Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Who loves 80's music?!


In 1984 Deniece Williams released the song "Let's Hear It For The Boy" featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Footloose". For some of us just the thought of that song transports us right back to the time of neon shirts, pegged pants and leg warmers. It was an instant hit and rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart. It was a catchy tune but when you stopped to actually listen to the lyrics... Let's take a quick look -
  • He can’t express his emotions verbally.
  • He has poor taste in clothes.
  • He isn't romantic.
  • He's broke.
  • And he can't sing.
That about sums it up. When we jump to the chorus we're told to – 
  • "Let's hear it for the boy" because apparently he isn't a man.
  • "Let's give the boy a hand" he obviously needs help.
  • "Let's hear it for my baby" again not a man.
  • You know you gotta understand" because clearly he doesn't!
That leaves us with only one rational conclusion... GIRL DUMP THAT CHILD, YOU CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER!!!

So what's my point? This poor girl has deceived herself into believing that she has found something special when in fact she has settled for so much less than what she deserves. The questions is I wonder where we have done the same?

"This is what the LORD says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.” Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”” - Jeremiah 31:2-3 NLT

The 3rd chapter of Galatians teaches us that our faith in Jesus makes us God’s children and heirs of ALL of His blessings. That doesn’t mean that we don’t periodically walk through challenges but it absolutely means that our loving Father has purposed in His heart to bless us. We should expect favor, open doors and opportunity. Always. Not with arrogance but with confidence. When we do encounter an obstacle we should do it knowing that God is with us and He is for us and nothing can stand in the way of His everlasting love.

So let’s not settle for anything less than his best in our lives. Let's grab on to EVERY SINGLE THING that God has for us!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

$5 Oakleys


There is a market in Managua, Nicaragua where you can get Oakley sunglasses for about 5 bucks. We’ve sent several teams down there over the years and our teens affectionately refer to them as FOakleys (Fake Oakleys). From 10 feet away they look pretty good but when you get up close it’s a different story. In your hand they just don’t feel right and of course when one of the lenses pops out they don’t look right either!

The devil is a master of the counterfeit. Just like the guy on the street corner in New York selling knockoff Rolaxes he peddles his merchandise claiming it’s the real deal. It’s not. He tried it with Jesus in the wilderness and he’ll try it with you. Here are just a few of his forgeries –
  • Arrogance vs. Confidence.
  • Tolerance vs. Love.
  • Psychics vs. Prophecy.
  • Happiness vs. Joy.
  • Security vs. Peace.
  • Being Right vs. Being Righteous.
  • Success vs. Significance.
  • Religion vs. Relationship.

I'm sure you can think of a few more examples. From a distance they look pretty good but upon closer inspection you begin to see the not so subtle differences.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27 NIV

Other than the foundation both houses were identical. The walls, the roof, the tile, the countertops, the furniture – right up until the storm came and revealed what was underneath. The fake stuff just doesn’t hold up. We all want the nice stuff but sometimes we’re not willing to pay the price. You can’t touch real Oakleys for under $100. You can’t get a real Rolex for $15 (or 2 for $20). Here’s the deal though… Jesus covers the cost. All we have to do is let go of the counterfeits and trust Him for the goods. Let’s commit to trading our trash for God’s treasures today.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A beautiful setting, a family reunion and a pair of brand new white shoes.

A couple of weeks ago we had some family visiting from out of town and so we took a trip to our favorite BBQ place. How can I describe this place? Well I guess I would have to say that it’s on the edge of the middle of nowhere. You turn off a two lane road out in the country. This place is so rural that they didn’t even bother to paint lines on the road. Just before the pavement turns to dirt you turn off into a gravel driveway between a couple of small farms. You can eat inside or sit under the covered porch next to the stream behind the restaurant.

Here is where my story begins - a beautiful setting, a family reunion and a pair of brand new white shoes. My niece was so proud of her newest purchase and wanted to show them off. But the moms were in full force with their cameras determined to get everyone huddled together for a barrage of ‘candid’ photos. As people jockeyed for position you can guess what happened. Someone stepped on the shoes. The perfectly white shoes. Someone who had recently been wading in the creek. Oh snap!

In the New Testament we have an account of Jesus sending out disciples on a ministry trip. He gives them some specific instructions on what to do, what to bring and how to act. He also said this –

“If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” – Luke 9:5 NIV

The original word that was translated into English as ‘against’ could also be translated ‘before’. Let me explain. This world has a way of messing up your new shoes but we have to choose how we will respond. You could see the look on my niece’s face. She was not happy but fortunately she is a gracious young lady. They were after all just a pair of shoes and the perpetrator was her cousin that she loved and rarely gets to see. She chose what was most important.

I think the lesson here is to not let other people’s mistakes, offense and sin transfer to you. Dust it off. Right away. If we aren’t careful dirt on our shoes can quickly become a smudge on our heart.

“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His Holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart…” – Psalm 24:3-4b NIV

… and white shoes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Re-Charged!


I have a car for sale. I spent a weekend detailing it so I have it stored away and only take it out every once in a while to keep the battery charged or to show it to prospective buyers. Evidently I don’t take it out enough because I got in it today and click, click, click… Not enough juice to fire it up.

See when a vehicle is operating properly it recharges the battery while it is running. Over time if the car just sits the battery slowly loses it charge until there isn’t enough left to crank the engine. The truth is that there are many areas of our lives that are very similar to a car’s battery - our health, our relationships, our faith, etc. Any of these neglected over time drains the life out of them.

I’d like to focus on a specific area today in my post – the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” – 2 Timothy 1:6 NIV

Paul understood this concept and so he encouraged his spiritual son Timothy to be diligent in the care of his spiritual gift(s). I guess another way to say it is, ‘practice makes perfect.’ The more we operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit the more natural the supernatural becomes. So I want to encourage you today to use your gifts. If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are then you are in for an adventure! You can find a list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 & Romans 12:3-8. Find some other believers who are operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and ask them to pray for you to receive your gift(s). Not unlike the guy I had to have help my jump start my car!

Let’s recharge and get fired up Church!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rivers and Reservoirs


I am fortunate enough to live in beautiful Western North Carolina right outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a land full of rivers, streams and lakes where the water flows right out of the ground. It’s very different from the high desert where I grew up in Southern California. As a matter of fact the water at my home comes from a pristine mountain spring where it is collected and piped into a reservoir. We usually don’t give it much thought until something goes wrong which is usually at the least opportune time.

Over the years a few things have happened to stop the flow of water. Periodically our friendly neighborhood bear decides he wants a drink and tips over the collection box. Other times smaller animals have nibbled holes into the pipe. Even though they are small enough of them start to make a big difference. Once our neighbor adjusted the valves and inadvertently bypassed our tank. Oops. And there was the time when we were in an extended drought and the spring just couldn’t keep up with the demand. That was exciting!

But I want to focus on one specific time where we lost water. The spring was fine, the pipe intact and the reservoir was full but we still had no water. What happened was roots had clogged the line between the tank and the house. It was an ordeal to fix. See water is life –

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” - John 7:38 KJV

So what happens when the living water stops flowing in our life? Well I promise nothing good. Just look at the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in Israel. Both have water flowing into them but only Galilee has water flowing out. The Sea of Galilee is teeming with life, the Dead Sea well, is named appropriately. Where water is stagnant bad things begin to happen. See God wants our lives to be rivers not reservoirs. He wants to fill us with life so that we can share it with other.

I love that Jesus said ‘streams’, as in more than one. I believe that He has living water for us spiritually, relationally, physically, emotionally, financially… You get the picture. But when that life flows in and stops it’s not good for us or anyone else around us. We are supposed to be conduits not consumers. We have to release the flow!

As best as I can tell there are 3 things that can stop the flow through our lives. God. The enemy. Us. Let me explain.

God parted the Red Sea and stopped the Jordan River. He also dried up the brook Elijah was drinking from. When God stops the flow it is because we are in transition. We need to recognize the season we are in and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we move forward. Sometimes God must create some discomfort for us to leave what has become familiar.

Sometime the enemy stops the flow. In Genesis 26:15-22 we see the Philistines stop up the wells that Abraham dug. Isaac had to re-dig 3 wells before he was successful. He named the last well Rehoboth which translates as ‘spaciousness’. Spiritual Warfare is work but if we want to walk in victory we have to engage in the battle.

And at times we are responsible for the blockage. Sin, greed, selfishness, misplaced priorities, unforgiveness and pride are just a few of the dams in our lives. See we stop the flow when we get full! When we are full of ourselves or any of these other things there isn’t room left for God to pour into us. We have to get empty which means getting rid of all the things that don’t belong. It also means allowing what does belong to flow freely out of us and into other people. We must recognize that the living water comes from Jesus and is the Holy Spirit. In John 4 Jesus floods the life of a Samaritan woman who immediately begins to pour into others. The result was that many from her town put their faith in Jesus too. Let’s trust Him today to tear down the dams and to get life flowing once again!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How I Sprained My Brain.


Four weeks ago I had an ‘Exertion Headache’ while working out. If you don’t know what that is it’s okay because neither did I. The affects are similar to a concussion and it’s caused by a spike in blood pressure in your brain. Basically I stretched the blood vessels in my head beyond their normal operating capacity. I was on my last rep when what felt like a grenade went off in my head so I dumped the bar and collapsed on the ground. Honestly I thought I blew a gasket in my brain and was seriously considered having someone call 911. After a few minutes the intense pain subsided and left me with a dull, persistent pain in my temples, a stiff neck, sore jaw and an aversion to loud noises. I’m still dealing with the residual effects.

So I did what any normal person would do and diagnosed myself with the medical degree I got from GU (Google University). There were 6 factors listed that can contribute to an Exertion Headache. I think I had 7 of them. The list included Dehydration, Big Movements, Heavy Weight, High Reps, Compromised Blood Flow and Not Breathing. So I was fasting and hadn’t had anything to drink before class, we were doing a bunch of front squats with as much weight as possible, the bar was pushing up against my throat cutting off circulation and I held my breathe on the last two reps. I will say that our coaches stress the importance of hydration and breathing ALL the time. I knew better.

I’ve worked out this hard before, even harder and been perfectly fine. It was just the combination that pushed me and my blood pressure over the edge. It got me thinking that these ‘factors’ might apply to areas of our lives beyond our physical health. Like maybe our marriages, our money, our emotional well-being, our walk with the Lord, etc. 

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

Let’s take a look at those 6 factors from a different point of view –
  1. Dehydration – We need to be constantly pouring into our lives because we are constantly pouring out of them. God has called us to be rivers not reservoirs of His grace and life.
  2. Big Movements – Life ebbs and flows and so do our priorities. If we are not putting the right amount of effort into the right places at the right time we won’t get the right results.
  3. Heavy Weight – When we are dealing with a crisis in our life we often see things only from that perspective. Some people seem to live in crisis, going from one to the next. If they don’t have one of their own at the moment they will attach to somebody else’s. Not a healthy way to live. We need to remember this is just a season and God has brought us here for a reason.
  4. High Reps – Sometime we don’t appreciate the wear and tear of the daily grind. If we’re not careful our routine becomes a rut and we’re crazy busy but not making any headway. If something isn’t working more of it might not be the answer.
  5. Compromised Blood Flow – Blood flows from the heart, carrying life giving oxygen and food to every cell of our body and carrying away all the junk that needs to go. When we lose heart it’s not long before we lose hope.
  6. Not Breathing – Speaking of hope sometimes we hold our breath hoping that something will pass. Hope should produce faith and faith should move us to action. Ultimately action is what will get us to our goal.

Very rarely do we make one decision that’s so bad it causes catastrophic results. Usually it’s a combination of things, over a period of time that is our undoing. My advice is to listen to your coaches (people that are winning), watch for warning signs along the way and take preventative measures so you don’t end up sidelined with a Marriage/Money/Anything Else Exertion Headache.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hunger and Thirst.


Have you ever been really hungry or thirsty? I’m not talking about a meeting ran a little long and you’re late for lunch hungry. I’m talking about the kind where you’re weak in the knees and have the shakes kind of hungry. Or where your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth and you have a splitting headache from dehydration. The type of hunger and thirst that pushes everything else aside. Last month the Oxford English Dictionary added ‘Hangry’ as a newly recognized word. Here is their definition –

"Bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger."

You know who you are! Hunger and thirst will cause you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Often when we are starved (overly hungry due to excessive need in some area of our life) it makes us prone to temptation. It’s no wonder that the enemy tempted Jesus after He had fasted for 40 days and nights. This is one of the reasons that fasting is such a powerful experience for believers because it reveals and redirects what’s driving you.
  • Esau sold his birthright for a stinking bowl of stew (Genesis 25).
  • The Israelites complained against Moses and God in the wilderness REPEATEDLY (Exodus 16, 17, Numbers 11, 20, 21).

 We often think of hunger and thirst as a negative thing resulting from a place of great need. But it can be a great motivating factor in our lives. Maybe a different way to think about it is a craving or strong desire - I’m not hungry right now but I sure could destroy a piece of cheesecake!

“The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on.” – Proverbs 16:26 NIV

There are people at my gym that are hungry. They are there every day and show up early, they work up a sweat before class even starts and they stay after to run an extra mile before they leave. They’re the ones making the big gains – losing weight, adding muscle, hitting new personal records each week. They want more. The people who show up a couple times a week, 5 minutes late and exercise their jaws during the warmup – not so much. But we have to want the right things in order to get the right results.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6 AMP

Just like when God satisfied the Israelites with water from the rock and manna from heaven He is looking to fill His children who are hungry and thirsty today. The question is do YOU want more?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The legacy of a country boy from North Carolina.


The Reverend William Franklin Graham Jr., known to the world as Billy, finished his race today. He was 99. He was often referred to as ‘America’s Pastor’ and his ministry reached untold millions of people. As we remember the legacy that he left I can’t help but reflect on what made him who he was.

He was humble. Born on a dairy farm in North Carolina he never forgot his roots. In a day and age where Pastors and Evangelists have become their own ‘brand’ and market themselves like a Fortune 500 company the only brand Billy was pushing was Jesus.

He was persistent. His ministry spanned 7 decades. It took him around the world, brought him before kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers. Long after others would have settled down he pressed on.

“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 3:13-14 NIV

His message was simple. Jesus died for your sin. Faith in Him is the foundation of forgiveness. More than political influence, fame or fortune Billy wanted people to know that God loved them and Jesus came to save them. That straightforward message allowed him to cross cultures, denominations and political aisles.

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV

His character was uncompromising. I’ve never heard anyone criticize Billy Graham’s character. He conducted himself with honor and integrity. He successfully navigated the pitfalls of lust and greed that so many ‘superstars’ have found themselves in. He was known for taking extreme measures to ensure that he wasn’t disqualified along the way.

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” - 1 Peter 2:11-12 NIV

A great man went home to be with the Lord today. But I can’t help but think that the things that made him great are all things within our grasp. We can be humble. We can persist. We can share the Good News of Jesus. We can live with honor and integrity. See I think we estimate his worth by the multitudes that he reached when God esteemed him for the man that he was. God saw a man who was faithful with little so He entrusted him with much. God chooses which doors to open. It is up to us to be ready and willing to walk through them when He does.

*Biographical information was found at www.billygraham.org/about/biographies/billy-graham/

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Paradise lost?

“So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” -1 Corinthians 15:45 NIV

When Adam was first created he had it made. A perfect relationship with God, a perfect relationship with creation, a true partner in life and a purpose in life. He and his wife were entrusted with dominion over every other living thing. But first things first - Adam was created on the 6th day meaning that his first full day of his existence was a day of rest. Adam was complete God and therefore could rightly relate to everything and everyone else in life. His worth was in his being rather than his doing.

Fast forward to the fall. Adam had it all and then chose to give it away. His single act of disobedience set into motion a chain reaction that radically affects the world we live in today. This was the result –

“To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:17-19 NIV

Ever since that fateful day man has been trying to work his way out of his brokenness and back into his picture of paradise. The problem is that in the end it all leads to death. Unfortunately many Christians today have yet to find that place of rest, that place of peace, that place of being because they are so busy doing. See it’s in our first Adam nature to strive and to struggle by the sweat of our brow trying to earn our way back into His grace. But the Last Adam has opened the door for us forward into relationship, forward into significance, forward into rest.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” – Hebrews 4:1 NIV

Do not confuse rest with inactivity. Adam had great responsibility before the fall. In reality he had GREATER responsibility but that was not the essence of who he was. He was defined by the fact that he was created in the image of God. Out of that security he was free to be who God had created him to be. When we learn to ‘be’ then we will be empowered to ‘do’ - wonderful things, impossible things, eternal things.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. King & The Divided States of America

Today, as we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my heart is heavy for our nation. The United States of America has become the Divided States of America and I have never seen us so fractured. We are split along racial lines, generational lines, political lines and gender lines just to name a few. And the church is not immune. We fight over anything and everything from the color of the carpet to which translation of the Bible Jesus used. All the while the enemy sits back and laughs as he watches his plan unfold.

Jesus said it like this -

“Knowing their thoughts, He told them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls.”” – Luke 11:17 HCSB

Our nation needs healing and I believe the Church has the message of hope the world so desperately needs. But we must do more than just preach a message of unity, we must live it. We must move beyond tolerance into love, treating others with the same grace and compassion that Jesus has shown us.

Here are just a few timeless quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -

"The time is always right to do what is right.”
See what’s right has nothing to do with what’s popular.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Too many people are quick to point out a problem and too few are willing to be a solution.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We must be the peacemakers in this moment of crisis, dousing the flames instead of fueling the fire.


Fifty years ago Dr. King gave his life for a dream that I still long for and believe in today. Some 2000 years ago Jesus gave His life to break down the walls that divide us.

“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:1-6 HCSB


Dr. King led in his generation, it’s time for us to lead in ours.

Who loves 80's music?!

In 1984 Deniece Williams released the song "Let's Hear It For The Boy" featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Footloo...