Tuesday, November 29, 2011

we're the project

Psalm 105:16 He called for a famine on the land of Canaan,
  cutting off its food supply.

17 Then He sent someone to Egypt ahead of them—
  Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

18 They bruised his feet with fetters
  and placed his neck in an iron collar.

19 Until the time came to fulfill His word,
  the LORD tested Joseph's character.

20 Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free;
  the ruler of the nation opened his prison door.

21 Joseph was put in charge of all the king's household;
  he became ruler over all the king's possessions.

22 He could instruct the king's aides as he pleased
  and teach the king's advisers.

iow folks, we're the project.

God knew what kind of man Joseph needed to be when his time came to embrace the destiny God had for him - becoming the Egyptian leader, second only to Pharoah, during the 7 yrs of plenty & the 7 yrs of famine.

God knows what kind of person we need to be for each of the seasons of our lives. And He attempts to prepare us for those seasons.

iow folks, we're the project.

We're always being challenged, stretched, refined, pruned, disciplined, & all those plentiful tools God uses on us to mold us into what we need to be.

And ain't it fun?

Yeah, right.

We're on a journey with God. All along the way, He's slowly trying to turn us back into Himself. We're always in the middle of some sort of growth experience.

That's right - we're the project.

Will someone remind me of this occasionally?

Monday, November 28, 2011


Luke 10:2 The harvest is so great but the workers are so few. Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, & ask Him to send more workers for His fields.

Father, send more workers to work together with us in this field you've given us. There's so many people who need to be loved here & told about you, & there's just 2 of us.

vs 3 - Go...

God's intentions are never passive. Our mandate is to go - to the people around us right now - to people He'll bring into our life - to places He'll take us, close by, & far away.

vs 19a - I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy...

If there's one thing I've learned in the last 15 months is the cleverness, the persistence, & the evil destroying tactics of the devil. NEVER underestimate him, & never discount him & his influence.

And that his demons are all very, VERY active.

Our job is to chase them away with the power & authority of Jesus name & blood.

That all sounds kinda mystical & pentecostal. Well, maybe so, maybe not. These last 15 months I have experienced the capabilities & cleverness of the devil & his demons in ways that I hadn't thought of or heard about.

Never underestimate him & them - but remember we have the authority to send them all away.

I hesitate to mention all this because I know the attack will start again in some new innovative way.

Just sayin'...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

couple of passages I read this morning

Sometimes, it's good to let the sheer power of scripture kinda pour over you...

Psalm 103:1 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
  with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
  may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
  and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
  and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
  My youth is renewed like the eagle's! (dan note: good to know, at my age!)

6 The LORD gives righteousness
  and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

7 He revealed his character to Moses
  and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
  slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 He will not constantly accuse us,
  nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
  he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
  is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
  as the east is from the west.
13 The LORD is like a father to his children,
  tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
  he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
  like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
  as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the LORD remains forever
  with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children's children
18   of those who are faithful to his covenant,
  of those who obey his commandments!

19 The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
  from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the LORD, you angels,
  you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
  listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
  who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
  everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the LORD


Luke 9:23 Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your selfish ambition, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

24 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.
          (dan note: oh my... it seems like every day I see more & more areas of my life I'm trying to hang on to my concept of what I think my life should be, rather than just letting go & let God express His dreams for my life)

25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
          (dan note: how many people do we know who have done this? How many of us do this?!!!)

26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.


sometimes at night I stand by the large windows in the dining room & watch the headlights of the cars going down the main highway about 200 yards away & wonder if life is passing me by

Saturday, November 26, 2011


40 On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him.41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come home with him.42 His only daughter,* who was about twelve years old, was dying.
  As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds.43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding,* and she could find no cure.44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
  45 "Who touched me?" Jesus asked.
  Everyone denied it, and Peter said, "Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you."
  46 But Jesus said, "Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me."47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed.48 "Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
  49 While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, "Your daughter is dead. There's no use troubling the Teacher now."
  50 But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed."
  51 When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn't let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl's father and mother.52 The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, "Stop the weeping! She isn't dead; she's only asleep."
  53 But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died.54 Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, "My child, get up!"55 And at that moment her life* returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.56 Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.

Friday, November 25, 2011

right living

Read this psalm this morning in my sequential Psalms reading that Billy Graham & I do ;-).

I got the feeling I needed to share it for someone who reads these rambles I write each day. Don't know who it's for, but for whoever you are, here it is...

Psalm 101:1 I will sing of your love and justice, LORD.
  I will praise you with songs.

2 I will be careful to live a blameless life—
  when will you come to help me?

I will lead a life of integrity
  in my own home.

3 I will refuse to look at
  anything vile and vulgar.

I hate all who deal crookedly;
  I will have nothing to do with them.

4 I will reject perverse ideas
  and stay away from every evil.

5 I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
  I will not endure conceit and pride.

6 I will search for faithful people
  to be my companions.
Only those who are above reproach
  will be allowed to serve me.

7 I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,
  and liars will not stay in my presence.

8 My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked
  and free the city of the LORD from their grip.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Psalm 100:1 Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
2   Worship the LORD with gladness.
  Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
  He made us, and we are his.*
  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
  go into his courts with praise.
  Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good.
  His unfailing love continues forever,
  and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a couple of things

There's a lot in today's note. Some days it just happens. Sorry...

Matthew 5:27 Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
  29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum?"
  31 Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."

When Lynn & I helped start in the '90's a new church in south Houston County, we had another church buy property next door to us & build a church. Many people asked us how we felt about having "competition" move in next door. We just laughed! There were PLENTY of people who never went to church within a 5 mile radius - enough for us, or neighbor church, & at least 10 or 12 others!

When Pastor John started Christ Chapel in Macon, & we helped start the other Christ Chapel campus churches in the their cities, many people said we didn't need another church. Once again, we just laughed! There are plenty of people who never go to church in all of these towns!

As we've lived here in Blairsville, waiting on God's timing, one of the many things on our hearts is to offer a fellowship that is appropriate for our culture & time. Many people have asked us why we need this. We sometimes just laugh. Because there seems to be plenty of people up here who never go to church.

In each of these cases, people don't understand that what we're about is NOT trying to capture the people who already are a part of a faith family. We're interested in those who AREN'T.

And now a separate thought, or maybe a thought that goes along with that...

Luke 5:37 "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins.

Here's what my Life Application Bible footnotes these verses with...

"Wineskins" were goatskins sewn together at the edges to form watertight bags. Because new wine expands as it ages, it had to be put in new, pliable wineskins. A used skin, having become more rigid, would burst & spill the wine.

"Like old wineskins, the Pharisees were too rigid to accept Jesus, who could not be contain in their traditions or rules. Christianity required new approaches, new traditions, new structures.

"Our church programs & ministries should not be so structured that they have no room for a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit, a new method, or a new idea. We, too, must be careful that our heart does not become so rigid that it prevents us from accepting new ways of thinking that Christ brings. We need to keep our heart pliable so we can accept Jesus' life-changing message."

And here's an excerpt from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. on his blog today of Donald Miller.

"A general rule in creating stories is that characters don’t want to change. They must be forced to change. Nobody wakes up and starts chasing a bad guy or dismantling a bomb unless someone forces them to do so. The bad guys just robbed your house and are running off with your last roll of toilet paper, or the bomb is strapped to your favorite cat. It’s that sort of thing that gets a character moving.

"The rule exists in story because it’s a true thing about people. Humans are designed to seek comfort and order, and so if they have comfort and order, they tend to plant themselves, even if their comfort isn’t all that comfortable. And even if they secretly want for something better."

I heard an interview on the radio with a woman who worked with people in domestic abuse situations. She said most woman who come to her for help go back to the situation they came out of, back to the man who abused them. When the interviewer asked why, the woman said that even though most women had family they could escape to and friends who would take them in, they returned to the abusive man because the situation, as bad as it might be, was familiar. People fear change, she said. Though their situations may be terrible, at least they have a sense of control; at least they know what to expect. Change presents a world of variables that are largely out of their control. And then the woman said this: “The women in these situations are afraid to choose a better story, because though their current situation might be bad, at least it’s a bad story they are familiar with. So they stay.”

Sorry I started writing this morning & couldn't shut up.

So what am I trying to say?

We're not about scarfing up people who are already going to church. We're about encountering & impacting those who don't know Jesus personally.

A conservative estimate these days is that our American culture changes about every 3 years - read that again - every 3 years. There's things in my refrigerator older than that!

If someone was crazy enough to send you & me as missionaries to Northern China, what would we do? We'd speak Chinese, we'd wear their clothing, we'd eat their food, we'd listen to their music, we'd study their cultures, customs, traditions. In short, we'd use EVERY means & facets of their culture to make them feel comfortable so that we might capture them for Jesus.

Why is it then so easy for us to see that this is the way to win people to Jesus in Northern China, but we can't see that's the way to win people to Jesus in postmodern America? Our culture changes so rapidly now that it's hard to keep up. Why do we insist on doing things in tired, worn out, hackneyed ways? Why can't we use the essence of our ever-changing culture to impact people for Jesus? It's just a tool to get the job done. And when that tool doesn't work anymore, find one that does!

Where would you & I be if those who reached us hadn't used the tools that made us stop for a minute & listen to them, and consider that Jesus just might have something to say to us?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


1 Sing a new song to the LORD,
  for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
  his holy arm has shown his saving power!
2 The LORD has announced his victory
  and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
3 He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
  The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

4 Shout to the LORD, all the earth;
  break out in praise and sing for joy!
5 Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp,
  with the harp and melodious song,
6 with trumpets and the sound of the ram's horn.
  Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!

7 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
  Let the earth and all living things join in.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
  Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
9 before the LORD.
  For the LORD is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
  and the nations with fairness

Monday, November 21, 2011

seek 1st the Kingdom...

at least 1 scripture for 2012

Matthew 6 (The Message)

33 Steep your life in God-reality,

Don't worry about missing out.

     You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,

         and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Psalm 96:2b Each day proclaim the good news that He saves.

We're lazy,
   or afraid,
      or we don't want people to think we're a "religious fanatic",
          or we don't want to "offend people"...

That's why we don't tell people about the way that Jesus has made so that we can connect with God.

Where would you & I be if the people who were instrumental in our connecting with God had been lazy, or afraid, or worried we'd thought they were a religious fanatic, or were concerned they might offend us?

There are SO MANY people all around us who are going slam to hell because we're more concerned about ourselves than about them.

Let's tell just one person we know today about Him.

And don't worry - they prolly already think we're crazy ;-)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Luke 1:38 Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant, & I am willing to accept whatever He wants. May everything you have said come true."

This is what Mary said when the angel, Gabriel, told her that she was to become pregnant with the Son of God, the Messiah, conceive not my having intercourse with a man, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now let's pretend here for a minute...

You're a young teenage girl in the backwater town in a backwater province in the far eastern side of the far-flung empire of Rome.

You're engaged to a local guy.

One day, this person appears to you, someone so imposing & scary that he says, "don't be afraid".

Then he tells you something you (or anyone else for that matter) has EVER heard before - that you're gonna become pregnant, w/o being married & w/o having intercourse with a man.

And the baby that you're gonna have is the long-promised Messiah.


As Pastor John would say, what is written really happened, but not everything that happened is written.

What would you think if this happened to you?

You & I would probably be thinkin' a whole lot of things, none of them positive.

I think Mary thought them too. But in the end, even in the face of some pretty stupendous, unbelievable claims & statements, Mary said ok. She affirmed the fact that she was the Lord's servant, doing whatever it was He directed her to be &/or do.

I think Mary was no fool. I think the Holy Spirit gave her a clue to what she was getting into. But at the same time, I doubt if she knew then what she knows now about what kind of obedience she was stepping into.

But I don't think what God wanted Mary to be & do is much of anything different from what God wants us to be & do.

Even though because Jesus is our Savior, the One who makes our connection with God possible, even though we are therefore made God's children, we, like Jesus, are in a servant role to the Father.

Iow, we say yes to the " 'ever's " - whatever, whoever, wherever, whenever, however.

And we serve.

Sometimes that involves something we want to do. Sometimes that means being or doing something that makes sense. Sometimes that involves being in a safe place to be or do it. Sometimes it looks like something do-able.

But a lot of the time, it's not any of those things.

And we're like Mary, trying to figure out if we're gonna trust the God of the universes, & be & do what He wants us to be & do.

Or if we're gonna remain in what we think is "in control" of our lives.

This is the part of the life of a Christ follower we don't hear about much. Sometimes it seems these days there's an awful lot of ooshy-gooshy, touchy-feely, "ooo, Jesus is my best friend," "I just love my Daddy-God," kind of thing that's held up as the norm.

I think that has more to do with our middle-class smorgasbord kind of concept of Christianity and very, very little to do with the reality of being a Christ follower.

We serve.

Not very glamorous, is it?

It's not living in a McMansion, driving gas guzzling cars, sipping lattes, shopping the sales at Kohl's, eating like cultured hogs & spending a huge chunk of our time & money losing weight, living precious & safe little socially acceptable lives, and accruing enough wealth so our "retirement years" can be "easy street".

We are offered is the chance to serve the God of the universe, higher & holier than we imagine, stronger & wiser than we can conceive, who plans for humankind are so subtle, vast, overarching, & perfect, and Who is the very essence of love.

We, like Mary, are offered the chance to be a part of His plans, and in some finite way, to be like Him.

It will cost us everything.

And we, like Mary, can obey, or not.

Friday, November 18, 2011

when things are tough

Psalm 94:16 Who will protect me...?
  Who will stand up for me...?
17 Unless the LORD had helped me,
  I would soon have died.
18 I cried out, "I am slipping!"
  but Your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me.
19 When doubts filled my mind,
  Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

I remember when I underlined that passage. It was during a VERY dark time in my life - a time when I really didn't know what was coming next.

I smile now when I think back to then, because I know what came next - some of the finest, if not the finest days of my life, so far.

When things are tough, it's hard to see past them. Little did I know then what my life would be like very soon. I just kept moving forward, mostly because I had no other viable choice. ;-)

Will you remind me of these verses every once in a while? I need to remember.

Mark 16:15 And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.

vs 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

The operative word in these two verses is "go"

I wonder what it means to have been reminded what my life was like when I underlined those first verses & what it became soon after that & then to have the verses in Mark come up off the page the same day?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

who's stronger

Psalm 93:3 The floods have risen up, O LORD.
  The floods have roared like thunder;
  the floods have lifted their pounding waves.
4 But mightier than the violent raging of the seas,
  mightier than the breakers on the shore—
  the LORD above is mightier than these!

Sometimes it's good to remember that even when what seems to be terrific forces come against us or beat on us, there is Someone who is greater.

Don't know what that's for today, but there it is ;-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Psalm 92:14 Even in old age they will produce fruit;
   they will remain vital & green.

Go to this link as you read these words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQHgszswgP8

Time that is left - Mark Schultz

What will you do with the time that’s left
Will you live it all with no regret?
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time that’s left?

Oh, Hallelujah!
Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

What will you do with the time that’s past?
Oh and all the pain that seems to last?
Can you give it to Jesus and not look back?
What will you do with the time that’s past?

Oh, Hallelujah!
Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

What will He say when your time has come?
When He takes you into His arms of love?
With tears in His eyes will He say well done?
What will He say when your time has come?

Oh, Hallelujah!
Oh, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
(Lord be present in all my ways,
help me follow You all my days oh Father God)

What will you do with the time that’s left?
Will you live it all with no regret
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Sometimes, some scripture needs to explanation or interpretation ;-)

Psalm 91
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
  will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
  he is my God, and I trust him.

3 For he will rescue you from every trap
  and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with his feathers.
  He will shelter you with his wings.
  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
  nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
  nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
  though ten thousand are dying around you,
  these evils will not touch you.

8 Just open your eyes,
  and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the LORD your refuge,
  if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
  no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
  to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
  so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
  you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me.
  I will protect those who trust in my name.

15 When they call on me, I will answer;
  I will be with them in trouble.
  I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
  and give them my salvation."

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Psalm 89:17b Our power is based on Your favor.

Dictionary.com defines "favor" this way...

1. something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind of act

2. friendly or well-disposed regard; goodwill
3. the state of being approved or held in regard: to be in favor at court

4. excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment
5. a gift bestowed as a token of goodwill, kind regard, love, etc.

It's really easy to think that things happen in our lives because we're pretty good people, or that we're wise, or that we're some sort of "holy" because we hang out a lot around God or His people.


It's because God chooses to channel Himself through us.

And if we don't watch ourselves & monitor our hubris & pride, He can choose to not.

Just sayin'...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

who ya lookin' at

Mark 10:13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
 14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

One day at combined staff meeting, my son, Kevin, who was sitting beside me, was looking through some of the pics on his computer.

Later on in the day, he shared this - I think it explains the kind of faith Jesus was talking about...

"I was looking at some pictures of me & my son, Trey, together. (dan note: Trey's a preschooler) In every one of the pictures, Trey is looking at me.

"He's not looking around,
     he's not looking at where we're going,
          he's doesn't care how long it takes to get there,
               he doesn't care where he's going,
                    he doesn't care what all we will go through getting there.

"All he cares about is that he's with me.

"I wanna be like that again."


Friday, November 11, 2011


Mark 9:23b Anything is possible if a person believes.

Here's what my Life Application Bile says about this verse...

"Jesus words do not mean we can automatically obtain everything we want if we just think positively. Jesus meant that anything is possible if we believe, because nothing is too difficult for God.

"We cannot have everything we pray for as if by magic, but with faith, we can have eberything we need to serve Him."

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Mark 8:34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, Jesus said,

"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside 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."

Okay, so how is this fleshed out in your life? Share with me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


2 Chronicles 31:21 In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God's laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.

Would this be an indicator of the truth in what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33?

Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Or is this a bit of a stretch?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

think about it

Mark 6:30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile." He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn't even have time to eat.

  32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

  35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat."

  37 But Jesus said, "You feed them."

  "With what?" they asked. "We'd have to work for months to earn enough money* to buy food for all these people!"

  38 "How much bread do you have?" he asked. "Go and find out."

  They came back and reported, "We have five loaves of bread and two fish."

  39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass.40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

  41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted,43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!

So, if Jesus feed 5000 men & their families, that means there were prolly 5000 women there too?

That's 10,000 adults.

And then let's say there was just 1 kid for every family - there were prolly more than that, but let's say that...

That's 15,000 people.

Philips Arena in Atlanta holds 18,000

Think about that for a minute...

Jesus fed enough people to come close to filling Philips Arena.

Think about the logistics of something like that.

Think how long that would take.

Think about it...

Now, what does that miracle have to say to you & me today?

Monday, November 7, 2011

How many times?

Mark 5:36 Jesus... said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just trust me."

How many times do we have to hear the Savior of the world say that to us before we really do trust Him?

How many times does He have to come through for us before we believe?

How many times does He have to bail our butt out before we believe He cares?

How many times does He have to keep us from something we really, really think we want or need before we see he really, really does have a plan for us?

How many times?

Sunday, November 6, 2011


 Mark 4:24 Then (Jesus) 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."

I'm not sure why I thought of this while reading these two verses...

People say to me frequently that they'd like to get more intimate with God, or be a better Christ follower, or that God would speak to them more clearly about stuff, or something that indicates they want a better connection to God. And they usually ask me if I know a book that could help them out with that.

I usually ask them where they're reading in the Bible. Most aren't.

I used to be like that.

I was an idiot.

You all know that me & Billy Graham read a psalm every day ;-)

I read somewhere in the New Testament - right now I'm in the gospel of Mark. I may keep reading through the other two gospels, or maybe God will lead me to another book in the New Testament. But I read through a book ten check with Him to see where I need to go.

And a few years ago I started reading through the Old Testament. I'm in 2 Chronicles. I'm ready to be out of Chronicles - it's all about the kings of Israel & Judah. It's a little dry ;-)

I said all that to say this...

Read the Bible. Start out by reading Psalm 1; tomorrow read Psalm 2; the next day, Psalm 3...

You get the idea.

Maybe you could also start reading the gospel by John, the same way - 1st day chapter 1, 2nd day chapter 2, etc.

Trust me, your life will change, for the better.

Now, I will tell ya this - if you read the Bible, God will mess with you.

And He will mess with you in the area(s) that your LEAST want Him to put His finger on.

And if you read the Bible every day, God will not shut up.

You see, the Bible is God speaking to us.

Read it.

The smartest thing I've ever done in my life was to start reading the Bible every day.

The dumbest thing I've ever done is to wait until I was 52 1/2 to do it!

Read it. Start today.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Mark 3:13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. 14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, 15 giving them authority to cast out demons. 16 These are the twelve he chose:

Simon (whom he named Peter),
17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them "Sons of Thunder"),
18 Andrew,
James (son of Alphaeus),
Simon (the zealot),
19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

(Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus gave Judas the authority to cast out demons?)

Look at that list of people. Could there be a more diverse or obscure (up till then) bunch?

Most of them we know little to nothing about who they were when Jesus called them.

Most of them we know little to nothing about what happened to them after Pentecost.

My Life Application Bible says that Jesus picked these people for one reason only - He knew they would obey Him.

Here's how dictionary.com defines obey...
   1. to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of: to obey one's parents.
   2. to comply with or follow (a command, restriction, wish, instruction, etc.).
   3. (of things) to respond conformably in action to: The car obeyed the slightest touch of the steering wheel.
   4. to submit or conform in action to (some guiding principle, impulse, one's conscience, etc.).

Sometimes it's not really glamorous to obey.

Sometimes it's downright scary.

Other times it just doesn't make sense.

But in the final analysis, Jesus is concerned with one thing about obeying...

That we obey Him.

And, bottom line, we're not responsible for the consequences of our obedience.

He is.

Think about it...

Friday, November 4, 2011

notorious sinners

Mark 2:13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

  15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees* saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?*"

  17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

There are some interesting things here...

I wonder what it took to be known as a "notorious sinner" back then? I mean, there was some pretty raunchy sinnin' goin' on back then. I just wonder what ya had to be &/or do to be known as such.

I also wonder what it would take these days to be known as a "notorious sinner"? Considering the things we are & do these days, I'd say we were about on par with the folks back then, & maybe then some. ;-)

But the thing that strikes me is the fact that Jesus hung out with these sinners. We have a tendancy to hang with our friends who are Christ followers, not with people we know who aren't believers.

I wonder where we'd all be if the people who encouraged us & led us toward Jesus had felt the same way - not wanting to hang with non-believers.

Just a thought...

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Mark 1:16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

  19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee's sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

These guys quit what they were doing & followed Jesus.

Did they know what they were getting into?


Did they probably have a lot of questions?


I'm sure they wondered a lot of times what in the world they'd gotten themselves into.

I'm sure there were times they thought Jesus was crazy.

I'm sure some of the miracles He pulled off made their hair stand on end.

I know they were scared of what the leaders in the Jewish community would do to Him, & them, when Jesus would speak harshly to the leaders.

But the important thing about the disciples is that no matter what they faced, they still followed.

Will somebody please remind me of this often?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

a couple of things

Psalm 76:70 He chose his servant David,
  calling him from the sheep pens.
71 He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
  and made him the shepherd of Jacob's descendants—
  God's own people, Israel.
72 He cared for them with a true heart
  and led them with skillful hands.

My Life Application Bible says that David spent years taking care of sheep, which are animals completely dependent on their caretakers. Later, God called David out of tending sheep to tend to Israel.

The thing my LAB draws from this is that we should downplay or dismiss the place, season, or situation we may find ourselves in. Many times it a training ground for what lies ahead.

(Will some of you remind me of this often?!)


Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

(dan note: I've always found this astounding - that after see the risen Jesus, eating with Him, touching Him, some of the disciples still believe He was who He said He was. Amazing!)

  18 Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

The operative word in this is "go"

Do you notice it isn't location specific?

That could mean go to your work place, neighborhood, family, city, friends, Facebook, or whatever, wherever, whenever, whoever, however.

It's a call to action - to go to the people around you. God will lead us to whatever portion of "all nations" He wants us to take the simple news that He makes all things new.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the pathway

Proverbs 4

25 Look straight ahead,

   & fix your eyes on what lies before you.

26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;

   stay on the right path.

27 Don't get sidetracked;

   keep your feet from following evil.