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Showing posts from May, 2013

“Yet their political slavery could not diminish the freedom they found in Jesus Christ.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2003-09-04) from his book, Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul (Kindle Location 240). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I understand the desire that we have to live in a free country.The USA came in existence because of a desire to have religious freedom and we will do all we can to keep it.It seems that some of those freedoms are slowly being taken away from us.But if you read the book in the New Testament called the Acts of the Apostles you will see that the church was born under the rule of the dominion of a pagan empire. That is what this thought by Erwin was talking about. 
Now I said that to say that we need to be careful to live with an expectation of God to provide us with this freedom.We are no better than those Christians who live in the Peking Jerusalem Corridor who are under persecution every day.God loves them just as much as He loves us. We need to be thankful every day that we have this privilege but we also need to see that along with the…

“There is no condition that can stop us from living free.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2003-09-04) from his book,Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul (Kindle Locations 237-238). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

There are so outside situations that can stop us from living free.There are people who live in Red China who are living freer than people who live in the United States.There are people who are poor who are living freer than people who have wealth.There are people who are sick in bed who are freer than those who are young and healthy.There are married people who are living freer than single people.
The Apostle Paul was free while in prison.He wrote a big part of the New Testament.The Apostle John was free on the Isle of Patmos. He wrote 5 books of the NT including the Revelations. Jesus was free on the Cross. He was free to save us. Corrie Ten Boom was free in a Nazi Concentration Camp.Her story has transformed so many people’s lives.
Your situation doesn’t make you free, your Savior does.
As Erwin said on dealing with this thought, …

“Products are designed to wear out quickly and then be thrown away.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead, Jon Tyson and Bill Hybels, (2011-07-19) from their book,Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About(p. 33). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

That is true with the world but not God.Yes it seems like I am wearing out each day but the best is yet to come.
My mind isn’t wearing out.My love for my wife, Margaret isn’t wearing out.My anticipation to see my kids and grandkids grow to God’s full potential is not wearing out.My passion to make a difference with God isn’t wearing out.My wisdom from God isn’t wearing out.My experience isn’t wearing out.My excitement for life isn’t wearing out.My challenge to see people come to their full potential isn’t wearing out.My desire to serve Jesus isn’t wearing out.My yearning to share with you each day is not wearing out.My longing to learn isn’t wearing out.My wonderment of what is around the corning isn’t wearing out.My craving to know more about Jesus isn’t wearing out. My relationship with God is…

“The United States has just 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes 30 percent of the world’s resources.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead, Jon Tyson and Bill Hybels, (2011-07-19) from their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About(p. 29). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I am reading the Gospel of Matthew right now in the Message paraphrase.There are some things Jesus says in chapter 10 that speak to this situation.
Jesus says, “Be content – please.”That would help wouldn’t it?We maybe wouldn’t need to consume so much.We could maybe give some that we have to those who really need.
He also says, “Don’t think that I have come to make life cozy.”But isn’t that what life is all about?I mean I work so that I will be cozy.I need that comfortable house, that comfortable chair, that comfortable bed.Isn't that what life is all about?I wonder..
Here’s another one.“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick or thin, you don’t deserve me.If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself.”But that is my first concern.I need to take care o…

“Two roadblocks that often mislead us are lack of authority and lack of resources.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book,Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Location 1147). Kindle Edition.

My dad was a minister and there were many phrases that he said that have stayed with me.One was, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.” I use my notes app on my iPhone all the time. Another was, “No paper is so thin that is doesn’t have two sides.”I strive to always see the other side.But one that came to my mind this morning was, “What your faith covers you now have.”
I was just reading on my Kindle, Matthew 9 in the Message paraphrase and Jesus said something to a couple of blind guys that reaffirms my dad’s phrase.It says, “He touched their eyes and said, ‘Become what you believe.’”Become what you believe.The reality was they were blind but the reality was Jesus could give them sight.He said, “It’s up to you.Choose what you’re going to believe and that will become a reality.”
What are you becoming by what you believe?I’ve been wrestling ove…

“Life is the sum total of what you do with the moments given you.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Location 179). Kindle Edition.

In this moment I have two choices.One is to stay here at Starbucks and finish the thought that I have been given or go home and turn the Dodgers on TV and maybe be frustrated.
Now granted either choice does not have life or death complications but they do set out the choice of self or others.You see I do not write just for my own enjoyment.I hopefully write for your encouragement and edification.I watch the Dodgers for me.
Of course I could do both.I could go home and watch the Dodgers and then when the game is over write this blog but there are some problems attached to that choice.One is, the thought I have right now may not be there when I’m ready to write and the thought may be exactly what you may need.You also may not be there when I post it later.This is the moment.
The other reason is because I could really get disgusted with what I see with …

“What God can do through a person who's willing to act is limitless.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus. Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Locations 436-437). Kindle Edition.

The last couple of days have been interesting.As I was getting ready to write down my thoughts I heard a commotion and looked up and a young guy was running out of the Starbucks with my iPhone.That kind of stopped what I was doing but I’m back.What I was doing when I was so rudely interrupted was reading about a young guy that this thought Erwin McManus made me think about.His name is Blake Mycoskie who is the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS.
Do you know the story of TOMS?Do you have a pair of TOMS?I am wearing mine right now.“While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary: to create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake’s vision soon turned into the simple business idea that provided the powe…

“A healthy community is not a place of perfect people.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 54). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

That is the truth.Health from a Spiritual standpoint means that I am honest and also accepting but not perfect.The truth is, I cannot be honest and perfect.Because in all honesty I know I am not perfect.I can have God’s perfect love inside me but my actions are still not going to be perfect.That is what growing in the Spirit is all about.
I like what he also says right before this quote, “We are all hypocrites in transition. I am not who I want to be, but I am on the journey there, and thankfully I am not whom I used to be.”
Somebody says, “I don’t want to go to church because there are so many hypocrites there” and that is the truth.We are all hypocrites but hopefully in transition.”Now the problem is if I am using someone who I believe is a hypocrite to keep me from God.If I am doing that then that person is closer to Him than I am.

“It’s time to recognize the opposite of ‘me’ isn’t ‘you,’ but ‘we.’”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 53). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The problem with the “we” is that for so many there is pain.They can handle the “me” and the “you” but have problems with the “we”.And that is where the despair, the loneliness, the isolation come from.“You” and I, (“me”) were created for “we”.
Now in looking at the “you” there can be a wall of separation but not with the “we”.I mean the “you” has hurt me.I can’t trust “you”.“You” have disappointed me.But with the “we” there can be connection, relationship, community, support, love and power.
Everyone is looking for the “we”.But there is danger in connecting with the wrong “we”.The key is to first connect with the right “we” and then go from there.
Scott Daniels the Pastor of Pasadena 1st Nazarene Church was talking about the problem of kids growing up in the church and then leaving at around 19 and then coming back at around 30.The goo…

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

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-03-31). From his book,The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 178). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.

Now knowing that I have another 20+ lbs. to lose doesn’t make the difference. Walking that extra mile, not eating the maple scone and drinking that water does.
Knowing the path I need to take to get where I want to go doesn't make a difference.  Taking it does.

Knowing from this friend that a certain guy will take care of a certain task and having his phone number doesn’t make the difference.Picking up the phone and getting an appointment with him does.
Knowing that the place to start in finding out about what Christ is like is the Gospels in the New Testament is great information but doesn’t make the difference.  Reading the first verse in the first chapter of Matthew does.
Knowing that my car is close to running out of gas is important but doesn’t make a difference.Stopping at the nearest gas station and…

“The greatest opportunities require the highest risk.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Locations 1405-1406). Kindle Edition.

Today is in Margaret and my life a very exciting day.It is our daughter Stefanie’s birthday.She was born 30 years ago today between 12:00 am and 1:00 am in Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso, Indiana.The fact of being a parent is for sure one of the greatest opportunities two people can have together but it also has such high risks in it.
There is the risk of childbirth.It can be a life and death situation.Nearly six months back we saw that potential when Stef and Andrews’s little Harper was born.She was at risk.Margaret and I barely made it from Pasadena, California to Las Vegas, Nevada before Stef went into the delivery room.The birthing of a child has risks.
Then raising them to adult hood has risks.But there are so many great opportunities along the way.I love the privilege of being a parent and I love the privilege of being a grandpare…

“Perhaps with unlimited time we could make more of our dreams come true.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 158). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.

Right at this time as a retired minister there are three churches in three different areas of LA that I would love to give the rest of my life to be a part of.Not as a minister but as a committed laymen.Two of them when I took a weekend off from the church I pastored in Las Vegas I would make it a point to visit at least once a year.The other I visited once.They are all great churches with great pastors who I have listened to their sermons and read all their books for years.But life is getting shorter each day.
Now as a consumer Christian I could just float from one to the other.Just drinking in all the good stuff but I don’t believe that is the way one truly makes a difference and fulfills a dream. There must be a commitment involved to one dream.And that can be difficult sometimes to stop and decide which o…

“There is really nothing you can do about your worries since they are oriented to the future.”

A thought by David Stoop from his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Locations 1267-1268). Kindle Edition.

That is a good way to put that.It is a wasted use of our emotions.It’s useless but we all do it.
What is your biggest worry today, right now?If it is something that you can do right now then it’s not a worry, it’s a choice. I choose to take care of it or not. The doing or not doing then will bring about a good or bad resolution of the problem.
Now let’s say you are worried about getting your electricity turned off at home.You got a bill that said if you pay such and such on a such and such day then you will have electricity.If you don’t then it will be turned off.No amount of worry will keep that electricity turned on.You either pay it or not.
You say but I am worried about not having enough money.Well worry still doesn’t do any good.Making arraignments, borrowing money, asking for help, working, selling something or other options will go toward the solution to paying your bill.Bu…

“The great danger of giving up on love is that we begin to give in to hate.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 16). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

And hate will consume you.It is all encompassing.That is why love is so important.
It is amazing how love overlooks the small stuff but hate sees everything.Nothing goes unnoticed even things that aren’t there.Hate takes little things and builds its own stories to prove that you should hate.The story doesn’t even have to be the truth.
Love is life giving but hate kills.It kills relationships. It kills hope and it can even kill you.Love is your best friend and hate is your worst enemy.
Erwin also says, “When we love, we are moved toward forgiveness. When we allow hate to take over, we begin to live for vengeance.”
People aren’t perfect.Even people we love so there is always a choice to be had when we are hurt.We can dwell on it, build on it, let it consume us which in turn turns to bitterness then to hate or we can forgive them.And the soo…

“Love is not about how many people we have used, but about how much we have cherished one person.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 19). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Many people don’t realize that what they have is so great.They can take it for granted and look over the fence and think that the grass is greener over there.But the truth is the grass is greener where you feed it and water it.
There are so many who wish that they could be with someone who really cherishes them.So many at thirty have been used to the point that they think that is all love is about,Some of those are even married but there is more than that.
Listen, real authentic love is not self-seeking but other-minded.There is real authentic love out there.Now it starts with a real authentic relationship with God.That is where you initially get that kind of love.
David in the psalms said that in sin did my mother conceive me.That means we came into this world as self-seeker, as users.I want what I want and I want it now. Now Jesus, God…

“If you plan to keep step with Jesus the Pioneer, you better expect some changes.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within (Kindle Location 383). Kindle Edition.

I am reading the New Testament Gospels thirteen times in 2013.I want to really catch a glimpse of what Jesus thinks is important.One thing I’ve found is what Erwin says in this thought, Jesus brings about change.
He brought religious change by His continually healing people on the Sabbath.He brought vocational change to a group of swine owners when He cast some demons out of a man named, Legion and they were sent into the pigs and they went over a cliff.He also brought structural change to a house when some men tore open a roof to drop their sick friend down in front of Jesus so he could be healed.Over and over He brought change through His teachings and His miracles where ever He went.
Have you noticed that in all of the good He did for someone He was it seemed messing up someone else’s day to day world?I mean the Pharisees had everything set up t…

“God wants to speak to you through your mind, but you’ve got to clear your head to hear his sacred whispers.”

A thought by Les Parrott, (2012-08-02) from his book,You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't(p. 19). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

We have so many things that go through our minds, so many voices and so much noise.
Have you ever wondered why there is music everywhere, even in elevators?I spend time at Starbucks and on those mornings when they have forgotten to turn the music on I usually ask them about it.We really have problems with it being quiet.The noise seems to have a calming effect.
But when I really want to think and to hear from God I don’t want any noise.I usually go someplace in nature where it is quiet so I can clear my mind of any distractions so I can hear God.
There are so many different voices in our minds that want to be heard on any decision that we need to make.There is our self-centered voice, there is Satan’s voice and there is our friend’s voice or our parent’s voice.There is culture’s voice, there is the common se…

“If our thoughts are creating our emotions, we can change our emotions by changing our thoughts.”

A thought by David Stoop from his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Locations 344-345). Kindle Edition.

Now I am not normally a complainer.I look at my life and see it as a positive situation.I love my life so why would I complain.But I am right now on my other blog, bill’s front porch, writing about complaining and I have been having a difficult time keeping from complaining.My thoughts have been about things that I deserved to complain about.In other words I have been focusing on me.
Whenever as a preacher I was preparing a sermon on a certain subject then I would have trouble on that particular subject.Margaret would always sense it and would understand what was happening after she heard me preach the sermon.You see our thoughts, our focus create our emotions.
Now the key is we can change our emotions by changing our thoughts, our focus.The key for me this week on the subject of complaining is to focus on the remedy instead of the problem.Feed my mind and heart on the Bible and w…

“Few people understand the cross, which includes being silent when accused as opposed to launching a counterattack.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (p. 115). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I have just finished reading the gospel of Mark’s account of the trial of Jesus in front of Pilot.The Jewish leaders were bringing so many accusations against Jesus to this Roman Governor, Pilot.After each accusation Pilot would ask Jesus to respond and Jesus response was always silence.
Silence is always the best way to deal with accusations.As Jesus showed us God is the one who will fight for us.We leave it to Him.He will always do a better job than we will and He is the only one who can deal with the source.The battle was won on the cross.
One of my dad’s favorite verses was the one in Joshua, “The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace.”That is how we as Christ-followers handle accusations.
So are you handling it or are you letting God handle it?

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

A thought by David Stoop from his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Location 217). Kindle

An example would be, the reason why I am lonely is because I have no friends.The truth is many people are lonely with many friends and some aren’t lonely who have no friends.The having or not having friends doesn’t mean I am lonely.
I am unhappy because I am single.Many married people are also unhappy.I would feel deep satisfaction if I got that promotion.You get the promotion and you’re still not satisfied.
The key word in there is the word, believe.Our thoughts, our self-talk, our beliefs determine our feelings and emotions not the events in our lives.
Let’s say someone says they will call you and set up a time for the two of you to get together and you are very excited about it.But let’s say they don’t call you as soon as you think you should and you start feeling very hurt and very depressed.Now the fact that they haven’t called you isn’t the key to your emotions, it’s your belief…