Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2012

“The sting of pain is way overrated.”

A thought by Miles McPherson, (2009-11-01) in his book, DO Something!: Make Your Life Count (Kindle Location 419). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
Miles who played professional football in the NFL tells of the three times he was cut or fired from a team and how it affected him each time.  The same action brought three different reactions to him, sad – mad and then glad.  The difference with the last one was he had learned to trust that God had a plan.
Yesterday we were looking at an impossible situation and the answer came back as no, not at this time.  Now when you have prayed, really prayed about something and you don’t get the answer that you wanted there is disappointment and some pain but there is also victory.  God could have but He didn’t so you know that He has a better plan.  That is where trust comes in.  The pain of the first no really hurt but it also brought us to a deeper time of prayer which also brought us to a deeper commitment to His plan.  So the pain brought about good.

“Approach your impossibilities with confident humility.”

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. 74). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
The reason is because if you had the ability to do whatever it is then it would be possible.  You wouldn’t need to be humble.  You would just take the credit and go on.  But the impossible means that you can’t do it.  It is impossible.
Now humility means you need help and you ask for it.  If it is impossible and you aren’t going to ask for help because of pride then it becomes even more impossible.  But if you know someone who can make the impossible possible and you ask them for help then that is wisdom and humility.  That is trust!
There was a very difficult situation in our family that had become impossible.  Someone said no and that looked like the end of the possibility.  During my walk time on Friday I was praying about the situation and all I could think to pray was for God to help the person to change their …

“When we allow the life-draining emotions of lingering anger, guilt, anxiety, and fear to be the controlling forces of our emotions, we are giving death and disease power in our life!”

A thought by David Stoop from his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Locations 402-403). Kindle Edition.
Notice the word allow, that shows it is you who can control these negative forces of your emotions.  By choosing to continually focus on these life-draining emotions you give death and disease power in your life.  We don’t need to give into this power but give our life over to God’s power by letting Him have our anger, guilt, anxiety and fear.   
Now your thoughts tell you where your faith is, they tell you how healthy you are.  Think you’re getting a headache.  You’ll get it.  Think you’ll get a cold.  Here it comes.  Think your kids are going to be a problem at grandmas.  Get ready.  Think you’re going to have a bad day at work.  Be prepared. 
I have read a Psalm from the Old Testament every day for years to help me with my self-talk. Look at what David said in Psalm 103:2-6 (Message), “O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—everyone.
He hea…

“We have been taught to believe that our feelings and emotions are determined by the events in our lives.”

A thought by David Stoop in his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Location 217). Kindle Edition.
If this is true then why are there so many depressed people in January after all the stuff that they got on Christmas? I mean for so many this is a very downer month.  They looked so forward to getting what they asked for but it didn’t have any lasting effect. 
Now it is so easy to believe that our feelings and emotions are determined by the events in our lives.  Some are so excited about being with family at Christmas and their feelings and emotions are so high and then in the middle of their time they start thinking about leaving and their negative emotions take over and they are in deep despair.  The reality is our self-talk, our inner thoughts do help or hurt us in our view of life.
Let’s say we have come to realize the truth of this and we start thinking about how great it is to be with family but that we are also excited about going back to our home.  Now if you are married and have…

"We wait for people to think like us, act like us, believe like us, and behave like us; and when they do, we are kind to them."

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 1180-1181). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
We do that because that is how we have been taught at home or even at church.  Now I understand that comes from our insecurity.  Anyone who is different from us makes us uncomfortable.  I understand that.  But that is not what Christ did.  
Let’s say you watch CNN News and you sit at Starbucks with someone who you find out likes Fox News.  Do you start up a conversation or do you move?  What if you are straight and you find out they are gay, what do you do then?  Or you don’t go to church but they do?  Or they are pierced all over the place but you aren’t?  Or you find out she had an abortion and you just got back from picketing an abortion clinic?  Or they believe if you love each other you don’t need to ever be married but you believe it is the next step after you say you love each oth…

“God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the called.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2011-12-13) from his book Be a Circle Maker: The Solution to 10,000 ProblemsKindle Location 255). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I know some people who didn’t want to take swimming lessons because they didn’t know how to swim.  That is the reason why we take swimming lessons so we can learn to swim.  The same is true when God calls us to do something for Him.  That is where the dependency on Him comes in.  If we do it in our own ability then we will get the credit.  He wants His power to mold us and qualify us.  
I was talking this past Sunday at Forefront Church with Ivan a friend of mine who is a sculptor.  I really enjoyed hearing his story and hearing about his dreams.  He talked about his first sculpture.  His teacher had given him a square piece of Styrofoam and Ivan’s assignment was to create something from that bloc.  The teacher saw both the potential in the bloc and the potential in Ivan.  Ivan had never done anything like that before but he sat there …

“Sometimes it is the destinations that are out of our reach that create the circumstances God uses to remind us that we are never out of his reach.”

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. 159). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.   I would have believed three years ago that Margaret and I owning our own home was way out of our reach.  I mean it took everything we had to move from Las Vegas to Long Island and property is way too expensive here and we didn’t have enough for a down payment so I had accepted the fact that we would rent and then eventually move in with our kids.  I had retired and owning our own home was way out of our reach but it wasn’t out of God’s reach.
Margaret and I next month will be putting our furniture in our own condo in Seminole, Florida.  It is all because of God’s love and power and graciousness that it has happened.  We again realize that we are never out of His reach. 
He has been working this all out for us starting 18 years ago when we moved to Las Vegas to plant a church when we had nothing…

“You are a connector to the current of the power of Christ.”

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. 52). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
We so many times think that this is just about us but it isn’t.   It is all about showing how Christ can make a difference in the lives of those around you.  People need to know that there is a power that can make a difference in their lives and when they see that you have it they need to know where it comes from.  You are the connector from Christ to others and that needs to be our prayer.
I like how those disciples in the Acts prayed.  They prayed in Acts 4.29-30 (Msg), “…give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message, as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  The healings and miracles and wonders where an opening to share the Message with others with boldness.  That is what He wants us to do.  The reason why we are here is…

“It’s not wrong to feel fear. It is wrong to let that fear have the last word in your life.”

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. 73). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Fear is not always bad.  We had today here on Long Island our first snow.  Now it is only about 3 to 5 inches deep but this afternoon it has turned to ice.  I have a real respect for ice.  Maybe that is another word for fear but I am very cautious when it comes to ice.  I have lived in ice country and I am very careful when it comes to ice on the roads.  I have some very negative memories of trips with ice.
Margaret and I were thinking about going to the Mall this afternoon to do some shopping.  I had thought it had stopped snowing and it would be safe so we were headed out the door until I noticed that the car was covered with ice.   That made me stop and reconsider so I said let’s not go.  So we didn’t. 
I didn’t think the task was worthy of the risk but if one of our kids had gotten hurt and they needed us then…

“Jesus never used guilt as a motivator. Guilt is so limited in its ability to effect change.”

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 Location 691). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Guilt is so easy to use isn’t it?  I remember when my dad would put his face in his hands and say about me, “Where did I go wrong?”   That would really get to me because my dad was my hero.  It would really make me feel bad about my behavior but I’m not sure if it really helped me to change it.  Now the fear of disappointing him because of my deep love for him was what would get me to change, not the guilt of what I had done.
I know as a young minister I would be tempted to use the old guilt method of leadership and of preaching but I did everything I could to not use it.  Guilt may bring initial change but forgiveness had a more far reaching impact on bringing about change.   To show people how to take care of their guilt and how much God loved and the hope He gave was way more effective than mak…

“We are literally to fight against the arguments and irrational reasonings of our minds.”

A though by David Stoop in his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Location 348). Kindle Edition.
Have you learned how important this is?  There is so much that comes into our minds that we must not allow to take residence there.  It is junk, it is wrong, and it will hurt you.
Now how do you fight against it?  Well first of all through prayer.  You could say, “Ok God.  I know this isn’t from You and I want You to give me thoughts that will counteract this thought.  Please don’t let it take residence in my mind.  Please don’t let me dwell on it but to reject it and release it.”
Another way is to have a conversation with yourself in your mind.  I do this all the time.  When a negative thought, say it’s about someone, comes into my mind, I quickly come up with opposite thoughts until I am at peace.  I always strive to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I choose to make people winners.  You see, your thoughts are not right or wrong, they are just your thought and you can choose to belie…

“Don't accept the false idea that your emotions, feelings, and behavior are controlled by the events in your life.”

A though by David Stoop in his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Location 356). Kindle Edition.
That false idea is so easy to believe isn’t it?  You start your day with a fight so you say, “There goes my day.”  Or your team won or lost yesterday and now you are in a good/bad mood.
I am a major Los Angeles Dodger fan and there was a time that when they lost I let that totally control my emotions and my behavior.  Eventually I came to realize that I had no control over what they did so why should I let that affect me?   But a fight can be a different thing.  It takes two to fight so you have some responsibility in what happened but you still have to be careful about that controlling your emotions.  Now doing your part in resolving the situation is a good thing if you make it a choice not a reaction.
Life is not perfect.  It rains on the just and the unjust so letting something else in your life control you has far reaching consequences in living life to its fullest.  Life must be lived …

“How did we get to the place where church is something primarily for “me” and a place I go to “get” something from it?”

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 1449-1450). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
It is so interesting how self-focused we as professed Christ-followers can be.  We profess to be other centered and Jesus centered but it doesn’t show by our attitudes, our actions and our love.
There are so many who have a mistaken idea that the Worship Gathering is for them and they are so quick to say what they want, what they expect.
Margaret and I will be moving next month to Seminole, Florida.  We have a church here in New York City we will miss that we drive 30 miles to be a part of because of its mission to reach out to the hurting, harassed and helpless.  We sit and worship with homeless people who come in out of the cold to get warm and to eat something.  That is what drew us to Forefront Church.
Our church is a church filled with young people who have come to the city to make it…

“Pray that God will give you assurance of his presence and clarity in every decision you make.”

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. 74). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
What a great prayer to pray.  Can you realize the confidence you would have in doing what you have decided if you were assured of God’s hand in making the decision?  Let me tell you it makes all the difference in the world.
There have been many decisions that I have made that were very difficult to do.  One time I moved my wife and two teenage children all the way from Virginia to Las Vegas to start a new church.  I spent six months in prayer before we made the decision to move and when we did, I know it was what God was leading us to do.  In the first six months I would have moved because of unbelievable difficulties if I wouldn’t have had the assurance of His presence and clarity in the decision.  That realization held me steady for 15 years in a very difficult assignment.  I also moved from there with assurance …

“60 percent of the people in prison grew up in a home without their father.”

A thought by George Barna (2011-05-15) in his book, Futurecast: What Today's Trends Mean for Tomorrow's World (Kindle Location 694). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
That is an astounding statistic that shows the importance of a male influence in the lives of children.  Now I see that in my own life.  My father was my hero and my example.  I am who I am because of his influence.  He built so much into my life.
I remember the day that he was killed.  I was an Associate Pastor of a great church but I had gotten a little off track in my priorities.  I was gone most of the time from my family.  My wife and son and daughter were not as important as they should have been but my dad’s death stopped me in my tracks and I started setting my priorities straight.  My dad influenced me even through his death. 
Now the “sexual revolution” has really messed up the potential of other men stepping up and being a positive influence in the lives of young children who have no dads a…

“The goal of faith isn’t to take away your fears but to leverage those fears to create bolder belief.”

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. 66). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Fear is another one of those choice emotions.  I can let it hold me back or motivate me.  I have done both in my life.
Now I am at the point in my life that I want to leverage my fears to strengthen my faith.  What I usually see as the thing that I fear in a situation I come up with a solution and then it won’t hold me back.  An example of that would be to fear death.  That could hold me captive in all areas of my life so I took care of that by believing in Jesus who will give me eternal life.  Now I can live my life here without that fear.  
So fear can be a deterrent or leverage?  I choose the leverage.
What about you?

“Time can talk you out of your dreams.”

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.
What dream did you have at the start of 2012?  After one week do you still have it?  Maybe you shared it with someone and they laughed at you.  Maybe you dreamed that you could lose 50 lbs. this year but you couldn’t make it through this week and you decided, what’s the use?
I know we say we get smarter and our experiences and disappointments make it so much more difficult to really dream but we still can have dreams.  When I was young and had a lot of years ahead of me it was easier to dream great dreams.  But life isn’t over even at 64 ½.    Some of my best dreams are still to be dreamed.    We need to really believe that.  
Now dreams have many purposes other than just fulfilling them.  I have not had all my dreams come true yet but I have had so many things come about because I had a dream.  Dreams give us hope, gi…

“So many moments are lost when we're looking only for what we can get.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 590-591). Kindle Edition.
The key to living life to the max is not to look at what you can get out of it but what you can give to it.  
Margaret and I are moving to Florida in five weeks.  When we got the reason why we are moving which is to be near my mother and to feed into her life the place where we are going to live fell into place.  Life is to be lived as a ministry.  That is why we are here.  That is where meaning and purpose and happiness come from. 
I know so many people who haven’t figured that out. 
What about you?

“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). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
There will be so many people who will decide that this is just another day in their life and not set it aside to gather with others to focus on God.  They have decided that they have all it takes to make it on their own until life takes a “I can’t handle it on my own” turn and they haven’t built the relationship with others and with God.
Oh sure I have those times when it seems like I am heading into deep waters but I do have a relationship with God and I know that I am not alone.  How can people make it without faith?  I am headed to church this morning not because I am in deep water but because I want to cultivate that personal relationship because I love Him and He loves me.  One of the benefits is because I know He is there in my good times I know He will be there in my difficult times and that can make all the…

“Thoughts create emotions!”

A though by David Stoop in his book, You Are What You Think ( (Kindle Location 279). Kindle Edition.
One of the ways David proves this is by asking people to relax and then for them to close their eyes then take a minute and make themselves sad.  Then he says now take a minute and make yourself happy.   He then asks them, “how did you do it?” and it comes back that they think sad thoughts and then happy thoughts.
That is why some people are sad at this time of the year even when things are going well for them and other people are happy even when things aren’t going so well.  It is the power of self-talk.   What you say to yourself, your self-talk determines how you feel.  Try it and see if it is true.  I definitely have found this to be true in my life. 
He shows that your belief system in your thought process determines your response to the circumstances of your life.  If you believe that everything is against you then you are always going to view life from a negative standpoint, the “…

“God has determined that certain expressions of His power will only be exercised in response to prayer.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2011-12-13) from his book Be a Circle Maker: The Solution to 10,000 Problems(Kindle Location 128). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I was reading in my quiet time this morning in John 5.30 (NLT) that Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own…”  Jesus said that about His dependency on His Father while He was here on Earth.  And that is where His power came from.  He showed us and told us the power that is available to us through asking His Father.
I am right now sitting in a coffee shop at the Roosevelt Field Mall just after I have walked for 1 ½ hours.  The last part of my walk I have been praying for Ashlyn, Addison, Marissa, Brett, Stefanie, Andrew and Margaret, my family.  I spent time in bringing specific needs that each of them has to God through prayer because I believe that certain expressions of God’s power can only be exercised in response to prayer. 
It is in prayer that I show my dependency on God and His wisdom and His power.  Because He is my Father I a…

“The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2011-12-13) from his book Be a Circle Maker: The Solution to 10,000 Problems (Kindle Locations 129-130). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I am really striving to understand this fact even at 64 years of age.  I have been going thought a crash course in the past few months.  Even yesterday God answered one of my prayers.  During my morning walk time I prayer a specific prayer and God answered it before I went to bed. 
What could happen in 2012 if we really believed that God answers our prayers, our specific prayers?  He just wants us to ask.  Of course there are some prayers we don’t need to ask.  They are prayers that we know He won’t answer.  Please help that married person to start loving me.  He won’t answer that one.  As you read the Bible you will see God’s way of thinking so you won’t ask Him some things.  But there are way more He will answer but He won’t because we haven’t asked.
God gave us a condo in Florida near where my sister and mother live this past…

“The security that we often seek is not necessary to living life to the fullest.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 637). Kindle Edition.
What if Abraham would have lived that way?  For sure he wouldn’t have left his home to go to a place he didn’t know of.  In other words he wouldn’t have been the father of a great nation.
What if Noah hadn’t listened to God and built the Ark?  We wouldn’t be here.
What if the disciples would have said no to Jesus when He asked them to leave it all and follow Him?   We wouldn’t have the story of the New Testament and the examples and dedication they showed of what it means to be a Christ-follower.
What if Jesus had said to His Father that He didn’t really want to leave Heaven and come to Earth as a baby and then die on a Cross for us?  Where would we be today?
What if I hadn’t given my life to serve God as a Church Planter and leave the security of living in one place all my life?   Maybe you wouldn’t even be a Christian.
What if you give your life …

“The one thing you have control over is changing yourself.”

A thought by Greg Darley (2010-11-15) from his book,Passion Is Not Enough: Four Elements to Change the World (Kindle Locations 771-772). Backstage Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The realization of that fact is the beginning of change within you.  The realization that you are responsible to do that is also very important in that change.
Do you like who you are?  Then what are you going to do about it?  Now of course if you have a problem with being short you can’t change that but you can change your attitude toward being short.  We see things that people who are tall don’t see.  So even in some physical features that you may not like you can deal with seeing them in a different light. 
Another thing to see is that the only way you can change another person’s response to you is by changing your response to them.  If they say something to you that you don’t like and you come back at them in the same nagging way you always do them then they don’t need to change.  They are used to that response…

“We like to laugh off our bad habits as “personality traits.” But that doesn’t change the truth: They are habits—destructive habits that need to be broken

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-08-22) from his book, It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart (p. 103). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
I know we look at the beginning of the New Year as a time to make New Year’s resolutions.  It could be a good thing if we were really serious.
I mean, it was amazing to see all the new people out walking in the mall today.  Of course they could have just been there because they had the day off but they at least were trying to do something about their health.    I found it interesting to see one man who took a long walk and then as I went outside I saw him smoking.  Of course my temptation was to get something sweet to reward me for my effort.  Sucking smoke into my lungs has never been a temptation but eating a Vanilla Cream Filled Donut from Dunkin is extremely hard to resist.   r
Oh of course the reason to smoke is because they have an introspective personality and it helps them relax or the donut habit means I am fun lovin…