Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Father's Love For His Son

My old friend, David Schulman, wrote this for his little son, Noah, on 21 February 2008. I love this man's heart and talent.
Little man with sunny smile
Come and sit with me a while
Tell me of your lofty dreams
Shine upon me with your beams
Let us hold onto Today
Before Tomorrow takes you away

Little heart with tender strings
Let me hear the tune it sings
Sing your wishes, they sound so sweet
With every precious thumping beat
Let me hold your heart with mine
Before you sail across the brine

Little mind, what wondrous muses
What fantastic thoughts it chooses
Concepts too grand for grown-up invention
So naively deep, they defy convention
Let us talk and dream some more
Before you fly beyond our door

Little body “complete-ly” small
Let Daddy hold you before you’re tall
Little fingers and little toes
Surround a love that ever grows
Let me gently hold your hand
Before the falling of the sand

Baby Boy, what a blessed treasure
Such a value, none could measure
You’re a tangible gift though briefly so
I see you depart each time you grow
Let us hide within this day
Until the wind blows you away
© David Schulman
All too soon...all too soon...They're Gone!!!

Power Phrases - 06.22-28

Deut.6.4-7 - Teach. Model. Pray.
2 Pet.2.15-18 - Do not go the way of Balaam
Psalm 113 - The Name of the Lord is to be praised
2 Pet.3.11-13 - Live holy and godly lives
2 Pet.3.17-18 - Do not be carried away by lawless men
1 John 1.1-4 - The Word of Life is Eternal Life

Extreme Wealth - 2 Peter 3.17-18

I have been on vacation this past week. While on vacation, I have been exposed to "extreme wealth" in TV shows, magazines and other sights and sounds. This has really "tormented my soul" at various levels. The other morning I got up to watch the sun rise and call out to the Lord to help me think correctly. I opened my Bible and read, 2 Pet. 3:17-18, "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."
As I was wrestling with the Lord regarding "extreme wealth", I believe He reminded me of the following:
1. Be on your guard.
2. Do not get carried away by the error of lawless men
3. Do not fall from your secure position
4. Keep growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
I felt like the Lord helped me see and think and feel correctly as it relates to my relationship with Him and my view of this world.
You? Are you troubled by extreme wealth or the lack of it? Don't get carried away but keep growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

A Distressed and Tormented Soul - 2 Peter 2.7-8

There have been times that my soul has been distressed and tormented. These verses from 2 Peter 2.7-8 reveal some of the causes... "and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard...
Peter reveals that the filthy lives of lawless men and deeds can torment a soul. I believe this is true. I have found at different times that my soul gets distressed and tormented by lawless men and deeds. I have also found rest and relief in God alone during those times.
You? What distresses and torments your soul?
Where do you go to find rest for your soul?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Remembering To Forget

This is another poem from a very dear friend, David Schulman, written back in 1997 when we lived in Reston, VA.

I often walk this dreary path
Where mire stews and brambles grab
Leaving me with shortened steps and unforgiving scars

Its never ending winding route
Chokes the light that would lead out
Instead I’m stuck to see my sin from behind its imprisoning bars

And down this road where no one goes
I’m trapped among the prickly rows
That point to me and what I’ve done to hasten my demise

The pointed vines sink to my veins
And Sin bequeaths its crimson stains
That pierce the heart and brow alike
And burn into my eyes

But as I clutch this cursed weight
It’s revealed as part of Another’s fate
Who bore my guilt and took my shame
And transgressions I have yet

This path that led to death before
Can now lead to the open Door
To peace and Life and “Sonny” days
If I remember to forget

Don't Forget To Remember - Deut.8.2

I have been intrigued with two ideas from Scripture. In one place we are told to FORGET, Phil. 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead..."
And in another place we are told to REMEMBER, Deut. 8:2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
One of the ways that I REMEMBER is to summarize the good things that have happened in our lives over the last 30 days. I take time at the end of each month for reflection, review and remembering. When Debbie and I go away for our anniversary in June, we take time to REMEMBER all the good things the Lord has done in our lives the last 6 months. We also do this at the end of the year. I believe this simple practice, habit, discipline helps us to fulfill the command to REMEMBER.
What about you? What are you doing to REMEMBER the goodness of the Lord in your life?

My View of "The Last Days" - 2 Peter 3.10-13

For many years of my Christian life, people have debated "Eschatology-the doctrine of the last days or end/final times" (From the Greek, eskhatos/last and logia/discourse) People have debated "Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, Post-Trib, Pre-Mill, A-Mill, nauseum...and all it has ever resulted in is debate and division.
2Pet. 3:10-13 says, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness"
While reading this passage, I came to the following view of the last days:
1. Jesus is coming back.
2. Be holy.
3. Be ready.
That is what I believe and am "looking forward" to. You?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From The Rising of The Sun - Psalm 113

We are on vacation in Daytona Beach. Debbie and I are celebrating our 33rd anniversary. I love rising early to catch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. 6:24AM. Right on time. Every day. It makes me think of Psalm 113:1 "Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised."
When I see the sun rise every day, it screams to me of the precision and faithfulness of our God. He is the One holding all things together. What an amazing and mighty God. Father, thank you for being such a great and mighty God and for holding all things together, not only in my life but in the universe. I praise Your Name. Thank you.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Today We Celebrate 33 Years

Wow. 33 years. June 21, 1975. I remember it like it was yesterday. How blessed I am to be married to this incredible woman, wife, mother, artist, business woman and friend. Debbie has fulfilled so many of the traits of the woman in Proverbs 31."10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
One question I have asked Debbie every year is, "When you look back, is there anytime in our marriage that was better than it is now? Was there any year or anytime that we were closer, more connected, or more one?" Thankfully, once again she said no. I love the idea that over time our marriage is getting deeper, richer, sweeter and closer. What about you? Is your marriage moving toward greater one-ness or further apart? Never stop working on it. It is well worth the time and investment.

Power Phrases - 06.15-21

1 Pet.4.11 - Father's Day - Speak the very words of God
2 Pet.1.12-15 - I will soon put the tent of this body aside
2 Pet.1.16-18 - This is My Son Whom I love
2 Pet.1.21 - I am carried along by the Holy Spirit
2 Pet.2.1-4 - Sinning angels will be judged
2 Pet.2.7-8 - Righteous souls are distressed and tormented by lawless men and deeds
Prov.31.10-12 - My wife Debbie is of noble character

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Words from Larry The Cable Guy

1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'
22. Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright unti l you hear them speak.
24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This is my Son - 2 Peter 1.17

I love this verse from 2 Pet. 1:17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
I love that honor and glory come from God the Father. We seek it from many different people, places or things but the best glory is from God our Father.
I love this phrase...this is my Son, whom I love. I just love it. I feel this way about my sons. I can't even begin to describe the love I have for all four of them.
I love..."with Him I am well pleased. I feel this way for my sons and daughters. With them I am well pleased. O that men and fathers would say to their sons and daughters...You are my son, I love you and I am soooooo pleased with you. This would be such great fuel to the hearts of all men and women.
When was the last time you told your son and daughter how much you love them? Do it today.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day - TEACH, MODEL, PRAY

Today I had the privilege of speaking at North Point Community Church to the men and fathers. I shared with the church the words that were given to me 27 years ago from Jay Whitaker, Sr. in Orlando FL. He told me, "You can only do so much", in raising my family.
At the end of the message we showed and played, Cinderella, by Steven Curtis Chapman.
These words and concepts have served Debbie and me well over all the years in raising our family. What are you doing to raise the next generation?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekly Power Phrases - 06.08-14

I love getting a "Word for the day" from the Scriptures. I love getting a phrase that will carry me through the day.
Deut.4.6 - God's Word leads to wisdom and understanding
Deut.4.7 - My God is near me and in me.
Eph.1.16-17 - Prayer for men and fathers to know God better
Eph.1.18-19 - Prayer for eyes to be enlightened to know hope
2 Peter 1.1-2 - Grace and peace in abundance
2 Peter 1.3-4 - I have everything I need for life
2 Peter 1.5-8 - How to be effective and productive
Wisdom grows little by little. What are you learning from the Lord and His Word?

1 More Day - Col.1.9-14

Tomorrow I get to speak to the men and fathers of North Point Community Church. I am so excited. I have been praying non stop. Today I am praying according to Col. 1:9, "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God...
1. To fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order
2. That you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:
3. Bearing fruit in every good work,
4. Growing in the knowledge of God,
5. Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and
6. Joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
I love this prayer. I love it for me, for Debbie, for my family and for the men. Thanks for praying with me in this very fun season.
Happy Day Before Father's Day

Friday, June 13, 2008

2 More Days - Deut.32.1-3

I continue to think and pray for the men and fathers on Father's Day. Today my prayer comes from Deut. 32:1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! I am asking God to let my teaching be very refreshing and helpful to men. I am asking God to give us a vision for the next generation. Thanks for joining me in the journey.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

3 More Days - 1 Cor.2.1-5

I am praying non stop for men and fathers leading up to Father's Day this weekend. Today I have focused my prayers for me and the message. I love these verses from 1 Cor. 2:1, "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power".
I want my message to be with a demonstration of the Spirit's power. I do not know what that will look or feel like but I certainly want it in my life and message. Walking by faith in God's power today. You?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

4 More Days - Eph.3.14-19

I continue to pray for the men and fathers on Father's Day from Eph. 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I pray...
1. That we would be strengthened with the Spirit's power
2. That Christ may dwell in our hearts
3. That we will be rooted and grounded in love
4. That we would have power to grasp how deep is the love of God.
5. That we would be filled with all the fullness of God
Can you imagine if this was happening in the hearts of men? Little by little, over time, lives, marriages, families, marketplaces, churches and the nation would be changed. What a great vision and prayer. Keep praying.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

5 More Days - Eph.1.16-18

I can't stop praying for the men and fathers for Father's Day.
My prayer for men and fathers today is...Eph. 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  17 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.  18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe...
Can you imagine if we as men would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God and Jesus Christ better? Can you imagine if our eyes could see our hope, His inheritance in us and His great power? I think we as men would be changed. You? For what are you praying?

Monday, June 09, 2008

"Power Phrases" - 4/13-06/07/2008

I have been enjoying a very simple practice of putting my daily times in the Word into a "Power Phrase". I got this idea in November of 2001 from Andy Stanley who does it for his weekly message. I thought, if he does it for his weekly messages, why wouldn't I try it in my daily times in the Scriptures? It has been a "life changing" practice. These are some from 1 Peter.
1.1 - I have been elected and chosen by God to obey
1.8 - I am filled with inexpressible and glorious joy
1.11 - There is suffering now and glory to follow
1.12 - Do not serve myself but the generations to come
1.14 - Prepare my mind for action
1.17 - I call on a heavenly Father
2 Cor.2.14 - The fragrance of Christ...what do I smell like?
1.17 - My Father is my Judge
1.17 - Live as a stranger on the earth
1.18 - I have been redeemed from the empty way of life
1.22 - I have been purified to love
1.23 - I am born again of imperishable seed
1.24 - All men are like grass withering away
2.1 - Rid myself of myself and crave pure spiritual food
2.9 - I am chosen, royal, holy & belonging to God
2.11 - As strangers abstain from sinful desires
2.12 - Live a good life with Christ in me
2.21 - Entrust myself to Him who judges justly
2.24 - Christ died for me so that I might die to sins
2.25 - Jesus is the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul
3.1 - Wives, put your hope in God. Do not give way to fear
3.7 - Husbands, be considerate, respectful, prayerful
3.8 - Do not return evil for evil but with blessing
3.10 - Love life and see good days
3.15 - Jesus is the reason for my HOPE
3.16 - Always keep a clear conscience
3.18 - Christ died to bring me to God
4.2 - Live the rest of my earthly life for God
4.5 - I will give an account of my life
4.6 - The end of all things is near
4.10 - Use my gifts to serve others
4.12 - Don't be surprised. Rejoice. Be overjoyed.
4.19 - Commit myself to my faithful Creator in suffering
5.1 - Be shepherds of God's flock
5.5 - Humility invites grace
5.8 - Resist the devil by faith
5.10 - My God restores me
I have discovered that as I think on these things, these truths, my mind is renewed, my soul is restored and my decisions are redirected. I love it. You?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"That's My Glory" - Psalm 8.4-5

Recently I sat with Larry Bolden, who used this phrase, "That's my glory." I have never heard that before. He said it in response to a comment I made to him about how good he is in listening and asking thoughtful questions. This thought and phrase has really captured my attention. I was very impressed by Larry's clarity and confidence on this subject.
I am familiar with a "general glory"...the kind from Psalm 8.4, "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with GLORY and honor." But what I am less familiar with is this concept of a "specific glory". The specific glory of each man and woman. The unique DESIGN and calling of God on every person's life. I am aware that each man and woman has had an assignment but I have not thought enough about mine. This comment has sent me on a very good journey to discover my specific glory and purpose on the earth. As of this writing, I can say that I think it is encouraging, exhorting and developing men to live LIFE on purpose and in balance.
What about you? Do you know your specific glory? Do you know your unique calling and assignment from the Lord? It will bring a lot of great thoughts and emotions.

Why So Long? Deut.1.2-3

I am reading Deuteronomy to prepare for my Father's Day talk in 7 days on 06.15.08.
Deut.1.2 says (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.) In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them.
I remember reading these two verses many years ago. I thought and wondered why does it take 40 years to do an 11 day journey? Deut.8.2 gives us some insight to this question... "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."
We are led by the Lord into a wilderness to humble us, to test us and to know what is in our hearts.
Debbie and I have definitely experienced "the wilderness". It was a very hard and painful time from 1992-2001. We were in a hard personal time with two prodigal sons and a hard ministry assignment. Looking back on those years, we see how the Lord was leading us and humbling us and testing us to see what was in our hearts. I think the wilderness is part of God's school in developing His children. You? Have you experienced the wilderness yet? What has the Lord taught you in and through it?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Questions from 1 Peter 5.2-4

1Pet. 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;  3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
This is such a great passage of Scripture to me and for me. It caused me to do some serious reflection on the following questions.
1. Do I see myself as a shepherd?
2. Do I see my team, leaders and members as God's flock?
3. Do I see them under my care?
4. Am I serving as an overseer?
5. Do I do this willingly or out of "duty"?
6. Am I in this for the money?
7. Am I eager to serve?
8. Am I lording over God's flock?
9. Am I being an example/model to follow?
10. Do I believe I will receive the crown of glory when Jesus returns?
I love the instruction from these 3 verses. They cause me to be a better servant, shepherd and overseer of God's flock. What an honor and privilege.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Practicing Greatness - Part 2

Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
Still thinking of these disciplines. I have added some questions under each one.
1. The discipline of self-awareness—the single most important body of information a leader possesses.
How aware are you of you?
Do you know from where you have come? Do you know your story?
Do you know your D-E-S-I-G-N (Drives, Experiences, Spiritual Gifts, Impact, Genius and Nature)
2. The discipline of self-management—handling difficult emotions, expectations, temptations, mental vibrancy, and physical well-being.
How well are you handling your emotions? Anger, greed, jealousy, lust, rage, other?
What are your expectations?
In what areas and ways are you most tempted?
How are you growing in mental vibrancy?
Are you managing your diet and exercise on a daily and weekly basis?
3. The discipline of self-development—a life-long commitment to learning and growing and building on one's strengths.
Would you say you are growing?
What are you learning in your spirit, in your mind, in your emotions, in your choices, in your body, in your marriage, in your finances, in your parenting and in your vocation?
4. The discipline of mission—enjoying the permissions of maintaining the sense of God's purpose for your life and leadership.
Are you clear on God's purposes?
Are you clear on His purpose and mission for your life?
Are you saying no enough to stay laser focused?
5. The discipline of decision-making—knowing the elements of good decisions and learning from failure.
Are you making good and wise decisions?
Is there a bad decision you must clear up and make right?
Are you daily choosing decisions that lead to life instead of death?
6. The discipline of belonging—the determination to nurture relationships and to live in community with others, including family, followers, mentors, and friends.
Are you enjoying deep, open, honest, safe friendships?
Do you have relationships ahead of, beside and behind you?
Do you have a deep sense of belonging to God and others?
7. The discipline of aloneness—the intentional practice of soul-making solitude and contemplation.
Do you make time alone a priority?
How much time do you get alone?
Are you reflecting daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually?
Are you living slow enough to think deep and noble thoughts?
I love these disciplines and good questions. Let's keep practicing greatness.