Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is God Good?

I just got off the phone with a man who, next to Jesus, has probably influenced my life and ministry more than any other.  Well, okay, sure the Apostle Paul and other writers of the bible influenced me greatly too, but this man has been like an “Apostle Paul” in my life. (I just hope that I have been like a “Timothy” to him).

Anyway, we were discussing the goodness of God, and how it seems, that the church has not grasped how good God really is. 

Years ago my friend asked me a question, “Is God really better than we have believed?”  I believe He is. 

My question is, “Is God better than we have expressed Him to others?”

When I see Christians portrayed on television, movies or in the press, generally, it is not necessarily in a good light.  A large bit of the images in media and entertainment about believers has been in the light of us being judgmental; full of hypocrisy and hatred and bigotry; or it has often the exposure of the failures of our leaders. 

Although I’m sure we can find a few negative portrayals here and there over the years, most of the expressions and portrayals of the Lord Jesus Christ are positive.

Why is that?

Is it because Jesus is seen as loving and non-judgmental, and for the most part the church is not?

I think that is a part of the dilemma I see in reaching out to non-believers.  Most of them I come in contact with (at least here in the States) have heard some expression of Christianity that was not loving and “attractive.”  “Attractive,” that is, in the sense of a magnet attracting metallic objects. 
Often, we repel people by what we say or do.  Instead of participating with the Holy Spirit as He draws people like moths to a flame, sadly, we have sometimes been like blowtorches burning everything and everyone with our attitudes and indifferences.

Unbelievers tend to come away with a sense that we have it all together (and they don’t, and won’t be able to ever measure up).  Of course, we’re not always too keen on sharing our own struggles with our brothers and sisters in Christ; much less with our non-believing friends. 

By the way, I sincerely hope you still have non-believing friends.  I remember hearing a statistic years ago that the average convert to Christ has no unbelieving friends within eight months of conversion.  We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us and agree with us.  In Christian circles, we then have our own language, “Christianese,” that is unintelligible to outsiders.

Jesus was not well known as a judge.  He was accused of being a winebibber and a glutton by the religious leaders of His day.  He was called those things, not because He actually was, but because He identified with the people that were.  He hung out with winebibbers, gluttons, prostitutes, and tax collectors. You know, the kinds of people that no upstanding self-righteous person would ever dream of being in the same neighborhood, much less, eating a meal with. In the words of a 7th grade girl, “Eeewww!”

But the people followed Him, they invited Him into their homes – and He went.  He was not ashamed or afraid of what people might think of Him “hanging out” with the non-rich, and not so powerful. He loved them, and was a friend of sinners.

Jesus Christ came as the manifestation and demonstration of God's love to the world.

A verse I have been meditating on for the last six months is found in 2 Corinthians 5:19; 

“..God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (KJV)

 In other words, the whole time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, he did not hold anyone’s sins against them.

If God did not hold anyone’s sins against them, why do we?

Doesn’t that verse say that He has given us the same word of reconciliation?

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore youon Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NKJV)

We are ambassadors of love and reconciliation, not ambassadors of judgment and condemnation.

If God did not hold my sins against me (and He didn’t, and hasn’t), then I am challenged to not hold other people’s sins again them. I am to love the unlovely and to reach out to those I may not like or agree with. I may differ with someone’s lifestyle or choices, but I am compelled to love them in Jesus.

I believe that God is much, much better than we have expressed Him to others. He is much, much better than we have believed, and I believe He is daring us to love in His name.

Peace. In Jesus.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Gideon - An Example of Doing it Afraid

I’m in the process of finishing an e-book titled, “You are Called,” about the supernatural ministry of love, power, grace and truth that Jesus started while He walked on the earth, and that same ministry He continues through His people today. 

The book is a revision, and the original was completed while we lived in Guatemala. Working on it has reminded me how much God wants to use all of us in His kingdom… It reminds me that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Gideon was about as ordinary at the beginning of his story as anyone.  Just another young man trying to get enough barley wheat to make some bread.  When he comes on the scene, he is hiding and threashing wheat inside a winepress. He is hiding because he is afraid of a group of oppressors called the Midianites, but soon God would change that around... 
When I left off on the blog, Red Ball Jets and Gideon (The Man Who WentAgainst the Crowd)Gideon had just been given an assignment by the Lord to destroy an idol in his father’s town.  He was to then build an altar, and sacrifice his father’s second bull to the Lord as a burnt offering.
So he obeys the mission. 
He does it, but he does it afraid.
He tears it down at night, and sacrifices to the Lord and he takes ten other men along to help him.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


·         August Jackson

·         Bob and Bonnie Jones

·         Breaking Christian News

·         Creflo Dollar

·         Darren Wilson

·         Elijah List - Steve Schultz
·        Escape to Reality - Paul Ellis to Reality - Paul Ellis

·         Frank Viola

·         Global Awakening - Randy Clark

·         Global Legacy

·         God TV - Rory and Wendy Alec

·         Growing in Grace in Grace

·         House Church Resource

·         John Kilpatrick

·         Joseph Prince

·         Keith Wheeler

·         Kenneth Copeland

·         Kenneth E. Hagin

·         Kim Clement

·         Lance Wallnau

·         Morningstar Ministries

·         Patricia King

·         Paul Keith Davis

·         Reza Safa

·         Terry Mize

·         Will Hart


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Red Ball Jets and Gideon (The Man Who Went Against the Crowd)

On our first mission trip, we went to Haiti for 10 days with a pastor friend, another couple, and another good friend. It was an incredible trip, and God used it to touch our hearts for the people of this world, and encouraged us toward world missions.

One Sunday night we went into part of Port au Prince called City Soleil to show the Jesus film.

This was the first time we had seen such squalor and poverty like this up close and personal, and it was unbelievable; raw sewage running through the streets, and children running around with only one article of clothing.

The missionary told us that about 200,000 people lived in one square mile that made up City Soleil. We set up a large sheet for a screen, cranked up the generator, and started the movie, and soon we had hundreds of people watching the film.
The missionary, the pastor and I had just started to walk around the area to get an idea of how many people had shown up.
Suddenly we heard people screaming and saw them running (more like stampeding) toward us with fear on their faces!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What Lizzie Velasques can teach us...

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart      1 Sam 16:7

This morning, I came across this story of this woman, Lizzie Velasquez, whom someone once posted a YouTube video of, as the ugliest person in the world.  How sad and disgusting for someone to do that to another human being.

But she did not let that define her.  She turned the bad things in her life around to positive things.

It reminds me of the story about a farmer’s one and only mule.  This mule worked hard on the farm and the farmer treasured the mule, but one day it fell into a deep well.  The farmer did not have the means to get the mule out, so he figured the best thing he could do was to bury it in the well. 
As he began to shovel dirt into the well, the mule began to shake the dirt off, and as the dirt began to pile around him, he began to step onto the dirt.  He did not let the dirt bury him, but continued to step on it. As it piled up, he began to climb.  What was meant to bury him, he used to climb up and out of the well.

Please watch this brief video of Lizzie Velasquez in front of Tedx in Austin, Texas

Let this be a reminder that no matter what we go through in life, we cannot let it define us.

Each Wednesday and Friday morning, I get together with a couple of friends for coffee, and to talk about the Lord, to pray, and to hear what the Lord is speaking to each other. 

One of the things that we talked about this week was that people may try to put us in a box so they can define us. But God’s view of us is different. 

In fact, no matter how people try to box you in or define you, always remember that God’s opinion of you makes their opinion irrelevant.  God always looks at the heart.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lessons from Proverbs 4

Proverbs 4:23-27 (Amplified Bible)

"Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you. Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright. Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil."

Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.

The heart refers to the mind, will, and emotions (i.e. the “soulish” realm).

We are made up of three parts:

Body- physical being-what we can sense with touch, sight, etc.;

Soul- that part of us that deals with the mind, will and emotions-how we feel; and

Spirit- that part of us that is God-breathed and yearns to know God.)

Protect your mind, will, and emotions.

 What we feed our mind affects every part of our life. Garbage in = garbage out.

 Your attitude affects every part of your life. Attitude affects Altitude.

Matthew 12:34-“…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…”

Luke 6:45-“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things."

Life can be tough and unless we can keep ourselves encouraged, we can allow ourselves to get down and discouraged. (Work hard – Play hard; Work harder – Pray harder)

Remember, even David had to encourage himself in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6b)

We have to stay positive by surrounding ourselves with family, friends and colleagues that can be our “Amen corner.”

Do you have a prayer partner?

 Are you praying for your family, business, and church?

If not, why not.  You don't have because you haven’t asked (Matthew 7:7-8; James 4:2b)

Remove dishonesty from your mouth. Put perverse [crooked] speech far away from your lips.

Always speak the WHOLE truth.

 Speak positive things.

Always maintain your integrity and honesty in your dealings.


Let your eyes look straight ahead and your sight be focused in front of you.

Focus on the goal


Don’t be distracted from it



Carefully walk a straight path, and all your ways will be established.

Watch what you are doing


Discipline and pattern your life.


Do not turn to the right or to the left. Walk away from evil.

Stay focused


Beware of danger




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

All Things Become New

Happy New Year!  Today is a day that the world celebrates new beginnings.  The old year is past and a new year has begun.  Whatever happened in 2013 is in the history books and today 2014 begins. 
Maybe last year was great or not so great for you, but it doesn’t matter because it is over, and you get to start a New Year fresh.
Sort of like the new life we have in Christ Jesus. The old things are passed away and all things have become new.  Whatever your old life was like, your new life is fresh as the morning dew.
Paul the apostle was a man that knew what it meant to be new in Christ.  His old life ended on the road to Damascus in Acts chapter nine when he fell to the ground, blinded by a great light from heaven.  The Lord spoke to him, and his life was instantly changed. Three days later his eyes are healed and he is baptized.
This man, who had been the church’s worst enemy, now became the church’s best missionary!  He ended up writing about half of the New Testament, and is the one who taught the message of grace apart from works stronger than any of the other apostles of the Lord.
One of the things that Paul wrote is found in Philippians;
I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.” Philippians 3:12-14 The Living Bible [emphasis mine]
It is a great lesson for us as we start this New Year. 
Forget the past!
Look forward to what lies ahead!
Focus your energy on finishing the race strongly!
Why? Because of what Christ Jesus has done for us!