Sunday, March 26, 2017

LOVE

A lot of people have a firm belief in God.  I hope you do.  But the same number of people who have a firm belief in God should have a firm belief in love.

Because if you believe in God but you don't believe in love, you have a huge problem.  If God exists and He's all-powerful and He's all-knowing and He's all-present and this great Creator of the universe isn't love, you're done.  Finished.

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

If He wasn't love, do you think for a moment He'd tolerate us saying He doesn't exist?  If God exists and He isn't love, do you think He'd allow us to live so directly in defiance to His will - if He isn't love?

The truth that we can live our lives without Him if we choose is proof that He's love.

The reason we get one more chance and one more opportunity and one more breath and one more mistake is because God is love and that love never stops pursuing us.

God is love.

And be blessed.

Friday, March 24, 2017

THINKERS

Do you ever experience a gap between what you know and what you do?  Have you ever found that new knowledge doesn't automatically translate to new life?  Ever heard an incredibly enlightening sermon on Sunday and fall off the wagon by Tuesday?

We can't think our way to holiness.

But why not?  Are we not thinking hard enough?

What if the reason is that we aren't primarily thinking things?  What if we aren't even first and foremost thinkers at all?

What if, rather than it being 'you are what you think,' instead it's 'you are what you love?'  You are what you desire.

What would that say about you then?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THINK

Think about what you think about.

Over the past month, were more of your thoughts worrisome or were they peaceful - the majority?

Were you at all worried about your health - about your credit card - about your children - about your marriage - about your cat that ran away and you were worried he might come back?
Or were you generally secure in the promises of God?  Not that you weren't occasionally bothered, but you generally experienced peace this past month, even in the middle of some challenge.

Which was it?  Worrisome or peaceful?

Think about what you thought about.

Were your thoughts more negative or positive?  If only I was married -- If only I had that other job -- if only I had kids -- if only I had different kids . . .
Or did you generally believe the best about things this past month - believing God is bringing a good outcome in your life?

Which was it?  More positive or negative?

Think about what you thought about.

How about worldly versus eternal thoughts?  You thought more about your next car or your next house or your next selfie rather than thinking about people far from God or how you might leverage your stuff to impact the Kingdom of God.

Which was it?  More temporal or eternal thoughts?

Think about what you thought about.

If you're more concerned with negative thoughts and worrisome thoughts and worldly thoughts, that means your life is moving that direction.  If you're consumed with peaceful, positive, eternal thoughts, your life is moving that direction.

Your life always moves in the direction of your strongest thoughts.

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

LIST

I've met plenty of folks who just didn't believe in themselves.  They believed in everybody else, but not themselves.

Here's a little exercise I would recommend you do with a friend - or with your life group:

Write down a list of all the things you're good at - great qualities you have.  That isn't boasting.  It usually takes a little time to get started because it just feels weird to be doing that about you.  But after awhile you start develop a short list.

Then have your friend (or group) complete the list for you - good qualities they see in you - then share that in the group together.

It's beautiful to see a face light up as you hear what is great about you that you've always had such a hard time expressing on your own.

I Samuel 30 mentions how distressed David was because of the anger and bitterness of those around him ... 'but David encouraged himself in the Lord.'

Sometimes Kevin just has to preach to Kevin.  I have to say to myself what's consistent with the truth of God.  Because His Word is my reality.

That's your reality as well.

'God, I believe You want to bless my life - my marriage - my family.'
'I believe You want to save my children.'
'I believe you want us to get out of debt.'
I believe Your plan for my life is good.'

Say what God says.  He believes in you.  So you can too.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SAY

If you can't say something helpful, don't say anything.

No corrupting talk - only what is good for building up as fits the occasion, that it might give grace to the hearer.

If we just applied that one-and-only-one principle, life would dramatically change for us all.

If you can't say something redeeming, the KJV of the Bible says:  'Shut Thy Mouth.'

But if you think something good, say it.

Send the text - write the note.  Don't ever hold back a blessing.  Every time you think it - if it's good - say it.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BLACK BELT

I prayed today for those of you who have been hurt by the words of others - some of you still dealing with harsh words spoken twenty years ago - or more - words that are still producing bad fruit in your life.

If you and I as amateurs got into the ring to go at each other, one of us would win and you would be sore for a little while (grin) -- maybe a day or two -- but if it was you and an actual black belt, you could be sore for much longer.

Do you know why?  Because he was an expert.

You can be a black belt with your mouth so that someone is sore for weeks - or longer - because you were an expert with your tongue.

You can be a black belt with your mouth.

In your marriage one of you is a better communicator.  You can easily win the argument but that doesn't mean you're winning any wars.  You may win the present disagreement but you're losing the long term agreement you have in your covenant.

Words last.

Make the words you speak to others last, but in good, healing, redeeming ways.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

REALITY

God's Word is your reality.

Your reality isn't what others say about you.
Your reality isn't even what you say about you.
Your reality is what God says about you.

You may call me names - and you may even speak some truth about that, because I may have done some of what you call me - but if God declares me righteous, forgiven, then your insults don't have the final word nor are they the most powerful words in my life.

God's Word is my reality.

That's why I need to read the Bible every day.
That's why I need to hear the Word spoken on the weekend.
That's why I need to listen to God in prayer.

Because God's Word is my reality.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

COMPLIMENT

I don't know if it's true, but the old adage is: 'Ten compliments for every criticism.'

So here's a challenge:

For one full day withhold negative statements.  Limit yourself to positive feedback only.

What?!  You want me to be mute that day?
Yes.  If that's what it takes for you to meet the challenge.

Try it.

Then at the end of the day, evaluate your attitude and the attitude of those around you.

Once you've accomplished that, here's Step Two:

Take four days and affirm only the behaviors you appreciate.  I don't mean just withhold criticism.  I mean intentionally express positive feedback ONLY - for four days.

See the bad - but say the good.

Then again, evaluate.

If you wait until behavior is amazingly exceptional to give praise and gratitude you'll create a negative atmosphere.  Enrich your surroundings with positive talk.

Try it on your spouse - on your kids - your friends and neighbors - co-workers - the mailman - strangers even.

'On the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.'  (Matthew 12:36, 37)

We rise by lifting others.  Start now.

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

QUIT

Let me more of the comments given by Pastor Tommy Barnett at the recent School of Urban Missions Visionary Leaders gathering last month.  (See post on 2/24/17)

I respect this man for his history as well as his powerful current drive to serve Jesus.


"Wanting to quit is a sign of success - because successful people are the only ones who CAN quit.

The more you have to quit the more you want to quit.  The higher you go, the more dangerous, lonelier, colder, riskier, harder it becomes.  You'll want to quit because you have more to quit.

You can enjoy the luxury of wanting to quit if you know you aren't going to quit.

During the moments you want to quit, don't tell anyone.  They might take you up on it.  Tell them after you've decided not to quit.

Don't expose yourself to wha you don't want to be because you'll be a product of who you hang with, the places you travel and the things you read.

You have to lock yourself in so you can't quit.


So good.

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

UNFAIR


Think about your not-so-perfect, kinda-messy, half-broken, personal story right now.  What is the unfair advantage God has given you by allowing you to journey through what you have?

Really think about it.

Your Unfair Advantage.

Some of you have travelled the road of addiction.  You've discovered the truth of John 8:36 - "He whom the Son sets free is free indeed."  That's a story.

Some of you have journeyed the path of loss.  You know Psalm 34:17, 18 - 'When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  He is near to the brokenhearted.'
That's a story.

Some of you have travelled the road of desperation.  You know 2 Corinthians 12:9 - 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'  That's a story.

Some of you have walked the walk of abandonment.  You know Deuteronomy 31:8 - 'It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you.'  That's a story.

As for me - I know the road of fatherlessness.  I know Psalm 68:5 - ' A father to the fatherless is God in His holy dwelling.'  That's a story.

It's my 'unfair advantage.'

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

SQUEEZED

You can't really tell how much faith a person has by looking.  You find out how much is in you when you get squeezed.  When circumstances turn on the pressure, you spill out whatever it is you're full of.

If you're filled with faith, then faith is what spills out.  If you're filled with doubt when circumstances apply pressure, then doubt is what spills out.

Maybe you had a bad quarter at work - terrible personal sales - way under your company's expectations levels.  What spilled out?

Maybe you received some bad news from your doctor.  What splashed out?

You spill out what you're full of.  If you're filled with faith, that's what comes out.  If you're filled with doubt, that's what comes out.

It's one or the other - faith or doubt.

And here's what I know -- you're going to get squeezed.  You will be tested.  All you have to do to prove my theory correct ... is to live a few years.

And here's the thing:  God doesn't test your faith so He can see how much is there;  He already knows.  He tests your faith so you can know how much is there and see it grow.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DOUBT

I don't know if you're much of a doubter ... like me.

You're probably better with that than I - and that's good.  But I can really be skeptical about a lot of things.

For instance - here's a short list of things I and others are dubious about:

The Government and Politicians
The News
Advertisements
Before & After Pictures
Diet Pills and Plans
Anything that says 'Free'
Big Corporations
Salesmen
Insurance Companies
People who say, 'I can quit whenever I want'
Terrorists
Guys with super long fingernails
Celebrities
Facebook Statuses
People who say they work 80 hours a week
People who smile all the time

There are a lot of things I tend to doubt.

When it comes to God, doubt is a lack of confidence that He's going to do what He said He would do.  It's the mindset that says, 'I don't know if God is going to come through.'

So let's put some things immediately on the table:


God has promised to provide for us.

'I will meet all your needs according to My glorious riches in Christ.'  (Philippians 4:19)

He never told us He would meet our greeds; He said He would meet our needs.

But what if He doesn't come through on that? That's doubt.


God has promised to protect us.

'No weapon formed against you will prevail.'  (Isaiah 54:17a)

But maybe something terrible is going to happen anyway.  That's doubt.


God has promised to prosper our souls.

'I will bestow favor and honor; no good thing will I withhold from those whose walk is blameless.'  (Psalm 84:11)

Your life won't lack one single thing that could increase your joy if you walk with God.


No need to doubt.

And be blessed.