Friday, February 24, 2017

NEED

I'm privileged to be on the Elder Board for the School of Urban Missions based in Oakland, California.  We have an SUM cohort at our church called Journey Ministry College, training students with the full-time call of God on their lives to do ministry.  The college provides an accredited B.A. in Biblical Studies and has a Master's program as well.

This week we're helping host the School of Urban Missions' annual Visionary Leader's Conference in New Orleans with guest, Pastor Tommy Barnett from Phoenix First Church.  

Tommy spoke on NEED a few minutes ago:


'We need more of the right kind of need.

The right kind of need will attract the supernatural power of God.

The bigger the need the bigger the supply.

Some of your miracles are in seed form right now.

Everything you need to build a great church is sitting right there in your house.  The miracle is in the house.

You need to know what your need is.

God knows your need before you ask it.

A needless life is an unproductive and mediocre life.

Find a need and fill it.

We say 'quality over quantity.'  Dumbest statement ever.  If you have quality, you'll have quantity.

Learn to seed your need.

It isn't the seed we keep that sows anything; it's the seed we sow.'


2 Corinthians 2:10 - "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."


And be blessed.

Friday, February 17, 2017

KINDNESS

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

No doubt that should be every day of the year, but today is the actual commemorative day.

Now that you know, this is your official challenge do something randomly kind for another person before the weekend is out.

'Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.'  (Mark Twain)

'No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.'  (Aesop)

'There's no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple.'  (Adams)

Go for it.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

VALENTINE

Today is Valentine's Day.

Doubtless the first word you think of when I say the word "Valentine" is ... God.

No?

OK.  How about this?  What's the other word you think of when I say the word "Valentine?"

LOVE, by any chance?

Sure.

Now, what do you think of when I say the word 'love?'

Yes ... God.

The same number of us who have a firm belief in God should also have a firm belief in love.

If you believe in God but you don't believe in love, you have a big problem.  Because if God exists and He's all-powerful and all-knowing and all-present and He isn't motivated by love, we're done.

Conversation over.

I mean, if God isn't love, explain the way we get to act toward Him.

Once you understand who God really is you begin to believe in love in the most powerful way.

If He isn't love, do you think for a moment He'd tolerate us saying He doesn't exist?  If He exists and isn't love, do you think He'd tolerate for one second us living so directly in defiance to His will and intention for our lives?  If He isn't love?

In fact, the truth that we can live our lives without Him if we choose is proof that He's love.

And the reason we get one more chance and one more opportunity and one more breath is because His love never stops pursuing us.

Once you understand who God really is you begin to believe in love in the most powerful way.

God so loved the world ... happy Valentine's Day.

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

IDIOT

From the TV show, 'The Office ... "

Michael:  What's the most important thing I ever said to you?

Dwight:  "Don't be an idiot."  Changed my life.  Now, whenever I'm about to do something I think, 'Would an idiot do that?'  And If they would, I don't do that thing.



I'm just saying -- that isn't bad advice.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

SUPERHERO

Speaking of heroes -- two days ago here -- my favorite superhero has to be Captain America.  

Let's face it.  Chris Evans has more 'cool' in his right pinkie than I do in all my parts combined.  You know it's true.

Captain America doesn't have any particularly superhuman powers like his superhero friends, but he has amazing strength, incredible agility and endurance, rocket-like speed and finely tuned reflexes.  He is an expert in hand-to-hand combat and is a skilled martial artist.  He's a master strategist, acrobat and pilot.  He speaks Russian, German and English.  He's indestructible when he has his amazing star-studded 12-pound shield in his hand.  And ... he rides a custom-built Harley.

Yeah.  Gotta be Captain America.

I'm fascinated by superheroes.  Wouldn't it be great to be one?

They come to the rescue.  They change the world.  They make a difference.  They never give up.  No obstacle causes them to shy away.  Fearless.

But hold on.

Why can't that be me - or you?

Could you come to someone's rescue who was in need?
Could you take the world you walk in every day and change it by a kind word - a good deed - a helping hand?
Could you make a difference in someone's life that way?

The answer is easy.

You don't need superpowers to be a superhero.  The hero God calls us to be is simply to be a faithful follower of Christ.

When I walk past the early childhood rooms on a Sunday morning and watch a man on his knees helping tie a 3-year old's shoe, that's a hero.

I worked alongside a dozen guys in Cuba last year -- sweating for 10 hours a day while they wheelbarrowed rocks and sand to build a church -- all heroes.

I think about a mom (mine) who worked tirelessly to support us while I was growing up, without a man by her side -- a hero.

A guy who hauls thousands of pounds of food to a gym every month so people in need can get free groceries -- a hero.

The 65-year old lady who holds the door open for guests pouring into the church every weekend, no matter the cold -- a hero.

The mom who packs lunches and drives the gang to school every day -- a hero.

The dad who coaches for his son's soccer team -- a hero.

The group who spends their Monday afternoons at an elementary school reading to and playing with the kids after school -- heroes all.


You don't need superpowers to be a superhero.


Superheroes.

You want to be one?

I'm not stopping you.

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

HERO

Remember story time at your house?

You hop in bed alongside your little son or daughter to read them a bedtime story.  They pick the book.  The same book they've picked the past 30 days.

Sometimes you read that story with great enthusiasm -- you added voices and hand gestures to spice it up a little.

Most nights, that is.

Then there were those other nights you couldn't muster the voices and faces because you were just tired.  You wanted to move the night along, get them to bed, say the prayer, kiss their foreheads, and get on with your life.

But you knew they were never going to sleep unless you read their favorite story.

There was this particular reading technique nobody ever taught you as a parent, it just came naturally at some point.  When you went to turn the page of the book . . . you turned two pages.

I always got caught.

'Hey honey, look over there - there's a huge spider on the wall.'

And when she did, I'd quickly turn three pages at once.

"You skipped a page, Daddy?'

"I did??  How'd that happen?"

She knew the story.  Backward and forward.


There's something about a story that grabs you.


It's interesting that children will sit patiently to hear the same story over and over and over again until they can recite it with you.  Then the next night, they want that same story read again.

There's something about a story that grabs you.  I'm not sure we ever grow out of that.

In fact, if you drill down on your favorite movies - your favorite books, the characters may change a little - the look may change some - but most of them follow the same basic plot.  There may be a different villain, a slightly different adventure, danger or a journey, but ultimately a hero overcomes insurmountable odds or a team of people do what no individual could.

It always goes something like this:  There was a time when things were good - then something terrible happened - evil burst onto the scene - confusion ensued - there was a struggle, a battle, obstacles to be overcome -- and when it seems all is lost, the hero arrives.

Ever wonder why we go back to those stories again and again?  May I submit to you that it's the only story on earth?  That's why it rings to true to us.  There's something universal behind that story.

It's a story written on our own hearts.  It's the story of eternity.  It's the story of the entire Bible.  It's the story of Jesus.

The Hero showed up.

And be blessed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

STORY

I haven't come from the kind of story that would make your eyes get big.  There are people who've been rescued by God from some enormous obstacles.

God spared me from much of that.

Still, I've had health issues -- I've had a father situation
-- I've had family circumstances -- I've had discouragement, even depression -- I understand low self-esteem -- I've struggled financially.

They're all chains.

Maybe yours is anger -- maybe it's doubt -- maybe it's addiction or influence by the world -- maybe it's impatience -- pride -- jealousy -- lack of peace.

Whatever it is, God can use it if you give it to Him.  It's your story.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

GRIEVE

Ever made a commitment with your resources and you felt pretty good about it and then that week something big breaks at home?

Isn't that how it goes?

And the enemy of your soul says in your ear:  'See?  You shouldn't have given that.  You shouldn't made that commitment.  What are you going to do now?  You're so foolish.'

And we start to grieve what we'd already given or what we said we would give.

Imagine if I asked you for some money and after you gave it to me, I decided to give it in an offering.  I wouldn't be grieving that I gave that money.  You might be, but I wouldn't be.

Why wouldn't I grieve over it?  Because it wasn't mine.


The reason we sometimes grieve when we give is because we thought it was ours.


The reason we sometimes grieve when we give is because we thought it was ours.  But it isn't - not that first part.  It's God's.

In the same way the Bible says your body isn't your own.  It belongs to God, so what you do with it in all kinds of different ways is so important.

Same with your resources.  When we get the heart that we're giving back to God what is already His, we don't grieve over it any longer.

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

TREASURE

People are the Kingdom.  The treasure of the Kingdom of God is you.

Your neighbors are treasures to God.  The children of Haiti are treasures to God.  Women being trafficked in Thailand and Chicago and India are treasures to God.  Orphans and widows around the world are treasures to God.  You and your family are treasures to God.

And how much are you worth?

The value of anything is determined by whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

In 2007, Barry Bonds hit a homer that placed him at the top of all-time home run hitters, surpassing Hank Aaron.  In the stadium that day was a man who'd gotten up from his seat to get a hot dog and beer.  On his way back to his seat, Bonds hit that homer.  The man managed to catch the ball right there in the aisle of the stadium without dropping his hot dog or beer - the way a real man would do.  They whisked him and the ball off to a private room where they authenticated the ball.  They determined it was worth $5 million only because that's what someone would be willing to pay for it.

So what are you worth?

The highest price ever paid for anyone or anything was paid for you - the blood of another person.  Jesus gave everything for you.

You're the treasure of the Kingdom.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

HE

We're in a period of 21 days of prayer and fasting at Journey Church.

The evenings or prayer in the main auditoriums at our campuses have been awesome and passionate as people gather in groups, lifting hands, raising voices to pour out to God together.

A lot of us think prayer is some kind of means to get our personal needs met.  That isn't the core of it. It's a vehicle to praise and honor God - to get into His presence and be transformed by Him.

It's about putting God - as well as ourselves - in the right position.  He's the sovereign of the universe.  He created all there is.  He's almighty, all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, all-loving, all-just.  He is.

In that moment we build an altar that God can pour His fire on to melt our hearts, soften our hardness, break down barriers and let His glory break through.

Tomorrow night - Friday - 6:30p worship at both campuses.
Day 5 of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting starts tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

ANGRY

God's plan is for us to be a little unnerved and unsettled about the world around us.

There are people in our regular circles of influence we need to get a greater heart for.

It's great to celebrate when we come together as a church, but let's also be in some sorrow about what we could do but aren't yet doing.  If we never shed a tear for those around us, we're in trouble.

In fact, we should get angry about some things.  Right things.  Let's be angry that people are in sex slavery.  Let's be angry that our neighbors don't know Jesus - not be angry at them, but angry at the devil for the hold he has on people.  Let's be angry that there are thousands of children orphaned with no homes.  Let's be angry there are no thriving churches in communities all around us.  And then ...

We should get angry about some things.

Let's do something about it.

Have a burden for your city.

Have you noticed you hear your own child crying way faster than you hear other kids crying?  When it's your kid who crashes on his bicycle, you're running and crying and rescuing.  But when some other kid crashes, you're like: 'Oh, get up.  You're fine.'

Nobody will own the burden if we don't own it.

It's your child.
It's your community.
They're your friends.
They're your neighbors.
It has to bother you.  You have to own it.

It's OK to be a little angry at some things.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TEAM

I love the team God has blessed Joelene and me and Journey Church with.  What a collection of gifted, talented, young, passionate, creative men and women who lead our student and children's ministries, young adults, serving, worship, community, offering hope, administration, counseling, communications, our school and college, and our Burlington and Lithuania campuses.

We could not be in better hands.

Recently we all had the opportunity to sit together under the ministry of Kevin Queen from 12 Stone Church.  He was our guest.  Kevin poured in to us for a 24-hour period and it was beyond amazing.  

Here are some quotes from our Bucket Filler weekend together.


‘You can have as much God as you want.’

‘God can only fill what you are bringing to Him.’

‘What are you liking that you shouldn’t be liking?
What are you loving that you should be liking?
What are you liking that you should be loving?’

‘What if it’s your prayer that's the key to revival breaking out in your city?’

‘Prayer isn’t the preparation for the greater work; it IS the greater work.’

‘Keep your head on a swivel looking for opportunities to pray.’

‘The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little extra.’

‘We’re born on third base thinking we’ve hit a triple.’

‘Reputation may get you to the table, but character keeps you there.’

‘It’s better to eat Dunkin’ Donuts with friends than to eat broccoli alone.’

‘Martha was making sandwiches Jesus didn’t order.’

‘The best way to fight weary is with worship.’

‘Honor is saying, “Your name is safe in my mouth.”’

‘You can miss the now by focusing on the then.’


And be blessed.