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Showing posts from 2012

What Child is This?

Many families participate in great Christmas traditions this time of year. We have a couple ourselves.One is a carryover from my wife’s upbringing.

Growing up in her home, whenever the phone rang between Christmas Eve and Day, they would answer it, “Christmas Eve gift!” The purpose was to be the first to say it to another family member that was calling.  It was fun tradition before caller ID and cell phones. But as traditions go, this one isn't practiced very often now because everyone knows who’s calling before the phone is answered.  The fun was explaining “Christmas Eve gift” to an unsuspecting person on the other end of the line. 
Our own tradition as a family is to go to a local Christmas tree farm every year, ride the hay wagon out into the orchard, and pick out our tree together, which required cutting it down ourselves. While this sounds like a Norman Rockwell painting, it’s not. But that is a story for another day.
During this time of year, Christmas carols are played and s…

I... Must... Perform

Many years ago a man conned his way into the orchestra of the emperor of China although he could not play a note. Whenever the group practiced or performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play but not making a sound. He received a modest salary and enjoyed a comfortable living Then one day the emperor requested a solo from each musician. The flutist got nervous. There wasn't enough time to learn the instrument. He pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn't fooled. On the day of his performance, the impostor took poison and killed himself. The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that found its way into the English language: “He refused to face the music." When you're living a lie, eventually "your sins will find you out."

An increasingly common lie that way too many of us believe is that “we are what we do” – the ‘performance’ lie.  

When we buy into the notion of the performance lie, our identity comes from what we …

Are You an Asset or Liability to Christmas?

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I hate Christmas. 
There, I said it. Why do I hate Christmas, you ask in horror? Well, here are a few of my reasons:  Stores that begin their big Christmas sales in September. Seriously? Can’t we enjoy Halloween candy and Thanksgiving before we bring out the fat man?Black Friday. Need I say more?Snow. It brings out the worst in already bad drivers, and it is really, really cold.Tacky Christmas decorations. If your house looks like this: Your neighbors HATE you. Seriously, this has gone too far.
Frosty the Snowman. I like my snow inert and on the ground. Christmas music.  How many times on average in one day can you listen to tired carols done hip hop or in a country remix bleating over the PA system in every store and shopping mall on earth?Fruit cake. If a cockroach or rat won't eat it I won't eat it. Besides, the taste and texture leaves so much to be desired that no amount of eggnog will wash away the lingering aftertaste.Well meaning Facebook postings like this one:  “It’s …

I'm Not Good Enough

We've all heard a lie or told a lie.  Some of the more common lies we are familiar with are:

The check is in the mail.I'll start my diet tomorrow.We service what we sell.Give me your number and the doctor will call you right back.This offer limited to the first 100 people who call in.Your luggage isn't lost, it's only misplaced.Leave your resume and we'll keep it on file.This hurts me more than it hurts you.I just need five minutes of your time.
But, a very common and destructive lie that Satan has plagued so many Christians with is “I’m simply not good enough.” If we were to be honest with ourselves, many of us have battled Satan’s lie or are even still harassed by it.

Moses is one of my heroes of the bible.  In Exodus 4, God Himself called on Moses to deliver His people from bondage. Moses felt the same way many of us feel when facing that kind of a moment: he felt ‘not good enough.’

Moses replied to the Lord in verse 10, “Oh, Lord, I’ve never been eloquent, neit…

The Great Escape

When I was in the sixth grade, I would play football after school with several other guys in the neighborhood.  These were the days of Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, and the Cowboys were still America’s team.  Everyone in the world, as far as we knew, was in love with the sport, and we were no different. We played football almost every day after school regardless of the weather. But, more than the football, what I remember most was Scott’s dad Gary.  When Gary would get home from work each evening he would watch us as we played. After he was able to determine which team was losing, he would join that team.  We were always excited when his dad would show up because it was always a game changer for the team he joined.

2 Cor 10:3-4 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

The word ‘stronghold’ comes from the Greek word ‘ochurôma’ whic…

I've Got to Be Strong

“Who do you THINK you are?!!”
“I'm Hub McCann. I've fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN and loved only one woman with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am!”
That is one of my favorite scenes from the movie “Second Hand Lions.” Walter, Garth, and Hub are sitting in a diner/grocery store eating lunch when a group of hooligans come in and start trouble.  One of the teenagers tries to take Hub’s lunch and Hub knocks his hand away. The surprised teen asks “who do you think you are?”  Hub puts him in his place physically and TELLS the teen WHO he is.
Satan uses many lies in attempt to rob us of our identity in Christ.  The most common lie that Satan wants …

Believing in the Next Generation

We are at a crossroads. We are in an especially important time for the church and for future generations because so much of our focus to move the Kingdom forward consists of good intentions.   But, if we leave it simply at ‘good intentions’ and don't transfer those good intentions into actions, then we will- in so many ways- short circuit what God wants to do.

If we don't impart spiritual life into the next generation, we are on the road to losing them when it comes to having  faith in Christ.
Although Moses had the vision to go into the Promised Land, he never got to do it. But Moses, being the leader he was, still did some amazing things.  One of the best things he did was to mentor the next generation with a strong faith.  He raised up Joshua, and when he died, he handed off the leadership to Joshua in a seamless transition.
Joshua was able to fulfill what Moses had always desired; it was he who led Israel into the Promised Land. He became a phenomenal leader, but he had …

God Believes in You

How would you define success in raising the next generation? Society says success is raising well-rounded, well-educated, happy kids. But, what our culture defines as success is based on circumstances, and circumstances always change. One of the most important things we can do as parents is impart spiritual life to the next generation.  If we only want them to have ‘more than we had,’ but don't foster a relationship with Christ, in the end, it doesn't amount to anything.

We are called to teach the significance of spiritual life to the next generation. There's a verse, I feel, that really captures the essence of this divine calling.  It is about David in the Old Testament, as he prays this prayer in Psalm 71:18:

Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

The greatest calling that we can have is to impart spiritual life to the next generation. We are not called to …

I Believe in You

A friend and I were working together the other day digging a ditch for some electrical lines we were installing.  This is not one of the most attractive parts of my job as an electrical contractor, but it is one I still enjoy.  There is something about men and hard work that brings about the most interesting conversations.

As we began digging this ditch, and, as men for some reason do, we took jabs at each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But, at some point along the way, the conversation changed.  He began to tell me about his relationship with his dad and how it is strained right now.  I listened as he listed his grievances and why he felt abandoned- even though he grew up in a two parent/Christian home.  He said he watched his dad, who is a pastor, spend time with people and speak into their lives words of affirmation. But, he said his dad barely had time for him as a young man, nor did he ever say to him “you have what it takes, you can do this, or I believe in you.”

In Mark 1 w…

I am Iron Man

Depending on your age, when you read the title of this devotional, one of two things probably went through your mind:
1.You just heard Tony Iommi’s heavy grunge guitar riff and Ozzy Ozbourne’s vocals from the Black Sabbath classic titled “Iron man” or… 2.You just envisioned Tony Stark suit up in his Iron Man armor.
I have been anxiously waiting for the release of The Avengers on blu-ray (which finally was released this week) and Iron Man 3 which, hopefully, will be released on the big screen in the near future. So I’ve been watching over and over again Iron Man parts one and two. I can’t help it and I admit it, I want an Iron man suit. What guy wouldn’t want the suit or to be Iron Man? Think about it- he’s smart, has unlimited money, is a natural ladies’ man, and fights injustice. 
Bringing the superheroes to life on the big screen with almost believable technology and current world events makes me want to fight crime.  It also fires me up for spiritual warfare. 
My favorite scene of…

The Courage to be a Christian

The barbarian’s life had changed drastically since he had forgiven his once sworn enemy.  He used to lay his head down at night, the only thoughts crossing his mind were of war, pain, death, blood, and revenge. But this night was different, very different.  As he closed his eyes, he felt a peace surrounding him that he had never experienced before in his rough barbaric existence.
He no longer ‘needed’ to awaken to the smell of burning wood and flesh.  No longer did he sleep with one eye open, sword in hand.   No longer did he fear what the dawn would bring.  Yes, he had fought many battles, killed many men, pillaged many villages.  He had failed in his last battle miserably.  The pain and tears of that day would not soon be forgotten. But the day he embraced his enemy and forgave him…that day was the day he became a true warrior.
A true warrior is courageous:  He fights when it is deemed necessary.  He accepts failure as a teacher from which he can learn.  He forgives the evils wroug…

The Courage to Forgive

He has lost it all: his home, his fellow warriors, his family. The smoke still billows from the inferno that once was called “home.” From deep inside, a rage boils that he has never felt before- a rage so intense, it is as if it would totally consume him!

“Arrrrgggggghhhhh!!!”

The barbarian’s primal scream echoes throughout the war-torn valley. He turns, tearfully, to once again look upon his boyhood home before he begins his long trek across rugged terrain to reach the neighboring village, a place where he can rest, gain strength, and begin living again.

As the minutes soon turn into hours, the barbarian comes upon a small brook that he and his friends often used to cool down their horses and relax beneath the shade of the willows along the bank. As he approaches the water he notices a man kneeling at the brook’s edge drinking water from his cupped hand. His heart begins pounding deep within his chest for he recognizes the armor and weaponry of his enemy, the very scum that he had wa…

The Courage to Fail

The warrior looked around at the carnage that surrounded him.  The blood and bodies of enemies and friends, burning houses and barns. The stench of burning flesh invaded his nostrils and the black smoke burned his eyes. In his hand was his sword, the blade scarred and broken.  His shield was lying somewhere in the haze of the battlefield. Finding an old wooden crate, he sat down, exhausted, spent from battle. He turned his weary eyes to the home ablaze before him, his home, his eyes filled with tears.

He was a barbarian, a fierce warrior, yet this battle he had lost. His fellow warriors lay either severely wounded or dead on the ground around him. His village had been savagely ransacked by his enemy.  Most every home was in flames or crumpled to the ground. As he closed his eyes to finally rest from the battle, this thought repeated itself in his mind: “I may have lost my home, my friends, and this battle, but I am still a warrior! I will live to fight another day!”

We come to a plac…

The Courage to Serve

Barbarian!  The word alone creates pictures in your mind of rough, strong, and powerful men with wild eyes, a ferocious look! Their arms are taut and ripped, muscles bulging, hair long and unkempt, clothing made from a slain animals' skin, a shield in one hand, and a sword in the other. 
This is the kind of man you want going into battle for you -not against you. If a job that is too threatening and perilous for an ordinary man pops up, then a barbarian is who you want to enlist for the task. If your enemy is taunting you, then a barbarian is who you want to call to your side.
A barbarian is known by his courage, his fearlessness, his ferocity in battle...his innate ability to wreak havoc on all those he encounters. Call him into battle and he willingly and eagerly agrees. Call him to a treacherous journey? Of course! To intimidate? YES!
To be a servant to others? What? Where did that come from? A barbarian is a servant to no man! How dare you even suggest such stupidity!
But here…

The Courage to Live

In January of 2000 Li de xian was ready when the police officers of the Chinese Republic came for him. This was the 8th time he had been detained in the last three months. He went quietly without a fuss and no resistance. He said good-bye to his wife and walked calmly out the door with the officers.
As Li walked, he began thinking about his last arrests by the Chinese Government…the time police beat him until he vomited blood because of the broken ribs he suffered at the guards’ hands. 
China believed that Li was a notorious criminal, a desperate outlaw. So what was Li’s crime? He was the pastor of a church in Yongming village in Canton China. He led Bible studies on Tuesday for about 600 people. This made him one of China’s most wanted criminals. Despite the brutal treatment at the hands of the government Li refused to give up or quit! He said, “I will preach the Gospel until I die!”
Can you imagine what would happen if Christians displayed that same kind of courageous passion in th…

What do You Want on Your Tombstone?

One morning in 1888, Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, awoke to read his own obituary. The obituary was printed as a result of a simple journalistic error. You see, it was Alfred's brother that had died and the reporter carelessly reported the death of the wrong brother. Any man would be disturbed under the circumstances, but to Alfred the shock was overwhelming because he saw himself as the world saw him. The "Dynamite King," the great industrialist who had made an immense fortune from explosives. This, as far as the general public was concerned, was the entire purpose of Alfred's life.

None of his true intentions to break down the barriers that separated men and ideas for peace were recognized or given serious consideration. He was simply a merchant of death. And for that alone he would be remembered.

As he read the obituary with horror, he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose of his life. This could be done through the final disposit…

Give Thanks

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. P s a l m 7 : 1 7

From the very beginning of the book of Psalms, David gives thanks. Of all people in the Bible, David knew what it meant to experience trials of every kind. Remember he will be tempted with and fall victim to adultery, lying, and eventually murder. But he knew that one day he would be king of Israel. But while he was waiting to take the throne, he was a walking dead man.

King Saul, the current king of Israel, had a hit out on David. Even though Saul had watched David defeat Goliath and save the Israelites from the Philistines and was soothed by David’s skills on the harp, Saul knew that the Lord had rejected him as king and that David was to be next in line (see 1 Samuel 16:1).

So David hid. In mountains, caves, enemy towns, and any place that Saul’s men wouldn’t find him. For me, this means no BlackBerry service, no laptop, no cushy job, food to eat, St…

Two Dudes and a Urinal

I know the title of this blog is enough to make anyone stop and go "uhh." But let me explain...

Every year our family makes a trek to Pensacola, FL for spring break.  This year was no different, except when returning to Oklahoma we were greeted with snow. It never fails it seems no one ever tells Oklahoma its officially Spring. In Pensacola the temps will be 75 with white beaches and when we return home its 30 with snow, wow is all I can say.

So on with the two dudes and the urinal...

If you have ever been on a long road trip, then you can understand the term "pack light". This is a term, I have recently learned, that teenage girls are not able to understand. I said "pack light" and they heard "mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa", you know the sound that Charlie Brown's teacher made every time she talked. So before we can even get on the road I spend the first "official" two hours of our vacation playing a game of tetris with our luggage on …

Are You a Non-Combatant?

I Recently watched the movie 'We Were Soldiers' -one of my all time favorite movies.  It is a true story that was written by the commanding officer Lt. Col. Hal Moore and UPI correspondent Joe Galloway, a journalist who was assigned to cover the first push of US soldiers into Vietnam.

Moore, played by Mel Gibson, is in command of the 450-man 7th Cavalry, who are dropped via helicopter onto a small patch of ground, tagged as “LZ X-Ray” in the Ia Drang Valley. Col. Moore, along with Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, played by Sam Elliott, and the whole 7th, come head-to-head with over 2,000 North Vietnamese. Because of the new era of television, Joe Galloway (Barry Pepper) accompanies the calvary to capture the whole “dominating US operation” on film for the nation to see, firsthand.

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the US ground forces are about to get overrun.  The next few scenes reminds me of how a lot of guys, myself included, respond to life. Joe Galloway is curled up on…