Monday, March 31, 2014


Human effort alone isn't going to manufacture the character of God in your life because the character of God can't be produced by your flesh.  It's only created in you by the Spirit of God.

You get into the presence of God, and His Spirit begins to re-shape your heart and your mind and your motives and your thoughts and your attitudes so that you begin to take on His character.

But you have to stay in the process of allowing God to work inside of you.  If you surrender to Christ, He will ultimately produce these things in you and me.

But it isn't always easy and some folks end up quitting the process.

'Don't quit Jesus.'

There were some who were part of our church just a year ago -- on fire for God -- fully devoted to Him -- serving Him like crazy -- but for whatever reason circumstances happened and it got too hard, too much, too long, and they just flat-out quit.  They aren't here today and they aren't serving God today.

That isn't me judging anyone; I love them.

But if you asked them, 'Do you believe in God?' they'd say, 'Sure I do.  Why are you even asking me that?'

They believe in God, but they're not in the process of the Spirit.  They quit.

Proverbs 20:6 - "There are many who will say, 'I am loyal,' but can anyone find a man who is really faithful?"  (MSG)

Don't quit Jesus.

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


If you are ever asked if you have a Biblical Worldview, here's what you're being asked:  Do you agree with these eight things?

1 - Jesus lived a sinless life
2 - God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe and He rules today
3 - Salvation is a free gift from God and cannot be earned
4 - Satan is real
5 - Christians have a responsibility to share their faith
6 - The Bible is fully accurate
7 - Unchanging moral truth exists
8 - Such truth is defined by the Bible

That's it.  That's a Biblical worldview.

'Moment to moment decisions are shaped by your worldview.'

Do you believe those eight things?  If you do, you espouse a Biblical Worldview.  If you do not, then your worldview is something other than Biblical.

According to a recent survey, of those over 40 years of age, only 9% had a fully Biblical worldview.  Of those under 40, it dropped to 3%.


This is why there is so much confusion in the world today about tolerance, acceptance, values, lifestyles, belief systems, truth claims, etc ... because the number of folks who consistently believe these eight things is slipping in favor of other forms of thinking and believing.  Many/most people are simply creating their own personal version of 'what is right' and the tweaking it as they go -- meaning, truth is whatever is right in their own eyes at the time.

Everybody has some kind of worldview.  Moment to moment decisions are shaped by it.  Over time we adapt our worldview to better suit our mental, emotional, spiritual and relational lives.  We mold our worldview around our practices, rather than mold our practices around a correct, true, Biblical worldview.

I encourage you to put your spiritual muscle into play by studying these eight core values of Christianity and then living by a Biblical, Godly perspective.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I think you should go out and make as much money as you possibly can.  Oodles of it.  Gobs.  I hope every person reading this does.

But then ... be generous, generous, generous, generous.  Give to people in need -- bless others -- give to the church -- give to the Kingdom of God -- give to missions -- give, give, give, give, give.

If God has blessed you with a great house -- and by the way, you don't think you got that house because you're so great, do you?  God put you in that house for a reason.  So, if you have a great house, say: 'Come have life group at our place.  We have room.  We'll open it up.'

If you have a cabin, bless somebody with a weekend who doesn't own a cabin.

If you have a boat, invite some people to enjoy it with you this summer.

If we don't, anything can become a monster.  Because Jesus says, 'The only way you get real treasure is to put Me first.'

And what IS the treasure?  Jesus is the treasure.

If you have Him, you're rich.  You may have a great personal estate, but it's nothing compared to His grace.  It's nothing compared to His forgiveness and salvation.  It's nothing compared to His adoption of you as a son and a daughter.

'Jesus is the treasure.'

Thieves can steal all that other stuff.  Rust can ruin all that other stuff.  Moths can eat up all that other stuff.  But when you have Jesus, you're rich.  He's the treasure.  When you really have Him in your life, money is no longer sacred.  You're free from greed -- you're free from worry -- you're free from competition.  You're free for generosity -- you're free for liberality -- because Jesus is your treasure.

And not only that --- and this is the BEST --- you're His treasure.

Isn't that the most wonderful thing you've ever heard or thought of?  You're His treasure.

That's why you never need to be greedy.  That's why you never need to be jealous.  That's why you never need to worry about what you'll eat or drink.  That's why you never need to be angry or proud.

You have everything you could ever hope for or dream of in a Savior who loves you and gave His life for you and made you His own treasure.

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Do you know somebody who struggles with greed?  Chances are, most people reading this would say "Yes."  But if I asked if you struggled with it, chances are you'd say "No."

You'd call it something else.

Taking care of my family.
Being successful.

But you can stand on the very top rung of your personal or corporate ladder and feel empty.  You can have gathered everything the world has to offer and still have a huge void inside.

Jesus says Christianity isn't something you add on.  It isn't something you fill in the gaps with after your big life spaces have been taken up by other things.  Life with Christ is a heart explosion that turns you completely upside down.  It makes you walk away from things you previously thought promised fulfillment and satisfaction.  It isn't an add on.  It's a whole new system.

And something like greed can sabotage that system.  You don't even know it's in there.

It can be greed of power - trying to control others.
It can be greed of possessions.
It can be greed of idolatry - anything we put in front of God.

Whatever you dream of that you think will give you the best life without Jesus -- that's what He wants you to give to Him.  Because anything you've decided will give you the very best life that isn't spelled 'J-E-S-U-S' becomes a monster.

And be blessed.

Friday, March 21, 2014


We prefer hearing our own voices.  Anyone going to own that besides me?  We want to hear our own wisdom - our own advice - our own counsel - our own ideas.

Don't deny that.

We gather our own crowns and bring our own cheerleaders near.  We talk about our own kingdoms.  And we ignore the voice of God.

But there is only one King's chair.

The Voice coming from that chair isn't false or in error.  That Voice may not always tell you what you want to hear, but following that Voice will bring blessing, peace and security.

'There is great competition in the world about whose voice should be loudest.'

There is great competition in the world about whose voice should be loudest.  Blessed is the man or woman who doesn't listen to everything he or she hears.  Blessed is the one who figures out which voice to listen to and which to discard.

Blessed is the one who knows his chair.

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Growing up, I always knew and recognized the clearing of a certain throat from across the room:  my mom's.  Usually it was in church when I was talking during the sermon, but it could have been anywhere -- visiting someone's home -- the grocery store -- a crowded room -- the dinner table -- you name it.

She would clear her throat, signaling that I needed to comply with whatever rule I was at that moment breaking.

My entire church youth group started to know her signal.

(in quiet tones):  "Hey.  Your mom just cleared her throat."
"Shhhh!  I know.  I heard her."

The only thing worse would have been for her to get up from her seat and come all the way over to where I was sitting with my friends and put her hand on my shoulder -- something she also did.

But usually she didn't have to do that because I would snap to attention in one way or another.  God forbid she should come and actually sit down beside me and my 13-year old buddy.

The early church did that.  The moment they heard from the Holy Spirit, they knew the Father was speaking.  They knew God had a voice.

When you and I understand that God has a voice - that He really does speak - that He really desires to engage you in conversation - that particular knowledge is transforming.  God isn't some distant Being.  He's right here if you have the ears to hear Him - because God has a voice.

And He's talkin
g, that's for sure.

Dial in.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Faith doesn't come from you or me.  It comes from God as we get Him and His Word into our hearts and lives.

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."  (Romans 10:17)

I wonder what God is just waiting to accomplish in your home and your family and your future.  Let's stop being unsure about God.  Let's start trusting Him with everything we have.

'Let's stop being unsure about God.'

Let's not allow the enemy to rob us of faith.  Let's be steadfast during even the most trying of times.  Let's recall the amazing things He's already done.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I have a word for you.

The battle of your Christian life has not been just to believe --- but to keep on believing.

Hebrews speaks to us powerfully on this:  'Don't throw away your confidence;  it will be richly rewarded.  Persevere so when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.  For in just a little while ... He is coming.  But My righteous ones will live by faith ... And we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.'  (10:35-39)

The great goal of satan is to break down your faith.  If he can pull your hand back down to your side where you had it stretched out to God, he's succeeded.

On that point, Joshua had some parting instructions to his people which we would do so well to heed:  'You've seen everything God has done for your sake;  it was the Lord who fought for you.'

Taylor translation: 'Look back and think about all God has done -- and let history build your faith.'

'Let history build your faith.'

Why don't you and I just take the past twelve months on that one?  How many scores of mornings did you wake up with strength in your limbs to function?  You didn't manufacture that strength solo - I hope you don't think that.  It was a gift from God.

When did you last thank God for your mental alertness - for a memory that works - for the skills and ability to hold down a job?

Every one of us could point to things in our lives that aren't yet what God wants them to be.  There's still a good deal that God wants to conquer in us.

And He will.

How do I know that?  Because of what He's already done in our past.  Keep on believing.

And be blessed.

Monday, March 17, 2014


What do you think it would take to amaze Jesus?  Pretty tough to do, wouldn't you imagine?  He created the universe after all.

So was there anything that impressed Him to the point where He said: 'Woah!  That's really something.  Didn't see that coming?'

All through the Gospels He's never astounded by anybody's holiness.  He isn't impressed with anyone's wisdom or knowledge.  He didn't once say: 'Boy, that Matthew ... such a smart dude.  I really chose a genius there.'

It seems Jesus was amazed by only one thing ...

When a Roman centurion came asking for his servant to be healed from a distance, Jesus said He would go to Him.  But the centurion answered:  'No Lord, just speak the word and I know it will be done.'

'Faith is the one thing in our spiritual walk that we can never allow to be shaken.'

It says Jesus was amazed at his faith.

On the opposite side, when Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth we're told He couldn't do any miracles there except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them.  Then it says He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Faith is the trigger that releases God's divine power.  Faith is the one thing in our spiritual walk that we can never allow to be shaken.

In our day the whole idea of faith has degenerated into an emphasis on saying certain words, not saying certain words, giving a positive confession, or announcing an over-confident description of a desired blessing.  If you admit you're sick or in trouble, you're supposedly not walking in faith.  It all becomes a complicated formula of how the Bible should 'work' for you.

That's an obscene interpretation of the Gospel and it leads to gross absurdities.

The Bible doesn't 'work.'  God works.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Nothing else counts if faith is missing.  There's no other foundation for Christian living, no matter how much self-effort you expend.  Nothing touches God as much as when His children simply trust Him with all their hearts.

He is more than your Creator ... more than your Defender ... more than your Rock or your Strong Tower ... more than your Protector.  God recovers stolen property.

Trust Him.

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


One of the most oft-quoted stats by church leaders today is:  "The divorce rate among Christians is no better than that among unbelievers."

Not exactly.

The more accurate truth is that those who practice a serious religious faith have a divorce rate significantly lower than the rest of the nation -- approximately 35% lower.  

The difference is faith practice and faith commitment.

'Every single day there is a fight for allegiance.'

That isn't exactly rocket science -- or at least it shouldn't be for Bible-believing Christ-followers.  It is not only gratifying but also intuitive that those who regularly practice faith-based behaviors and who regularly hold to faith-based attitudes -- who are faithful to do life in Christian community -- who read their Bibles -- pray -- engage in spiritual disciplines -- living not as perfect disciples, but serious ones -- experience significantly lower divorce rates than the general public.

Even so, the numbers are still too high.  The thief comes to steal.

The enemy of my soul fully intends to destroy my marriage to Joelene -- and yours to your beloved -- even though you may have so far survived.  These are the realities of spiritual warfare.  Only committed faith in Christ and leaning on His great power can give us triumph over the destructive plans of our enemy.

Every single day there is a fight for allegiance.  The enemy tries to steal the faith right out of your heart.  He tries to hurt it - wound it - scar it - kill it.  This is not a thief who attempts to make off with your four best dishtowels and all your electronics.  He's looking for more precious quarry.  

Jesus, your Savior, however, is the opposite of a thief.  He is an anti-thief.  He doesn't come to steal, but to bless -- to give hope.  He doesn't break in to your life.  He patiently stands at your heart's door and knocks.  If invited in, He walks thru your spiritual house placing precious objects on mantels and shelves and in the cupboards of your life.  He fills you up with everything life is worth living for.

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?  If you were given the choice to treat God just like a genie and get one wish, what would you ask for?

King Solomon did a lot of things wrong - but one great thing he did, when asked that very question by God, said:  'Of all the things I could have in the whole world, I'd like a listening heart.'  Literally, 'I want wisdom.'

Give me a wise heart.

And God gave that to him.

'God has to be enough or we're going to want everything but Him.'

Think about that.  If God said to you --- 'Ask anything of Me, (insert your name here), and I'll give it to you.'  Of all the things possible, what would you ask for?

I'm not sure I'd ask for wisdom.  I don't know what I'd ask for, but I doubt it would be wisdom.

Here's what you and I need to know -- whatever you'd ask for is where you are at risk.  Whatever makes the list above wisdom, that's where you have to go to work -- that's what you have to surrender.  Because God has to be enough, or we're going to want everything but Him.

Think about what makes the list for you above wisdom.  What is it?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


There's a built-in reason you aren't fully satisfied with your new iPad.  There's a built-in reason you aren't fully satisfied with your new car or job promotion.

Because you were made for more.

Those things are never going to satisfy because they were never intended to.

Here's the paradox:

'The more you hope for heaven, the more content you'll be on earth.'

And here's an even stranger truth -- the God of heaven is jealous.  But not in any way close to the way we get jealous.  He isn't all that patient waiting for us to get to heaven.  He wants us now.  And He isn't about to settle for part of you.  And when He really gets ahold of you - when He gets all of you - He becomes all to you.  And when that happens, you don't want anything but all of Him.

So let your co-workers excel - let your friends prosper - let your neighbor get the sexy car -- what does it matter?

Because you have all of God and God has all of you.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


If I had that, I'd be comfortable ...

If I had that, I'd be complete ...

If I had that, I'd be happy ...

If I had that, I'd be fulfilled ...

The truth is, according to Proverbs 23, if you have God 'all day long,' you have everything.

When God gets glory from your life, you get joy.  That's the whole basis, by the way, for your life here on Earth.  God gets glory, you get joy.  How great is that?

But you have to have a God-moment.  And when you truly understand that all you have you have because God gave it to you, you suddenly find yourself not wanting other people's stuff - you stop wanting other people's lives.

'If you have God all day long, you have everything.'

It's a barometer -- that when you start wanting what other people have, you've lost connection with God.  You aren't fearing Him - you aren't revering Him - you aren't honoring Him 'all day long.'

If you have God 'all day long,' you have everything.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


We may not process it cognitively, but there are three words that reveal your jealousy quotient -- we've all said them -- they are three words you have to be on personal watch for.

Here they are -- very practical right now -- every person reading this has used these three words -- 100% of us have -- they are 'code words' for jealousy.


The three words are ...

You know how your voice goes UP just a little bit at the end of that short sentence to reveal your cynicism and jealousy?

Say it out loud.  You'll see.

They have enough money to live in that neighborhood?  MUST BE NICE.

She's the boss's pet.  MUST BE NICE.

I hear they're taking the whole family to Disneyland.  MUST BE NICE.

She has such a fast metabolism.  MUST BE NICE.

Nobody's ever said 'MUST BE NICE' without a tone attached.  And when we say 'MUST BE NICE,' we're really saying, 'Why them and not me?'

I Corinthians 13:4 says: "Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious."

Love says: 'I'm for you, even when you're more successful than I.'
'I'm for you, even though you're more prominent than I.'
I'm for you, even though you're better looking than I.'
I'm for you, even though you're more gifted than I.'

I'm for you.  I've always been for you - I'm for you right now - I'll always be for you.  I celebrate your success because Jesus loves you and I love you.

How NICE is that?

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Would you like to see the vintage poster children for the Seven Deadly Sins?  Remember the cast from Gilligan's Island?

Mr. Howell represented greed.
Mrs. Howell represented anger.
Ginger, lust.
The Skipper, gluttony.
MaryAnn, envy.
The Professor, pride - and
Gilligan, sloth.

I don't know if that's true, but it is at the very least, interesting.  And it does kinda work.

Just sayin.'

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Jesus changes abusers into loving husbands.  I've seen that happen in our church.

Jesus takes addicts and turns them into productive, responsible citizens.  I've seen that happen in our church.

He puts marriages back together when there were nothing but daggers of hate going back and forth.  I've seen that happen in our church.

I've seen lives turned around.

I've seen arrogant businessmen and women become loving, humble, unselfish servants of Christ.

I've seen people consumed with fear -- with bitterness -- with guilt, anger and depression renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I've seen hundreds baptized over the past several years and each life was saying: 'I'm a changed person.  I'm not perfect, but at least now my feet are headed in the right direction.'

Only God can make those kinds of changes in a person.

I've seen it happen.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


God's plan for you is so good and so great He even takes your mistakes - your faults - your failures - and beautifully weaves them into something grand.

His plan for your life isn't all happiness and comfortability, though.  At times, His plan includes pain. It includes disappointment.  It involves discipline.  It means unanswered prayers.  You don't grow in character without those.

And yet -- it's so good.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


It is everything God does for you even though you don't deserve any of it.

Everything you have comes by it.  Everything God does in you and thru you and for you and to you is by it.

You don't earn it, you don't deserve it, you don't work for it.  It's free.

If you don't understand it, and if your heart doesn't explode with gratitude when you begin to understand it, you have no idea of what bad shape you were in before you met Jesus.

Here's what you were - in one word - before you met Christ ----- hopeless.
You had no meaning.  No purpose.  No way of escape.  No hope for the future.  You had guilt, bitterness, fear, worry.

But God came along in His wonderful love and said, 'I'm going to show it to you.'  

And I'm thankful He did.

IT is grace.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


We have posted in our main office something we've called the "Wall of Honk."  It's there to allow our team to encourage one another throughout the day.

There's nothing like encouragement.  We can live without it, but we can't live well without it.  People are healed by encouragement.

William Arthur Ward said:  'Flatter me and I may not believe you.  Criticize me and I may not like you. Ignore me and I may not forgive you.  Encourage me and I will not forget you.'

'Encourage me and I will not forget you.'

I've sometimes thought what a great name 'Home on the Range Church' would be for a church.  Remember the words?

'Home Home on the range - where the deer and the antelope play - WHERE SELDOM IS HEARD A DISCOURAGING WORD . . . '

Beware a church full of encouragers; you're going to have space problems.  May it increase at Journey Church.

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I had the opportunity to speak to several hundred School of Urban Missions students late this afternoon before they hit the streets of Mardi Gras to evangelize.

I challenged them with the question:  At the end of your life, what will you have pursued the very hardest?  God --- or something else?

Those are the men and women God is looking for all over the earth -- followers whose hearts are fully committed to Him --- followers who've defined the relationship and decided they're all in --- followers who hunger and thirst for Christ --- followers who pant for and long for and hope for and hunger for and cling to God, who think about Him on their beds all night long --- followers who would pay any price just to be near Jesus.

There is a sovereign work of God happening among these students, of which our 25 Journey Ministry College students are a part.  

So exciting.

And be blessed.