Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rap Chop!

We've all seen him. But this is really the only way to enjoy him! enjoy your day- thanks Ryan!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Satan Wants to Kill Your Church

Rev 3:1-2 Write this to Sardis, to the Angel of the church. The One holding the Seven Spirits of God in one hand, a firm grip on the Seven Stars with the other, speaks: "I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone dead. "Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. TMB

Satan wanted to kill the Sardis church! Satan wants to kill your church and he’ll use people (even your friends) to carry out the dirty deed. He even wants to use you!

What are the tactics of the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy the church?

Kill Unity- He wants to set brother against brother. He wants there to be strife. Forget love! Join your favorite faction! Splinter into warring groups.

Kill Harmony- fight among one another (fighting fundies?); desire to be the one in charge; let your pride get the better of you and others. Allow him to speak accusations against others (especially the pastor) in your mind and then believe them.

Kill Humility- try to get and maintain the credit for everything; boast often of your accomplishments. Tell others how much better you can do it! Desire to be seen!

Kill Purity- live like the world and by their standards and just try to cover it on Sundays! If the righteousness of others condemns you then you are living an impure life! Scoff at the pastor stressing Holiness and purity.

Kill the Pastor- yikes!!!!!!

Jesus said He would build His church; don’t let Satan use you to try to kill it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Drink On... that is!!

Drinking coffee may do more than just keep you awake. A new study suggests an intriguing potential link to mental health later in life, as well.

A team of Swedish and Danish researchers tracked coffee consumption in a group of 1,409 middle-age men and women for an average of 21 years. During that time, 61 participants developed dementia, 48 with Alzheimer’s disease.

After controlling for numerous socioeconomic and health factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the scientists found that the subjects who had reported drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 percent less likely to have developed dementia, compared with those who drank two cups or less. People who drank more than five cups a day also were at reduced risk of dementia, the researchers said, but there were not enough people in this group to draw statistically significant conclusions.

Dr. Miia Kivipelto, an associate professor of neurology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and lead author of the study, does not as yet advocate drinking coffee as a preventive health measure. “This is an observational study,” she said. “We have no evidence that for people who are not drinking coffee, taking up drinking will have a protective effect.”(note to self- glad I am already drinking coffee!)

Dr. Kivipelto and her colleagues suggest several possibilities for why coffee might reduce the risk of dementia later in life. First, earlier studies have linked coffee consumption with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, which in turn has been associated with a greater risk of dementia. In animal studies, caffeine has been shown to reduce the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, coffee may have an antioxidant effect in the bloodstream, reducing vascular risk factors for dementia.

Dr. Kivipelto noted that previous studies have shown that coffee drinking may also be linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Glad there are many studies showing the great effects of coffee- not that it matters, I would still drink it! lol

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wretched Man That I Am!

Emotional hurt is the mirror that reflects back to us our true inner qualities and maturity or lack thereof.

We all encounter emotional hurt whether it is from family members, our spouses, friends, church members, employer, employees, etc. As much as we try to avoid such encounters, they are inevitable.

This emotional hurt can produce dark valleys for us to walk through. Sometimes we walk alone in them and at other times we may seek help. But most of the time it is walked out very alone! It is in those valleys that we are greeted face to face with self-knowledge; a discovery of who we are and how we are responding. Sometimes it is good, however sometimes it can be frightening! We may rejoice that we passed with flying colors or cry out to God in utter disgust with ourselves. Talk about the original reality show! And this is one we don’t want others to see.

We don’t often see our maturity in the good times but in the bad. It is here in the crucible of trials, testing’s, and hurt that character is revealed and made. It is here we see how we have progressed in our character and maturity. It is here we see whether we can take it or not. For some, this valley becomes the ‘breaking point;’ for others it becomes the ‘making point!’ The ‘making point’ is where we reevaluate, reshape, and reenter life from the valley with a new understanding of ourselves.

Ps 121TMB I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won't let you stumble; your Guardian God won't fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep. God's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moon stroke. God guards you from every evil; he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, and he guards you always.

Remember, we can’t stay in those valleys very long. Embrace the lesson, climb out, and face life with a fresh understanding of yourself with God by your side!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Heavenly Attitude!

I recently had a dear friend visit me. When he left, he left behind a note: “Thanks for your friendship! Your attitude about life and the way you treat those who have hurt you are a classic example of true Christian love!” Wow, he must have seen me on a good day, lol!

Life is about attitude!

I struggle like all to maintain a good attitude. Whether it is someone cutting me off in traffic, an inconsiderate church member ‘killing me softly’ with his words, a disrespectful staff member, a condemnation of the enemy, the list could go on and on… I try to recover by keeping a right attitude! Sometimes it takes me longer than others, but recover one must!

Charles R. Swindoll made this statement about Attitude: "This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude is that `single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me."

Col 3:2 Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ — that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. TMB

In all of this I try to remember to set my mind (attitude) on things above. It seems to help me keep that proper heavenly perspective in relation to things happening around me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Post Easter Sunday Morning Blues!

One of my most often searched blog posts is It's Friday but Sunday's Coming- Of course it is searched for the most around Easter.

Ah Easter! The most important tenant of the faith- Jesus is risen indeed! What Pastor doesn't enjoy preaching on Easter? What Pastor doesn't enjoy the crowds! Oh, the thrill of all those people coming to hear you preach a powerful sermon and partake of the marvellous activities you provide!

But wait, did they really come to hear you, or be wowed? I noticed again this year a couple who I saw last year at Easter. They didn't come back after my most wonderful sermon and service last Easter and I bet they won't be back this Sunday either! They are quite comfortable with the yearly visit and maybe even know that they are inflating our numbers that day. I think I saw that wry grin on their faces!

We Pastors get overly hyped about Easter. It is the one time (maybe Christmas?) that the church is packed! And what do we do? We get excited, post the numbers and revel in the them. It's as if somehow our ministry success is validated that day. We have arrived at a 'plateau breakthrough' we tell ourselves! We will finally be listed as one of the top ten fastest growing churches in America, hey, how about the world! Yes 'It's Friday but Sunday's coming!'

Problem is, so is next Sunday! The Sunday after Easter is 'reality check' time! The hype has come and gone. Our adrenaline is waning. We try to approach the next Sunday with the anticipation of the last. And Sunday comes! Where are the crowds! Where is the excitement among the congregation and even among the staff. It is like the finish and aftermath of running a marathon- the high and then the emotional letdown. Everyone and everything is depleted. It could be called 'Post Easter Sunday Morning Blues!'

The Sunday following Easter is a letdown and disappointment to many pastors. Some actually go into a depression. I have read that some pastors take a vacation after Easter, but you do have to face reality eventually! There are more Sundays to follow.

What is the word for 'Post Easter Sunday Morning Blues' for pastors? It is to Continue:
Continue to stand firm
Continue to press on
Continue to hold on to your dreams
Continue to understand that your success is not measured by numbers
Continue to be thankful for that Easter Sunday, the souls saved, and the ministry to the saints
...and regardless of the reality of this coming Sunday- continue!

Continue to run the race set before you and don't give up. Pastor I am praying for you today!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Never Ever, Ever, Give Up to Your Dreams!

I am speechless and tearful!

Another Piece of Stupid!

There is a phrase, 'It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.' Loosely interpreted, it means to go ahead and do something and if it's wrong then ask for forgiveness! I recently did a big piece of stupid. Have you ever done a big piece of stupid? I had to write a note asking forgiveness to someone I had offended.

Thank you for asking about the paring note- it came at a very dark, hurtful, disheartening time in my life. I have since removed it.

I had been wondering for some time as my friends list was growing to over 400 people (on Facebook) about why some never wrote anything or corresponded on Facebook or ignored responses. I had been thinking about the downsizing for some time so that my responses could be honed to those that were interested. Your comments are duly noted and valid!

And then I took a hit- I admit my timing on this was way off and somewhat an immature attempt to cover my hurt. In hindsight I wish I had not done it- my wife and I made a pack that I will wait 3 days before writing anything or saying anything in situations like this. Good idea after the fact. You think I would learn but then I am reminded I am human and do have feelings like everybody else.

When I started deleting people I didn't know, etc. I got carried away and deleted some I shouldn't have. But there is no 'undelete' the deleted key. So I have to start the task of adding back people. Some may not want to renew with a vacillating 'clay feet' pastor.

Time will tell how big this big piece of stupid on my part will affect me and others.

Please forgive me for the offense it created for you. You know my heart and it is not in me to cut people off. You can please pray for the Lord to heal my heart and I will guard it in the future.

So I have been very candid with you...

There you have it! My confession and request for forgiveness. Fortunately it was well received and I am forgiven.

What have I learned?
1. Don't react, respond or do anything in the time of intense personal hurt and disappointment.
2. Guard your heart immediately after those offenses.
3. Don't retaliate!
4. Don't mess with Texas and Facebook! They are both big countries with intense loyalty.

Because He lives, I too can live again!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!

Matthew 28:1-10 NIV
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Pastors Need Tennis Rackets!

Five times Roger Federer has been honored as ATP Sportsman of the Year.

Roger was playing Novak Djokovic in the Sony Ericsson Open on April 3, 2009. And it was not going well! He was playing so terribly he had lost 27 of 28 points across parts of the second and third sets. He had fallen behind 2-0 in the third and final set when he dipped a forehand into the net.

Roger uncharacteristically slammed his racket to the court. Totally demolished it! It was the sign of an total implosion!

I play tennis so I can understand the frustration he felt! Thank God for rackets!

But what does a pastor do when the tension is mounting, the hurts occur, and feelings are running amok? I was talking to a pastor friend who told me of a terrible day in the pulpit- he didn't have it that day, he missed his second point entirely. For that one sermon he was off.

But, what does a pastor do? We have no racket to smash! We implode much to our own hurt!

Pastor friend, how do you handle the disappointments, hurts, bad sermons, etc.?

I would really like to hear from you in the comments.

Friday, April 03, 2009

You and Global Impact?

Discontented selfish Christians and churches never become great mission givers!

What is your global impact?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009