Thursday, July 30, 2009

To China...

I fly to China this afternoon. BWI to Newark. Newark to Hong Kong--direct flight! Continental Airlines on a Boeing 777 in case you cared to know. I count it a high honor to have this opportunity to go.

A little info about the trip:
  • I will be hosted by Glenn Kauffman and his dear family. They just moved to MD last summer after almost 15 years living in Hong Kong. Glenn lives in Laurel and is my Bishop, my friend and a partner at CCF. He has served in and continues to have a heart for Asia. I am honored to be hosted by him on the very turf where he served for so many years!
  • While I will be flying in and out of Hong Kong, we will also be flying to several cities in Mainland China including Xian, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang. We will be visiting many workers and servants that are making a difference there!
Why am I going?
  • Because I have a heart for people who have not yet heard!
  • I was honored by the invitation of my Bishop, Glenn Kauffman.
  • Because trips like this where people are making a difference transform the heart like few things do.
  • Because International travel reminds me of how big God is, how creative God is, how small I am, and how little I know.
  • Because my trip to China in 2007 rocked my world and ruined me for normal!
  • I have a personal and growing passion for the nation of China!
  • I hope that one day CCF and our District will participate in what God is doing in China. I feel like I am going as a representative of both as I pray into how we will join in.
  • 1/3 of the humans that have ever lived on this planet live in Asia today!
  • Asia is the most populous and least Christian continent on the globe.
  • Napoleon said "When China is moved, it will change the face of the globe."
  • 27,000 people a day come to faith in Christ in China.
I leave you with these few verses in Acts. I believe it has application to China TODAY!

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." -Acts 17:24-27

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Devil is a Liar!

How many of you know that when the Lord is at work in the lives of his people, the enemy hates it. All too often I see the enemy attempt to "strategically" attack right after blessing to offset spiritual progress. He is a liar! That's what he is!

The experience that our family had with each other and the Lord this summer cannot be described. Precious moments. About 3 days before we made it home, we started getting bad news and hearing downers. Financial stuff. Relational stuff. Stress-producing news. Tension-creating realizations. Over the last few days we have been going through with some stuff. On top of that, the wifey is freaked out about me flying to China tomorrow.

However, right now I am declaring that the Devil is a flippin' liar!!! He just wants to try to rob us, stop progress or dig seeds that are taking root. So, I am proclaiming that...

No weapon formed against us will prosper.

He that began a good work in us is going to complete it.

The seeds that were planted by the water (and in the mountains) are going to thrive and burst forth with fruit.

All things work together for the good of those who love him and are called.

I am marching through and taking hold!!!

I needed to declare this today. Maybe you need to join me on behalf or your own story today, in saying that...


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Knowing the Wll of God

"I wish I knew God's Will."

"I wonder what the Lord wants in this situation?"


Here's a thought. I think that we CAN know God's will! I believe we CAN know what the Lord wants more often than we realize and more easily than we thought.


The Bible.

Listen to some of R.A. Torrey's thoughts on the subject in his book "How To Pray":
  • God has revealed His will in His word. When anything is definitely promised in the Word of God, we know that it is His Will to give that thing.
  • Here is one of the greatest secrets of prevailing study the Word, to find what God's will is as revealed there in the promises, and then simply take these promises and spread them out before God in prayer with the absolutely unwavering expectation that He will do what He has promised in His word.
  • Doubtless there are many times when we do not know the will of God...but when it comes to matters clearly stated in the Word, we should not pray with any "ifs".
When we are seeking the Lord's will for our us, we need to consult the place where he has spoken....Scripture. The Bible is not irrelevant and old, it is timeless and alive and speaks to God's plan for your life! Consult it and find His will!

Making Pie

Monday, July 20, 2009

In Jesus Name, Amen

Is it a habit? Is it just what you are supposed to say? Or is there something about praying in the name of Jesus that connects us to the heart of God? Does it fill our prayers with power? I think so! I just think that we allow it to become mechanical instead of meaningful. Jesus told his Disciples the night before his death..."Whatever you ask in my name....!"

I think that there is fragrance in the name of Christ that appeals to the Lord!

I really appreciated the way that R.A. Torrey unpacked this concept his book "How To Pray":

If I go to a bank and hand them a check with my name signed to it, I am asking of that bank in my own name. If I have money in my account, they will cash it. If not, they will not. That check will have no traction if the account has no money.

However, if some wealthy depositor gave me a check written out to me, but signed by them, the bank would honor the check at once.

"It is like going to the bank of heaven when I go to God in prayer. I have nothing deposited there; I have absolutely no credit there, and if I go there in my own name, I will get absolutely nothing; but Jesus Christ has unlimited credit in heaven, and He has granted to me the privilege of going to the bank with His name on my checks; and when I thus go, my prayers will be honored to any extent. To pray then in the name of Christ, is to pray on the ground, not of my credit, but His!"

Caution: We can add the words "in the name of Jesus" at the end of our prayers, but really be praying in our own merit all along. Watch this.

There is truly POWER in the name of Jesus...especially when we understand it and use it with intentionality and authority!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Your "Freedom Card"

So often we hear questions like this:
-Why do bad things happen?
-Why does God allow pain to come on people?
-Why do bad things happen to good people?
-Why does evil in the world seem to prevail so often?

Here is one possible answer that I don't think I have considered enough:


He HAD to create us with freedom because he wanted nothing more than a relationship with us. No genuine and transformational love relationship can exist by force. Both parties must enter in by choice. I WANT this relationship and this person. So, because of His desire for a relationship with you, he had to create you with freedom to choose Him.

Problem: because we have that freedom, mankind can also NOT choose God. They can choose created stuff, money, evil, sin and this world (over God). a result of not choosing God, mankind faces pain and consequence from generation to generation. Period. That is scripture. Sin has consequence.

So, the next time that you or someone you know is upset with God about some bad thing that happened, remember this:

For the evil to stop, the sin would need to stop. In order for the sin to stop, we would all need to line up and turn in our FREEDOM CARD. I bet there would be just a few reasons why you would not want that.

Think about it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Why and How I am Tweeting

3 days ago, Rick Warren joined Twitter. Yesterday, I started following him. I have a lot of respect for Pastor Rick. Today he tweeted about John Piper's Twitter reasoning. I read it and deemed it the most fantastic explanation of WHY TWITTER that I have ever seen. I wish I would have written it. ;-) Here it is:

By John PiperJune 3, 2009

I see two kinds of response to social Internet media like blogging, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

One says: These media tend to shorten attention spans, weaken discursive reasoning, lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness, and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it. So boycott them and write books (not blogs) about the problem.

The other response says: Yes, there is truth in all of that, but instead of boycotting, try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can.

Together with the team at Desiring God, I lean toward response #2. “Lean” is different from “leap.” We are aware that the medium tends to shape the message. This has been true, more or less, with every new medium that has come along—speech, drawing, handwriting, print, books, magazines, newspapers, tracts, 16mm home movies, flannel-graph, Cinerama, movies, Gospel Blimps, TV, radio, cassette tapes, 8-Tracks, blackboards, whiteboards, overhead projection, PowerPoint, skits, drama, banners, CDs, MP3s, sky-writing, video, texting, blogging, tweeting, Mina-Bird-training, etc.

Dangers, dangers everywhere. Yes. But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians. Not all. Everyone should abstain from some of these media. For example, we don’t have a television.

That’s my general disposition toward media.

Now what about Twitter? I find Twitter to be a kind of taunt: “Okay, truth-lover, see what you can do with 140 characters! You say your mission is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things! Well, this is one of those ‘all things.’ Can you magnify Christ with this thimble-full of letters?”

To which I respond:

The sovereign Lord of the earth and sky
Puts camels through a needle’s eye.
And if his wisdom see it mete,
He will put worlds inside a tweet.

So I am not inclined to tweet that at 10AM the cat pulled the curtains down. But it might remind me that the Lion of Judah will roll up the heavens like a garment, and blow out the sun like a candle, because he just turned the light on. That tweet might distract someone from pornography and make them look up.

I’ve been tweeting anonymously for a month mainly to test its spiritual and family effects on me. In spite of all the dangers, it seems like a risk worth taking. “All things were created through Christ and for Christ” (Colossians 1:16). The world does not know it, but that is why Twitter exists and that’s why I Tweet.

By his grace and for his glory,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Pray

Recently read the book "How to Pray" by R.A. Torrey. There was no copyright in the book, but the best I can tell, it was published around the year 1900. Here are some of the things that stood out to me. If you have a call and heart for prayer, you will really appreciate some of this. This book did a fantastic job of connecting the Word of God and Prayer together as they should be. In this review, I will give verses (all in KJV), followed by connected thoughts.

Ephesians 6:18- "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
  • Note the "alls"! All prayer. All seasons. All perseverance. All the saints.
Why is such constant and persistent prayer so needful?
  1. Because there is a Devil! (Ephesians 6:12)
  2. We do not have, when we do not ask! (James 4:2)
  3. The Apostles regarded prayer as the most important business of their lives.
  4. Prayer occupied a very prominent place in the life of Jesus on earth. (Mark 1:35)
  5. Prayer is such an important part of the present ministry of our risen Lord. (Hebrews 7:25)
  6. Prayer is the means that God has chosen for us to receive mercy and obtain grace! (Hebrews 4:16)
  7. Prayer leads to fullness of joy! (John 16:24)
  8. Prayer leads to freedom and peace! (Philippians 4:6-7)
  9. God himself declared prayer the method for obtaining the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11:13)
  10. Prayer clarifies our crazy lives. (Luke 21:34-36)
  11. Because of what prayer accomplishes!
Acts 12:5- "...but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."
  • We need to pray TO God!
  • In much of prayer there is actually little thought of God.
  • We need to be more taken up with God than our petitions. Before a word of petition is offered, we should have the definite and vivid consciousness that we are talking to God, and believe that He is listening and is going to grant the thing that we are asking of him.
Hebrews 5:7- "...who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death..."
  • Much of our modern prayer has no power in it because it has no heart in it. We rush into God's presence, run through a string of petitions, jump up and go out!
  • If we put so little heart into our prayers, we cannot expect God to put too much heart into answering them.
I John 3:22- "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
  • If we give a listening ear to all God's commands to us, He will give a listening ear to all our petitions to him.
  • If, on the other hand, we turn a deaf ear to His precepts, He will be likely to turn a deaf ear to our prayers.
A couple other quotes that made me think:
  • When we least feel like praying in the time that we most need to pray. We should wait quietly before God and tell him how cold and prayerless our hearts are, and look up to Him and trust Him and expect Him to send the Holy Spirit to warm our hearts and draw them out in prayer.
  • One of the great needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things, but pray on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord. That is praying THROUGH!
  • To abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life of our own and to give up trying to think our thoughts, or form our resolutions, or cultivate our feelings, and simply and constantly look to Christ to think His thoughts in us, to form His purposes in us and to feel His emotions and affections in us.
  • A selfish purpose in prayer, robs prayer of power.
  • When returning to God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to first thank Him for the blessings already granted. If we actually realized how many of our prayers have been answered that we NEVER went back and thanked God for, we would be horrified!
There were 4 other really important ideas in this little book that I will blog about later in separate posts:
  1. Praying in the name of Jesus.
  2. Knowing the will of God.
  3. The Word/Prayer Connection.
  4. Hindrances to Prayer.
Coming Soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Short Term Spritual Memory

I have loved going through Exodus again this week! In Exodus 14, we find the POWERFUL story of Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea in a miraculous move of God. The seabed is dried out by the wind, everyone gets across and then their enemies are swallowed up and washed away! God did that for them.

Then, in Exodus 15, we find a song of deliverance! Thanks, God! You did it! The horse and the rider fell into the sea, you are a great God and we are going to sing about it for an entire chapter!

[Enter doubt, sin, complaining, petty thinking and the lies of the enemy.]

The song of deliverance and praise ends at 15:21.

15:22- the Israelites travel and get thirsty.

15:23- they found water but it tasted bitter.

15:24- they start doubting God, questioning Moses and complaining!

Are you serious?!?! Really?!?!

God delivers you from slavery, stops the water for you to cross it, defeats your enemies, rescues you and loves you...and you forget in 2.5 verses?!?! THAT is some short term spiritual memory!

God, please help us to remember what you have done for us. May we give you praise, credit and the benefit of the doubt that you are always good and always faithful. When you show up and meet us on Wednesday, help us not to doubt you on Thursday.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

GREAT MESSAGE! "Lies We Believe" by Ed Stetzer

If you love the church and have the time, watch this message. An outstanding word!

Lies We Believe: Pt. 6 from Ed Stetzer on Vimeo.

The Older the Book...(Anointing and Memories)

This is surely not an absolute statement, but I am certainly beginning to wonder if there is some truth here...

The older the book, the more anointed and powerful the content! (Note that I am referring mainly to older Christian writers, writing about matters of faith and spiritual discipline.)

Let me explain...before leaving on Sabbatical, I went through my library and gathered books on personal spiritual growth that I would use to supplement my Bible reading!! I refused to bring any books with me about church, ministry or leadership. I've had enough of that over the last few years. Time for me to be more concerned with growing me than growing the church. God will grow His church! I gathered what books I owned that met this criteria, I noticed that quite a number of them were written-in-1900-old. The pages were no longer white, instead they were creamish-yellow! I though that was noteworthy, then otherwise shrugged it off.

Well, over the last few weeks I have been reading books like this:

And this:

Tonight or tomorrow I will finish up this (I will be blogging about it later...great book!!):

I just could not help but notice that these books were all:
  • So Word-centered!
  • Free of churchy stuff, technology, technique, political jargon, etc.
  • They seemed to be written under strong anointing. Meaning, I would read stuff and just have to stop and re-read, think, cry or pray! That does not happen too often with many of the books that I seem to read.
  • Oldies but goodies??
Oh and a BIG THANK YOU to people like:
  • Lew Good, who gave me many books from his Library in 1998 before I left for college!
  • David Eshleman, who also gave me many books during our years of working together.
  • My Parents, who have bought or given me many books over the years!
  • My Grandfather, "Pop" who was an avid reader and after he passed, I cuffed many of his books! In fact, "How to Pray" that I am reading now and that is pictured above was his!
As a matter of fact, this is the note written in the front of it. The book was given to him by the late Ron Fenwick who died in a plane crash. I blogged about him HERE! You can always click the photos to enlarge:

And inside of the book I found this 28 year old love note that my oldest Sister, Joeley wrote to her "Pop"...the book probably has not been cracked open for 28 years:

Well, these are just some musings that are dear to me this evening.

God be glorified!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Follow Your Heart


I have heard people say these types of statements more times than I can count:
  • "Follow your Heart."
  • "Do what you are feeling."
  • "You need to do what you feel is best for you."
I understand that people mean it harmlessly and in the best intention most of the time. However, I object to this thinking and submit that it is dangerous. I think that the intentions are pure, but the outcome can be deadly. Here is what I mean.

The Bible says this:
  • "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jer. 17:9 Why would we follow something that is deceitful. Is your heart without sin? We might as well follow some demons.
  • "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3 We need to subject our next moves to GOD, not ourselves...and the Bible says that we will succeed.
  • "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9
So, my theory is this...

Do NOT follow your heart. Follow your God. Walk with him and aim to please him, NOT yourself!!! Instead of following your heart, follow God's heart for you, which is revealed all over the Bible!!

Then, we can say as Paul....

"Follow me as I follow Christ!" I Cor. 11:1

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Let me share with you one of the strongest lessons that I have learned over the last month:

God is ready for me to be with Him!!! Any place. Any time. Any mood. Any circumstance. Any state. Any country. Any reason. He is ALWAYS ready for us!

Been really appreciating a Steven Curtis Chapman song recently called "It's All Yours". From London to Africa to the sun and the moon and the depths of the ocean's all yours God!!

One of my few goals for this sabbatical was to develop spiritual habits of seeking God that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I have spent more quality and quantity time with God in the last 5 weeks than ever before!

But here's more to this lesson:

In a recent conversation with my friend Jaye, I was telling her how powerful it was (and seemingly easier) to find God in the Colorado mountains. Her response was: "Colorado is beautiful but you really can see him everywhere, you just have too slow down and look". Now, THAT is some good preaching.

I have met God on a bench in Colorado Springs. On a hill In Monument. At a local coffee shop near the place we are renting. Behind my steering wheel one rainy morning last week. Not wanting to go far from my Babies this morning (because we are in a rough side of town), I spent powerful time with God on a curb in Albuquerque. I found Him here. And he found me.

Jesus wants to be with you!! Wherever you are at...geographically, emotionally, physically, financially, mentally or spiritually. Stop! Greet him!! And invite him to sit with you or walk with you!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Interesting Spin on Forgiveness!

At the Ascent Conference a few weeks ago I heard Doug Weiss (A Nationally recognized Counselor) speak on the topic of forgiveness. He shared something like this:

Would you rather be:
  1. Forgiven and Sick OR
  2. Forgiven and Healed?
I John 1:9 says this: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

So, confess to God. An independent and private confession approach and you will indeed be forgiven! Cleansed, but not necessarily healed or accountable to change, but certainly forgiven!

On the other hand, James 5:16 says these powerful words: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."

So, confessing to God in a given. But, confession to others is not always so easy for us. Instead of an independent forgiveness approach, this one is more interdependent within community. But, in doing so, the Bible says that we will not only be forgiven, but we will be forgiven and healed!! ...and accountable for that matter...because they know now!

So, I leave you with that same question again:

Forgiven and sick?


Forgiven and healed?

Your call.

I think that it's super important that we involve (trusted) others in our journey of forgiveness and accountability!

What do you think? Weigh in.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This is my prayer!

I first prayed this prayer on June 8th (in tears). I have prayed it many times since. It seems to be the prayer of my heart these few months. Today, I felt I should share it with you. Maybe some of you need to pray it with me. May we pursue God!

Oh God, I have tasted your goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. Oh God, the Triune God, I want to want you; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me your glory I pray, so that I may know you indeed.

Father, I want to know you, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. Please root from my heart anything that I have cherished that has become a very part of my living self so that you may enter and live in my heart without a rival!
Begin in mercy a new work of love in me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then, give me the grace to rise up and follow you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

(Adopted from "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer)