January 23, 2013

Empty Nets


One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there (Luke 5:1-3).

The crowd observing this must have thought to themselves “oh snap!” Here Simon (aka Peter) has just spent the entire night fishing and didn’t catch a thing. Now as he’s docking his boat, a near by teacher decides to use his boat as a platform to speak from. It’s almost as if Jesus’ is saying, “well you’re obviously not going to catch any fish with this thing, let me make better use of it as a stage.” You can almost hear one of the teen girls in the crowd saying to her friends “oh no he didn’t!”  But that’s only the beginning. Once Jesus finishes his lesson, he immediately offers Simon a few pointers about fishing, telling him to “go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

At this point enough becomes enough and Simon chooses to speak up saying we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing.” Another way of putting it would be “teachers teach and fishers fish – let’s keep it that way.”

Let’s push the pause button for a second. Have you ever had a horrible day where you've exhausted every option and still found yourself failing or coming up short? On days like this, don’t you just want to throw in the towel and call it a day? Chances are you definitely don’t want to hear someone’s two cents about the situation either. Without a doubt this is one of those days for Simon. For this was no leisure night out with the boys. This was his job – his livelihood. His company depends on him and more importantly his family depends on him. In his case empty nets means one thing, he’s failed them both.

So back to the story, where it’s no surprise we find Simon exhausted, filled with frustration, humiliated by his failure and wanting to call it a day. Yet to our surprise, buried deep beneath those feelings is the courage to take Jesus’ at his word, in which he tells Jesus if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking (Luke 5:5-7).

Perhaps you’re having one of those days and you can relate to being exhausted, filled with frustration, humiliated by your failures and wanting to call it a day. If so, there are three things Simon did that you can do as well. And maybe, just maybe you’ll experience the turn around you are hoping for.

1. He allowed Jesus into his boat.
Like Simon, you may assume Jesus doesn’t have a clue about your situation. For example, Jesus was never married, He never worked in corporate America and He didn’t have any children. The list could go on and on.  Which raises the question, how and what could Jesus teach you? For some of those questions, I don’t know the answers. But what I do know is if you never let him in, you’ll never know what he has to offer.

2. He took Jesus at His word.
Simon tells Jesus, “I’ve done everything I can, but if you say so…” How different would our lives look if we responded this way? In reverse you must know what Jesus says in order to take hold of it. That being said, one of the best things you can do is immerse yourself in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).  There’s no doubt you’ll find Jesus has a lot to say. The question is whether or not you’ll respond by saying “ok, if you say so…”

3. He tried again.
Jesus doesn’t suggest a different fishing technique. He only calls Simon into deeper waters and then challenges him to try the exact same thing over again. Who knows, you may be one application away from the job you’re hoping for, or one conversation from the needed breakthrough in your marriage. It could be one more sales pitch or just another test. Whatever it may be, the challenge here is to try again.

In closing, I feel I should provide a warning. Although the worse day possible turned into the greatest day ever for Simon, he then found himself with a completely different problem. Their boats were sinking.

I pray you experience a similar inconvenience. 

February 22, 2012

Ham & Eggs

A chicken and a pig were walking down the road together. They passed a sign for a local diner advertising its breakfast special: “Ham and Eggs – $2.95!” The chicken said, “That’s our whole contribution to society: breakfast food!” The pig replied, “For you, it may be a contribution. For me it’s a total commitment.”

The chicken in this story get’s by with laying eggs, yet for ham to be on the menu the pig has to die. The chicken gives a little, while the pig gives all he has. And as strange as it may seem this is the case surrounding relationships in our culture. For contrary to popular belief, a relationship with God requires more than a contribution. It requires a total commitment; as does your relationship with your spouse, children and closest friends. The problem is people refuse to devote themselves entirely to those who matter in their life, and as a result they become frustrated when the relationship never becomes all they had hope it would be. Let’s face it; our culture is full of chickens – individuals who settle for making small contributions all because commitment requires some extra effort. Or perhaps they’re just plain scared to do so. And as commitment depreciates within our culture, many are left with relationships that lack any sort of value.

Personally I don’t believe this should come as groundbreaking news. You’re commitment determines the type of relationship you will end up with. And as commitment goes, so does the relationship. Affairs lead to divorces. Neglected children are forced to become adults before teenagers, while developing hatred towards their parents. All while the friendships in our lives come and go with the click of a button on Facebook. People constantly find themselves back at square one. It’s as if society has turned a deaf ear to the old adage, “if you don’t want to start over again, stop giving up.” Besides giving up is the easy part. It’s living with your decision that will haunt you down the road. Don’t believe me? Just ask the parent who missed seeing their kids grow up, or the husband who traded in 15 years of marriage for a date with his secretary. There’s no question, bailing on your commitment will destroy those close to you, but it will also leave you just as miserable.

I think the story of the chicken and the pig is amusing, but not for obvious reasons. What’s funny to me is the chicken seems to be more upset about the situation than the pig. In the same way, those who make minimal contributions will always be displeased with the results they produce. On the contrary, it’s commitment that produces success and value within a relationship, while a lack of devotion forfeits a relationship’s significance.

Don’t just make a contribution. Make a commitment. And in all things, commit to the Lord whatever you do and you will succeed - Proverbs 16:3. 

February 1, 2012

Snipers With Bad Aim

Have you ever watched an action movie where the main character is being chased by a group of assassins or secret agents and while running through an open field or down an alley the highly trained group of individuals with machine guns can’t seem to land a single bullet? I love stories where the good guy comes out on top, but sometimes I want them just to get shot so the movie is more believable. Because such poor aim just doesn’t exist. Or does it?

In Judges 13 an angel of the Lord appears before Samson’s parents who were unable to have children and informs them they will soon be with child. The angel goes on to tell them that “the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines” Judges 13:5. For Samson’s parents this was great news! For one they were going to have a child. And secondly Israel was going to be delivered from the Philistines. There’s no doubt, such news would provoke a thankful response. So the problem here isn’t their response. It’s their aim.

In a moment when God should be the one receiving glory,  Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” The angel of the LORD replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.) Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” Judges 3:15-17

Consider how often we do this sort of thing. God chooses to do incredible things in our lives by blessing us in a myriad of ways. Yet when gratitude is expressed we have the aim of a blind sniper with a squirt gun. We shower others or ourselves with the credit, all the while the one who is responsible goes unnoticed and without appreciation.

I’m unsure of what God is doing in your life, but I do know scripture promises he is at work in the lives of those who trust in him (Romans 8:28). The question is, when moments call for gratitude will our appreciation be on target? Or will God go untouched like a Hollywood hero being chased by some dirty cops?

January 12, 2012

January 11, 2012

The Great Delegator

I have always found it fascinating that God desires for us to be apart of his tremendous story, while inviting us to assist Him in His perfect plan. What makes this so remarkable is the fact that God doesn’t need our help. If truth were told, His perfect plan is going to take place regardless of whether or not you and I are with or against Him. Nonetheless, the creator of the heavens and the earth, He who spoke life into existence wants you and I to be apart of what He’s doing in the world. In fact, God is such a team player; we find that he often delegates the best parts of the story to you and I.

Take for example the time Jesus fed over 5,000 people. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:15-21

Technically Jesus only gave food to his disciples. It was actually the disciples who distributed the food to over 5000 people. Now it’s obvious who is responsible for the miracle here, and there’s no doubt Jesus could have handled things on his own, yet Jesus chooses to delegate the feeding of thousands - the best part of the story to his disciples. On the flip side, it was the disciples’ willingness to serve thousands of people after a long exhausting day that created an avenue for a miracle to take place.

Both Jesus and his disciples impress me here. Jesus’ generosity in delegating the miracle to his disciples is incredibly generous, although the disciples’ willingness to serve thousands is what challenges me the most. There’s no question God wants us to be apart of his story, the question is whether or not you and I will be willing to do what that entitles. Chances are the task may seem small or tedious, but if we can match the willingness of the disciples we too will find ourselves in the pages of His story linked to the miraculous. Because “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Luke 16:10a

October 25, 2011

Hot Cocoa

Have you ever realized how the weather outside seems to determine your appetite for hot cocoa? Seriously, who drinks hot cocoa in the summer? Although come winter time there's no greater beverage. And as someone who really enjoys a cup of hot cocoa, I have recently realized that my appreciation for the drink increases as the temperature outside decreases.

Isn't that the case when it comes to Jesus in our everyday life? When things in life are going smoothly one's desire or appreciation for Him seems to decrease. Yet once life brings you down your need for Him increases. And it's His presence during the low times of life we come to appreciate the most.  

Isn't it strange how a drink we love becomes a drink we forget about depending on the season we are in? Let's make a conscious effort not to treat Jesus the same way.  

Psalms 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
 I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

October 19, 2011

Lose The Name


It doesn’t take a genius to understand the importance of marketing in the business world. You can have an incredible brand with amazing products, but if you don’t get your name out to the public, you’re bound to fail. Yet in a world filled with marketing and companies doing whatever they can to get their name out, Starbucks has chosen the opposite by removing their name from the Starbucks logo. Now for most companies this decision would be suicidal, but in Starbucks’ case it’s brilliant. And in doing so they have joined the small list of industry giants who no longer need to tell you who they are; when you see them you just know. A few others on this list would be; Nike (swoosh), Macintosh (apple) and McDonalds (golden arches). So the question I have been pondering is, at what point do you lose the name? At what point does your identity become so recognizable you no longer need to state who you are?

Apply this idea to faith and the Christian life and the question becomes “at what point do people recognize you as a follower of Christ without you having to tell them you’re a Christian?”

I believe the first contributing factor is; incredible consistency.
A pair of Nikes in Wisconsin looks, fits and feels the same way a pair of Nikes does in Paris. A 31 year old in Philadelphia and a 16 year old in Switzerland serve a cheeseburger and fries or a cup of coffee that taste the exact same. And an Apple puts a PC to shame wherever you go in the world. For wherever they are, they remain true to who they are and they do so with incredible consistency. How about you? When you’re at work, out with your friends, on a business trip, at the hair salon, standing in line at the store or any place at anytime for that matter – do people recognize you as someone who lives like Jesus?

The second contributing factor is; what you see is what you get.
A person doesn’t walk into Starbucks and leave with a taco. The same way Nike stores don’t sell extension chords. For that would just be ridiculous! Like finding a PC on the shelf at an Apple store. Yet that’s the case for many Christians and churches; we offer something completely contradicting to the title we bare. Think about it. Walking into Starbucks means you’re going to find Starbucks. Because what you see is what you get. So shouldn’t we be concerned when people enter our church buildings that bare the cross - a symbol of love, grace and mercy just to encounter angry/selfish/hypocritical/greedy/gossiping people on the inside? When people see the cross, isn’t that what they should receive? When people encounter Christians, shouldn’t they be encountering Jesus?

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the one they have been waiting for, or should they expect someone else. Then Jesus responds, “go back and report to John what you hear and see.” And like a logo with no name on it, Jesus doesn’t state his identity; for his identity is so recognizable He finds no need to verbalize who He is. It’s in this moment that Jesus reinforces his statements in Matthew 7 in which people will be recognized by their fruit and the way they live.

So lose the name and let the way you live communicate who you are. For after all, that’s what Jesus did. 

September 27, 2011

Ladders

This past week I was painting around the house when I found myself distracted by my daughter who kept trying to climb the ladder. And no matter how many times I would tell her not to, the moment I climbed up the ladder she would begin doing the same. As a parent there is obviously something frightening about your 1 year old climbing a ladder, not to mention it's frustrating when she refuses to listen. So caught up in the fear of her getting hurt and the irritation of her not listening, it hit me - she's simply repeating what she sees me doing.

I wonder how many parents find themselves experiencing fear or frustration as their children get in harms way or refuse to listen, when in reality the child is simply mimicking what they continue to see their parents do. The same reality can be true in leadership. And in both arenas, parents and leaders are asking the question "how do I help them understand?" Or, "how do I correct their behavior?" When the appropriate question may be "what am I doing that's setting a bad example and confusing them?"

Like standing on a ladder telling your child to not climb up, perhaps you will find that you often attempt to correct the behavior (s) of one who is simply mimicking what they observe you doing. Just know in order to correct the behavior of someone else, you must first correct that very behavior in yourself.

July 29, 2011

Foolishly Faithful


King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, considered to be one of his greatest dramatic masterpieces. The title character descends into madness after foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. In the end, it’s only the King’s fool (also known as a jester) who remains loyal and by his side.”

I believe the Fool’s loyalty to the King despite his idiocy establishes him as the ultimate fool. The Fool in this story resembles a person who loves someone unconditionally without ever receiving any love in return. He appears like a person who displays incredible loyalty while knowing he will only be rejected over and over again. This foolish jester is like one who devotes his undivided attention towards another while giving of himself entirely just to be ignored and selfishly taken advantage of. He is an absolute fool, and the person he resembles most is Jesus. For despite our inconsistencies and poor responses to Jesus’ extravagant love and devotion to you and I, he continues to remain foolishly faithful to us. And like my college professor Dr. Watson always would say “life isn’t fair, but God is faithful.”

As a pastor this past week was incredibly difficult. And the struggles only continue. As I write this I can think of people in my church who are; fighting terminal illnesses, on the verge of losing their marriage, being strangled by their finances, controlled by addictions, scarred from abuse, trapped in their past, depressed and hopeless. And with each conversation that I’ve been in, I have found myself banking on the faithfulness of God. For no matter what we’re facing, what we’ve done, or what pain we’ve caused - the God we serve continues to remain foolishly faithful at all times.

Below is a video of a song by Matt Redman that has recently become my theme song. Check it out!

June 29, 2011

Elevators


I have had so many classic experiences while riding an elevator:

The time my parents taught my siblings and I the elevator jump. "If you time it right you can catch hang time like Jordan" - Dad.

The time we snuck onto the girls floor in college and lit off handfuls (5 of us double fisting as many as we could hold) of M80s. I'll never forget jumping back in the elevator to go down to our floor when they exploded and literally caused the elevator to shut down. We were stuck! And the award for worlds dumbest criminals goes to...... (drum roll)

The awkward ride with the bell man. Or, the "who farted" ride up to the 13th floor.

The singing. The dancing. The kissing.  Even the times of talking to myself or picking my nose. You get the point. We all ride elevators. And we all do a variety of different things both on the way up and on the way down.

The same is true with life. Sometimes we're going up and some times we're going down. Other times we're flat out stuck! Some rides are enjoyable while others are miserable. And what you do between levels plays a major role. Take my experiences for example:

The elevator jump: making the right decision at the right time is key.
The M80s ride: poor decisions can bring life to a halt.
The "who farted" ride: what you do affects those around you.
The Singing, Dancing and Kissing: life needs rejoicing, expression of self and love.
The talking to yourself ride: personal conversations and reflections are a must.
The picking your nose ride: some things we do are flat our embarrassing.

We all have dreams and we all have goals. Pin point the level in life you desire to be at and then begin taking into consideration all the things you will do on the ride up. In doing so, also pay attention to the things that could very well bring you down or to a halt.

June 25, 2011

The Hangover Part 2


Yesterday Kristin and I took our daughter Riley to the movie theatre for the first time to see “Cars 2!” To our surprise this was a great experience. Riley got in free, behaved very well, the movie was good and theatre popcorn always makes the experience complete. Yet something prior to the movie took place that struck a powerful thought in my mind.

As we approached the usher with our tickets he informed us that our show would be in theatre #11 and not to be fooled by the sign that reads “Theatre #11 - The Hangover Part 2.” For those of you unfamiliar with this popular film, The Hangover Part 2 is a story about a group of friends hung over from the night before and unable to remember what has taken place they retrace their steps through drugs, violence, alcohol and sex in order to find their missing friend. This film is not rated PG.

As a pastor I am well aware of the aquarium we live in. And as we passed below the sign that read “The Hangover Part 2” I couldn’t help but laugh when thinking of someone witnessing Kristin and I walking into a theatre with our 19 month old daughter appearing to go see a rated R movie known for it’s profanity, violence, drugs, alcohol and strong sexual content. Something like this could really score some points in a circle of gossip. Imagine if this person was thinking on their toes and snapped a photo of us beneath the sign as proof. I arrive at this extent only because this has actually happened to me while sitting at a bar in Applebee’s trying to talk a husband into going home to save his marriage.

The point is this; what appears to be obvious and evident sometimes isn’t even close to the truth. The question that flooded my mind while watching “Cars 2” with my family was this; am I guilty of wrongfully accusing someone of something that wasn’t true despite the proof I felt I possessed?

In the book of Acts God is doing something incredible in some people’s lives and nearby witnesses accuse them of being drunk. A moment of beauty is mistaken for the exact opposite. I believe God urges us to allow him to be the judge in order to alleviate us from the stress and hassle we face when attempting a task beyond our capacity. It’s as if he’s saying, “I’ll handle this, you simply hope for the best in people.” For once again God chooses to center his people around hope and love.

A trip to the movies served as a valuable reminder and reflection for me personally and in writing this I hope it will do the same for you. In result, my prayer is that we will find ourselves centered around hope and love. For further reading check out Matthew 7.

June 21, 2011

I Told You So

Most everyone has experienced an “I told you so” moment. And most everyone would agree it’s one of the most annoying and frustrating phrases to hear. There’s something so irritating about someone boldly predicting a future outcome in your life that you initially disagree with, yet as time progresses you yourself prove them to be right. You yourself create the opportunity for them to say “I told you so.”

The reason why this is so irritating is simple. We hate accepting the fact that someone other than ourselves has a greater foreknowledge of the decisions we make and outcomes they create. We can’t stand it when someone else is right when we so badly wanted them to be wrong.

Someone who has an incredible foreknowledge of our decisions and outcomes is Satan himself. And though we would hate for him to be right, we often prove his predictions to be spot on. Take Adam and Eve for example. The magnitude of their decision in the Garden never seems to cross their mind. The possible outcome never seems to be considered. Sadly to say, Satan did know the magnitude of their decision and his prediction was proven to be true by Adam and Eve.

What Satan is aware of here that Adam and Eve seem to overlook is the power of our decisions. He understands that with every decision we make we create a ripple effect in the world we live in. For Adam and Eve, their decision altered the course of humanity and I believe ours will do the same. Furthermore Satan knows the devastation we ourselves are capable of bringing into the world through the very decisions we ourselves make. And with this knowledge he seeks to delegate injustice to us and through our decisions.

Don’t you hate the fact that Satan employs us to accomplish his plan?

On the contrary God’s word predicts drastically different outcomes as a result of our lives aligning to scripture. And God’s predictions are awesome! So awesome that you actually delight in him saying “I told you so.” For as believers we long for the day when he says to us “well done thy good and faithful servant.” Which let’s be honest. What he is saying is “Well done. I knew you could do it. Didn’t I tell you this day would come?” In which our response will be “you were right, you told me so.”

So choose wisely and take into consideration the ripple effect you will be creating. Ask yourself the question; who would I rather hear say “I told you so,” God or Satan?

April 6, 2011

MisMatched

In college I had a teammate who was colorblind and at least a couple times a week he would head off to class wearing a hideous outfit that didn’t match. I’ll never forget trying to intervene the day he came out of his room wearing black and red shorts along with a purple and yellow sweatshirt.  I figured he would take my advice considering he was well aware of being color blind, although to my surprise he resisted my help insisting that what he was wearing looked good. For despite the truth, he was convinced of a false reality.

The same can be found true with most Christians and this is consistently made evident in the area of tithing. For one who says God is first in their life yet doesn’t tithe is delusional. They are convinced of something that simply isn’t true. And these people continue to walk through life unaware that their faith in action doesn’t match up with God’s word. They are like a student heading off to class wearing black, red, purple and yellow saying to themselves, “I look good.”

Sadly enough, many will still argue that God is first in their life. And according to studies done by the Barna Group, the majority of people who don’t tithe don’t give anything at all. So what do people do with their money? Or maybe the question should be, what comes before God when it comes to people’s finances?

According to statistics (during a recession) Americans spent the following:
$20 Billion on Coffee
$17 Billion on Pet Food
$93 Billion on Soda
$12 Billion on Perfume
$50 Billion on Diet Products
$8 Billion on Make Up

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe any of these expenses are bad. Although, when a cup of coffee takes precedence over our creator, we have an issue. When history tells us of Jesus sacrificing his life for us, yet we’re unable to sacrifice a Big Gulp in return, we have a problem. And the problem is many people’s lives and priorities don’t match up with God’s priorities found in His word. For God gave his son Jesus to die for us, and when we give we become like God. We match!

I challenge you to match yourself to God’s word. And like God’s word, you too will find yourself standing the tests of time.

February 16, 2011

Responsibility = Accountability







At first glance the story of the fall of man can be extremely frustrating. And until we begin to see the similarities between us and Adam and Eve it will remain irritating. Yet our irritation often causes us to skip over something profound within this passage. For without a doubt the focus here is heavily on the fall rather than the point at which they slipped. And without recognizing the slip, we miss how the fall could have been avoided. We fail to learn the lesson as to how we can avoid our own falls.

In Genesis, Adam and Eve are created to take care of God’s beautiful creation, a job that would obviously require tons of responsibilities. Yet when the fall occurs Adam and Eve aren’t fulfilling any responsibilities. Another way of putting it is they were being irresponsible. The point is responsibility can equal accountability. For fulfilling their responsibilities would have eliminated their irresponsible decision.

The same is true for David in 2 Samuel 11. Verse 1 reads In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.” And once David avoids his responsibilities, we find him falling into lust, committing adultery and plotting a murder. Once again drawing our attention to the moments where he fell rather than the point at which he slipped. For like Adam and Eve, the slip leading to the fall takes place when David fails to fulfill his responsibilities.

What are you responsible for? What is required of you to be a great spouse, parent, employee or friend? As a Christian what Biblical responsibilities do you find yourself avoiding? For responsibility equals accountability. And despite the size of your responsibilities, choosing to avoid them often causes us to fall.

Recent Testimony showing that Responsibility = Accountability:
“My wife and I have spent tons of money on pornography and in this time haven’t given a penny to God. But last week we decided to cancel all of our pornography subscriptions and begin giving that money as our tithe. I guess you could say we’re knocking out two birds with one stone.” - Anonymous

You're either responsible or you're irresponsible, the choice is yours.

January 29, 2011

Run For The Dream


Since moving to Oklahoma, my wife Kristin has fallen in love with the Beautiful Dream Society and their fight against Human Trafficking in Africa. And determined to join the fight she has decided to organize a 5K run that will benefit the victims of this horrible crime. For like I've heard her say countless times "we have to do something!"

For more information about the Beautiful Dream Society and how to register for this event, visit their website www.beautifuldream.tv The event will take place at Lake Hefner, OKC on March 26. On site registration will be available (we prefer that you register online) an hour before the race. The race will begin at 9am. 

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. 

January 26, 2011

Observations #5


Introduction: Do you ever find yourself making odd observations about things you encounter in life? For example: why do you drive on a parkway and park in a driveway? Or, why must women have their mouths stretched wide open while putting on their mascara? And as odd as these observations may seem, they often present a good point. The following is an observation from the story of Noah and the Ark.

Storms Are Better Than Deserts

One of the most disheartening things as a pastor is witnessing people throw in the towel when times get rough. It’s so sad to see people bail on God, when the God they are in need of is right before them, many times within the storm. I find that many have come to faith in God for hopes of a life without problems, although such life doesn’t exist. In fact as long as you’re living there will always be problems.

The problem is, many people are unaware of what they are wishing for in a life without storms. Think about it, a life without storms is simply a desert. For it’s the storms that bring excitement, definition, beauty and color to the lives we are living. More importantly, storms bring life! Not to mention, storms come to an end, while deserts remain a lifetime.

Just know that many of your greatest traits and characteristics are by products of the storms you have faced. For example; up until recently moving to Oklahoma I lived in Minnesota for 6 years. And there are things I love about Minnesota and things I can’t stand about Minnesota. For example I love Minnesota as the “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but I can’t stand the countless snowstorms during the freezing winters. And as much as I wish I could have one without the other, I can’t. For without the snowstorms there would be no “Land of Lakes.” The same goes for you and the life you’re living. To experience life to it’s fullest, while reaching your God given potential, you’re going to have to go through storms. Or you can spend the rest of your life living in a desert, where abundant life doesn’t exist.

January 24, 2011

Observations #4


Introduction: Do you ever find yourself making odd observations about things you encounter in life? For example: why do you drive on a parkway and park in a driveway? Or, why must women have their mouths stretched wide open while putting on their mascara? And as odd as these observations may seem, they often present a good point. The following is an observation from the story of Noah and the Ark.

Cheetahs and Turtles Traveled at the Same Speed on the Ark

Apart from having four legs, a mouth and two eyes a cheetah and a turtle are drastically different. In fact in many ways they are opposites. The cheetah is sleek, stylish, explosive, agile and incredibly fast while the turtle’s best feature would be it’s shell. It seems fair to say the two don’t even belong in the same discussion. Which is why the cheetah gets countless hours of publicity on the discovery channel, while the turtle would most likely hurt ratings by putting it’s viewers to sleep. And even though I hate cats, it’s true; a cheetah is far greater than a turtle. Unless! The two are traveling together on the ark and the storm destroys the ark. In this case the turtle is in far better shape than the cheetah.

My point is the storms we face in life provide defining moments. Moments where we have the opportunity to maximize our potential in times it’s needed most. So stop playing the comparison game with those you see to be great and don’t become discouraged next time you encounter a storm. Know that in your storm lies a defining moment, and in these moments we have the opportunity to become great. For it's not our peers who determine greatness, but rather our accomplishments during times of adversity that provide such definition.