Too Stupid to Be Human?

Agur is a friend. He just dives in and levels the playing field as he approaches God and wisdom.

“The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

His weariness causes him to get down on himself, but he pops out quickly realizing God is Bigger. He really is not stupid, he just positions himself as a lifelong learner and attacks his own pride. People don’t collect your writings because you are stupid.

“First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neithepoverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.” Proverbs‬ ‭30:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This next piece of wisdom just is beautiful. Keep me with a reasonable happiness, Lord. Keep me contained. Let my life be neither too troublesome, nor too extravagant.

In the end, we do not take a UHaul to the cemetery. But our friends and family gather in the last moments and that is the sum of our lives here on this side.

God is faithful in these days of change. He speaks quietly, though. Do not expect Him to scream into your life, but listen for His small moments. Take an Agur Attitude – too stupid, willing to learn. You might see something you have never seen. Go someplace you have never gone. Enjoy someone you have never met. With an Agur Attitude.

Praying for you that God instills wisdom for the moments and a healthy attitude of adjustment that is ever learning and never too smart.

The Think Doctor, Pastor Phil


Change Psalm 30 #6

The process of change requires humility mixed with courage and defiance.

“When I was secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.””
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:6‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

What drives us to change?

Each of us must examine our changes in light of motivation.  When we are comfortable and secure and feel accomplished, we believe nothing can defeat us.  Change requires us to lay down our comfort and take up the uncomfortable.  That process of change moves us into fearful moments as we lose our footing and regain under new learning.

The Change Curve

Every change takes us from our present place of productivity into a dive of struggling.  Doubt, adapting to new tools, acquiring stronger beliefs in our progress and the progress of others, a desire to run back into the old ways, and an aversion to the unknown assail us.  Immediately after the change, we desire escape.  Read more here Change is Never Straight 

Humility will allow us to be processed in the change curve into a higher level of impact and influence.

SOLUM is going through a tough curve right now as an organization. As the director, it affects me greatly.  The church plant has been merged into a congregation that can give it what it needs in pastoral availability and a base congregation.  The vibrancy of our team comes into the stability of others.  The community education is being purposefully handed to another to do the training and is being taken to online interactive to all other counties to be a part.  Anger Resolution is being developed to a more effective level with increased understanding of CBT and Biblical guidelines. Expansion nationally in partnership with the National Center for Fathering and National Association for Grandparenting means learning new means and modes of financial undergirds.  All of this is good and all of this is stressful.

It is a good time to remember the faithfulness of God in the times of prosperity but not to be overconfident and lose sight that He is the builder of witty inventions and makes our hands to prosper.  It is not us, but Him.

Change Psalm 30 #6

When I was secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
Psalms 30:6 HCSB
I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken. How long will you threaten a man? Will all of you attack as if he were a leaning wall or a tottering stone fence? They only plan to bring him down from his high position. They take pleasure in lying; they bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly. Selah Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
Psalms 62:1‭-‬6 HCSB

Change brings out treasure from hidden closets, when God is the Author of your change.

This morning as I woke the Spirit spoke to my Spirit, “Put on the prophet’s robe. This is what you asked.” It rattled me.

Over the last few weeks, every day in Gainesville I run into another person who has been changed by the ministry of SOLUM and the Morning Moment. These are ones in the community that I rarely see face to face. At Walmart, Taco Casa, Neu House, Fried Pie and other places, they come up and say thank you. Online, they check inand say thank you. It is more than normal. Almost like they know I am leaving, even though they don’t. It is the Holy Spirit prompting and reminding me that the discipleship and investment of love continues when I am gone.

And the Holy Spirit yearns to express Himself stronger than ever. And He speaks of fresh oil to a weary land. My weariness will pass with rest and exercise and a stable nutrition and home and family time. The deep prophetic anointing will rush to the top a s manifest. It is time. The season of preparation closes and the next season begins.

These are days that require great faith. Stepping into yet another unknown that is secured in Christ.

Change Psalm 30 #5

Moments accumulate value.

For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.
Psalms 30:5 HCSB

Last evening in parenting group, the weight of how sorrowful moments touch our memories weighed on me. A memory comprised of an event and an emotion has long impact. It lingers for decades. Yet, we can change that emotion attached.

Forgiveness, mercy, compassion, gratitude, hope, faith, and love are powerful forces of emotional and spiritual and mental healing. There is change.

Earlier in the afternoon, another group on relationships included a group of teen boys on probation. One defied the idea that people can change. He reviled the concept. What a tragedgy, if he stays this way. He is blocking hope for himself.

In the new life ahead of me in my changes, I will no longer be in back to back groups changing their lives. A certain sadness and weeping touches me. And then the joy comes.

With less responsiblity for groups, I will have more monents of one on one to see inner healing. That regimen of restoration is precious to me. Memories of instantly changed lives through inner healing and at prophetic healing flood my mind. For 15 years, I stood before and after services and prayed every week for folks. 15×50=750×5=3750+ one on one encounters. That does not count countless hours in Mexico praying for thousands the same way. Now, I will have time again to look you face to face and administer healing grace.

It is the personal encounter with an EverLoving God that elicits a joy in the morning. While He busys me differently, He increases my time and capacity to be a hand of healing. The tests and trials of the strain of the last 7 years as a missionary for broken families prepare me to see great joy.

Change enables grace. Our tough memories can be washed and revisited with improved faith and hope and love and the negative emotion attached healed and the pained person of our past released into the fresh new creation in Christ reality. These are exciting days.

Resilient Leaders

Articles like this one Depressed Pastor Leaders are written and rewritten multiple times a year. We love commisseration. Rarely are there answers, just observations and questions. It is ridiculous to expect happy go lucky to accompany a hard, thankless task. Sometimes leadership is just hard. But it is equally ridiculous to not address the stress. As a counselor and think doctor, I have a box of tools to ward off the evil spirits of depression. The black bile bites, but there is healing in the name of Jesus. Let’s skip the CBT toolbox for corrective action and look to resiliency basics for a pastor or business professional.

Here are a few.
1. Get a good friend outside your church/business and spend quality and quantity time enjoying them. Go fishing. Golf. Watch monster trucks. Enjoy college football.
2. Celebrate family in the church, business, and home.
3. Develop a mentoring relationship with someone who mentors you and someone you mentor. That is two people different than number one.
4. Be active in community. A ministerial alliance, kiwanis, rotary, lions, neighborhood association is a healthy place to connect. Be a community participant. Love where you live.
5. Take care of your personal exercise, nutrition, prayer, devotions, and growth. Be a lifelong healthy learner.
6. Take it to heart to give glory to God. Praise Him and give Him credit for everything.
7. Now, go do the work of the ministry or business to which you are assigned.

Seasons of Change Psalm 30 #4

Change is best handled with singing.  Singing is best handled with praise.

This series is more musings than exposition.  I hope you walk along with it and think about changes in your life.  Mine is under massive movement right now.  All good.  All God.  But massive.  And massive change induces massive stress.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!

It is easy to dwell on the hard and the negative and the distractions.  I’ve drafted an announcement five different ways concerning expanded directions in my life.  They are not new directions, but expansion and revelation of what has been going on under the view of people.  People see what they want to see.  They focus on what is in life for them.  That causes us to miss important streams of change as they happen and they seem sudden, when they are not sudden at all, but progressive.  That announcement on first three drafts took too much time on the problems needing addressing instead of the solutions on the table.  So I took all the problem words out and just went for the solution.  People will create problems where they don’t exist, no need to give them more than they can handle.

The shift in focus in my contemplation and prayer opened insight on how to address certain goals.  I had come to point of giving up on them.  That is not what God is doing and that is not what I am doing.  The negativity and weight of the issues had bore me down.  Looking up and throwing out the destructive and doubt allowed me to see clear paths.

There is a practice of positive psychology that assists.  Biblical directives tell us what to do, but sometimes they don’t give the simple practical tool.  As humans, we are called upon to use our mental and emotional and social senses to come up with practical application to Biblical imperatives.  The practice of What Went Well Why is one of the most powerful applications of being sober minded and thankful and submitting yourself to God’s action in your life.  So I do it frequently.  It just means considering three things every day that went well (What Went Well) and identifying the Why?  Why did it go well?

What went well in your life today?  

Contemplating change impacts brings up both negative and positive and neutral outcomes.  Really they are all neutral.  It is all about how you view them and how you process them.  Right now, I am undergoing massive change of my own choosing and then from the responses of others to my choices and to God’s wonderful intervention and then the old enemy of my soul’s distractions.  All of this interacts and impacts.  I can choose to dwell on the stuff that goes away from the goal and is disturbing or I can dwell on what went well and why.

What went well is different than gratitude.  I am looking for what moved in the right direction.

  1. Friends are calling and wanting immediate time with me.  They know I am not going to be coming to this town weekly anymore.  So they are panicking and looking for prayer and breakthrough. We take time on the phone. There is no way I can handle this many deferred emergencies.  This could be seen as negative like, “Good grief, I’ve been available for six years and they chose now to work on changes?  Wuzzup with that?”  This could be seen as positive, “Well, I am impressed that they broke through fear barriers and took the first step to a more positive life.  Wish it was earlier so I would have more time to work with them, but hey progress is progress.”  What went well?  People are taking steps  Why?  They are afraid they are going to lose access to someone they trust.
  2. Social media and phone calls are lit up with spreading the news I am leaving.  Negative interpretation: “Gossip is a pain.  The story will be mishandled and turn into negatives.”  Positive interpretation: “Saves me stamps. Glad people like what we have been doing enough to make it time for conversation. ” What went well:  The sequence of events made sure the right people were informed in right order before the gossip blew out.  Good information is given and we have a solid plan to continue serving though in a different way.  Why?  Many months of prayer and attempts at building a solid local team before the sequence of events forced the timing of leaving.

These are just a few examples of working on identifying what went well in a major life change.  This next one is important.  Really important.  Too often, when working with Christians, we over-spiritual the why.  We say things like, “Well, God made it go well.”  That may be true and you need to find the ones that it is true and be accurate with your praise.  Don’t be flippant.  Drill it down.  How did God make it go well.  Here is one

3. A meeting with fellow ministers was emotional and supportive.  We are making plans for a Thanksgiving celebration, which will be my last weekly trip to Gainesville.  Why?  We have been in prayer and Godly fellowship with each other.  He has knit our hearts with concern and support for each other and the congregations we support in the area.  God has certainly done good things among us.  The county prayer event was powerful and we stayed in prayer for six hours as a group that day.  God enabled us to maintain fellowship.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!

Now, number 3 is an item of praise.  Identifying the goodness of God in our lives today.  All three of the items identified something that went well and why and number 3 identified God’s hand.

Get to singing.  I don’t know any songs that go with number 3.  Maybe Good, Good, Father is appropriate.  Maybe 10,0000 reasons.  But the next time I hear a good praise song identifying God’s goodness, I will be thinking about number 3 and thanking Him.





Times of Change Psalm 30 #3

Lord, You have brought my life up from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead);
You have kept me alive, so that I would not go down to the pit (grave). Psalm 30:3

Change is well change.  It is messy and hard and punishing and exciting and invigorating. Change can feel like hell, the place of the dead.  It can feel like dying and leaving all that resembles comfort and calm. In change, God is faithful.

Rules of Change

  1. Have a faith focus.  Faith grabs the undone and pulls it into the done.  It needs a focus.  Our faith focus in this change is a value for fathering and families.  It is an awakening of grandparents to take action and develop a clear base of belief in the value of family.
  2. Have a means of faith.  Our means of faith is sponsors and benefits that bring dollars to the doorway of destiny.  Our means of faith is increasing the benefits proposition and partnerships to expand influence and action.
  3. Create a positive proposition. Ephesians tells us that the shield of faith quenches the fiery darts of evil.  The evil or normal wants you to quit before you reach the destination.  Doubt, discouragement, disappointment and more fight against your direction and attempt to pull you into the pit. A positive proposition of faith in God’s destiny is a big weapon against dying before realizing your goal.
    1. The position:  The Lord is for family.  He is the Father of All Comfort and committed to family.  Our nation is coming into a season of value in family.  Our team is called and equipped of the Lord to lead the way with education and encouragement and engagement of all generations alongside other like minded organizations. We are the harbingers of family. We are able. We are sent. We are victorious.
  4. Stand. The fight for any worthy vision takes full equipment.  The helmet of salvation guards our mind and thoughts. Our courage is contained with the breastplate of righteousness.  Our strength is maintained with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Our stand is stabilized with the belt of truth.  Our clarity and direction are set with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Above all we pray and see God intervene.

Take change in faith that He is faithful to take you to the next step. Avoid the fear of failing and falling into an unwinnable position.  He will sustain and keep you from crashing.  The road can be rough, but it should continue to grow and prosper.  He withholds no good thing from those that serve Him.

In 1986, the company for which I worked sold.  In those days, I prayed and received confidence that if I would stand, I would be able to stay in the area and raise my family.  It took faith to believe against belief.  Yet, in standing in faith, provision was made for us and we have remained for decades standing on His promises. Sometimes, I open those notes and stand again and again and again.

In this time of great change, the leap of faith seems greater than ever, yet, it is a sure win.  Why?  Because we have walked the path of faith before and He is faithful in all His ways and never changing.  When we grow in Him, we find the right path.

Keep reading for the next exposition on change and Psalm 30