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Showing posts from November, 2011

“A beautiful day is out there to be seen and experienced, but you will be tragically unaware of it if you're stuck in a moment you can't get out of.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Locations 153-154). Kindle Edition.
One of the things Margaret and I do when we live in an area is to do all we can to experience the area.  We have lived on Long Island in New York State now for three years and we have been to more places than most of the people who have lived here all their life. 
Life is an adventure to be experienced but if we pull the shades down around us then we will miss so much of it.  Granted life can have some pain attached to it and life has some thorns in it but so does the beautiful rose.  You just need to know how to handle it to enjoy it. 
Now for some it will take some help to get you unstuck from what is holding you back.  Take the risk to talk to someone about your fears, about your pain.  I know that they are real but I also know that they can be a foundation for you to stand on to make a difference in other’s lives that have had the same fears…

“Your mistakes may define your past, but they don’t have to define your present.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2011-01-18) in his book, Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny(p. 140). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
We each one have made them, haven’t we?  I went through what I call my three year jerk time quite a few years back.  I totally put what I wanted first over my family but God bought me out of that time and forgave me.  I am so glad that I am not defined by that time in my life.
One way it does define us is when we relive the mistake over and over and never forgive ourselves.  That mistake can hold us emotionally captive but it only does that if we don’t let it go.  There is no do over.  If there is a confession to be made or a restitution to be done then confess and do whatever needs to be done then it is over.  We cannot do any more than that about it except to learn from it. 
The key is to not make the same mistake in the present.  If you keep doing it then you will be defined by it but if you learn from your mistake and not do it again then you wil…

“Giving is the first thing to do in breaking the cycle of greed and taking hold of real life.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) from their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About(Kindle Locations 607-608). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Margaret and I moved to Long Island in New York nearly 3 years ago.  We moved here for a specific reason and we were glad we moved.  But one problem with the move is that it is so expensive to live here.  God has helped us and supplied our personal needs but we have not been able to give at the level we are used to or really want to.  So what do you do?  Well what we are doing is to make some changes in our life.
The main one is we are moving to Florida and cutting our living expenses way down.  We are going smaller and we are going to own it.   God has been so good to us to allow us to live in some beautiful houses but we don’t need all that space anymore now that I have retired.  Our last home we had where I Pastored in Las Vegas was very large. But we used it.  One of our last Christmas’…

“God wants us to receive forgiveness and extend forgiveness, and then to experience freedom—the best kind of life.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) from their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About (Kindle Location 1374). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
One of the greatest things that I am thankful for is His forgiveness.  I went through a three year period in my life that I call my jerk time.  I mean it a time that I should have put me out to pasture as a minister of God but He forgave me and set me straight.  Also because of that I was able to look at others in a new light.  Because He forgave me for things I did against Him I then was willing and able to forgive others for they did toward me.
Asking for forgiveness is a humbling thing isn’t it?   You have to admit first of all that you did wrong, that you aren’t perfect.  That step makes you really look at yourself and to be honest of who you are and what you’ve done and that you need help.   Asking for and receiving forgiveness from God is such a time of freedom from your guilt and your f…

“He only requires that we have the faith to wade in as deep as he leads and keep reaching up to him.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book. Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible (p. 63). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
I know you have heard of the story of Charlton Heston leading the children of Israel through the Red Sea.It really was Moses but there was another crossing of another river the again the children of Israel walked though.It was just a little bit different.
The river was the Jordan and the leader was Joshua and God gave the instructions to the priests, the religious leaders to the Ark of the Covenant, it was a kind of symbol of God’s presence, well God told them to start walking into the river.Now the other time at the Red Sea God parted the waters right where they were walking but this time He did it up river.Again He told them to start walking while there was still water.They first got their ankles wet, “it’s coming, I know it’s coming”.Then the water was up to their knees, “I know He did it at the Red Sea, but this i…

“Rather than trusting God to supply our needs, we get caught in the frenzy of accumulation.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson, (2011-07-19) in their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About(Kindle Locations 539-540). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
This act of accumulation comes into reality when you are in need of getting a U Haul truck to move your stuff.  I mean when we were moving after 15 years in Las Vegas to a much smaller house on Long Island we had garage sales for three weeks straight and we had the garbage truck guys on retainer.  We gave stuff away on moving day and we had to rent the largest trailer to go behind the largest truck that U Haul had.  With two families we also drove three cars with the truck and trailer for a combined total of over 10,000 miles (2,500 + per vehicle).  We had too much stuff and we still do.
We are back to the same thing.  Margaret and I will be moving to Seminole, Florida and Andrew and Stef into Manhattan the first of the year.  The U Haul truck won’t need to be as big but it will be big enoug…

“Knowing doesn’t make the difference. Doing does.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 178). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now I may memorize the Bible from cover to cover and it may help me in winning some arguments but if I don’t see it as God’s personal living plan for my life and do what it says then it will not make a vital, everlasting difference in my life.
Now I may know how important it is for an overweight 64 year old man who wants to live a productive, long, active, healthy life to exercise and eat right and I may propagate what I know but if I don’t do what I know then I will not reap the benefit from what I know.
Now I may know that people don’t want to be around someone who is argumentative, self-focused and disingenuous but if I don’t do the changes in my character to make a difference in how I act then I will be a very lonely and probably angry individual who has no meaningful, close relationships.
Now I may know that …

“Extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book,Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(pp. 44-45). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
There is a story in the New Testament about Jesus walking on water.  I’m sure you have heard about it. 
Well Jesus had just spoken to a bunch of people and had even fed all 5,000 of them (that was also an extraordinary thing He did) and it says in Matthew 14.22&23 (MSG),“As soon as the meal was finished, He insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while He dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, He climbed the mountain so He could be by Himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.”   So they got in the boat and left. 
Now after they had gotten far out in the lake the wind came against them and they were battered by the waves. They were having a rough time.
Verses 25-27 (MSG),”At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the…

“Faith opens your eyes to see the potential to serve a God who is already at work on your behalf.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book,Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(pp. 44-45). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
There is a story in the New Testament about Jesus walking on water.I’m sure you have heard about it.
Well Jesus had just spoken to a bunch of people and had even fed all 5,000 of them (that was also an extraordinary thing He did) and it says in Matthew 14.22&23 (MSG),“As soon as the meal was finished, He insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while He dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, He climbed the mountain so He could be by Himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.”So they got in the boat and left.
Now after they had gotten far out in the lake the waves came against them and they were battered by the waves. They were having a rough time.
Verses 25-27 (MSG),”At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. …

“What’s in our hearts, good or bad, will eventually come out as words and deeds.”

A thought from Andy Stanley (2009-08-22) from his book, It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart (p. 46). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
The scandal that is now coming out at Penn State University sure proves the bad part of this thought.  The reputation of the football program was one of integrity.  They may have appeared to be upright from a recruiting standpoint but the fact that an upstanding, highly successful assistant coach was molesting young boys finally is coming out. The fact also that some in the administration were covering it up shows what the real heart of the program was.  Who they really are is coming finally to the surface.
We are also seeing a part of that in our Presidential campaign.  Eventually it will come out who is good and who is bad, whether it is the attacker or the attacked.  Time will eventually show what the truth is.   
Jesus says the same thing over in Matthew 12.34 (NIV), for out of the heart the mouth speaks.  Who we really …

“The darker it gets, the brighter our faith can shine.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 30). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
We don’t usually have faith when things are going great.  What we usually have is credit.  We usually take credit for how much we have accomplished.  “Wow, look how smart I am.”  Or we give credit to the wrong thing. 
Now here is the secret in handling the dark times.  If we give God credit for the good in the good times not ourselves or whatever political party is in power then when the dark times come, which they will, our faith will be strong enough to handle the dark times, our faith will shine bright.  How we Christians are handling these dark days tells a lot about how we handled the good days.  Our faith in these darks days should be brightest if our faith is and has been in Him.
Somehow we need to see that the darker life gets is the best time to show that our faith really makes a difference.  But if we are pu…

“If you’re not daring to believe God for the impossible, you’re sleeping through some of the best parts of your Christian life.”

A thought from Steven Furtick, (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible (Kindle Locations 230-231). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
What an awesome, soul searching question.  I’ll be honest, I want as a 64 year old retired church planter to believe that even at this stage of my life the impossible can happen and I don’t want to sleep through some of the best parts of my Christian life.  I really don’t believe the effective time of my life is over.  I really don’t.
But what is the impossible that God wants to do through me?  I am very serious about asking that question.  Oh I know I should just be satisfied with the life I have lived so far and to just settle in to living out my retirement but if I do that I just might miss some of the best parts of my Christian life.  I don’t want to do that. 
I have been for the past three years getting my emotional and physical life in order.  I really was tired after fighting the battle of…

“If minimum wage maintained pace with the rate increase of CEO pay scales over the last twenty years, a worker earning minimum wage would receive over $23 per hour.”

A thought by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch Lance (2011-01-01) from their book, Right Here, Right Now (Shapevine) (p. 130). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
That statement tells a lot about the problems we are having in the world today.  We are not a “we” society but an “us and them” society.  Too many times those is control don’t see the responsibility for those they lead.
I don’t begrudge those who have the responsibility of leadership to not get paid but this fact that one person has that much more value to a company is wrong.  No one person can run a business alone.  Yes there needs to be a leader but a leader is not a leader without followers.  And each is important.  Each company needs a team to make it happen.
I am a LA Dodgers’ fan.  I love baseball.  This year there were two Dodger players who were outstanding, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp but they couldn’t do it all by themselves.  No business, no team can win without a group of people each one doing their part.  And each one of th…

“The truth is, about the only thing most of us learn from experience is what to expect when we repeat the same bad decisions.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 41). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now we always hope that the result will be different but it isn’t.   We may even pray that it will be different but it isn’t.  We believe that it will be different but it isn’t. 
Now God is amazing.  To realize that He created each and every one of us and He created every part of us should show us that He has a plan.   Now He gave us a mouth so we could speak; He gave us eyes so we could see; He gave us feet so we could walk; He gave us hands so we could do; and He gave us a brain so we could think and He wants us to use each and every one of them, even our brain.
Many times we do the same thing that didn’t end right the first time and before we do it we ask God to make it come out differently.  Now God has that ability but God has also given us the ability to evaluate, to contemplate, in other words to think and tha…

“To get from where we don’t want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction. There isn’t a quick fix.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 11). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Two years ago I realized I needed to change the direction of my life physically.  I knew I was in trouble.  Now I wish that I could have decided and then it happened but it didn’t work that way for me.  I have been overweight all my life and I would at different times try to change direction.  It would work for a while and then I would fall back.  For me it had to be a total change in direction and I did it and things physically are changing for the better.  I am now headed in the right direction.
Yesterday was my wife, Margaret’s birthday and after church she and I with our daughter, Stefanie and her husband, Andrew went out to a great restaurant to celebrate.  Now they had Blue Bell ice cream.  That is the best ice cream you could ever have and I had some and it showed up on my scales this morning.  I mean I gained…

“Christians start talking about forgiveness as if somehow forgiveness serves as an escape hatch from the outcome of bad decisions.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 42). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now what does forgiveness do?  It absolves me of the guilt of my action but it doesn’t necessarily absolve me of the consequences of the action. 
For example, let’s say that I haven’t paid my income taxes for 10 years.  That can be a very dangerous thing to do.  But let’s say I go to God and I ask Him to forgive me.  I repent of my breaking the law and I am then absolved on my guilt to God but that doesn’t absolve me of my guilt to the government.  I still am going to have to pay my back taxes and probably some penalties and interest.  That is the way it works.  But let’s say, I expect God to take care of all that.  I asked Him to forgive me.  Shouldn’t He take care of at least the penalty and the interest?   
The answer is no.  You are responsible for the consequences of your actions even if you have asked God for fo…

“Life satisfaction is more closely tied to attitudes and values than to possessions and fame.”

A thought by George Barna, (2011-05-15). Futurecast: in his book, Futurecast: What Today's Trends Mean for Tomorrow's World(Kindle Location 488). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I know a big percentage of people today don’t realize this or don’t believe it.  If they did life would be so less complicated for them.  They work and work to get stuff but they aren’t satisfied when they get it.  They know they just need a little bit more.  But needing a little bit more means they will never be satisfied.
But what if they had the attitude that what they had was more than enough and had the value that helping others was better than helping themselves?  They would be so much more satisfied.  But doesn’t the Bible say that the Lord helps those who help themselves?  No, Ben Franklin said that.  The Lord says, it is more blessed to give than to receive.  And another way to say blessed is happy.
So how happy are you?

“Some experts say to completely solve global hunger would cost about thirty billion dollars a year. Americans spend more than that each year on pizza.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) in their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About(Kindle Locations 531-532). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
We really don’t appreciate the problem of hunger do we?  I know I don’t.  I think I do but I really don’t.  I may be hungry so I get up and go into our kitchen and find something to eat or I dial my phone to get a pizza.  I don’t really know about being hungry.
It comes down to the fact that we don’t have a food problem but a sharing problem. 
Have you heard the story about TOMS Shoes?  I got a pair for my birthday.  I love them.  TOMS Shoes is a unique company founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie.  While competing on the second season of The Amazing Race with his sister, Mycoskie visited Argentina. He returned there on vacation in January 2006 and had the idea to develop a shoe company where for every pair sold, a new pair would be donated to a child in need of shoes. Blake had once said of his…