Monday, September 13, 2010

Reflections On My Days...

Today marks my 43rd year alive on the planet. This morning as I have read messages, listened to encouraging words and experienced the love of my family, I have begun that process of reflection and looking forward.

I have reflected today on how the Father has blessed me with some amazing friendships and the most incredible family a man could possibly have. Just yesterday I was reminded by the Lord of His love for me and His overwhelming grace that has been demonstrated to me through friends and fellowship with close relationships that have come because of His love for me. I am a blessed man with many many things in my life to be thankful for every day!

I listened this morning to the lyrics, "this is my story this is my song...praising my Savior all the day long" and I am doing just that today. Yet, I have realized something in the midst of this reflection. In the middle of looking back on the ways the Father has taken care of me and guided me back to Himself time and time again, while looking back at the amazing ways He has blessed me with friends who are the same to me yesterday and today and will be in the days to come, while listening to His voice remind me of the sovereign control and freedom He has granted me in this life...I have an amazing opportunity!

I have an amazing opportunity to look to the future days and see His glory revealed in my journey. So many times we look at life through the lenses that have been clouded and colored by this world's struggles. We see situations and people with a less than perfect clarity because of our own past experiences. We have allowed the enemy to cloud our view and as a result we look at everything from a slightly wrong angle. This awkward angle causes us to respond in a completely different manner to all of life.

Well, today is the day the Lord has made! This is a day to rejoice and be glad in His grace and His mercy and His love. Even though I clearly understand that I bring nothing of value to the table with God in and of myself...In Christ I bring an eternal value that releases His Spirit to teach, guide and bless my life in many ways. The Father has marked my days and my journey. He has a plan to help me grow and become more like His Son everyday. The Lord has ordained the days of my life for His glory and for His purposes. So, what am I waiting for?

What is it that we all are waiting on to experience God in His fullness? Well, I know what I have been waiting on...ME! I have no power over the waves of the ocean. But I do have power over the waves of my emotions. I may not be in control of the clouds and the rain, but I am in control of the position of my life under the clouds of His Spirit as He pours out His Word and His blessing on my life. Today I choose to stand beneath the wings of the King and recognize my place at His table. It is time to start acting like His child and focusing on the future He has provided and stop trying to fix the past. This is my story and this is my song! He has ordained my days. He has mapped out for me a race that will end in victory. I have nothing to fear as a child of the King! It is time to live in the hope of the future and anticipate His glory being revealed in and through my life at every turn in this journey.

Today as you look forward, will you join me in releasing the grip you have on the things of the past. As the line in the Fellowship of the Unashamed states, "My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure." It is time we walk fully in His light as a redeemed child of the King and face the coming days as the greatest days of our lives!

Thank you to all of those people who have been used by the Father to be a blessing to me. I cherish the memories and hope for the future. You have been a willing tool in the hands of the Master to help shape and form the journey He has allowed me to walk. Please know that I am thankful to my God upon every remembrance of you and eagerly await the next time in our journeys that He allows our paths to cross! Blessings to you all as we build His Kingdom together!

In His Grip,

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Day Is Almost Gone...

As we sit and watch sunsets and marvel at their beauty, are we mindful of the days that are gone? Gone are the days of my youthful football career. Gone are the days of my worry-free eating of anything I wanted whenever I wanted it. Gone are the days of someone else thinking about tomorrow for me. Gone are the days of all night lock-ins with teenagers. Gone are many days of things I did when I was younger!

The more I ponder my days and consider how many are gone, the more I think about what each day I have in the future will hold. The sun is setting on many lives each day. This picture from Africa reminds me of how many children will close their eyes for the last time while you read this blog! The sun is setting on the day for the church. The Father has clearly given us a mission to reach the world! How are we going to finish this race He has set before us?

All across the globe the church is gathering. People in places all over the globe are seeking the Father in these last days. The church is alive and turning its heart to Him. In Uganda this summer as well as in Guatemala, I saw the church praying for revival. According to Henry Blackaby's model of revival the people of God have a choice to return to God for revival or to die! Across the globe men and women are returning to Him. Yes, world religions are on the rise and false prophets abound in every land. Religion is very popular in coffee shops and bars alike these days. The world has a very spiritual sense about her in this post-modern age.

Are I taking advantage of the open hearts and minds that walk into my life's path every day? Do I see the people around my journey as those the Father is placing in my path specifically for me to speak to concerning the truth? Am I gathering with the church globally to humble myself, seek His face and pray, turn from my wicked ways and hear from heaven?

The time is at hand! The evening is coming and soon the sun will be gone! The time for the Body of Christ to rise to her feet and speak boldly the whole truth of God's Word is now! Will you join the gathering? Will you join the others around the foot of the cross? Will you go to Him as a small child with purity of heart, full expectation and complete dependence? The day is slowly fading away as we walk this journey. The darkness is creeping in on every side, thinking it has won! The Father is waiting to start the feast until all the children have come home. Will you join the search party as we go into all the nations seeking out the lost and hurting children of the Kingdom? Will you reach the world and teach His Word?

In His Grip,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Who Are You Listening To?

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." 2 Timothy 4:3

Today the Christian community is being overshadowed by a rapidly growing Islamic population. We see in the world today a weakening of the Christian influence among people groups across ethnic and nationalities like never before. Reports come out every day spreading the statistics about the rapid growth of Islam and its influence in communities in every corner of the globe. Christianity is slowing its once rapid progress into unreached and forgotten areas of the world. WHY?

As I reflect on what the Lord has been doing in my own life this year I see a very critical thing happening in my own faith journey. My bookshelves are lined with the latest books by this person or that whom I have determined to be a great man of God and a writer who will inspire me. I have awaited the next book in a series of books by guys out there who seem to have answers for my struggles with this journey and my issues I face along this path. I have built a list of quotes and concepts in my head of great wisdom from men who have been down the road of ministry or are walking this road with amazing stuff happening to them and their church.

Like never before in my faith journey I have seen my desire for someones words to motivate me overshadow the motivation of His Word! I have seen this year the Church communities draw in close to men of faith and listen to what they are saying and repeat their quotes on every social media outlet possible. Yet, the Word of God is far from our lips in our coffee shop conversations. We will sit for hours and debate the theological implications of this or that persons views on doctrinal thought while struggling to get out of bed and spend quality time listening to the One who breathed His life into our bodies!

Islam is growing all across the globe. However, it is not simply because of its strategy to invade every culture and community with its doctrine that is bringing this rapid growth about. As we have seen before in our faith journey, it is because of the relative silence of the Body of Christ that others' voices are being heard. Other world religions are not growing because they have stumbled onto some amazing new method to produce their message on the global scene. World religions are growing in popularity because the church is relatively quiet on the world scene.

I have found myself stumbling into this less vocal and more subdued mode of communication of the Gospel is due to one primary thing...I have begun to listen to men more than the Father! Who are you listening to? Who is the most influential person in your life right now? Whose words are you quoting when responding to life's difficult times? Whose words are coming to your mind when you are facing the difficult decisions of this journey?

Today we must return to the truth of the past! (2 Tim. 3:14-16) It is time we as the Body of Christ return to the simple truths of the Word of God and rally our lives around His Words to face the day. I know within my own journey I have relied on others words to help me face the day and I have allowed those words to take the place of the very Words of Jesus! Today I recognize I must return to the words that transform lives. I must again plant the Words of Christ deep within my bones so I will respond to the world's attack with words that carry eternal power. It is time to evaluate who it is that I am listening to and return to the place of knowledge and understanding that brings about Biblical wisdom and discernment.

Will you join me today? Will you come along on this journey back to the Word? Will you take some time to evaluate who it is that you are listening to and find your way back to His voice and His Word?

This picture was taken by Sam Torres while with us in Uganda. I am reminded of the simple truth behind the picture. Our children trust us to teach them the truth. When we pour into them they will proclaim what we have taught them with their whole life. Who we are listening to will be proclaimed by our children. Who are you listening to?