Friday, March 21, 2008

Mustard tree

Have you ever been in church and the minister is giving a great message -- it's well prepared, it's scriptural, it's excellent in so many ways...

But it's for the person sitting next to you?

That's kinda the way I feel about Pastor Joel's devotional today. It really is good, but I think anyone who has been reading this blog in recent days understands that I've got the mustard seed working in full operation.

I'm just kidding, pastor...of course it was for me as well. We can all trust God more.

However, if you are one of those people today that is struggling in your faith in God and His ability to work in your life, I'd like to direct your attention to both the devotional and the text, found in Luke 17.

It only takes a little faith for God to do amazing things. But remember, faith without works is dead.

That means that while it's important for you to believe God and put total trust in Him, it may require you to step out and do something yourself to get the full benefits of believing Him.

Trust me, it's possible to sit around and believe God until you're blue in the face. I'm not doubting God's ability to move supernaturally, but more often than not he uses people to carry out His will on the Earth.

That means we have to do something in the process.

Maybe He's asking you to do something today? Like Pastor Joel says, we've got to water that mustard seed with some action.

I don't know...Maybe he's asking you to plant a tree. Or take in a stray cat. Or say something to that co-worker who desperately needs help.

Whatever He is asking you to do, do it. I will, too.


Fantastic posts of love!! Don't forget,
we're only a brief time away from our
exciting series kick-off.
God's Love is On This Island...April 7


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An exciting look ahead...

Hey, everyone. Thought I'd drop in to say "hello" today and let you know that our fantastic series, "God's Love is On This Island," is on schedule. I have broken it down into several parts as of this morning.

The Laptop Lies, a Strange Drive and Barbie Napkins

No, Matt, I Will Not Give Your Baby a Bath

I'm Convinced One of the Men Living in the Ceiling of the Women's Restroom was the Father of the Baby

Still Alive at Christmastime?

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

A Fantastic Meeting with A Special HR Director

A New Revelation: "We will do it. Whatever it Takes."

Raising the Flag on Professionalism

Thank you for your patience in this matter. They still need a little time to do what's right.

Remember, all the excitement kicks off here, April 7. Tell your friends and neighbors.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Another weird day on the beach

Pastor Joel says God is a God of justice, and I need to walk uprightly so I can see His face.

I feel pretty comfortable with how upright I'm walking, although every single one of us is working this salvation out daily, so let's all get holy together...agreed?

Pastor Joel says upright people will see God's face. I sure look forward to that. He goes on to say that God wants to reveal himself to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

I haven't seen God's face yet, but I think I have seen His glory.

Several years ago I attended a church men's retreat at a beach house on Galveston Island. The weekend-long retreat included Bible studies and prayer meetings throughout the day.

Because of the number of men attending, my condo on the seawall served as overflow housing at night. Several men, including the church pastor, stayed at my place and we would drive to the west end of the island each morning to join the others for breakfast and to get filled up on the Word and the Holy Ghost.

One morning, I had an experience with God that I will never forget. After everyone had cleared out, I locked up my place and jumped in my car with a couple others I was taking back to the beach house.

Somewhere along the way, the tangible presence of God entered the car. I actually felt God in the automobile with me. If you've been in Christ for any length of time you know what I'm talking about. I knew God was up to something.

When we got back to the beach house, I told the others I was taking a walk on the beach. I didn't know what God was doing, but I wanted to bask in it for a few minutes and see if he had anything to say to me.

I walked on West Beach for what seems liked 30 minutes toward the San Luis Pass area. What began as a feeling, grew. The only way for me to describe what I experienced was that at some point I began to see something over the water. With a blue sky above me, it looked like a mist started rolling in over the sea toward the beach. This went on for 10 or 15 minutes as I walked. Yeah, it was interesting. I believed then, and still believe to this day, I was seeing God's glory (confirmation in just a second).

When I finally got back to the meeting at the house, I was understandably pretty excited about what God was going to do the remainder of the weekend. And I do remember it being a powerful time in God.

Everyone was getting prayed for and getting these amazing prophetic words. When the visiting minister got around to praying for me, I was sure I was going to get some kind of incredible, life-changing word that would set the course of my future and forever change my life.

Well, it was a bit different that what I was expecting. In fact, it only consisted of two seemingly unrelated sentences. He whispered in my ear:

"He's got big plans for you."

And, "He's protecting you."

He's protecting me? What did that mean?

Looking back on it now, he gave me just what I needed for the days and years ahead.

I could have opened my Bible, however, and found similar scriptures. Why did God feel the need to fortify those messages to me at that time?

I knew I'd had a very real experience with God on the beach, but I didn't really understand what was it was all about. Certainly experiencing God's presence in that manner is not completely unique, but what good is an experience like that if I don't take some deeper meaning from it?

And had I imagined it? It just seemed too real for me to chalk it up as my imagination.

The explanation from the Lord seemed to come months later, as I was in the home of man holding a Bible study. This man knew nothing about what I just described to you.

After we discussed God's word that evening, he said he wanted to pray for the group.

He began to pray in general for the people there in his home. Before he wrapped up the prayer time, he said something like, "Guys, I believe God is showing me something that I want to share with you. I'm seeing something in my mind. I don't know what it means, but maybe it will mean something to one of you:

"I see a man walking on a beach. I can't see who you are, because I can't see your face. But I see waves of God's glory washing over you. God says those are waves of His blessing that he's going to send over your life. One after another, I see them coming in over the water."

By this time, as you can imagine, I am just beside myself. I want to jump up and yell out, "Hallelujah, I receive it!", but I kept quiet and called him later that night to share the story I just shared with you, and how he had nailed it.

Why did I have that experience? Because I believe at times God gives us experiences in the spirit that fortify the truth of his word in our lives. The purpose of the prophetic, according to Paul, is the "exhortation, edification and comfort" of believers. (see 1 Cor. 14)

There have been many times since then that the "He's protecting you" part of that word have become intregal for me staying confident in difficult situations. I mean, the Bible clearly states that God's protection is a benefit of knowing Him, but when a visiting minister whispers it in your ear shortly after you met with God in an seemingly Biblical way on a beach, it certainly solidifies the idea in your heart an mind.

When I think of that experience, I wonder about how incredible it will be to actually see Him face to face, and experience first-hand a power and glory so intense that we won't be able to stand in the presence of.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

definition for steadfast

stead·fast /ˈstɛdˌfæst, -ˌfɑst, -fəst/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[sted-fast, -fahst, -fuhst] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. fixed in direction; steadily directed: a steadfast gaze.
2. firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc., as a person: a steadfast friend.
3. unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc.
4. firmly established, as an institution or a state of affairs.
5. firmly fixed in place or position.
Also, stedfast.

[Origin: bef. 1000; ME stedefast, OE stedefæst. See stead, fast1]

—Related forms
steadfastly, adverb
steadfastness, noun

—Synonyms 2. sure, dependable, reliable, constant, unwavering. Steadfast, staunch, steady imply a sureness and continuousness that may be depended upon. Steadfast literally means fixed in place, but is chiefly used figuratively to indicate undeviating constancy or resolution: steadfast in one's faith. Staunch literally means watertight, as of a vessel, and therefore strong and firm; figuratively, it is used of loyal support that will endure strain: a staunch advocate of free trade. Literally, steady is applied to that which is relatively firm in position or continuous in movement or duration: a steady flow; figuratively, it implies sober regularity or persistence: a steady worker. 4, 5. stable.
—Antonyms 2. capricious, variable.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Was David walking in love?

"The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming" (Psalm 37: 12,13).

If you could sit down with one character from the Bible, other than Jesus, and have a conversation with them today, who would it be?

For me, it's David. No question about it. And Psalm 37 is one of my favorite of his writings.

Take a few minutes today to read it.

There seems to be such an incredible confidence in his God during the worst of situations. Ever notice that?

That's the kind of believer I want to be. A believer that knows that God is still on the throne, no matter what, and he is worthy of our praise despite anything going on around us.

That, in a nutshell, would be a great way to summarize David's core message in the Psalms. I like this concept of God being a God of justice, like we see in Psalm 37.

Why was he so confident? Some might even call it arrogance.

No, it wasn't arrogance. David knew in whom he had believed. David also knew his God was completely faithful and able to accomplish the higher purposes for his life.

And David was a warrior, too, wasn't he? There are many times I'll read something he writes in one of the Psalms about his enemies and think, "Hey David...where's the love? You need to be loving on those people. Shame on you for wishing that ruin would overtake your enemies by surprise (Psalm 35: 8).

That's not walking in love, David. I thought it was all about love, love, love, love, love.

I guess before Jesus came along you didn't really have to love your enemies.

No, you see, David understood a very important concept. That concept is that sometimes in life, love requires taking a stand. He understood that loving others didn't mean he had to accept prolonged horse manure from those pursuing him while seeking his life and livelihood.

I guess it's kind of like when Jesus, our ultimate model of walking in love, flipped out and overturned those tables. Jesus, like David, understood that love often required standing up for what's right.

I like that about Jesus and David. I want to be like them.

That's the fear of God! When Jesus comes where I am and starts throwing stuff around and whipping the cattle, I'm afraid. I'm very afraid.

How about you today? Are the enemies in your life getting increasing difficult to love? Maybe its time to put your foot down. David did. Throw some tables over, maybe. Jesus did.

Maybe we need to take a more balanced approach to this concept of walking in love. Does it mean we let people consistently walk on us?

No, it doesn't. If you fear and respect and revere the spirit of the Living God within you, you'll only take so much of that.

And what in the world is this guy's story? I found this picture when I typed "King David" into Google images. I'm not sure what it has to do with King David, but I like the picture. He looks cooler than TobyMac.

But anyway, let's learn from David today. Let's learn from Jesus. Are there situations in your life today where loving others might require a bit more firmness on your part?

Maybe we let stuff go on for too long under the guise of "walking in love." I know I've been guilty of that. I fear the Lord too much to let that happen in my future.

Do you think David would have written some of the Psalms the same way he did if he had a copy of 1 Corinthians 13 opened up in front of him? Some of his writing definitely wouldn't fall into the category of "kind" or "keeping no record of wrongs."

Was he a man after God's own heart, or not?

Seems like David had an interesting view, that the love of God included the justice of God.

I like that. That works for me. I think the key is trusting God to exercise that justice. And stepping in and doing our part when we have to. That's what I'm going to do.


Bored? Broke? Looking for something exciting to do?
John's much-anticipated series entitled
"God's Love Is On This Blog" kicks off right
here, April 7. Tell your friends and neighbors!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Great news! I'm done waiting!

You've been given ample time to do what's right.

And you have continually thumbed your nose at practicing the same integrity and accountability you espouse to others.

This blog is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

I'm done waiting on these people. I've been patient, I've been kind, I've been understanding, and it's gotten me nowhere.

When I think about how long this has taken, and what it has cost me, how much pain and discomfort I've been living in, I'm left with no other option but to tell the story here.

To those who have attempted to do the right thing and help justice prevail in this situation, my sincere thanks. Your reward is in heaven.

If this situation in Galveston is not resolved by April 7, I will begin publishing a series of posts in the days following that will explain this situation to the general public.

I'm not talking about what they think happened. I'm talking about the truth.

Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of it has been shared here, but there's more that needs to be shared. I'm sorry for the omission in the past. I truly believed this would get resolved without reaching this point.

I know no one is really serious about getting to the truth, because I have yet to be asked by anyone what happened. How can you seriously investigate something without talking to the person with the most knowledge of the events?

It makes one wonder if anyone is really interested in getting to the truth...

This will be good for a number of reasons. First, it will get the truth out there, which is fantastic enough. Secondly, it will give me a chance to share important parts of my personal journey (we Christians call it our testimony) that I haven't been able to share to this point.

I've learned the hard way in my life, that justice doesn't just happen. We have to make it happen. And when the wheels of justice have fallen off, someone has to have the guts and integrity to pull out a freaking wrench.

Just call me Johnny Mechanic. We're going to fix this situation, one way or another.

Again, tell all your friends that the first installment appears on April 7.

By the way, it's time to fire your consultants. They shouldn't be giving people advice on anything.