Thursday, January 31, 2008

Christian Society no longer like Jesus.

I saw this on Jay Hardwick's Blog ( It was pretty interesting, although not surprising. Worth taking the 4 minutes to watch.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are you using Microsoft Outlook?

You Apple guys can just move on to the next post, this is for us PC guys.

If you are a Microsoft Outlook user, I came across this tool that seemed pretty neat. I am probably going to try it out and see how it works. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Xobni outlook add-in for your inbox

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Years Revolution Poem

A fellow NLCCer shared this poem on her blog today. I am sharing the poem here, but if you want to see it in its original form, you can visit her post here.

Our Revolution: To Know, Grow, Go, Glow, Sow

We Were the Darkness

Beautiful Savior, we seek Your Face,
asking that we might have the grace to

Know Your heartbeat,
let it beat away our pride;
to grow like fruitful trees
by the River of Life.

To go to the darkness
we know awaits,
to drive it back even just one inch,
aglow with the Light the darkness hates.

To sow seeds of truth at the world’s unmarked graves, reaping a harvest of rescued slaves.

Beautiful Savior, we seek Your Face, mindful that we too were the darkness... until someone shared the truth of Your grace.

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Everyone Has A Story

I attended a funeral today for a child of a friend. It was a very difficult and sad time. However, what I wanted to share was what I did immediately following the funeral.

I have a habit that I started probably some time in my teens. When ever I attend a funeral or cemetery, after the funeral I walk through the cemetery and look at headstones. I read about the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandfather or grandmother that is buried in the cemetery. I read about their lives as displayed on a headstone.

As I am doing this, I try to imagine from the artwork or images on the headstone what the person was like. Perhaps they were a fallen firefighter or police officer...or maybe a proud Harley Davidson rider. Some appear to be immigrants from a foreign land, or descendants of those who where. I will probably never know if I was right or wrong on figuring out who these people are, and thats okay.

Nonetheless, as I was doing it today after the funeral, I think for the first time, I actually thought about what I was doing. It became clear that everyone of us has a story. As I spend time trying to figure out the stories of those already passed, we spend time trying to figure out each others' story.

I think that the story God gave you and the story God gave me are personalized to us. We have a choice to make: We can suppress our story, and some day someone can try and figure it out on our headstones, or we can use the story God has given us to reach people for Christ and to glorify God.

I want to use my story for the later, but sometimes I feel like people will have to wait until I die to read my story. I will continue to strive for giving God the glory. How about You?

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Satan uses TurboTax

I thought this was pretty funny. Thought I would share it with ya!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Year through the Bible...Accountability from God?

Have you ever felt totally defeated? Have you ever felt like, that is it, I am useless and I might as well give up? This doesn't even have to be about your life in could be a specific thing or a specific sin.

Recently, I felt that way. Up until a few months ago, I was struggling with a sin that I had finally given up on. I had decided that I was going to be a failure in this area of my life and as I long as I could control the sin to a "reasonable" level then I would survive.

Satan delights in convincing us, as believers, that we are a failure. That we are worthless to God and that we can't conquer even our simplest of sins. However, a few months ago I found an accountability partner. That has rocked my world. I have pretty much ended the struggle with that sin, cold turkey, with no slide backs. Of course, I am not backing off of my focus, and I am monitoring it closely daily so that it can not sneak back into my life.

Why do I share this? I am now reading through the book of Exodus (BTW- Genesis was awesome!) and I am watching how God is taking a beat up murder like Moses and turning him into a great leader. The Lord is placing people in his life. The Lord is directing his actions. It is cool stuff.

Reading this reminded me that we shouldn't give up. If the Lord can overcome the sins of Moses' past to make him into a great leader, imagine what he could build out of the rubble in my life...your life. It is just then that I realized the full significance of how God brought my accountability partner into my life. How God is transforming me in miraculous ways over the past 4 months. I shutter to think what he can do with a year...or 2 years...or 5 years, if I let him.

Before you give in to Satan and think there is no hope for you...remember what God can do. Open up the Bible, and read through Exodus and I truly believe that you will receive some new hope in your life. The God of Exodus is the same God today and he loves us just as much!

What miraculous things is God doing in your life?

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gettin' on a Kick

Do you ever get on a kick?

You know what I mean. It seems that life is moving along as usual and then you watch or do something, and then it seems like for the next month, two months, year, 5...10...20 years you start doing more and more of the same. My friend Ron blogged about a similar thing, the Domino effect as he calls it. What he described is a series of events put into place by God over many years for a specific purpose at a later date. Sometimes, I feel like we can get on a kick because of something God IS doing in us.

We have been on a kick lately. I blogged earlier about a Christian movie we watched, Facing the Giants.

It got us all excited about watching Christian-based films. After watching that one, we then watched another film by the same author, Flywheel. I must admit, I think I liked Flywheel better.

Tonight we watched another film, The Ride. This one was produced by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It was another great film to watch.

Here is the thing about Christian Films. For the most part, the production quality is good, but certainly not "Hollywood". The Actors most likely do not have an Oscar or a star in Hollywood. There definitely isn't a lot of special effects, drinking, sex, parties, fighting, etc. However, there is something about these films that I can never do with most "Hollywood" films... them with my boys!

I think that is why we have been on this kick lately. It isn't that we oppose other great movies, but lately, I have enjoyed watching my oldest get into the movie plot and actually see him feel the same emotions as the characters. In addition, it has been a great lead in to talk about there walk with Christ after the movie, and how it relates to the characters' lessons-learned in the movie.

So, I guess if we are going to be on a kick for a while...this is probably a good one!

What kind of kicks are you on? I would love to hear.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Revolution Shake Down

I wanted to take a couple minutes and follow-up with my post last week about the new series we are doing, called New Year's Revolution.

After last week's opening message I was excited, nervous, energized, and many other adjectives that I can't even think of. My point is this...the series is a culture shift for NLCC and I Love it! Pastor Dave kicked off the new year with a spin of the helm and is taking this family in a new direction. A direction that I see as being more outreaching to a lost community, and less about serving ourselves, to keep us plump in "christianity".

Often times, a church series can kick off well, and the series looses its energy or focus in the following weeks. That is not the case with this one. Pastor Dave came back this week and hit it hard again, with the first of 5 steps to creating a New Year's Revolution...Know. We have to "Know Christ"!

Here is where my excitement comes from: There is no doubt that this series and this new direction that Pastor Dave is leading us on is from God. This has been something on Pastor Dave's heart for quite a while. However, there are some people in our church who may not like this series...because it is convicting!

My question then becomes this: Lord, if you are prunning the branches back, what are you making room for? I can't answer that. I can only dream what God has planned for NLCC in 2008. I do know this, it will be great!


We have a choice NLCCers...we can grasp that excitement and be a part of something GOD-size, or we can walk away and become something man-size. Join me and everyone else at NLCC and be a part of something GOD-sized....I know you won't be disappointed!

What's your New Year Revolution?

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Year through the Bible... A Heart Like Abraham's.

As I read through the Bible over the next year, I am sure I will find many new nuggets of information. I think some of those nuggets will be perfect and understanding the first reading, and some will be challenging and require further study. In either case, as I work through those nuggets, I will share some of them here, so that you can A) Hold me accountable to my goal, B) Add your thoughts/comments and C) Learn something new with me.

I was reading through Genesis 18 this morning and I came across a section that I had read before, but I questioned it this morning the same way I questioned it last time. I decided to spend a little time this afternoon studying it, so I could better understand it. I thought I would share with you what I found.

If you read Genesis 18:22-33, Abraham has a discussion with the Lord. In this discussion, Abraham asks the Lord about his plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham questions the Lord about the righteous. In a back and forth conversation, Abraham asks what the Lord would do if 50...45...40...30...20...10 righteous people were found among those living in Sodom, would the Lord spare them. In each case, the Lord replied that he would save the entire city for the sake of the righteous.

Why did Abraham engage the Lord in this way? I never understood that conversation, actually I never gave it further thought in the past. I pulled out my Logos Bible Software this evening and began studying some of the commentaries and books that I have in my digital library, in hopes of trying to understand what I should gleam out of this conversation.

I am sure I have not mastered this topic, nor do I claim to have "solved" the text. I just wanted to share with you some thoughts, out loud, that I walked away with.

Abraham had to have known that he couldn't change God's mind. Abraham had been close enough to God to understand God makes decisions from a Godly view point. Yet, Abraham was willing to, through humility, intercede on behalf of an entire people. The same people he had just rescued and returned to their land.

Perhaps Abraham was merely trying to determine how great God's mercy was. Although we are only 18 chapters into Genesis, we have already experienced God's mercy on more than one occasion. The Lord could have destroyed man-kind when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge. The Lord could have destroyed man-kind with the flood. In each case, the Lord was merciful and allowed man-kind to continue, knowing that man would betray Him again.

The Lord knew there were no righteous people in Sodom. Why did he allow Abraham to speak (pray) with Him in this way? I believe that the Lord was speaking to Abraham through this, so that Abraham's mind could be changed. If the Lord had not engaged Abraham and went and destroyed Sodom, perhaps Abraham would have questioned the Lord's decision. I think Abraham thought there were some righteous people in Sodom. Abraham may have thought that the Lord did not care about the righteous and destroyed them along with the unrighteous. However, since he spoke with the Lord, Abraham knew there were no righteous people in Sodom when he saw the smoke the next morning. Leaving no doubt in Abraham's mind as to what the Lord's actions were.

I think sometimes in life we take things to God for prayer, and we either don't hear an answer or are disappointed in the answer. I think that is because we do not give God a chance to share with us things from a Godly perspective. We are not open to answers that are outside of our box. The Lord will speak to us daily through his Word if we are reading, and can direct/change our minds if we are open to it.

Lastly, Abraham had a great heart for the people. I believe down deep, Abraham had some idea that the people (or at least some of them) of Sodom were far from God. Yet, he had such a heart for the lost; and to not see any of them punished that he was willing to go humbly before the Lord to intercede on their behalf. I have a relationship with Christ today, because someone had a heart for the lost so much, that they shared the Love of Christ with me.

I pray that my heart can grow to be like Abraham's...even to love a people who choose to be far from God!

What do you think?

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Lot's Life Goals...can you do be better?

I have been studying in Genesis this month as I begin my study through the Bible. I am studying through the Daily Walk Bible.

As I started my study this morning, the lead-in text talked about Lot's goals that he used to shape his life. Currently, we are all(or most) at a point where we are reflecting back over 2007 and thinking about our "performance" and trying to decide where we need to go. After much time, I have finally put together my goals.

There are a lot of people who question why we should have goals, or even worry about things like that...some of you may even think that way. The reality is, I really couldn't give you a great answer. I just knew it was something that worked for me. Then when I came across the list of goals for Lot, it all made sense and cleared up what I knew all along, but couldn't put into words.

Here is Lot's goals according to my Daily Bible:
  1. To lose all sense of moral values.
  2. To forfeit all spiritual authority in my home.
  3. To exert no influence for good in my community.
  4. To lose everyone and everything dear to me.
  5. To lead my family so far from God, that my own daughters get me drunk so that I will "lay with them" (added by me for purpose).
I know, these are not what you were expecting to hear. My bible went on to say this:

"Ridiculous, you say? Then consider this: Lot set no such goals, yet he accomplished everything on that list! Those unwritten goals simply became the consequences of his worldly choices."

Let me put it another way... You can either choose the direction you WANT your life to go, or wait and see where you end up. That to me is the number one reason to set goals. I have seen how bad I have screwed up in the past, so if I wait to see what happens this year, it won't be pretty.

Lot had no specific spiritual goals in his life to direct his actions, and as a result his spiritual walk is lukewarm at best, he loses his wife and he commits incest with his daughters. We are setting ourselves up to be just like Lot if we don't focus on the direction our life is going. We need to take command of our lives.

Pastor Dave preached on sunday that we cannot sit back and wait for someone to feed us. We have to feed ourselves. The church can provide the food, but we have to pick it up and eat it. Our life is controlled by us. I believe that our goals are the road map by which we do that.

What do you want to accomplish this year? How are you going to grow in God's word? Memorize scripture. Read through the Bible. How are you going to improve your prayer life? What are you going to do to work on your marriage? What are you doing to develop your children?

Develop your goals and write them down. Put them on paper so it is crystal clear, there is no wavering, no bouncing around. Post them in the bathroom, on your desk, in your car, what ever you need to do to make those the focus of your day...every day.

Write them down, share them with everybody, and ask to be held accountable!

You can map your path now and get there on time, or you can can wait until you are lost, and then pray there is someone around to help you find your way....the choice is yours!

Have you made some Revolutionary Goals for 2008? I would love to hear them!

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008 Revolutionary Goals

I, like most of you, use a momentous occasion like a New Year to reflect on the past and determine what I need to do better in life, as a husband, father, employee/employer and most importantly as a child of God.

I have read many blogs, including Pastor Dave's, about others who have set goals for the new year. I have prayed (believe it or not, yes I want God involved in this decision), I have talked with friends, and thought about the good and bad of the last year.

So, in no particular order here is my goals for a Revolutionary 2008. (Disclaimer - These are not all original ideas, I may have borrowed, stole, or otherwise used ideas that I may have read elsewhere, or heard someone talk about.)

Goal #1:
To read through the entire bible from cover to cover. I have never done this. I have always focused my readings based on a current study, looking for something specific, or simply to meditate on a particular verse. I have chosen to use the Daily Walk Bible from Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. This particular version takes you from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 in order. This is how I wanted to read it, cover to cover.

Goal #2:
To read 12 books. That is one a month. If I can't make time to do that, then I really need to focus on finding the distractions in my life and cut them out.

Goal #3:
To do 10 things I have never done before. If I don't watch it, I tend to be the type of person that rides along in the boat and never stands up, that just might rock the boat. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am tired of being a boring Christian. I want some excitement. I believe that part of that preparing is to teach myself to be more open and willing to try new things. I do not know what these 10 things may be. It could be trying a new type of food, or visiting a place I have never been, or perhaps trying something new with my family. I am not sure what it will be, but I will let you know as they happen!

Goal #4:
To be more committed as the spiritual leader of our household. It is one thing to make great plans for my personal growth. I can pray all day and read the bible all night, but if I leave my family in the dust, then who do I have to talk to when God talks to me? Who do I have to share my heart's desires and check to see if he has given them those same desires. To accomplish this, I have set out to do the following:
  • Read from the Bible, nightly, to my children and discuss what we read.
  • Pray with my kids outside of our usual meals and evening prayers.
  • Complete a Beth Moore Bible Study with Autumn.
  • Pray with Autumn daily (or as often as possible) about what it is God WILL be doing through us...after all I did open my big mouth.
  • Encourage my family to read through their bibles daily and set aside their own time with the Lord.
Goal #5:
To sit down on 1/1/2009 and be able to say "WOW, Can you believe God did that in our lives?"

These by no means are perfect, and are not meant to tell you what you should be doing in your own life or family. I am simply sharing what God has put on my heart. I may have a completely different outlook in 6 months, but for now, this is going to be the focus of my life this year.

How about you? Have you set any goals? I would love to hear them!

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Is "freakin" allowed from the pulpit?

Is "freakin" even a word? I tried to look it up in my handy online dictionary and lets just say it wasn't there. I am going to make up a definition for the word. My definition is: stupendous, extraordinary, on and so on.

Ok, so I created my own interpretation...but this I know for sure. My Pastor used this word twice from the pulpit today (once each service). If you know Pastor Dave this is actually a shocker to hear from him. Yet, it sure fit nicely.

Today we kicked off a new series called, New Year's Revolution. You can go here to listen to the message. It should be posted sometime this week.

All I can say is...WOW! It was awesome. I was excited, scared and nervous all at the same time. I was telling a friend this week that I was tired of being a boring Christian. I wanted God to do something crazy in my life that could only be accomplished through Him. My friend asked me if I knew how crazy that sounded. Before I had a chance to give some great theologically based answer about seeking God....he stopped me and explained.

When we open ourselves up to God, and ask Him to do something crazy in our lives, do you know what happens? He does. When I say crazy....I mean crazy. I often think that when we pray a prayer and tell God to use us in a way that only He can be glorified, we tend to have preconceived ideas about what that might be, or what we would like it to be; neither of which is what God may have in mind.

One minute we could be going to work, the next serving as a missionary in Roatan or pastoring a church plant in Iowa. God's plans are so much bigger than our own. I don't think any amount of planning can prepare us for what God may do, if we open up the door and give him permission to pull us through.

After my friend explained what he meant, I thought for a moment. Then it hit me. Yes, I am crazy. That is what I have been looking for. That is what I want for my life and for the life of my family: for God to do something so crazy that it makes sense, and it can only come from Him.

So yes, that is exciting, and scary and definitely makes me nervous.

As Pastor Dave put it, "I don't want to be a nice glowing night light...I want to be a 'freakin' nuclear explosion glowing for God"

How about you?