Old and Fresh

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Old
Open Air
Tabernacle
Filled with 800

Young Passionate Worshippers

Some finding forgiveness
Some finding solace
Some walked away
With nothing
Some
met
God

 

Age is a relative issue. I had the opportunity to spend last week with our youth ministry at camp. It was a powerful experience to see an older chaperone praising God amongst 800 teens with hands lifted high and tears in his eye. This guy loves God and loves youth! He is always involved in reaching out to youth, ministering to youth, loving and leading youth into the Kingdom of God and into discipleship.

That tabernacle was not what you would call state of the art. It has many years of use. There were cracks in the paint that gave the structure a weathered appearance. The sound system was not working well. The tv’s kept going out. The only air conditioning was if a breeze from the southwest Texas mesquite happened to make it out of the Frio River bottom.

But

The word of God was shared…Give up your idols, repent, find your purpose, Go and serve.

Youth responded to God’s word, and in part, because they had a pattern from which to base His call.

One of the oldest guys there was experiencing the freshest worship.

I want to be like him when I grow up!

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My Wife, My son, My Daughter, My friends…..

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This summer has afforded our family the opportunity to experience a tremendous about of transition. The have changed jobs, churches, and towns. My son graduated from High School and has recently moved to college. My daughter and wife have begun the new school year in their respective schools.

Summer was busy, good things happened. God things happened. Even with good things and God things transition is tough!

The house is quiet at lunchtime now.
Evenings are filled with activity.
I talk with my son daily

Life moves on…changes…develops…grows.

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I am voting for…..

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IMG_1331We live in a fantastic country where we celebrate our freedoms!
Does our country have issues? Yes.
Can we be better? Yes.
We strive for electing leaders who will cast a vision for a preferred future while building upon the work that has proceeded them. They should then work together to build that preferred future.

November 8th we will have the opportunity to act upon the single greatest expression of the freedom we have in this country.

We will exercise our freedom to vote our convictions.

I will be casting a ballot for convictions and not opinion. Opinions are fleeting while convictions remain steadfast.

The freedom to choose by voting – this freedom is not only our privilege but our responsibility- and we should do so faithfully with integrity and grace.

I will be voting for convictions, freedom, future, and my children.

I hope to see you at the poll!

This is my personal blog and in no way reflects an endorsement of my church.

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New

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We have recently experienced plenty of “New”! God called me to serve at a “New” place, in a “New” town. That provided our family with a “New” address and Rachael a “New” Job. Baylea has begun attending a “New” school and playing on a “New” varsity team. She has made “New” friends. We are getting settled in to our “New” church and are beginning to look for “New” staff members for vacated positions. Bobby Wayne has begun studying at a new college.

“New” is exciting and stressful. We depend upon Jesus to carry us thru the “new” in order to find the “Him” in our surroundings.newthing

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Stimulation

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Worship without Jesus is emotional stimulation.
Bible Study without Jesus is intellectual stimulation.
Missions without Jesus is political stimulation.
Church Attendance without Jesus is social stimulation.

Lord, forgive us when we settle for stimulation instead of you..

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You are the first Christian to share Jesus with me.

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I have a friend who was born in an Islamic state. He is a man that I respect, care about, and admire. He is a consummate professional who knows his craft well. We have attended training and seminars together in regards to business during the past year. He told me once that I am the only Christian who has ever “shared Jesus with me”.

We have discussed the similarities and differences of Islam and Christianity and Judiasm. No anger, no condescension, just discussion. We disagree. We remain friends. I hope and pray for him daily….agenda-less.

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Broken and blessed

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There is a clear pattern in the Bible that teaches us that Brokenness Brings Breakthrough:

– Before Abraham became the father of many nations, he and Sarah were childless.
– Before Jacob could be blessed, he was wounded by wrestling an angel.
– Before Joseph ruled Egypt, he was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and falsely imprisoned.
– Before Job’s estate was doubled, he lost everything he had, including his family, his fortune, and his future.
– Before Moses became the great deliverer, he lost his position, his possessions, and his popularity.
– Before Joshua conquered the Promised Land, he went through the wilderness.
– Before Samson crushed the Philistines, he was blinded, binded, and grinded.
– Before David became king, he was overlooked by his family.
– Before Peter preached 3,000 souls into the kingdom, he denied his Savior three times and went out and wept bitterly.
– Before Paul brought the gospel to the Gentiles, he was blinded on the Damascus road.

God sometimes breaks us so that He can remake us.

Jeremiah 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Ps 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Adapted from online devotional from a friend

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Attitude

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Attitude is a reflection of where you have been, who you are with, and where you are headed. There are some who believe that “Attitude is everything”. In some ways they may be correct but incomplete.

Our definition of success plays a huge role in determining our attitude. Each of us hope to be successful yet continually struggle to adequately articulate what success looks like.

Incomplete views of  success are:

STUFF: cars, house, boat, vacations, even as small as $5 coffee at starbucks in the morning and carrying the cup around.

RELATIONSHIPS: how many friends on facebook, how many things we are invited to attend. We socialize and network.

POWER: We are able to call our own shots. ASIDE: Self employed and small business owners fall prey to this one.

When we have an incomplete view of success it negatively affects our attitude. You can develop an adequate view of success from what your rock solid foundation. If your foundation can be taken away then everything you have built upon it falls.

Success is when what is said of you matches what is written about you.

God’s word say that you are His masterpiece, His poem, you are custom made from head to toe! He crafted you when He planned you. He is intimately involved in every facet of your life. He created you to chose Him. He created you to serve him by serving others.

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Holy Pain

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Have you ever been deeply hurt by a Christian? I’m not talking about a simple sleight. The hurt I am talking about is one of deeply embedded, faith sucking, life altering-cry yourself to sleep affect.

Has the pain become a companion that you bear up under or has it come to the point that you would like to move to the next chapter? A friend once asked me the same question. My initial reaction was one of anger. I thought “You have no idea what I have gone through!”. He then told me something that has had a profound effect upon my life.
“If you want to overcome your pain you will first need to identify who caused you the pain”
“It is not who you think.” He went on to explain “The people you are thinking of are not the ones who caused you pain. In fact the source of your pain did not even originate in this world. It originated another sphere altogether”.
“Your pain came from the spiritual realm and the first step to getting through it is to know that God allowed it”.
His unsolicited words cut deep within me. He was a friend so I listened and learned. I thank God that I did.

Job 1:8“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
Who initially brought Job up? God did. I am not nearly as blameless as Job.

Job was a man who suffered tremendous loss and calamity. He lost so much yet refused to give in to the advice of his wife and family. For forty chapters they blame him for the multiple calamities he faced. The best of their theology and misinformation boiled down to  CURSE GOD AND DIE.
Any pain that you have experienced has more purpose in it than you realize and more capacity than you can imagine. Your pain was allowed to begin a magnificent transformation in your life. It has the capacity to bring you to the exact place that Lord wants you.
There is nothing which more exposes a Christian’s weakness than how he reacts to pain. Anger, resentment, gossip, ugliness. Those are normal reactions. You can also choose to react in peace, faith, and hope, even without understanding.
When you choose to trust God with your pain you allow Him to remove more of you which is not Christ. Pain that is met with faith has resolution and triumph.

When God allows pain to enter the life of one of His children He also limits it. He also allows it to end in triumph .When you begin to see your pain as an act of God He can begin to have His will. Suddenly your pain begins to be a holy work of God.

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I wanted to end it all…

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Have you ever had the thought of suicide run through your mind? Have you ever been in that darkest of emotional places where you believe that “The pain was too much. I felt that I had lost everything. Filled with with emptiness, I made the decision to end my life.” As a church leader you have the opportunity to see people at their very best, and worst. You may visit a family with a newborn in the morning and attend a funeral of a friend in the afternoon. Combine those two stressors with a job and family responsibilities and your nerves are are depleted and wrecked. Fortunately these statements were made by survivors of suicide. People who had given up on taking the next breath but found that God still loved them.

One statement that I have heard from a recovering person troubled me- “How can they call themselves Christians when no one called after the divorce.” “I felt so alone that I wanted to end it all”. I can’t place the blame. Everyone has enough troubles of their own. Why would you want to take on the troubles of someone else? Then it hit me.You can only help someone when they need the help.

Is there anyone in your life who would be better off having a conversation with you? Sure, you might not have all of the answers but they may just need to know you care. Christians, please extravagantly love those people who God has placed in your path. You know that there are no happenstances in His Plan! Go on, make that call, have that lunch, initiate that conversation!

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