Tag Archive | love

Why?

BibleAs many of you know, our Big Event is coming up later this month (September 24-28). For those of you who may not know much about our ministry, this is a time for our partners and friends of our ministry to come together for a time of spiritual renewal and celebration. We worship, we hear great teaching, we have meals together, an auction (to raise money for more ministry), and much more.

Maybe you read my blog, and you don’t even understand why preachers do what we do. After all, the Bible even refers to preaching and the message of the cross as foolishness…

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ~ 1 Corinthains 1:18-25

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” What we in our finite minds think of as wise has little eternal value in the eyes of God. All of the stuff that we cling to as human beings (ie: money, power, fame, etc) has no eternal significance. Remember the very old and equally true saying, “You can’t take it with you”?

The reasons we do what we do are simple: To share the love of Jesus with the world that needs Him. To heal the broken and hurting. To give direction to a society that is adrift with no oars, no sails, and no hope.

We believe in a God of eternal salvation, spiritual and physical healing, and love beyond measure. As believers in Jesus, it is our job to take the light and love we have been given, and spread it wherever we go.

That is why we do what we do.

I hope you will join me on September 24-28 for The Big Event. Click this link for more info. Below are a couple of videos I hope you will take a moment to watch.

Why? – Jalyn’s Story

Why? – Jeff’s Story

Why? – Mission: Dominican Republic

When The Laughter Goes Silent

This week, our nation lost two greats in the entertainment industry. On Tuesday, iconic actress Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89 after reportedly suffering a major stroke. The wife of legendary actor Humphrey Bogart, Ms. Bacall appeared in dozens of movies and television shows. Having outlived her husband by over 50 years, she lived a long life beyond the grief of loss, and went on to be an award-winning actress, known for her cynical humor and her straightforward personality. She once said…

I figure if I have my health, can pay the rent, and I have my friends, I call it ‘content.’

Robin WilliamsBut while the news of Ms. Bacall’s death was being announced, the world was still reeling from the shock of the news, just the day before, of the death of actor Robin Williams. At the age of 63, leaving a loving family, devoted friends, and a successful career including several movies currently in production, Mr. Williams committed suicide in his home just outside of San Francisco. As the news was confirmed of the manner of his death, a collective “why???” went up from the general public. Known not just for his talent as both a funnyman and a dramatic actor, Mr. Williams was, by all accounts, a kind and generous person as well. Testimony after testimony — of family, friends, and complete strangers — over the past few days bears this out. Friends and co-workers went on talk shows and discussed what a kind person he was. Strangers on social media posted pictures from meeting him on the street, and talked about how gracious he was. An entertainment icon, an Academy Award-Winning actor, a genuine humanitarian (as evidenced by his multiple trips in support of our troops overseas, as well as work for charities like St. Judes Children’s Hospital)… what makes a person with that kind of success choose to end their own life?

A 2011 CDC report states that suicide is the #2 cause of death in Americans aged 15-34, and the #3 cause in adults ages 35-44. While no case is exactly the same, the reasons for suicide are often related to personal loss, depression, financial stress, and family issues. In the case of Mr. Williams, struggles with substance abuse, career issues, and severe depression were cited as possible contributing factors in his death.

So how do we go forward, as a society, and stem the tide of the plague of suicide in our nation? What can we as individuals and Christians do to stop this tragedy from touching those close to us, in our circles of influence?

First of all, we need to open our eyes. As believers in Christ, we make it a point to say that “we are in the world, but not of it”. For many, however, being “not of it” tends to make us mentally disconnect from what is going on around us. Although He came as the King of Heaven, Jesus was keenly aware of the pain and suffering going on around Him. Jesus reached out to the needs in the world as He encountered them: He fed the hungry, He healed the sick, He raised the dead. He ministered to the big crowds, but He also dealt with people one-on-one, sometime in the secretive dead-of-night (see John 3 – story of Nicodemus). Just as Jesus did, we must take notice of those around us, and be proactive when confronted with need. It is the example of Jesus that offers hope to those in need of it.

We must listen without judging. One person’s minor irritation is another person’s major crisis. Without the knowledge of where another person has been, we cannot assume to know exactly what they are feeling. So many times, we want to give advice without knowing all of the facts. Take the time to listen — REALLY LISTEN — to what someone is saying, and make it a point to listen, not just to what they are saying, but to how they are saying it. Learn to read between the lines. Love, manifested in genuine concern, has a way of bringing pain to the surface.

A friend of mine had a brother who committed suicide when he was younger. He shared with me that, while he knew his brother was having some problems, he didn’t know to what extent. As it turned out, there was more going on in his brother’s life than he knew, because he would share one thing with one person, and another with someone else. It wasn’t until after he passed away that friends and family members put all the pieces together, and began to comprehend the extent of his sorrow and pain. Take the time to sit down, share a cup of coffee (or 10), and just listen. Sometimes, that very act lets a person in pain know that they are not alone. Sometimes, a soft touch and kind word can give that person the resolve to live another day. Former talk-show host Phil Donahue once made a very true observation…

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Finally, we must see people for who they are. We are all unique creations of the Creator. We all have extreme value in the eyes of God. We are all challenged in different areas, and the problem of depression is no less real than diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Sometimes depression can be the result of wrong choices we make in everyday life. Sometimes, it can be the result of a chemical imbalance. As a minister who has dealt for years in Spiritual Warfare, I know that some types of depression are demonic at their root, whether handed down through generations (generational curses), or demonic doors of depression that are opened through one’s own actions. Regardless of the reason and just like any disease, depression (and mental illness) must be properly diagnosed in order to be dealt with. Individuals suffering from depression must know they have people who love them standing beside them, caring and not critical. They must be encouraged to get the help they need, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual (or oftentimes, a combination).

I encourage all of you reading this today: Be the light of the love of Jesus in another person’s life. Love the misunderstood. Reach out to the “unlovable”. Learn to recognize pain in the eyes of those around you. If someone needs to talk, be that ear. If they need to cry, be that shoulder. If they need more help than you can give, be that companion that accompanies them to the pastor or counselor who can help. Make it a point to make every person you come into contact with know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that they are not alone in this world.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” ~ Robin Williams

Come Home

Easter is just around the corner. It’s a time of resurrection, new life, and new beginnings. More than probably any other season, Easter best represents the hope we have because without the resurrection, the birth and death of Jesus would have little power. There are plenty of religions in the world whose object of affection is lying in a grave. As Christians, we serve the former Occupant of an empty tomb; we serve a Savior who conquered death, Hell, and the grave, rose from the dead, and is seated in a place of honor above all powers, kings, dominions, and principalities.

AH StatueI would like to take this blog today to invite you to come home to Abba’s House this Easter. No matter where you have been, what you have done, or what you have gone through, there is a God who loves you, and wants to spend eternity with you. He is the Father who is standing on the porch, waiting for you to come home so He can wrap you in His arms, and give you a place of honor at the table.

Please join us Easter Sunday, April 20 at 10:30a.m. There’s always room for more, and Abba’s House is a place of love, acceptance, and joy. I would love to see you, meet you, and let you know how much you mean to our Heavenly Father, and how important you are to Him.

So come join us this Easter.

Come into His Presence.

Come home to Abba’s House.

When The Mighty Oaks Fall…

For about 14 years, I had a radio program called CenterPoint. The person who produced my program was a recording-producer who was a member of my church.

Sunlight thru trees-editedA few years back, we had a series of storms and tornadoes come through our area, and there was a LOT of damage throughout the region. On our first visit back to the studio after the storms, while there was no damage to his home or studio, there was significant damage to my producer’s property (it was actually determined by the NWS that a tornado had, in fact, passed across the back of his property). He told me that the thing that really made an impression was that, although he had many smaller pine trees (which in our area have very shallow roots, and fall fairly regularly), it was actually several mighty oak trees that fell. In one place, three that were close to each other fell together, decimating everything around them… including some trees that were larger. He told me that, while he was never surprised when the pines fell, he never really concerned himself with the oaks. They seemed nearly invincible.

Snow 1JSometimes, what happens in the natural is a picture of what is going on in the spirit. How many times have we put our trust in something or someone we deem greater than ourselves, only to watch them fall, and leave those around devastated? How many times have we looked at the “mighty oaks” in our lives for security, only to watch them collapse, and leave us questioning everything else? How often have we seen the “small trees” in our life lead to the demise of that in which we placed an inordinate amount of faith and trust, leaving us shaken and confused?

So, what is their problem? How could they let us down like that? How could they put us in this “crisis of faith”?

Maybe the problem is not with them at all.

Maybe the problem is with us. Maybe it is our unreasonable expectations and misplaced faith that led us to this place of crisis.

Putting our faith and trust in anything or anyone but God will, inevitably, lead to disappointment. After all, He is the only One with the ability to make good on such a promise…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways acknowledge Him,
    and He shall direct your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Sometimes, when all is stripped away, we find that the love of God is the only thing we have left.

However, it is at those lowest of times that we find that the love of God is all that we really need.

Taking One for The Team

Through the Looking Glass

Well, it’s that time of year again.

With the football season once again wrapping up, and conference champions being decided, we are just a couple of weeks away from the big game – Super Bowl XLVIII.

Since the championship trophy is named after the great Vince Lombardi, I am reminded of a great quote by this legendary coach…

Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.

In this age of “superstars”, we see so many in search of the spotlight — in search of that thing that focuses attention on themselves. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, when asked about this year’s AFC Championship meeting between he and Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady said this…

Tom Brady has just been an outstanding quarterback … but the game next week is the Broncos and the Patriots. It will be a battle between two good teams — teams that have been through a lot, have overcome a lot to get to this point and that’s where my focus will be: trying to help the Broncos get a win against the Patriots.

Wow! Here is a guy who has had an amazing year, and is arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game. If anyone deserves the “right” to toot his own horn, it would be Mr. Manning. Among other records he currently holds, he holds the records for the most passing yards, as well as most touchdowns thrown, in a single season. Yet, in spite of his accomplishments, Mr. Manning has not lost sight of the fact that football is a team sport…

You win as a team. You lose as a team.

And at the end of the day, for the true champion, it all comes down to two things: You love the game, and you love the guys on your team.

So how much more the Body of Christ?

In HIS body, there can be room for only One head, only One superstar. The Bible does not state that “they will know we are Christians by the size of our church, the popularity of our pastor, or the hipness of our worship team. Jesus “gave away the playbook” when He said…

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another. ~ John 13:35

Following His playbook means a team “game plan” of love… no special formulas, no secret codes, no strategies named after cities in Nebraska… just love.

A love that puts the needs of others before our own needs.

A love that obeys the Master’s call for unconditional sacrifice.

A love that lays everything down for the sake of the Body.

To paraphrase what Paul stated in I Corintians 13… “Without love, we are nothing.”

The team built on the foundation of Christ’s love wins… every time.

Change Your View

Through the Looking Glass     C.S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else”.

     Some people have the very mistaken idea that Christianity is just a religion – a set of rules and regulations by which we live our lives. Maybe that is because, all too often, we as Christians live in a way that is inconsistent with what we claim to believe.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor”… Do we?

Jesus cared for the poor… Do we take the time?

Jesus reached out to the unlovely and unlovable… Do we make the effort?

     Christianity, in it’s truest sense, is not about religion. It is a relationship with the God of the universe. It is a relationship by which our entire view of the world changes, as we view those around us through the eyes of Christ.

     So, here’s a challenge for your week: Take the time to see those around you the way Jesus sees them. It may just change your view of the world, not just for the week, but for the rest of your life.