Monthly Archives: January 2009
It has often been said that “Anything worth having is worth fighting for.” This is especially true in the spiritual realm because we are engaged in spiritual warfare against a powerful enemy who is determined to challenge the plans and purposes of God in his attacks against God’s people. Just as the land of Canaan belonged to Israel….but to receive its benefits and blessings they would have to conquer many enemies….so new experiences through the gaining of new ground belongs to us, but there are enemies to be fought, and walls to be torn down.
Jericho was a fortified city surrounded by two walls fifteen feet apart. Some scholars believe the outer wall towered six to eight stories high and were so thick that soldiers could drive chariots on top. Inside were well-armed and fiercely warlike people. What Joshua saw was indeed a giant of immense proportions. As far as mere man was concerned the walls were impenetrable! But, with God all things are possible!
How was it that Israel experienced such victory? Well, it began as only it could have: with a God-given vision. In Joshua 6:2 God said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, it’s king, and it’s mighty men of valor.” Read the rest of this entry
It’s finally here. The 2009 Celebration Banquet. Tonight we are going to celebrate Life Church’s accomplishments in Midlothian, Texas along with honoring those who volunteered their time and energy to make 2008 an incredibly successful year. I hope tonight is a highlight of the year for our volunteers and a time that they feel rewarded for everything that they have done behind the scenes.
From Renee and I … THANK YOU!
I went to see a doctor the other day and it took two hours and forty-five minutes! It wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to spend my day. The first thing the doctor said when he came into the exam room was, “I’m sorry to keep you waiting.” This little part of me was thinking, “Have you never been to see the doctor, Doctor? Are you actually surprised that I had to wait? I’ve never not had to wait unbelievable amounts of time. Thanks for the apology, but it seems a little too little too late.” Someone needs to do a study and find out how much time Americans spend in doctor’s waiting rooms each year.
Then I went to the pharmacy! Let me just say one thing. We put a man on the moon. It just seems to me that there has to be a way to have your prescription ready for you when you leave! How long does it take to put pills in a bottle?
I hate waiting. I don’t like waiting for food when I’m hungry. I don’t like waiting in traffic. I don’t like waiting in the store. I don’t like waiting for the light to change. I don’t like waiting for green eggs and ham. I don’t like waiting Sam I Am.
I hate waiting, but here’s the deal. If you want to experience a miracle you can’t just seek and believe. You’ve got to be willing to wait. Most of us love quick and easy miracles, but there is usually a season of waiting before a miracle happens. Unfortunately, most miracles are forfeited because we give up too soon. Learning how to wait is as important as learning how to seek and how to believe. Read the rest of this entry
If we are going to truly believe that there is nothing too hard for God than we need to start praying that way. Too often our we end up praying simple prayers or comfort prayers … God bless this day … God help my family … God bless this food. When we should be challenged to pray missional prayers.
In his excellent book, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions, John Piper begins his chapter on prayer saying: “Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer thus gives us the significance of frontline forces and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider.”
Paul and the early church prayed in accordance with the Father’s will, for the glory of Jesus, and because, as Piper explained, prayer was “primarily a walkie-talkie for the mission of the church.” A church with a domesticated prayer life will inevitably be a church in maintenance mode rather than in missional mode. Simply put, if you want to know if a church is on mission, listen to their prayers and feel their hearts.
I don’t know about you, but I want to have a good handle on this walkie-talkie in the life-long war of proclaiming Christ, rescuing sinners, and building His church! So here is my list of what I’m asking God to accomplish in and through Life Church in this coming year: Read the rest of this entry
Built around 8 needs that people struggle with today; Forgiveness, Loneliness, Relationships, Illness, Fear, Financial Need, Loss and Addiction. You’ve seen the commercials on TV, you’ve seen the billboards around Dallas … now come visit us at Life Church in Midlothian and find out why Nothing’s Too Hard For God!
Let me put a frame around this series. Every time I read through the gospels and I can’t help but notice the sheer quantity of miracles that happened. Sure, they were spread out over a three year period during Jesus’ ministry. But I think most of us would be happy if we experienced one miracle in three years. Now take that into account with what Jesus said in John 14:12: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.” That would be amazing enough if Jesus had stopped right there. But he adds an amendment. Jesus says, “He will do even greater things than these.”
So here is what I realize as I journey through the gospels: there is a gap between our theology and our reality. We believe John 14:12, but we’re not there yet. There is a pretty big gap between what we believe and what we experience. And I’m praying that God would close the gap.
Here is the mistake many of us make: we make our theology conform to our reality. You have probably heard of the Jefferson Bible. Thomas Jefferson could not intellectually digest the miracles in the gospels so he extracted them. Everything that was left he compiled into his own version of the Bible called the Jefferson Bible. It’s a miracle-less Bible.
Now here’s the thing. Part of us says, “I can’t believe Thomas Jefferson would have the gall to do what he did.” But most of us do exactly what he did. We don’t physically cut the miracles out of the Bible, but we ignore them or explain away why we aren’t experiencing them in our lives. Read the rest of this entry
Growing up as a Missionary Kid you have to have a default setting that says you’ll eat or drink anything put in front of you.
Drinking coffee is one of those things. I have had good cups of coffee and bad ones as I have traveled the world. I have visited coffee shops in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and China.
It started out as a father-son Right of Passage to me. When I was about 12 years old I remember starting to drink “cafe con leche” at a little sidewalk cafe with my dad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there it became almost a weekly appointment with my dad. We would walk down a few blocks or we would take the train downtown to one of our favorite coffee shops, we would sit there and talk about “guy stuff”. You know what “guy stuff” is … soccer, school, vacation trips, church … and soon our conversations changed to a man’s responsibilities and how a man should act.
Thanks dad for taking the time to invest in your son. And to you I’ll toast my next cup of coffee and pass your words of wisdom on to my sons.
As we begin 2009, I want to also begin teaching you a Course on Miracles. I’ve asked God to make 2009 a Year of Miracles. I’ve always wanted God to do something unexplainable and uncontrollable and uncontainable in me and in Life Church. I think we’re on the verge of that.
Luke 5 gives us a picture of what God wants to do in all of our lives. The disciples had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught a thing. Jesus told them to move the boats and try again. I’m sure the professional fisherman really love Jesus give them fishing tips! But Peter was obedient. He said, “Because you say so.” They let down their nets and “caught such a large number of fish that the nets began to break.” They actually had to signal another boat to help them haul in the fish. And both boats were so full they began to sink.
Here is my take on that passage: Jesus did something uncontainable. They hadn’t caught a single fish all night. And then they caught more fish than their boats could contain! That is a picture and that is a promise of what I believe the Lord wants to do in our lives! He wants to bless us beyond our ability to contain it. Read the rest of this entry
Even as I write this blog, I’m in yet again … another hospital waiting room. It seems like I have bounced from hospital to hospital. A few weeks ago it was at Hearman Southwest in Pearland, than I was at Methodist Hospital in Houston; yesterday it was the ER at Waxahachie Baylor, today it is the Presbyterian Hospital in Rockwall.
Life Church’s 30 Day Fast is committed to experiencing God doing the miraculous here, in our lives, in our church, in our day. Why can’t God do today, what we read about in Scripture and see and hear around the world. As a church we have come united before God, seeking God and His will and walking in a spirit of expectation and anticipation.
Father, we come before you. The Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. The one who was, and is, and forever will be. We ask you in your mighty power to invade our lives with your presence. We confess that there is nothing impossible for you. At this moment, we corporately remove you from any ‘box’ that we have confined you in, we remove any ‘limitations’ we have placed on you. We claim your promises. Your promises of grace. Your promises of peace. Your promises of healing. Your promises of blessings. We choose to draw a line in the sand and stake our claim. For us to live is Christ and to die is gain. As your church moves forward, spiritual attack is inedible. But you promises that you would build your church and the gates of Hell wouldn’t prevail against it. We ask that you would build your church in Midlothian. We bind any attack of the enemy on our church, our congregation, and our extended families. We ask that you would lose your power of protection, health and peace. That as we drive forward into this new year, your spirit would go before us. We feel like Joshua crossing the Red Sea when you spoke to him and said to follow you because we have never gone this way before. This is a new year and our eyes are looking to you, our spirits attuned to your desire and our courage unsheathed. May your will be done today and everyday. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Q: How should I fast?
A: Start with a clear goal. Why are you fasting? Do you need guidance, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus? example when you fast.
Q: What should I fast?
A: That is up to you. It may be a full fast in which you drink only liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel and eat no sweet breads, no meat and nothing but water to drink. Perhaps you only want to eat vegetables. If nothing else, you can fast watching television or anything else which would be a sacrifice from you normal day to day activities. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.
Q: How long should I fast?
A: You may fast as long as you like. Most people can fast easily from 1-3 days, with some mild discomfort, but you can extend your fast to 21 days or even 40 days! Use wisdom and prayer for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.
Q: Isn’t fasting supposed to be private?
A: Most of the fasts mentioned in the Bible were public fasts called by the priests, but Jesus gave us the model for private fasts in Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14, 15.
Q: How do I prepare myself to fast?
A: Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask for forgiveness from those who you may have offended. (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4) Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to stop you. (Romans 12:1, 2)
Prepare yourself physically. If you have health concerns, consult your doctor prior to fasting and explain what you plan to do. This is especially important if you take prescription medications of have a chronic ailment. Some people should never fast without professional supervision. While on your fast, limit your activity and exercise only moderately. Take time to rest. Be ready for some physical discomforts especially early in the fast. Your body is detoxifying and you may be having withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. You may have headaches, hunger pains and even become irritable! Spend time listening to praise and worship, pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind seeking God’s face.
End your fast slowly. Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid foods gradually and eat smaller portions or snacks until your body is re-accustomed to eating solid foods.