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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting UNSTUCK

This summer we have been studying the life of Moses and his relationship to the God of Israel.  This week we begin to see a turning point in chapter 7 & 8.  So you think care of Moses begin to grow to a point where God can use it.  For the 80 years prior Moses had remain stuck and frustrated wanting to fulfill God's will but never see me to make progress.

It is only as Moses ego, aspirations, self will, castle-building building, and pride in his miracles fall & Die that God is able to use him as the deliverer is Israel.  

It is hardly possible to over estimate the value of simple, unquestioning obedience in the growth of character and God's operation through our lives.  

Are you weary of a wavering, halfhearted walk with Christ? Are you willing to bring your life to his powerful searchlight? Are you willing to trust him without reservation, no matter what? Are you finally determined to do God's will, God's way?

If that's your decision, I must warn you: the path for you will be costly – more than you can ever imagine right now. But shunning that path will be more costly still.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Foreign Tragedies Hit the Assemblies of God

The below information was recently sent from the Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.  The tragedies you've been hearing on the news have personally affected our brothers and sisters in different Assemblies of God ministries abroad.  Below is what was reported.

**OVERSEAS AG MEMBERS SUFFER IN HEADLINE TRAGEDIES**


Over the last few days, Assemblies of God personnel have made several reports of AG families being caught in harm's way and tragedy resulting.

Late last week, AG workers in the Middle East reported two young brothers from the Lighthouse School in Gaza were killed when a missile from an F-16 jet fighter hit their home.

In Iraq, increasing chaos surrounds believers as a militant group known as the Islamic State (previously known as ISIS) tightens its grip in and around the city of Mosul. All Christians have been ordered to leave the city (leaving all of their property behind) or be executed.

Reports are that many fleeing families were stopped at checkpoints and stripped of money and personal possessions. It is believed most Christian families have now fled Mosul.

Then, over the weekend, Dutch officials released the names of passengers from the Netherlands who were aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was reportedly shot down over the Ukraine, with no survivors.

Among the passengers were Arnoud Huizen, his wife, and their 2-year-old daughter. Arnoud was a former student at Azusa Theological Seminary in Amsterdam. He worked with Chi Alpha at Free University in Amsterdam and did an internship with Teen Challenge. 

Tim Southerland, area director of Northwestern Europe, states, "Arnoud was a diligent student who loved the Lord. His death is a great loss to the Dutch Assemblies of God and also among the missionary family who knew and loved him."

Two women from AG churches in Indonesia were also killed.  
"Our hearts go out to families and individuals who are suffering in the collateral damage of the civil conflicts taking place throughout the world," says AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. "These trying times afford a challenge to the church of Jesus Christ to offer comfort to the suffering and convey the compassion, love and message of Christ wherever we can."

To read the AG World Missions full report, see http://worldmissions.ag.org.


Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Decisions No Dad Regrets

As a father of 4 I have made my share of mistakes and blunders. I've over-reacted to issues not that important, and under-responded when I was distracted or overwhelmed with other pressing issues.  Yet, there have been 5 decisions that I've never regretted that I'd pass on to you this week following Father's Day. 

  1. My Wife Comes First:  This is where many couples go wrong, they choose their kids before each other.  While this may seem like a valiant and even sacrificial response, the problem with putting your marriage on the back-burner is it eventually dries up.  Although I forget the source, I recall reading early in our parenting journey, "The best thing you can do for your kids is love their mother."  I've never forgotten this and tried my best to fulfill it. 
  2. Go to Their Events:  This is a high priority for me as a dad.  Nothing tells a kid they are valuable like attending their events (sporting, concert, drama, etc...).  When you attend, don't criticize (even constructively), just enjoy being immersed in their world.  I know they're boring and sometimes painful, but it is not about the event, it's about you valuing your child's world.  In the exceptions when you can't, make sure you explain to your son or daughter the circumstances.  I have found my kids to always be more than understanding.  
  3. Have Fun Together:  The older your children get, the harder this becomes.  In their teenage years the peer group becomes more important to your kids.  This is a fact of life and must be accepted and encouraged.  However, find ways and times to have fun together.  Sometimes it begins with complaining (perhaps often), but shared experiences provide a foundation for your relationship.  Honestly, this one you have to work hard at, but is worth it. 
  4. Spend Time Individually:  This one my kids seem to fight over.  It could be going to the store for mile, or coming early to the church for a service or event.  Believe it or not, your kids actually like you.  Time alone reminds them why.  
  5. Pray With and Over Your Kids:  First let me say you don't have to be super spiritual about it and you don't have to make it into a grand event.  It might be in the morning before they go to the bus stop, or in the evening before they go to bed, for others who have dinner together this would be the best time.  Bottom line, I've never met a dad who regrets having prayed with their kids too much, but have met MANY dads who wished they had led their children spiritual, but missed their chance.  
Dad, your rule matters more than you'll ever realize.  It takes strength, perseverance, and a tender confidence to be a dad. Keep up the good work.  We are in it for life!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5 Decisions to Keep Moving Forward

Each season of life has looked very differently... much like Winter and Summer.  However, the one consistent element has been the demand on my time.  At a very early age I began to learn as much as I could about managing my time, prioritizing, and bigger picture items of discovering my purpose and giftings.  While this is a work in progress, the result of the early years of learning from respected leaders, reading every book I could get my hand on, and listening to every tape/CD/MP3 I could find have put me on an intentional pathway.  This includes personally, relationally, spiritually, physically and vocationally!

  1. Become A Life-Long Learner:  I'll give John Maxwell credit for this one, because that's where I read it first.  He said, "A Leader is a Learner.  Stop learning, and you'll stop leading."  Those that don't take their personal growth seriously do not take their future seriously.  While I give Maxwell credit for writing this, I have to give my Dad credit for living this.  From his 2 Masters programs to his recent Doctorate, my dad has modeled life long learning.  His thirst to grow and become all God has designed him to be drives him to read.  To this day I picture him reading the Greek New Testament from his big Lazy Boy Chair while the family (& him) watched the Cosby show.  To this day he reads a constant flow of books. 
  2. Focus on Relationships:  While my personality's tendency is to be task-driven, I decided soon after graduating college that Relationship are my task.  Therefore, I prioritized my relationship into my life's schedule and decisions beginning with my wife, then my children, and then to other relationships.  While I can never meet all the relational demands that ministry and pastoring present, my attempt has been to focus on investing in relationships.  After nearly 20 years of marriage and ministry I can honestly say this decision has served me well and helped me survive much.  WARNING... to benefit here you must focus on the RIGHT RELATIONSHIP.  Not all relationships are created equal.  some will tear-down, others build-up.  Some with encourage, others discourage.  Some will speak life, others will only speak negativity!  Focus on the Right Relationships.
  3. Know Your Life's Mission:  Knowing your mission in life allows you to make informed and wise decision. It allows you to say "NO" to opportunities that might not be for you, and "YES" to those that are. It also allows you to answer the answer of SIGNIFICANCE as you examine your life.  Sometimes your missions is your vocation, other times your vocation helps financially support your mission.  Either way, discover this as early as possible and pursue it with all your effort!  And if you feel like you're late in the game, start NOW and watch your God who created you redeem the time!
  4. Find Healthy Ways to Escape:  I say healthy ways, because many find unhealthy ways to escape from pressures and stressors (i.e., alcohol, pornography, dishonoring relationships, overeating, etc...).  For me healthy escapes have been hobbies such as Going to the Gym, Riding my Bike, recently working in the yard or pool, Going on a Date with my wife, etc...  Whatever works for you, find it.  Not only does it clear your mind, provide rest from normal activity... it also brings clarity about the pressures and stressors.  I can't tell you how many good ideas have been birthed on the saddle of my bike, or on the belt of a treadmill.  
  5. Finally, Major on the Minors:  Perhaps you've heard the opposite... "Major on the Majors, Minor on the Minors."  All I can say is that I've watched those who lived this way end up broken disappointed people.  The reason:  its the little things over the long haul that make the difference.  The little attitudes, little mistakes, little sins, little compromises, little harsh words... that make the impact over the years.  When you Major on the Minors, I've discover the Major Areas of life will be taken care of as well.
If you're feeling stuck, or like your on top of the world... your decisions TODAY will affect your TOMORROWS.  Be sure to make the decisions that will keep you moving forward.   The good things that God has in store for you are still AHEAD!!!


Monday, May 19, 2014

10 Things to Teach Your Son about True Manhood

  1. Being a gentleman is still worth the effort:

    - Hold the door.

    - Stand up when a woman leaves or joins the table.

    - Walk on the “splash” side of the sidewalk.

    - Attempt (gently) to pick up the tab.

    - Go get the car when it’s raining.

    - Offer your hand…

  2. At the same time, be respectful: All the above “gentlemanly” actions must be offered subtly, and  - if necessary - set aside graciously when refused.

  3. Take responsibility: In a word (well, two), “step up.” True manhood takes responsibility for its actions, choices, values and beliefs. And – while taking responsibility, manhood is also willing to admit – with grace - when it is wrong.

  4. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable: Real strength allows other people in. Manhood is honest about feelings and not afraid to be known. True manhood never builds a wall where there should be a window, or a fortress where there should be a sanctuary.

  5. Actually “being” a man is more important than “talking” like one: Real men don’t just stand up and speak up - they “put up” too. Loud talk and tough posturing don’t cut it. True manhood involves finding a need and doing something about it. Real men don’t complain about social problems – they go out and do something about them. Real men don’t point fingers – they work for solutions. Real men get calluses on their hands – not from flapping their lips.

  6. Listen respectfully, disagree politely and never exclude women from conversation: True manhood is inclusive. It may be strong, but it’s unfailingly polite. Men who equate bluster or machismo with strength are typically covering something up. Men who think women have nothing to contribute to the conversation need to wake up and smell the 21st Century.

  7. Love is stronger than muscles: True manhood understands that brute force is less compelling than self-giving love. The best solutions to difficulties involved applied love.

  8. The first shall be last: True manhood puts others first. Jesus is quoted more than once as saying something like this: If you want to be a leader, then the place to be is on your knees, with a towel in your hand, washing someone’s feet.

  9. Manhood is – sometimes - more about what you could do but didn’t than what you could have avoided but did anyway: There’s a lot of restraint – a great deal of “Quiet Strength” in true manhood. Real men tend to always have something in reserve.

  10. True manhood is more about giving than about getting: Our culture often touts a “men see what they want, then they go out and get it” view of manhood. But true manhood is more along the lines of “see what the world needs, then go out and do it.” Strength leveraged for the benefit of others.

    Taken from: http://www.allprodad.com/