Friday, May 29, 2020

One race - the Human race

I love Tony’s sentiment here. This is such a profoundly beautiful picture of what Jesus calls his followers to exemplify. You sense their genuine ability to love and respect each other as family. It’s not that they don’t see their differences. It’s that they don’t think those differences don’t matter. They love each other and that’s what matters.

I’d like to simply say let’s remember the prayer Jesus prayed and what he said about the power of his people walking together in unity:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” -Jesus praying

‭‭John‬ ‭17:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬ #LoveYourNeighbor #LoveOneAnother

Friday, May 22, 2020

You Posses the Light of Life

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We’re pretty familiar with the first part of this verse. “I am the light of the world.” It also reminds us of when Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

But the second part we almost never quote. I think that’s because we don’t remember it. At least, I don’t.

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Ok, we get the following-Jesus part. That’s familiar to us.

“Never walk in darkness” - now that’s powerful and we can see that happen in our physical world, right?

Walk into a dark room, garage, or abandoned building at night. All the lights are off. It can feel a bit ominous. Especially if it’s an unfamiliar room. A large room even more so. 

But strike a match or snap on a flashlight and things immediately change as the darkness instantly shrinks back. It practically evaporates. No darkness remains where the light is shining. 

I call that powerful.

But there’s more to this amazing verse. 

“...but will have the light of life.” 

“Have.” Like, possess. We who follow Jesus will possess the light of life. 

Now we’re talking about a light that is so powerful it carries life. Not just energy—life. And this power...we carry it too. It’s called “Christ in me” or me being “in Christ.”

We possess this light and by nature, we shine it. We radiate it like a fire radiates light and heat. We can’t help it. 

But, we can shut it down by covering it. You can click on a flashlight and then cover the end with your hand. This is when we forget who we are and allow life circumstances to douse our light effectively making us appear as darkness. That’s scary. And it happens a lot.

What would our family look like if everyone in the family believed they were full of God’s light (power, love, self-control)? 

What would our city look like if everyone walked as children of light?

What would my life look like if I got up every morning asking the Lord, “What would you have me do today?”

These aren’t unreasonable questions when you remember you possess the light of life.

You carry life.
You radiate life.
You shine life.

So maybe we start with a simple prayer. 

Lord, thank you for being the light of the world.
Lord, thank you for making me the light of the world in your place.
Lord, help me hear from you as I start my day in your word.
Lord, what would you have me do today?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

How to "Soap" Through Scripture

The S.O.A.P method, created and popularized by Wayne Cordeiro, is designed to teach us how to hear from God. 

We hear from God by 

1. Prayerfully reading the Bible, 
2. Noting observations in the verse, 
3. Writing down the applications we believe God wants us to draw from what we’ve learned. 
4. Finally, we pray to ask God to help us apply what he's told us to do in our life. 

As we “hear from God” our next step is to “do what he says” by faith. It is not an overstatement to say that practicing this spiritual discipline will change your life.

Here’s how I do it:

S — Scripture

As I read through my Bible reading plan (usually 1-3 chapters/day), I “listen” to the Holy Spirit for verses that "jump out at me", so to speak, and I mark them. Then I select one of those verses out of all I marked and write it down under “S.” A great Bible app is here.

O — Observation

This is where most of my time and thought occurs. I ask and answer questions of the verse. Questions like who, what, where, why, when, and how. I write all that I observe from that single verse. It can be a paragraph or a lot more.

A — Application

When I do a good job with observations, the applications become clear quicker. I write down what the verse is telling me to do. Sometimes it is obvious and explicit—sometimes it is implied and more subtle.

P — Prayer

With a posture to apply this verse to my life, I write out a simple prayer to God asking him to help me apply the wisdom I just wrote down. I can write more than that but I write at least that.

Then I give that day’s entry a simple and memorable title that will help me remember it throughout the day.

Then I write the date, title, and verse reference in the front of my journal creating a kind of table of contents for the journal.

The entire process takes 20-40 minutes depending on how much you read and how much detail you write. I generally read 3-5 chapters a day, select 1 verse, and then “Soap” on that verse. It takes me 30-45 minutes.


The format you should follow:


(S)scripture -

(O)observations - Ask questions like who, what, where, why, when, and how? Ask things like what do we learn about people in this verse? What do we learn about God in this verse? What do you see happening? Etc. 

(A)applications - What is this passage telling me to do or believe, or implying I should do or believe?

(P)prayer - Ask God to help you apply this wisdom today.

App with free Bibles and Bible reading plans

Online hub for S.O.A.P. journaling.

*Divine Mentor, Wayne Cordeiro
The book that started it all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Knowledge is Like Underware...

“Knowledge is like underwear – it is useful to have it, but not necessary to show it off!” 

-Nicky Gumbel

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Philippians 2:6-11 Sunday

Humility is considered weakness in much of our culture today.

This week’s message shows that kind of thinking is upside down to what’s best for us to thrive no matter what.

Listen to what God says through Paul of Tarsus in AD 61 (Letter to the Philippians 2)

10:30 am EST Sunday,  Darien Gabriel links

Friday, May 15, 2020

My 8000th Evernote

Have you ever been driving somewhere and just happened to look down and see your odometer at an even 100,000 miles?

It’s funny because you have this moment of pride like you did something significant.

“Look honey, I just clicked over 100,000 miles!” like you just finished a marathon on one leg.

Well, this is even more trivial than that. But I noticed so I’m posting. :-)

Evernote is my virtual filing cabinet. It’s where I store everything that I consider important, noteworthy or a work in progress. I file pictures, audio notes, lists, articles, ebooks, ideas holders, important papers and more. So easy too!

I started using Evernote in September of 2009. 8,000 Evernotes later, I’m still very happy with it. It is my most valuable app.  And it’s a significant piece of trivia to me.

To Hear is to Obey. Sounds cult-like to me.

I was reading a book the other day by Stephen Lawhead (Endless Knot) where the main character said,

"To hear is to obey."

I love that.

That's the way the Hebrew language reads too. (what the Old Testament is written in) It's a language that is so active when you say listen, it implies you mean listen AND do.

That's powerful.

That means I don't just listen to you and then weigh it out. If you're a person with authority, to tell me is for me to hear and then obey.

The same is true with God. After all, he is my ultimate authority in life.

To hear is to obey.

I gladly submit to God.

Am I a cult member? No. But it may look that way.

Here's why I trust and follow God as my ultimate authority. It boils down to this:

1. God is all-good. He only does what is right and good.
2. God is all-powerful. He created me when I didn't exist.

Why wouldn't I want to follow my Creator when I know he's like this?

Why wouldn't you?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Quick Overview of Philippians

Here’s a great, quick summary of Philippians.

Philippians is a letter in the New Testament in the Bible written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Philippi around AD 61.

The letter in a nutshell according to Willmington is this:

Paul presents Jesus Christ as:
  1. The believer’s life-Purpose
  2. The believer’s life-Pattern
  3. The believer’s life-Prize
  4. The believer’s life-Power
Outline Bible, Willmington Preview here

Link to the detailed outline from his book:

Coaching Pastors (NEW)

I am starting something new.

I love starting things. :-)

I am starting coaching folks in the ministry. Pastors, associate pastors, etc.

For now, I'm open to 3. I can only do a few at a time.

I'll customize it for the individual but my thought is a monthly coaching phone (or Zoom) call (after 2 the first month) where we talk for an hour. My job isn't to tell you what should be doing either. My job is to listen to what is working (and what isn't) and ask questions so that you (the more informed person) can discover what it is God is saying to you and what you should do about it.

For that, I will charge $100/month. Pay as you go. No long-term commitments. Satisfaction guaranteed.

The first 3 are free for those in full-time or bi-vocational Christian ministry.

Monday, May 11, 2020

What do we call people who leave our church?

I don't like it when people leave our church

It grieves me. Even when they leave for legitimate reasons. Like when they move to Illinois. (Yes, that really happened. I know) I miss them. Admittedly, some more than others)

Then they officially become "former members." That means they used to be members of our church.

People I considered to one degree or another like family. More or less depending on how long they stayed, how connected they were, how much skin they had in the game, etc.

I don't like to call them former members. That feels like it minimizes what they contributed to our church family and the overall mission of the global Church of which they (in most cases) are still an active part of.

So I am trying on calling them "alumni" instead. 

I'm an alumn of Clemson University. I left after four glorious years. Ok, it was 4-1/2. But who's counting?

I like being part of the Clemson University alumni. I feel like I'm still a part of what's happening there. Because I am! (I go to football games, I read their emails, I send them money) Ok, I don't really send them money. Well, I do pay for our daughter's tuition. That counts, right?

Anyway, I want our former members, er, alumni to feel like they were and are a special part of what God is doing in and through Grace Christian Fellowship (our church). Because GCF is like it is (in part) because they invested finances, creativity, time and energy, and relational and spiritual energy in and through us. And that means a whole lot in my book.

And something tells me that matters a whole lot to God as well.

Here's something we've done to validate their time with us.

We've created a Facebook Group where our GCF Alumni can stay connected to members (past, present and future) here. They can join here.

Friday, May 8, 2020

xDM = ?

I use this abbreviation a lot. Here's what it means:

x = multiply
D = Disciple-
M = Makers

Multiply disciple-makers.

That's what we're called to do.

Let's get after it!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

God sends us as we are

I read the Bible pretty much every day. I'm pretty good at it because I've been doing that for a long time. If I read a little every day, I can get through the Bible in a year. (about 15 minutes/day)

Today I was reading in Proverbs, John, and Judges. In Judges, I read the story of Gideon. It's inspiring. Here's my takeaway from today's reading drilling down on one verse:

God sends us as we are. Just ask Gideon. 

-Judges 6:14


National Day of what.

Today is the National Day of Prayer. That basically means there's a nation-wide effort by people of faith (Mostly Judeo-Christian) to pray together for God's grace and mercy on our lead based on that year's theme.

This year's theme is "Pray God's Glory Across the Earth" based on the Bible verse Habakkuk 2:14 that says: 

"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

This verse from the Old Testament (Jewish Scriptures) indicates what God will do (not just might do). It's significant. God will fill the earth with his knowledge and glory. That means he'll fill the earth with the glory of his kingdom. 


It sounds like something I definitely want to be in on!

Let's pray for God to restore our world so that these characteristics describe where we live, work and play.

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