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.