Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Plans

We had a fun trip in Branson for a couple of days. Silver Dollar City will never be the same after Abby was finally tall enough to ride all the rides. She loved the roller coaster, teacups, big swing, and boat swing.

I'm excited to have some time with my family this Thanksgiving. We don't have real big plans. My mom is in the hospital fighting an infection and will most likely get out Thursday.

It was good to announce to our leadership about our expansion of our facilities. We have had some good meetings with the architects and are looking forward to building about 16,000 square foot of additional preschool, elementary and adult space. A new foyer, coffee shop, bookstore, a great playroom for our preschool, and game rooms for our elementary age are just some of the things to come in 2010. I'm excited.

Our Awana ministry continues to grow on Wednesday nights. Over 160 kids each Wednesday is a great thing! Our youth ministry is averaging over 100 as well. God is really bringing more and more young families to our church and we are truly grateful. Our Life Group is growing as well with 31 in attendance last time. God is truly good.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Festival a great success!

We had around 4,000 people on property Sunday night for our annual Fall Festival! What a great time of meeting tons of new people.

Kylee and Abby are both ready for our AWANA Grand Prix. Here are the picture of their cars this year. An ice cream cone and a popsicle! Guess who has what.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


This past Wednesday was the biggest night of AWANA ever at Family Church. Nearly 150kids were present. 52 workers were ready to receive kids and have lots of fun helping them become more like Christ. I can't wait till this Wednesday. I've already talked to a few more parents this week who are going to bring their kids. I pray for more kids and workers as we reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him!

Another great thing happening in our church is about 50 baptisms last month. 20 of them are youth! Way to go Revolution! Praise God!

On a personal note, I finished the playset for Abby and Kylee. I built the base a year ago and set it back in the woods. I brought it out with my father-in-law's forklift (that was fun) because Kylee said she was scared of the woods (so much for the rustic look). I added a roof, swings, and railroad ties (thanks Bro. Roy) to outline it and all I need is something to fill it with. I know its a man thing because they could never reach it (I almost couldn't to finish the roof), but I made it 15 feet tall. I was going to add a zip line but Haley had to remind me that they were 5 and 2. I told her it was for me...

Kylee is doing good on her first year of school. I take her to school and this past week was the first to drop her off at the door. I walked her to class the first week. On last Monday, I dropped her off at the door and she walked in. I circled the parking lot to make sure she went in - don't laugh, you'd do it too...maybe. Anyway, as I drove away I heard a song on the radio by Darius Rucker (anyone remember Hootie and the Blowfish?). It was called "It won't be like this for long". I almost cried on the second verse. Ok, maybe I had something in my eye... Check it out.

I'm planning a Daddy/Daughter dance at church. It's not on the calendar yet, but I think it will be a good song for that. That's it for now...

Friday, July 31, 2009


Dry Gulch USA is a blast!!! 60 kids from our church are having the time of their lives.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Explaining Christ

Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
— Acts 8:30-31

It was a divine appointment. All Phillip had to do was obey the instructions he received from an angel of the Lord and he would be face to face with someone whose life would be changed forever by Jesus.

In Acts 8:26-40, we are very clearly told that Philip was specifically directed to this man, and to the meeting place, in a remote location in the desert. The Bible tells says he was a very important Ethiopian man, returning home from his time of worship in Jerusalem. He was reading a scroll from Isaiah 53:7-8 while driving his chariot (which proves you can spend time with God in you car!). The only problem was he didn’t understand what he was reading. He needed someone to explain it to him.

There could be no mistaking it. God intended to save this one individual. This man was being sought by God. Here, in the midst of a Samaritan revival, and before the accounts of wide-spread evangelism of Gentiles, this Gentile was sought and saved by God, a kind of “first-fruits” of that which was to come.

“Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” That was the question the Ethiopian dignitary had for Philip. But how could Isaiah be speaking of himself? The preceding verses spoke of the death of this mysterious figure, but a substitutionary death—a death for the benefit of others:

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him (Isaiah 53:4-6).

It’s a good thing Philip knew the Bible, because if he didn’t, he would have had to say, “I don’t know. Can I get back to you?” But this was an opportunity that had to be seized. Philip was about to tell this man that the prophecies of Isaiah concerning Messiah were fulfilled in the person of Jesus.

The eunuch joyfully accepted Philip’s words and gave his life to Christ. When the Ethiopian saw water (a rare thing in this desert place) he wished to make the best use of it. He wanted to be baptized. Evidently, the Ethiopian had learned the importance of baptism for a true believer. When the chariot stopped, both got out, went down into the water and Philip immersed him in the pool of water - baptizing the newly converted Christian.

The Bible reminds us time and time again to prepare ourselves for such opportunities. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

God guides. He specifically and undeniably guides men to do that which they would not have ordinarily have done Philip had prepared himself for the opportunity that was waiting for him. And you must prepare yourself for the opportunity that might be waiting for you today, tomorrow, or the next day.

I have found that when I am sharing the Gospel, whether it’s preaching or one-on-one, the most powerful tool I have is the Word of God. Learn God’s Word. Hide it in your hearts and minds. Then, like Philip, we’ll be ready for the opportunities God sends our way.

The Ethiopian met God in a deserted place, when he came to realize that his religion was not enough, and Jesus was the Savior who died for his sins. Have you met the Savior yet? I pray that if you have not, today might be the day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Drawn Away

I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Lead me not into temptation. I can find it myself.” Jesus knew that we are easily tempted, so He taught us to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one . . . “ (Matthew 6:13).

Now what does this actually mean? Is this implying that God would indeed lead us into a situation in which we would be tempted? Or worse yet, that God himself would tempt us? Certainly not. God does not tempt us. As the Bible says, Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13–15)

We sin because we are drawn away by our own evil desires. We must become more like Christ and allow Him to impute righteousness to us as we study His word and pray so the evil desires of our heart are erased.

Temptation is not sin. Giving into it is. That doesn’t mean you can play around with it. James goes on to say that full-grown sin brings forth death. Sin always brings destruction, so we must flee from it.

In the petition from the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking God to guide us so we will not get out of His will and place ourselves in the way of temptation. We are essentially praying, “Lord, don’t let me be tempted above my capacity to resist. Lord, give me common sense. Help me to see the pitfalls. Help me to see the traps. Help me to see the areas in which I can be vulnerable and help me, Lord, to avoid them.” When we pray like this, God will be faithful to help us escape temptation.

Another verse that helps when dealing with temptation is Matthew 26:41. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” It is hard to fall into sin when we are in God’s Word and praying.

If we could see our own temptation as clearly as we see that of others, it wouldn’t be all that hard to identify and avoid. Yet with ourselves, we are somehow able to rationalize our giving in to temptation. We say things like, “everybody does it” or “what’s the big deal?”. Sometimes we compare our “little” sins with the “big” ones of others. We must deal with temptation by daily growth in Christ.

Let me give you a couple of little principles to apply—a litmus test, if you will, to help you know if you are being enticed to evil. You can apply these two principles when you wonder, Is this a temptation? Is this wrong?

First, pray about it and bring it into the clear presence of God. When you are about to do something that you’re unsure about, pray, “Lord, can I ask Your blessing on this? Lord, is this out of Your will?” If you can’t pray about it with a good conscience, then it probably isn’t the will of God. You are probably putting yourself unnecessarily in the way of temptation.

Second, ask yourself the question, How would this look if some other Christian gave in to it? If you saw one of your Christian friends doing the thing you are presently doing, would you think it was odd or peculiar? Would you conclude that it doesn’t look right? If it doesn’t seem like the right thing for your friends to do, then you are probably doing the wrong thing as well.

And finally, what does the Word say about it? Does it violate a certain scripture or principle from His Word? Does it appear to be evil? If so, stay away from it.

Stop and think, watch what you are doing, and stop and pray. You will save yourself from giving in to temptation. If you are presently involved in sin, repent from it, run from it and commit your ways to the Lord.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hold Up Their Arms

“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” -Hebrews 3:13 NIV

When I was in college, I sang in a choir that traveled around to lots of churches. On one trip in Lowell, Arkansas, we stayed the night in the homes of church members. I’ll never forget Mrs. Mary. She was an elderly widow who lived in a rural part of town. Man, could she cook! Her hospitality was wonderful. She treated me and the other three guys who stayed with her like kings. She probably prayed for us six or seven times while in her home, packed snacks for us and put mints on our pillows (that was pretty neat). Before we left, we had a new grandmother and she insisted we give her our addresses.

After a few days back at school, I received a letter from Mrs. Mary stating that she was praying for me every day. I received a letter from her every week for the next two years at college until she went on to be with the Lord. Each of the letters said how she was praying for me and lifting me up to the Lord. She said she wanted to be like Aaron and Hur and lift up my arms as I studied to be a pastor. What encouragement! Several times as I preached in other churches during college, I would think about how Mrs. Mary was lifting me up to the Lord. I learned a great deal from her letters, a few of which I still have today.

A short while after Moses and the people of Israel miraculously passed through the Red Sea, “the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites” (Exodus 17:8). The Israelites did not have the power to win this battle on their own, so Moses sent Joshua to the battlefield and then climbed to the top of a hill. Moses said, “I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands” (Exodus 17:9).

God had previously demonstrated His power as Moses raised his staff to part the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16). He had also told Moses to use his staff to cause water to flow out of a rock (Exodus 17:5-6). Moses was now trusting God to demonstrate His power once again as he lifted this same staff in battle.

Exodus 17:11-13 says, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

Moses knew what he had to do, but he simply became worn out. Fortunately for the people of Israel, Moses had two trusted companions who stood by his side and were willing to hold up his arms until the battle was won.

Many people have committed their lives to fighting the battle for the Kingdom of God. These, who are daily on the front lines, feel greatly outnumbered and are prone to grow weary. They desperately need an Aaron and a Hur to come alongside with prayer and encouragement.

I feel very fortunate to have people who lift up my ministry and family daily. Our pastors, ministry leaders, fellow Christians, and those who continually look for ways to serve, need this same type of support. The Bible says to “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). Those who faithfully serve may appear strong and confident, but their arms are getting very tired and they need to be reassured. Sometimes those who step out with great faith are also very lonely and need to know someone still cares.

Many of our Brothers and Sisters are on the front lines of battle today. Let’s join them by becoming a continual “supply line” of encouragement and prayer. Let’s be like Aaron and Hur, and hold up their arms!

Spiritual Challenge:
Who do you need to encourage? Go and do it right now!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let's Race!!!

Kylee and I finished her AWANA GRAND PRIX car this morning for the Grand Prix on this next Wednesday. She glued the top on, painted the body pink and top white, helped sand it, and even sprayed the final finish coat. We had fun together (ok, i had the most fun). Hope she wins, but who cares. We had fun doing something together.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gone Fishing

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” — John 21:3

A pastor who spent a fruitless day fishing picked out three fat fish at the supermarket. “Before you wrap them,” he said to the store manager,” toss them to me, one by one. That way I’ll be able to tell my people I caught them and I’ll be speaking the truth.”

Have you ever been stressed out to the point of giving up? One of the best places to get away from the daily grind is going fishing. You may have your own place to unwind but how many times have you wanted to leave your problems behind, get away from it all, and hang a “gone fishing” sign on your door?

Well, that exactly what one of the disciples did. Don’t believe me? After Jesus resurrected, His disciples waited in Galilee for further instructions. Peter must have been anxious and decided to return to his former profession: fishing. He actually convinced the other disciples to go with him. Maybe they were worried. Maybe they were wondering. Whatever the case, Peter was ready to hang up his prayer shawl and pick up his fishing nets.
We find this story in John 21. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3–4)

There is nothing worse than going fishing all day and catching nothing. Maybe this was not a bad thing though. At the end of the fishing day, Peter realized what a waste his life was without Jesus. He probably remembered how empty his life was before he met the Man who changed his life forever. Life without Jesus was futile. There was no direction or blessing.

You can aim at your goals. You can work hard in business, work hard at everything you hold dear, and still your dreams may not be fulfilled because you did not have the Lord direct your life. You did not invite Him to bless your plan or, more importantly, direct you in your plans.

So often we will think, “It’s my life and my future and my career and my family and my money.” We forget that we belong to God. We need to remember—it’s God’s life.

While they were out fishing, Jesus appeared to them, but did not reveal His identity. He called to them from the shore and asked if they had caught anything. After answering no, the disciples were told by Jesus to cast their nets to the other side and when they did, they could not lift all the fish. Amazing! Jesus directed the fish into their nets.
Peter instantly recognized His master and jumped out of the boat (sound familiar) and beat all the other disciples to shore. Peter realized how foolish he was by waiting on fish instead of waiting on His Master. He leaped into action to be with His Lord. Peter was so excited that when the other disciples came ashore, he leaped aboard and dragged all 153 fish to shore by himself!

Jesus then reinstated Peter to the ministry. He told Peter to shepherd and feed his sheep - the church. Just a few days later, Peter preached and 3,000 souls were saved and baptized. Talk about fulfilling your calling!

Don’t give up on what God has called you to do. Jesus is so gracious and loving. He wants to guide and direct your steps. Did you know that? God has a custom-designed plan just for your life. He wants you to get out of the plans you think are best for your life and leap into His.

Keep that in mind as you think about your future. Say, “Lord, what do You want me to do? I don’t want to go fishing and pull up empty nets. I want You to direct me. I want You to guide me.”

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Passion Experience

Tonight was the last presentation of our Easter production at church - The Passion Experience. Approximately 7,000 people attended with our largest crowd tonight - 1,800+. Sadly, we had to turn away about 100 cars because we had no more seats or standing room available. That won't happen next year with more seating and production times. People still parked along the interstate and stood on top of their cars to watch. Nearly 50 decisions were made for Christ (that we know of...these are the ones came for counseling afterwards). Lots more hands went up for salvation than came forward for counseling.

Praise God for sending His Son Jesus to die for us - to be our substitute. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. If Jesus had not been Resurrected, our preaching and presentation would have been foolishness and our faith useless. But thanks be to God for giving us the victory through Christ Jesus our Lord! Lord, keep us humble as we serve You and present Your perfect Gospel. Let God get all the glory and let His Church increase as souls are saved and disciples are made!

Thanks to all the cast, crew and servants who made this possible! May God bless you for all you did for the Lord and His Church.

Join us for our weekend Easter services - Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 10am.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dove's Cross

This picture was taken the first night of our Passion Play. It is a picture at the end of the production when Jesus comes out of the tomb. The angels are at the top of the screen with their hands up. Doves were released and when they flew up, they crossed each other. The exposure and speed produced a cross from the dove's flight path. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Resurrection Brings Relationship

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. . . .
— Mark 16:9

After Jesus resurrected, He remained on this earth for another 40 days before He went back to Heaven. Who do you think he appeared to first after His resurrection? You may think His disciples, but of all the people Jesus could have appeared to first after His resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. In that culture, the Jews considered the testimony of a woman of almost no regard. In fact, some of the rabbis falsely taught that it was better for the words of the Law to be burned than to be delivered by a woman. Yet Jesus chose a woman to be the first one to know of His resurrection.

Women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. Mary had courage that many of the men did not have when Jesus was crucified. The disciples fled and only some watched from a distance during his crucifixion. She stood by Him through it all. In fact, the Bible tells us that after He was crucified, Mary "observed where He was laid" (Mark 15:47). She watched as they took His crucified body from the cross and wrapped it and placed it in a tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. And while the guards were deciding to post a soldier by that tomb, she spent an entire night there all alone, before the guards were there . . . even before the disciples arrived.

The issue here is not that a woman was first and not a man. Getting hung up on the gender issue would cause you to miss the entire point. The main point was her love was rewarded. God said, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). God rewards the person who diligently seeks after Him. Those who will take time in their day to seek the Lord will find Him and be rewarded. Those who will take time to read His Word will find Him and be rewarded. Those who will take time to wait upon Him will have His truths revealed to them.

Easter is not just a story of history. It is a story of reality. Historically, Jesus died and resurrected, but the reality of it reaches far beyond historical facts. Jesus opened up a new relationship for us through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. No longer must we go through a high priest to seek atonement for our sin, because Jesus became the final sacrifice for our sins. And He has given us free access to God the Father, to whom we can come in times of need.

Do you know God as your Father? Or does He seem like some distant force? If that is the case, I have good news for you: God is not some mere force or distant power somewhere in the universe. He is personal, He is caring, and He loves you. And that is why He sent His Son to die on the cross in our place.¬

The Bible says in Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If you desire a relationship with God, simply repent of your sin, believe in your heart, and confess Jesus as Lord. That will begin a relationship with Jesus, giving you a brand new spirit. The next step is to get involved in a local church and grow in your relationship with Him. If you need to talk with someone about giving your life to Christ, give me a call at our church office (870.247.3300) or simply email me at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

When Life Seems Unfair

When Life Seems Unfair

Psalm 73 (The Message)

Does life ever seem unfair? Maybe you have been extremely faithful to God and you are still going through a difficult time in life. Have you ever wondered why others prosper and you seem to struggle? Maybe life seems unfair. Well, just remember, “fair” is a place where you ride the ferris wheel and eat cotton candy.

Sometimes, life is not fair. But remember this: God is not fair as the world defines fair. Remember, though, who God is. He is merciful (Psalm 69:16). He is gracious (Ephesians 2:8). He is righteous and just (Psalm 89:14). God is love (1 John 4:8).

Psalm 73 starts out with the statement “no doubt about it, God is good.” You have to remember and rest in the fact that God is good. When you forget God is good, you will start to entertain thoughts and emotions that question His goodness. The Bible says repeatedly that God is good. In fact, 119:68 says “you are good and you do good.” God rises to show you compassion. He has a heart to do good and sent His Son to die for us. You must settle the issue in your heart that God is good. If not, every time something bad happens or someone else fairs better than you, you’ll question His goodness. He is not out to get you like others sometimes do. He is not trying to withhold goodness or cheat you.

The Psalmist said he almost missed God’s goodness because he was looking the other way, looking at people (verse 2-3). Instead of looking to God in his trouble, he was comparing his situation with others. He was trying to figure out things that were above him. As he starts looking at wicked people, he thinks they are on “easy street”. He says they are arrogant, pampered, overfed, full of hot air, loudmouths that disturb the peace. He can’t understand why they seem blessed and at ease while he is struggling.

He begins to wonder why God won’t intervene. Why does God continue to let these people who don’t serve Him prosper? He was so wrapped up in focusing on others and his own selfishness that he says, “is God out to lunch? Nobody’s tending the store.” He says the wicked get by with everything (verse 12). In verse 13 he said, “I was stupid to play by the rules. A long run of bad luck, a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.” He was at the point of giving up because it seemed that the wicked were better off. “Why bother?” was his motto. Maybe you are saying, “Why do I continue to do what God says and what is right? After all, it doesn’t seem like I’m getting ahead.”

Look at what happens in verse 15. This changed his life. He took his eyes off his problems and others and focused them where they needed to be – on God. He begins to realize how selfish and foolish he has been by comparing his life with others. He had been looking at the world’s standards of success. Verse 17 says that when he entered the presence of God, he saw the whole picture. In verse 21, he realized he was consumed by envy and bitterness.

In verse 23-28, he says, “I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. You're all I want in heaven! You're all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they'll never be heard from again. But I'm in the very presence of God—oh, how refreshing it is! I've made Lord God my home. God, I'm telling the world what you do!”

Have you missed the goodness of God because you have been comparing your lifestyle and circumstances with others? Are you full of envy and bitterness toward others because it seems they are blessed more than you? Does God seem distant and “out to lunch”? He is not. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Remember to “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Stop determining success by looking at others. Look to Jesus. All you have to do is “draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

Monday, March 30, 2009

On a Personal Note

This weekend, we had several families join the church. I praise God for sending us new people and I pray we will be humble and obedient so God will send more people our way.

Evites are now available on our website for the Passion Experience, which is April 6-10 at 8pm. The scripting gave me some challenges, but I finally got it right. Check it out and send some evites to your friends!

6 kids gave their lives to Christ this weekend in Kids Church! How exciting!

We had 2 people get baptized last weekend and two more this weekend. I have two scheduled for next weekend as well. Praise the Lord.

We hosted a wedding shower yesterday for a good friend of mine, Jayson Fenters. He's getting married to a great girl, Maegan Taylor on April 18th at 2pm in Warren. It was fun remembering old stories from our high school days - some stories are best forgotten. Way to go Jayson.

Kylee has her second t-ball practice tomorrow. She's a good hitter, but fielding is not her thing right now. She wants to use her hand and not her glove to catch the ball - that is when she doesn't watch the ball roll past her. She looks cute in her pink helmet, pink bat, pink glove and White Hall nursing home uniform - that's right. Go WHNH!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The God of Now

There is an important principle that every Christian must understand - God operates in the now.

Moses was chased out of Egypt when he was 40 years old by Pharaoh. He returned at the age of 80 to deliver the people of Israel from Phaorah. In Exodus 3:13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" Moses was simply asking the name he should use when he appeared before the Israelites and Pharaoh. The Egyptians had gods of the moon, sun, crops and fertility that they worshiped. All these “gods” had names. He simply wanted to tell them what name of God to use and what authority he represented.

God said to Moses in verse 14, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "The name “I AM” is present tense. It means God is the God of now. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t God in the past and will not be God in the future. The Bible is clear in Hebrews 13:8 that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” What “I AM” indicates is that God wants to act in your life right now. God power is present to do something in your life at this very moment. You don’t have to wait.

“I AM” communicates God’s transcendence over space and time. “I AM” says that God is the God of the moon, sun, crops and fertility. He is the only God. God is the God of every situation. He is the God of our past, present and future. He is the God of our marriages, life, and dreams. He is the all encompassing God. He is all we will ever need.

In John 8:54-58, Jesus says He is “I AM”. Jesus says “I AM” 7 times in John. He said, “I am the Bread of Life” (Jn. 6:35), “I am the Light of the world” (Jn. 8:12), “I am the Door” (Jn. 10:9), “I am the Good Shepherd” (Jn. 10:11), “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn. 11:25), “I am the Way, Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14:26) and “I am the True Vine” (Jn. 15:1).

“I AM” also reflects an intimate God. “I AM” communicated that God is a personal God. God was a God behind a veil in the Old Testament. Now, because of Jesus, we have a God of relationship. In the Old Testament, only one person (the high priest) once a year could meet with God on behalf of everyone else. Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 9) and we have direct access to God every moment of every day, not just once a year. God made a way through Jesus for us to experience the “I AM” right now.

Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” We must believe that He IS.

God is as great right now as He will ever be. He is the ultimate everything, ready to do something right now. God is powerful enough to overcome all my enemies, move all my mountains, heal all my diseases, and slay all my giants. He is not just the God of history and prophecy, He is the God of now.

Because you don’t have the promise of tomorrow and you can’t go backwards in time, you must operate in the now. There is no time machine that can move you in the past or in the future. What you do now shapes your future. God can heal you from your past. You have to live in the now, not worried about past or the future.

Are you wasting your “nows” by dwelling in the past or hoping for the future? Living for the future is like walking toward the horizon. The walking never ends and you never arrive. Stop living in the past and future. Live in the now and experience a great relationship with “I AM”.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On a personal note...

The men's encounter retreat last weekend was awesome! 70 men had a great time growing in the Lord and 2 guys gave their lives to Christ.

Congratulations to our AWANA kids for coming in 1st place in the regional AWANA GAMES! They will go to Beebe April 4th to compete in the State AWANA Games.

My family has been on vacation this past week and we had a wonderful time together. I worked really hard, trying not to use email, internet, phones, texting, or anything else that had to do with work. That meant a lot to my wife and my kids to give them my undivided attention and not be thinking about the next project, outreach or event at church.

I'm still working out, but not as much I would like. Although, I did workout twice this week while on vacation - well, three times if you count the workout I did when I used my kids as the weights. That was fun, but not really a workout.

I'm looking forward to the Men's Meeting this Sunday night at church. I can't wait to see how God will grow the men of our church.

My pastor told me we passed the quarterly numeric goals for our Life Groups a month early!

I couldn't believe we doubled our church website traffic since the first of the year! We had 70,000 hits in January, 70,000 in February and are on target to have 100,000 hits in March! God is up to something!

Our Easter Passion Experience is scheduled for April 6-10 and we are expecting 10,000 visitors this year! I can hardly wait as people pour in to experience what Christ has done for them.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
— 1 Corinthians 10:12

Adolph Hitler has to be one of the most evil, hate-filled murderers to ever walk this earth. Between the years 1939 and 1945, he and his army are responsible for killing nearly 14 million people including an estimated 6 million Jews who were executed in various ways.

During World War II, Hitler had an interesting strategy for attacking the various European nations: he always did it on a weekend. Hitler knew the various parliaments would not be in session, making it more difficult to react swiftly to an invasion. Because of these weekend attacks, Hitler was able to blind-side his enemies and overtake many of them. Finally, he and his army were defeated and evil empire was brought down.

The devil also attacks us when we are leas expecting it. He will wait for an opportune moment, that decisive time to attack. It may be when our guard is down, when we are not expecting it or at a weak point in our life. It may even come when we think we are the strongest, when we think, “I am doing pretty well spiritually. I think I am really growing. Everything is going great.” Often weaker believers are less vulnerable than stronger ones, because weaker believers recognize their frailty and vulnerability. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:12 , “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

Perhaps recently you have experienced a great blessing in your life. That blessing may involve your family, your career, your ministry, or your personal walk with God. But the enemy wants to rob you of it. Satan wants to blind-side you and destroy all that is good in your life.

In fact, the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 that our enemy, the devil, prowls around “like” a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The first thing you must recognize is that he is our enemy. Stop being friends with the enemy - he is setting you up for destruction. Next you must realize that he is pretending to be a lion. He is a liar (John 8:44) and a defeated foe (John 12:31). All his evil forces were defeated at the cross. Colossians 2:14-15 say that Jesus, “having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he (Jesus) took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Jesus has give us the victory over temptation.

Remember, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove, and a voice was heard from heaven from the Father saying, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). The Bible says that after this, Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (see Luke 4:1–14).

God cannot be tempted though. James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” It also says in Hebrews. 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Remember, it’s not a sin to be tempted.

Even Jesus was tempted, but he provides us a way out of sin. I Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” The sin takes place only when we give in to that temptation, when we open the door to it and entertain it. That is why we should flee temptation and never leave a forwarding address.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pray For Our President

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”. - 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Whether you celebrated all night because you voted for Barack Obama or were disappointed because you voted for John McCain, each of us as Christians has the obligation to pray for our new President. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-3: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”.

Regardless of who the new president is, he is not the savior of America – Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Only He can turn this nation around and stop crime and injustice. Only Jesus can bring prosperity and blessings to our nation. It is time for believers to stop complaining or boasting about an earthly man in an earthly office and start praying that the Son of God, the President of the Universe, will empower our new President.

While you will never agree fully with anyone in the Presidency, now is not the time for harsh words, bitter talk or angry statements. I’m not saying you can’t disagree with an administration because of your beliefs and convictions. When injustices, wrong motives, or sin are present in anyone in politics, we as American citizens should make our voices heard to the appropriate people, not just anyone who’ll listen to your complaints. We should also shower the situation in prayer.

The new President will surely need our prayers because he and his administration face huge, serious challenges to the health of our nation and to peace in the world—challenges that neither he nor any government on earth will have the power to overcome without divine aid.

Now is also not the time for blind faith in a man to save our country. Whether you are thrilled or disappointed about our new President, he is still our President and the Bible says we must pray that he and his administration will hear from God and act according to Scripture, not popularity or pressure.

The reason our country is in such bad shape is because men have forgotten God. Past presidents have forgotten that all wisdom, provision, protection, power, discernment and authority come from God. Some have forgotten that our democracy is the product of the Judeo-Christian understanding of God and humanity. The men who shaped this country were the same men who were shaped by God. Without the revelation that man is created in the image of God, our founders never would have recognized the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There is a clear pattern in scripture: when the people of God turned away from Him and worshipped false idols, the result was always disaster. This is a time to repent and pray. We need our President and his administration to be people who hear from God and make righteous decisions. It’s a time for Christians to lead, encourage, and pray for our new Presidential administration.

If you are full of complaining, murmuring, and bitterness because your choice for President was not elected you are in sin and need to repent and begin praying. If you are full of pride, haughty, and arrogant that your choice was elected, you are in sin and need to repent and begin praying for our new President.

May God inspire, direct and protect our new President. God desires us to pray for his wife and daughters. You should use your worship time, family time and private time to ask God’s blessings on Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and all the men and women who serve and lead our country. I pray the 44th will rely and depend on the 1st – Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On A Personal Note...

Ok, probably like everyone else, I have a few New Year's resolutions. I started working out again (twice this week already) at a local gym. I hope to lose a few pounds. I forgot how hard the stair stepper was! I remember running 5-7 miles a day in college with the soccer team. 10 minutes on the stair stepper is madness. Anyway...gotta press through the pain.

I'm trying to grow more in my spiritual life as well, that should be a given, shouldn't it? I'm reading though the Bible this year in the Message. If you've never done that, I would highly recommend it. I've never "studied" the weekly messages from my pastor. I've reviewed them, maybe looking up scriptures and the main point, but never in depth. I started writing the sermon study guides and sermon notes before the sermons for our Life Group curriculum. It has really helped a ton.

We are getting ready for a 21 Day Fast in our church. We are actually doing this with other churches around the U.S. and world. Those churches represent about 400,000 people. I'm getting ready for the fast by cutting out sweets and soft drinks - those are the most addictive for me. I'm doing the Daniel Fast, which is mostly fruits and vegtables on some days and juices on most days. I ordered the Daniel's Fast Cookbook to get some ideas.

I looked back at last year's goals and for the most part, I did good. I am purposely taking off one day a week and that day isn't Saturday or Sunday. It is non-stop for me starting about 3pm on Saturday till 9pm Sunday nights. It takes a lot to make the weekend services, groups and activities run smooth. I look forward to spending that time with my family and doing some projects around the house. I love working on things like the house or yard. It is pretty relaxing for me.

Anyway, I hope you set some goals and reach them this year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What Is Weighing You Down?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. . . .
Hebrews 12:1

What is slowing you down in your pursuit of a relationship with the Lord? Laziness? Procrastination? It could even be a few extra pounds (surely not after Christmas). In order for us to move forward in Christ, we have to remove things that hold us back. Hebrews 12:1 says to “strip off every weight that slows us down.” The writer is speaking about pursuing a life of faith that pleases Christ.
So think about it. What is weighing you down?
While I was in college, I befriended several friends from Sweden who were on the swimming team. One of them was really good and I asked him one day what made him so fast. Naturally, he told me it was lots of practice, eating right, and exercise. But then he told me something I thought was weird. He said, “and shaving.” I laughed at what I thought was a joke, but he didn’t laugh with me. He was serious! He said hair on his legs, arms, and chest could slow him down in the water. Talk about sacrifice! He was willing to get rid of whatever made him slower, even something as small as hair. While that may be a strange illustration, it helps bring to light that whatever is hindering us from becoming like Christ must be eliminated – however small or insignificant it may seem.
I think that some of us could benefit from investigating our lives for hindrances to our Faith. There is a lot more junk in our lives than we may realize. If you don't believe me, then try moving from one house to another. Isn't it amazing how much junk you have collected? Just before my family moved, I helped another family move across town. After unloading them, I thought, “I’m sure glad I don’t have as much stuff as they do.” Wow, was I wrong. It’s amazing how much junk we have when we do an inventory. While it is stuffed away in a closet or an attic it is never noticed. The same is true in our lives. We take on things we don't need. Periodically, we needed to clean out this excess weight and let it go.When the race of life gets difficult, we like to blame circumstances, other people, or sometimes even God. But we need to remember that if we stumble or fall, it is our own fault. The Bible says that Jesus' "divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life" (2 Peter 1:3).The Bible also tells us to lay aside the weight and the sin that hinders our progress (Hebrews 12:1). Notice the distinction: we are not just to lay aside the sin; we also are to lay aside the weight.In fact, I would suggest periodically asking yourself this question about the uncertain areas of your life: Is it a wing or is it a weight? In other words, does it speed you on your way in this race you are running? Or, is it a weight—something that slows you down?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Finishing Strong

"I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize. . . ."
Philippians 3:14

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? I know that some of you still have those unfulfilled goals from 2008 – maybe even 2007. While we sometimes do not reach every goal we set, I still think goal setting is great. After all, if you never set a goal, you have nothing to strive towards. Just remember that the Bible says that with God, all things are possible.

There is a story about one man who made some New Year's resolutions. In 2006 he said, "I will not get upset when Sam and Charlie make jokes about me." In 2007 it was, "I won't get annoyed when Charlie and Sam talk about me behind my back." Then in 2008, "I will not lose my temper when Charlie and Sam laugh at me and call me names." In 2009, "I will not speak anymore to Charlie and Sam." As the years passed, he changed his resolutions. While that is funny, it is probably not a good model.

Sometimes we adjust our resolutions as time passes because we are unable to keep them. Instead of losing twenty pounds, we reduce it to fifteen. Instead of loving others, it’s tolerating them. But we don't need a New Year's resolution. We really don’t! Resolutions are broken. Personal goals imply self. Self will let you down and you’ll end up short. You don’t need a personal resolution. You need a spiritual solution!

The spiritual solution everyone needs in 2009 is found in Philippians 3. The apostle Paul helps us understand what our priorities should be. On more than one occasion, he used athletic metaphors to describe the Christian life. In this passage, he compares it to running a race. But we need to understand that it is not a 50-yard dash. It is a long-distance run. That is why we must pace ourselves. Short term goals leave you with short term results. Long term goals require patience and persistence wrapped around God’s presence and power. Let’s say you enter a race. There are ten laps and you start out strong. Lap two…lap five…lap nine…then you quit. It is not all that significant if you have held first place in a race for nine out of ten laps. What matters is the tenth lap. Whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner.

The problem is that a lot of people have a yo-yo or rollercoaster relationship with God. It’s up and down. Either they are experiencing the ultimate spiritual high or they are down in the dumps. We need spiritual consistency. And we need God's help to stay with it. If we want to win in the race of life, then we need to learn to pace ourselves.

This new year, instead of setting personal resolutions, why not try a spiritual solution. Let Christ’s answers to life solve your short-lived resolutions by giving you definite answers and solutions. Don’t give up! Strive to finish strong. Take the race of life one lap at a time with Christ and with your eyes constantly on the finish line.