Monday, January 28, 2008

inspire me
Current mood: adventurous

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. – George S. Patton, American Soldier & General 1885-1945

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Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

– Thomas Edison, American Inventor 1847-1931

Inches make a champion.

– Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame Football Coach 1913-1970

To get what we’ve never had, we must do what we’ve never done.

– Anonymous

Triumph often is nearest when defeat seems inescapable.

– B.C. Forbes, Founder & Publisher Forbes Magazine 1880-1954

The line between failure and success is so fine that we…are often on the line and do not know it. How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success. A little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.

– Elbert Hubbard, American Writer& Business Person 1856-1915

In confrontation between stream and the rock, the stream always wins…not through strength but by perseverance.

– H. Jackson Brown

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t…you’re right.

– Henry Ford

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after another.

– Walter Elliot

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

baptism

During this past week at our junior high and high school youth groups we have offered the students a chance to get baptized. I look back to the time I was baptized on my birthday a few years ago (Dec. 5, 2004) with much joy. I was able to share and encourage many students during the process of deciding to get baptized with my own story. And in the book of Acts, chapter 8, verses 26-40 there is a wonderful story about a guy named Philip and an Ethiopian Eunuch who crossed paths and their lives were never the same

At junior high youth I had two girls who wanted to be baptized and for high school youth we had two signed up as well. The baptisms at junior high were very special to me. Both of the girls (one is actually a student leader in my group) are amazing young ladies and it was such a special time in all of our lives. We have about 6 other junior highers that want to be baptized now. Kayla, the student leader, and then Megan, both came out of the water last night fully committed and fully alive in Christ. It was the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

As the night progressed with baptisms at high school youth grou, many more decided to get baptized too.

I gave a ride to two guys that night, Trevor and Jarred, boys I coached in football the past two years. God really got a hold of Jarred’s life this summer at camp and Trevor is a really great guy too. As the baptisms were going on I felt led by the Lord to go find the boys I brought to youth. I sat down next to Trevor and he said, “Coach, I want to do it, I want to get baptized” and I told him we can make it happen. We talked through him being nervous and talked about what baptism really means and how I would be there for him. He told me, “I know the Bible says that if I deny God before others, He will deny me before His Father, and coach, I don’t want that.” I was blown away by his statement and knew he was ready. RIGHT?!? Yes!

As Trevor and I went up another one of his friends, Paul, came along too and I was able to baptized both Paul and Trevor at high school youth group. What an amazing testimony of Faith Trevor has and I hope his story encourages you too.

The fruit from coaching football the past two years has been overwhelming. I had more opportunities with sharing God’s love with the coaches this year too. God is really drawing some of them closely unto Himself and its an amazing process to watch. God is so good, so faithful, and so amazing. He can do more then we can dare to think or imagine. Don’t limit the work of God in your life and the ministry he has given you this day!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

a fresh start/new beginnings

Often when I pray I find myself crying out to God and asking Him to make me more like Him, to mold me and conform me into His Image. I then go to the Word and seek out scriputre that God has spoken where it shares with those who believe how me must live and breathe and think, how one must react and plan and prepare.

I’m not alone in this. For I know many I have asked the Lord to create in them a new heart, one that beats in rhythm with Gods…a heart that reflects the love that God has poured out on me.

A fresh start, a change…it begins somewhere. You notice something about yourself, something I believe the Holy Spirit makes evident to you, and a sincere desire to change is birthed within you. It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t just automatically happen…but if we sincerely want to change ourselves for the better, we must start on the inside and work out from there.

I was reading this morning in Ezekiel 36 and verse 26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Lasting change, the type we really long for, doesn’t occur “out there”; it occurs “in here.” It happens not in the shifting ways of our own particular circumstances, but rather within the quite depths of ones own heart. For the Word said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”

New beginnings. Are you in search for one? Don’t look for changing circumstances to miraculously transform you into the person you want to be, transformation starts with God, remember it is a process that begins in the silent center of a humble heart…your heart.

Warren Wiersbe wrote: “No matter how badly we have failed, we can always get up and begin again. Our God is the God of new beginnings.”

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

a letter to an friend

On March 31, 2005 I wrote this letter to Dr. Barth Campbell, a professor at Simpson where I went to college. He was also my prayer mentor leading up to the month of March and it was through this time of seeking the Lord that we became close.

It wasn’t even a month after I wrote this letter that he was recieved into Heaven, having fought a hard battle against skin cancer. I post his letter today, as a way for me to remember him…to remember the time I spent with him up until his death, to remember his annointing and his commissioning.

Greetings my dear friend,

My prayers are with you always and I will continue to labor in prayer for you from this time now until I am released by God himself. I pray for you and your family often, and my prayer for you is that you would be able to continue in your life long embrace of friendship with God. The sweetness and intimacy of your love relationship with Christ is so evident that it compels me to desire a similar depth within my own walk with the Lord. Because of your example, I am encouraged always to go after the extraordinary things of God, taking risk in mission, being bold with the message of Christ, and finding power in God from being on my knees before Him.

It is clear to me now what my role as you friend and brother in the Lord is to be—God has given me much peace and has birthed affirmation in my heart for what I am about to say: I will be your Timothy, I will co-labor with you in this time of your life and I will fight the good fight, advancing the gospel, right alongside of you. I stand with you now, boldly and fully assured of my calling to do so. I will stand by your side, going and doing as the Lord directs, but always as your faithful friend, rooted in love, honor and service that glorifies our Father in Heaven.

You are my Paul—you have shared a lifestyle pattern, one graced to you by God. The pattern is one of servant-hood and compassion. You have taken the very Word of God, and in a deep heartfelt way, you have worked out your faith in Him by imitating the humility of Christ, so continue to do so. I call you my Paul because you have championed the cause of Christ in so many lives and in so many ways. Your heart for all to receive from the Lord inspires my heart to be one that encourages others to go after a fruitful life with God. Every day I pray for an awakening of God’s will and purpose for my life. I desire to develop my life and ministry in every aspect, applying fully the model of Christ that you have so faithfully pointed me towards. Inviting the Lord to work in this way has not always been a blessed blessing, but it has been a blessing in deed.

The favor of God rests upon you. His face does clearly shine upon you and is as bright as the noon day sun. You are His beloved, one in whom God is fully pleased with. The time of hearing His call will come, and when you hear it I am confident of this, that you will hear from the Lord, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” To worship our awesome God, to be before Him and all of His splendor and might—yes, that will be a day of greatness and blessing. Your example and model of imitating Christ, of being rooted in His Word, will always be among us and your impact has already been great. Many, myself included have been privileged to walk with you and to experience the power of God through your life. I am a life that has been changed because of your Godly embrace.

Lay hands on me, whether physically or through the Spirit, and commission me in the name of God to go out and walk boldly in the great commission that you have so fervently fought for. Send me out through your prayers, guided by your God-given wisdom and encourage me as I as press on towards the goal that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Help me as I speak forth the truth of God in love and as I strive to live out my life, not in vain, but in reflecting the presence and power of the Lord.

My dearest friend, call on me so that I may know of how you need me to labor with you. My promise to be your Timothy is an oath I will not take lightly, but rather one that I fully embrace. I will make myself available for the needs you present, and I will always be in prayer for those things that the Lord places before me. Honestly, in my journey this far, I have been at a place where I could have made an oath like this, an oath to my own family, but never before have I been so compelled and assured by God to do so. This experience now will be different then before, but knowing full well of what is ahead, I am prepared and I am made confident that I will stay strong to my oath, for the Lord has provided this confidence within me.

There are two things I know for sure: one is that God loves you so much, and secondly, I love you too, for you are my beloved friend. What more does one need then the love that God offers? The time and events of God on this earth are so unknown—but this unknown is not meant to limit His love, His power or His healing. Rather, this unknown is meant to give the Lord the freedom to provide accordingly to His will and plan. Let us then together, wait on God, holding firm to the knowledge and truth of His Word and to the promises of the Lord to always be with us. I too want to be a champion of the Gospel for Christ Jesus, our Lord.

I am remember the night I sat in my apartment and wrote this letter. It was a night filled with tears, and smiles, and prayer. Two days before I wrote this letter, after about a week or so of Dr. Campbell’s absence in the class room, he showed up one morning and told us all what was going on and shared with us this scripture:

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. [Philippians 1:18-27]

What a man of God…

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stories that Change You

I remember reading this story once when I was in high school, and for the first time, I realized something: to look for God in other people. Here is the story…

When I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now.

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation.

I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him Boy, sometimes I was jealous.

Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the
first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse.

God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

“You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.” [Proverbs 27:17, MSG]

“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” [Ecclesiastes 4:12, MSG]

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

the way of the broken

BROKENNESS

Sometimes it is asked what is meant when one desires brokenness. Brokenness is not easy to define but can be clearly seen in the reactions of Jesus, especially as He approached the cross and crucifixion. I think it can be applied personally in this way:

When to do the will of God means that even my Christian friends will not understand, and I remember that “neither did His brethren believe in Him,” and I bow my head to obey and accept the misunderstanding, this is brokenness.

When I am misrepresented or deliberately misinterpreted, and I remember that Jesus was falsely accused but He “held his Peace,” and I bow my head to accept the accusation without trying to justify myself, this is brokenness.

When another is preferred before me and I am deliberately passed over, and I remember that they cried, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas,” and I bow my head and accept rejection, this is brokenness.

When my plans are brushed aside and I see the work of years brought to ruins by the ambitions of others, and I remember that Jesus allowed them “lead him away to crucify Him,” and he accepted that place of failure, and I bow my head and accept the injustice without bitterness, this is brokenness.

When in order to be right with my God it is necessary to take the humbling path of confession and restitution, and I remember that Jesus “made himself of no reputation,” and “humbled himself…unto death, even the death of the cross,” and I bow my head and am ready to accept the shame of exposure, this is brokenness.

When others take unfair advantage of my being a Christian and treat my belongings as public property, and I remember “they stripped Him” and “parted His garments, casting lots,” and I bow my head and accept “joyfully the pain or loss I experience” for His sake, this is brokenness.

When one acts towards me in an unforgivable way, and I remember that when He was crucified Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” and I bow my head and accept any behavior towards me as permitted by my loving Father, this is brokenness.

When people expect the impossible of me and more than time or human strength can give, and I remember Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you…,” and I repent of my self-indulgence and lack of selfless giving to others, this is brokenness.

When I think or believe that I am broken and that I have learned all that I can learn, then I have haven’t truly embraced my brokenness. Only when I embrace my brokenness and realize that there will be nothing I can do to get out of it, and then will I truly understand why.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

enthusiasm has a name

What is enthusiasm? Strong, passionate interest in something? A feeling of excitement where one is overflowing with joy and life? Is enthusiasm simply eagerness, warmth, fervor, zeal, and devotion? If so, isn’t it such a loaded word then?

Enthusiasm in Latin is enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired by a god. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” said the very quotable Ralph Waldo Emerson, who also said, “Everywhere the history of religion betrays a tendency to enthusiasm.” These two uses of the word enthusiasm—one positive and one negative—both derive from its source in Greek. Enthusiasm first appeared in English in 1603 with the meaning “possession by a god.” The source of the word is the Greek enthousiasmos, which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, “having the god within,” formed from en, “in, within,” and theos, “god.” Over time the meaning of enthusiasm became extended to “rapturous inspiration like that caused by a god” to “an overly confident or delusory belief that one is inspired by God,” to “ill-regulated religious fervor, religious extremism,” and eventually to the familiar sense “craze, excitement, strong liking for something.” Now one can have an enthusiasm for almost anything, from water skiing to fast food, without religion entering into it at all. (www.dictionary.com)

Enthusiasm not only has a name, but even the dictionary links this word, emotion and activity to God. Lately I have had a repeating question on my mind: do I have the right type of enthusiasm for Christ? For this Gospel I preach and teach? For knowing Him more and for knowing His truth more fully?

1 Peter 1:13-15 says, So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

Oh, so when I fan the flames of enthusiasm for Christ, my faith serves as a beacon to others? Yes, it encourages me in my journey and gives light, His light…and His joy…and His hope, His enthusiasm, to others.

John Wesley said, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn” and I think his words still ring true today, at least in my heart and mind they do.

I want to be the type of follower of Jesus that shares the love of God with such joy and excitement. Who lives out his faith in the Lord with pure enthusiasm, that is infectious and powerful to those in my presence. And not only do I want to be enthusiastic with the way I participate in life, but I also want to have my enthusiasm bring honor and glory to my loving Lord and Savior for I want to be pulled into a life, shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing…

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RESCUE
Current mood: determined

I love music. And sometimes I get caught up in a song and I’ll listen to it over and over again…just because, I’m connecting with the music and at that moment, the words match my thoughts and my heart perfectly.

Have you ever had that experience before? Today I had a chance to connect that way through music as I was listening to a song called “Came to the Rescue”. Ahh man, it was awesome…the progression of the instruments from soft to loud and slow to fast match the words and their meaning so wonderfully.

The song got me thinking about being rescued. If you’ve heard me speak at youth group or in Sunday school, you’ve probably heard me say a phrase like “rescued from an ordinary life…” or something along those lines. This is more then a phrase to me, more then just something I say and repeat, rather this is a concept of truth that I am searching to understand and live out every day.

Not only is the word “RESCUE” the name of a town here in California, but also carries a powerful meaning. The word rescue means so much…”recovery or preservation from loss or danger”…”To set free, as from danger or imprisonment”…”to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil”…”liberate, release, save, redeem, ransom, extricate, recover”…whatever you want, rescue means liberation, deliverance, release, redemption, recovery.

And God has done this for us…He has recused us from an ordinary life of sin, to live and extrodinary life of love and passion and to live any other way is truly not living at all.

I’ve made that song, a prayer, for our generation…

May we fall on our knees in worship, giving all we have to seek Your face. Lord all I am, all we are, is Yours and Yours alone. May we place our whole life in Your hands, God of mercy, and may we be humbled by your awesome presence and be free to say: I called, You answered…and you came to my rescue and I want to be where You are Lord. In my life, be lifted high. In our world, be lifted high and in our love, be lifted high.

Job 29:12, “because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist him.”
Psalm 25:20, “Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.”
Psalm 69:14, “Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
from the deep waters.”
Psalm 143:9, “Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.”
2 Timothy 4:16-18, “At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn’t matter—the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God’s looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!”

May you not just know of God and what He has done to set you free, but may you be free to live as one who has been rescued from living, an ordinary, casual, luke-warm life and may you learn to live a life that is loud and passionate, obedient and faithful…one that is humble and courageous!

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