Need A Quiet Moment, Friend?

Isaiah 8:18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me.
As a businessman and community leader, I spend countless hours seeking audience with people. It is a tough and thankless task.
Jesus presents us to His Father as a gift. He makes it easy to get into the very throneroom of God. Through tremendous sacrifice, He opened a path for us into the presence of the holiest God. Then He takes us by the hand and walks us up to the Creator of All and presents us.
There is nothing we can do to earn that presentation. It is a gift to us received in Him.
That simple knowledge comforts me. The ability to quiet myself and know I don’t have to earn anything consoles me. I can rest in His acceptance and favor.
Friend, there is rest for you. There is favor for you.
Father, accept my friend alongside Your Son, Jesus. What a joy to know You will receive us. The Master of All opens His inner office to allow us entrance and audience. That is huge. Thanks, Father.

Life Can Be Frightening, Friend.

But then, God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound, well-disciplined mind.  The Father dispenses right knowledge and wisdom and equipage to get your life lived with a smile and a dance in your step.  He does.  Really, He does.

It is frightening to face life without a loving Father’s protection and insight.  This morning as I prayed for my friends, my guideline was the book of Ephesians.  Yes, I read through the entire letter and prayed.  It usually takes about an hour these days, sometimes two hours or more.  Martin Luther, the great reformation leader, and others are quoted as saying, “I had so much to do today, I had to start with 3 hours of prayer.”  I get it.  There is no time to waste. Every minute has to count and prayer puts the power in the punch.

It is frightening to look into tomorrow and realize the threats and opportunities to fail and opportunities to succeed. Failure and success are not distant partners.  Each brings an element of pain and cleanup.  Each creates a next step that has to be addressed.  Plan for success and handle the failure.

It is frightening to go it alone. Living alongside the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is a fearsome task.  He really does get things done. Boy, am I glad I don’t work in the kingdom alone.  It would be hell.  Yes, I believe hell on earth is trying to do the work of living without family and friends and partners in work and ministry and life. When I make a list of co-laborers, I never get to the end.  There are thousands.  What a blessing.

It is frightening to trust my own hand. Friend, never trust yourself to get it done.  When you stretch out with God, you will find yourself in situations that are impossible.  They take impossible strength, impossible faith, impossible love, and impossible energy.  He has a ready supply of all four.

My prayer for friends.

Father take the hand of my friend and bring impossible strength, impossible faith, impossible love, and impossible energy into the path.  As You walk with my friend enable with everything necessary to live abundantly, faithfully, and effectively.  Let life be changed.  Let fear be put into the street.  Let faith shine so bright those around my friend will lose fear and find faith.

Other’s Need – God’s Supply – Your Hand and Heart

Remember to pray for the Community Transformation Initiative and all those that are helping and joining. After taking a few months of prep and collaboration, you would not believe the demands of the next six weeks at the Community Transformation Initiative.  We are actively engaged in East OKC, North OKC, Stillwater, Del City, St. Louis, Matamoros, Mexico, and online around the world. Every one of these engagements results in life change.  Our goal for 2013 was to impact 1000 families face to face.  In the last 30 days, we’ve exceeded 300 and expect to pass that goal in the next six weeks. Much of this is 1-1.In the next six weeks, we will be presenting live for over 60 hours.  The average pastor will present 10 hours in the same period. Much of our presentation will be bilingual and all of it will occur outside my personal cultural background.  The average pastor/leader never does either of these because they are ten times more exhausting than staying within your personal culture zone or niche. The Community Transformation Initiative is not called to be average.  Our aim is transformation.


Our commitment and high level schedule:

General Ministerial Conference – Dallas July 24-26

East Zion Men’s Leadership – July 26th 7pm

Telemundo Radio 33.1 – July 27th Interview on Matamoros outreach 2:30pm to 3pm

Rewrite – Mentoring – Life Church July 31st

Fearless Weekend – Tabitha Baptist East OKC Aug 2,3,4

Fearless Weekend – Regrese de Clase – CAREVI – Matamoros, Mex Aug 8-12

Watch DOG Launch –  Back to School – Tulakes NW OKCAug 16

Watch DOG Launch – Epperly Heights – Del City – date tba

Outreach Planters Training – OKC Aug 23-25

Schools of Prayer – West OKC – Aug 7, Sept 4

Dad’s University – Online Fall Semester Aug 20-end of term

Champion Fathers Luncheon and Tourney – SW OKC Sept 16th

Total cost to get this done – $20,000.  On hand funds $1500.  Faith Commitments $5000. God’s Challenge To Be Met: $13,500

How to support.. <==click it

Impossible faith will see it to completion.

Impossible love will keep us motivated.

Impossible strength will bring us to perform.

Impossible energy will make this fun.

Meet Jesus: Intense with Evil Matthew 12:28

PosterclipsmallestMatthew 12:28-29 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house
Jesus has a determined streak in His approach. If you read the stories surrounding this little snippet, you find He was daily “casting out demons”. Now maybe we would like that piece of who He is to go away. Kinda scary. We would rather have a Grimm like the popular TV series or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even Abe Lincoln. But we all know that evil is real and it is bigger than the world we look at every day.

Jesus just steps into that other world and deals with it. We find him wrestling with the ol’ Devil, Satan, himself in the desert in Luke’s stories. A small child that was jumping into fires is rescued in another story. Two raving mad men in a graveyard are restored on a trip. Jesus does not back down from real evil.

In the last two days I have had some rather intense spiritual experiences. The unusual aspect of those has been the clarity and the subject. Being intensely spiritual is not a new thing. The experiences are certainly not new to me. The nature and intensity back to back is revelatory of a present danger and present reality.

The first was on Monday morning early in the am. At least three times I awoke to the sense of strong evil in my room. None of these disturbed me, but alerted me. It seemed there as a source of confrontation against me and my family and my leadership.  Like it was there to stop me and threaten the health of family and finances. Of course, I rebuked this presence and told it to leave and went back to sleep each time.

It impressed me that each time I woke, there it was. I don’t know if it came and went or just stayed the night. But by morning it was gone and peace continued to reign. Never was I overly disturbed. Of course, anyone would be startled by such an occurence, but it did not overly disturb me or my sleep.

This morning was followed by a similar occurence in a dream. It was a most vivid and accurate dream. In the dream, which had many scenes, I was with a team struggling to accomplish their goal. We were researching in a library/resource facility for answers. After having gone to many rooms, we were stymied and standing together. Then it dawned on me to go check another area of the facility as a voice said, “We are over here.” As I entered the room, there was a leading evil entity surrounded by several others. They were in concerted effort to interfere with us and quite open to talk. The leader said, “I wondered when you would come find us. Of course, we are the ones that have been stopping you.” It was a matter of fact conversation. There was no conclusion to the dream as I stood there and they defied.

I don’t know what you believe about such things and maybe you think I just had some bad pizza or that there is more a bit of gravy than the grave as Scrooge called it when the Marley’s visited in A Christmas Carol. But all the rest of the information you will read is just fact. And you can accept fact, right?

This morning on rising, I posted specific prayer information out to a thousand folk. That would be the third intense situation. People take time to pray and respond like anything else. Only two of a thousand have responded so far. It is not common for me to solicit prayer in such a manner, yet I did similar yesterday via directing people to a slideshare on praying for fathers. No feedback on that. Only six of hundreds clicked to notice it.

So this morning, I pray for prayers. That is right. I need more real prayers. Why are people so reticent to pray It is deliriously frustrating work. And it needs done. It needs done daily and weekly and monthly and regularly and irregularly.

Here I am in a high center situation that needs concerted prayer to break through. This is not a game. This is serious.

At a meeting yesterday the idea was put forward that we only need 150 new foster homes in Oklahoma City to take care of all the children. Yet of the 553 that are in existence, a third will probably fall out in a short time. So really we need 300 new foster homes and support networks for all 703 that must stay on the wall and a constant supply of new foster homes and support for them and healing for the ones that fall out and healing for the natural families so kids have a permanent home to which to return and support for them to stay faithful so the kids won’t go back into foster care because of danger and suffering.

So let me count:
We need 853 prayer warriors just to have one per foster home in need.
We need 703 prayer warriors just for the kids in the system we are targeting.
We need 703 prayer warriors for the families of the kids in the system we are targeting.
We need 50 prayer warriors for the social workers and investigators and judges and other officials.
We need another 30% increase in prayer warriors a year to handle influx and change.

So 853+703+703+50+800 = 2309 prayer warriors.

This morning, when I asked a thousand to join me in prayer for fathers, 2 responded. These thousand are people who have received thousands of prayers from me to them. Of course a good prayer warrior can cover a father, a child, a home, a social worker, a judge, an investigator, a counselor, and a foster home all at the same time so maybe I only need 853. So all I have to do is ask 500,000 and we can get them. At least one time I can get them.

Every prayer warrior I know is overburdened. What we need is new ones. What we needed is trained, praying saints.

At first, what looked to be a simple task, 150 new foster homes, is looking much more complex. There are only a million people in our metro. Only 25% are regular church folk, so that is 250,000. Of those, maybe 20% are doers. So that is 50,000. There are not even 500,000 people to ask.
And don’t forget, we need maybe another 4000 folks to help with foster parent night outs and furniture help and entertainment help and friendship and a shoulder to cry on and, and, and,…….

So It would not be unreasonable to say we need about 6000 people out of a field of 50,000 and we don’t know who those 50,000 are as they are hidden and protected in the church roles of 1200 churches.

So, we need prayer.
Will you pray for us?

Fathers in the homes.
Children safe and secure and confident in a good future.
Strength for foster parents and resources.
Blessing for children of foster parents who are giving up some of their portion that another would be blessed.
Investigators and case workers and judges and officials who will make right and compassionate decisions.

Prayer: Father, we really do need You. There is evil in this world that is resistant to normal efforts. It is real. It is intense. It is present. We must find ways to deal with it. Teach us to confront with wisdom.Teach us to not be overly enamored with evil but seek to replace evil with good. That works most times.But, Father, there are situations that just reek and resist goodness. They need the intensity of Jesus that only comes with prayer and fasting.Cover us. Protect us. Deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory.

Meet Jesus: Lord of Take Back Matthew 4:6

meetjesustakebackMatthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. :7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 

Satan had trouble with meeting Jesus. His intent was to trick him and cause Him to slip. He met his match. He met the Lord, God.

Meeting Jesus means meeting the Lord, God. His is able and willing to deal with any situation. He is Lord.

Stuff trys to put us down.  Stuff trys to break our spirit.  Stuff trys to rob our joy.  Jesus is joy.   His kingdom is righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit.

With success after success, lately, Prince had defeat after defeat.  No one wanted to work with him.  They were envious and defeatist.  Somewhere from deep inside, he summoned up some joy.  “Good gracious”, he declared aloud.  “If no one will walk with me, then I will walk alone.  They can follow, can’t they?”  Those thoughts seemed good.  His smile came back.  He took charge of his life again.  He began to work out issues and others joined with him.  Sometimes you just have to rob the joy back to get going again.

ACT! Bow to the Lord. Give up. Meet Him on terms of surrender.

PRAY! Father, I give myself to the Lord, Jesus. He is Lord. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. I surrender to His love and mercy and Lordship.  I surrender to His joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

Phil’s Other Home

Meet Jesus: The Word Matthew 4:3

Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. :4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but meetjesusstorm2by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

As Jesus answered, He simultaneously declared His existence. Meeting Jesus means meeting the very living expression of God’s word. John tells us “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” It is not the bread of this world that meets our need, but the living bread of life, Jesus that will give us strength in the deserts of life.

Words are important to growth.  So many times how we present a word or phrase to someone else means everything in the world for the next step in our relationship.  A friend struggled with a key relationship.  There was just an accusatory bend to every conversation with a new friend.  After looking for solutions and probing for what was wrong, we were surprised.  It seems in the first meeting with the other person, this friend acted before he spoke.  The speaking was important to the other person.  They had harbored an offense from the first action wanting words to come first.  Getting through that misunderstanding was tough and touchy, but they are doing better.  It has taken words to find the problem and begin healing it.  Words count.  The word of Jesus in us can heal.

ACT! Are you dry and hungry in an area? Spend time talking to Jesus about it today. He is the bread, the word of God that brings strength.

PRAY! Father, bring the bread of life, Jesus, into my dryness, into my hunger. Apply the word of life, Jesus, to my need that I might stay strong in Your strength, not my own. 

Meet Jesus: Human Matthew 4:2

meetjesusokMatthew 4: 2: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

 There is a fallacy in meeting Jesus that bears great correction.   At times we approach Him as if He had some special advantage while He lived in that body born of Mary.  Jesus was fully human.  He got really hungry.  He dealt with conflicting emotions.  He lived as a human equipped with the Spirit of God even as He asks us to live.

In being human, Jesus sanctified humanity.  He made it okay to be fully human.  He made it a good thing to be all the human we could be, to live up to our human potential – with God.  Remember, while being fully human, He was fully God.  Our task is to work on being fully human, with God.

Being fully human, for us means being full of mistakes.  Being fully human, means being able to correct those mistakes.  Today I had a great opportunity to change my mistakes.  A co-worker was upset with me about my actions.  I had presumed what I did was okay with him instead of asking.  It was okay.  If I asked.  Not asking was presumptive.  It was inconsiderate.  By repenting and asking, my mistake was changed to okay.  He gave me that grace.  It was good.  Jesus helped me be human.

ACT!  Think of your most human moment this week.  Thank God for making you a human.

PRAY!  Father, thanks for making me a human like Jesus.  It must be really special to you, this human thing.  You sent Your own Son to be one, just to make it special.  Wow!  I really don’t deserve it, but I really appreciate it.  Thanks.

Meet Jesus: Life Giver Matthew 1:2

Matthew 1: 2: Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

 Jesus comes from the line of Abraham.  Abraham was a giver of life.  Abraham turned faith into a lineage of ability and more life.  Abraham was an investor in the future.  His sights were always set forward.

Meeting Jesus means meeting the future.  He is future focused.  He intends to begat.  He intends to birth new life, new dreams, new ways, and new opportunities for you.

ACT! Take that dream of yours.  Think of who else could be involved.  Give them the opportunity to be a part.

PRAY! Gracious Father of Life, Jesus challenges me to be like You.  You are a Father.  Abraham got his ways from You, the Father of fathers.  Teach me to birth newness through others

Meet Jesus: Named Matthew 1:21

meetjesusstormMatthew 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

The savior, what a name!  Jesus’ very name means savior.  His name is His destiny.  He saved and saves.  He saves from sin.  He saves us from our mistakes.  He saves us from whatever is our situation.

Being saved from sin means being rescued.  Jesus is our rescuer.  He moves in and brings us to a safe place, a place of conquest over sin, and a place of victory over mistakes.

 ACT!  Get honest.  Take your mistakes and hand them over for salvation.  Let Jesus rescue you to a place of victorious living.

 PRAY!  Father of Forgiveness, give me victory over my sin.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, my Strength and my Redeemer.

Meet Jesus: The Series

logoblackandblueIn 2001 it impressed me to spend some time every day answering this question, “What would be my impression if I met Jesus doing what Matthew recorded?”  Well, there are over 400 devotions that came from that adventure.  You will be able to access them over time on this site.  Thank, Brandon.  He is a new friend, who asked me about the series.  So I am putting them here for him and others who really want to Meet Jesus .