Saturday, January 31, 2009


Matthew 18:20

For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.

And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there. The Message

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. NIV

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. NASB

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. KJV

For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I AM in the midst of them. Amplified

No matter how you translate it, there's something (or Someone) that happens when 2 or more Christ followers get together.

Jesus said He was there. I wonder what that really means. And I wonder what that really means for each of us.

What would it mean to each of us, as well as any group we're a part of, if we really believed He was present? Like, there, just like you or I are really there.

How would we act, react, think, or handle ourselves if we really believed it? What would the quality of our lives be like?

I gotta think about this one. What are the overarching ramificatons of really believing it? How will that change the way I am, think, & feel tomorrow at the combined services @ CCST? And how will that affect the way I think & feel on Tuesday at HOGMacon or Wednesday at HOGCochran?

You think about it, too...

I love you

Friday, January 30, 2009

mustard seeds

Matthew 17:20b "...I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain 'Move from here to there.' & it would move. Nothing would be impossible."

So, how many of us believe that? Not the mountain moving part, but the part about nothing would be impossible.

Do we really believe that?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

some verses

Here's some verses that came up off the page this morning... (hope they mean something to someone out there)

Proverbs 20:10 The Lord despises double standards of every kind.

vs 24 How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps.

vs 27 The Lord's searchlight pebetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

Matthew 16: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ambition, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?* Is anything worth more than your soul?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

lending & repaying

Proverbs 19:17 If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord - He will repay you.

This came up off the page today. What does it mean to you, & what might the Lord be trying to say?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Proverbs 19: 12 Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.

It's SO hard to be truly humble. My Internet dictionary defines it as:
1) Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
2) Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology.
3) Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowl

I know why I'm not humble - I'm just too self-seeking, or self-absorbed. I figure no one's gonna take care of me but me. (Yeah, I know, I know - revealing statement.)

It's a trust issue thing, I guess. If I really believed God was gonna take take of me (God = the holy, omnipotent, all powerful, all knowing, essence of love, perfect Father, God of the universes), then I walk humbly in His care. I mean, who deserves such love & care?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Proverbs 17:9 Disregarding another person's faults preserves love; telling them separates close friends.

There is a different between disregarding & tolerating. Disregarding indicates we see the their faults amongst their many strengths. Tolerating means we condone or permit bad behaviour.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

what's more important

Matthew 12: 9 Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, 10 where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?" (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
11 And he answered, "If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn't you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath."
13 Then he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! 14 Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.

My Life Application Bible says that this section shows that the Pharisees were more interested in their religious system than in God Himself.


Gotta think about that one, & if &/or how it applies to me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Matthew 11: 28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Friday, January 23, 2009

letting loose

Matthew 10:39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; if you give up your life for Me, you will find it.

Here's the deal - if we grasp the life we're now living, if we hold on to our petty conveniences & securities, we miss the BOG life God's dreamed for us.

If we let go of our life; if we open our hand & surrender it, that frees God up to give us the life He dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.

Now, which life would we want; which life would be better suited for who we are?!

We just have to say yes to the 'ever's - whoever, whateverr, wherever, whenever, however. The rest god will take care of.

How do I know?

I'm livin' it right now & have been for the last year.

I don't know what's around the corner, but I know Who's got the whole thing under control!

Scary & risky? Yep

Do I feel more alive than I ever have? You bet!

You do it too - don't cling to your life - let Him handle it - let it go & say yes to the 'ever's


Thursday, January 22, 2009

the well & the sick

Matthew 9: 2 When Jesus heard this, he said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do."13 Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.' For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

I feel like this is something God dropped into my head sometime in the past few months - our presence downtown primarily isn't for "church folks" - it's for people who don't have a relationship with Jesus at all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a miracle

I grew up during the ‘50’s & ‘60’s in southwestern Ohio, about 40 miles east of Cincinnati. I was maybe 10 yrs old when, for some reason, my family went to Maysville, KY – which lies just across the Ohio River from my home county in Ohio. It was my 1st venture out of Ohio, into what we northerners considered a “southern state”.

It was in a department store in Maysville that I encountered assign on the restroom that said, “whites only.” I was aware of these kinds of signs, but hadn’t run into one before. I’d been all over Cincinnati many times, which had a large black population, & hadn’t run into such signs.

After that trip to Maysville, I was a little less innocent, & was somehow tainted by the experience. For the life of me, in my 10 yr old mind, I couldn’t figure out why blacks couldn’t pee in the same restroom as whites. It happened all the time every time I went to Cincinnati. I had never thought about it – until that trip to Maysville.

Soon after that trip, during the ‘60’s, we went through the terrible, exciting, frightening, & fulfilling times of the civil rights movement. All of us who were alive & in high school &/or college at that time participated in some shape or form in the struggle for equality of our black brothers & sisters. Many of us were a part of marches, sit-ins, protests, with their share of fire hose baths & billy club hits. But it was worth it all, & then some.

During those days, the possibility of a black woman or man being elected president was absolutely unthinkable. In the days that followed in the ‘70’s, ‘80’s, & ‘90’s, it still seemed highly unlikely, a far off dream for maybe our grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

It doesn’t matter what our political persuasion may be. This week we witnessed a miracle. America was able to put aside centuries of prejudice & stupidity & elect a black person as president. And because of it our black kindred can walk taller, feel better, & know they are a giant step closer to the elusive “equality”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

sink into His word

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' 23 But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God's laws.'

24 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."

Matthew 5-7 is what we call "The Sermon on the Mount" - Jesus basically laid out many of the things that we find pivotal in our concept of Him.

I knew teachers at Asbury, both at the college & the seminary, who had spent their whole lives studying these 3 chapters.


Go to Matthew 5 & just read it straight thru to the end of chapter 7. Don't stop, just take the whole thing in in one sitting - it'll only take about 30 minutes.

Then, the next time you read, go back & read just chapter 5. Underline the things that strike you or come up off the page. Then do the same for chapters 6, & then 7.

Then, go back to chapter 5, read it again, every day, for a week. Then do the same for chapters 6, then chapter 7.

Each day, as our Abba Father to speak to you thru His word.

I promise you, if you'll do this, you'll never be the same.

And God will mess with you, big time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

don't worry

Matthew 6: 25 "That is why I tell you, don't worry about your life — whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 "And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God* above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.

I remember well the day my sweet friend, Aaron Barth, came to staff prayer & told us about how he'd ben studying Jesus' sermon of the mount in Matthew 5-7. He said that he found that it was unnecessary to read this whole passage - that the crux of the who thing was in the first few words - "don't worry about your life"

This was the 4th & final verse God gave me for 2008, & now He's carried them over into 2009.

I can't tell you the dozens & dozens & dozens of times He's reminded me in the last year, "don't worry about your life." Hundreds of times, as I worried while I walked toward being a catalyst for a presence downtown, I would worry & fret about all kinds of things. Each time I'd start to spin, He'd quietly remind me, "don't worry about your life."

"don't worry about your life"

"don't worry about your life"

"don't worry about your life"

"don't worry about your life"

"don't worry about your life"

I know that Aaron finds it interesting how a passing comment has been a pivotal part of my life these last 13 months, & beyond.

Think about this - many times, our words have similar impact on people's lives, unbeknownst to us - words that are kind, encouraging, & helpful. But so can our words that are not kind, encouraging, or helpful.

Thanks again, Aaron, for sharing from the profundity of your life. God continues to speak to me through it.

And thank You, Father, for "don't worry about your life."

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Matthew 5:43 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor'* and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Don't know who that's for. Lemme know if it was for you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

moving forward

Moving Forward

I'm not going back
I'm moving ahead
I'm here to declare
In You old things are made new
Surrender my life to Christ
I'm moving moving forward

Vs 1
What a moment
You have brought me to
Such a freedom
I have found in You
What a Healer
You make all things new
Yeah Yeah Yeah

I'm not going back
I'm moving ahead
I'm here to declare
In You old things are made new
Surrender my life to Christ
I'm moving moving forward

Vs 2
You have risen
With all power in Your Hands
You have given me
A second Chance
Hallelujah Hallelujah
Yeah Yeah Yeah
Yeah Yeah Yeah

I'm not going back
I'm moving ahead
I'm here to declare
In You old things are made new
Surrender my life to Christ
I'm moving moving forward

You make all things new
You make all things new
I will follow You forward

Copyright 2007 Israel Houghton, Ricardo Sanchez, Sus Moonlight

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a magi-cal adventure

Matthew 2:1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men* from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,* and we have come to worship him."
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they said, "for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 'And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities* of Judah,for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.'*"
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!"
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

We take so much for granted in this story.

Travel was a very dangerous ting. You could be killed, kidnaped & sold into slavery, get lost, be robbed, or any number of horrible things.

There were no interstate highways & no RV's to ride around in. Travel wasn't just dangerous, it was hard. Imagine riding across the middle east on a camel today, let alone 2000 years ago.

Imagine what their friends & family said to them when they left wherever they came from, following a star. My friends & family would probably check me into a local mental hospital if I suggested I was gonna do something like that.

But these three guys just took off, looking for the new King of the Jews. And they found Him.

I wonder what they told their friends & family when they got back?

"Well, Mildred, how ya been? Ya know, we found the newborn King of the Jews..."

So much we don't know about this, so many questions about the whole thing.

I wonder if the wise men made it to heaven? I'd like to ask them all kinds of questions. Maybe they have a handout they give to folks when they get to heaven that answers the questions so they don't have to be eternally answering them?


The big deal for me was their faith. They stepped out in faith & went on an incredible adventure with God. And look what happened.

I feel like I'm on the same kind of adventure with downtown. Wonder how it'll all shake out?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

just a thought

Proverbs 5: 21 For the LORD sees clearly what a man or a woman does, examining every path they take.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

some verses that spoke to me for where I'm at right now

Proverbs 3: 25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the LORD is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

Proverbs 4: 23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don't get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

Mark 16: 20 and the disciples went everywhere & preached, & the Lord worked w/ them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

power source

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take.
7 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your body.

Ya just never know about life.

A year ago, if you'd told me I would be serving as a catalyst for a presence in downtown Macon, I would have laughed, loudly.

3 months ago, if you'd told me I would be taking care of House of Grace for a while, I would have dismissed it out of hand - not gonna happen.

About a year ago, before the Lord started talking my hind legs off about downtown, I decided something - I'm gonna quit trying to explain my life. There's no future in it. How can we really explain the why's & wherefore's of what God does in our lives? So much of what He does doesn't make sense. It's not that it's bad or anything - it just that so often He chooses to use the most unlikely things & the most unlikely people to be & do the most unlikely things.

So, as I embark on the adventure downtown, & as I pick up the flag for a while with HOG, I've got to just trust Him with both. As I was reading this morning (I'm in Genesis, Proverbs, & Mark right now), this was the only thing that came up off the page. Maybe this is a word for me in regards to downtown & taking care of HOG.

I figure if God can use Baalam's donkey to speak into Baalam's life, just maybe He can use this donkey to be a catalyst for downtown & a shepherd for HOG?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Mark 14:43 And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. 44 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: "You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard." 45 As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. "Rabbi!" he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.
46 Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 47 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest's slave, slashing off his ear.
48 Jesus asked them, "Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 49 Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me."
50 Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. 51 One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52 he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.

66 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, "You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.*"
68 But Peter denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.
69 When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, "This man is definitely one of them!" 70 But Peter denied it again.
A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, "You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean." 71 Peter swore, "A curse on me if I'm lying—I don't know this man you're talking about!" 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.
Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me." And he broke down and wept.

I don't get this. I've never understood how the disciples could run away.

These guys had been together for 3 years.
They had walked the roads with Jesus,
been rained on with Him,
suffered with the heat & cold with Him,
seen great triumph & rejection with Him,
seen Him feed 10,000 people & then 5000 people with next to nothing,
seen him walk on the water & calm the sea,
seen Him heal the sick & demon-possessed.
They'd spent incredibly intimate times with Him,
eating with Him by the fire at night out in the open,
slept with Him out in the countryside on who knows what,
had those quiet talks late at night around the fire,
awakened in the early morning light (I wonder if Jesus ever had bed-head?) & had that quiet early morning conversation,
taken a whiz by the side of the road with Him (as well as taken a poo, too),
taken drinks from springs, wells, rivers, & the like with Him,
went swimming with Him in streams & lakes & took baths in those places with Him.

These guys knew Jesus in ways none of us will;
they knew if He was left handed or right handed,
if He liked meatloaf or calf's liver,
if He liked white bread or wheat bread,
if He liked eggs for breakfast or just some toast,
if He liked to take afternoon naps on the Sabbath,
& countless other things.

And there in the garden they just ran away.

Yes, I know the parallels - that we all abandon Him during our day, when we should own up to knowing Him, to following Him, that we are totally dependent on Him, & that we know the overwhelming reality that He is the only Way, Truth, & the Life. I am so keenly aware of how faithless I am. I know how many times I say no when I should say yes. I know who I am, & who we are.

But I'd like to think that at the arrest, I'd have hung with someone I'd seen feed 10,000 people with a few fish & loaves, & I'd gone skinny dipping with in the Jordan River.

What about you? What do you think?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

no matter how you translate it...

Mark 13:31
Heaven & earth will disappear, but My words will remain forever. (NLT)
Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out. (The Message)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (NIV)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (NASB)
Heaven and earth will perish and pass away, but My words will not perish or pass away. (Amplified)
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (KJV)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (NKJV)
The sky and the earth will not last forever, but my words will. (CEV)
Earth and sky will be destroyed, but the words I have said will never be destroyed. (NCV)
This verse come from a long section in chapter 13 of the gospel of Mark where Jesus is talking about the end times. No matter which translation we read, it basically comes out the same - what Jesus said to us is the only constant, eternal thing; everthing else is transitory, here today, gone tomorrow.
These days, I'm hearing a lot of dire predictions, feelings of foreboding, or grim outlooks. And things are a bit grim right now, particularly in financial circles. We continue to have flare-ups in the Israel/Arab world (btw, these people have been fighting for millenia; I doubt there's gonna be any immediate resolution). And then there's all the activity & angst in the radical Arab/Muslim world in regards to the USA.
Aaron Barth shared something interesting with me as we came back from the Atlanta airport Thursday night. He had just flown in from Congo, West Africa. (His dad is site manager of the building of a new the American Embassy there.) He was telling me that over here, there are so many things that command our attention - our economy, our elections, our government & its officials, etc - that we think is so crucial & should be equally crucial elsewhere.
But Aaron found out that those things, which certainly impact the rest of the world, are not nearly as crucial in Congo (or elsewhere) as we would think. As Lynn just said to me, "Their lives are much more basic - they're concerned with food, shelter, & personal safety. Anything past that is a fantastic luxury.
I've said all that to say all this - the only thing we have to really rely on is God & all the countless things He's spoken to us. Life's gotten tough lately; there's no guarrantees about what's ahead (like there ever were?!); & it continues to look like we're living in "the last days." Being as all that may, Jesus tells us here in a few short words to hold on & chill out - everything & everyone that we sometimes stake our security on are just gonna disappear one day - maybe sooner than later.
But there is one thing we can always count on - Him.
I don't know what's ahead for us. I do know the One who "both precedes & follows us" & He's got all under control.
(I feel like I need to encourage the person reading this who needs to take that step of completely trusting in God, & believe that He's got your situation under control. You've been struggling with something or someone, & you just haven't let go of the last part of this situation; you haven't allowed Him to take complete control. I want to encourage you to do that right now. He's got it - just let go of it & let Him take care of it.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29 Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' 31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these.

To boil down what Jesus said even more, here's the essence of His statement on what is the greatest commandment...

Love God, love people.

Ya can't do one without the other.

Ya can't love God without loving His children. Ya can't love His children without loving the one who created them. They're a two-fer.

Notice He didn't say...
...become a missionary to deepest, darkest Africa.
...get a great job, buy lots of rental properties, & be pretty well off.
...workout so much that you can run marathons each weekend &/or lift weights so much you have pecs big enough for a training bra. part time at a church as a youth pastor or worship leader.
...become a preacher.
...give up your social life, quit laughing, wear boring out-of-style clothes, stay home & read the Bible & pray.

You get the picture.

Love God, love people.

We spend a lot of time trying to think of "what God would have me do with my life."

Love God, love people.

So if you're a server at restaurant, a nurse at the hospital, a student at college, an intern at a church, an IT specialist, a handyman, an administrator, a paramedic, a photographer, a barista, a teacher, or a ______________ (you fill in the blank), our mandate is the same.

Love God, love people.

Love God - care first & foremost about your relationship with Him - you're gonna have some sort of relationship with Him from now on (as in eternally) - either a good one or a bad one.

Love His children - those people you serve or help heal, the guy sitting next to you in history class, the people you serve at that church, the people whose computers or leaky faucet you fix, those stubborn people you try to get to do their jobs, the people you rescue from car wrecks or stupid choices, or those people you take picture of or serve coffee to, or those "thristy minds" you try to teach the most basic of concepts to.

Love God, love people.

That's it.

And we will be living the BIG life God has for us.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Mark 11:22-25Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, 'Go jump in the lake'—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it's as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it's not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."


What is the deepest need of your heart?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Mark 10:17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”


Every thing...

Every thing...

How would our lives be different if we believed this?

I'm not thinking about using this verse to basically turn God into some celestial vending machine - "well, if everything is possible, then tell someone to give me a Lexus, or a new house, or a full term 401K."

I don't think that's what Jesus meant here.

If everything is possible with God, then the reverse is true - nothing is impossible with God.

Do you have what looks like an impossible situation in your life?

Are you living in an impossible place in your life?

Do you want to move out of that impossible situation, that impossible place?

God can take you our of that impossibility.

What does it take?


Give it, & yourself to Him. He'll take care of the rest. It's that simple (but maybe not easy).

How do I know this?

I've lived it more times than I care to remember.

Thank You, Father, that nothing can stand in Your way. Thank You that You are touching right now the life of the person reading this blog who is facing that impossible thing, & longing with a deep-to-the-bone-marrow longing to be released from it. Thank You for the miracle of You provision & strength taking that person out of the prison of the impossible & into the infinity of Your Self.
Thank You for the way you've quietly but strongly taken me out of so many impossible things & places.
And thank You for You - immeasureable, unfathomable, incredible - the very Essence of love.
I love You, Abba. I give my life to You, again - every stinking part. Take it & use it - or not.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

whose strength & power?

Psalm 147: 10 The Lord takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. 11 No, His delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

We so often trust in our own strength, smarts, cleverness, & ability to "get the job done," & seldom really depend on God to come through. We act as if it's all up to us - God may will it, but we're the ones who make it happen.

(We believe that "God helps those who help themselves" - which, incidentally, is not a scripture verse!)

It isn't our strength that makes it happen - it's God who makes it happen.

How many times in my life, as a person or as a music minister, have I conceived something well, planned it out well, prepared for it well, & executed it well - yet, there was weak effect or response.

Yet when I step back & let God take over, depending on His power & favor, the results are always quite different, in ways far greater & much more far-reaching than anything I could have pulled off under my own steam.

I'm living this right now as I go downtown. It's so easy for me to depend on myself. I have so much more control that way. But as I walk into this, I have to keep telling myself that I can't do this downtown thing, but it's His idea, so He's gonna be the one who makes it happen - not me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

letting go

Mark 8: 34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, Jesus said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ambition, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

So, how does this apply to you?

I know what it's meant to me in the last year. It's meant releasing a lot of stuff in my life I thought I couldn't live without. It's meant walking in directions that seemed pretty fantastice. It's meant trusting Him at levels I've never gone to before.

It's meant letting go...

And the new life I've found?

pretty unbelievable...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Psalm 145: 16 When You open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

This is the only verse that came off the page this morning. I read Genesis 7, Mark 7, & Psalm 145. Lots of good stuff in all of them, but this was the only things that came up.

I wonder what He's trying to tell me?

Anyone want to hazard a guess?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The adventure begins...

Psalm 144: 1 Praise the LORD, who is my rock. He gives me strength for war and skill for battle. 2 He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.

I think the devil is not thrilled we're developing a presence downtown. I'm sure he will use all kinds of things & people to distract & hinder us.

So, what do we do?

We pray. I've learned at the chapel these last 3 years of staff prayer each morning (has it been 3 years?!) that if we don't soak something in prayer, it's like swinging on a trapeze without a net. We need people who take on as their job to do nothing but pray for our presence downtown.

We remember that this is not our gig - this is God's gig. He's the One who dreamed this up, so He's the One in charge. We responsible to be obedient - He's the one responsible for it to prosper. (please remind me of this each time I get wrapped around the axle about something!)

God will show us what to be & do. He's very creative & is very capable of showing us & leading us in the directions we need to go. Andy King says we never have to struggle or search for His will - all we have to do is surrender to Him & His will will find us!

We just have to rest in the reality that we have the power of the God of the universes behind us. He's promised us all that He both precedes & follows us (Psalm 139:6). Iow, He's up ahead, preparing the way; & He's following behind, mopping up the consequences of our obedience. (We're not responsible for the consequences of our obedience - He is!)

This is an exciting, risky, miracle-laden journey we're on with Him downtown. Let's not lose sight of that!

We have our first House of Grace there Tuesday. Who know which of the many things He wants to be & do there will be next? This one thing I know, thought - the adventure begins.

Yoiks & away!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

scriptures for 2009

Since 2003, I've asked God to give me a scripture to carry me thru the year. Last year, He gave me four! I knew 2008 was gonna be a doozie.

Well, it was. I needed every one of those four scriptures numerous times.

This year, I feel like He's done something different. I'm to keep the same for, plus add 2 more passages that Sheila gave me in August & October of last year.

So, here's what I'm holding on to this year, another year that I think is gonna be a doozie!

(There's a lot of reading ahead - sorry!)

(These are all from the New Living Translation.)

Matthew 10: 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Matthew 6:25a “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life... (dan note:the rest is about the lilies of the field, birds of the air section)

Psalm 139: 1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You both precede and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand.

Colossians 2:7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Okay, those are the ones He gave me at the end of 2007 to hold on to thru 2008 as I head downtown. I'm suppose to hold on to these two passages, too - the first one Sheila gave me in August, 2008 (messed with me for weeks!) & October, 2008 (that one messed with me, too - if Sheila says she has a scripture for you - RUN!!! ;-)

These are both from The Message.

Isaiah 65:17-25"Pay close attention now:
I'm creating new heavens and a new earth.
All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain
are things of the past, to be forgotten.
Look ahead with joy.
Anticipate what I'm creating:
I'll create Jerusalem (dan note: I substitute "downtown" here) as sheer joy,
create my people as pure delight.
I'll take joy in Jerusalem,
take delight in my people:
No more sounds of weeping in the city,
no cries of anguish;
No more babies dying in the cradle,
or old people who don't enjoy a full lifetime;
One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal
— anything less will seem like a cheat.
They'll build houses
and move in.
They'll plant fields
and eat what they grow.
No more building a house
that some outsider takes over,
No more planting fields
that some enemy confiscates,
For my people will be as long-lived as trees,
my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work.
They won't work and have nothing come of it,
they won't have children snatched out from under them.
For they themselves are plantings blessed by God,
with their children and grandchildren likewise God-blessed.
Before they call out, I'll answer.
Before they've finished speaking, I'll have heard.
Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow,
lion and ox eat straw from the same trough, (dan note: iow, unlikely people will do life together)
but snakes—they'll get a diet of dirt!
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
anywhere on my Holy Mountain," says God.

Matthew 10 (yeah, Sheila said the whole chapter ;-)
1-4 The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent:
Simon (they called him Peter, or "Rock"),
Andrew, his brother,
James, Zebedee's son,
John, his brother,
Matthew, the tax man,
James, son of Alphaeus,
Simon, the Canaanite,
Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him).
5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
9-10 "Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
11 "When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
12-15 "When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry—but it's no concern of yours now.
16 "Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.
17-20 "Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation — just because you believe in me. Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.
21-23 "When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.
24-25 "A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, 'Dungface,' what can the workers expect?
26-27 "Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now.
28 "Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

29-31"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.
32-33 "Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?
34-37 "Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut — make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law — cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me.
38-39 "If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.
40-42 "We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

listening & small yes's

Mark 4: 24 Then he added, "Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given — and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.

Jesus is speaking here, in His explanation of His Parable of the Four Soils. He basically says here that if you listen to Me, you will develop a stronger & stronger habit of hearing what I'm really saying, & I'll give you more & more understanding of what you're hearing.

The opposite is true if we choose to not listen.

This scripture reminded me of something Andy King once said in a sermon in 2003, before we moved from the old Second Baptist building (over on Edna Place, which is just north of the Macon Mall).

He told us that day that he had realized that he had gotten to the place & point he found himself with the lord by the saying of a series of small "yes's". It seems that we say a small yes to God by listening to what He says, which leads to another time when God places before us the challenge of saying "yes" to Him again. And that "yes" leads to another challenge to trust Him more & say "yes" - which leads to another, then another, & another - you get the picture.

Finally,we look up & realize that we haven't become or done anything extraordinary by saying one GREAT BIG YES about something, but rather a lot of small yes's to small questions, opportunities, or challenges that have built upon the previous yes's, which finally end us up in pretty incredible place with Him.

And how many of us have experienced a small, insignificant "no," that is followed by another little bitty "no," followed by another "no," until we look up & we have wandered farther away from Him on something than intended?

Where would we all be if Pastor Andy hadn't chosen to listen to what he thought just might have been God calling him to be a minister?

Where would we all be if Pastor John hadn't chosen to listen to what he thought just might be God calling him to start a church?

Where would we all be if Pastor LeAnn hadn't chosen to listen to what she thought just might be God wanting her to start leading worship?

We could go on & on & on, talking about moments when people said a small yes to listen for just a moment, to actually entertain the thought that God might want them to be or do something.

Where would we be if a year ago if I hadn't chosen to listen when the Lord started to whisper to me about establishing a presence in downtown Macon? (I almost dismissed it as daydreaming.)

Where is it in your life that God seems to be whispering something to you so fantastic that you don't really know if you're gonna chose to linger & listen to it?



If it's of Him, you'll know.

And say yes to it.

It will make all the difference in the world.