Friday, May 29, 2009


Today I was weeding around the house, and I noticed that these weeds were difficult to pull out. Somehow I don't remember planting those weeds, and then I remembered I didn't plant those weeds, they just popped up. Weeds are things that you don't have to plant. There is not much effort required in "raising weeds" all you have to do is nothing. The problem is that most of the weeds in my yard started out rather small, and are now quite large. These weeds have big roots and are stubborn to pull out of the ground.

I know you are way ahead of me. The correlation with our own heart is similar to the weeds around my house. I have three suggestions for you to eliminate the weeds in your life.
  • Pull out the weeds when they are small
  • Weed every day
  • Apply weed killer (God's Word)
If you will take care to weed out the little things in your life your heart will be a flourishing garden full of the fruit of the Spirit

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rewards and Eternity

Have you ever been notified that you were nominated to receive an award? What was your response? "Me?" "What did I do?" "I didn't deserve it." Today I was present at an award ceremony and I noticed that all of the recipients of the awards accepted the honors with humility and thanks. Most times when we work or do things that receive the attention of others it was not the reason that we were doing those things. If you are like me you probably do your work without much fanfare. You aren't looking for full media coverage on what you are doing, you are satisfied with knowing that what you are doing is making a difference in the lives of others. Now think about this.

As believers we are doing our best to be an example of Christ in a world that has gone mad. At times we wonder if what we are doing is making any difference in this world because we have not received any recognition for what we are doing. May I encourage you today that God is keeping track of all of the things that you are doing for others, and one of these days you will receive the reward for your labors.

Can I encourage not to give up? If you are a mother of small children and you fill your days with diapers and runny noses, know that God is pleased when you raise your children to love Him. If you are facing some other challenge or difficulty, may I remind you that God will see you through this tough time. You need to know that there is coming a day that our trials will not compare to the glory that is in the presence of God.

So don't give up, your labor in the Lord is not in vain!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Who Am I?

Today my thoughts were turned to the Casting Crowns song "Who Am I?" I was thinking about how God has been so good to me and I don't even deserve it! Click on the play button and listen to the words of the song, and see if you don't have a fresh appreciation for the goodness of the Lord.

I was reminded of the goodness of the Lord as I spoke with some dear friends in Louisiana. They were like parents to me and I was like their son. We are still very close, even though we live in different states. Memories flooded in on me of the times with their kids (they are grown now) and times at their house. Here was a college student who had been adopted and loved by people that had such big hearts. There was a time that I eventually spent every weekend with them at their house. I left my toothbrush there and had a spare change of clothes. What would possess a 20 something college student to drive 120 miles round trip every weekend? Relationship. I meant something to them and their family. I was not just the Youth Pastor, I was a part of their family. It was in those moments that I realized that God's goodness is expressed through other people. I remember many a times receiving a "Pentecostal handshake" (this is when money is given to another person by shaking their hand) just when I needed it. God was meeting my needs and He was using my friends. There was another time that my refrigerator was empty (good time to fast, right?) and my friends found out. They called me up and said that they wanted to fill up my freezer. I had been praying to the Lord that morning that He would provide, and then my friends call! So we went to one of those warehouses, and they bought me chicken, meat, etc. I was so blessed. One more instance. I remember moving from Baton Rouge to Amite to be the Youth Pastor, and live next to the church. I was working at a grocery store, and I didn't have any dishes, utensils, or cookware. Well when I came home from work there was dishes, utensils, and cookware sitting in my parking spot. I could go on for hours, but suffice it to say I didn't deserve any of these blessings. But my God is a good God, and that's what He does; He takes care of His children.

How about you? Are you facing a tough time right now? Turn to the Lord and He will meet your need. There's an old song, I believe it is called "Only Trust Him". The song says "Come every soul by sin oppressed there is mercy in the Lord, and He will surely give you rest by trusting in His Word." Trust Him today because He loves you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Now What?

As most of you know I have just been accepted into the Doctoral Program at Gonzaga University. This is a dream come true that I can pursue my Doctorate. The program at Gonzaga is estimated to take about 6 0r 7 years, and hopefully my Daughter and I will graduate the same year. My desire has always been to teach in Higher Education, and the only way to do it would be to pursue my Doctorate.

I love the environment that is found in most classrooms. The best time in my life was when I was in College and Seminary. I used to imagine the day when I would conduct my own classroom. What a thrill to have students who are like sponges, and long to discuss the lesson at hand. Life change has always been a big deal to me, and I long to be used by the Lord in the lives of others. So what's next?

I await a meeting with my advisor to set up my schedule for the Fall. Then I get ready to embrace this next challenge before me.

How about you, what is the next big challenge before you?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Redeeming the Time

Have you ever noticed that the older you get the more rapidly time passes. When I was a kid summers were forever, but now they seem like a four day weekend. It is almost June and we are already talking about what we will do this summer. But, the weather has been not cooperating. One day this week it was warm and very pleasant. Yesterday and today it was windy and very cold in the morning. It finally warmed up later, but how many more days of this? The Bible tells that we should redeem the time for the days are evil. What does this mean?

  • We should make our days count instead of counting days
  • We should not fritter away our days with useless activities
  • We should take the opportunity to be a good neighbor and a friend to those who live near us. I am convinced that a plate of cookies to a neighbor in a time of need will open the door for our light to shine.
  • We should remember that Jesus is coming soon.
The days that we live in are truly evil, but we must remember that the devil has a short time. He knows that his days are numbered, and he is wreaking as much havoc as he is allowed to before his judgment. Listen to the words of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God".
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us; 20
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, 25
For lo! his doom is sure,—
One little word shall fell him.
Look up your redemption is drawing near!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Three Words That I Want to Define Me

This weekend at Men's Conference Monty Hipp challenged us to let the right words shape who we are as men. Words can damage us, can discourage us and even keep us back from our God given destiny. I remember the story about the two men who were sitting at dinner, and the one guy began to push all of his beans to the opposite side of the plate. His friend asked him why he did that. At first he just gave no explanation. His friend asked him again and finally the other man said that his Father always told him that he would never amount to a hill of beans! What you need to know about this man is that he is a professional in his field and has many credits to his name. Yet the words that his father spoke over him when he was a young man were still shaping his destiny. Let me ask you a question, what words do you want to shape your destiny?

Here are the three words that I want to shape my God given destiny.

  • Faithful: I want to be faithful to God who has called me, and my family who loves me.

  • Honest: I want to be a man that does the right thing, even when the wrong thing would be more advantageous.

  • Relational: I want people to know that they are more important than programs or positions. I want to ask the question, "how will this affect the people around me?"
These are the words that I want to define me, how about you. Let me challenge you to think about three words that you want to be true of you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Youth Ministry Taught Me About Life

From 1991 to 2004 I was a Youth Pastor or worked with Youth in some way in the churches we served. This was most rewarding to serve the Body of Christ this way. Here are some things I learned about life along the way.

  • Don't take yourself too seriously (There was a time that I told one young man "Bubba" if he didn't sit down I would grab him by the ankles and shake him until the change fell out of his pocket. I did, but he still didn't listen to me!)
  • Don't embarrass young people in front of their friends (I remember when I was not going to let this young person back talk me, and I proceeded to say some very hurtful things about him. That day I not only lost the argument I lost his respect.)
  • Don't try and be a hero ( In one of the churches we served in the Pastor resigned under questionable circumstances. We had planned on taking the young people to a Youth Conference in Tennessee, we should have canceled the trip and left the church after the Pastor's resignation. We tried to be the hero when we should have left the church sooner.)
  • Don't offer your opinion unless it is asked for ( In one church we served at there was a young girl, she was 15 and she was "dating" a 19 year old. I told her Mother that was ridiculous, and she didn't appreciate that. The truth was the parents had encouraged this relationship. Since then I keep my mouth shut.)
If you ask my wife about when we first started in Youth Ministry she will tell you that I have learned a lot. I wish I could tell you that I learned this from someone else's mistakes, but they were my mistakes.

Here is my thought for today, learn from your mistakes and share your wisdom with others.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Believe in You

"There are people that don't think you are doing a good job, and they don't think you will make it here; but I believe in you." These words were spoken by Mark a man in the church where I was first a Youth Pastor. These words would encourage me to the point that I would end up being at that church for 5 years! This is the power of encouragement in action. Maybe, I have gotten ahead of myself. Let me give you some background.

The time was Summer of 1992 in Southeast Louisiana, and I had just concluded a less than stellar Youth service. I did not know what it took to relate to youth, I had graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Pastoral Ministry. How could I reach these youth? I was discouraged after this Youth service, and I felt all alone. I had moved to this town and lived in the apartment next to the church for a starting salary of $2,400 a year. It was obvious I would have to find another part time job. But how could I concentrate and live up to the demands of the people who had brought me on as their Youth Pastor? This would be a balancing act. How did I do it? I realized that people only have one real need, and that need is to be loved.

I still didn't know what I was doing, and I was still pretty stiff and formal around the young people. One young man asked me if I owed any jeans? I didn't let this stop me, as a matter of fact I began to pray for these young people, and you know what God gave me a love for these young men and young women. I remember when our Youth Ministry started that we had 6 young people in attendance. I was praying for them one day, and all of a sudden I felt inspired to write them letters (remember this was circa 1990) to encourage them. I began to tell them what I appreciated about them, and what I saw in their character. There were some young people that told me that this meant a lot to them. One Mom even told me that her son would get the letter out and read it often. What is my point?

This is it. When I heard someone say "I believe in you." I was now responsible to encourage greatness in others along the way.

I am now almost 41 years old, and today I am the man I am because someone believed in me. How about you, who is it who encouraged greatness in you? It's your turn now, go and find someone and encourage them to do great things for God today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arrows in the Hand of God

Today at our Ministerial Alliance meeting a devotion was given by one of the Pastor's. His devotion was from Isaiah 49:1-4. He was focusing on the suffering of Christ as seen through the writings of the prophet Isaiah, but I was focusing somewhere else. Listen to this phrase in verse 2 "He has made me a polished shaft." What does that mean to you? Here are my thoughts.

  • God has prepared me and is refining me
  • God has a destination in mind for me
  • God is lovingly and tenderly preparing me
  • I am in His hands
What a joy to know that I am not an accident and neither are you. God knew you before you were born. He has a plan for you, and He is wanting to prepare you for your mission. You are in His hands, is there any safer place to be?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What About Your Skin?

I was listening to Leviticus 13 as my wife was reading all 58 verses. It is tempting to read something like this and say "this doesn't apply to me." But if we truly believe that all scripture is inspired from God, then what do we do with this chapter?

It starts out talking about different skin diseases, and how you could tell whether it was something that was contagious or not. Be careful you could pass over something very important. The temptation is to skim over this chapter and chalk it up to "that was back then." But I believe there is an important lesson to be learned in this chapter.

After reading George O. Wood's sermon( "Are You Listening to Your Skin?" I brought away this one tidbit. Those who had something that was contagious was put outside the camp away from the rest of the people. They were excluded from worshiping in the Tabernacle and associating with those who were not contagious. This disease is a type of sin that separates us from God's presence and His people. If you were not contagious you could draw near to the center of the camp where the presence of God was, if you were contagious you had be outside of the camp for a certain amount of time until you were pronounced clean.

Here is the thought from this passage. Is the stuff in our life drawing us closer to God, or is it something that puts us outside the camp? If we are outside the camp let us go to Jesus and ask forgiveness for our sin, and be brought into the presence of God.

What are your thoughts about this passage? Maybe you have a different interpretation, I would like to hear from you.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Miracle on Mother's Day

Yesterday my Sister-in-Law Diane spoke on Mother's Day. Diane is a godly mother of five children, the oldest is a senior this year. What a testimony her and her husband have in the town in which they live. They have consistently stood up for godly principles even when it was not popular. They have raised their kids in the ways of the Lord, and they are committed to living out the words of Jesus. The service yesterday was great. The worship was great, the testimonies were encouraging and it was only 10:50! Let me explain.

As I walked to the platform for prayer time I sensed that the Lord was wanting to touch some people. Yesterday during the prayer time we had several people who received a healing in the service! One lady said that she had hearing problems in her left ear, and that morning had a terrible roaring in her ear. During the prayer time she felt a pop and knew that the Lord had healed her! The other lady said that the Lord was ministering to her emotionally, as she had a decision to make. She said through tears that the Lord gave her direction. This all took place before Diane got up to speak.

When Diane spoke there was a sweet presence of the Lord that could be felt in the room. It was as if though the Lord was infusing those present with strength. The words that she spoke were so accurate, and so encouraging to those who were present. So what was the miracle?

The miracle was life change. Whether it was direction, healing or encouragement to be a godly mother; lives were changed yesterday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What Jesus Says About Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. The Obama White House broke with tradition and did not "celebrate" this day of prayer. This however means that we still have the privilege and responsibility to pray for the President and his administration. Although there are many areas in which I do not agree with this administration, I must pray for my leaders. With all that said, what does Jesus have to say about prayer? Here are His words from Matthew 6:5-7
  • When (not if ) you pray, don't pray to impress other people
  • When you pray find a secret place to talk to God
  • When you pray resist the temptation to use big words to "impress" God.
  • When you pray know that God knows what you need before you ask.
Prayer is a subject that is talked about more than it is practiced. But prayer is something that once is practiced is a joy to the one praying.

I know we single out today as the day of prayer, but let us treat everyday as if our life depended on it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Since tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer, the question that I want to ask you is why pray? This seems like an obvious answer, but is it? Why do you pray? How much time do you pray, and how often do you pray? I would like to hear from you. I will list below my answers, and I look forward to your response.
  • I pray for the same reason I breathe.
  • I try to pray for about an hour (sometimes more sometimes less)
  • My practice is to pray 5 out of 7 days
Prayer is not something we should just talk about, we should do it. The only way to become better at prayer is practice. My prayer time is a ongoing relationship with the Lord, there are no stops and starts. How about you?

Let us lift up our country before the Lord as we celebrate the National Day of Prayer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fruit from ATF

I was pondering the good things that have come about from the ministry of Teen Mania. I have come to a conclusion that since we have been taking young people to ATF, it is the most life changing event we have been a part of. Here are a few reasons why I believe this is so.
  • The main emphasis behind the ATF is young people surrendering their life to Christ
  • The preaching of the Gospel has never been compromised in all the years we have been to the events.
  • The young people are challenged to allow Christ to change their lives, and then become disciples of the Lord.
  • The coalition of the ATF staff, Youth Pastors, Senior Pastors and Parents understand that the most important thing is for their young person to have an encounter with Christ.
In my years as a Youth Pastor in Hermiston Oregon I was privileged to be a part of "One Voice". "One Voice" was a class taught by Youth Pastors in Hermiston to those students who signed up for this religious release. Some of the greatest relationships have come from these times. I ran into one of the students this weekend. He was an intern for Campus Life and was searching for God's will in His life. Today he is newly married, a Youth Pastor for 6 years in LaGrande Oregon and him and his wife are expecting their first baby. It was such a pleasant suprise to see a student who years before I was able to impact.

What is the greatest fruit of any event? The life change that continues long after the event.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Testimonies from ATF

I was unable to post until today, but let me share with you about this weekend. Here are some testimonies from our young people.

  • "God told me I was forgiven, and that He had a plan for my life. All I had to do was follow His plan."
  • "I need to read the Bible more, I could Jesus in my room as I was texting my friends. He told me that I needed to read the Bible and stop texting so much."
  • "God forgave me and gave me a brand start."
  • "I asked God to forgive me for being mean to my brother and sister."
  • One parent found their son even reading his Bible before school today!
If you have not been to an ATF near you, you owe to yourself to see what God is doing with the young people of today. For more information go to