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Showing posts from 2016

Why Men Hate Going To Church (notes from David Murrow)

My notes from listening to David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going To Church:

Top 7 excuses men give for not going to church:

"It's boring!""It's irrelevant to my life.""They ask for money too much.""I'm not ready to change.""I don't like preachers.""I don't need a church to feel close to God.""There are too many hypocrites." These are just excuses, not the real reason.  The real reason is that men feel unwanted and unneeded in most churches.
If more men went to church, it would vastly improve our society.  The quickest way to reform society would be to get men into church.  Men commit crimes at four times the rate of women.  The best fathers are men who are highly involved in evangelical churches.
Why do men hate going to church?  What do we need to change to get men in church or change the church into a man friendly place for him to join?
By and large, we see Jesus effeminately.  We are much…

Vindication and The Presence of God

A prayer of David:

Lord, hear a just cause; (Listen to me, Lord.)
pay attention to my cry; (It's my piercing cry for justice!)
listen to my prayer— (My cause is just and my need is real.)
from lips free of deceit. (I've done what is right and my lips speak truth.)
Let my vindication come from You, (Lord, I always live my life before your face,)
for You see what is right. (so examine and exonerate me.  Vindicate me and show the world I'm innocent.)

-Psalm 17:1-2 (HCSB, (TPT))

I believe in vindication from God.  God is going to avenge or do revenge on the enemy.
It seems to me that the key strategy of the enemy is to weave lies into the world to stop the progress of the kingdom and the saints.  There is a whole spectrum of lies that are told about God, about faith and about each one of us, to stop us and hold us back.
I can not tell you what you or those you love need vindication from.  But I can tell you that I believe God is about vindicating.
I can tell you that vindicatio…

The Great Joy of Seekers

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.
And when they saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy.
-Matthew 2:10 (HCBS, TPT)
Joy is a remarkable emotion that we get to experience.  And in the birth story of Jesus, the people who experienced incredible joy were the wise men, from the east.

They were experts at reading stars. They were interested in magic, dream interpretation and the future.  Magicians is what they were ("Magi") and they seemed to be honest inquirers of the truth.  Some other magicians in the Bible were indeed charlatans (Acts 8:9, 13:6-8).

The Magi did not just feel some joy or gladness, but the way Matthew writes it, is that they were exuberant and ecstatic.  "Overjoyed beyond measure", or "So ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy".  They were "thrilled" (CEV), "could hardly contain themselves" (MSG), "their joy knew no …

Seven Gifts From God To Me

Christmastime is the busiest time of year for me.  But a number of things just happened to me that I want to share here, before the memories fade.

This week is the 'In-between' week of the whole year, like when we see the odometer in our cars, with all the nines lining up, before they turn over to zero.

Here are seven things, seven stories, seven gifts that God gave me over this past week:

1. I got trapped and rescued.

On Christmas eve, eve, eve (three days before Christmas); I got stuck and rescued.  I got stuck in an elevator at work.  I was reticent to press the red alarm button.  I was alone and had my phone.  There were no 'bars' for cell phone reception.  But I was able to connect to wi-fi and write an email.

I wrote an email I have never written before, saying, "I am trapped".  I wrote to three ladies I had just seen in the office.  And I wrote to my boss, who is off-site, asking if he could call security.

When one of the ladies in the office saw my …

Suffering and Love

Because of my love for you, Lord,
I have been mocked, cursed, and disgraced.
-Psalm 69:7 (TPT)

The suffering that we endure is sometimes because we love the Lord.  Loving God puts a target on us.

Part of the Christian life is suffering.

David suffered as he sought to do the job that God had given to him.  David had enemies everywhere who opposed what he was trying to do.  This is the way it will be for us too, and it is because we love the Lord.

Our love for the Lord makes us targets.

We have to learn how to live in Christ in the battle.

This is the answer to the question: "why is my life hard?"

The reason we suffer is because we love the Lord.

Every negative thing that happens to us is about our relationship with the Lord.

The question is, "Can I trust him with this problem?"

When I live in the reality that I will suffer because I love the Lord, I am encouraged to know that it is a privilege to have fellowship with the Lord in that suffering.

Question: &quo…

Seven Thoughts From The Birth of Jesus (in Luke 2)

Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. -Luke 2:11
Seven Thoughts From The Birth of Jesus (in Luke 2)
1. Joseph: The Godly man.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Joseph did not have to take Mary with him.  Joseph wanted to spare Mary the experience of being pregnant at home.  Joseph wanted…

Living Today In My Future House With God Forever

I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings.  Selah
-Psalm 61:4
Living forever with God, beginning now.  Being sheltered under Gods care.  This is what I need.  And this is my ambition.
This is what I desire.  This is the one thing.  This is my request.  I want to abide in God.  
I want to dwell where God lives.  I want to go there and live there.  That is where my home is.
God's dwelling place is my refuge.  God's house is my safe-house.  His place is my bomb-shelter.
God's house is sanctuary for me.  That is where I always want to Go.  
God's house is my north-star.  His presence and place is where I am always wanting to go.
Wherever I am on earth, I point myself toward where God is.
My trust is in God.  God's care of me.  God watching over me.
I am protected from everything by God.  I trust in the secret place of God's wings.
God hides me and I am hidden in God.  I am under God's protective care.
In my misfortune, in…

Resting In God For Salvation and Glory

My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God.
-Psalm 62:7
Do you have high hopes for the new year ahead?  I do.  Are you worried about being disappointed, again?  I know that feeling.
I am thinking about the high hopes I have in God.   Our salvation and our glory rests on God.  God is the place where I rest.
We know that salvation is not just an event, but a process and a life in God.  A number of translations have the word 'deliverance' rather than 'salvation', because they both mean the same thing.

Jesus saves.  Jesus delivers us for eternity, in time.  Jesus is saving us through good times and in times of loss.
All of our lives, we are discovering that we depend on God.  We are working out that dependency.   Our only hope is in God.
We are utterly dependent on God, but at the same time, we are all given responsibility to do something with what God gives us.  We are all accountable to God for what we do with what we have.
The God that w…

Forget About Yourself

Then Jesus said to all the people:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me.
-Luke 9:23 (Contemporary English Version)
I was in a situation where someone else made or stated that they had already made a decision for me. Then, I had a passing thought that said, "hey, wasn't that my decision to make?".  But, in that moment, I submitted myself to the other person, and the way I would describe how it felt was, 'strangely peaceful'.

I realized that Jesus had been with me, beside me, between us and in me; at that very moment.

In this state of 'strange peace', I reflected on what was going on in me, and I said, these words, in my mind: "I'm dead".

This is what it feels like to be dead to self.  I sort of captured the moment and wanted to learn from it.
And it felt good, but in an unusual way.  I was not in control and I was not getting my way, calling the shots, or…

Just Do Something!

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
-Colossians 3:23-4
I have a word that applies to many of us who want to do the right thing and want to do what is best.  I have a word for my people who are waiting on God for many things.  We are waiting for empowering, for guidance; we are waiting to be ready, to be complete, to be equipped to go.

Some of us are perfectionists, some of us are afraid, some of us believe we are not whole enough to go out and some of us are just passive.  We think of aggressive as  being the 'bad' so we go to the opposite extreme and live passively.  In truth, aggressive is good; and everything good in our lives came from people being aggressive.

God likes aggressive, ambitious and productive people.  God wants believers to be aggressive.  God wants believers to get to work and stop being passive.

There is …

Forgive Always

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.]

“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing. -Matthew 6:9-15

For me, there is no unforgivable sin or thing that another person can do, that I can take offense over.  When I do not forgive, I am stepping out of the kingdom, where I am forgiven and God offers forgiveness to others.  When I am sinned against or get offended by another's action, the challenge for me is this: Am I going to step in or step out?

This thing that happened presents a choice, like a fork in the road.  Will I ch…

Rooted In Love

I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.
-Ephesians 3:16-19, Colossians 2:7

There is a saying that the fruit reveals the root.  If we are rooted in Christ, we will have the fruit of Christ's life in our lives.  We want our lives to be rooted in love, rooted in Christ; so that we experience and display good fruit.

If there are other roots functioning in our lives, if we are rooted …