Monday, November 30, 2009

God's Hand or God's Face?

Dear Lord, help me with ___________.

Dear Jesus, heal my ____________.

Dear God, I need ____________.

Dear Lord, please help me accomplish _____________.

Dear God, I need money for _____________.

I've been thinking a lot recently about this question:

Are we more interested in seeking the face of God or the hand of God?

The hand of God are the things that he has for me and the things that I want him to do for me out of his great power and grace.

The face of God is his presence, his majesty, his telling the Lord how amazing he is with no strings attached. Praise. Worship. Adoration. Thanksgiving.

Here's my theory for what it's worth:

The more that we seek the face of God, the more we will receive what's in his hand.

And the more we seek the hand of God, the easier it is to forget about his face...which may lead to him closing his fist.

I'm not saying it is wrong to present you requests to God. It's biblical. But, do not neglect the first thing...

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...." (Start with praise.)

"...give us today our daily bread." (Then, ask for your bread.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful and Not so Thankful

A friend of mine, TJ Reid, blogged today about what he is NOT thankful for. I thought it was a neat perspective.

Here are a few things that I am NOT so thankful for today:
  • Senseless violence in our cities.
  • People that are going hungry while others overfill.
  • People who have kids, abuse and neglect them and today they are lost and unwanted.
  • The many people still in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • That people I love continually choose flesh over spirit.
  • Brokenness, sin and the evil attacks of the enemy on people's lives.
And here are some things that I AM thankful for this Thanksgiving:
  • Jesus, my Savior, my King, my Friend. I would be totally and utterly lost without Him as the leader of my life!
  • Tricia Kaye! He that finds a wife (like this) finds a really, really, really, really good thing.
  • Davis Kaye! This young man is filling our heart and home with joy like we could have never imagined.
  • All our family. Blessed beyond measure.
  • Capital Christian Fellowship!! What a fantastic community to live with and serve the Lord with. Awesome church!!
  • The increase in spiritual intimacy with the Father in 2009. Greater closeness to the heart of God than I have ever felt before in 3 decades of life!
The Lord is an amazing God! Won't you take time to thank him today?

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Take it Back" by ASON (New Video Release)

The Myth of More (My Message 11/22/09)

1. Having more will make me HAPPY. “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income…” Ecclesiastes 5:10

2. Having more will make me IMPORTANT. "Then he said to them, be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

3. Having more will make me SECURE. “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.” Proverbs 18:11

Exploding the Myth for More:

RESIST comparing what I have with others. 2 Corinthians 10:12

REJOICE in what I do have. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

RETURN the first ten percent back to God. Malachi 3:7, 10

RELY on God for my daily needs. Proverbs 30:8,9

REFOCUS my life of eternal things. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Skills with the Bills (My Message 11/15/09)

Principles to help develop skills with bills (dollar bills and/or bills that come in the mail that you you owe, but feel like shredding):


“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33


“The wicked borrow and do not repay.” Psalm 37:21

--The principle of COTENTMENT: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” Hebrews 13:5


“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35


“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

“I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” Psalm 119:60

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cheap Grace

Pastor Nelson really brought some provoking material to our Small Group Training this morning. This week I will blog some of it. Here is one segment. Check this out:

In his attempt to bring a balance between two realities in the life of a Christian, Dietrich Bonheoffer talks about costly grace versus cheap grace. He writes, "Grace is represented as the church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost!" The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of us using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap? Bonheoffer concludes that cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the incarnation of the Word of God.

I am more and more convinced that true discipleship is VERY expensive and more and more concerned that people think it is cheap. God help us take walking with you seriously!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Intense Seasons

Ministry is intense. Really intense. Life is intense! And it comes in seasons. When it rains it pours. This week has been one of the most intense weeks of ministry that I have had in a year or two. Emergencies, late nights, heavy stuff. I am sure that you can relate to this, but, I feel overwhelmed sometimes when I have to juggle it all. The very fact that there is a lot to deal with forces you to neglect other important things (like God and family) making life even more stressful.

Here are some of the things that I am learning about intense seasons that I wanted to share with you mid-sentence:
  • They often sneak up on us. We usually quickly find ourselves carrying a heavy load and wonder how much more we can handle.
  • And since intense seasons sneak up on us, they can rarely be prepared for.
  • So, you take into these tough weeks, that which you have gleaned from the previous lighter weeks.
  • WHICH is why it is so important that we are seeking the Lord at all times and spending time in his word and in his presence. In doing so, you are carrying with you an anointing and a strength that without it, you may snap.
  • During an intense season, you need to put off everything that can be put off. Do not create false deadlines for yourself that only add to the pressure you are already under.
  • Finally, create a "light at the end of the tunnel" for yourself. DECIDE that you are taking 2 days off the next week. Or go on an overnight trip. Or separating from your pressure points for at least 48 hours. Form a goal or a break to look forward to. Personally, I need that right now and am planning to take off the first 3 days of next week leading up to Thanksgiving. Next week, I'm about to get missing! I need the break.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The only 3 things that only you can do!

There are many things that we all balance and juggle in our lives. The big question is this: how many of the most important things are being neglected or short changed for things less important things?

Yesterday, while I was at the Catalyst One Day Conference, I heard Craig Groeschel share this thought. I think that it's pretty powerful.

There are ONLY 3 things that ONLY you can do:
  1. Only you can be the husband to your wife or the wife to your husband. You cannot appoint or hire anyone else to do that job!
  2. Only you can be a parent to your child. Sure, they may have another parent or guardian, but only YOU can be Mom or Dad to your kids.
  3. Only you can seek God for you. No one else can learn the word for you, say your prayers for you or develop intimacy with the father on your behalf. That is all you!
Everything else that you do...someone else can do it. Someone else can do your job. You are replaceable. Someone else can do almost any other thing that you do...those things that seem so important to you.

Here's the problem: we get this twisted, think more highly of ourselves than we ought to and we forget the most important things in our lives while we stay busy trying to get ahead. I don't know about you, but at my funeral, I want to hear you say that I loved me wife like crazy, loved my kids like crazy and loved my God with an undying love. Honestly, I could care less what else is said, what church I built, what ministry I did, what books I write or what degrees I hold.

Are there some things in your life that need to become lower priorities so that family and God become the priority they are supposed be?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Decide or let them decide?

While attending a seminar today, the leader, Mervin Charles made a profound point about parenting. Here is the key statement:

“It takes a very different skill set to be a good parent of a small child than it does to be a good parent of a teenager.”

Now, read that again.

I personally know people who say, "I am good with babies." I know other people who say, "I am terrible with teens." And vice versa! You know, this may be old fashioned, but with a baby or toddler, the main priority is the outcome. You care about development. But, you tell them what to do so that the outcome is safe and best for the child.

As children grow and become older, outcome still remains important, but the value of their development really rises! There may be times when you have to dictate the outcome, but there are many times when they need to try, make mistakes, learn and develop the ability to make wise decisions that you are not dictating. Development involves them making some decisions on their own.

Some people are better at telling kids what to do than they are at letting them figure it out. As with all things, finding the balance is so important.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How do you get the word out?

One of the things that I love about my role in ministry is that I get to hear about it. It. Whatever it is, I often get to hear about it. The good, bad and the ugly. Well, there is no ugly at CCF. Ahem. the close our Executive Board meeting tonight, Pastor Nelson and I just took some time to share some ministry wins. As we shared, it dawned on me again...

How do we get the word out?

How can we start to let more stories be heard.

There IS stuff happening. There IS life change happening. There ARE powerful stories all around us. I hear them. We see them. Some can't be public for various reason. But, many can! We need to get the word out.

How do we get the word out? In what meaningful and creative ways have you seen churches effectively tell the stories of life change happening among them? Leave a thought if you have one.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pastor Dave

Today, I had the privilege of sharing the officiating of a funeral with my predecessor and friend, Pastor David Eshleman. Pastor Dave served as the Senior Pastor of CCF before I did. Every time I am with him, I am challenged to grow. Tonight, I just have to thank God for him.

If you know Dave Eshleman at all, you know that he is the polar opposite of self seeking. He is meek, humble, gentle and caring. He will not be thrilled when he finds out that I wrote this blog. But, he'll forgive me. Pastor Dave has qualities that all by themselves remind me of my need for more of Jesus!
  • He leaks scripture all the time. He has hidden it in his heart, but just deep enough that he can dig it up and quote it...text, chapter and verse with relative ease.
  • He drips Jesus. The brother is as Christocentric as anyone I have ever met. Jesus is clearly his first love.
  • He loves people. He cares about anyone he knows. I watched him "Pastor" people all over the place today in the few hours he was among us. Remembers details, follows up on things you have told him, asks questions, listens and actually cares about what you are telling him.
I don't write these things to score any brownie points. I have nothing to gain here other than to honor one of the leaders in my life that I am thankful for tonight. He has made a difference in me. It is not every day that a current and previous pastor can share the type of relationship that we do. So beautiful.

But the main reason that I share these things is to issue a challenge to each of us to strive for a pure heart, a passion for the scriptures, a love for the Lord Jesus and an intentional love for people that leaks out you walk in a room. If you fill up with Jesus, you will leak Jesus. If you fill up with other stuff, then you will leak.....well.....other stuff!
Pastor Dave is also an author (book pictured above) and church consultant. You can click HERE to buy his book.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Redemptive Church

I like this guy and I like what he is saying. His name is Jim Burgen and he is the Lead Pastor of Flatirons Community Church in Colorado. Check it out if you've got 9. Good stuff. (My favorite line: "Sometimes life sucks at the Pastor's house"!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Shift in Thinking

Let me share a lesson that I am learning and relearning regularly. In fact, I feel like I had to relearn this again today! Some of us need a shift in our thinking.

It is really easy to get caught up, focused on and frustrated with:
  • What I cannot change.
  • What I wish were different.
  • What I do not know.
  • What I cannot do.
  • What I am not hearing.
  • What I cannot figure out.
  • What I do not understand.
We are limited. You are finite. I am under development. We see dimly. Let's just accept that. It was not a part of the plan for us to be divine. If we get added into the divinity mix, there is no longer a trinity.

I think the Lord would want us to be more intentional about focusing our energy and attention on:
  • What we can change.
  • What I do know.
  • What is good.
  • What I can do.
  • What I am hearing what I can figure out.
  • What I do understand.
  • What I can offer.
God has built plenty into you. Use it. Focus on who you are and who you are not. What you have, not what you lack. What you can give, not what you need.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Holidays are HERE!

Last night, Davis and Tricia and I went and walked the Annapolis Mall. It is free fun (if you don't buy things). And there is a cool play area for Davis. Well, to our surprise, the Mall had Christmas decorations up! November 7th! And Starbucks has released their red cups! And Christmas carols were playing in the speakers. You know what this means? The Holidays are upon us. The temperatures are cold and we are now counting down in weeks.

The last 6 weeks of the year are my favorite time of the year. I am getting excited already. Great time for reflecting on old memories and making new ones, enjoying old traditions and starting new ones, family, food, festivities. Just a GREAT time of the year. And although it is early November, I am getting excited already!

Hope you are too. Commit to make this a joyful season and put the Lord, Jesus Christ at the head of it all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shootings at Ft. Hood

I am saddened by the shootings at Ft. Hood. Just adds to the growing sense of unrest in the hearts of people in our land. Lives being taken and violence being expressed grieves God's heart. This morning, Tricia read me Mark 13:5-11. It spoke to us.

Today, the families and friends of the victims are having it sink in deeper than yesterday. Yesterday contained too much shock, denial and adrenaline. Pray for these folks today.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

4 Year Old Financial Management Lesson

One of the Pastors blogs that I follow is Steven Furtick, Pastor of Elevation Church in NC. Take a moment to watch his 4 year old son, Elijah teach on stewardship.

Elijah Offering Video from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

One Decision That Can Change Your Life!!

I hesitated writing this, but I am going to! If you read this blog very often, you know that if I am going to error, it will be on the side of transparency, not secrecy.

I disobeyed the Lord for the last 10-12 years of my life. Period. He has been telling me in hundreds of different ways over the last 10 years that I need to get up in the early morning and be with him. I am driven, task oriented, busy and committed by nature. I go, go, go. Ever since I was a teenager, I have fit God into my days wherever I could. Or not. Many times not. I knew he lived in my heart, so I would justify not spending specific and dedicated time in his presence each day. Sometimes I did mornings. Sometimes afternoons. Sometimes evenings. Sometimes not at all. I heard him say over and over and over..."GET UP IN THE EARLY MORNING AND PUT ME FIRST! Then, you can go, go, go all day in MY strength and not your own."

Well, I began that June 1. 2009, the day that my Sabbatical started. And I ain't slowed down yet! Time with Jesus (1 to 2 hours) comes FIRST in my day!

Here is my theory...Take it or leave it. I think that there is one decision that has the power to drastically change your life. Are you ready? It is profound. Drum roll please....


Early enough to get up early enough to be with Jesus. Do it every day. Then, your life will never be the same again. One decision. Life changed. Period!

Do the math. Everyone's numbers and times will differ, but here's an example of the thought process:

Time needed to eat breakfast and get ready: 1 hour
Time needed to be with Jesus: 1 hour
Time needed to workout or other responsibility: 30 mins
Time needed for commute: 30 mins
Total time needed in the morning= 3 hours

Time expected at work= 8:30am

8:30am-3hours= 5:30am

Amount of sleep needed= 7.5 hours

Time I need to be asleep= 10:00pm

Time I need to go to bed= 9:45pm

If you think you are a "night person" and will not be able to go to bed that early, I dare you to try getting up at 5:30am for one week and see how tired you are at 9:45pm. Try it. You might be surprised.

Note: I have heard a thousand excuses about why this will not work. I used most of them myself. I buy few of them. The answer to a dedicated and consistent quiet time for the MAJORITY of people is in this blog post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dr. Taylor's Advice for Young Preachers

This man and this word are both powerful and anointed!

Pride or Insecurity?

For quite some time now, I have been testing this theory. Things are not always as they seem. What looks and sounds like one thing could be something very different than you think.

Here is an example:

What seems like pride is often insecurity. And what seems like insecurity of often pride.

Pride: I may ACT like I got it all together and know it all to cover up for the fact that I do not know JACK and am insecure about it. I may come across arrogant. I may look like I am as confident as a lion, but I may actually struggle tremendously with a low self-image and live my every day deeply concerned about what people think of me!

On the flip side...

Insecurity: I may ACT insecure and unsure of myself or draw attention to my "issues" all the time because I really think that it's all about me! That is pride! If I live my life primarily focused on what everyone thinks of ME because I want to look good to everyone, I am actually self-focused and prideful.

So, remember that things are not always as they seem. People are complex. Issues can run deep. And it is our role as believers to be intuitive and sensitive into the real heart of a person, not just what we see and hear on the outside.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Favorite iPhone Apps

Every now and then, I enjoy sharing about things that I like/enjoy. It is no secret that I dig my iPhone. First of all, it's an Apple. Second, it has been exceedingly helpful for me to have everything in one device. It has helped me be loads more productive, efficient and organized. In this $199 device is my:
  • Phone
  • Bible
  • Calendar (syncing with Google Calendar online)
  • Task List
  • Email (linked to all my mail accounts)
  • Camera (3 mega pixel)
  • Notes (yellow stickies)
  • iPod
  • iTunes
  • Google Maps
  • GPS
  • Calculator
  • Weather
  • Alarm Clock
  • Stopwatch
  • Timer
  • Text Messaging (and MMS)
  • News Apps (ABC, USA Today, CNN, AP)
  • Facebook
  • Internet
  • YouTube
  • Skype
  • Twitter Apps
  • Compass
  • Voice recorder
  • Tip Calculator
  • Discovery Channel
  • Recipe Finder
  • Address Book
  • Loads of games
  • Google Earth
  • Metro Map
  • Carigslist Mobile
  • Photo Editing Program
  • Bank of America
  • Budget Tracker
  • Starbucks Mobile
  • Much, much, more...I will stop there though.
Here are my five favorite Apps:
  1. YouVersion Bible. Sweet Bible interface with many versions and other interactive tools. Free!
  2. Tweetie 2. Of all the twitter apps I tried, this is the best! And the sounds are so cool.
  3. Google Maps. Search for restaurants, addresses, map your trip, use it as GPS, study the map, etc. Sweet! We really loved it when we went cross country. And free.
  4. Facebook. Full Facebook functionality on the go. Free. Enough said.
  5. Shazam. Hear a song you like? Hold your iPhone up to the radio for 5-10 seconds and it tells you the name and artist. Click "buy now" and it starts downloading it to your phone through iTunes. Total process: 30 seconds. From anywhere anytime. Kinda cool.

Calculated Attacker

"The Devil made me do it!" "The enemy is attacking me." These and other similar statements carry several different issues with them. They call the enemy out for the evildoer that he is. But, they also give him quick attention or credit and if we are not careful, can take the responsibility off of YOU and YOUR poor choices, and sin that Jesus wants out of your life. Because, In Christ, there is power over darkness.

That said, the longer I live and the more closely I walk with Christ, the more apparent the tactics and patterns of the enemy become. Just like demons related to and recognized Jesus, Jesus recognized and spoke to them too! That is deep...let me keep to my point...

I think that Satan is a calculated attacker. He is a precision attacker. He is strategic in where and how he tempts us and attacks us. Oh, and HE IS A LOSER! Here is what I am seeing recently:
  • If someone is strong physically and emotionally, he will attack and rob them spiritually.
  • If someone is growing spiritually, he may attack them emotionally or financially.
  • If someone is experiencing blessing financially, he may attack them relationally.
  • Or, like in my story...if someone is growing increasing spiritually, the enemy will attack them physically. Recently, I feel that my physical body has been under attack. In trying to do good, I hit the wall of aches, pains, and physical discouragement.
This reality just reinforces and drives home for me how badly I need to put on the WHOLE armor of God. The battles we fight are NOT against flesh and blood, people or backs, but they are against the forces of darkness that JESUS OVERCOMES!!!! Ephesians 6:10-20

There is victory in Jesus! Take that to the bank!

Looking for Jesus in all things,


Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Download

Here are a few randomly disconnected thoughts on my mind today:
  • I am thankful to see the sun out today. Oh, and it was great to have it get light earlier this morning. Made getting going a lot easier.
  • I have an issue with my spine. A bulging disc and a herniated disc. I try to ignore it, but it is boldly reminding me of it's existence recently. Today, it is killing me! Friday I start Physical Therapy. Welcome prayers for this.
  • I am looking to help a friend of mine find a decent car for under $2,000. Let me know if you are aware of one.
  • This Sunday morning, I'll be speaking at a Men's conference/event in DC. I will be spending some time this week finalizing that message. Praying that I say what God wants me to say. It is always a unique challenge when you don't really know your audience.
  • CCF'rs--This Sunday is the last Sunday to nominate candidates for the Executive Board 2010. Drop your suggestions in the box this Sunday.
  • I just have to give the Lord praise again for the great offerings that we have had recently! We exceeded budget for the month of October!!! Praise the Lord!
  • My heart and thoughts are heavily focused on God's plan for CCF for 2010. The next 8 weeks are going to be intentionally focused in that direction. I invite your prayers for wisdom and clarity.
Looking forward to a great week! I hope yours is!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Balancing Confidence and Humility

If we struck a balance between a Godly confidence and a Godly Humility…learned to walk in both, it would be an absolutely powerful Jesus type of spirit! Confidence and humility are not opposites or contradictory, but rather hand in hand and a powerful combination for a high impact Christian!

Here are some more of my thoughts from this morning's message:

There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. And there is also a difference between being humble and being pitiful. Confidence and Humility…I have long desired to figure out the balance between these 2 things as a Christian:

In Psalm 51, David gives us a great example of the dance between confidence and humility. Click here to read the whole Psalm.

Basically, David writes this Psalm after committing adultery with Bathsheba. Kinda goes like this:

Humility: God, I messed up please forgive me. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me.

Confidence: I will teach people, they will respond, we will do this, we can do that…

Humility: But the only sacrifice that you desire is a broken and contrite heart.

Confidence: Make Zion prosper, rebuild the walls of Jerusalem...

My short version of the whole Psalm: I am not going to walk around BEATEN UP because I SCREWED UP, but I am going to MOVE UP to the place that you have for me…with a broken and contrite heart!

And then there is this key verse:

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Confidence, when properly placed (through Christ) can really lead to incredible humility. Leonard Sweet calls this a Jesus Spirit….the bringing together of these 2 powerful dynamics! It is an emptying AND filling!!!

Remember, humility is NOT putting yourself down. And humility is NOT denying your strengths. It is honestly accepting your weaknesses. You strengths are gifts from the Lord, and to reject the gift is to reject the giver.

The key to a big head is a big heart. The solution to a big head is a Jesus Spirit!