Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ah, shepherd again!

There is a nativity in every other yard in your neighborhood right next to the LED Frosty (no less than 3 in my house and 1 backup) and 3,000,000 kids “had” to be a shepherds in the Christmas play again this year even though they wanted to be a wiseman. You know, wisemen get to wear crowns and dress cool and carry gifts.

We see and hear this stuff so often we let go in and out without a second thought. But don’t let the frequency of these symbols rob you of the awe of the God we serve! Angels didn’t appear to Frosty when the King was born and He wasn’t delivered by Santa.

NO! The King of the World, our Savior, the Messiah came to this world born to a no name couple, laid in a barn animals food trough and announced to sheepherders working the night shift. DAH DA DAH!! (Insert loud trumpets here!) Doesn’t sound that exciting does it? But it is!

Each and every one of those is an example of the unexpected God we serve. He'll show up anytime and anyplace when you least expect it. And the way Jesus was brought into this world was just the start.

Every step of His life was filled with the unexpected…

-Started teaching the teachers when he was 12
-Got baptized when it was thought he should haven been doing the baptizing
-Touched the sick and contagious when everyone else had run them away
-Loved the rejected when everyone else told them they'd done to much wrong to be loved
-Made the blind see with a touch
-Calmed storms with a spoken word
-Walked on water
-Fed 5,000 and 3,000 TILL THEY WERE FULL with a couple fish and a loaf of bread
-Withered the life out tree to get his point across– now there’s a sermon illustration
-Chose fisherman to spread the message about the Gospel
-Went one on one with the Devil twice and lived to tell about it
-Did I mention he walked on water
-Predicted his own death and HIS RESURRECTION
-FORGAVE the UNFORGIVABLE
-Granted MERCY to a deathbed sinner while He Himself was dying
-Then DIED AND ROSE AGAIN just like he said he would!!

I challenge the jolly man in the big red suit to try pull off any those tricks. Come down a chimney and deliver toys...huh! Now that's boring!

We serve a big God! A God of the unexpected! Don’t let the frequency and novelty of the season rob you that!

“[The Shepherds and the Angels] And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”- Luke 2:8-11

Merry Christmas friends!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You too

A couple weeks ago I was absolutely moved by a CD that a friend dropped off for me to listen to. (Thanks Dawn G.) It was an entire album of Christian artists doing U2 songs called In The Name Of Love : Artists United for Africa. You have Sanctus Real doing Beautiful Day, Starfield doing 40, Jars of Clay doing All I Want Is You, tobyMac doing Mysterious Ways, yeah! And does it get any better than Chris Tomlin doing Where The Streets Have No Names? Well, yes it does get better…sorry Chris you know I think you da' man, BUT, Nichole Nordeman doing Grace brought me to my knees!

If you’ve got an extra 99 cents I highly recommend, no I insist, you go to iTunes and buy this right now! I mean now! As in leave this blog, download it, listen and then come back and comment on how that song moved you on 100 different levels.

Waiting…………….waiting……………waiting…………………waiting…………….

Great glad you’re back. Did that song rock or what?!

What I found was interesting was how I had heard all these songs before and have always enjoyed U2, but when I started in on this CD and heard them with, what is my mind was, a “Christian flare” it changed everything about every song. I mean you don’t even have to know the lyrics or have ever heard a U2 song to read all those titles and easily believe these were Christian songs written by these artists. With the exception of 40 which if you knew the chorus was loosely based on Psalms 40 then you’d be convinced as well.

So this poses an interesting question. Just like hearing all these song before and not seeing something spiritual in them do you go through life the same way? As in are you trying to see God in all things even though they may not necessarily be labeled by the world as “Christian” activities? Job, hobbies, standing in line at grocery store, eating at a restaurant, etc. Or are your Sundays so different from the rest of your week it’s like you are living two different lives? Ugh, that will take the fun out of our jam session won't it?

Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Six times in the Colossians 1 scripture it refers to Him in all things or everything. How can you read those two verses and not see that God is involved in EVERYTHING we do? He’s not just chillin’ at the church waiting for us to show up on Sunday mornings. Look for Him in your everyday life…it will change you. He is there.

[insert thumb snapping here] … Grace, she takes the blame…She covers the shame… Removes the stain…

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Someone

Here is one the first writings I did back when I first started feeling God move and change something within me. I didn't know what I was going to do with it at the time but I had to get it our so I wrote it into an essay. I guess something inside of me always hoped I'd have a format to preach it so this week I had a chance to do so. What I've posted below is the essay version.

Someone

1 Thessalonians 5:15 “…always strive to do what is good.” (TNIV)

The season following Thanksgiving and preceding Christmas is my favorite time of year. The exception to this is Black Friday, when I lock myself in the closet and would rather eat cold SpaghettiO’s all weekend than make a grocery trip to Wal-Mart.

Why would the days between and not the holidays themselves be my favorite? Once the sale signs have come down there is transformation in the people. It starts innocently---opening the door for a person you might not usually open the door for, and then over the month it slowly spreads into an all out joyfest by everyone you come upon. It’s contagious! Or is it? Do you really think it’s just the cool weather, the Christmas lights, the store fronts, the smell of a fire place burning, getting a good deal on a 15” flat screen TV, or is it literally “the Reason for the season”? Ah, now were on to something!

Much like the chicken or the egg. Does the Lord just fill our hearts this time of year and that sparks the outpouring of joy and good deeds or these start within us and then Lord comes in because of our actions? Yes. I agree with both sides depending on where you are in your walk with the Lord.

Whichever side you want to contend with there’s something common in both…the Lord. My thought is there is always a seed of joy and compassion in everyone. Then that person has the choice to cultivate it, but Someone has to start it.

Someone has to be the door opener.

Someone has to be the person that takes the Salvation Army Angel off the tree.

Someone has to be the one who gets an underprivileged child a basketball, GI Joe, and full suit of clothes even though they only asked for socks.

Someone has to stop and visit a friend you know is lonely.

Someone has to start the food drive and deliver it to the women’s shelter.

There has to be a Someone! As long as there’s always Someone then there’ll always be the Lord there to pour out the joy…Christmas or NOT!

That brings about an interesting question, why can’t the feelings and actions we have this time of year always exist?

We know the Lord is always there, but there’s not always that Someone. There’s no reason you can’t anonymously buy a lonely elderly person’s supper at the cafe in the middle of July, or stop on a cold day in February to help a woman change a tire. Good deeds and joy are needed for 365 days not just 30. Imagine what would the world be like if the Christmas Spirit was in everyone year round?

Oh but it is there, Galatians 5:22-23 says, “ the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Wow! That sound a lot like the traits we exhibit during Christmas, but this passage says we have these within us all time when we have Jesus.

Yes! It’s the Holy Spirit, it’s Jesus, it’s the Lord, it’s not just the reason for this season it’s the reason we exist. He’s the reason for everything that is around us, and the reason we have hope for the future.

Your seed is planted. Now cultivate it, and then it’s up to you if the joy in your heart is to become an annual or an evergreen.

Be that Someone all year! It has to start with one!


Tyson Brown
December 1, 2005

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Max said it best...

I got this in from the Max Lucado devotional that is emailed to me daily. I could not have said it better so here it is from Max in it's entirety.

Who Does the Saving?

A person is made right with God through faith, not through obeying the law.” Romans 3:28

If we are saved by good works, we don’t need God—weekly reminders of the do’s and don’ts will get us to heaven. If we are saved by suffering, we certainly don’t need God. All we need is a whip and a chain and the gospel of guilt. If we are saved by doctrine then, for heaven’s sake, let’s study! We don’t need God, we need a lexicon.

But be careful, student. For if we are saved by having exact doctrine, then one mistake would be fatal. That goes for those who believe we are made right with God through deeds. I hope the temptation is never greater than the strength. If it is, a bad fall could be a bad omen. And those who think we are saved by suffering, take caution as well, for you never know how much suffering is required.

It took Paul decades to discover what he wrote in only one sentence: “A person is made right with God through faith.” Not through good works, suffering, or study.

Jeremiah and Pilgrims

Today in my early morning time with God I was feeling this draw to the book of Jeremiah. Can’t really explain why other than the Holy Spirit doing what the Holy Spirit does.

So as I sat down to begin my youngest son Wyatt comes strolling in from his slumber sporting his favorite karate underwear and crawls up in my lap.

In my mind I’m thinking, “teaching opportunity.” So I ask Wyatt, “Would you like to hear a Bible story?” and he says, “Yes”.

So here I go just reading him my Bible’s introduction to the book of Jeremiah. When I’m done reading I try my best to give a kindergarten explanation on what a prophet is.

Sensing his disinterest mostly because he is Wyatt, and then because he seemed determined in trying to stick my pencil up his nose, I thought it best to cut the prophet lesson off and just ask him, “Did you understand any of that?” Not to my suprise, without even pulling the pencil from his nose, he replies, “Uh, not really.” “But Dad I know what a pilgrim is.”

Sweet! Fill me in I said.

Wyatt’s description of a pilgrim…

“Pilgrims were people told by God to leave England on the Faymerry. On their trip they got sea sick and gave it to the Indian when they got to the new land. And the Indians were so nice they still taught them how to grow Indian corn with a fish.”

Jeremiah and pilgrims, who knew they had so much in common? You have to love the innocents of a child.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mi casa es su casa

If you know me at all, have heard me speak or follow this blog you know how passionate I am about the devotion of the believers in Act chapter 4. For this post specifically verses 44, 46 and 47.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. …They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV)

Right now if you’re thinking you’ve heard this scripture before, he talks about this all the time, well you’re right! And if you’re following what God is saying through me then you’re gonna hear it again and tomorrow you might hear it again and then you may hear it again the next time I post or preach! And here’s why.

Last week I had the privilege to see 28 people of mixed race, contrasting social classes and assortment denominational backgrounds meet in a home one evening and have everything in common, be together, break bread…and eat together with glad and sincere hearts, enjoying the favor of all people. And as a result people are meeting Jesus and lives are being changed!! Wow, it’s like the Bible says it, we do it and it happens like the Bible says it would…WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT!

I remember standing there and looking over the crowd as I tried to catch my breath between hot dog runs to the grill, and thinking, “Man, God must be really smiling right now because this is what it’s all about!” Not the fun and games part of it, though it did rock the house, but rather the people being God’s people part of it.

I was again reminded by a friend this week as we discussed some things on a very personal level in our home just how powerful and intimate relationships become by having people in our homes. It creates a comfortable atmosphere that allows us to open up in a way we can’t in formal settings.

Let me make this very clear this is not a cheap plug for the church who is worshipping in our home. NO NOT AT ALL! This has nothing to do with where you spend your Sunday and Wednesday. This is a call to Christian brothers and sisters worshipping everywhere to have people in your home early and often so we can create environments and opportunities to lean on each other, relate to each other, and open up to each other which in turn allows the Healer to come in. Our own stories and lives are our best ministering tools.

BTW…this coming together doesn’t mean just the people in your click, yes, churches have clicks too. If you didn’t know that fact it may be because you’re in one. If that hurt, good. How do you know if you're in one? Ugh...my tongue is bleeding because my teeth are clamped down on it...I'm holding back here for a later post. I'll keep it to this for today verse 47… enjoying the favor of ALL people. All means all.

There was a reason this description of the first church in Acts was written so descriptive and specific in it’s calling for us to be in each others homes. The apostles saw first hand the power as …the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meg meet Mel

What do you think of when you think of love? A mushy Meg Ryan movie that always ends up the same? If you’re watching movies in the Brown house then that is a HUGE WHOPPING "YES." PLEEEAAASE it’s always the same…boy meets girl, boy can’t have girl, boy gets girl then messes it up, girl realizes boy only lied to get to know her better, girl takes boy back, girl and boy live happily ever after and buy a puppy. I’m sooooo needing a good dose of Braveheart, now that’s a love story!!

Anyway…I want you think outside the Americanized Hollywood idea of love. Think about a deeper love, a love that’s still lingers when the butterflies in your stomach have faded. A love that even steps outside of companionship. Love that also includes friends, enemies, family, acquaintances and even a love for total strangers.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (Msg)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.


1 Corinthians 13 isn’t just the “wedding verse” you know! Use it as a tool for inspiration and guidance.

Need an understanding of who Jesus was and what his love was all about, or maybe how devoted and in love your Heavenly Father is with you, or maybe who you are or how you should treat your friends AND enemies, or maybe your searching for a deeper love towards your spouse. This portion of scripture says SO MUCH. Check this out. All I’ve done is replaced the word love with some things that may resonate something in you. Add the name you need to add to make it apply to you and you may just end up with a new outlook on life.


Your Godly father never gives up on you,
I will care for her more than I do myself,
I won’t want what I don’t have,
I shouldn’t strut, or have a swelled head,
Jesus didn’t force himself on others,
I won’t fly off the handle with him,
I will keep no score of her sins,
I will never revels when others grovel,
Our heavenly Father gets pleasure in the flowering of truth,
I will put up with anything she does,
I will trust God always,
I will always looks for the best in him,
Jesus never looked back, and kept going to the end,
My love for her will never die

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't, won't and will not...

Today while listening to a sermon I was smacked in the face with this reality. And in being transparent and totally honest I had to fight back the tears in my office.

Some people don't want to be saved.

They want to do what they want, when they want, and how they want and will until the day they die...THEY DON'T WANT TO BE SAVED! I never thought of things from this perspective. I always thought well they just need to hear the message the way this guy can preach it or they just need to read this scripture in this way or spend some time with this person. In our walk of faith and in our pursuit of proclaiming the good news of Jesus we will encounter these people and that breaks me.

Maybe I’ve been na├»ve. I know myself and I know I’ll continue to think optimistically, as we all should, and I’ll truly hold out hope and will never give up on anyone. And I'm not saying that there's not hope because the power of God that raised the Christ from the dead is still alive and well TODAY.

BUT, some will not respond and that is reality. It breaks me that they don’t want to know Jesus, what He's about or what He can do in their life now and when their life is over.

I’m trying to digest this…had to get it out…maybe more to come.

Crazy Street Preacher Guy!

I grew up in the small rural town of Maysville, OK - population about 1,000 all the time. Growing up there was great! My friends and I often referred to it as Mayberry and we still call it that do to this day. Much like Floyd Barber Shop in Mayberry, we had Dugan’s in Maysville. What was not similar is Mayberry’s Barney Fife was more like The Duke’s of Hazards Roscoe P. Coltrane in our town. Oh yeah! Just give em’ a reason to cuff ya and stuff ya! I’m so getting pulled over the next time I go home. Anyway…if you’ve ever heard that joke about living in a small town when you cuss while out with your buddies your mom knows before you get home and is waiting on you with a bar of soap, its not to far off.

The other thing about living in a small town is you know who the “crazies” were, ALL OF THEM, and you weren’t even to go near them or within a city block of where they lived.

One of our local crazies was this older guy who often preached from the street corner at the highway intersection in town. I don’t remember him being on the “STAY AWAY” list but he was noted as a local crazy and most stayed away simply because he was annoyance…I mean the guy was going off about God, beating his Bible for a congregation that passed through at 35 mph for goodness sakes…this qualified you as CRAZY!

Fast forward to today. Here I am acting on this call from God to minister and plant a church. Giving sermons about worshiping God anywhere anytime with unbridled devotion. Then what do you know but I’m driving down the road where we live in Ada, OK, a lot juices were flowing from a sermon I had been listening to earlier in the day, the right song came on KLOVE (Christian radio station) and the next thing I know I’m so overwhelmed by the love of God, his Holy Spirit and the fact that Jesus came here for me that I could have pulled over right then and there at the car wash and thrown down an impromptu Spirit filled sermon that Billy Graham would have thought twice about responding too…I was on fire!! At that very time I felt like preaching to a 35mph congregation.

HOLY COW I’M NOW OFFICIALLY CRAZY!! I’m turning myself in. Tell my family I love them and what day visitation is.

NO! I’m not crazy I just needed an outlet.

Looking back at the crazy street preacher guy where I grew up. He had a calling. He was overwhelmed by the facts that Jesus is the only one that can make us right with God, He’s the only one that cares for us day in and day out regardless of our faults, He’s the only one who died so we wouldn’t have to and that feat defeated the Devil for us, and HE’S THE ONLY ONE COMING BACK. Crazy street preacher guy was so overwhelmed that he needed an outlet and he chose what he felt was right and that was to preach at the cars passing through his town.

Do I think it’s the best approach at reaching people? Not really. But that was his calling not mine.

I’d would much rather answer to God someday for responding and it not being the most effective approach than I would answer this question, “Why didn’t you do anything?” “You didn’t even try to tell people about me.”

God hasn’t called me to preach from the street corner…thank you Jesus. But He has called me to plant a church in a town known for a church on every corner and reach out to those who desire and love Jesus with all their heart but aren’t sure how anymore because they’ve been hit by a Mack truck called religion. God has called me, that through the messages He lays on me, to create servant minded Christ followers who overflow with the same love Jesus had to the point it overflows and breaks them. And then they can truly see the injustice around and can’t help but love and aid those in need!! That’s my calling.

Do the facts that Jesus is our healer between us and God, He cares, He died and He’s coming back move you? Does it make you want to take a step closer to your calling? Does it make you want to devote to Him? Does it make you want to answer that tug at your heart called Jesus and say I’m going to change "blank" today or I’m going to do "blank" for Him today? If it does, YOU’RE NOT CRAZY…well you are…crazy for Him and that’s AWESOME! Especially when the world talks about what they see you doing for Him.

Do I think some see me in the same light as I saw “street corner preacher” for so many years? Absolutely! Because human nature is to mock what we don’t understand. And to that I say, “Thank you Lord I must be doing something right!”

Luke 6:22-23 (The Message)
"Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don't like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this...”

To close this post I have written a formal apology to crazy street preacher guy.

“Sir, I apologize that I wasn’t mature enough in my faith to understand that you were only answering your calling. I admire you for standing up in the face of mockery day in and day out. I will see you in heaven someday brother. We’ll sit down over a cup of coffee and you can preach to me every sermon God ever laid on your heart…don’t worry if there’s 1,000 sermons I’ve got an eternity to listen and the coffee will never get cold in heaven.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Set a spell, take your shoes off...

The last three week have been an amazing experience for the Fellowship of Believers who for the time being worship in our home on Sundays. I’ve seen God move on SO many different levels. I know this is long, but since I had some things eating into my blog time, I thought some sermon cliff notes would serve as a catchup if you missed a week of worshipping with us or inspiration if you’re simply a blog follower.

Week 1: Worship (a.k.a Yea Jesus!)

Worship is the overflow of a forgiven soul. It’s the byproduct of when we place our mind’s attention on our heart’s Affection.

It can be anywhere, anyplace, anytime and don’t let anyone tell you different. Worship is not limited to a time between 10 and 12 on Sunday morning in a church building. The disciples did it in a stinking boat. Matthew 14:33 “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."...DONE! Now that is a lean mean set of cliff’s notes.

Week 2: Devotion Part 1 (a.k.a. God Has A Facebook Page)

What if we took the Bible for more than just a history book?

What if we quit saying God WAS powerful, God WAS merciful, Jesus HEALED a lot of people, Jesus DID a lot of great works. What if we replaced those words with God DOES and Jesus IS?

What if we thought of the Bible as God’s Facebook page? His status is active and alive and we should see it as our living example today. If we were to check into our Bible’s half as much as we check our friend status on our iPhone the personal time we spent with God would be out of this world…literally.

What if we read Act 2 , where the first church started and saw what the people did after they received Christ and we did the same thing???

What if we forgot about all of our differences and our everything was Jesus.

What if we invited more people we have nothing in common with outside of church inside our homes to eat more often?

What if we fellowshipped together and talked about doing God’s work more than we sat around and talked about other people?

What if we sold or gave up some of our stuff to help people in need?

HOLY COW! Those people were in Acts were CRAZY! YES THEY WERE! THEY WERE CRAZY FOR JESUS AND THEY COULDN’T HOLD BACK ONCE THEY GOT ON THE JESUS TRAIN!

If we do the same will people say we are crazy? Absolutely.

Will the first ones to talk about us be our friends, family or other Christians? Absolutely.

But if we’re not doing something different in our lives as Christ followers then why in the world would someone who’s not a Christ follower have any desire to be a part of this team?

God’s Facebook page is the Bible and His status is… “I would rather have 15 sold out on fire believers, doing crazy stuff to reach those around them with the word about my son Jesus; than 2,000 lukewarm going through the motions, I attended my church 3 times this week, put in my check so I can mark it off my list now I’m done and by the way I didn’t cuss this week Christians ANY DAY!!!!” Don’t believe me? Read Revelation 3:15-16

Week 3: Devotion Part 2 (More Than Just the Born Again Guy)

Nicodemus and devotion can they go together?? Nicodemus is the “born again”guy. Interesting character. Shows up three times in Bible but those three times speak volumes about an amazing path to devotion that just allow your mind to wander what happened to this dude in between the last time I read about him. Remember these are just cliff notes!


Nicodemus goes to see Jesus as night (from John 3:1-9) – your first step of devotion may be in your personal time/personal life – a change no one else may ever know about but you and Him

Nicodemus stands up for Jesus in his inner circle ( from John 7:45-52) – your next step of devotion will be a little more visible – yours friend will see it – they will see a change in you

Nicodemus shows up to take the body Jesus (from John 19:38-39) – final step of devotion all the world will see – now you may very well be telling other people about Him and not just leaving up to your pastor.

I can’t give you specific examples of what it will take for you to start down the path of devotion. But I promise there’s been something tugging at your heart. It’s either been something to give up or something to do. And you’re thinking of it right now. That tugging on your heart is really Jesus knocking. This is not something you’re going to be able to plan out in “three simple step”, but if you take the first step, He will lead you to the next and to the next…

For Nicodemus that something was religion. He was a Pharisee,a religious ruler of the day. Keeper of the law of Moses and keeper of whatever else they made up along the way. Sound like anything in today’s society?

Religion is was what was tugging at Nicodemus’s heart.

Now don’t shut down on me here I’m talking about religion not the church. TWO DIFFERENT THINGS! The church is us as we respond to Jesus and is nothing less than beautiful, religion is all the man made junk we bring into church that clutters things up and hinders us from following Him. Religion is how we’ve institutionalized church. Religion is how we’ve turned church into a country club rather than a hospital. Religion is junk and we can’t serve bother…you must choose…Jesus or Junk.

Hear is just a sample of a couple things Jesus said about religion…

Matthew 9:12 (Msg)
"..Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."
Matthew 11:28 (Msg)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 23:15 (Msg)
"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. "

Religion is what Nicodemus had to give up when he started down the path of devotion for Christ – it first started in his personal life, then I grew to something his friends could see, then into something that the everyone could see.

So what’s tugging at you today? I challenge any of you reading today to take even the smallest step of devotion and see great things happen.

P.S. I'm not anti-iPhone...I hope to be getting one soon!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Coming soon...

Apologies to my blog followers. Been getting a little flack about no post in 10 days. I just finished up a pretty intense audit at my day job that had consumed a lot of my "blog time". I'll be back in the swing of things before the week is out.

Besides after the last post, I figured you need a while to recover from picturing my bird legs in a pair of NBA shorty shorts. And to my friend "B" who says he can produce that picture...well just remember you were wearing them at the same time buddy - you're not the only one with pictures!!

Talk to ya'll soon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The start of something special!

We assembled, people came, the Spirit moved, I am humbled to tears, I am blessed. That about sums my thoughts from Sunday morning.

I was convinced that this flu bug going around, even closing schools locally, was Satan’s personal attack on this new fellowship of believers Sunday morning worship. But even when, some had to turn around on their way due to illness, the hour came and people showed. It was absolutely awesome to see the Sprit move in a group of believers assembled together to praise our One and Only. And one of the side benefits; getting to elbow the Devil in the throat 1989 Detroit Pistons Bill Laimbeer style baby! Didn't even have to wear the 1980's NBA shorty shorts! Though I had to in high school, but that's another story and a really bad picture I hope never surfaces.

I still can’t believe God chose me, an ordinary man, for this. I know how David felt when he wrote…Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? 1 Chronicles 17:16

And you know what’s awesome? The reason I can relate to David is because the same God that worked in David’s life a couple thousand years ago is the same God that is working today in right here in Ada, Oklahoma. Think about that! Wow! That's the God that can raise people from the dead so don't think for a minute he can't work in your life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Simple

Matthew 8:5-13 (Msg)
As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, "Master, my servant is sick. He can't walk. He's in terrible pain." Jesus said, "I'll come and heal him."


"Oh, no," said the captain. "I don't want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine… "

Taken aback, Jesus said, "I've yet to come across this kind of simple trust…Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, "Go. What you believed could happen has happened." At that moment his servant became well.

When was the last time you kept your faith that simple? When was the last time you prayed then let it go, whatever your “it” is? When was the last time you said “Lord, I’ve given it to you. You are in charge all the time. You said you’d never leave me. You’re smarter than me.”

How simple was this Roman captain’s faith? It was faith in the absolute simplest form. So simple one word can describe it…Believe. He believed. What is hard about that? Believe.
The day to day activities of this physical life on earth are hard as it is, don’t make Jesus hard. Believe. That where it starts. Believe.

Max Lucado says it best in his book 3:16 The Numbers of Hope

…the Hope diamond of the Bible.

For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

A twenty-six-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same…We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16.
He loves.
He gave.
We believe.
We live.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Run-of-the-mill sinner

WOW! I read this yesterday morning and it really spoke to me especially since we now have a group of believers worshipping out of our home on Sundays and Wednesdays. This awesome fellowship has committed their Wednesday evening to serving someone somewhere. So these words from Jesus really struck a nerve in me considering some of the service opportunities we have before us.

45-48 "This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." ( Matthew 5:45-48)(The Message)

OUCH!! “Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that”, that hurts something deep in my gut, something deep in my heart. It hurts because I’m like that, a run-of-the mill sinner. It makes me feel good ONLY to associate with those I share interests with; I’m comfortable in that setting. The thought of fulfilling what Jesus wants in this passage makes me very uncomfortable and you know what, THAT’S JUST HOW GOD WANTS IT!! We should feel uncomfortable to the point it bothers us! To the point that we are so bothered and uncomfortable by a helpless persons situation that that we have compassion that instills in us a passion to make things better for that person.

I heard an awesome sermon a couple weeks ago where the pastor described how we “Christians” like to insulate ourselves from the outside world by only associating with other “Christians” because it makes us feel good. Well, I hate be the one to break the news to you but God didn’t put us here to “feel good.”

Sometimes helping the helpless means we have to step into their world! We have to drive down their street! We may even have to stop! We may even have to go into their home! We most certainly will have to hug their kids! We have to “Grow up…live out our God-created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives towards us.” There is no “so long as you’re comfortable” clause in Jesus’s instruction.

I’ve posted it once and I’ll posted it again we should be broken by seeing people who are broken. And once you submit yourself, God will bring a passion in you for healing and the only way to heal is to help the helpless.

Don’t miss a very important part of this passage, “…Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." How is God living towards you? I don’t know, think of even the small things you’ve done to rebel against God just this week but He still loves you without a second thought and you are still fully engulfed in His grace without question. Humble yourself, understand HOW HUGE His compassion is and PASS IT ON!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sugar high and hospitals?

It is the eve of my oldest son Winston’s 8th birthday and at 9pm I just watched him, two friends and his little brother chow on ice cream sundaes topped with their very own, soon to be patented, concoction of Reese’s, Chocolate Paradise Crunch, Candy Covered Chocolate Drops, Chocolate Sprinkles, Dark Chocolate Crunch, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate syrup and I think I saw the remains of a Kitt Katt. I’m not convinced there was any ice cream even under all that. Now as I’m typing I can hear them in background squeal like girls as they watch How To Eat Fried Worms. So can someone with older boys tell me when they stop squealing like girls and start squealing like men?

So where am I going with this post? Tonight it’s simple…humbleness and the fragileness of life. I snapped a picture of all those boys digging in to that ice cream tonight and the simultaneous thought that popped in my head was, “I could very well not be seeing this right now.” If you don’t know part of my family’s story, the short version is Winston had to have open-heart surgery when he was 7 months old. That day at Children’s Hospital as I stood there holding my one and only son, God taught me about a billion lessons not the least being the fragileness of life. I finally got up close and personal with James 4:14 …Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

As I handed Winston over to the surgical nurse He gave me the smallest of glimpses into what it must have felt like when He gave up His Son. The difference is I wasn’t sure that my son would come back but I had a peace that he would. When God handed over his Son he knew the ending and that was human suffering and death. Gives me the chills to even type these words but it’s what is on my heart tonight. It changed me from the inside out for the rest of my life.

So you’re thinking now, “that’s a good story but it’s a little hard for me to relate emotionally because I’ve never had anything like that happen to me.” Maybe you haven’t had to hand over your child in a hospital and wonder if you’d ever see them again or not. But there was a man named Jesus that was handed over FOR YOU and he died a brutal death to save YOUR life. Notice my emphasis on the YOU! Have you ever tried this to make thing a little more personal. Read this scripture using the directions I’ve added. It’s an awesome thought to know that you were in His thoughts. John 3:16 For God so loved___ [insert your name here] that he gave his one and only son … Changes everything doesn’t it? You are loved!!

Gotta go quiet down these giggling squealing “girls” so we can get some rest; we’re headed to the zoo in the morning. SERIOUSLY I LOVE THE ZOO.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One and all!

Isn’t it awesome to see how and when God speaks to you? Wait, maybe He speaks to us all the time, it's just awesome when we humble ourselves enough that we submit and realize what he is saying. ANYWAY...I was reading Matthew 4 this morning and along about verse 23 where Jesus had just started his travels I read this. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. (The Message)

He healed them one and all! He didn’t ask, “how did you get this way” or “what are you doing for yourself.” NO! He cared for all of them.

Tonight I was able to share a room with an awesome group of people who are committing their Wednesday nights (and more) to serving “one and all.” You may never know what difference a can of food, a listening ear, a $10 bill or a hug will do for someone. Sometimes serving won’t be fun and it won’t be comfortable, but I’m thinking there was nothing fun and comfortable about nails and wooden cross.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Opportunities to meet this week!

1: Come be a part of a Fellowship of Believers that are welcomed in our home at 1230 Northcrest this Wednesday night (9/9) at 6:30pm to discuss the path God is leading me down and how you can be a part of it. Come as you are.

2: There’s been some interest in starting a men’s Bible study. So we’ll kick that off this Thursday morning (9/10) at 6:00am at The Brown Box (116 E. Main). I know it’s early but the coffee will be strong, the donuts will be fresh and the Word will be true. (Sign on front door will say "closed" but the door will be open. Come on in and head to the back)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In the beginning...

I posted earlier that I’ve been reading through the book of Acts trying to trick my mind into believing it’s the first time I’ve ever read it. I’m shooting for an impartial outlook on what the first church was really like. (Oh and for those of you who commented under your breath, “Tricking his mind couldn’t have been too hard.” You're either being facetious or you know me well. Either way I wholeheartedly agree! I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer! I am foolish! “And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”)

Thinking about Acts and the true church, you know, US, the body of believers. I was stirred by what Pete Wilson from Cross Point Church in Nashville had to say in his blog recently.

Pete says: “Jesus modeled a community for us where everyone’s welcome. He would welcome, love, accept, embrace, and include anybody who came up to Him. It didn’t matter—prostitutes, Samaritans, tax collectors, Gentiles, lepers, or sinners. We dream of a church where people, even if they don’t agree with everything we believe yet and even if they don’t understand everything we teach yet, can discover a place where they are welcome “as they are.”
Jesus helped us understand we’re all equally in need of the forgiveness of Christ. Because of this there is no need for any sense of spiritual superiority. We dream of creating a community…where there is no need for hiding, no need for reputation building, no need to impress anybody because we are all sinners, saved and living by grace.
Jesus continually chose to believe the best in people. He looked at people like Peter, who was inconsistent, unpredictable, and shaky in his faith at times, and still chose to believe that transformation could happen. Likewise, as Christians we’re called to believe the best in all people. We’re called to look one another in the eyes and see the men and women that we can become through the power of Jesus Christ.”


What about a body of believers that work, thought and acted in this fashion that Pete talks about?? Everybody’s welcomed, Nobody’s perfect, Anything is possible!

It’s not about an allegiance to the sign that’s in the church lawn it’s about an allegiance to Jesus and doing whatever it takes short of sin to reach people.

Acts 2:37-47 says...
They were cut to the heart by what Peter had to say about JESUS.

They were baptized and given the gift of the Holy Spirit.


3000 in ONE DAY!

They devoted their lives to the apostles teaching (JESUS).


They continued to gather together.


They had everything in common (JESUS).

They did whatever it took to help someone in need, including sell their own stuff.

They broke bread together in each others homes with glad and SINCERE hearts.


AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE NUMBER BEING SAVED DAILY!!!


NOW THAT’S A VISION FOR CHURCH! It’s sad that this sounds so novel because this is how church started and we should be broken, compelled and passionate for church to be this way again!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sea Biscuit

I watched Sea Biscuit last night and I teared up...again. Yes, I watch Hoosiers and I tear up. Yes, I watch The Patriot and I tear up. I watch Braveheart and I get fired up!

Why? Because every time I watch those movies THEY WIN! I love it when the underdog wins! I LOVE IT BECAUSE WE ARE THE UNDERDOG or at least the world thinks we are. The world says we can’t or shouldn’t or we’re crazy but the Lord says we can! The world says why give your money to something you can’t see, why help someone that can’t ever give you anything in return, why waste a perfectly good morning to sleep in?

Why? Why? Why? For the same reason I cry when I watch The Passion. The same reason I tear up when I hear the song How Deep The Father’s Love. Because my Guy won! And the words He heard, the beating He took, the pain that was inflicted as He hung on a cross for half a day was for you and me! He has rode the horse, played the game and fought the battle for us! He’s already won! He defeated our last enemy and that was death! He has already kicked the crap out of the devil! Getcha some of that baby!

In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world. (John 16:33, The Message)

Here’s how Paul gets in the face of death!

Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
(1 Corinthians 15:55, The Message)

Don’t you know it would be fun to take Paul to a college football game! Or how about Paul as college football coach? I'm telling right now he is piling on! He is leaving the first string in in the fourth quarter when it's 77 - 0. Okay, got to calm down, I'm getting a little carried away.

Don’t ever forget that you may be an underdog to the world but you are in the starting line for God’s team! And I’ll say it again, OUR TEAM ALWAYS WINS!! Now get out there and recruit somebody!

[Insert your favorite fight song here]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The List

So this came to my mind tonight while driving. Not sure why. Just a good question that popped in my head that I’ll leave open-ended and hopefully provoke some thought!

Are you content in thinking your salvation is based on your deeds which includes checking the box “went to church on Sunday done for the week”?

Or do you know there’s not a checklist long enough to reach to heaven, you are not perfect, and God’s grace that was bought by his Son dying with you and me in mind is the only way to get there and you should be ecstatic to tell someone about Him and my mom is an English teacher and she would hate this massive run on sentence but if I was preaching this I think I could do it all in one breath with some emphasis to get my point across that I’M FIRED UP about Him!!? Why aren’t you?

Are you living by the list or in grace? If you’re living by the list I hope you don’t miss a box. If you’re enjoying the life of grace then thank the Man with the holes in hands, feet and side by sharing it with someone! Need some guidance on trashing the list, try Galatians on for size, you’ll like chapter 3. www.biblegateway.com

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Person vs God

I’m going through the book of Acts and trying to digest it like I’ve never read it before. Mentally pretending like this is the first time I’ve ever read this book. How is it speaking to me? Then this verse smacked me in the face like the buddy your bird hunting with forgetting to hold the tree limb in front of you. Well, if you’re a bird hunter you’ll know what I’m talking about.

33-37When they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. But one of the council members stood up, a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of God's Law who was honored by everyone. He ordered the men taken out of the room for a short time, then said, "Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds.

38-39"So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it—and you better not be found fighting against God!" (Acts 5:33-39, The Message)

If your vision is driven for personal reasons then it will “fall apart.” But if your vision “is of God” then take on all skeptics and challengers because they won’t be fighting you they’ll be “fighting against God.” BTW he is undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champ!! HE WAS DEAD AND CAME BACK TO LIFE…TOP THAT! Makes me think of the Michael W. Smith song Shout Unto God. Listen to it live from the New Hallelujah album and I promise it will fire up your spirit.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Random thoughts on my mind.

1) Good friends!! I ran into some at supper the other night and realized again just how encouraging and inspiring good friends can be. BTW my favorite verse is John 15:13.

2) Read this thought provoking question in a blog today. Does inviting people to give their lives to Christ seem like a hindrance or an HONOR? That one made me think. If it doesn’t seem like an honor then what are we doing here? Are we trying to get to heaven? Yes. But are we trying to take as many people as we can with us??

The instruction Jesus gave his disciples (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message)is the same timeless directive he give us today. We are the disciples of today! Don’t leave it solely to a preacher to try to reach people and don’t think they’re the only ones that can. I’d venture to say that as many and maybe more people have been brought to Christ through relationships built outside the assembly than through sermons! Maybe I’m wrong but that’s my theory for you to prove or disprove. If you spend much time trying to disprove then I think you have some serious ego problems and your time could have been better spent building a relationship with someone and showing the love of Jesus. (Sorry for the small rant)

Anyway, when I say ministering I don’t mean randomly walking up and start preaching at someone about their “sinful ways.” You’re most likely to hear something along the lines of “GET AWAY FREAK SHOW!” That approach, most often, is what I would call a spiritual turnoff. You just raised every Jesus force field in that person’s body. Give it up, you’re toast!

You can minister and create opportunities to minister by the way you live your life and treat people. People will notice and ask, “What’s she got?”, “Why’s he so positive in a time like this?”, “Why did she give that to those people just because?” Seek out a friendship with to someone that you normally would not befriend or have nothing in common with. People will notice and ask you “Why” and you will have an opportunity to tell your story, you know, to minister. Remember Peter’s words.

...keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. (1 Peter 3:15-16, The Message)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Humans or Souls

I had a TV show going in the back ground last night. Bad habit for me having to have something going in the background when I’m in the house…as if my two boys own personal UFC match and our living room serving as the octagon isn’t enough. Anyway to get to the point, here’s what I heard, “That’s a human being in there!” I wasn’t tuned into the Sci-Fi channel so they weren’t ruling out an alien encounter or something. This lady was making the point that the person she was addressing wasn’t treating the other individual like a human.

The words caught my attention because I had just read a blog earlier in the day that asked the question, “Are we seeing people as just human beings or as souls?” Whoa! Now that’s cutting deep, right? Was the blogger saying go farther than just “playing nice” and showing respect to others? ABSOLUTELY!

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! - 2 Corinthians 5:16 (New Living Translation)

Since I finally opened my eyes to what God wants for me I’ve asked Him to put me in uncomfortable situations that will give me the opportunity to share my faith. That's a dangerous prayer for me considering my personality. You know something though; He doesn’t send you an RSVP with the date, time and place! The nerve of that guy thinking He’s the ruler of the universe or something! Thinking He can answer my prayer at a gas station in Jackson, MS while my cramped, exhausted, full bladdered family is working on a 14 hour drive coming back home from vacation. Come on God! I’ve been on the road since 4 am and possess a degree of coffee breath that would strip paint. But that’s what He did and I think I had my opportunity and blew it!!

I was filling up with gas and as I turned around this dude is my grill and he say’s, “Hey man you got a couple bucks I can have for gas. My car is done. I’m trying to get home to Monroe, LA but if you could just get me across town I would appreciate it.” Now, let’s set the record straight, I no longer judge people’s heart for the Lord based on looks. (HUGE pet peeve of mine, for another day) But I will tell you that this guy at the least was having a hard time with life that day and getting the car he was in to Monroe, LA was going to be a chore. But I did the “human” thing and gave him $6, thinking, ah, he wants a couple bucks I’ll give him enough to get him across town then some. Yeah me! At the time I felt I had done a good thing. People treating people like humans.

But as I got down the road it bothered me. I didn’t know why. But it did. Then it hit me on a couple levels.

One, I think I missed an opportunity to minister and didn't realize it until just then. Instead of giving him a few dollars and allowing him to be on his merry way why didn’t I just go over there and stand with the guy and fill his car all the way up. What conversation could we have started during that time? “Man why are you doing this for me?” Something like that could have allowed the door to open to let him know that he’s loved by a total stranger. He’s a SOUL, not just a human being? I love you dude because Jesus loves you. Or maybe he already knows that and just needed a Christian brother there to reaffirm that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and we do exist outside the walls of a building we meet in once a week.

The other thing that disturbed me was how often do we do that to Souls? Like giving the guy just a few bucks in gas and not enough to get him home. How often do we give someone just enough love of Jesus to get them going but never enough to get them Home? And you know what I mean by home. Not this bump in the road we call earth. I am talking enough love to get them to that fried apricot stand in the sky we know as heaven. This is still stirring in me so I’m going to ponder it for a while longer. You ponder it as well. Comment if you’d like.

I’m going to stop with a closing I read from a book I finished this week. (By the way I read this book in record time. Those of you that know me know that I am a horribly slow reader. But I read a 190 page book in less than two weeks! Who cares if it had 18 font, half page illustrations and 3 inch margins… I READ 190 PAGES IN LESS THAN 6 MONTHS!) Anyway if any of this post resonated with you then this part of an old Franciscan benediction will jack you up!!

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”


I know you think it’s not a stretch, but I WANT TO BE BLESSED WITH FOOLISHNESS!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Called?

I woke up on January 12th this year, my birthday, looked in the mirror and said, “I’m 33 today. Jesus died when he was 33. What have I done in my 33 years to advance his kingdom?” I didn’t answer it, just asked it.

So what is this blog? What is this guy doing? What is he about? The best answer I can give is this, “I DON’T KNOW!” I know God is smarter than me and He has spoken loudly now and I must listen. I’ve been hearing for a while but not listening.

For several years God has been working something in me that I have suppressed. I’ve denied it to my wife and friends long enough. Now I must say, “I’ve been Called!” I really never understood what that meant until it happened to me. This has only been my admission for a few weeks now. Whoa, what a relief!

Called to what you’re asking? Called to the ministry. As in pastor, preacher, minister…whatever you want to tag me with. The Lord has filled me with something to say about his Son, you know our Savior the guy that died for me and you then got up and walked after being dead for the three days, yeah that guy. I can’t hold it in any longer!

I won’t try to get into the whole spiritual journey I’ve been on for ten years. That would be WAY too much to digest in one setting. But if you stay with me somewhere along the way you’ll get to hear my whole story piece by piece.

Right now let’s rewind over the last couple of months.

Let me warm up the crowd a little first. You’ve heard of Jesus Freaks right? Well how do you know when you are a Jesus Nerd? When you start listening to other preacher’s sermons, about twice a day, every day during the week. That has been my idea of fun for a while now! SERIOUSLY! Gimme some tape for these glasses.

Anyway, I was listening to this preacher a few months ago and he said he challenged his staff with this question. “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

I thought to myself that’s an awesome question. Then the first thing that popped into my mind was. “I’d quit my job and start a church.” WHAT! NO! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM! So I played my mulligan card and read it again. DOH! Same result. So, I think to myself I’ll type this question out, print it, tape it to the top of my computer screen, look at it everyday and surely I’ll think of something else worthy of the King.

Fast forward to July 5th. My grandmother passed away. An awesome farmer’s wife that could love a baby with one hand and chase you out of the kitchen with the wire end of flyswat in the other. And let me tell you what she was not shy about washing your mouth out with Lava soap if the wrong word came out of your mouth. But then turn right around and feed you an apricot fried pie when you had understood the error of your ways. A good woman! By the way I’m convinced there will be an all night apricot fried pie stand when we get to heaven!

Anyway back to the ranch, after a little tug from God and nudge from my beautiful bride I volunteered do perform her funeral service. I spent an entire day in solitude at my parent’s country home preparing my words and felt very confident in what God had laid on my heart. But I wasn’t confident in me being able to get through the funeral without breaking down.

When the time came though, well, it was indescribable. It just flowed! Or it felt that way to me anyway. Usually when I preach or teach I get a little excited and accidently skip over some of my finer points. Nuh uh, not on this day baby! The Spirit was choosing my every word. It felt awesome for my best outing to be in honoring my late grandmother, my family and most of all the Lord!

I finished up and sat with the family as everyone passed by to pay their respects. When out of nowhere this guy I've never seen before in my life puts his arm around me and says, “Are you a minister somewhere?” My answer very clearly was, “No.” He then asks, “Have you ever felt the call from God.” Quickly I say, “No.” As he walks away his final statement is, “Maybe you aught to be praying about that son.”

My instant reaction, “WHAT?” “Who was that guy?” “I know everybody in this church, but that guy!” “Who’s he to ask me that!” “The audacity!” “He doesn’t even know me.”

Then from the other side I get this elbow into my ribs and hear the gentle voice of my loving wife Christy say, “So when are you going to start listening to God? Everybody sees it but you.”

Later I tracked the phantom complimentor down at the family dinner and found out he was the pastor at the church where my aunt attends.

This total stranger and I had one of the most awesome spiritual talks I’ve ever had. Again, another story that is a lot to digest right now but maybe in a future post. I will tell you this, the Lord through this total stranger spoke many wise words to Christy and I before we left there that day. He spoke a lot about God’s plan for us and how to handle what He is about to lay before us when He decides to reveal it to us whatever it may be. For me personally his parting words before we walked out of there were huge, “Hey, if you get a burning in your gut and you gotta get it out, you can preach at my church anytime. Just pick up the phone.” WOW! This guy has known me like 15.4 minutes. I am humbled. God is good and God speaks in crazy ways.

The next day I finally admitted it aloud to Christy, God is calling me to minister. To do what? I don’t know. I’m fasting and praying about it daily. That’s the reason for this blog. An outlet for my thoughts. Follow us on this journey and let’s see where He leads us.

Let me share my thoughts with you from day to day. Just don’t hold me to every day because I’m a notoriously sporadic blogger.

For a couple years I’ve been praying this prayer “Lord give me the wisdom to see what YOU want for me and the courage to act on it.” I prayed it, but suppressed His calling out of fear because I thought surely it had to be something else. I’ve finally taken another step down His path, this one maybe the biggest. This maybe more than a step, I’m thinking this is a flippin’ leap. Let me share my thoughts, my successes, and struggles. Oh, yes there will be struggles and I will stumble. And, did I mention I’m a sinner!

This passage spoke to me just the other night after talking to my cousin who is an awesome minister of a church in Tennessee. (Insert shout out here. Hello Marc, love ya brother, thanks for the talks!)

Acts 4:13-14 They couldn't take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen (ordinary men) with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus…

Laymen, ordinary, fishermen, tax collectors and tentmakers. All called by the Lord. I LOVE IT! I’M HUMBLED! I’M HONORED! I’M FIRED UP! That’s me…”ordinary.” It gives me hope. I love it because I have no clue what I’m doing but He does. Faith is like that though. It’s like a roller coaster ride that invites you into the car even though you can’t see any of the tracks. That sounds fun! Let’s ride!

So “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail?” No, I’m not going to quit my job this week and start a church…at least I don’t think. It’s up to Him and He’s smarter than me.

Stay tuned…