Tag Archives: God

Perspective

Life is all a matter of perspective.  I’m learning this more and more each day.  While I tend to think of myself as a smart, educated man – I have quickly realized that education doesn’t mean you understand the real values in life – those things that really matter.

This week I have had some great opportunities.  Wednesday night Cyndi and I participated in our church wide community group.  During the summer we are meeting together as a church every other week, enjoying a meal together and then breaking into groups of eight or so to discuss the topic of the night.  This week’s topic was “greed”.  While that might not sound like a fun topic to talk about, we had a really good conversation with seven others about how greed can/does creep into our daily lives – sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.  Focusing on Matthew 6:19-20: 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,   where moths and vermin destroy,   and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,   where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Last year we had an opportunity to travel with 14 friends to Cartagena, Colombia.  There we met some wonderful people.  One of those new friends is Alex Rocha.  Alex has a heart for God and for people.  Over the past year Alex has been planning and preparing to start a ministry to local youths.  This week, City Church Tallahassee committed to helping Alex financially with his ministry – along with regular spiritual guidance, training and encouragement!  Here are some photos of Alex’s new youth center:

While this may not seem like much to you or I, this is the beginning of a ministry to youths in the San Fransisco neighborhood in Cartagena!

I also had the opportunity to talk with a new friend today – Ricky Love.  Ricky is the pastor of a non traditional church plant in Richmond, Virginia called Matthew’s Table.  Ricky works with people that most of us would rather not be around.  Ricky has found enough love in his heart for the very people that need a whole lot of love!  Here’s a picture of some of the work he is doing:

Back to perspective.  Sometimes when I think I’ve got it bad, that nothing is going my way, that everyone else gets all the breaks in life, that maybe I should just give up and do something else, I’m reminded of friends like these.  And reminded that God really is good.  All the time.  To me.  And as I look at sunrises like the one at the top of this post, I’m reminded that God’s mercies are new everyday to me – and I’m thankful for them!

 

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Coincidence?

I am constantly in awe of the beauty of creation.  This time of day is one of my favorites.  To view the waves, the sunset, the nature and to consider how it looks and acts the way it does can be confounding.

A friend regularly calls me and arranges a time to get together – sometimes with a group of other men and sometimes just the two of us.  Today was one of those times we got together.  It’s a time where we drink coffee, catch up with life and our families, encourage each other and generally laugh a lot!

During our conversation my friend asked me about our finances.  He knows our life story and knows the season of life we are currently experiencing.  He knows we have stepped out in faith in a manner that is beyond his imagination (and sometimes ours)!  As I shared with him some details and some of the crazy things that have happened to keep us going, I was quick to  acknowledge I don’t believe at all it is a coincidence.  I firmly believe that God has provided all we have, as we need it, when we need it and only what we need.  My friend gets it.  He understands.  While he has never questioned our faith, I know he has wondered if it was genuine and real.  I’m convinced God uses examples like this, uses our story to impact other lives.  I know it has impacted my friend.

I don’t really believe in coincidences.  Just as the sun rises and sets each day, I know God is in complete control.  I’ve got to believe Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 


Indecision or Waiting

I intended to write a short post about envy – since our community group discussed envy this week and it was fresh in my thoughts.

But yesterday and today I’ve been thinking more about our future than envy.  If you’ve followed my posts you know we have taken a path that is most unusual and certainly seems to defy logic and maybe even prudence.  But we know beyond a doubt that it really is God who directs our paths and feel confident in letting Him!

As hard as we might try to fix things and to help God with His plan,  today I’m reminded that He is sovereign.

Here’s a short quote from a devotional, “Jesus Calling”:  “Trust Me to show you what to do when you have finished what you are doing now.  I will guide you step by step, as you bend your will to Mine.  Thus you stay close to Me on the path of Peace.”

Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”


Pride, Forgiveness, Grace

We’ve been trying to spend more time at Mexico Beach lately. Even though we are almost 4 1/2 hours away, it’s worth every minute of the nine hour round trip! As you can tell from some of my recent posts, we spend quite a bit of our time there early in the morning and late in the evening. This gives us ample time to be in awe of God’s creation! Here’s another recent photo of one of our evenings:

I think one of the reasons I like being in the middle of such awesome reminders is that I need reminded of grace. Sometimes I have a hard time with forgiveness. And my difficulty with forgiveness is nothing but pride on my part. And that’s why I need to be reminded of grace, and love, and mercy. And when I’m reminded of these things, my pride is reduced and I’m humbled by the thought of His love.


Views From a Few Days Away

Taking the time to get away is healthy.  Too often in my life I haven’t really done this.  I’ve been guilty of trying to put four days of relaxation into two days and although it has been good, it wasn’t what it could have been.

Cyndi and I spent some time at Mexico Beach last week.  We  would move there in a flash if circumstances made it possible.  It’s a beautiful stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast – largely undeveloped with sugar white sand!  Most beachgoers cleared out by 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. and as we walked and watched the sunsets we had long stretches of coast just to ourselves!

Here are some pics Cyndi captured on our first full day of enjoying it all:

  

This is a great setting to reflect, to talk, to dream, to just enjoy creation!  I’m glad we had the chance to experience this time together.  God uses His handiwork to remind us of His glory and we were reminded in a huge way on this trip!  I’ll get some more pics up soon along with some thoughts that not only bounced around in our heads but were verbalized by both of us!


Recent Thoughts

Without making this post too long, here are a few thoughts that are bouncing around inside my head the past few days:

Responsibility doesn’t equal influence.  Had a really good conversation with a friend this week about this statement.  He was spot on  in saying it.  Too often we confuse the two or even try to equate the two.  Both are important but they can be independent of each other.  Organizations need both.  Sometimes I think I would rather be an influencer.

God answers prayers.  I have been praying for a number of years that God would allow me to be a part of a big movement of His.  Easter He answered my prayers!  Cyndi and I have been volunteering and attending at City Church Tallahassee since January 2011.  We have witnessed God grow the attendance at worship services to over 800 on a weekly basis.  Anticipating a really bit crowd on Easter, City Church rented the Tallahassee Civic Center.  Approximately 4,000 people showed up for the service!  Hundreds of people indicated they decided to become a Christ follower that day!  Check out the music and the message here http://t.co/3ipubZdG

Here’s a view of that day:

Seasons of Life.  We have been in one of the most unusual seasons of life ever the past 16 months!  Literally pouring our life, our time, our resources, ourselves into new friends and City Church Tallahassee.  It has been a great journey!  Is it just beginning?  Is it over?  Waiting on answers can be a hard thing.  One thing we both know – 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11.

 


The Circle Maker

I recently finished reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  I have been a fan of his writings since the first time I read In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.  His life, his faith, his teachings – all seem so simple when you read his words.  Yet they have had a powerful impact on my own life, faith and I hope my teachings.  The Circle Maker begins with the sharing of the true legend of Honi the circle maker, a first century Jewish sage whose bold prayer ended a drought and saved a generation.

This book on prayer has been especially challenging to me.  Prayer is not new to me.  I have understood the premise of prayer for a long time.  We recently had a discussion on the Lord’s Prayer in our community group that blended with this book well.  Cyndi and I have had numerous conversations over the past few weeks about prayer – what it is, what it isn’t, why God answers some and it seems He doesn’t answer others, how we pray, where we pray and even why we pray.

Most of my life I have been hesitant to pray specifically for personal things.  When our daughter was in ICU for months after her birth 24 years ago, it was hard to pray for certain things – simply because we were afraid of the outcome.  When the complications surrounding the pregnancy and birth of our son 20 years ago presented another opportunity for specific prayers – it was hard.

It’s easier for us to pray specifically for others.  Cyndi and I stood beside the hospital bed of a friend in 2009 and prayed that God would deliver her twins healthy, with no complications for mom or babies – when doctors where discussing things that weren’t so positive.  We prayed, believing that not only God would hear us but that He would act on our prayers – and He did!

Later in 2009 I gathered some friends together on Saturday mornings and we walked an empty field, praying for the kids who would one day play on that land.  Praying they would be surrounded by the love of God and would come to have a personal relationship with Him – specifically for kids I don’t know and probably will never meet.

Batterson suggests that sometimes our prayers seem to go unanswered because we are so vague in our conversations with God.  I’m committed to stop being vague.  I’m committing to bringing specific prayers before Him.

This week my prayer life changed.  I have become more specific.  I have become more intense.  I have become more consistent.  I have become more bold.  And not just for myself.

I’m reminded of Psalms 84:11 – a verse many of us know and recognize: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

It’s time for me to start claiming more of the promises of God.  Circling them if you will.  And not just praying for them, but praying through them!