Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Character Crisis in the Pulpit!

We are at a crisis point in the charismatic church and the church in general!

--A pastor who has a sexual addiction robs a bank to bankroll his addiction. He is caught and serving time in prison now.

--A prominent pastor is arrested for solicitation in another town in the gay community area. He was there 'ministering to gays!"

--One minister admitted a homosexual affair. He took three months off "to seek professional and church counseling related to a recent short-term homosexual relationship."

--Multiple sex charges brought against a pastor and his staff of a large charismatic church.

--And we are rife with the divorces of high profile preachers and teachers.

--and the list could go on and on.

The problem is that we who are to be the upholders of morality are now falling prey to the very things we encourage others to resist and offer hope for.

In our meeting on 'Restoring Fallen Pastors' last Thursday in Brownwood, we all agreed that a pastor could and should be restored. Pastors should not be shot, left out in the cold, forgotten, ostracized, or put out to pasture. The concern is how does the process begin and when does it end. That depends on a lot of things. Some of them I will address in future posts.

Gal 6:1 BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. AMP


My thoughts are:

1. God's grace and forgiveness is available immediately to the one who asks for it - period.

2. The restoration is an on going process that requires humility, repentance, and willingness to walk it out regardless of the time involved.

3. In our day of instant results and fast paced life style one needs to understand that restoration to ministry should never be fast-tracked.

4. Restoration is best served by those in relationship with the individual and should be facilitated by people that are known to him.

5. Restoration is best accomplished in a team approach.


Any thoughts? Please comment.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Famous Quotes

Don't worry about avoiding temptation as you grow older, it will avoid you !

--Winston Churchill

Friday, October 26, 2007

What to Get Your Pastor-

Last few days I have been in Brownwood, TX, meeting with a group of men talking about the restoration of fallen pastors. I will write about it on Monday's blog.

For the pastor who has everything there is now something he doesn't have!

A No-flak Jacket or t-shirt!

These awesome items can be found at http://www.pastorappreciationonline.com/home

Check it out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Love Your Neighbor?

Well, I don't know all that is behind this person posting this sign in his front yard, but I just had to stop and take a picture of it. I took it on a return trip from East Texas.

Ro 13:9-10 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," a and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. NIV

Obviously this person is having a little problem with the loving your neighbor bit and doing no harm to them!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Men's Retreat 2007

click to enlarge

What an awesome time as we gathered at the Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose, TX (This is where we hold our annual staff retreat each January). Young and old joined us for this time of fellowship, good food and snacks, fun, and the Word.

Jn 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: KJV

What can a 66 year old Man of God teach younger men? John Hobbs brought a tremendous word on 'becoming the Sons of God' and shared practically from his life experiences all that means and how to achieve it in this life. Most teaching in today's contemporary church centers around being successful in this life and dealing with life issues. Many don't don't stress the wonderful relationship between the heavenly Father and His children.

Men spend their entire life trying to please their earthly father. There all kinds of problems that result from that. John stressed that now we have a heavenly Father that loves us, accepts us, and even likes us! He wants us to enjoy that Father relationship with Him as modeled by Jesus. All born again believers have power to become His sons but never engage the process and walk it out. They essentially don't know what that means! God wants us to become His sons and John gave us the steps to achieve, experience, and enjoy that.

He led us to Philippians 2 and the training process that Jesus went through in exemplifying a son in his humanity. We were encouraged to follow the same training regimen that He did.

The light went on in many of the men with the desire to begin to walk in the fullness of a son of God. We always close our retreats with men giving 'pop up' testimonies of what they received from the retreat, this year was no exception with many men sharing!

Awesome time, simply awesome!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Off To Men's Retreat-

"So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming - men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented - until David was the leader of about four hundred men."

Adullam, which means "retreat or refuge," was associated with a cave or safe haven where David fled for refuge when he was fleeing from King Saul.

We go on this yearly "retreat, refuge, safe place" so that the Lord may direct our path as men of God.

Our speaker is John Hobbs. He has been with us before. He has a passion for God, for demonstrating the love of God, and bringing people to a knowledge of that love.

I will give an update on it Monday. Be blessed and full of grace!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Praying When You Say You Will?!

I am in a series on Pursuit of Passion - first 2 weeks was on 'Passion for God.' This past week preached on being a 'Passionate Pray-er.' I used Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what it was to pray through the pain. He also knew that prayers are to be shared. He took 3 disciples to pray with Him. What did they not do? They failed to pray with Him and for Him.Can you relate to the above cartoon? How many times have you told someone you would pray for them? How many times have you failed? If we believe in the power of prayer, then it would be best to pray when we receive the request not later!

Acts 6:44 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.(KJV)

The Apostles gave themselves to prayer and study. We can do no less.

Lord, really teach us to pray and pray continually!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Does It Take to Be Beautiful?

My brother-in-law, Barry, owned a film editing firm in NY City. We were discussing a few months back how women look on TV in the beauty commercials. Their perfect skin, shinny hair blowing in the wind, etc. He said that they in real life really don't look like they do in the commercials. He then told us what all they did in the editing room. Below is an example of it. You will be amazed!

We are obsessed with beauty! We've made it 'a god!' Our children, especially our daughters, get caught in the trap of being beautiful and pursuing beauty.

CNN did an article on how the issue of beauty drives young girls to destructive behavior. You can read the article here. Here are some facts from the article:

* The average person sees between 400 and 600 advertisements per day - equivalent to more than one message for every waking minute.

* The average US girl has the opportunity to see an estimated 77,546 commercials by the time she is 12 years old.

* 93 percent of girls and young women report feeling anxiety or stress about some aspect of their looks when getting ready in the morning

* This could explain why more than 70 percent of girls and young women avoid activities when they feel bad about their looks including giving their opinion, attending school and even going to the doctor.

* 76 percent of girls and young women admit to partaking in unhealthy activities when they feel badly about their bodies

* 58 percent of girls describe themselves in negative terms, including words like "disgusting" and "ugly," when feeling badly about themselves.

* Nearly four out of 10 engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, such as anorexia or bulimia.

* More than one out of 10 girls has used cutting or self-inflicted injury as a coping mechanism.

These are scary statistics- they let us know as Pastors what we are up against in our churches. Our youth are not exempt from these issues. We face them in the church. How many young women do you know that are cutting themselves? How many are struggling with eating disorders? It is there!

And listen, we Christian adults portray these issues by our constant attention to our looks, weight issues, etc. God help us to once again teach what is beneficial to our youth:

1 Pe 3:1-5 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance — the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes — but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands.

May we quit being self absorbed and narcissistic! Eternal lives are at stake!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Soul Destroyers!

Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you.
Well they'll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don't you let them.
--Carole King

Mt 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? NIV

Debi and I were out Sunday driving in the new car, top down, and enjoying some old favorites on CD- James Taylor and Carole King. As I listened to the words of 'You've Got A Friend,' I was struck by the words 'People can be so cold...Well they'll take your soul if you let them.'

Soul- psuche- That which strictly belongs to the person himself, often ascribed to the soul as the seat of the desires, affections, and appetites

Man, whether in everyday life or in the pastorate, one experiences the disappointment of people, even friends. There are those that will hurt you, desert you, and even try to take your soul. The song said don't let them!

Have you ever had someone try to take your soul?

try to steal your joy,

wipe the smile from your face,

take the song out of your heart,

eat at your sense of well being,

minimize your self-confidence,

take away your feeling of God's pleasure with you,

mar the image of who you are in Christ,

trash your happiness,

trivialize your sense of accomplishment....

I believe the above are just a few of the things that 'stealing one's soul' can mean. You probably could add more. Please do in the comments.

We are commanded by scripture to guard our hearts! Guard our souls! I wonder why? Because there are those that are 'soul destroyers!'

Don't ever allow someone in to do damage to your soul.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finally Bought a Car--

I hate owning cars- they are a bear to keep up- they have expensive repairs- they depreciate- so what is there to like about them- other than being necessary!

I sold the Honda a month or so ago when it was getting expensive to keep up- the a/c quit working ($900 to fix it. I didn't), the muffler had a hole in it, besides an attempt to burn up the engine (doesn't look like it succeeded), inspection coming up... so off it went.

So we were relegated to one vehicle.... and the search began-- did I say it began to consume me as to what I was going to replace it with. I started looking at Toyota Camry Solara (drove a red sports sedan), then midsized luxury cars (BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo). We have a lot to choose from in this area when it comes to used German vehicles, many are from leasing agencies. Did I mention the hours online looking at vehicles?

Well the hunt is over! Went back to my original first choice and bought a Dealer Certified 2005 Toyota Camry Solara...
Oh, slight oversight- failed to mention it is a convertible- is that bad? Some think I am going through midlife crisis! If that be the case, at this age, I am going to live way into my hundreds. Besides, I have already done that, been there, got the t-shirt, and survived!
At church I was warned by a few not to get a red convertible as that was so 'old mannish' -- so I didn't get red, I bought a periwinkle blue convertible! I am bad aren't I!!!!Besides, it is not for them - it is for my wife (boy, she looks good in it!) and I to do day trips on my day off- to get out of town, away from the computer, away from work.... and to keep our relationship blossoming after 36 years and for another 36 years! Another way of many ways we spend our time together!!!!!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Do You Need This Now???

We may all need this after the 2008 election!?!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Coffee Funny----

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said, "You should do it because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee."

The husband said, "You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."

Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."

Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me."

So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says,


Monday, October 01, 2007

Impact Cowboy Church - yeehaw!

On Sept 23, Mike and Jane Bailey (Mike is a Liberty Fellowship Presbyter and LF Church Plant Director) traveled with Debi and me to Nacogdoches, in East TX, to visit Stan, Caye, and Jonathan King. Stan was an Associate Pastor here and is now planting Impact Cowboy Church. Stan served faithfully in this house for 8 years doing a number of ministries while he was here.

Vine Fellowship along with Liberty Fellowship are helping them in this endeavor. This is Vine Fellowship's first church plant and we believe that God is going to bless Impact Cowboy Church. We met with the initial leadership team last Sunday night. We were impressed with them and they with us. Of course they loved Debi and Jane!

We ate a catered meal and then spent time getting to know one another, Mike and I shared a bit, and then we prayed for Impact Cowboy Church and each of them. They will begin their first service this Saturday evening, October 6th. They have a lot of cowboys to draw from as well as the Steven F. Austin State University campus.

We are investing money in this church plant, but we are also investing much prayer for their success. Stan and Caye count Vine Fellowship as their home church and want us to agree that God will get the glory in this church plant!

Guess I will have to pull out my black cowboy hat and Ropers (which the VF church gave me some years ago) when I go to preach there. I still think they will know I am a ‘city slicker.’ What do you think?