Friday, April 28, 2017

That was quick!

I assume that most of the people reading this post are Jesus followers. Therefore I assume that most of us believe in the power of prayer. Now that that’s settled –

I usually begin my day by reading the Bible and praying. First things first right? I pray for all kinds of things, whatever is on my heart. But yesterday I had a burden to pray for very specific people in very specific ways. And so I did.

On the ride to take the kids to school we prayed together for the day ahead. As we do most days. Then I asked my girls if they thought that prayer made a difference. I got the right response but maybe lacking a bit of the whole-hearted conviction I had hoped for. It was after all morning and they were on their way to school so I’ll cut them a little slack. So I said, ‘If prayer makes a difference then let’s ask God to put someone in our path today that we can pray for specifically.’ So we did.

No joke we didn’t even get to the drop off at the school and God answered our request. Less than 2 minutes after we prayed someone we knew was walking through the parking lot so we jumped at the chance. We stopped the car, rolled down the windows and just prayed a simple blessing over her day ahead. On a side note she was getting ready to substitute teach at an elementary school so you know she needed prayer! We no sooner said amen to which she heartily replied, “I’ll receive that!!!”

Two things happened in that moment –
  1. God answered our prayer by specifically placing someone in our path to pray for which built up our faith.
  2. A sister in the Lord was strengthened and encouraged unexpectedly just as her day was getting started. You could see in her face and hear in her voice how much that little encounter meant to her.

So here is where the rubber meets the road. If you are a Christian then you are a minister of Christ. So ask God TODAY to specifically put someone in your path TODAY that you can pray for TODAY. Then do it. Right there, right then, out loud. You never know. God just might show up because after all prayer makes a difference right?

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b NIV

That's your prayer!

Friday, April 21, 2017

100%

I have a good friend who recently asked me what the key to giving God 100% was. He said he felt like he had given 95% but couldn’t quite get the ‘old man’ to give up that last 5%. I’ve given it a lot of thought and this morning I responded to him. I thought it might be something others would find helpful. This is what I sent him –

“I get this sense that God still has more for you so don't ever settle into 'the routine' and think that you've 'arrived'. I've been in ministry since 1996. I've pastored since 1998. All that matters is today. Will I pick up my cross today? Will I follow him wholeheartedly today? Will I press into relationship with him today and seek his will today? I think that is the key to 100% surrender. And do we live out of the finished work of Christ on the cross or are we still trying to prove something as if that wasn't enough.”

At 18 I rededicated my life to Jesus. I guess to describe it more accurately I submitted my life to him as Lord. I cannot remember a time in my life where I did not believe in Jesus and recognize my need for his forgiveness. I liked the idea of not going to hell as much as the next guy. But I also liked being in control. Therein lies the conundrum – how can he save us if we won’t allow him to?

“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” – Mark 8:34 NASB

It’s been almost 25 years since I became a Jesus freak; 20 of those in ministry. I’ve read the Bible dozens of times. I’ve preached hundreds of sermons to tens of thousands of people and shared the Gospel on five continents. I’ve had the honor of leading countless people to Christ and witnessed more miracles than I can remember with my own eyes. And with all of that I can only ask myself, “What does God desire of me today? How can I express my love and devotion to him today?”

The friend I mentioned is a full time missionary. He and his family left the American Dream behind to chase after something greater. Most people would see that as giving 110%. But for those who are passionate about being passionate yesterday’s encounters will never satisfy today’s cravings. It’s not about rules and regulations or jumping through a bunch of religious hoops. 100% is all about relationship. I think maybe that’s what the apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote the following passage -

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14 NIV


By the way if you want to learn more about my friends and their ministry you can CLICK HERE and you can support them with an online gift you at mylifeway.net. Just choose the ‘Bunnows in Papua New Guinea’ option. Thanks and God bless!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday.

Good Friday. When we reflect on what happened some 2000 years ago it seems anything but good on the surface. Jesus was falsely accused, convicted and condemned. He was ridiculed, beaten and executed without mercy. On top of all that was abandoned and alone. The word ‘good’ seems to be sorely out of place. Except that he endured all of these things so we wouldn’t have to.



“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV

Separated from God by our sin there was no other way to bridge the chasm between God and us. Justice demanded a judgment and the debt was just too great for us to ever repay. So God in his great mercy and love took it upon himself to settle the account. All of the brokenness of mankind Jesus carried to that cross and it was buried with him.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV


Take a moment to recognize today that you, YOU, are the joy that was set before him. Take a minute to reflect on all that Jesus has done for you, and how much he loves you. See it’s not just Good Friday; it’s the Best Friday ever!

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