Saturday, October 27, 2007

The excitement inspires me!

Tuesday night at Quest, I met an engaged couple who who were attending for the first time. Turns out, this couple has lived in Lakeland for two years and never really checked out any churches. Two weeks ago, the guy, Jason, gave his life to Jesus. His transformation has caused his fiancee, Sarah to turn back to her relationship with Jesus. The events of the past few weeks has rejuvenated their lives.

This couple is an absolute delight to be around. We had dinner with them at Zaxby's tonight. We got busy talking and sharing stories. Four hours later, we parted ways. The inspiring part of being around them is the look in their eyes. Jason is absolutely lit up on Jesus. He is so excited to be a follower of Christ.

Admittedly, he knows almost nothing about Christianity and will not apologize for it. It is Jason's new-found passion in Jesus that causes me to get excited. He is eager to learn. He is going to buy a bible tomorrow. He asked me what Genesis is/means. Starting next week, we are going to start reading Genesis and move forth. The brother is hungry. His hunger is addictive.

His hunger has got me thinking. Am I that hungry? Unfortunately, I don't think so.

Why is it this way? Why am I less excited about diving into the word now that I have been a follower for several years? I know that I have so much more to learn. Why am I satisfied? I would quickly agree with you that the more I learn about God, the more I want to learn. And yet, I sit here also admitting that I don't read my Bible everyday. I Struggle to get in it a majority of each week.

Why is this the way it is? People have shared this same problem to me. I have been warned about it and yet, I still struggle with it.

I think the answer is found in passion. The gosh darn truth is that You spend time in the things you are passionate about. If you like to write you write. Golfers are found on the golf course. Movie buffs are in theatres. People passionate about seeking the face of God, spend time in the word. God's mouth, so to speak.

Now that God has blessed me with a new friend who is passionate to learn anything and everything about God. I get the chance to be Jason's scuba instructor as we dive into the Bible. I am so thankful for him. God is so great. He brings the right people into my life for specific reasons. He always knows what I need to keep me growing and challenged.

Pray for Jason and I, as we jump from the boat and submerge ourselves in the truth.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Robert was his name, he was Jesus' brother.

Mandie and I were on our way home from Church last Tuesday night. We stop to put gas in Mandie's car. As I was washing her windshield, a stranger walked up and asked for a smoke. When I told him that I don't smoke. "Good for you" He nodded his head.

He proceeded to explain his situation and how he has been having a tough time. He asked me for help. My gut reaction was to decline his invite to help him. And can I just say that I hate that about myself. I wish I wasn't so selfish. Some one comes up and asks for a couple of dollars and I find reasons to not help. You would think that someone who has been so freely given to, would reciprocate in a like manner. Unfortunately, most times, I reject those seeking my help.

I spoke in a previous blog about how God has been calling me to action. True to form, after God has taught me something new or reminded me of a truth, He puts me in situations to act upon it. Lately, God has been calling me to love through action. So I am continually finding myself in situations to love others.

There I was, this dirty, scraggly stranger staring me in the face, skin dark and weather beaten, asking for help. I could barely hear his request because God was also talking in my ear, "I tell you the truth, whatever you have done for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." -Matthew 25:40.

By the grace of God and solely for his glory, I am happy to report that I grabbed the hand he stretched in my direction. I had the opportunity to hook him up with a footlong sub and some orange juice.

Before we parted ways. He allowed me to tell him about my Savior. How God has a plan for him, that God wants to be his ever present help in time of need. That God already knew his needs and circumstances before he told them to go. That God loves Him more than he can comprehend and has already paid the price so that they can have a relationship. He let me pray over him. Out loud, directly in front of the entrance of 7 Eleven. I got to claimed his soul in the name of Jesus.

After I said amen, I pulled him in close, stared him dead in the eye and said "I am giving to you because God has given to me. I want to help you know God's love."

He nodded, "I feel his love."

With that, I walked back to the car. Mandie was staring at me with that look that was said, "tell me everything." Robert walked off into the night. I told him that I would pray for him and I am asking you to join me.

His name is Robert. He is a certified brick mason that needs to find work so he can pay off some debts, get an ID and start his life over.

As you go through your day, be attentive to the people that need love. Remember...Jesus is their brother!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just Wait!

I have been in Lakeland, Florida for three months and I still don't have a job. To be brutally honest, I have not searched for a job very hard. I have asked God over and over again to put me where He desires for me to be. Up until this point, He has yet to bring a job my way. Lately this has become an area of aggrevation and impatience for me. Recent developments have rocked my face and I want to share them with you.

I have become good friends with a guy named Shua. He works at a Starbucks here in town. He's been giving me the full-court press to get a job at Starbucks. "You would be good at it," or "we could work together" were the phrases that I heard from him that made me want to apply for the job.

Last Wednesday I went to the store and picked up an application. For three or four hours it sat on my table. Later that evening, I was talking to Mandie about the possible job. About how I could not get a peace about applying. While discussing it with her, God brought King Saul to mind.

In 1 Samuel 13, Samuel Tells King Saul to wait to offer the pre-war sacrifice until he returns. Saul waits and waits. As each day passes, many of the 2,000 soldiers become scared and begin to scatter. After the appointed seven days, desperate to not lose any more men, King Saul offers the sacrifice without Samuel. The scripture reads that as soon as Saul was finished, Samuel arrived.

Samuel discovers what Saul has done and details immediate punishment. Samuel informs Saul that God was going to establish his Kingdom for all eternity through Saul's family line. But because he failed to wait, God was going to move onto another man, whose heart was like His. This man was David.

At the end of our discussion, Mandie jumped in the shower and I sat on the couch with my Bible. As I dove into the story. I came out on the other side with a great promise from the Lord.

He reminded me that it is ok to wait. We live in a society that looks poorly at waiting. It is perceived as lazy and uninspired. Instead, the church now say's things like "when in doubt, just act and God will get in on it."
I believe with all my heart that if I miss what God has for me, that He does sometimes join me where I am and can do great things. The sole reason this can happen is because of His grace. He does not have to, instead He chooses to out of His grace and mercy.

Now just because God will do this, does not mean that it is always right to move without His clear direction. He is not required to make it all good. Moving without God can end up good. The catch is that God has His best designed for us. After his premature sacrifice, King Saul was able to rout the Philistine Army that was opposing him. If this was all you knew, you would say that everything ended up well for Saul. I would say that victory over the Philistine's was good. But God had something better in mind.

God made Saul the first King of Israel. Saul was Chosen to be the representative of God Himself to the nation of Israel. God chose Saul to reign over His chosen people. God also planned to make his Kingdom last for all of eternity. This means that God was going to bring Jesus through Saul's family tree. Saul was going to be the ultimate patriarch for the savior of the world.

As I read over this story. God kept saying, "wait, just wait!" It felt so good to hear the Lord's voice so strongly.

So that is what I am doing. Mandie tore up the app. and threw it in the trash. I am waiting on the Lord. I know that Starbucks would be good. But I am not interested in good. I am going to wait until Samuel comes walking over the horizon with God's best.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's all about action

About two years ago, I was at a lifestream service back home in Norman, Oklahoma. At this particular service a guest speaker took a few minutes to share about the ministry that he was involved in. This was not unusual, because many different organizations wanted to speak to the 700+ people that attended Lifestream. The ministry this night was Mochaclub.

This organization asks you to give up $7 a month to give to their work in Africa. The idea is that giving up two Mocha's a month would equal $7. With your $7 a month, the mocha club can feed one person for a month, give clean water to a person for a year, send two kids to school for an entire term, and the list goes on and on.

That is what I heard that Thursday night, two years ago. I finally signed up to be a member of the Mochaclub today! The truth is that I should have signed up that very night and I didn't do it. Since that time, there have been numerous times when God brought it to my mind. Reminding me I need to sign up and help. I just seemed to be too busy. Or it was never the right time.

Will there ever be an absolute "right time?" It is so acceptable to say I will wait until a better time. Until I have a better money situation. Until I have more time. I have said these things. The time to act is now. If you continue to put off your call to action, time will pass and you will miss out on a world of opportunities.

I was financially able to give $7 a month two years ago. But I just now signed up. Think of all the people I could have helped in the last 24 months. The sad reality is that I have been helped by so many people along the way. Do I do a good job of passing those blessings along to others?

I was talking to some friends at dinner last night. The word revolution was being thrown around the table. I am in the midst of my own revolution. God is changing my ideas, my desires. I am ready to take action. The cool thing about action is that it is the best way for me to serve God. Jesus said that which you have done to the least of these, you have also done unto me.

So I want to challenge you to take action. I have started a team at Mochaclub. Below is the link to get involved. I have chosen to help put kids through school. I am helping rebuild Africa through rebuilding a generation. Don't wait for two years. Get involved!

To join my team go to:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Who am I cheering for?....It's complicated.

I am sitting here in utter disbelief. The Packers just lost and I can't believe it. There was not any moment during their game with the Bears that I thought they were going to lose. I was cheering a bit for both sides because Urlacher plays on my fantasy team and I was playing against a guy who was starting Favre. But I had picked the Packers to win on ESPN.

So I needed Urlacher to play well. Favre to play well enough to win, but not put up to good of numbers. The Packers to win. Unfortunately only Urlacher playing well came true. We will see how my fantasy end up tomorrow night. I am to cheap to pay for the automatic scoring system. I have to wait until the following day to see the breakdown of the scores.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sports Fantasy

This has got to be one of the best times of the year for sports fans. The postseason has arrived for Major League baseball. College and Pro football are in full swing. I love it! There is something good on everyday. Not only that, but games are on til late in the night or even the morning. This works out perfect for me, since I have nothing I have to get up for in the mornings.

This is the place where I ask for prayers for the Cubs. Its been so long since they've won a World Series (99 years). They deserve more than a sweep. I mean really. Don't the Diamondbacks have any manners. The least they could do is let the beloved Cubbies win the two at home.

Make sure you take some time to sit on the couch and soak in the history. Things happen every October that shape sports in America. It is way cooler to see it happen live instead of Youtube.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Are you married?

The random things that happen to me don't stop just because I moved to Lakeland. I went to lunch with a guy from my church this past Monday. I told my buddy that I wanted to go to a place unique to Lakeland. He suggested Diane's Cafe. I want to state for the record that I had the hamburger with fries and fried okra. It was off the chain.

We sit at our table and the waitress comes by for the first time. We order drinks and she walks away. She brings our drinks and asks us for our order. Here is where the fun begins. Dennis is ordering and can't decide what his two side should be. I jokingly say, "go ahead and get the okra, you know that looks good."
The waitress then chimes in "aren't y'all a little young to be married?" Unsure off what to say. I just look at her for her next move. I am expecting her to say she was just kidding or something. Nothing. She just look at me. Finally, she says' "aren't y'all both wearing wedding rings." I respond with "yes I am. But I am married to a girl."
"Oh, That's great!" She says.

That's great? She wasn't embarrassed or anything. In fact she conversed with us for at least ten minutes throughout our entire time at the Diner. I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed with her ability to shrug off the possibly awkward moments.

Please don't let this post deter you from eating at Diane's. The food is great. The service is even friendlier. Trust me!