Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thankful?

The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.
Proverbs 29:13
 
I was thinking about this last night... not that I am a poor man, nor am I an oppressor (at least i hope I'm not.)
 
But consider who stands between these two poles... everyone else.
 
All of us have this in common, the Lord provides for us all.
 
The question is, are you thankful?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tomorrow?

The Book of Proverbs is a book of practical wisdom and is still relevant.
 
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Proverbs 27:1blog
 
What a timely word for the Word.
 
It was almost 1,000 years after these words were penned that the Lord Jesus Christ said:
 
". . . do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34
 
Proverbs cautions us to be ever mindful that the Lord is in control of tomorrow as well as today, therefore we should be thankful for what we have today.  Jesus calls us to bare in mind that the Father knows what we need, even before we do!  Both texts, along with the rest of the Scriptures, call us to trust the Lord with our whole being.
 
Shalom.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It sure has been a while...

It sure has been a while since I last wrote something.

As I reflect on how busy this week has been, I am so very thankful
that it has been full of productive activity.

Study

Prayer

Discipleship

Counseling

Mentoring

Meetings

Fellowship

The time I have spent with the Fab 5.

It sure has been a very busy season.

I say all that to say this:

I am so thankful that I have a heavenly Father that is never too busy
for me.

That is so comforting.

When was the last time you took time out to sit at His feet and spend
time with Him?


(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Queen of the Mountain




This morning we go West(er). My youngest, The Izz, climbed the stairs herself. That's great.
Here is the reason I share this picture:
She climbed the stairs so when she got to me I could pick her up.
This got me thinking, was climbing the stairs fun? ... Scary?Maybe. But her desire to be with dad was more powerful than her fear.

Let us have the same goal... to get as close as we can to Jesus, even if it means facing our fear.


(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Send me???

What an amazing time this morning at the men's meeting.

Good night... There was a lot of food! And it was good too. One of
the other elders spoke about our certainty of faith and how this hope
energized the first century church. He challanged us to see ourselves
as missionaries to our friends and communities and then reminded us
that God is not done with the church. The implication being that there
is still so much work to be done.

What a great morning... and something for all of us to ponder:

Do I see myself as a missionary?


(sent from a spellcheckless device)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Words on the page

I was thinking about reading today.
 
I read... a lot.
 
In fact I think I read more in three months than I did during my High School years combined. 
 
Reading comes with the territory.  There are theology books and sociology books.  Science books and just plain weird books.  There are articles online and offline.  There is a lot out there to read.
 
But you know what?  In everything I have read this year so far only one Book has changed my life.  Sure... there are things that folks have written that make us ponder or even rethink the way we do or do not do something.  But the Bible is the only book that has the ability to cut to the very heart and weed out all the impurities and instills hope.
 
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
 
Let me challenge you to take this claim seriously and if you have never read through the Bible... begin that journey today.  You will be better for it.
 
You have His Word.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We went a pickin'

That's right.
 
Yesterday I took the FAB 5 (+ 1) to a u-pick fruit place. It was great!
 
I am terribly allergic to bees and they were out too, so I spent most of the time talking to one of the guys who ran the farm. I asked a lot of questions and he had a lot of answers.
 
"So... how long does it take to get fruit once you planted an apple seed?" I asked thinking it was a short time.
 
"Oh," my guide started, "about three years they start. But round about the fifth year... they start really producing."
 
Wow!  What a great illustration our Lord leaves us with. Notice a few things here:
• Apples only come from apple trees.
• It takes several years for the tree to mature to the point that it  
is fruit bearing.
• The purpose of planting the seed is to produce fruit.
• once the tree is bearing fruit, the return is exponential.
 
John 15:5 says:
 
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
 
 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mommy and the Izz

video

Comfort in the character of God

It has been hectic... hasn't it?
 
The world is changing - fast. So fast, in fact, that few of us have the ability to keep up. The world of business is sped up by the tech world which seems to have pole vaulted past a sane speed of innovation.
 
All of this means (at least) one thing.  We need to spend every moment with our Lord.
 
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
 
It doesn't mean that we should stand like statues all day... that would make us unproductive. Static is something God is not too pleased with us being. Nor does it mean that we should sit quietly in a dark room "waiting for that still small voice".  No, what God is saying to us through His Word is that He is in control.  He has the power to right the wrongs and heal the hurts.
 
Is there anxiety?  Be still and know that He is God and in control.
 
Is there trouble?  Be still and know that He is God and He cares for  
you.
 
Is there cause for concern?  Be still and know that He is God and He  
will provide.
 
Why can we take refuge in Him?
 
Because He is God.
 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Multnomah This Morning

One of the elders and I headed to Multnomah University for their annual ministry expo this morning. We were there representing Bethany  
Baptist.
 
Here are a few things that challenged me today:
 
- It was a huge encouragement to see so many young (and not so young) folks seeking to serve the Lord in their areas of gifting and training.
 
- We met a lot of young folks who wanted to serve the Lord, but don't know where/how yet. That is great... a somewhat un-nerving and, simultaneously, exhilarating time of asking the Lord for direction. Simply awesome.
 
- I got the chance to see a bigger picture of what Jesus is doing in the greater Portland area.  He is calling a people unto Himself... it is exciting.
 
- Probably the biggest "amen"'s of the morning where:
•The young guy leading a group of students on campus with VOICE OF THE MARTYRS. (A fantastic organization helping the persecuted and underground church worldwide.)
• The church planter two booths down from us. We had some sweet fellowship and he was just a great guy get to know.
 
All in all, we had several folks stop by and have two people interested in BBC. That is great... but here is something that is greater:
 
Jesus Christ not only loves the church, He provides for her. And that fact alone should challenge us to serve Him with greater passion.
 
 
(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)
 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Just thinking

I serve a great God and in His grace, He has chosen to allow me to
serve Him as an under-shepherd of a local church.

I was just thinking about who I was before Jesus saved me and how
things are now.

Praise His name for His matchless grace!

How has God been working in and through you?

(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)

Book Review

I just finished reading Meatball Sunday by Seth Godin.  Let me say this up front... it is no wonder that the guy has his own action figure!  But who is Seth Godin and why on earth would a pastor read a book on marketing? Let me answer those two questions with one simple answer: 
 
I think Seth Godin is one of the best and innovative Sociologists of our day and if you relate with people, commune with people, or are a person who likes people, it would be a good idea for you to at least hear what they  (Sociologists) have to say.
 
The age old question in the goods and serves industry is one of quality verse quantity.  Seth argues that this is now a moot point.  I won't go in to detail, though he does... shameless plug, but he lays out rather succinctly the reasons for the shift.  It is called NEW MARKETING, and if you don't think it affects you, you're wrong.
 
"But I am not in the goods and services industry!"... wrong.  You are more involved than you could possibly imagine. 
 
Those in the business world (and my church planting buddies around the globe) should pay close attention to the following from Seth's "intro":

This is a book about the right question.  Not "How do we use the cool new tools to support our existing structure" but "How do we become an organization that thrives because of New Marketing?" (p xii)

Simply:  you can not put new wine in old wineskins.  Now, when Jesus said that He was talking about the nature of the Gospel as opposed to the Law (we will examine this in our study of Galatians). But make no mistake about it... times have changed... people have not... but the way people think and socialize most certainly has. Hence New Marketing... and it explains why more churches are beefing up their websites and lots of pastors (myself included) use facebook and Twitter to minister to people. [I started using these tools because that's where folks did a lot of interaction... Seth's book helps to explain why.] 

So what is New Marketing?  In a nutshell, New Marketing is a more focused marketing.  In an age where you do not have to put up with being interrupted by commercials thanks to TIVO and web-based commercial free Network TV... advertising must take on a new form... one that embraces customer feedback and believes in the products they sell.  More than that, in an day when everyone has an opinion and every opinion has a way to be heard, it's a good idea to listen to those voices.

Here's the fundamental shift that I hope every marketer [and might I add, every customer] will understand:  For the first time ever, blogs convert readers and viewers into writers.  (p 77)

It's true.  You are reading proof of it right now.  If you don't think that is significant (for both customer and business alike) consider this:

Every business has a group of customers so motivated, so satisfied, and so connected that they want to tell the rest of the world about you and what you do.  Your challenge is to give them a megaphone.  (p 84)
 
I am in NO WAY calling the church a business, but this same principle applied, in part, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.  The Apostle Paul also understood this (2 Timothy 2:2).  There is a segment of every community, family, or clan that is more vocal about this or that issue.  What Seth is proposing is that,while these voices may have gone unheard decades ago because of a lack of attention, today they have tremendous value. 
 
Ok... one more quote... THE QUOTE!

Here's the lesson: "Go big or stay home" is bad advice.  There are no fairy godmothers.  If you want to thrive, you need to do two things:
make something worth talking about
make it easy to talk about " (p 184-185)
 
And there it is.  BE REMARKABLE!  Not just good... not ok... Be remarkable. 
 
I don't know how that last quote applies to your world, but I know how it applies to mine.
 
Jesus Christ is someone worth talking about and the more I know Him... the easier it is to talk about Him.
 
(As you can probably tell... I recommend this book.)
 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are you man enough?

What does Paul mean when he says:
 
Husbands... love your wives as Christ loved the church.... (Ephesians 5:25)
 
Think about some of the implications of this verse:
 
  1. Jesus loved the church before it was founded.  (He died for HER)
  2. Jesus loves the church now and intercedes for her.  (He lives for HER)
  3. Jesus loves the church so much that He will one day come to claim His bride.  (He longs for HER)
  4. Jesus loves the church so much that He will never leave her nor forsake her.  (He loves HER)
Husbands, those are some tall orders from our King.
 
Are you man enough?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ninios a a A'Pork

video

Go a A'Pork (pt 2)

video

Daddy a Sammy go a A'pork

My wife's grandmother is flying into Portland from S. Florida today.
All week my son has been saying "Daddy a Sammy go a A'pork." For those
who do not speak Sammy-ease, it translates to something like this:

Daddy and I are going to the Airport.

(This is a big deal... in light of my son's near obsession with
airplanes.)

Anyway, I find it absolutely amazing that he can stay so focused... so
singleminded in what his objective is. He wants to go to the airport
with his daddy. Clear... concise... simple.

Much the same way, our Lord laid His plan for the church out for all
to see. It is clear, concise, and simple:

Preach the Gospel and make disciples. (Matthew 28 and elsewhere)

We are about to begin a detailedp study of the book of Galatians next
week. In this book we will see (among other things) what happens when
this clear, concise, and simple directive is compromised.

This is not only a shameless plug for our study of Galatians, but a
call to stay focused on the goal.

Shalom.

(Sent from a mobile device... sorry about the spelling.)