Father, keep us from never getting so comfortable with ourselves that we stop pursuing the truth of who we really are.Â search our hearts daily like you searched david.Â Â confront us with the truth of who you are and who we are.Â help usÂ stay progressively on point with where we are and where you want us to be.Â keep us striving to be more like you forÂ there is so much in us that wants to live for ourselves.Â don’t allow us to be lulled asleep and mute by conveniences, blessings, raises, healthy families, fine neighborhoods, and persistent provisions.Â there is so much more we can be doing for you and so much more you want to do in us.Â keep us from never settling…Â in Jesus name, amen.
greater goals than $
it’s amazing how often the saavy and informed make decisive decisions about their goals for their money… when we get the itch concerning financial stewardship we catch a vision of where we would like to be financially thus exerting all types of energy to be able to achieve what we desire.Â good things such as getting out of debt, paying off student loans, paying off credit cards, saving up for a new car or paying someone back often are motivators that lead us to reluctantly make major sacrifices to make it happen.
i propose to you that they are far more superb goals that we can strive for.Â case n point, our spiritual growth goals…Â i know we live in the real world with real deadlines, threats, pressure and desired freedom… trust me, i want to be a great steward experiencing the freedom of no debt as well but what about becoming more like jesus?Â have we lost a vision for whatÂ our purpose is?Â i’m challenged right now to stop typing and make a list, setting sub-goals and timelines – for real.Â i have been praying over what i’d like to see over the next 5 yrs. in my life spiritually.Â i’ll peel back the covers of my life for you.Â i’d like to raise up over 200 surrendered leaders at wellspring within the next 5 years.Â you say, “that has nothing to do with you?”Â that has everything to do with my spiritual life.Â 1 john 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as jesus did.”Â i will not be able to influence or “raise up” 200 leaders if i’m not striving to live like jesus did.
therefore, after you read this, take a moment and start mapping out your spiritual growth goals.Â where will you be spiritually in the next 5 yrs?Â as paul would say, “redeem the time, for the days are evil.”Â prepare for your spiritual future by setting a target – jesus christ and a few sub-targets to get you closer to him.Â plan today to be one step closer to him tomorrow.
a fatal disconnect
did you know that church is not about a building but a body?Â church is not about a place to go but a people to get to know.Â the degree in which you engage with the body will determine your ability to live out who the body represents, jesus christ.Â planting a church from scratch has reminded me that our identity is not based on what building we identify as ours but how we gather and engage as people.
Â i’m finding that there are so many people around usÂ not plugged into a community of believers.Â could it be that we have made church more about a place to go and not a people to be with?Â keep your ears and eyes open because there are so many people wandering around isolated and longing for a community to engage with, not a place to go.Â as you engage with people, start by invitingÂ them into a community and not a “church” building.Â Â invite them to lunch, dinner, your house, out for coffee or to breakfast.Â think about it.Â would a person who has beenÂ by themselves feel comfortable in a roomÂ full of people they don’t know?Â some are ready to take the plunge into “big community” but from my experience the majority are not.Â at least before we invite them to a large gathering let’s invite them to meet with a few.Â to go from being disconnected toÂ beingÂ introduced to a crowdÂ typically is intimidating.Â
let’s intentionally engage by inviting people out ofÂ “alone-ness”Â into aÂ intimate and reliable community of love.Â Â Â your invitation could “save” their lives.Â remember, it doesn’t take a building to do that!Â
detox from envy
toxins can contaminate the bloodstream thus affecting every organ of our bodies.Â it can eventually lead to the deterioration of our liver which is an extremely vital organ for maintaining a healthy bloodstream.Â if you want to cleanse the blood, detox the liver.Â toxins are foul, disgusting, putrid, worthless, and deadly.Â i’ve recently run head on with a toxin that is flowing like cancer cells in the hearts of christ followers.Â envy is just as deadly to the heart as a toxin is to the bloodstream.Â it’s often latent due to a masterful discipline of disguise.Â we know how to give a fake smile, a half-hearted display of excitement, a deflected comment, a personal comparison, a silent demeanor, a slanderous comment, a nitpicking criticism, and self promotion.Â envy is wicked and i can’t stand it in others and i hate it when i see it in myself.Â
envy says, “i can’t rejoice with you because i wish iÂ had what you enjoy”;Â “i’m jealous but i’m not going to let you know” or “what makes you so great to get or enjoy that?”; “God made a mistake, he really meant for me to enjoy what you are enjoying.”Â we say this and more in our hearts but work hard to not let anyone see it.Â but here is the “bust”, we all see it.Â we see the lack of rejoicing, the blank stares, the self-promotion, the diverted comments, the critical spirit, and the subtle competition.Â this wicked disease will destroy the testimony of christ if we don’t acknowledge the invader and cleanse our hearts with the truth ofÂ His word.Â
envy is pride and clearly deceives us.Â we are deceived in thinking we areÂ full of wisdomÂ but james 3:14 says, “but if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts do not boast about it or deny the truth.”Â we deny the truth of God, ourselves and others.Â our “wisdom” is toxic.Â james goes on to say, “such wisdom doesn’t come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.Â everything that comes out ofÂ our mouths is toxic when we harbor envy in our hearts.Â did you know that envy can destroy bodily tissues and even bones?
when is the last time you rejoiced with someone?Â stop being selfish, prideful and self-deceived.Â honestly allow the truth of scripture to cleanse your heart so that God can bless your life, family and ministry.Â toxins have no use to the body and envy has no use to the body of Christ.Â detox today and live a pure life for the glory of God.
can they see Him
a conscious decision to govern what comes out of our mouths takes tons of discipline… can’t say that i’ve perfected it but i’m sure working on it with a passion.Â i can hear my mom say just as clearÂ as today, “watch yo mouth boy.”Â i know our savior says it differently but i’m sure more frequent than he wants to for christ followers.Â i sense that christ followers as a whole have used the liberty of speech as a license to sin in jesus name.Â it’s ridiculous how often i hear “christians” taking verbal jabs at each other…Â tearing each other down instead of building each other up.Â if we love him, shouldn’t we be like him.Â i never read in scripture any evidence ofÂ jesus carelessly using words to defend himself, protect his image, tear down, or consistently make fun of others.Â God help us!Â just this morning i was personally rebuked by i john 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
God is calling us to transcend the cultural language which is absent of the holy spirit.Â Â i’m not advocating that everyone walk around likeÂ zombies with noÂ personality, scarred to say a wordÂ in order to appear under the spirit’s control or never kid aroundÂ with others.Â no dry fellowship, please.Â on the other hand, no venomous fellowship at the expense of others either.Â
we have incredible, unique, vibrant personalities that are designed to be married to hearts that are under the control of the holyÂ spirit.Â what i’m advocating is that we develop the discipline of bathing our hearts with His heart (Word), and renewing our minds andÂ thinking consistently to impact how we speak.Â we’ve lost the art of “thinking before we speak.”Â no matter what the environment orÂ situation, we are to be “walking as Jesus did.”Â Â
let’s showÂ our families, schools, neighborhoods, churches and world how jesus wouldÂ talk if he was jphysically walking the earth in 2006.Â Â let’s notÂ allow careless habits in our lives to hinder the savior from being Â seen.
4 arguments for existence
the Bible doesn’t attempt to prove God but recognizes his real existence.Â what do we see theologically that could give us clues into his existence.Â First, cosmologically we see that nature reveals God’s power and Godhead (Rom.1:18-19).Â God is the first cause.Â Secondly, teleologically we see a design in his creation.Â there is an apparent and clear design in the world (Rom.1:20).Â Thirdly, anthropologically we see that human nature reveals a personalÂ God.Â man’s intellect must come from a firstÂ cause with higher intelligence.Â Lastly, ontologicallyÂ man has an idea of a perfect being.Â since a more perfect or greater being cannot be conceived there must be a perfect beingÂ that corresponds to the idea.Â God is too intelligent to not leave traces of his existence.
swim kids swim
father show us how to raise kids that impact culture without drowning in culture.Â give us parents, churchÂ leaders and volunteersÂ courage to stand for what is christ-centric, withstanding the floods of idolatry inside and outside our homesÂ in order to maintain the conviction to train our children to pursue worship of God over things.Â we repent of our raggedy example of valuing the material over the immaterial.Â
help us model a passionate heart and lifestyle that seeks after knowing you through spending time with you in prayer and reading your word.Â have mercy on our kids.Â help them pant after godliness and develop a real relationship with you untangled from empty vices.Â help them swim upstreamÂ enjoying life which is only found in living for you.Â
help us not get lazy and tiredÂ of coaching, mentoring, modeling, training, disciplining, teaching, encouraging, rebuking and pushing… we need you lord.Â breath into us all so that we can help them stay afloat.Â keep them swimming lord.Â in the only one that can keep them… in jesus nameÂ – amen.
add aÂ meaty, theological text to your reading list.Â don’t allow theologians to have a monopoly on the study ofÂ God.Â don’t be intimidated.Â Â give yourself the opportunity to grow studying theology…Â you will!
Â more to come.Â Â
it’s amazing how a man can author a best-selling book attracting attention to a whimsical rabbit trail that leads no where close to the truth.Â while the world scurries for clues, God help us prepare our hearts and minds for opportunities to answer the real questions that the authors and filmwriters fail to answer.Â at the core of our faith is a real resurrection backed by a sufficient, all-inspiring and relevant text that not only answers the questions but also rescues the immaterial soulÂ simultaneously changing anyones life.Â
after the dust settles from this blink in human history, may we be even sharper to provide the truth to an every changing culture.Â Â peter says it best, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.Â Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.Â But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”Â I Peter 3:15, 16
betrayal is a beast to the emotions.Â the ache is un-imaginable and merely impossible to explain.Â we try to explain the pain with statements such as “stabbed in the back” or “sucker punched” but there is no way to express it – it just hurts.Â
jesus is well acquainted with betrayal as well as close, intimate, and relationalÂ betrayal.Â judas was trusted and even honored minutes before he chose to betray Christ.Â what happened to him?..Â Â judas was close in proximity but distant in salvation.Â he was around jesus but wasn’t a believer.Â Â you would think that journeying with truth would be enough.Â
betrayal is a part of the human dilemna; however, the closer the betrayal the deeper the gash.Â know this – when no one else can understand how deep you are cut byÂ betrayal know that jesus understands and is willing to journey with you through it.Â he has been “troubled in his spirit” as well and will teach you how to represent despite the ache.