Is your church driving you crazy?

The music has changed.  It’s too loud and they sing new fluff music instead of the old traditional standards.  And, there’s drums and screaming bass guitars. 

But wait! Now we have screens which show movie clips, and each Bible verse as the preacher reads it.  We don’t even have to bring our Bibles on Sunday anymore!  We just read the screen or from our iphone….

And there’s more!  People drinking coffee during the service or maybe a bottled water.  Then there is the guy wearing blue jeans and a sports jersey!  What would God think?

I hear these complaints all the time.  People tell me their church is driving them crazy and they aren’t happy.

My response?  Let’s don’t get so caught up in the method that we completely forget the message.  Anything that takes us outside our comfort zone makes us unhappy.  If the method changes in how we worship God, we are unhappy.  Sadly, we often forget that Jesus is the message and the method is not really relevant.

Look at the example of Jesus at the well.  He didn’t wait to speak to the Samaritan woman until he was in church, properly dressed with tithe in hand.  He met her at her point of need.  Christ never was distracted by the method and always stayed true to the message.

Next Sunday as I sit in church, I want to be focused on the message, Jesus Christ.  The building, the music, the things I like and don’t like are all just part of the method.  I don’t want to be distracted by the method of church.  I want to see the message of Christ.

If your church is driving you crazy, perhaps you need to come back to the Message.  True joy is found in being consumed by the Messanger and His message.  Enjoy church because of the message and you’ll be blessed!

Christ is the Message!

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Want to be blessed in 2012?

There is only one place in the Bible where God’s allows us to challenge him.   It is found in Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you [such] blessing That [there will] not [be room] enough [to receive it] (NKJV).  The word ‘try’ is our English word ‘dare’ or ‘challenge.’  We are asked to dare God to keep this promise!

I remember a quote from an evangelist who said, “God won’t give it to you until He can give it through you.”  From that, I have always believed God wants to see if we are trustworthy of little blessings before He grants us BIG blessings.  God is not going to give you substantial blessings if you are unwilling to share with His church and flock.

So how can you know you’ll be blessed in 2012?  Simple, give to God the tithes, gifts, and offerings he asks, then challenge or dare Him to honor His word to open the big window on your and your family.  God is faithful to keep His promises and will always do what He says.  I believe God wants us to bring in our tithes just so He can pour blessings upon us. 

As you know, not all blessings are financial.  If you sleep on clean sheets, or in a warm house, or have food on your table, then God has fullfilled his promise of blessing you.  My biggest blessing in life is a healthy family.  Nothing compares to God’s blessing of good health.  Don’t look for dollars as a sign of God’s promised blessings.

I want you to expect God’s blessings in 2012.  Give to God what He asks and expect Him to pour out huge blessings on you.  My prayer is that you know Jesus Christ well enough to ask for Him to pour out on you more blessings than you have room enough to receive!

Christ is Amazing!  He wants to bless you in 2012!

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What Makes a Great Father?

Much of what is wrong with our country can be directly linked to the fathers of the children growing up over the past forty years.  Sadly, fathers have abdicated their family responsibilites to teachers, day care workers, church leaders, and to their spouses.  The socioeconomic consequence of this lack of intimate involvement is evident in poverty rates, crime, literacy, teenage pregnancy, drug usage, and other unfortunate consequences plaguing our society.

So, what is the answer?  The Bible, of course.  Found in those pages are time-proven traits of a great father and how a father should lead his family.  In my studies, I have found twenty-two Biblical traits of a great father.  They are: fair, watchful, compassionate, loving, forgiving, giving, honorable, wise, healing, trusting, kind, unashamed, gentle, eager, seeking, nonjudgemental, prayerful, teaching, honest, integrity, funny, and firm.

Look at the story found in Luke 15:11-24.  We commonly call this the story of the prodical son.  Actually, a more accurate title would be ‘the story of the excellent father.’  Read these verses and notice the actions of the father toward his son.  The father takes all the action of watching, going, hugging, giving, kissing, welcoming, etc.  I have counted twelve proactive actions the father took in welcoming home his son.  Can you find them?

What makes a great father?  I believe the answer is simple — the man willing to follow God’s design for the role of the father in the family.

Only fathers can change the direction of our country!


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How is your journey?

This simple question has been on my mind recently.  Almost everybody I meet is so busy trying to live out the day, I think we all have forgotten life is a journey.  I know it is certainly true for me!

Here is a poem I wrote recently called, “The Journey.”

Who walks alone on this journey?

Who speaks to no one but silence?

Is there hope for tomorrow’s dawn?

I am one man against unseen many!

Some tears are unstoppable-

Some hearts will never mend-

Some words won’t be heard.

The journey is the destination:

The good and the bad,

The happy and the sad,

Just part of the path.

All life moving toward death.

I choose life at full speed,

No shadows for me!

Who walks alone on this journey?

I am one man against unseen many.

After these few years,

I have much to do!

The rose seems redder in some small way,

Passed a dollar to a stranger today.

Smiles are prettier than yesterday.

Who walks alone on this journey?

Is there hope to fix past wrongs?

Today is a new day

And it’s a great journey!



The best part of the journey is peace from knowing who Christ is.  We all have daily struggles called LIFE.  The same pain and hurt hits us all.  But have you ever seen joy in the mist of pain?

Jesus is the joy of the journey.  He never promised comfort, warmth, and wealth but He did say we will have joy in the journey.  I am grateful for a God who loved us enough to offer joy in our Earthly journey. 

Christ is amazing!  How is your journey?

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I saw God at the Cracker Barrel

I ate at Cracker Barrel this morning.  Had my usual eggs, plain hash browns lightly cooked, and biscuts and gravy.  Probably not the healthiest breakfast but once in a while won’t hurt.

Across from me was a man and woman with two young children.  After their food was delivered, I saw them all bow and pray together.  Nothing loud or long, but just a quick word of thanks.  As I watched them, the little girl looked over at me and I smiled back.  I thought to myself about how important it is for families to pray together…..

Have you heard the saying, “The family that prays together, stays together?” 

So, I saw God at the Cracker Barrel, not with a loud voice or from a screaming preacher, but in the smile of a little girl whose family prayed before the meal.

I’m going to remember that smile for a long time after I’ve forgotten her face.  But more than her smile, I’ll remember her testimony of where she stands with the God of the Universe.  I’ll remember her testimony of graditude and thankfulness we all take for granted.  I’ll remember her parents loved her so much that they have already shown her to love the Lord!

Maybe I’ll eat lunch at Cracker Barrel ….. Christ is amazing!

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Help Wanted!

How long has it been since you’ve seen a Help Wanted sign?  When I was a teenager they were common all over town; today not so much.  I can’t remember the last time I saw such a sign.   Perhaps nobody needs any help…..

Yesterday I was speaking with a friend of mine about God wanting our help in expanding his Kingdom.  God doesn’t need our help, He just wants us to be servants in sharing the Good News of His Son. 

God has the ‘Help Wanted!’ sign out and is calling all believers to action.  Each one has a skill, talent, or gift that God can use to share His hope with a dark and confused world.  More and more of the people we meet in our daily travels are succuming to fear, hopelessness, guilt, and abandonment.  Our God is just the opposite of these feelings and He wants you and I to share that Good News with the world.

Everyday I look for the opportunity to share God’s love with somebody.  The softest way I know of to share the love of God is to offer to pray for hurting people.  Luckily, our God is smart enough to remember each person, their need, and what would bless them.  I quickly forget the details of why I am praying for somebody, but my God knows and I am able to trust that He hasn’t forgot the details.

God blesses those who step up and answer His ‘help wanted’ call.  Each of us have some unique talent or ability that God can greatly multiply if we allow Him.  Look for the opportunity to serve and you will be blessed.

Jesus said, “I didn’t come to be served, but I came to serve.” 

How long has it been since you’ve seen a ‘help wanted’ sign? 




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Is God Real?

Recently I was asked this very question!  “Is God real and how do you know He is real?”

God is real.  Here is how I know:

About a year ago a friend of mine told me his father left he and his mother when my friend was three year old.  After thirty-five years, he had a longing to meet his father and just find out about him.   It took much searching and research online but my friend eventually found his father.

My friend called his father and told him he just wanted to come meet him and talk with him to get to know him.  They did meet and shared a meal but have had no contact since.  And my friend is now at peace as a result of that one meeting.

For us, at some point in our lives, we arrive at a time where we want to know who God is.  Sometimes that need comes in a time of great stress or fear.  For others, it may come from just the longing to know about the God of the Universe and why He cares about each one of us.

Just like my friend who had a deep desire to seek out his biological father, we often have the same desire to seek to know our heavenly Father.  The great news is that when we go seeking after God, He is not hard to find.  When we turn toward Him, He is right there!

My prayer for you is that God doesn’t have to get your attention in order for you to seek Him out.  God is real and He wants to hear from you.  Seek him out and you’ll find He is real.

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Just One Day

How important is just one day?  What is wrong with wasting just a day here and there?

Recently I heard a great analogy of how important one day can be.  For a fifty year-old person, they have less than 1,500 Wednesdays (or any other day you pick) statistically left in their lives.  Imagine filling a one gallon pickle jar with standard sized marbels.  The jar will hold about 1,500 marbels.

For each day of the week you pick, imagine taking a marbel out of the jar.  At first, not much noticable change.  After a while, however, you start to see some space at the top of the jar and after a couple of years you notice the level dropping quicker and quicker.

Every day is truly important.  Time is important.  Most people have no idea what they want to accomplish this month: read a book, finish a project, make a call, etc.  One day rolls into the next and soon the month is gone.

Yesterday I accomplished nothing!  Sadly, that day is gone forever.  Today is almost over and I’ve yet to have a measurable accomplishment for the day.  Time marches on and slows down for nobody.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8 mentions time twenty-nine different times.  I read those verses today and realized life is just a season, a very brief season.  Recently I spoke to a elder client of mine, perhaps in his mid-eighties.  As I often do, I asked what he would do different if he found himself being forty-five again.  He said, “I would make each day more memorable and get done the many things I always wanted to do.”   When asked about his regrets, he said he had always wanted to sing in the church chior but never thought his voice was as good as the other members.  He also said he always wanted to take a car trip across country.

My point is this — today may be Just One Day but it can be important in accomplishing the big dream you’ve always had.  Don’t wait until you are too old.  God says there is a season for everything!  What will you get done today?

Carpe Diem (latin for Seize the Day)!

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Four Qualities of Love

Love is like jello.  It is hard to describe.  Perhaps a liquid or a soild, or neither.  Jello has movement yet doesn’t move….

One definition I heard to describe love was “the pain you feel when you are not with somebody you want to be with.”  Love is complicated, not just in terms of describing what it is or isn’t, but in terms of just getting your arms around the whole concept (or feeling).

The Bible says there are four qualities to describe love:

Beareth all things — Believeth all things — Hopeth all things — Endureth all things (1 Corth 13:7)

Bear, believe, hope, and endure — those are powerful words!  Love sometimes must be tested to guage it’s strength.  The young often see love as something easy and without struggle.  Love, as you know, has consequences.

If you have ever loved somebody, you have felt the pain of lost love.  Sometimes this pain is from the death of a loved one or caused by the ending of a relationship.  To love somebody means there will be pain involved.  It is just unavoidable.

Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to Bear, Believe, Hope, and Endure all things for our sake.  He knew the heavy burden he would have to Bear on our behalf and that that burden would lead to the cross!  He was willing to Endure all suffering to redeem sinful man.  He had the Hope of the Father that man could be restored to a right relationship with Him.

Grace is amazing.  Love is amazing.  We can’t understand grace any more than we can understand love.  Understanding who Christ is makes love easier to understand.

I stand amazed at Christ’s love!

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Dealing with Difficult People

We all have difficult people in our lives.  Sometimes it’s the boss or co-worker, sometimes it is a family member or neighbor.  Nobody is immune to having that one person who can push all the right buttons and make life miserable.

So how do you deal with difficult people?  How do you diffuse their effect on your sanity and happiness?  Is there a proven strategy that really works?

Good news!  There is a process to deal with difficult people!  The problem is very few people want to take the necessary steps to handle the difficult people in their lives.

Here is what works:  Meet some need in the life of your enemy.  If you have to deal with a difficult person or an outright enemy, find some need in their life that you can meet.  Look at Romans 12:20, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.”

People buy all kinds of self-help books on dealing with difficult people.  Sadly, most if not all of them are a waste of money.  Romans 12:20 works!  It is time-tested and reliable.

Several years ago, I had a fellow business person who said some unkind things about me.  Human nature says to be angry and vengful.  But I took the Romans 12:20 advice and bought him a book, mailed it to his house with a note saying that I hoped the book would bless him, and forgot about the whole thing.

Here is the secret.  Meeting a need of your enemy is NOT for your enemy!  It is for you!  Don’t rent space in your brain to difficult people.  Find a way to meet some need and let them GO!

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