7 Benefits of a Sabbath Day

Most 21st Century followers of Jesus are not really sure what to do with the God-designed provision of the Sabbath.  Jesus spoke against the Pharisee’s use (abuse) of the Sabbath yet seems to honor the Father on the Sabbath, often teaching in the Synagogues.  It is the one commandment, of the 10 Commandments given to Moses, that we write-off as being culturally irrelevant.  Most Bible believing Christians would not dare strike the commandments forbidding idolatry, adultery, taking the Lord’s name in vain, or murder.  In fact, Jesus didn’t lighten up on these laws, but exposed the root of the heart and thoughts that would condemn a man or woman (Matthew 5-6).  For God, honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy, is part of His moral law.

In order to understand how the Sabbath affects us and how we might honor the Lord through the Sabbath, the Scriptures must be examined and understood.  As the passages below are read and truth is drawn from them, it is important to not make law from these truths, but rather to allow the truth to set you free.  Never allow the Sabbath to put you into bondage; rather embrace the Sabbath to discover the abundant life.  It is one way in which we worship the Lord.  Let’s look at both the Old Testament’s teaching concerning the Sabbath and then teaching in the New Testament. You can click on each link below for a quick reference.

Old Testament:

1.    Exodus 20:8-11

2.    Isaiah 56:2-6

New Testament:

1.    Matthew 12:1-14

2.    Luke 14:1-6

3.    Hebrews 4:9-11

Benefits of Keeping the Sabbath

  1. Keeping the Sabbath identifies God’s PLACE in our lives and the world
  1. Keeping the Sabbath protects righteous PRIORITIES
  1. Keeping the Sabbath provides opportunity to REST
  1. Keeping the Sabbath HONOR’S the Lord
  1. Keeping the Sabbath recognizes our LIMITS
  1. Keeping the Sabbath communicates our VALUES to our family and others.
  1. Keeping the Sabbath positions us to HEAR from God

Perhaps you have additional thoughts and insights about honoring the Lord, and keeping the Sabbath.  I’d love to hear what you have to say.

30 Years After Challenger’s Explosion

I can’t believe it has been 30 years since the 7 crew members of the NASA Challenger were lost in an explosion 73 seconds after take-off.  It was a tragedy felt by all, especially since it included a school teacher by the name of Christa McAuliffe.

ChallengerCrewChallengerExplosion

The Challenger disaster became a case study to fuel the future of launch safety.  Within a short time of the tragedy, it soon was discover that problems were discovered and engineers had given the warning to delay the launch.  Now at 89 years old Bob Ebeling, the chief engineer who reported the problem and called for the delayed response, is still haunted by that fateful day, January 30, 1886.

CHALLENGER_Engineer_BobEbeling

Distance from events such as these allow time for clarity and healing for most.  There are many lesson we ALL CAN LEARN from the Challenger:

  1. Advancement Involves Risk:  For a large multi-million dollar (or more) business like NASA, they are always pushing the technological limits.  However, advancement is necessary for every organization, and advancement always takes risk.  But calculated risk is always a part of true advancement.  WHAT ADVANCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE?  WHAT KIND OF RISKS ARE INVOLVED?

 

  1. Everyone’s Voice is Important:  The wise man/woman listens to the voices around them.  They should never be driven by the voices around them, but to ignore trusted advisers is a foolish move.  This was the main mistake of NASA 30 years ago… they didn’t listen to those who know!!! WHO KNOWS MORE THAN YOU?  WHAT ARE THEY SAYING AND HOW CAN YOU HEED WHAT YOU ARE HEARING?

 

  1. Learn from Mistakes:   Following the loss of life, millions of dollars of equipment destroyed, and the advancement halted drastically… NASA was forced (literally) to learn from their mistakes.  Whether your mistakes are  HUGE or small, use the hard lessons learned to do things better.

WHAT MISTAKES HAVE YOU MADE?  WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED?  WHAT LESSONS CAN YOU LEARN FROM OTHER’S MISTAKES?

From a stay-at-home mother to a NASA executive, these lessons are vital to your future and growth!  Ask yourself the hard questions, or the hard questions will hurt you.

5 Ways to Leave a Legacy

It seems as if this January has been a season of many famous people dying.  Names like:Rene Angelil (Celine’s husband), Daniel Dion (Celine’s brother), David BowieGlen Frey, Natalie Cole, and Lemmy Kilmister to name a few.   What can we learn about leaving a legacy from these famous people?

LeaveALegacy

When notable people of culture pass on, much is written and discussed about their legacy.  What they have left behind, contributed, and the mark they made on society all become the focus of attention.  However, for most celebrities, those know their names have never been directed touched or impacted by them personally.  They lives leave very little trace for others to follow behind.

For most of us, it is not about impacting the 100’s of thousands, but about impacting the lives of the few God has put us in contact with.  After the passing of my grandfather, Robert E. Tourville, I have given much thought about the Legacy our lives leave behind.  Below are a few directions for those who wish to leave a lasting impact.

1-Decide Who is Most Important:  I’ve never met someone who was toward the end of their lives and wished they had put more time in the office.  I have, however, encountered many who wish they had spent more time with their kids.  How sad it is to see someone who reached all their vocational and financial goals, but have no one to love them or share life with.  Life your life for the most important relationships!

2-Life a Life Worth Imitating by your Kids & Grandchildren:  Your lifestyle and choices are most often what your family will remember about you.  You impact is the life that you lead.  When choosing your morals, behavior, spirituality, and values, what type of life would you want your kids and grandkids to lead.  If it isn’t good enough for them, then you have no business participating.

3-Leave Values, not Just Possessions:  Possession can be passed down and enjoyed for a few years, but the values we leave can last generations.  The wised king to ever rule a nation wrote this, “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.  Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:5-7)

4-Invest in a Few, not the Masses:  Tim Elmore told me years ago, “More time with less people, makes more Kingdom impact.”  While some are gifted communicators and can truly impact thousands, you do not be a public speaker to make an impact.  There is a generation in desperate need of the previous generation to invest in them.  Take someone out for coffee, listen with intentional ears, ask open ended questions. “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say*.”

5-Fulfill God’s Purpose for You in Your Generation:  I love what the New Testament says of King David, “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” (Acts 13:36) What part of God’s purposes are you called to fulfill in this generation?  God made you like no one else, to do something no one else can do.  Never underestimate the importance of your life.  If you were unnecessary, you would not have been born.  Discover and fulfill God’s purpose for you life, and your legacy will be fulfilled!

Whether you are just beginning your journey, or are approaching the later years of your impact, it is never to late to leave a lasting impact.  Think back concerning who has impact your life.  Who were they? What influence did they have in your life?  What qualities impacted you most?  How have you continued their legacy?

I’d love to hear your response as you honor those who have impacted your life.

 

BREAKTHROUGH Week #3: Knowing God’s Voice

Have your ever noticed that there are certain voices you can hear, that pierce the noise of the crowds. There have been a number of these voice in my life.  My father’s voice is one that immediately grabs my attention.  It is not because of his 6’4″ frame or his baritone voice (although I’m sure that helped), but it is because my ears have been tuned to his frequency through my lifetime.  My college basketball coach, Dan Boothman, had the same affect.  With the crowds screaming, noise makers shaking, somehow I always could hear his voice (especially if I messed up).

Listening

Why is our brain have the capacity to perform like this?  Scientists have done studies examining this phenomenon*. However, I would like to simplify what happens.  When you spend enough time privately and in close proximity with that person, and accept them as your primary source, your brain is capable of tuning out all the other noises and hearing the 1 voice that matters.

Fasting, along with prayer and time in the Scriptures, provides the intimacy necessary to hear the 1 VOICE THAT MATTERS.  Fasting helps quiet all loud voice that are not the primary source of direction, instruction, encouragement, and purpose.  One of Jesus’ closes followers (John the Apostle) records the words of Jesus, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:14, 27).

Below are three powerful strategies to hearing God’s voice:

1-Silent Time:

Prayer is just as much about listening as it is talking.  You really need to spend time without the TV, Music, Podcasts, Media, Facebook, Twitter, and any other noise that can be silenced.  At first this silence can be deafening, almost intimidating.  Silence is counter intuitive, but will serve as a powerful ally in discerning God’s voice!

2-Alone Time:

Following the Lord requires alone time with Him. When we bend our knee in alone, we can stand before anyone.

3-Focused Time:

Prayer that is powerful and effective is prayer that is focused.  It is intense, direct, and purposeful.  Focused prayer is primarily centered around our roles and calling in life. It is focused on God, His truths, and His purposes.  Focused prayer is Powerful prayer!

Don’t forget this week to get to know the GOOD SHEPHERD’s voice and hear Him calling your name as you call out to Him in prayer!  #Breakthrough2016

I would love to hear your thoughts on hearing the voice and leading of God…

BREAKTHROUGH Week #2: 4-Ideas to Fight the GOOD FIGHT

These 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, many have discovered what it means to fight for your faith.

FightGloves

Typically, the first week of any type of fasting, including the Daniel Fast, is a matter of fighting through headaches, a little fatigue, and the battle of the mind.  When we decide to refrain from food, facebook, or another other restriction… our FLESH wants to rise up and rebel.  Perhaps you’ve experience this battle this week.

We can be victorious when we know what we’re fighting for.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12).

Below are great motivators and strategies to finish these 21 days strong.

1-KNOW WHY YOU ARE FASTING:  When the “why” is compelling enough, we can fight the “good fight” and separate ourselves through prayer and fasting.  If you don’t already have that 1-BREAKTHROUGH written and in a place you can see every morning, do so immediately.  We don’t fast for the sake of fasting.  We fast for a spiritual purpose.

2-KNOW WHERE YOUR STRENGTH LIES:  One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in Isaiah 40:31, “those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength.”  We discover both spiritual and physical strength when in the Lord’s Presence.  So, how do where and how do we gain that strength

  • Time in God’s Word.  Join us in the One Year Bible Challenge.
  • Time in Prayer.  A great format on HOW to pray is found in Matthew, called the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Time with your Spiritual Family.  discover the spiritual strength that comes from fellowship with other believer.

3-KNOW HOW TO SUCCEED IN YOUR FAST:  It is not uncommon that those who begin to fast, quickly “fall off the wagon”.  Why?  Basically, they haven’t planned out their strategy.  Especially with a Daniel fast, but any spiritual breakthrough requires preparation of our Body, Mind, and Spirit.

4-KNOW WHO CHRIST HAS MADE YOU TO BE:  Christ not only came to get you into heaven, but he also came to bring victory to your daily life.  Peter wrote “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3).  Don’t settle short of God’s best for your life, your marriage, your relationships, your children, your career, or your health.  Catch CHRIST’S vision for your life.

My prayer for you is that you will discover the spiritual freedom and breakthrough that is possible through Christ and His power that is being released through His grace during this 21 Days of BREAKTHROUGH!

A Moral Compass

Recently, my family and I are watching one of my personal favorite cinema series of the 21st century taken from the Walt Disney World ride, “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Since itsImage first block buster in 2003, the series has grossed over $4 billion. Not too shabby! The movies’ star, Captian Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, wins over the affection of most fans through his kwirky ways, complimenting his deceptive… yet compassionate heart. Interesting mixture for a pirate.

In each movie he carries with him his most valued possession, THE COMPASS. To most, it seems like a broken, useless instrument. Sparrow’s compass spins uncontrolably, and never points due north. However, for the Captian, “It points to the thing you want most in this world.”

To draw a (perhaps) unlikely parallel, Sparrow’s compass is not too unlike the Moral Compass that many of today’s children have adopted. The compass is not directed by a TRUE NORTH. To put it another way, the END can justify the MEANS. Dangerous ground for our up-and-coming generation.

So, as a concientious parent, how do we practically help our children develop a good Moral Compass that will serve them past their years of dependence (2 yrs old to Junior High) and well into their launching years (High School, College and beyond). Below are a few basic, yet fundamental parenting skills that are vital to helping our children internalize Right from Wrong for themselves.

  1. Love them Equally: Morality always begins with love. It is the foundation by which personal value and worth are formed, without it there is little hope for morality to develop. While each child needs to be loved differently because of their differing personality and needs, the love they receive from their parents must be equal. No favorites!!! Choosing favorites hurts both the kids that are on the outside looking in, as well as the favored one. It does no one any good. This first principle cannot be overemphasized enough. If a child is not valued through true LOVE, they will never value themselves enough to eventually hold themselves to a moral standard they believe is valuable.
  2. Consequences: In the earlier years, morality is often formed through obedience. A child’s obedience to a parent provides the self-discipline that is indispensable to their future. However, consequences not only provide assurance of obedience, it also communicates value and worth. As parents, we have to CARE ENOUGH TO CONFRONT. Without consequences, obedience is discretionary. Care enough to hold your children to the standards you have put into place.
  3. Model the Way: Our children aren’t stupid. If our imposed standards are important enough for them to follow, you better be prepared to follow them yourselves. It always amazes me to watch parent tell their teenages not to drink alcohol, yet they themselves are permitted to not only drink, but go to “adult parties” and get totally drunk. Same can be said with smoking or even with movies. Why is a movie okay for us as parent to watch, but not for our children. While I am not suggesting total equality between parent and child, I am simply saying, we MUST model the way. If you don’t, who will do it for your children? Answer: NO ONE!
  4. Fight the Right Fights: Finally, we must know ahead of time what issues we will go to war over. I’ve watched parents of teenagers yell at their teenage daughter about her skirt being too high (or shirt too low), yet allow her boyfriend to be up in their room alone for hours with door closed. SERIOUSLY!!! The issues in the earlier years may revolve around video games, or cleaning their room, or even how they speak to their siblings. The principle here: You have to major on the majors. The 3 Majors for my wife and I are: Respect, Responsibility, and Righteousness. You’ll have your own list, but know and clearly communicate that list. 

Parent, don’t let anyone fool you. You are the one who helps your children develop a stable Moral Compass. Even though the random compass Captain Jack Sparrow carries serves him well, our children need something much more… And you can help provide it. To quote the wisdom of the good Captian, “Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”

BREAKTHROUGH Week #1: What’s At Stake

As we begin week #1 of our Daniel Fast, I’d like to start with the question, WHAT’S AT STAKE.  You have a choice to fast and pray, or just to continue on like every other year.  Looking forward into 2016, what needs to happen?  What breakthrough or miracle are you believing God for?

WhatsAtStakeThe difficulty is most often don’t see our immediate choices producing immediate consequence.

  • If we had a heart-attack the moment we ate that greasy Bacon-Cheeseburger…
  • If we had to buy a new pair of jeans because you ate that doughnut…
  • If you passed out with the first drink of alcohol…
  • Or you discovered your marriage ended at the first ill word spoken…

IF… we saw our choice taken us to a destination (result), than perhaps we would make different choices.

This season of Breakthrough in Prayer & Fasting is a choice we are making, looking forward to the results of a New Year.  It is a chance to align your body, mind and spirit, move in the right direction.

What’s at stake?… Your life (relationally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially).  The choices you make today, influence your destination tomorrow!  Figure out your WHY, and your WHAT will come that much easier.

Lifting LIDZ

From basketball, to working in the business world, to growing up in the church as a pastor’s kid, to leading city wide outreach efforts to pastoring my own church… my life has been surrounded with leaders, leadership situations, and high producing individuals.  From the sports world, to the corporate world, I love watching individuals and teams rise to the occasion, and soaring to new heights.

During my high school and college years, the team to watch and beat was the Chicago Bulls.  I followed Michael Jordan rise as both a individual performer, as well as a team leader.  Each time he turned around, there was another challenge, another opponent, or another record he was chasing.  Even after coming out of retirement, within one year he was back at the championships, on a quest for another 3-peat.

As gifted as MJ was (is), he wasn’t the strongest, or the best shooter, or even the most athletic.  What impressed me more than anything was his leadership capacity, resulting with his team rising to new levels.  It was his determined leadership that made the difference.  Allen Iverson was an amazing scorer, Charles BArkely an amazing rebounder, and Vince CArter an amazing dunker.  But none of them had the success Michael Jordan enjoy.  WHY???  They fell victim to their personal leadership LIDZ  that limited their results and success.

Leadership LIDZ are the limitations that hinder some from rising to their full potential personally, corporately, and even with their family.  These LIDZ are like different ceilings or caps that keep leaders from succeeding at new levels.  These LIDZ are universal in nature, meaning they transcend roles and settings.

In the coming posts I’ll be writing about ways you can Lift the LIDZ in your life, and rise to new levels in the coming year. Why are these “lifters” important… Because what got you here, won’t take you there (where you hope to be).

To get you started, let me ask you a few questions to consider:

  • What successes and accomplishments in your life are you most proud?
  • How do you currently evaluate your strengths and witnesses?  What would those closest to you identify as areas of strength and growth opportunities?
  • Who have you identified  as a high achiever?  What qualities and characteristics do you identify in them?
  • What dreams, goals or hopes do you have that are yet unrealized?

5 Ideas to Lower STRESS this Christmas

If you’re like me, the Christmas season is always filled with parties, events, shopping, decorating, cleaning, etc… While all these are good, it fills the schedule and stretches the limits of time (& sometime space).  However, if we are not careful we can let the real meaning and spirit of Christmas escape us and our families.

christmas-de-stress

Below are 5 quick ideas to lower STRESS this Christmas season:

  1. MAKE IT ABOUT FAMILY:   While the presents, parties, and meals are all important, make sure all this invests and encourages your family time and family’s experience.   If it doesn’t, perhaps evaluating either how or what you are doing is in order.
  2. KEEP CHRIST THE CENTER:  Good things can be the enemy of Great things.  Since Christmas is truly about the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world, instilling that value and truth into your personal and family schedule would benefit greatly.  Let me suggest a few ways:
  3. DON’T BUY ON CREDIT:  As you do your last minute Christmas shopping, don’t get caught in the commercial trap of buy now – pay later.  The average American already carries over $15,000* in credit card debt, and the Christmas season sees them adding at least another $1000 each year*.  Do what you can do and be content with that.
  4. MAKE SOMEONE’S LIFE EASIER:  This could be as simply as bringing your spouse coffee in bed that morning, or doing the dishes after the “big” meal.  It could be something simple, or as extravagant as the person who paid off all the Lay-A-Ways at a Walmart this year*.  Whatever you do, find a way to be a blessing!
  5. FINALLY, DON’T FORGET TO SMILE:  Smiling is contagious and it changes the environment around you and in you.  While you can’t control or change the people around you, you can bring your sunshine anywhere you go.  Bring you smile.  Besides, it is actually scientifically proven to reduce stress and is good for your heart*.  With all the overeating and junk food we’ll be eating, we all could use something healthy… SO SMILE!

I truly pray you and your family has a blessed and Merry Christmas this year!