Sunday, February 28, 2010
I am out of town in Miami with the family and technology is great I am blogging on my iPhone and watching church at woodlandlive.com so if you can not make it out to church today get off facebook and twitter and log into woodlandlive.com the message is about relationships
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Such disregard is no fault of the builder. He and his crew labored hours, balancing beams and nailing shingles. Yet, in spite of their effort, most people would notice a two-dollar lamp before they would notice the roof.
Let's not make the same mistake. As God covered his Great House, he spared no expense. In fact, his roof was the most costly section of the structure. It cost him the life of his Son. He invites us to study his work by virtue of three words in the center of the prayer. "Forgive our debts."
Debt. The Greek word for debt has no mystery. It simply means "to owe someone something." If to be in debt is to owe someone something, isn't it appropriate for us speak of debt in our prayer, for aren't we all in debt to God?
Aren't we in God's debt when we disobey his commands? He tells us to go south and we go north. He tells us to turn right and we turn left. Rather than love our neighbor, we hurt our neighbor. Instead of seeking his will, we seek our will. We're told to forgive our enemies, but we attack our enemies. We disobey God.
Aren't we in God's debt when we disregard him? He makes the universe and we applaud science. He heals the sick and we applaud medicine. He grants beauty and we credit Mother Nature. He gives us possessions and we salute human ingenuity.
Don't we go into debt when we disrespect God's children? What if I did to you what we do to God? What if I shouted at your child in your presence? What if I called him names or struck him? You wouldn't tolerate it. But don't we do the same? How does God feel when we mistreat one of his children? When we curse at his offspring? When we criticize a co-worker, or gossip about a relative, or speak about someone before we speak to them? Aren't we in God's debt when we mistreat a neighbor?
"Wait a second, Max. You mean every time I do one of these things, I'm writing a check on my heavenly bank account?"
That's exactly what I'm saying. I'm also saying that if Christ had not covered us with his grace, each of us would be overdrawn on that account. When it comes to goodness we would have insufficient funds. Inadequate holiness. God requires a certain balance of virtue in our account, and it's more than any of us has alone. Our holiness account shows insufficient funds, and only the holy will see the Lord; what can we do?
We could try making a few deposits. Maybe if I wave at my neighbor or compliment my husband or go to church next Sunday, I'll get caught up. But how do you know when you've made enough? How many trips do I need to make to the bank? How much credit do I need? When can I relax?
That's the problem. You never can. "People cannot do any work that will make them right with God" (Rom. 4:5). If you are trying to justify your own statement, forget ever having peace. You're going to spend the rest of your days huffing and puffing to get to the drive-through window before the bank closes. You are trying to justify an account you can't justify. May I remind you of the roof of grace which covers you?
"It is God who justifies" (8:33).
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, February 26 2010
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood...." - Ephesians 6:12
Have you ever heard someone say, "I will never do business with another Christian"? I hear this comment quite often in my dealings with Christian workplace believers. This comment represents the battle that rages against us by the enemy of our soul to destroy the witness and effectiveness of Christian workplace believers. We must realize that we are in a war - a war for the souls of men, a war to discredit all that a Christian stands for, a war that is designed to divide Christian against Christian.
Satan's ploy in the life of Christian workplace believers is to do several things to make them ineffective as soldiers in the workplace. First, he wants to discredit them by allowing them to fail other people in their professional services. This often shows up in failing to perform what they committed to do or performing in an unsatisfactory way. Sometimes, this is a result of a downright failure of the workplace believer to perform with excellence. In other cases, it may be a misunderstanding in the midst of the service that causes strife and division instigated by the enemy.
The result in both cases is the same: a division among Christians and even non-Christians, further resulting in a damaged witness for Christ. The apostle Peter admonishes us to "live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us" (1 Pet. 2:12).
There are times when each of us is thrust into situations out of our control. Sometimes this results in our inability to pay a bill on time, or to deliver a service. Defeating satan in these battles requires extra communication with those with whom we are dealing. If the motive of your heart is to do right, then God will give you favor in order to work through these difficult spots. Ask God today to show you where the enemy is seeking to make you ineffective.
We wage a spiritual war that is not flesh and blood. We must fight this war with spiritual weapons applied to practical daily living.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
REAL Men Bible Study
A. Seduced by false teachers
Galatians 5: 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
B. Seduced by the world
1 John 2: 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
C. Seduced into spiritual smugness
Revelations 3: 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
D. Seduced by group think/religiosity/churchiness
1 Peter 4: 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19 So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
II. Stay the Course!
Hebrews 10: 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Revelation 2: 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
III. Two Major Theological Positions
Ø Calvinism – once saved; always saved
Ø Arminianism – can lose salvation
Even these two diametric theologies agree about the end of life
A. Faithful at time of death – both agree that you are saved
B. Unfaithful at time of death – Calvinism will say you were never saved; Arminianism will say that you were but lost your salvation. Both agree that you will not be saved in this condition.
IV. Check out the Apostle Paul
1 Corinthians 9: 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
He finished strong with full assurance of his salvation!
2 Timothy 4: 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
SO CAN WE!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Today I was being challanged and getting a little angry with some issues and opened my bible to Psalm 25 "a prayer for God to Guide" It was great to hear the word of God and the comfort that it gave me was more than I can express.
I only wish that I had come to know my lord and savior at a younger age, my life would have been so much different knowing that Gods Word Saves and Heals. I hope that next time you are in a bad place you turn to the bible and trust God the results will rock your world.
Bless you all,
Sunday, February 21, 2010
REAL Men Bible Study
I. The Power of Memory
Ø Remember the Alamo!
Ø A Date that will live in infamy!
Ø Remember 9/11/01!
Ø Remember the Titans!
Ø Remember your anniversary!
Ephesians 2: 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world….. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Hebrews 13: 7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Revelation 2: 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Revelation 3: I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
II. Forgetfulness of Whose we are and What we know is Dangerous
James 1: 2 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
2 Peter 3: 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
III. Some Things Need to Be Forgotten
Philippians 3: 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 6 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
IV. Focused Memory is the Ticket to a Godly Life!
Hebrews 12: 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Last night we were talking at the table about seeing Gods hand in our life and I am happy to say that I have been seeing him work in my life and the life of many of my brothers. For me because I have no other option but to turn to God and Trust in him or I will go down in flames. He has helped me so many times latly that I cant help but think WOW .... but the bible is full of stories of Gods provision and his helping his chosen people Yes we are his chosen people because we chose him and I beleive that the Bible is a book of RULES not exceptions.
Today I was reading this and it seamed somthing that tied into the messages so I wanted to share it:
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, February 17 2010
"I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony." - John 3:11
When is the last time God did something in your work life that can only be explained as God? Was it yesterday? Was it just last week? A month ago? A year ago? The answer to this question may mean several things. If it has been some time since you saw God's activity in such a way that you know it was His hand, you may not be trusting to a level that requires faith. You may not be risking enough for God to show Himself. The converts in the early Church changed the world they lived in because of what they saw and heard. It was the power of the gospel that changed lives, not what they learned from mere teaching. This power drew people to Christ. Things happened that could not be explained as anything other than the activity of God. Is that the kind of faith you are experiencing in your life? Many of us live a wholesome, moral life, but those we associate with do not see this activity as anything that cannot also be achieved by themselves. That is why many are not drawn to our lives. God's power is not evident. The Lord has been challenging me to trust Him at levels I have never trusted before. This level of trust has placed me in a vulnerable position. However, the blessing of this relationship is that I see the activity of God as never before, and those close to me see it as well. It builds their faith and draws others to investigate.
Sometimes the activity of God comes in unusual ways. God often sets up scenes that appear to be negative on the front end, but God has orchestrated these events for His glory.
-Without Pharaoh's pursuit of Israel at the Red Sea, there is no miraculous deliverance.
-Without Lazarus's death, there is no rising to life.
-Without Goliath, there is no underdog story.
-Without Peter stepping out of the boat, there is no miracle on the water.
-Without Judas' betrayal, there is no resurrection.
God wants to show Himself in ways you and I cannot imagine. Let God demonstrate His power in your workplace today. Then, you will see "all men drawn unto Me."
Over the past 2 years I have grown and have seen so many of my brothers grow in their walk with God, the impact is has had on us as men, fathers and leaders is remarkable.
Boot Camp is a way to take a giant leap ahead and I highly recommend that you make a point to be there. Going to the Colorado Boot Camp changed my life and John’s idea was to replicate it here for those that could not make the trip.
This is something not to be missed and more importantly if there is someone that you love and care about that is struggling and looking for direction this will change their life.
Be there, if Money is the issue, call Billy we have some scholarships that we can provide.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, February 16 2010
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." - 2 Corinthians 10:4
One of the great discoveries I made in later years in my walk with God has to do with living in victory over generational strongholds. The Bible speaks of punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations. (See Exodus 20:5.) The only way out of living under the curses of generational strongholds is to acknowledge them before the Father and repent of their reign in our lives. This breaks the curse's future effects.
A stronghold is a fortress of thoughts that controls and influences our attitudes. They color how we view certain situations, circumstances, or people. When these thoughts and activities become habitual, we allow a spiritual fortress to be built around us. We become so used to responding to the "voice" of that spirit, that its abode in us is secure. All of this happens on a subconscious level.
As a businessman, I discovered that I had been influenced by a generational stronghold of insecurity and fear that was manifested in control. This subconscious fear motivated me to become a workaholic, to seek recognition through activities, to control others' behavior to avoid failure, and to have a relationship with God that was activity-based instead of relationally-based. One day God brought about a number of catastrophic events that forced me to look at what was behind these events. I found that the influence of these strongholds was at the core of these symptoms. The Bible speaks of this war on our souls.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete (2 Corinthians 10:3,5-6).
The steps to freedom for me came when someone shared that these were sins that I was harboring, and in order to walk free of their influence, I needed to repent of them. It was through the power of the cross that I no longer needed to be subjugated by their presence. Once I took this step, I began to walk free of their influences. Besides salvation, this became the most important discovery in my entire Christian walk. My relationship to Christ changed immediately. I began to hear God's voice. I began to trust Christ in areas I never thought possible. I could truly experience the love of Christ for the first time.
This knowledge helped me in business as well. One day I was in the middle of a contract negotiation with another Christian businessman. A lawyer had jumped in the middle of the negotiation. My friend began to surface many old feelings that were a source of pain from his past. When I perceived that a stronghold of insecurity and fear was at the core of his response, I interrupted his argumentative discussion with me and said with a very forceful tone, "I am no longer going to listen to the spirit of insecurity that is speaking through you right now! If you don't refrain from this, I am going to leave!" My friend was taken back. He looked at me quite startled. After a few moments, he agreed with my diagnosis. We talked through what he was feeling and completed our negotiation without further incident.
What are the true motivations of your heart? Have you ever looked deeply at these motivations? You might find that these subconscious motivations may be preventing you from experiencing the fullness of Christ in your life. Ask Him to reveal these and then repent of their influences.
It certainly isn't gained by election or appointment. Having position, title, rank, or degrees doesn't qualify anyone to lead other people. And the ability doesn't come automatically from age or experience, either.
No, it would be accurate to say that no one can be given the right to lead. The right to lead can only be earned. And that takes time.
The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow. You must become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go.
As you prepare yourself to become a better leader, use the following guidelines to help you grow:
Let go of your ego.
The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people. Perhaps that is why Lawrence D. Bell remarked, "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."
Become a good follower first.
Rare is the effective leader who didn't learn to become a good follower first. That is why a leadership institution such as the United State Military Academy teaches its officers to become effective followers first - and why West Point has produced more leaders than the Harvard Business School.
Build positive relationships.
Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. That means it is by nature relational. Today's generation of leaders seem particularly aware of this because title and position mean so little to them. They know intuitively that people go along with people they get along with.
Work with excellence.
No one respects and follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work. They perform on the highest level of which they are capable.
Rely on discipline, not emotion.
Leadership is often easy during the good times. It's when everything seems to be against you - when you're out of energy, and you don't want to lead - that you earn your place as a leader. During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up or giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sand of emotion.
Make adding value your goal.
When you look at the leaders whose names are revered long after they have finished leading, you find that they were men and women who helped people to live better lives and reach their potential. That is the highest calling of leadership - and its highest value.
Give your power away.
One of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have, not by saving it all for yourself. You're meant to be a river, not a reservoir. If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp.
Friday, February 12, 2010
REAL Men Bible Study
I. Genesis 3: 17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
II. Parable of the Four Soils Receiving Seed – Matthew 13
Ø Path – birds came and ate it
Ø Rocky soil – hard times killed it
Ø Thorny soil – choked by too much competition
Ø Good soil – 100x,60x, 30 more than was planted – very productive
Matthew 13: 18 "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
III. Which Soil are You?
Ø Hardened – does life make you better or bitter?
Ø Shallow – living an unexamined life?
Ø Unfocused/ out of control – chasing after too much?
Ø Rich/accepting/giving – produces much fruit/achievement
IV. Perform a Self Examination
2 Corinthians 13: 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
1 John 3: 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tonight we found out that we were not selected to adopt the little boy that we were hoping for. I am lost right now because although we never meet him I feel that we were not given a fair chance, how can they make a determination of who would be a good parent by simply reading a file about us.
I have been praying that God would bring the right child into our family and I thought that this might be the one and part of me, the driven fighter does not want to just give up and say that it was Gods will and he will bring us another, I am not sure what I am to do and I am asking my brothers to pray for me because my heart hurts.
Dylan wants so much to have a brother or sister and we are doing all that we can. It is our job to make the effort but the result is in Gods hands, but what am I supposed to do, just accept this or do I push harder and fight for this child. If it is not Gods will for us to have him become part of our family why am I not at peice with this.
It is not a matter of pride or ego or a desire to win or a competitive spirit that is making me feel this way, I just dont feel this is right. Something in my spirit tells me that there is more to the story and I am not supposed to just take this lying down. Perhaps I am used to getting my own way and I dont know if that is what is upsetting me.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Yesterday we learned about the three levels of life. Today our focus will be on the fleshly man. Sadly, many Christians are stuck on this plane of existence. They try to obey the Lord, but the old "flesh" keeps emerging. Life is a roller coaster of spiritual ups and downs. Sometimes this condition is due to ignorance. There are many people who fail to realize that 1) this lifestyle is not meant to be the norm for believers, and 2) the Lord has given us everything we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3-4). However, the primary reason believers live fleshly lives is because they have not yet made up their minds who will be in control. There is something they are unwilling to surrender to God—it could be a desire, habit, or source of security or pleasure. Another possibility is that they have sensed His call on their lives but are running from Him in fear or rebellion. The consequences of living this way are devastating. Without the Spirit's governing control, the carnal Christian is spiritually immature and ruled by his own desires, rights, and expectations. Because he has not applied previously learned biblical truths (milk), he cannot understand the deeper things of Scripture (meat). The result is stunted spiritual growth. If you find yourself described here, take courage. You do not have to remain in this condition. What are you holding onto? Letting go can be very difficult, but the power of almighty God resides within you through His Spirit. Relax your grip, surrender to Him, and rely on His strength.
Reading all the promises of God, learning how much He loves me and wants the best for me, knowing that He is always in control, these help me with my surrender. Romans 9: 32 NCV(New Charlie Version) My God who sacrificed his own son for me/everyone, how could He not give me/us everything? Give it up brothers. Reminds me of the old bumper sticker, "Let go and let God."
Friday, February 5, 2010
by Max Lucado
"Our Father who is in heaven ..." With these words Jesus escorts us into the Great House of God. Shall we follow him? There is so much to see. Every room reveals his heart, every stop will soothe your soul. And no room is as essential as this one we enter first. Walk behind him as he leads us into God's living room.
Sit in the chair that was made for you and warm your hands by the fire which never fades. Take time to look at the framed photos and find yours. Be sure to pick up the scrapbook and find the story of your life. But please, before any of that, stand at the mantle and study the painting which hangs above it.
Your Father treasures the portrait. He has hung it where all can see.
Stand before it a thousand times and each gaze is as fresh as the first. Let a million look at the canvas and each one will see himself. And each will be right.
Captured in the portrait is a tender scene of a father and a son. Behind them is a great house on a hill. Beneath their feet is a narrow path. Down from the house the father has run. Up the trail the son has trudged. The two have met, here, at the gate.
We can't see the face of the son; it's buried in the chest of his father. No, we can't see his face, but we can see his tattered robe and stringy hair. We can see the mud on the back of his legs, the filth on his shoulders and the empty purse on the ground. At one time the purse was full of money. At one time the boy was full of pride. But that was a dozen taverns ago. Now both the purse and the pride are depleted. The prodigal offers no gift or explanation. All he offers is the smell of pigs and a rehearsed apology: "Father, I have sinned against God and done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Luke 15:21).
He feels unworthy of his birthright. "Demote me. Punish me. Take my name off the mailbox and my initials off the family tree. I am willing to give up my place at your table." The boy is content to be a hired hand. There is only one problem. Though the boy is willing to stop being a son, the father is not willing to stop being a father.
Though we can't see the boy's face in the painting, we can't miss the father's. Look at the tears glistening on the leathered cheeks, the smile shining through the silver beard. One arm holds the boy up so he won't fall, the other holds the boy close so he won't doubt.
"Hurry!" he shouts. "Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate. My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost but now he is found!" (Luke 15:22-24).
How these words must have stunned the young man, "My son was dead ..." He thought he'd lost his place in the home. After all, didn't he abandon his father? Didn't he waste his inheritance? The boy assumed he had forfeited his privilege to sonship. The father, however, doesn't give up that easily. In his mind, his son is still a son. The child may have been out of the house, but he was never out of his father's heart. He may have left the table, but he never left the family. Don't miss the message here. You may be willing to stop being God's child. But God is not willing to stop being your Father.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I hope this message finds you well. We just wanted to send you guys a couple of updated pictures and a BIG THANK YOU! As you know, we could not have unloaded, loaded, unloaded, loaded and unloaded again the supplies to HAITI with out your help! YOU GUYS MADE AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE! THANK YOU for giving your time, efforts, and hearts! I hope you enjoy these pics of the supplies being delivered in HAITI!
Chris McHughSenior Vice PresidentPRIMERICA
REAL Men Bible Study
I. Godly Discipline
1 Timothy 4: 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
II. The Cascading Disasters of a Lack of Discipline
1. Financial irresponsibility - Marital strife - Broken relationships - Stress - Depression - Loss of Faith - More Financial troubles, etc
2. Addictions - Financial troubles - Broken health & broken relationships - Loss of faith - Depression - Greater need for relief through more addictions, etc
3. Poor physical discipline - poor health - poor finances - poor relationships - Depression - Loss of faith - More bad habits to reduce the pain, etc
4. Undisciplined relationships - Divorce - Stress - Poor finances - Loss of faith -
Bad health -Worse relationships, etc
5. Lack of mental discipline intellectual stagnation job, financial & family problems Health problems Spiritual problems, etc
III. Godly Discipline is a Diagnostic for these Areas of un-discipline
Ø What is wrong in my faith that makes me need these addictions?
Ø Why am I not more loving like Christ in my relationships?
Ø Why do I need to use money/possessions to feel worthy?
Ø Why am I not motivated to be about my Father’s business?
Ø Why do I not treat my physical body more like the “housing for God that it is?
IV. Godly Discipline
2 Timothy 1: 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Hebrews 12: 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
V. Build Margin
All of this flows from deep Godly discipline
VI. Result = Blessing Cascade
Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Strong spiritual discipline (Holy Spirit guided/Christ as Lord)
Ø Huge influence on physical, relational, financial, emotional and intellectual and on everything else that matters
Monday, February 1, 2010
By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY McClatchy Newspapers
Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals. This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon. Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website. "It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here. This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. "10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway. "A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class. "Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet. "Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel. "Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer. "11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30.. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts. They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly. "There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past. These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years. "Did you know that?
Today I was faced with some challenges and road blocks in both my personal and business life, I had a confrontation with one of my key employees this morning, and a strange thing came up in our adoption process that has Angie mad. As I sat at my computer I was not upset but concerned about why? Why is all of this happening, I believe that we are to honor God in good times and in bad and that is the way I live my life so why am I being attacked?
I opened my email and found this TGIF and I wanted to share it because it hit home for me because sometimes I push so hard that I Miss the message and I imagine that I am not the only one out there that does the same think.
A Talking Donkey
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, February 01 2010
The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day?" - Numbers 22:30
Most workplace believers I know tend to be task - oriented, motivated visionaries. And they will do just about anything to make their projects successful. This great strength can, if not properly bridled by the Holy Spirit, be a great weakness in their ability to fulfill God's will in their life.
Sometimes we want something to succeed so much that we fail to listen to that little voice inside trying to warn us by directing us on a different path. Such was the case of Balaam. He started out as a man of God, but then took the path of a "prophet-for-hire." God was not pleased with Balaam's decision to respond to a pagan king's request that he curse Israel. As Balaam rode his donkey to keep his appointment with the king, God sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the way and oppose Balaam. Although Balaam did not see the angel, his donkey did. Three times the donkey turned from the path and three times Balaam beat the animal in anger. Finally, the donkey turned around, and to Balaam's shock and amazement, began to speak to him, admonishing his master for beating him. Imagine a donkey talking to you! He warned Balaam of the angel of death who was standing in the road with a sword drawn, ready to kill Balaam if he continued.
There are times when pushing harder, trying to manipulate the circumstance, or pressing those around you is not the response to have to the roadblock. God may be trying to have you reconsider your ways. God may be doing one of four things when you are faced with an obstacle: 1) He's blocking it to protect you. 2) His timing to complete this stage is not the same as yours, and He may need you to go through a process of character refinement. 3) He may want other players to get in place, and the circumstances are not yet ready for them to enter. 4) He may be using the process to develop patience in you. Relying on the Holy Spirit to know which one applies to your situation is the key to moving in God's timing.