July 20 Mission trip to Chile
July 20-22 Debriefing
July 22-24 Train Panama Mission team
August 1 Debrief Panama Mission team
November 4-6 iGo Missions Conference, Owasso, Oklahoma

Those of you who still follow this blog, I appreciate so much your prayer support and consideration, as we seek to be obedient to the Lord.

I sense we are entering a season of change, but do not yet know or understand what that means. Please be in prayer over this, with us.

God bless you, and have a great weekend!!!


Monday, January 03, 2011

My girls!

I have been thinking a lot about David over the last several days.

He was a man who made many mistakes. I can learn so much from his life, his failures, his writings, his attitudes, his love for the Lord.

He was a king, but that is not why he was 'a man after God's heart' (Acts 13:22). His appearance contributed nothing to his heart's pursuit. His failures certainly weren't the reason God viewed him with such fondness. Neither were his successes. What did he demonstrate in life that caught the Father's eye?

Few men have had someone murdered, been sexually promiscuous outside the bounds of marriage, disregarded the welfare of their family and still been held in high esteem by our Lord... let alone by us.

We quickly condemn such actions and speak of their deep levels of immorality. These people are often cast aside as 'hopeless' by our Christian community. It's not much of a leap to see why.

Yet, that very attitude reveals some of the difference between who David was, and who we sometimes seem to be.

Each of us in our own way, rebels. Some of it is overt. Some more sublimated. All 'rebellion is like witchcraft,' according to Scripture (1 Sam 15:23).

Many of us condemn those whose sins become public, and deny the wrong attitudes of our own hearts.

David was more transparent.

How many kings would dance before the Lord in their underwear (2 Sam 6:14)? How many of us would do so in public... not because it was cool, but because it was the ultimate form of revealing our humility before God?

Most of us won't even do something that makes us feel a tinge of discomfort within the body, during worship. Few of us would be so humiliated in our offering before the Lord... especially amid those who will speak judgment (as Michal did in 2 Sam 6:20).

There is nothing kingly in disrobing before your people. However, following the Lord in the obedience He calls you to, is the most Christ-like you can be.

David was a failure from a human perspective, even though he was king. He failed in some pretty major ways... but...

he pursued his Lord with humility, passion, and with a heart seeking to understand and to be understood. He had a repenting heart when failures were revealed.

How deep in sin must we be to commit some of the heinous acts he did, without realizing our mistakes until they are brought to our attention?

Sin is sin. We like to categorize them. We consider some bigger than others. To a Holy God, they do not compare... they are simply abominations that cause desolation against Him.

When we realize our sinfulness, do we humbly lay all out before Him, or do we try to hide them in the deep recesses of futility?

David rent his heart and came clean. God forgave.

He still forgives! He compels us to Him, though we might not feel worthy. His forgiveness is still ours if we call upon His name, and turn from our chosen, unfortunate path.

He is king David's Lord.

Most of the time, I look more like David than I do Jesus.

I am thankful for David's poor example in sin, but his amazing precedents of repentance!

I can learn much from him.

I can learn more from my Lord!

I praise Him, for His unquenchable love for me, though I am undeserving!

That is some Amazing Grace!