Archive for May, 2011

Discussions between Christ followers about what we believe can often draw us closer together but sometimes it can drive us apart.  This morning I read something and I wanted to share it with you.  Jim Dennison is a long-time pastor and professor in Texas and a very respected thinker and theologian.  He shares a wonderful approach to theology from which I think we could all benefit.  A simple question – “Will this change the way I live today?”

I encourage you to take 3 minutes and check out what Jim says here.

Have a blessed weekend!

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I grew up on the seat of a dirt bike – well not literally of course.  But riding was a big part of my summer days as a kid.  We lived on the edge of town and we had found a huge pit about 5 miles out into the pasture from our house.  So we spent untold hours out in that pit on our dirt bikes.  One Sunday afternoon in the pit will never be erased from my memory.

I was about 9 or 10 years old and was riding my Yamaha YZ 80.  I loved that motorcycle.  My dad had gone with us and we made our way to the pit.  There were trails all the way around the lip of this big hole in the ground and of course trails going in and out of the pit as well.  On the north end of the pit was a flat area among mounds of dirt that had been pulled from the hole and left for who knows what.  It made a great place to sit and rest and so that is what several people were doing.  I made my way to the area.  I approached the area from the mounds of dirt and just as I got there, I realized that there was a 4 foot drop from where I was and where I wanted to be.  I panicked.  I could have stopped and turned around and gone back another way or I might could have accelerated and possibly kept the front end of the motorcycle up so as not to crash.  But instead I froze – I didn’t commit to either approach.  I coasted over the ledge, and for what seemed like the next hour and a half, fell the four feet, the motorcycle  landing on the front wheel and my chest landing on the handle bars.  I couldn’t breathe for what seemed like an eternity.

I learned a couple of lessons that day.  One, it helps to know the trail.  Two, landing on the handle bars is painful and embarrassing.  But the biggest lesson of the day was that being non-committal can get you hurt.

Seems like Jesus mentioned something like that when he talked about being either hot or cold.  He said that being luke-warm disgusts him.  He would rather people be cold to him or be passionate followers – the non-committal in between folks make him sick.

So where are you today?  Are you resistant to following Jesus or are you passionately seeking him and living your life to honor and please him?  Or . . . are you in the middle?  This is one instance where being in the middle is not the place to be.

Think about it today.

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You may have heard about the “Awakenings” from many years ago.  They were unrelated movements in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, where God’s spirit began to move and people were changed – in fact, entire societies were changed.  I have had a question rolling around in my mind over the past few weeks relating to the idea of awakening:  “Can it still happen today?”

I believe the answer to that question is yes.  God is still God and God is still in the transforming business.  So what is the problem?

I would say that the problem is not with God, it is with us.  The reality is that transformation is happening in our day and time, but not here in America.  There are countless stories of God’s movement in areas south of the equator.  God is at work in miraculous ways in other parts of the world – so why not here?

I believe the answer is very simple.  In our self-centered culture, we have grown to believe that we can do things on our own.  The idea of “self-made man” has been so prevalent in our society for so long that we think we don’t need God anymore.  Well, we might say we need God – we pray for God to make things go our way.  But do we really believe that we need God?

This Sunday, we will be talking about this idea.  My prayer is that God will begin an awakening here, this week, in me.  If you are around Littlefield on Sunday, stop by the church about 10:45 and we’ll see what God does.

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This past Sunday, part of the message I gave to our church family was one of the importance of training our children on spiritual matters.

Most parents realize and believe it is their responsibility to make sure their children are trained spiritually, but few actually take steps to do anything about it.  The majority of parents leave this task to the church.  The church is responsible to help and to partner with the parents, but if the sole source of spiritual influence is the church, then our children are in trouble.

Parents, it is time to be more involved personally with the spiritual progression of your children.  I know this is intimidating but start small.  Make sure to pray with them – and let them see you praying and reading in your own personal time with God.  Read scripture with them and discuss it.  Anyone can do it – it just takes time . . . quality time.

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Last night I watched one of the most inspiring news segments that I have seen in a long time.  I am not sure where the story took place, but the coverage was about two softball teams.  Now you may be thinking, “What is so special about softball teams?”

Well, let me tell you.  These teams are made up of retirees.  The coolest interview was with a 93 year old man who still plays.  It showed him batting and running bases.  And there were shots of him fielding balls and throwing the ball into the infield.  When questioned about why he still plays, he said, “If you feel like playing, why would you just sit in a rocking chair?”

Way to go!  I hope I am still active at his age.  I doubt that I will be playing softball at 93 – I don’t really play now so I am not sure I will start.  But I can see maybe a friendly pick-up game on a basketball court (although, the wife has restricted my b-ball since that second knee surgery).

As I watched this inspiring man playing softball, I thought about all the retirees in the church.  You know who I am talking about – maybe you are one.  I am not talking about the folks of retirement age necessarily.  I am talking about those with a retirement attitude.  People who may have made statements like:  “I have done that for years, it’s time for someone else to step up and pull their weight around here.”  There is a lot of truth to that statement, for the church to function as God intended, it takes everyone doing their part.  But no where in scripture do I find the God-sanctioned retirement threshold.

So regardless of your age or years of service remember that God has a plan for you and that plan does not involve sitting and observing.  For God’s community to thrive, everyone has to use their God-given talents to further the Kingdom.

What will you do today to get up out of the rocking chair and get into the game?

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This has been a whirlwind week.  The boxes of books have been unpacked and most of the office has been set up.

My highlight so far this week was Wednesday night prayer meeting – it just felt right.  Everyone was welcoming and open.  I automatically felt like I was at home.  Thank you all for your love and encouragement.  I am looking forward to Sunday and being together as a corporate family, all in one room – I am excited!

But in the chaos of moving in and trying to get things set up, I almost forgot that Sunday is Mother’s Day.  A day we set aside to remember our mothers.  I encourage you to do something special for your mom this week.  Don’t forget to tell her how much you love her and what she means to you.

I also have a special request.  As I was driving to work yesterday, I was listening to the radio and one of the DJ’s pointed out that she had tried for years to have kids and couldn’t.  She shared that Mother’s Day has always been a painful time for her.  I had never thought about that fact – and how many that affects.  So here is my request, if you know someone who might not be looking forward to this day, reach out and encourage them.  Pray for them and ask God to bring joy and peace into their hearts, even in the midst of the pain they may feel.  Pray that God would make you sensitive to those who might be hurting.

That is what families do for one another.

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Blessed Real Good

Have you ever received a phone call that just made your day?  Maybe it was unexpected and it was a good surprise or maybe the things the person said really gave you a boost.

Yesterday, I had one of those calls.  If you have read my ramblings here for very long, you know that I have referred to a friend of mine from Atlanta on a few occasions.  We met while serving on the same board and have had a connection ever since.  LaPinsky is a good friend – in fact, we normally greet one another by saying, “My brother from another mother.”  We don’t see each other much at all and we hardly ever talk, but I know that he is there for me and I pray he knows that about me as well.

At any rate, LaPinsky called yesterday just to say he felt God had brought me to his mind and heart to pray for me.  We talked for about ten minutes and then he did something that is characteristic of his caring nature – he prayed for me.  One of the things he said in his prayer brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart.  He said, “God, I ask that you bless Brian real good.”  You just have to know LaPinsky to appreciate that phrase.  He is one of the most articulate men I know.  He can put words together in such a way that would make some of the world’s greatest orators envious.  But every once in a while, he will break from the grammatical norm and say something down to earth and real.

That is one of the things I love about him – he is educated, brilliant and caring – but he is nothing if he isn’t real!

So today, I am passing on the inspiration I received from LaPinsky yesterday.  I am praying that God will bless each of you real good today!  And then for you to be a blessing to someone else.

Be blessed!

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