Friday, June 29, 2007

People Who Have Shaped Me

I got to thinking about all the people who have shaped my life over the last 54 years. Michael Wells said we are all just a collection of fingerprints from other people. I agree. This list is by no means exhaustive but lists some of the key people
1954-1968
• My Dad and Mom and Sisters
1968-1972
• Bud Hinkson – My spiritual Father…led me to Jesus Christ…saved on 11.03.68
• Charlie Powell – discipled me in high school
• Charles Ryrie – Helped direct my path to Bible College
• Bill Bright - Taught me about evangelism and discipleship
• John Riggs – Introduced me to FBC
• Doug Kauffman, Dave Kowalke, ASL Classmates
1972- 1976
• Mike Otto – Super cool youth leader
• Mike Minter – A funny man and friend
• John Macmurray – A life long friend
• Curtis Hutson – Leading a big church
• Debbie Woodall – The wife of my youth
• Chuck Swindoll – Showed me the gift of communication
1976-1979
• John MacArthur – Teaching the bible verse by verse to 10,000 people wow!
• John Atherton – His love for knowledge and the Word
• Richard Compton – He was a sharp Architect.
• Bob and Sandy Varney – Life long friends…older brother and sister
• Dan and Lynn Kraftson – Good friends along the way
• Ralph Herring – Led to Christ with my dad
1980-1985
• Bill Heavener - Great business leaders
• Pat Byrum
• Jim Seneff
• Howard Dayton
• Pat Morley
1985-1992
• Chuck Swindoll - A mentor
• Jeff Mcmillan - Taught me mission and vision
• Mike and Patti Shaffer & Bill Cronin - Good friends along the way
• Rex Frieze - Taught me administration
• Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest
• Bill Hybels - An incredible leader and pastor
1992-2001
• Ian Thomas – Totally Dependent/Restfully Available
• Rick Warren – Purpose Driven Churchh
• Leon Tucker – Friend and shaped ministry ideas
• Wallace Mitchell – An instrument from the Lord
• Elders of RBC – Part of the wilderness
• Bill Gothard - DARSOFS
• Denise Hirschlein – Counselor and Friend
• Chip Battle - DESIGN
• Ray Linder - MBTI
2001-2007
• Lanny Donoho – Intro. To Andy
• Andy Stanley – Intro. To Bill
• Bill Willits – Best boss I’ve ever had.
• Sean Seay – You’ve Got Style
• Rob Holley – Realtor and friend
• Michael Wells – God’s priority is to remove our kingdom…
• Phil and Sue Engleman…Conversations: False Self/True Self
• David Benner…the gift of being yourself
• Marcus Buckingham…repeatedly, successfully, happily
• Jeff Henderson – 90 Day Focus Tool
• Tommy Newberry – 1% Club
• Fran LaMattina – Friend and Coach
• Boyd Bailey – Radical Mentoring Groups
• All of my Group Life Teammates...John Hambrick
• All of my men’s groups…2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
I am so grateful for the way that the Lord has led my life...through the good, bad, hard and ugly times. He was/is with us all the way. Who has shaped your life? Who are the major fingerprints?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bitterness - Heb.12.15

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Heb.12.15
There was a time in my life when I had a lot of bitterness.
My bitterness came from
1. The ongoing, never ending battles with my Dad about “separation”, new-evangelicalism, the KJV, dispensationalism and his criticisms of every man I loved and respected etc…his first rejection of me was when he “separated from RBC in 1979…against Western Seminary…against Circle Church…1985-1992
2. The false accusations in…1993
3. The ineptness of the Elders…1993-2001
4. People's very bad, people pleasing leadership…1996-2001
My anger turned inward and I was depressed and bitter and hateful
We all experience this at different times and levels…we go through all kinds of bad experiences and unjust treatments…
1. Your father or mother leaves
2. You experience some kind of abuse
3. You face rejection in school
4. You do not get what you deserved
5. Something is stolen from you…
6. You are falsely accused
And what happens is we get bitter…a bitter root takes hold and it starts to grow up and then it causes trouble and defiles many
Heb.12.15 says…See to it that no one misses the grace of God and
that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
See to it that…
I. No one misses the grace of God:
1. What is the grace of God?
a. The power and ability to do God’s will and it is always available…
i. 1Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
ii. 2Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
iii. Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
iv. Heb. 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
2. It can be missed…How can it be missed?
a. By not turning to Him and accessing this amazing power
b. By relying on myself…my own strength, power, experience, education etc…
3. How do I get it?
a. By humbling myself before God
b. By choosing His way versus my way in the moment


II. See to it that no bitter root grows up
1. What is bitterness and where does it come from?
a. Anger, hurt or resentment due to one’s bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment…
2. What kind of trouble does it cause?
a. It causes all kind of troubles…it takes root and it grows
b. It causes trouble mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially…
i. Mentally – It messes up my mind and my thoughts. I keep turning over these bad experiences in my head…I play out so many scenarios…I wish others dead etc…
ii. Emotionally – I am filled with anger, rage, vengeance, wrath, hate, sadness, madness, spite, sarcasm
iii. Physically – I can feel it in my body
1. Psa. 31:10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
2. Prov. 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
iv. Spiritually…it affects my relationship and intimacy with God…it provides a stronghold for the devil
1. Eph.4.26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
v. Socially – It defiles many…you can’t wait to tell your story…you can’t wait to bring that person down…everyone around us can feel our hatred, anger and bitterness and it defiles them.
1. Prov. 29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
2. Prov. 22:24-25 - Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.
3. How do I get rid of it?
a. Some people do not want to get rid of it…it feels good to be angry and bitter and to make other people pay…you have to decide that you do not want to live with this bitterness any more…
b. You may need the help of a good counselor…As you tell your story…you must face the truth…
i. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8.34
ii. For a long time I did not want to face the truth of how hurtful all those situations were…finally the counselor asked, how did you feel about your Dad not coming to your church?…I said, “it pissed me off”…that was the first time I faced the truth of that situation
iii. That was one of the first times I got an “equalized soul”…where my emotions matched the thoughts…
iv. I had to fully “own it to disown it”…I had to see it for what it was before I could apply the love and grace of Jesus to the situation…You have to own something to disown it…A lot of times we don’t really own it…we don’t call it what it is…we say things like…he hurt me…he didn’t mean to…he was trying to train me…he’s really a good man…and we don’t own how painful the circumstance really was.
v. You have to grieve and mourn it…I sat and grieved and mourned the loss and rejection I felt from my Dad… mourn it…grieve it…and not push past it too quickly…Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
c. I made a decision that I was going to forgive him and them. I did not want to carry this burden any more…I wanted to be free from it and them
d. On March 9,2003 Andy gave a message on Forgive…I listed all their debts…
i. A long lunch at Carmines
e. I cancelled the debts
f. And every time it came up, I remembered I cancelled the debt.
g. I held on to the truths and God…
i. To make all things beautiful in his time
ii. To bring beauty from ashes
iii. To work all things together for good
iv. To exalt in His time
h. Eventually I prayed a blessing on my offenders…
i. I trusted in the grace and power and strength of the Holy Spirit to live His supernatural and extraordinary life through me…

4. What are the results or blessings from its removal?
a. Freedom…truth will set you free
b. Grace and peace and hope and love and joy from God my Father, His Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
c. No bitterness
d. A mind full of truth and good thoughts
e. Emotions that are the fruit of the Spirit with love and joy and peace and grace and kindness
f. An intimacy with God and praise and thanks for His forgiveness and power.
g. A body that has been free from sickness and pain
h. A sense of being fully alive and free
i. Opportunities to tell others…it does not have to be this way
j. An intensity and focus to live every day free and on purpose

Sunday, June 24, 2007

When My End is Near-Heb.11.22

The other day I was reading Heb.11.22 - By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
I was struck by the phrase, “when his end was near” and the things about which he spoke…the exodus and the instructions of his bones.
It made me wonder about what I will speak when my end is near. What do I want to make sure is said before I depart from this earth?
1. Keep growing in your love relationship and intimacy with our great God and heavenly Father…
• Matt.22.36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
2. Never stop loving and being conformed to the image of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ
• Romans 8.29 - For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…
3. Live in the power and strength and encouragement of the Holy Spirit
• Gal.5.16-18 - So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
4. Never stop delighting in and meditating on the Scriptures, the Word of God
• Psalm 1.1-3 - Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
5. Always take the low place and trust God to exalt you in His time and way
• Luke 14.7-11 - When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
6. Stay in relationship with people…both insiders and outsiders
• Matt.22.39-40 - And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
7. Know who you are and who you aren’t…know your D-E-S-I-G-N
• Psalm 139.13-17 - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
8. Keep living by faith in God and all of His promises and not by sight
• Heb.11.6
9. Keep short accounts with God and people…never stop repenting and/or forgiving
• Acts 24.16
10. Be sure to transfer everything over to the Lord…no rights = no anger
• Phil.2.4-6
11. Journal…your story is a part of “HIS story”…pass on to the next generation
• Psalm 73

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ruth Graham Goes Home

And when I die
I hope my soul ascends
slowly, so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
in the vastness growing smaller
as I rise,
savoring the recession
with delight.
Anticapating joy
is itself joy.
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory
needs more
than "in the twinkling of an eye"
more than "in a moment"
Lord who am I to disagree?
It's only we
have much to leave behind;
so much....Before.
These moments
of transition
will, for me, be
time
to adore.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Billy Graham's Burial

MONTREAT, N.C., June 13, 2007 – “Earlier this spring, after much prayer and discussion, Ruth and I made the decision to be buried beside each other at the Billy Graham Library in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
We have held this decision privately and only decided to announce it now that she is close to going home to heaven.
Ruth is my soul mate and best friend, and I cannot imagine living a single day without her by my side.  I am more in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years ago as students at Wheaton College.
Ruth and I appreciate, more than we can express, the prayers and letters of encouragement we have received from people across the country and around the world. Our entire family has been home in recent days and it has meant so much to have them at our side during this time.  We love each one of them dearly and thank God for them.”

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Principle of the Path-Ps.119.37

On 6/10/07 Andy Stanley taught a series at North Point called, Destinations. In part 1 he taught about the Principle of the Path.
Our DIRECTION determines our DESTINATION
Our ATTENTION determines our DIRECTION.
Psa. 119:37 says, Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
1. Look out 20 years from now. How would you describe your desired destination?
2. What would you say is “grabbing your attention?”
a. Are your eyes on any “worthless things”?
b. To what or to whom should you pay attention?
3. How is our life “preserved according to His Word”?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Do Not Harden Your Heart-Heb.3.7

Heb. 3:7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,  8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert...”
I was thinking do I have a soft or hard heart? I want to live with a soft heart before the Lord.
How does a heart get and stay soft?

By humility, repentance, forgiveness, grace, truth, faith and seeking the Lord on a daily basis.