Thursday, July 30, 2009

What I need

Here is a prayer you won't hear on prosperity TV shows...

" Two things I ask of you, O Lord, do not refuse me before I die; keep faslehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of the Lord." Proverbs 30:7-9

What a novel idea...praying for only what you need.... Let's see....Jesus said, "Give us this day our daily bread..."

That sounds so revolutionary.... and so simple.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A visit from Gracie

BIG NEWS!!!! Two days till Gracie comes to stay a week with us...

Wow...what will it be like to have a 1 year old in our house for 8 days?

I think we will be tired...

I am glad it is possible for Gracie.

Pam is Gracie-proofing everything what. We will see what we forgot.

Fun times

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Church was awesome!

Church today was awesome! I am not a objective observer... I liked the sermon... alot. But then again I have really liked all of the Moses sermons this summer. I feel like I have really gotten to know the guy.

What makes a church service awesome?

Worship that draws passion for God out of people. ( Not talking volume, pace or anything like that.) I sensed passion in both services...

Stories of God working. The guy who told me that God has changed his life over the past two weeks. He had no idea that God could use him like he did. Or the guy who was just overwhelmed by the help a small group and the church gave him his family after their house burned down. There were tears of appreciation.

Having some trouble getting through the Gathering area after church. Why? People were hanging around, talking, laughing and connecting. Gotta love that .

Talking to some people in 101. Some great stories of how God is leading new people to the church. Lots of new people checking things out.

Seeing a Dad baptize his son into Christ... and seeing Jacob's face as he came out the water. Something happend there... too cool.

Joy... even from a lady who is fighting cancer, a husband who is dealing with severe marriage threats, parents of new babies.

Looking at small groups meeting in gathering area... praying, laughing, open bibles on the table... all the main ingredients of a great small group and class ministry.

Meeting a couple who reasearched communities in Oklahoma and decided that Owasso was their choice. they moved here from Orlando Fl. ... they love it.... they think they might have found a church.

Messages which hit us where we live. We all need a good dose of the truth, "God is God and I am not."

Walking out of the building exhausted, but exhilliarated at the same time.

Working with a great staff... we are back in town and it feels good!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Peace, strength and hope

Tonight, I slipped away for a while and visited a dear lady who wasn't feeling well. She's been a part of our church for a long time. But in the last year, her days have been complicated by a succession of health problems. It's not been easy for her.

She wasn't entirely coherant...but when I told her that I wanted to pray with her and her daughter...she perked up. So we prayed for peace, for strength and for hope in the coming days.

Peace, strength and hope. I have another friend that I pray for those same things each day. He is young. He is a Iraqi War veteran. He's been injured and hurt...seen things that most will never see. He has lots of tough days. I pray each day that he will have peace, strength and hope. I pray the same prayer for his sweet wife. She is by his side and is the picture of what marriage is all about to me. I used to teach her things as her youth minister. Now she teaches me... about Peace, strength and hope.

Peace, strength and hope. I pray that prayer for a young couple in our church. They lost a child a year ago or so. She is in her third tri-mester... things are going well... excitement is building. I see it in both of them. But I still lift up prayers for peace, strength and hope for them

Peace , strength and hope... this past Sunday in 2nd service, I just asked anyone who needed prayer to stand up. No explanations, no microphones... just an act of faith by standing. I was surprised by how many stood... and who stood... I prayed for peace, and strength and hope for them. It was a cool moment...and I felt there was an extra dose of Peace, strength and hope brought from heaven that day.

Might be a good prayer for someone you know...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

28,000 days?????

Day by day, moment by moment, we live life thinking that we will have "another one." Its an an assumption that we all make . After all , if we live an average life , we will live 28,105 days. ( 365x77).

But the Bible says "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." ( James 4:14). "Each mans life is but a breath." ( Psalm 39:5).

10 days ago the father of one of our members died in an traffic accident caused by a heart attack. It was totally unexpected. Then , on the day of the funeral an aunt died of a blood clot that struck her heart. Totally unexpected. It has been a blurry two weeks for them...first one funeral, then travel, and another funeral.

Last night our Children's Minister's ( Aaron Rathbone) father had a heart attack and died. Just like that. He was 63. ( By my calculations, if he lived an average life span he still would have had 6000 days left.) Mike Rathbone was a faithful minister of the Lord's church. He was a good father, good husband, an encourager of other people. He was the guy that was at the hospital when other people died, some earlier than expected, some not. He was the guy that comforted people in funerals, told people in hospitals that God would be with them before the surgery. He was the guy who spoke of the love of God, the neccesity of faith in Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life.

He never would get to have his name in lights... never get alot of accolades. But he was a shepherd. He was a teacher. He was a kind man. No pretense about him at all. He was a man who was faithful unto death. And last night, He went home to his reward. Heaven.

I often find myself saying about someone who is a believer and has died, "Good for them, bad for us." I know that Aaron and his siblings were not ready for this. It was totally unexpected. But it turned out to be "the day." Thier comfort comes in knowing that He is with Jesus.

Aaron and his family will press on... because it is what Mike would have done. As hard as it is, they still have some days to live... full days... many happy days.... and some days filled with sorrow. Some days will be really hard, other days ...not so much. Mike will be missed by his wife, his children and his grandchildren and the church he served.

No one knows if they get the full allotment of days ( 28,000 plus). Some get more... one lady in oklahoma just celebrated her 109th birthday ( that is nearly 40,000 days). Some don't get to the average. Thier lives are in a sense cut short.

So the Psalmist says, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

No matter what tomorrow brings or doesn't bring, what is most important is whether or not you and I are ready to meet the Lord. Are you ready to face judgement? Am I ready? Yeah, I am . I am confident Mike was too. How do I know? We share a common bond... Jesus. He makes the way to God possible through His blood and sacrifice on the Cross.

For that I am thankful.

Your prayers for Aaron and his family are appreciated...


Monday, July 13, 2009


Its late on Sunday night... I am up alone... Pam has gone to bed, but I felt poorly... I think it was becuase I did not get a good amount of rest all week..and especially today. I have a routine that basically means getting up early on Sunday, go preach, come home and rest for 30 minutes, go back and preach, then do lunch, take a 2 -3 hour nap and then get up, do some things. maybe go to evening church...or just lay low.

Today, I did not get the long nap...and progressively I felt worse. I went to bed, but laid their with this sick feeling in my head... I HATE feeling that way. It just shuts me down. I cant really explain it...I know it happened because I did not rest like I should... After 3 years, you would think I would have figured this out...its not going to get better...

So I need to stick to the routine. I am hoping I can settle into some sleep soon...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Losers who Win

I am convinced that we learn more from our losses than we do our wins. We celebrate wins. We learn from losses.

If you are into athletics, that is no surprise. How many times did you hear a coach say, " We need to learn from this loss?"

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who lost. That is one thing that I love about the Bible. It is full of losers who learned. It is full of people who tried, failed and then tried again. Sometimes they broke through and had a win. Sometimes they did not.

It seems to me that we don't try things unless we have a reasonable shot at winning. Yet, if all we do is win, it could mean that we are not stretching, not challenging others, and not neccesarily following Christ. He was a risk taker. The Apostles were risk takers. Sometimes they won, sometimes they did not. But there was one thing that was true about them... they tried things.

I think that is called faith... no matter if you win or lose.

Take a risk today. Stretch your faith. Win or lose, you will be better for it.

Monday, July 06, 2009


I try not to rant in this blog....but I am going to rant.... I am not sorry for what I am about to say.

In the past two weeks, we have watched the media and society in general take what was the death of a pop music superstar turn into a circus. I have heard that MJ's ( not the basketball player) memorial will be unlike any the WORLD has ever seen. Now alot of that is hype. There is no doubt. It is about ratings and it is about $.

Representative Peter King of New York is being smashed by the same media because he said that the media coverage of Michael Jackson's death and memorial is an "orgy of glorification." He has called for America ( and especially the media ) to honor our American troops who are sacrificing thier lives for our freedom. That is not a 4th of July message... that is everyday! King will be villified by most media outlets as insensitive, cruel and abusive in his portrayal of Jackson.

Well, that is one situation. The other is almost as disturbing. Somehwere in the south, there is a woman and 4 kids who are grieving the death of their NFL Superstar husband and dad. I said HUSBAND AND DAD and apparently BOYFRIEND to a girl 16 years his younger, whom police say was laying at his feet, with one gun shot in her head. No disputes thier death. And apparently, no one disputes their relationship.

So, read the media outlets.... Steve McNair was a pillar of the community, known for his charity work in Nashville. He was considered a mentor for NFL athletes. He has been called in the last couple days, " One of the classiest guys in Nashville." There is some concession that there was a different side to McNair that none of us knew...but that should not skew our view of what a classy guy this was and how this "episode" should not taint his legacy whatsover.


Well, I got to tell you.... WE LIVE IN AN UPSIDE DOWN WORLD. That is not my idea. There are songs written about how messed up our world is... There are books about it. And there is one book that tells us that from the beginning of time, man ( and woman) did not get it right. It is a book that tells a story of how messeed we all are, and yet how there is a GOD OF TRUTH who LOVES people and wants to guide them into RIGHT SIDE UP living.

But before that can happen, we all have to be able to confront the TRUTH about ourselves, our athletes, musicians, politicians. The fact is that the TRUTH will come out here, or at judgment.

I am in the middle of a series on Moses from Exodus and Numbers. Great guy, certainly not perfect. ( In the Bible, we learn that outside of Jesus, we all have a bumpy past.) He blew it several times. But somehow, after 120 years, the Bible says, "His eyesight was clear and he was as strong as ever." His legacy was strong at the end. Numbers 11 tells us that "Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth."

It occurs to me as millions line up for a glimpse at the Staples center in LA tomorrow , and as people gather in a football stadium in Nashville, that maybe just a few minutes everyday, looking at the life of a guy like Moses might give us a better clue as to how to live in an upside down world.

He will never get the attention that Michael Jackson got ( in life and death), or that Steve McNair go ( in Life or Death), but this week in my heart, and in person, I will honor the life of a good man named Don Klahr. Don loved his church. He loved the Lord. He loved His wife of 30 years, Dickey. He loved his children. He loved me. He fought health problems for the last year, but when I saw him, he told me that he was ready...and he knew it was in God's hands. He was just a good guy who had his prorities in order and who lived and died the way God would want for us. He's the kind of guy that churches are built on... faith, strength, honor, and love.

For me, I will honor Don Klahr... and others that come to mind who did not need to be on Enterntainment tonight, or be the lead story on Sportscenter. All Don and many others that I know did was "Love God with all his heart, mind , soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. ( Mt. 22).

Give me 1000 Don Klahrs... I won't waste my time with Pop Superstars and NFL stars. They get enough applause and accolades at their concerts and ballgames...

Let's spread it around alittle bit. Do you know someone who is a Don Klahr kind of guy? Go tell him.... let him know that hes the real hero ...a hero in the right way. He probably will dismiss or deny it, but the truth is that guys like Don... they deserve a little slap on the back. Don would tell you , "God deserves the slap on the back. He changed me."

End of Rant... The Gospel group TRUTH had a song 20 plus years ago that was quite popular. It is entitled "Living life upside down." It tells a story of exactly where we are today.

John has a new way of looking at life
He’s tired of his job, his kids and his wife
He says the secret to his successWas in leaving and finding himself
Now he’s someone to somebody else.
And you say we’ve risen to a new age of truthY
ou’re calling it a spiritual Godly pursuit
But I say, I say,

(chorus)What if we’ve fallen to the bottom of a well
Thinking we’ve risen to the top of a mountain
What if we’re knocking at the gates of hell
Thinking we’re heaven bound
What if we spend our lives thinking of ourselves
When we should have been thinking of each other
What if we reach up and touch the ground
To find we’re living life upside down.

We’ve got a program for saving the earth
While unborn children are denied their right to birth
One baby’s blessed, another cursed
Have we made this world better or worse
Now that the life of a tree comes first.

You say we’ve risen to a new age of light
You’re telling me what used to be wrong is now right

But I say, I say,
What if we’re living,
what if we’re living,
What if we’re living life upside down.