Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflection and Preparation-Prov.19.21

The habit or practice of reflection has increased and become very important to me over time. I have noticed people are running so fast and not taking the time to sit, think, review, remember and readjust their lifestyles and schedules. With some regular times of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reflection, it can lead to peace, stability and very purposeful living.
The following questions are to get us thinking about this past year and prepare us for “The Best Year Ever.” How am I doing in the major areas of my LIFE, MARRIAGE, FAMILY, WORK and CHURCH?
A. Spirit
1) Do I love God, my Father with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?
2) Am I growing in my intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?
3) Am I living and walking by the Holy Spirit?
4) How is my time in the Scriptures? Am I delighting in and meditating on God’s Word day and night?
5) Do I find myself praying more or less about all things?
6) What 3 spiritual practices generated the greatest benefit?

B. Soul (Mind, Will and Emotions)
1) What am I doing to daily renew my mind?
2) Are my thoughts pure, lovely, noble, truthful, and full of praise?
3) What are the best three books I read last year?
4) What kind of choices did I make last year?
5) Did I choose the way of life versus death? Did I choose the way of the Spirit versus the way of the flesh? Did I choose to walk by faith versus walk by sight?
6) Was I full of love, joy, peace, patience and self-control?
7) Was there any anger, guilt, greed or jealousy that needs to be resolved?

C. Body (Did I live in B.A.L.A.N.C.E?)
1) BREATHING - Am I getting enough oxygen in my blood?
2) AWARENESS - Am I aware of what is going on in my body?
3) LIQUIDS - Am I drinking enough water?
4) ANTIOXIDANTS - Am I taking the right of Multi, C and E?
5) NUTRITION – Am I eating 3-5 small meals of protein, carbs and good fats?
6) CONDITIONING - Am I exercising 3-5 times a week?
7) EFFECTIVE REST - Am I getting 7-8 hours of sleep?
8) What three ways will I take better care of myself this next year?

A. Intimacy
1) Does my wife know she is the #1 priority relationship on the planet?
2) Am I loving my wife as Christ loves the church?
3) Are we praying together on a regular basis?
4) Are we regularly sharing what we are learning from our own relationship with Jesus Christ?
5) Am I washing and cleansing her with the Word of God?
6) Am I carefully listening to her thoughts, feelings and desires?
7) Are we enjoying many sexual and non-sexual touches?
8) Are we enjoying romance and physical intimacy on a regular basis?
9) Did we have an awesome anniversary celebration?
10) Have we enjoyed quarterly getaways?
11) Did we have our monthly MSM, Marriage Staff Meetings?
12) How was our “Weekly Focus” time?
13) Did I provide her the structure or spontaneity she needs and desires?
14) Did I give her the full and focused attention she deserves?
15) On a scale of 1-10, how would my wife rate our marriage?
16) What needs to be done to get it to a 10?

B. Finances
1) Did we honor the Lord with the first fruit of all our increase?
2) Did we give generously and cheerfully?
3) Did we save appropriately?
4) Did we invest for the future proportionately?
5) Did we spend moderately?
6) What financial adjustments must we make for this next year?

A. Father
1) How am I doing as a Dad?
2) Am I walking humbly before my children?
3) Am I showing them unconditional love
4) What did I teach them this past year? What do they need to know?
5) Am I a model to follow? Can I say, “Follow me as I follow Christ?”
6) Am I spending the quality and quantity of time my children need?
7) Am I praying for them on a daily basis?
8) What “Etched Memories” did I create this past year?
9) What home activities tend to generate the greatest pay back?

B. Son
1) How am I doing as a son?
2) How did I honor my Father and Mother this past year?

C. Brother
1) How am I doing as a brother?
2) How did I love and care for my brothers and sisters?

A. Did I see my work as a gift from God?
B. Did I do my work as unto the Lord?
C. Am I living as a man under authority showing respect, gratefulness, a servant and quiet spirit?
D. Am I showing excellence and diligence in my work?
E. Am I taking the low place and trusting God for His invitations, appointments and exaltation in His time?
F. Am I “choosing to cheat”?
G. What three work relationships need more time?

A. Am I living in community with other believers?
B. Am I investing, influencing and inviting other outsiders?
C. Where did I strategically serve in my local church?
Some additional questions:
6. In reviewing last year, what areas reveal the most progress? The least progress?
➢ Most –
➢ Least -
7. What is the wildest, most unconventional thing I could do this next year to live with more passion? What out of the box thinking could we do?
8. Who will hold me accountable to be my best self this next?
9. The most significant way I will influence others is…
10. List 3-5 of your best achievements this past year
11. Strengths and Successes - Identify what has worked well this past year
12. Struggles and Stresses - What has not been working so well?
13. Habits - What are the most purposeful daily habits you could develop/upgrade over the next 12 months? Develop 1 habit at a time, not 2, not 5.

14. Clutter - Identify 3 messes or clutter projects you’d like to clean up in the next 12 months? Clutter can be anything that is taking up room in my mind…for example we have 1000 AU’s (Attention Units) and anything from a sick relative, to way ward child, to troublesome marriage, to bitterness can all take up mental and emotional capacity. We must un clutter our minds so that we can reach full potential.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

"I Thought" by Phil Engelman

I have known Phil and Sue for 35+years since college. They are some of the finest people on the planet and would be considered "Friends for Life".
He wrote...
I thought I was obeying you, but You’re showing me my obedience is only selective.
I thought I was serving in dependence on You, but You’re showing me I’ve been trusting in my own powers of persuasion.
I thought I was humble, but You’re showing me I’ve been proud in my own abilities.
I thought I cared about lost souls but You’re showing me I’ve really been seeking the approval of man.
I thought I cared for hurting people, but You’re showing me I’ve really been wanting their love in return for my loving them.
I thought I was accepting of all, but You’re showing me my prejudices.
I thought I cared about the glory of God and the expansion of His kingdom, but You’re showing me I’ve really been more concerned with building my own kingdom and having what I thought was ministry success.
I thought I had forgiven my offenders, but You’re showing me I have only begun the process.
I thought I was suffering for Your sake, but You’re showing me I really still love my own comfort.
I thought I was following Your lead, but You’re showing me I’ve really been running from my problems instead of seeking the Truth, no matter how painful.
I thought I was teachable, but You’re showing me places where I avoid wise counsel.
I thought I was worshipping You, but You’re showing me my heart is full of idols.
I thought I was trusting You with my life, but You’re showing me my heart is full of fear - fear of man, fear of failure, fear of rejection which only expose where my idols really lie.
I thought I had taken up Your cross, and died to self, but You’re showing me I am still very much alive.
I thought I loved You, but in repentance You’re showing me I have really been loving Myself.
Repentance is sweet pain. It leaves me not with despair but with hope that real change is taking place in my heart.
May God grant all of us a spirit of repentance.
I love this guy and his sweetheart.

A Good Name - Prov.22.1

Proverbs 22:1 says A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Identify 3 qualities you’d like to see associated with your name as well as how you’d define each quality.
I wrote the following for me.
1. Loving – That I fully received the love of God into my life and loved Him and people in return
- Matthew 22:37-39 - 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. [39] And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

2. Humble – Taking the low place before God and others
- Luke 14:7 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.”

3. Servant – That I was more interested in the needs of others than myself.
- Mark 10:43-44 - Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What does "follow" look like?-Matt.9.9

Matt. 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

This is what we had for “FOLLOW ME”. This is what we think it looks like to follow Christ today.

  1. Some one has to say, yes. I want to follow Christ. A surrender of the will every day.
  2. We must stay connected to the Word and let God communicate with us on a daily basis from the Scriptures
  3. We should be fully present where we are...doing all things heartily unto the Lord today where we are
  4. Pay attention to the authority over us. He will lead, protect and provide through those in authority over us.
  5. Watch the circumstances around you. God is working in and through our present circumstances.
  6. Live in the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit and we will be led by Christ
  7. Seek wise counsel. There is safety.
  8. Pray without ceasing. Listen. Walk by faith and not by sight and Wait and Follow.

9 Words Women Use

         1.  Fine: This  is the word women use to end an
          argument when they are right and you need to
          shut up.
          2.  Five  Minutes: If she is getting dressed,
          this means a half an hour.  Five minutes  is
         only five minutes if you have just  been given
         five more minutes to watch  the game before
         helping around the  house.
          3.  Nothing: This  is the calm before the
         storm. This  means something, and you should be
         on  your toes. Arguments that begin with
          nothing usually end in fine.
         4. Go  Ahead: This is a dare, not  permission.
         Don't Do It!
         5.   Loud Sigh:  This is actually a word, but is
         a  non-verbal statement often misunderstood by
          men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an
          idiot and wonders why she is wasting her  time
         standing here and arguing with  you about
         nothing. (Refer back to #3  for the meaning of
          6. That's Okay:  This is one of the most
         dangerous  statements a women can make to a
         man.  That's okay means she wants to think long
          and hard before deciding how and when you will
          pay for your mistake.
         7. Thanks: A  woman is thanking you, do not
          question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.
         8.  Whatever: Is a women's way of saying ,You'll  get yours .
          9. Don't  worry,    I got it:  Another
         dangerous statement, meaning  this is something
         that a woman has  told a man to do several
         times, but  is now doing it herself. This will
          later result in a man asking  "What's wrong?"
          For the woman's response refer to #3.

Love From God. For God and Others

Several weeks ago I came across Eph.1.17 and started praying it on a daily/regular basis.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better. Eph. 1:17
I found myself repeatedly asking God for a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I could know God, my Father, Jesus, my Savior and the Holy Spirit better. I believe as a result of that prayer that God has been revealing more to me about His BEAUTY and His LOVE.
I was thinking about God, Christ and Christianity and wondered of a one word summary. What is one word that would summarize Him and it?
The word that came to my mind is LOVE. Period. So many words but this one word captures it all. LOVE…from God, for God and for others.
Several verses and thoughts came to mind.
• God so loved the world.
• Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.
• We love Him because He first loved us.
• We were made to receive and give love.
• Love the Lord my God with all my heart…
Sooooo many other verses to support this one word idea.
Deut. 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Matt. 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matt. 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matt. 22:39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
John 3:16 “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 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:17 This is my command: Love each other.
Rom. 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom. 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Rom. 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As I thought about the love of God poured out in our hearts, I thought about all the relationships in my life that I want to love with God’s love. Naturally I thought in terms of my LIFE, MARRIAGE, FAMILY, WORK and CHURCH.

When I think of the lives we touch over the course of a day, week, month, year and lifetime. God wants His love poured out in us and allow His love to touch the world through us. I wonder if this is a part of what Jesus meant when He said in John 14.12, I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” It is an incredible thing to be loved by God, to love Him in return and to allow His love to touch all of the people and relationships in our lives. 2Cor. 13:11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Principle of Suffering-James 1

“Welcoming the chastening of the Lord and the sorrows and hurts of life as necessary for my maturity and future leadership.”
On August 1, 1993, 14 years ago, I experienced one of the hardest nights of my life…what some would call, “the dark night of my soul”.  I went to an Elder meeting where I thought they were going to ask me questions from my side of a story, only to discover that another staff guy, who was also an elder, was getting ready to publicly charge me of several things.
Let me back up just a minute…
-       In September 1992 I moved from being a “Senior Pastor” in FL to an Associate Pastor in Reston, VA
-       When I came into the new setting, I came in fast and furious and made another associate pastor very uncomfortable with me. He was also an elder…not a good organizational structure
-       In his discomfort with me, he started to make a case against me…accusing me to the other Elders that I was a liar, thief, rebellious and not a man of integrity or a man under authority.
-       The Chairman of the Elders, who was also a good friend of mine, called me and asked; do you know that this guy is making serious charges against you? I said, I had no idea because no one has said anything to me
-       I said why don’t you call a meeting, let him make his charges…let me respond…and you Elders make the call
-       He agreed but the night before the meeting, he called and said the other guy was not comfortable with us being at the same meeting
-       So I said, no problem…let him make his charges…then I will come to another meeting and answer…then you make the call…he agreed.
-       So on 8.1.1993, I thought I was going into a meeting to answer questions…only to hear this opening statement…”Now John, we just want you to be open to what we want to SAY.”
-       In that moment, if ever “I heard” God speak…I heard…DON’T DEFEND YOURSELF”
-       So with that I pulled out my pen and journal and said…what would you like to say?
-       This guy went down his list of charges against me in front of all the Elders and totally and completely dragged my reputation through the mud.
-       It was horrible. I was so brokenhearted, I could barely breathe.
The next day in great pain, I went out on our deck and started thinking and writing, “what in the hell just happened?” I cried out to God for help and wisdom and counsel in the midst of my pain and confusion…I came across this statement…
Welcoming the chastening of the Lord
And the sorrows and hurts of life
As necessary for my maturity
And preparation for future leadership
It was in that very dark and painful season that I learned the things about suffering that I want to share with you today.
Over the course of our lives and ministry we will suffer…and it will come from several places…different people and circumstances.
Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it.  We all want to get through it and we want to get it behind us.
I. Temptations from Me – Reap What You Sow (Galatians 6)…plus chastening
II. Trials from Others – Simply living in a fallen world…a victim (1 Peter 2)
III. Tests from God – Maturing and preparing us (Hebrews 11:17)
For some strange reason, having a perspective from where it is coming is helpful.  It brought some clarity and there are 3 different responses
1.    There is suffering that comes from me.
-      Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life  
-      My own temptations…giving in to them and then the consequences – a choice that has produced awful results and outcomes:
-      We reap what we sow…and part of that reaping may be the chastening of the Lord
2.    There is suffering that comes from others –
-      1 Peter 2:19  “It is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.”
-      There is unjust suffering – so much unjust suffering, so much injustice-
-      A most classic example is Joseph…thrown in pit, sold in slavery, falsely accused and thrown in prison…all preparatory…
-      God permits what He could have prevented
-      He has permitted the circumstance to mature and prepare
-      It is doubtful you will minister to “broken hearted people” unless your heart has been broken.
3.    There is suffering that comes from God.
-      Hebrews 11:17 – By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
-      Some of the suffering you are experiencing is simply a test…a test from God to prepare you for leadership
Now What? How do I respond?
  1. Temptations from me: Choose life in the Spirit
-      Learn and grow in walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh
-      We have all we need for life and godliness…The Word of God, The Spirit of God, The People of God
  1. Trials from Others: Choose to forgive
-      Look past the offender…see God’s permission on this
-      God permitted what He could have prevented
-      Choose to forgive – “I forgive you”
  1. Tests from God: Choose to trust
-      Thank Him
-      Receive it vs resist it from God
-      He is – Maturing us
            Preparing us for future leadership
Are you suffering? From where is it coming? You? Others? God?
1.    You? - Choose to live in the Spirit
2.    Others? - Choose to forgive
3.    God? - Choose to thank God and trust Him for your maturity and preparation for future leadership.
So – for the next year I had to walk by this guy’s office EVERY DAY – thinking, feeling “I hate you”. The elders came back and asked my forgiveness for the way the conflict was handled. The other guy and I ended up asking and granting forgiveness to one another.
One year later…
-      Several young couples in our church wanted us to lead a marriage conference
-      We found out that they also invited this other guy and his wife to share too
-      The very first talk they asked me to give was…How to deal with conflict and this guy and his wife were sitting on the front row with Debbie.
-      I told the couples…you are seeing a modern day miracle…
Never in my wildest imaginations did I think I would go from that very dark night of my soul on August 1, 1993 to this incredible place called North Point Ministries. I have NO DOUBT that all of that was for my maturity and preparation for leadership.
What is the principle of suffering? Welcoming the chastening of the Lord and the sorrows and hurts of life as necessary for my maturity and preparation for future leadership.
Keep choosing to live in the Spirit
Keep choosing to forgive.
Keep choosing to trust.

Strengthened by Grace-Heb.13.9

Heb. 13:9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.
This is such a good phrase…It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Our hearts indeed need to be strengthened every day. Our hearts can be strong or weak.
There are several factors that can strengthen my heart
1. We are strengthened by the Lord Himself… Is. 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
2. We are strengthened by the Word… Psa. 119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
3. We can be strengthened by angels… Luke 22:43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
4. We are strengthened by the Holy Spirit… Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord… Eph. 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
5. We are strengthened by other’s prayers… Col.1.10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
6. We are strengthened by grace… 2 Tim. 2:1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
7. We are strengthened by other people… Deut. 3:28 But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.”…1Th. 3:2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,
I am so grateful to God for all the things he does to strengthen my heart every day on the earth. This life is so full of challenging things that can cause my heart to grow weak and weary. How good to be strengthened by the Lord and His Grace.
Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might today.

A Wife of Noble Character-Prov.31.10

Prov. 12:4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Prov. 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Prov. 31:29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
I love these verses and truths...a wife of noble character.
Noble...having excellent or superior qualities... having or showing high personal qualities or high moral principles morals or ideals.
This is such a beautiful thing in a wife. What makes her this way?
She is her husband’s crown. What a beautiful image. This is so true. A wife of noble character just shine’s like a royal crown on her husband’s head.
But unfortunately a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. A dis-grace-ful...a no-grace-full...wife has a physical effect on her husband.
So...gentlemen...I would suggest that we love, honor, cherish, and value our wives so that they can grow and flourish and be a beautiful crown on our heads...otherwise we will taking a lot of calcium on our own.

Fifty (50)-Num.8.24

Num. 8:24 “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting,  25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.  26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”
This verse and idea intrigues me. Makes me wonder about my work at 53?

The Awful Grace of God

And even in our sleep,
pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
and in our own despair,
against our will, comes wisdom to us
by the awful grace of God.

What an incredible quote...on the tombstone of Robert Kennedy

An Unloved Married Woman-Prov.30.21-23

I was reminded today that the earth trembles at an unloved woman who is married. WOW!
Prov.30.21 “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up:  22 a servant who becomes king, a fool who is full of food,  23 an unloved woman who is married...
Gents, let’s make sure we are loving our wives as Christ loved the church, so we don’t create a Tsunami.

Hate. Carry. Follow. Give Up-Luke 14.25

Today I read... Luke 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.  27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple...33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my discipl

In coming to Jesus, I must HATE. CARRY. FOLLOW. GIVE UP...strong words...but I also read...Phil. 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

Today, I will gladly hate, carry, follow and give up so that I may gain Christ. You?

Well Pleased-Luke 3.21

I just read... Luke 3:21... And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

I thought...

  1. I have sons and daughters whom I love dearly
  2. I have sons and daughters with whom I am well pleased.
  3. O that the next generation of sons and daughters would hear the words of Dads that say, I love you and I am well pleased with you. What a beautiful thing that would be
  4. I want to spend the rest of my days on earth helping men be those kind of Dads.

A well pleased Dad.

Godly Generations-Ps.78.1

I have been thinking about “godly generations” for many years now. I believe this was first instilled in me through my Dad. I saw how my Dad loved his children and grandchildren. He took time and loved and invested in them. I believe I put “…to raise a godly generation in my children and grandchildren” in my personal mission statement because of him.

So now…we got the news that David and Danae are pregnant. I have been thinking and praying for this little one every day. Some of my thoughts and prayers are…

Psalm 139:13-18 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! [18] Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with you.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, [5] "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Psalm 127:1-5 - Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. [2] It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. [3] Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. [4] As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. [5] Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Psalm 128:1-4 - Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. [2] You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. [3] Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. [4] Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.

I love these thoughts and Scriptures. These are my prayers for the next generation…to be perfectly formed according to the will and plan of the Lord. To separate and call from the womb…to begin to prepare them for their life work, purpose and calling. I love praying for this every day until birth and through out.

Thank you Father, for the blessing of children and grandchildren. Please cause my family to be very fruitful and replenish the earth. I am indeed a blessed man.

A Prayer from the Scriptures-2 Cor.1.1

A prayer offered from the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, for the men of God
Over the last several years I have kept 3x5 index cards of Scriptures from my morning quiet times. Today was the first time I used those cards from the last 30 days to lead me in prayers for a number of upcoming retreats in my life. Most of these prayers come from 2 Corinthians...

1.1-2 – Lord, you have called me and made me a man and a minister. I want to minister to your church in Illinois with grace, peace and power.

1.3-4 – I want you to bring compassion and comfort to those who are troubled. Please comfort them through me.

1.8-9 – God, I want to rely only on you. Not my strength or personality but on you alone.

1.11 – Lord, grant me favor with these men. Thanks for the prayers of my wife, my mother and a few friends that actually remember.

Pro.18.21 – Lord, words have the power to give life. Lord, speak words of life through me in these sessions.

1.21-22 – Lord, help me to stand. You have anointed me, you own me, you have given me your spirit…please minister through me

2.10-11 – Lord, I resist Satan by faith in your Name. He has a scheme to accuse, confuse and divide. I pray against him.

2.14 – Thank you for leading me in triumph through Christ. Please spread the fragrance and aroma of Christ in and through me.

3.5-6 – Lord, you have made me competent for this task today and tomorrow. I believe you. I receive your competence in me. You have made me a minister of a new covenant…a new covenant of the Spirit and life…call men to new life in Christ.

3.17-18 – Lord, today I want to reflect your glory. You have transformed me. May these men see and experience an ever increasing glory.

4.7-8 – Please show your all-surpassing power in and through me

4.10 – Lord, I want your life revealed in me today, tomorrow and always.

4.16-18 – Thank you for renewing me day by day and please help these men to see what is UNSEEN…to fix their eyes on Jesus, the eternal, the invisible things
Mt.5.44-45 – Lord, help these men who have enemies to open their hearts to let your love in and through them…release any anger, bitterness, pride, guilt or jealousy or shame.

Phil.4.4-7 – Lord, I am not anxious about the weekend but I pray with thanksgiving that your will will be done on earth as it is in heaven…in the hearts of every man. Give them peace. Cause them to pray and petition you as a loving heavenly Father.

5.1-5 – Thank you for your Spirit. Empower me today and this weekend.

5.6-9 – Lord, today I choose to live by faith and not by sight. My goal for this retreat is to please you first and in pleasing you that others may be pleased as well.

5.10 – Father, one day I will stand before you at the judgment seat of Christ. I will give an account of this weekend. Will I receive gold, silver, and precious stone? Will this be an activity of the flesh? I want all I do to come from you, by you, through me for you.

5.11 – Lord, help me live and walk in the fear of the Lord. Please persuade these men through me to grow in their relationship with you. I will plant, I will water but trust you to make all of us grow.

5.14-15 – Lord, you died for me. I want to live for you. Every day. Every hour for the rest of my days on the earth. As I live for you this weekend, please bear much fruit in and through me.

I had this thought…there is a difference of trying to bear fruit, make a difference, and have an impact. When I abide in Christ…FRUIT HAPPENS…fruit emerges…a difference is made…an impact occurs from being, abiding, remaining in Christ.

5.17 – Lord, help the men see that they are NEW…BRAND NEW…the old has gone…the new has come. Help them walk in newness of life.

5.18 – Lord, you have reconciled us to yourself. You have made us your friends. Help them see that they are reconciled to you and you have given us the ministry of reconciliation.

5.19 – Lord, you are not counting our sins against us. Release these men from counting sins against themselves or others. Help them to enjoy the freedom we have in Christ and your desire for relationship with us. Thank you.

Is.61.1 – Lord, you are on me. You have called me, invited me and anointed me for this weekend. Through me please…
1. Bring good news to poor men
2. Bind up broken hearts
3. Proclaim freedom to captive men
4. release these prisoners from darkness
6.1-2 – Lord, today/now is the time of your favor and your salvation. Will you please show your favor and bring your salvation to men. Save us from ourselves, the world, the flesh and the devil. Save us from mediocre and passive lives.

6.3-13 – Lord, some of these men are in real hard circumstances. Bring your grace, peace, power, comfort, perspective and your hope.

James 5.16 – Lord, help these men confess their sins/their faults to one another that they may be healed.

You said the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. Lord, you made me righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. I have your righteousness and here I am praying. I am asking, saeeking, knocking. I am giving thanks for what you will do in me and to me and through me.

Please cause this retreat to be powerful, effective, and fruitful…fruit that will remain for all eternity.


All of this is prayed in the great and righteous name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior, my Leader, my Friend and my Lover.

AMEN and AMEN!!!

"Upgrade" Your Marriage-Rom.1.24

I was reading Romans 1.24… “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”
This verse really caught my attention. I often think in contrasts. I thought if the sinful desires of the heart lead to sexual impurity to the degrading of the bodies, then holy desires can lead to sexual purity which leads to the upgrading of our bodies and the upgrading of our marriages.
As I looked up the word “degrading”…it means
Degrading vs. Upgrading
Humiliating vs. Honoring
Demeaning vs. Meaningful
Shameful vs. Without shame
Mortifying vs. Life giving
Undignified vs. Dignified
Inglorious vs. Glorious
Wretched/Unhappy/Broken vs. Fulfilled/Happy/Whole Hearted
Self satisfying vs. Other satisfying
Isolation vs. Intimacy

When you think of pornography, while it may have some momentary satisfaction to the flesh, it really leads to the degrading of our bodies. In contrast, when you think of sex within the beauty of a God given, monogamous relationship, it is indeed honoring, meaningful, glorious, fulfilling and very intimate.
May we work really hard in the power of the Holy Spirit to have our holy desires lead to sexual purity to lead us in upgrading our marriages. Enjoy this great gift from a loving and creative God,