Monday, February 28, 2011

For Prophet - From Darkness to Light

Here is another little story from my book which is out for editing later today!

Zechariah 1:13 So the LORD spoke kind and comforting words. (NIV)

One of the reasons that my position at the photography studio didn't work out for me was this: after three years, I was feeling creatively stifled. My primary job was photographing children at schools, and doing weddings. The rest of the time I spent in the darkroom. Depending on the season, I would sometimes be there weeks on end.

The owner had hired a team-building consultant, and after a battery of personality and interest tests, along with a few hours of interviews, they found out who I really was deep down. Some of the information even surprised me – but it was true.

I really enjoyed the consultant, and we became friends.

I thought to myself, if I don’t fit in here, where do I fit? Being unemployed gave me time to pray, and research various career choices. I had always picked jobs that seemed interesting before. After the initial excitement wore off, I eventually I became frustrated and bored – I needed help.

I called Ken and asked him if he could do a complete analysis - a Life Design to help me chose my next career.

We spent 8 hours designing my life.

The next morning we went over the results. I had already had the temperament tests before, so I was aware of my unique blend of creative and analytic personalities that fought for the forward position in my interactions with the world. He also identified something else. It was a creative need that was coupled with the enjoyment of machines. Wow! Music and guitars, carpentry and tools, and photography and cameras - that was a revelation.

In the next part of the process he laid out the career and vocational options. We went down the list, and none of it seemed to grab. In fact, some of the options I had already done, and the rest didn’t interest me.

Ken agreed to work on it some more, and call me. As a pastor, he asked if we could just pray. At the end of a short prayer, he said. “I had an impression.” He asked me if I had done anything with computers.

“Yeah,” I took COBAL in 1972. It took 4 months to write a program to which would calculate a 5% income tax! And in college I took some Visual Basic and it didn’t do much for me.”

He carefully replied, “I think that you need to look into getting a program called Photoshop. I believe it only runs on a Macintosh computer.”

I left New York thinking about this Photoshop. When I arrived home five hours later, I called my mother as I usually did about once a week. Before I could tell her about the Life Design results, she said, “I was wondering if you could use a computer to help you in your next job?”

I told her about the career counseling, and about Photoshop.

“Well, you just let me know if that will help, and we will get one for you.” She assured me.

I spent the next few days finishing a grant application for computer training. My career goals were to learn computer graphics, and Photoshop was one of those programs!

My mother bought me a Macintosh with Photoshop and off to school I went.

It was the most fun I had in a class since I took guitar lessons in college. The instructor and I hit it off, and for four hours each day I sat overlooking Hyannis Harbor, computing, and amazed at how well this move worked out. It was so exciting for me, that I would rush home and do my homework. I bought the Mac Bible, and along with my books from school, consumed thousands of pages of software How To books.

The rest of the story coming soon....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not Sin, Not God

I think we'd all agree, that the continuum of supernatural entities ranges from the hell of Satan's fiery inferno, to the city of Light and precious stones called Heaven. As Christians we can confidently say anything that God instructs us to do is not sin. We can also confidently say that anything that He instructs us not to do, is sin. We also know from reading Paul's epistles, that not everything in itself is evil. Between sin and not sin is realm I like to call "not sin, not God."

Certain things are sin for sure, we're not going there. What about stuff that just is? Like playing guitar, golf, hiking, board games, and other types of hobbies or pass times? I haven't even added TV or mindlessly surfing the Internet.

Paul said this: Romans 14:20 NAS Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

This is really the verse that allows us to have the freedom to do all things. It frees the men's group to play a game of touch football, and kids to have an ice cream at church. It is the verse that allows us to listen to music written by artists not considered Christian.

Simple, right? Not really. God has a will for us, and our flesh is usually in conflict with it. Here is a test. Listen to and entire worship CD, like Michael W. Smith Worship or a Chris Tomlin CD each day for a week. Be sure to choose one that is meaningful to you personally- one with songs that you'd pick if you were the music director or worship leader at church. The following week, try listening to something else that you like right after your chosen CD. Close your eyes and really listen. Is it really the same? Do you think God cares?

One of the things that I have noticed in all my years as a Christian, is that the environment which we create in our homes, our cars, and at work impacts our spiritual life. Many things are permissible, but they may not edify us. In fact they may just erode our spiritual communication. Do you remember the days when you left church excited, full, and expecting the things of God? What happened on Tuesday, or Thursday? Why was church so energizing? Hopefully because there was a greater presence of God than we could enjoy on our own. (I am not saying that God lives in church! Read Watchman Nee, The Release of the Spirit)

Jesus slipped away to pray, and who among us has time for that? He couldn't be with the multitudes, eating with sinners and tax collectors without some place to to be directly communicating with the Father. If prayer is communicating with God, then it should be energizing. If you think that pressing in is all that God requires in prayer, you probably need to lighten up, or you are an intercessor by gifting. (Prayer is the place were we see the Father's Heart, His plans, His hope for the destiny of his people. As His sheep, we know His voice and we are able to see what He is doing-- so we can do it too.)

What is important to note is that things that are permissible can be abused, they can be deadly and they can keep us from what we really want; a relationship with a loving God. Moderation is probably a good idea.

I haven't even gotten into whether R movies are permissible. I'll leave that up to you.

A recent survey said that couples that have a TV in the bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't. Is TV permissible? Yes. Is it profitable is probably a better question. Another survey said that 80% of Christian men that had a computer in a room with a door looked at Internet pornography. I'd be interested to know how many men have a TV in the bedroom and a PC behind closed doors.

Not everything that is permissible is edifying. And I believe a steady diet of entertainment and hobbies is easily a problem for our spiritual life. Here is simple test you can do. List your top 10 favorite things to do. Then track your time in hours for all your activities during an entire week. And lastly, take a look at your checkbook. The health of our spiritual life is gauged not in works, but where our heart is at. Where we spend our passion, our time and our money is a pretty good indicator of where our heart is at.

If we are led by the Spirit our life is not our own. As a matter of fact, if we are in God's will our life is none of our business, now is it? We can't just decide what is not sin even when it is permissible. In truth, we need to obey God, not just follow His rules. There are things that the Bible commands that are neither prudent or acceptable at certain times. I am not suggesting we "break the rules." I am suggesting that there are so many things that we could do at any given moment from loving our neighbor to praying without ceasing. We need to hear God, and obey Him. That is why obedience is better than sacrifice.

If we are to obey God at every turn, and take captive every thought, then God is going to have an opinion about everything that we do. If He has an opinion, and we reject it, is that sin?

What we "do" under supposed grace has to be more than deciding is it a matter of choice, sensitivity, or legalism? Like Abraham, it has all got to go on the altar. Everything we do needs to be presented to God. Then we'll see what He provides for us in the process.

Enjoy your golf game.

How about you, do you do too many permissible things in your life?

(From the Fire & Grace archives.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God's GPS! From Darkness to Light

I love to tell stories about my supernatural God. In fact I am writing a book about it. There are about 100 stories in all and each one I find  exciting. Here is a vignette from the chapter on Walking in Faith.

After my divorce, the pastor thought it would be a good idea if I went to another church. It was like having two divorces as I said goodbye to friends and my church family. I skipped a week of church, and woke up the following Sunday. I didn't have any idea where to go. I got dressed, and was listening to worship music – in fact I listened to worship music every waking hour and left it playing all night long. I got dressed and decide to get in the car and go for a drive.

I was trying to think of churches where I night know someone from a conference. I had already attended most of the churches within 45 minutes of my home. I let out a sigh, “Lord where should I go?” I knew I would have to get on the highway to go anywhere, so I did. Exit 6, Exit 5, Exit 4, Exit 3 – “pull off here I heard a voice say.” It had been years since I had used this exit for anything. We always took the state road.

At the end of the exit ramp, I started to turn right. “Turn left.” The Holy Spirit said. I thought, “Where am I going? I don’t think I have been this way since I worked at the Camera store in the mall in 1989. I drove down that road and continued on past the next traffic signal.

At the next light there were only two choices, left or right. “Which way?” I asked the Lord.

“Go straight”, He said. I looked at the sign across the intersection. It was a small road for an elementary school. (B on the Google Map) The light changed to green and I went straight. I drove down the little tree-lined street which went on for about a half mile. As I rounded the bend I saw a white utility van parked near the front doors. I pulled up and unloading a podium and a sandwich board sign was man that I had met in Connecticut the year before at the Word and Spirit conference.

He greeted me with a huge smile, and in his Icelandic accent, said “I am glad you are here.”

I couldn’t think of his name right away, but I remembered riding to a meeting with him and a mutual friend a year or two before. “What’s going on here, I asked?”

“We are preparing for church. We planted one here about seven months ago.” I must have looked a little lost. He asked gently. “What are you doing here?”

I sat there in my red Volkswagen looking at him though the passenger’s window. “I don’t know how to begin.” I said....

Here is a Google Map - the road actually has a name on the map Bill Richard's Drive, and is unknown in Google - go figure.

View Larger Map

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Monday After

Well it's Monday, and I had a pretty amazing weekend. I went out to a very nice breakfast with my wife and little one on Saturday. I had a chance to hang out with a friend while we worked on my PC later in the day. It is all set up for recording now. And I recorded a new song!

Sunday I went to church and enjoyed the message and the ministry. Each week we seem to make some real progress in terms of using our gifts. We had a few folks really turn their lives around in the past few weeks! My biggest concern is about those that are just getting their life in order and need spiritual parents.

Friday was the last class at the 5-Fold School of Ministry and we had almost 30 plus those watching online. I really enjoyed teaching about the apostle, because it is such an important function in the church. I had a lot of challenging questions, yet I felt comfortable with my answers. Here is one of them: What would you call a person that only designs ministries based on the needs of the church, and helps organize the folks in them? My answer was the apostle.

Here is some of the fruit of the apostolic ministry in the New Testament Church.
- Impartation of Spiritual Gifts (Romans 1:11)
- Teaching (Titus 2:1)
- Fathering (Mothering) - as Paul was to Timothy.
- Sound Doctrine (1Tim 1:10)
- Sacrifice (Romans 12:1)
- Supernatural IE: Signs and Wonders (2 Corinthians 12:12, Acts 2:43)

Because most of my students want to be in ministry at the church, we went on to the obstacles to ministry.

Performance Addiction – The drive to be better at all costs. We need to be like Jesus! We are justified by faith. (Romans 3:28)

Approval Addiction – The constant need for approval and thanks. We are reconciled by the cross, and if we are called , God has already approved us. (Ephesians 2:6)

Blame Game – When we have not YET achieve our calling, we cannot blame others, or situations. We must understand that we have been bought with a price. (Eph 2:16)

Shame Game – Wallowing in past hurts, and poor decisions is not godly. Moses, David and Paul were used in spite of murder! (Titus 3:5)

God has perfected us, and all the work was done on the cross, we simply need to apply faith to that which is already done.

Today is a bit if a jumble - but there were 47 screens in the PowerPoint show, these are just 3 of them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

From Darkness to Light - The Journey of a Bumbling Christian

I have resurrected a book that I started writing a couple of years ago. It is sort f a spiritual autobiography. It's no A Million Little Pieces, and it won't get me on Oprah, but it is all true.

Two things happened that made me stop writing the book. The first was that it didn't have an ending. in fact it didn't even have a climax. The second thing - well third was that it didn't flow. It was a choppy bunch of stories that, except for their chronological order, did not work together. Those are good reasons to stop writing - well that, and I don't know what the heck I am doing.

The good news is that God knows what He is doing. It doesn't matter if I finish it, or if it even sells. What matters is that he is in control of the process. Next week I am putting together a pre-publish copy for some friends. Some are Christians, and some are not (I am so sneaky). What I know is this, it is collection of testimonies; a bunch of vignettes from my life in Christ, and few before that. Most importantly, I get to brag about Jesus, I really like doing that.

I have to admit, some of what I write about is pretty low voltage. Church last Sunday, that's another story.

These are the sort of things that have happen to me the past few weeks.

I taught on the office of the evangelist at the 5-Fold School of Ministry 2 weeks ago. We had 25 students, and three had a profound experience with Holy Spirit! The next week I taught on the office of prophet with my friend Stephen Cummings and we had 22 students prophesying. It was all very exciting, and most felt that what they received was from God!

Sunday, I met a couple after church. Only the husband had been the week before. The Lord showed me that their daughter (who looked to be about 3) had been born with some birth defects. (word of knowledge) I simply delivered the message, and that she was healed in Jesus' name. The Lord told the parents not to worry about her health any longer. (prophecy) It turns out she was born a few years ago at a weight of 1 lbs. 2 oz. and had many complications. Now she is completely healed! The Spirit came on her and she was saying "praise Jesus!" as they left the sanctuary.

There was another woman there with her two adult daughters. One was with her husband. I saw in the spirit that he was a football fan - all that sort of guy stuff - and that he had been raised Catholic. The eyes of God looked right through him and he was overcome with the Gospel! The love of Jesus welled up in his heart. He confessed that he had not ever read the Bible on his own. I told him how awesome he was and how awesome God thought he was. I encouraged him to read the first 3 chapters of John. It was an amazing sovereign salvation. He sat in the pew for 30 minutes reading thumbing through his Bible and crying. His wife and mother-in-law had been praying for him. (I think she said for 15 years!)

This man's sister-in-law was there too. God reignited the fire of God in her. He healed her emotions regarding a certain event, and filled her anew with His spirit. Her hands were on fire as the gift of healing was imparted sovereignly, and the also the gift of prophecy and the interpretation of dreams - just wonderful the love of God poured out; a life turned around in the twinkling of an eye! PTL Her mother said they would never be the same.

There was another young guy. I really enjoy him and have heard him pray. He can pray like few others I have heard. His heart, his authority and the presence of God manifest - amazing! I shared a word word with him as well. I was very far out on a limb. Let's just say it was astonishing to me what God had prepared fro him. A few days went by, and he sent me an email. He called is a righteous word - very accurate and encouraging - right on.

Today, I have just been pondering these events. God is so good. The pastor and I are very encouraged about this move of God that has begun. It is exciting and most of all: humbling. I was so in awe of God, I wept half way to my house. It is hard to put into words the honor that it is to serve God.

Yes, God you are really there!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fixing the Church from Your Pew - Part 2 of Many

Last time we talked about love, maturity and hearing the Holy Spirit. I have a couple more thoughts.

Participation: It is interesting that much of the church have become spectators on Sunday mornings. It's too bad, because it opposes Paul's command to participate:

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Have you been to a service where you can get up front and and speak what God has put on your heart? I find it really exciting that God wants us to participate. Some churches have small-groups where you can participate in such a manner, but not many.

How do you join in from the pew? First talk to the pastor. This type of service is hard to control - and most would rather go without it. Some, do work towards releasing folks like you bring something from God.

Relationship: The church is pretty lame on relationship in most of America. We are busy folks jamming our days with work, and our free time with technology; it's no wonder we don't have a chance to hang out with others.

Why not ask God to give you folks that you can be a friend to. How about purposing to meet a newcomer and offering to call every day, or meet for coffee once a week? People need to connect, and have friends, that is how the Kingdom works.

The Bible says that in the last days, love will grow cold. (Matthew 24;12) I think that busy lives will fan the chill of lovelessness.

Prayer: Not a whole lot happens in anyone's life without prayer. How about taking some time every day to pray for someone, a group, or the whole church? Spirit-led prayer can accomplish a lot! Maybe you can set aside a few hours a week to pray right in the church - for love, relationship, revival - for God to move - the list is endless.

Did I miss anything?

Here's Part I in case you missed it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Mary Anne is the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me!

Today is the celebration of St. Valentine. Legend/history has it that he was martyred February 14, 270. He was beaten and then beheaded. I don't know how that translates into hearts and slinky lingerie - but I'll take it.

February is the love month, so I am going to talk about the love of my life: Mary Anne. Here is how she has changed me, and why I say wives can be a great thing if you get the right one!

Food: She is a great cook, and I am never nervous about anything that she puts on the table. She knows the 2 or 3 things I don't like a lot, and the one thing I won't eat.

Hanging Out: Whenever we get to be alone, whether it's a walk on the beach, a few hours out for Chinese, or our after dinner coffee, it's what I like the best.

Team: In finances, most of the time in parenting and life goals, I know I can count on her. We don't agree on everything, and don't always work well in the kitchen together, but for the important stuff, she is right there.

She Knows Me: She works at trying to please me. Sure, we have made some mistakes - we didn't really like a couple of places that we've lived - and we are working on a solution together.

She is a Great Mom: My daughter Charlotte adores her, and aspires to be like her. They talk about owning a farm together some day. (I thought we had one in the kitchen with 3 dogs, 4 bunnies (no dear, they were not both males!) and 9 more in the basement!)

She is Patient: All I can say is that this a very good thing - my personality is a bit driven.

She Has Great Faith: She was raised Catholic, and just doesn't understand wavering faith. "God it there, I know, that settles it.", best describes her view.

She Has Wisdom: She is wise enough to work at making sure that problems don't surprise us.

She is Affectionate: She enjoys hugs and kisses, and dispenses them regardless of the situation. She created Xs and Os!

She is GOOD Looking!

I couldn't have done any better.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Parable of Toys-R-Us - Meerkats and Penguins

What if the church was like Toys-R-Us? Really.

This what happened to me at Toys-R-Us the past few days. I bought three toys for my 7-year-old. It was a total purchase of less than $30. She had saved her money from helping my wife pet sit. We've been trying to find  these particular items in the store, or online since Christmas day. They have been out of stock both at the local store, and online. Last night she whined so much, I went online and they were in stock at a local store. So I bought them. She gave me her carefully counted dollars and quarters; I stopped when she got to the nickels and dimes.

She was happy, I was happy, life is good.

Then I got an email stating that two of the three items on the order were cancelled. Not happy child = not happy dad. They shipped one toy from out of state - $7.99 toy, $5.34 shipping! Very not happy dad - and it wasn't even my money!

When I got home today, I was thinking about the order and how disappointed she was, and I got mad. So, I called customer service and started by saying that I was disappointed with the service, and that somewhere in the Toys-R-Us galaxy, they must have a freakin' Meerkat Family and Penguin Pool! Then I tried to calmly ask the operator if there was any way she thought she could make a little girl happy (no not me!)?

"I see we do have those in stock"; my mind trailed off to a happy place and didn't hear exactly where they had them in stock. I regained my thoughts... and "we'll ship them for free," the sweet voice said. "Let's see, your other order was shipped today. Wow, that a lot for shipping! Let me refund that and put these others out for overnight shipping."

"Is there anything else I can help you with?" she asked.

"Not unless you can give me the whole order for free." I said. "Thank you so much."

What if church was like that? What if they did everything they could to let you know that Jesus loves you? What if they lavished you praise, and always had a good attitude? All I could think of was that the customer service rep, must have been a Christian.

Would you do business with them again, even though they screwed up the first time?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fixing the Church from Your Pew! - Part 1 of Many

I decided that I am going to write a series on what the average Christian can do to make church better, and more godly.

The is the intro, and I don't know how many posts it will take, but I am not worried about it. I do know that if we love others with our gifts, the job will get done.

Working backwards from the goal, we can maybe see what steps we can take to turn the church around. So here are the first few thoughts.

- Love: We need to better understand love, we often identify it with some mushy feeling that we felt while watching a romantic comedy. Think about it, how much love do you think Jesus felt the day he was crucified? If he always loved, and he does, do you think he was having mushy feelings for the Romans? Was he all choked up over the kindness they were showing him?

- Holy Spirit: If we can't sense God's presence, or hear his voice, how would we ever know what to do? There are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible. Let say only a third of them are actually do-this or don't-do-that instructions. That means at any given moment, we are over 10,000 choices for how we should act. We could pray without ceasing, or praise without ceasing; we could love our neighbor as ourselves, or heal the sick, or feed the poor, or do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We could not worry, ask stuff in his name, repent, sing a new song, have joy, experience conviction, speak in tongues or prophesy. Whew, what to do? How could we ever decide what to do based on a relationship with a book?

And there are the don't-push-the-limits verses like do not exasperate your children, or be angry but do not sin. How much is too much, where's the line.

We need to have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, and be certain that we hear his voice.

- Grow Up: Maturity is a rare thing in the church. If we have a God who cares but seems uninvolved, we are in trouble. Eventually (maybe even always), we rely on our feelings, not on Him, or we make bad choices and blame it on the devil. Do we honestly even know what the Devil is doing? Have you had an encounter with the Devil? Do you know what his schemes are?

It is interesting how so few Americans rely on the word of God. No more than 20% of the 82% who say they believe it is God's truth, do. If we did, and we had a deeper relationship with Holy Spirit, we have to grow up. But for now, it's easy to go to work, or flip on the TV, or sit on the computer, then to practice hearing His voice and carry it out.

I constantly read about divorce rates, and a myriad of other issues that simply add up to selfish and immature. We cannot be good enough to make it work!

Well, there it is, a start: love, Holy Spirit, and maturity.

How about you, do any of these resonate as your personal needs?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Awe of God

After working our way through the Pastor, the Teacher and the Evangelist in the 5-Fold School of Ministry, I have been challenged to document what I believe. I don't mind, but I settled so many issues years ago, that I had forgotten each verse that proved my point. Truthfully, after all this time, it is just a part of life; a part of the way I commune with Jesus. I don't need to know where the verses is that says "pray without ceasing," "whatever you ask in my name;" I am good.

My Jesus experiences that are very common, are foreign to some in my class, and even those in my church. There is a list of them, from healing to falling under the power, tongues to prophecy, I have seen it all. It doesn't make me special, just experienced at the very least, and bit more intimate with God too. I have even been called a heretic - LOL! I take teaching very seriously, but some days I just want all of God, and I'm going there.

I met a guy in the class that has been saved for less than a year. God pulled him out of heroin addiction, and set his feet on the Rock. I prayed for him and he experienced Jesus in a very new way. After the class he caught me in the hallway, "I thought all this was mumbo jumbo!" he said. He began to be somewhat emotional too. On his lips were words he couldn't find to describe the intimacy with God he just experienced.

I don't know about you, but I live to experience God. Jesus gave me the keys to the Kingdom, and one of them really turned me on!

I had actually started Fire & Grace to write about me and Jesus. We have quite a few years together now, and I very much enjoy Him. I traveled as a missionary in Brazil and Norway, and let's just say what I saw happen there, if it happened in most US churches, folks would be freaked out. Can you imagine the presence of God so heavy that no one could stand in the sanctuary?

God is so much more amazing in real life than you can get in 3 or 4 worship tunes, a 45 minute sermon and a cup of cold coffee.

Me I want to be in awe of God, not walking around unsure of my faith, my eternal home, and missing out on the love and power of God as he expresses himself through the Holy Spirit.

How about you, have you experienced God as deeply as you hope to, or are you good where you are?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Power Brokers

Have you thought about why you go to to church, why we have services on Sunday morning and stuff like that? I don't know about you, but when I go to church, I just want the good stuff. I want worship that is so good, you don't even need to know the words. I want preaching that not only sounds good, or sounds like my Jesus, but it changes me. I want fellowship where I feel close enough to my brothers and sisters to confess my sins, and be myself. I want to see God heal the sick, give encouraging prophesies to his people, and enjoy His presence.

Friday night I have been teaching a class - maybe you have caught it online. For the first few weeks, as exciting as it was, it was mostly the transfer of godly information. That is not entirely the case, but it certainly wasn't all the "good stuff." I don't really know why, but I keep praying, keep caring, keep studying, and keep showing up - hoping for the good stuff. It is starting to happen.

I was teaching about Philip the Evangelist. Did you know that he was the one that Jesus turned to, and said hey, there are 5,00 men and their families out there, here are two puny fish and a few loaves of bread - go for it! It might have made Letterman smile, but Philip was at the crossroads of faith. We all know how that story turned out. (John 6)

I continued to teach on the things that Philip did, like when he baptized the Ethiopian and was suddenly in Azotus (Acts 8). According to Google Maps, it is 48 minutes by car on a paved highway. Philip was probably on foot or donkey.

Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Hmm... Jesus had long since been crucified and ascended into heaven. How did this happen?

Did you know that immediately following the death of Jesus on the cross that many of the saints came out of their tombs and walked about the city? It's true.

Matthew 27:53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

I suppose the case of poor Doubting Thomas is the worst lack of faith in the whole bunch; he only got to see Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:16 and 11:43)

Do you see where we are going? Our walk with God is a supernatural one, and it should reflect his power.

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

If we have faith, then God will be at work in supernatural ways, as well as supercharging your natural abilities.

Are you a power broker?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Redemption, Judgment and Time

I just read an article about the ousted Ted Haggard. He's the guy that was caught with meth while hanging around with a male prostitute. It is a lengthy article, but well worth the read. One of things that is important to me as a Christian is knowing that God doesn't give up on us.  am not saying that Ted is all better - but I think he is a lot farther down the road then he was and he got a new church: St. James.

There is a quote from the article: Do unto others as they didn't do unto you. (More about this on Monday)

Ted explained how the other leaders treated him during that time, and his separation agreement. I wasn't aware of exactly what he admitted to until today, and what he agreed to when he left: leaving the state, getting out of ministry, and not talking to the media. Hmmm... I wonder what all the motivations were for those conditions?

I am wondering what Bible verse running someone out of the state is in? I understand taking someone out of ministry until they repent, and get some help. And how could a church disqualify him from ministry? Isn't it God that qualifies and calls and individual?

It is easy to look at Ted, now or even then, and decide what is good or bad. Just because you don’t care for mega-churches with well paid pastors and PowerPoint presentations, doesn't mean that God didn't, or can’t use a guy like Ted.

The truth is that we don’t have to look any farther than our own heart to find sin.

Ted's new church (St. James) is filled with folks more like him. Is it real church because it has people in the midst of intense life struggles?

Real church is where 2 or 3 come together in His name and do His will.

The reason that America flirts with real church is because they are basically rich. Sure we have homeless folks – but many can go to shelters and get some care. We have money to take care of many elements of society that don’t have it so well. There are a lot of poor countries that have little, if anything. People are dying in droves from all types of maladies from starvation to disease and government sponsored genocide.

Americans tend to get ticked off when the Internet goes down for a few hours, or that power is out for a day of so. In fact in Massachusetts, people sued the power company when it went out for an extended period. In many places there is no electricity or running water yet.

Perspective is everything.

Sure, brokenness like Ted’s brings folks closer to God out of need, and that is the way it should be. People don’t want Jesus, because they don’t need him – yet.

It is good to need God.

Luke 20:18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.

Pick one!

We often forget that King David was left in power, and Moses and Paul was used in spite of being murderers.

I don’t think that Ted’s new church is really important. What matters is that people engage God, and not empty religion. If Ted gets it, it will be awesome.

What do you think, do you think Ted gets it now that he has been broken?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Random Questions

- If we are having global warning, how come this is the coldest winter in decades, and what do we need 80 inches of snow for?

- Does Jay Leno hate watching David Letterman like I do?

- If ghosts can walk through walls and glide down stairs, why don't they fall through the floor?

- What will actually happen in Egypt?

- How come my favorite bloggers don't write more blogs? Tony C TodayCharlie's Church of Christ and The Church of No People?

- Wonder what Curtis is doing in Heaven?

- Why are the little styrofoam pieces called peanuts?

- God you were amazing on Sunday, can we have more on Friday?

- How come people want to talk about religion, but few really want to do it?

- If Facebook goes out of business, how will we find every one again?

- What happens to dead people's email accounts?

- Will my snow blower last the season?

- Wonder what my CD will actually sound like when it's all finished?

- Why do doctors leave the room when you change?

- Why is it that everyone driving faster than you is considered an idiot and everyone driving slower than you is a moron?
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