03
Feb
09

The attack on faith,hope and love

Saul of Tarsus knew well what many of us are coming to understand: “There abide these three…faith, hope and love…and the greatest of these is love”.  I’ve  heard many sermons on this topic.  I’ve attended a lot of Bible studies where this verse was the subject. Vast numbers of articles have been written about 1 Corinthians 13. You’ve probably seen your share of them too.  But recently I’ve done some thinking about how our enemy wants to attack my life and yours.  If the three most abiding things in life are these, then it makes sense to me that the devil wants to attack us in these critical areas. Think about it…..he attacks faith by trying to make you a cynic.istock_000001575810xsmall1

 

 The world nowadays is full of  the skeptical;  some intellectuals,  some downright atheists;  all enemies of faith.  And if you and I are not careful,  even we will fall prey to the enemy of faith….skepticism. You know what I mean…in our finances we grow sceptical of God’s provision.  In our health we undermine the truth of God’s care.  In our future we grow uncertain that God is in control.  Skeptics all are we!  Satan also attacks hope by making us a cynic.

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I’ve heard myself many times and you have heard yourself, too.  If you’ve been close enough to me you’ve probably heard me , too!  It’s only human, we’ve come to tell ourselves. What really we are doing is believing the lie and joining with the enemy to form a negative pact against hope….the  belief that God knows and wants the best for us and will bring it to pass because of His zeal to perform His destiny in us.  None of us thinks about it in terms of becoming the ally of the devil,  but isn’t  that what it is ,  in truth? And the greatest of these three is love.  For certain  the attack against it by Satan is to make us a critic. istock_000006011676xsmall11

 

 The critical spirit will eat us alive and destroy any relationship where its ugliness is allowed to grow. I’ve watched it in marriages and I’ve seen it ruin the relationships of lifelong friends. We just cannot allow it to exist in our conversations (to the face or behind the back! ).

 

 If these three will cause us to live in the fullness of God’s blessing,  join me in the defeat of the enemy of our souls by never becoming a skeptic, a cynic, or a critic.

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27
Jan
09

the ” i’m not Homer” revolution

Ok , so it’s time for a little venting. I’ve been saying the obvious for years now.  The Hollywood, media crowd has been bashing dads for too long.  Everywhere you look you see this unseemly stereotype of Fathers and husbands.  The most popular is Homer Simpson. There’s also Family Guy.  In 1987 it was Al Bundy,  the dim-wit that couldn’t get anything right.289px-al_bundy

 Altogether they have given us a collective inferiority complex.  I think it’s time for a revolution.  I’m not advocating that we boycott the FOX network.  I’m suggesting we turn things around.  Everywhere I look I see Dads who care.  I meet men who nurture at every event I attend.  I’ve yet to meet anyone that can in any way be compared to any of the characters I see getting the ratings and laughter.  I have come to know men who keep their promises.  Now don’t get me wrong;  we all get a laugh out of those guys from time to time,  but I don’t see myself in any of them.  I’m no Homer! 180px-homer_simpson_2006

I’m suggesting that all of us could begin to use that phrase to describe ourselves and each other.  No joke….I mean you’re no joke.  I take you seriously.  So should you!  Your relationships are no laughing matter.  Your kids need a dad who has stared down the demons of his past and is willing to find the strength to help them confront a dangerous world.istock_000004330225xsmall1

 I’m one of the funniest people I know.  Really… I love humor and love to laugh.  My wife tells me there are really two things that caused her to fall in love with me.  I taught her to love….and I make her laugh.. but I’m no Homer.  There’s a lot of sarcasm and funny business when you go to church these days.  I sometimes wonder if I made a wrong turn and entered the Comedy Club instead of the church.  Even though I love humor,  I grow weary at times of the standup comedy some guys have begun to call preaching.  I’m no fuddydud!  But,  our world,  our families and our God deserve some brave,  bold, dangerous leaders that are neither Homer,  Al Bundy or any of their bumbling ilk that came before them. So let’s begin the revolution.  If you want to join the revolution,  just comment here or on Facebook,  Twitter or your favorite means of communication.  Let it ring throughout the Land !  I’m no Homer!  Oh Yeah….don’t be a Homer.  Lead your family with passion,  courage, boldness,  love and commitment.  The Holy Spirit is teaching and leading.istock_000005886956xsmall1

 You can still laugh…a lot.  Join me in the revolution!

21
Jan
09

Two Days On The Nation’s Front Lawn

I’m sure you have all seen the pictures of the hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the National Mall yesterday for the innauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. If not, I’ve included one of the best here.

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 I have already heard from friends who were there and tell of an “electric” atmosphere in the crowd. Who wouldn’t be excited to be a part of history! The fact that it happened on the opposite end of the mall from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous speech a day after the nation honored his birthday cannot be lost. There was plenty of honor to go around. I was surprised by the amount of prayer that was part of the ceremony. Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery didn’t shorten their thoughts at all !   I was even worried that they wouldn’t get the oath done before noon and there would be some sort of Constitutional crisis! Then he messed up the oath and had to re-do it tonight at the White House. I’ve heard that Justice Roberts had the cue card ready this time! It truly was a momentous occasion. But as I sat there looking at the crowd on the Mall my thoughts went back to 1997.   On October4,  men from all over the nation came to the Nation’s front lawn to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.  I was privileged to be the TV and Radio host that day.  When I arrived to prepare for the day at 6:00 am, there were already about 400,000 men there.

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 Many were already singing and praying. The oaths that day were spoken by many men, not just one. I remember the men taking out a picture of their family and making promises to honor Christ and serve their family. I turned to my son, Joel and said,”As long as you live don’t ever forget what you saw here today”. I’m sure similar things were said yesterday. There are so many hopes for change and renewal that were imbodied by that crowd yesterday. I’m sure they are similar to the hopes of change and renewal we had as over 1 million men gathered that day in 1997.

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Yesterday, we honored a man , a president and a transition. Then,  we honored the man, the King of Kings,and a transformation. Only history will reveal which day on the Mall will change the nation more!

15
Jan
09

Radical Shout of Joy

One of the things I often think about is what it sounds like when God sings. The Bible says He rejoices over us with singing. Does it sound like hymns? Or contemporary? Maybe it’s Jewish! Some say Country….surely not. The word that is used only appears about 3 times in the Bible. Once when the children of Israel came through the Red Sea. Another when David brought back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The other is the one aforementioned in Zephaniah 3. In some translations it is given the English word “exult”.  There is something really exciting to me in the meaning of the word. It is best described by what you may have witnessed when Tiger Woods sank that putt at the Masters… or when LeBron James flushes a basketball and comes down with a victorious scream.

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 I’ve watched curiously as men and boys express the moment of exultant praise, but didn’t even know it. The moment of pure exhilaration is the sound God makes over us. Pure joy! From way down deep. It is the sound returned to God in praise. I’ve watched as thousands of men expressed it together in stadiums around the country. As boys and men we all have those moments of breakthrough and victory. Moments of sheer ecstasy. The world offers us lots of moments like that. But they are all counterfeits. The real moment of fist-pumping,chest-bumping, yell comes not when we win but when we return to God the sound He exults over us. That can only happen when we come to the understanding that God loves us so much He sings and shouts over the redeemed. Most men struggle when they think of that kind of love. They have a hard time feeling worthy. I’ve watched them applaud and  shout. But, I’ve seen them struggle with expressing their deepest emotion “to” the Father.

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 I am praying for a time when men will express the same kind of exultant joy toward the author of the victory scream as they do over temporary highs.

11
Jan
09

It Was Me…….

It took me a while to figure out why my heart hurt so bad when I saw the boy’s face. The anger on his daddy’s face was evident.  I couldn’t tell exactly what the boy had done to bring such a strong reaction from his dad.  All I know is that the little boy was brokenhearted,  plain and simple.  He tried his best to swallow the pain and tough it out.  You could see that with the deep breaths and protruding lip that hadn’t changed much since he was a baby and couldn’t control his emotions at all.  My heart really went out to him.

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Little guys don’t want to disappoint their dad and this a case of angered disappointment,  for sure.  Frustration had brought a sudden explosion and there was heartache all around.  I don’t think I actually cried myself,  but I certainly could have without a lot of effort.  It took me a while to realize why I connected so deeply with the boy and his dad.  I didn’t know them personally.  Yet I knew them well.   I was that little boy…and I was that angry dad.  The scene had taken me back to a dirt road in Texas when I was eight.  I know the pain of that little boy.  I also know the anger of the father.  I remember vividly the place and time when this story ‘s characters was  me and my son Joel.  You’ve been  there too, I’d be willing to bet.  Are there regrets?  Absolutely. Has there been forgiveness?  I hope for your sake there has been.

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All of us share these common stories. Few have been exempt. Pain is ours…our dad’s…and our son’s.  I have never met a man that didn’t have painful memories of such days  and wish he could recall words spoken in haste or impatience. Thankfully there is a loving Father who heals. Even now.  If the thought of those painful times with your own dad brings you sadness;  run to the Father who waits to wipe away your tears. Help someone along the way to understand the pain they inflict on their boy. Pray that seed sown will be uprooted and healing can take place in those little boys’ lives and in yours!

10
Jan
09

Goin’ Glocal !

To the best of my recollection, my first men’s event was in 1979. I was asked to speak to a group of guys at the typical Burnt Bacon and Bisquits meeting on a Saturday morning.  Since I grew up in church there were probably others before that gathering,  but this is the one I remember as the first.  I just know that I was ruined at that meeting.  I saw passion.  I saw hurt.  I saw excitement.  I saw encouragement.  It was discipleship and it would capture me from then til now.  Men are the funniest creatures on the planet.  They are also the most passionate.  Since 1979, I have worshipped…studied…traveled with…retreated and advanced with guys of many cultures and ages.

istock_000001871871mediumI have watched them cry out in what could only be described as primal….the cry from the gut God created for exultant praise to Him.  I have been in small groups (of three or four).  I have also bowed with hundreds of thousands on the National Mall .  We are men.  We know we have our problems and foibles, our weaknesses and fears.  We also have our hopes and dreams.  I have shared the Word of God and encouraging words He has given me for men hundreds of times and it never gets old.  I love to see the lights come on….that moment when the Holy Spirit connects with a man who has pressed in to His presence.  I have watched during the 90’s when because of the Men’s Movement the emphasis was on “integrity”.  I’ve watched as guys did their best to become men who kept their promises.

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 I have watched them try to fix their lives and get them fixed.  Now I am observing something new.  It may just be a change that comes along from time to time in any movement.  But I think it’s more than that.  Just as integrity was the watchword of the 90’s there is a new word for this next season.  I believe it’s “credibility”.  Men are beginning to move into the spheres of influence where God has chosen to place them and bring Him glory. I can’t imagine what could be more exciting.  I’m expectant to see what happens.  I’ll be an observer and reporter as we witness God’s unfolding of this new season of the Men’s Movement.  Take the journey with me!  Together we may learn a lot about our brothers…..and ourselves!




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