Meet Jesus: Great Light Matthew 4:14

meetjesusgreatlightMatthew 4: 14: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15: The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16: The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Too many times in life we live in the shadow and region of death. Darkness surrounds us in our minds in hearts. Meeting with Jesus means meeting with light. His light dispels the shadows and puts us in a bright place.

When Jesus is on the scene, there is a springing up of light. That is active. That is powerful. Darkness causes us to sit and be inactive. Jesus springs with activity and light to get us back into motion. Death is brown. It is the refraction of light that lets us see color. His light brings back color.

The prayers of the saints for each other are wonderful. Struggling with many trials can get old and cold. When another saint sees and takes prayerful action, it is a blessing. It brings light to a dark situation. That happened to me recently. As I worked through many items for others, other saints prayed for me. The light of that prayer sustained me so I could sustain others in their hard moments. It all works together.

ACT! Describe a place of hurt and pain to Jesus. Imagine what it would be like in that spot with bright, brilliant light shining all over and colorful plants growing all around.

PRAY! Father, there are areas of my life that need light. I have given up on anything other than death and despair in that room of my heart. Give me the courage to let Jesus meet me in that room. Surely, He will bring light and color back to my darkness.

Meet Jesus: Sorting Matthew 4:12

meetjesussortMatthew 4: 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali

Bad news can put a hard spin on life.  Each of us has places to go and things to do.  Jesus is no different.

John was Jesus’ cousin.  He was the first recorded to rejoice at the coming King.  He leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary approached for a visit.  No one knew Jesus was coming.  John knew.  That is an early praise.

John prepared people for the coming of Jesus.  He was ahead of Him getting the people ready.

News about John in prison was not good for Jesus.  Scripture doesn’t say why he went to Galilee.  Knowing the affinity Jesus had for John and the respect He had for him, it seems he needed time away to sort it out.  He went where it was quiet and familiar.  He went away.  He did not despair.  He did not become discouraged.  He met the news with an action plan.  He kept His confidence and went to people He knew.

This scripture coming up today is interesting.  All week I have been taking in good news in multiple areas.  Sometimes much good news can be as stressful as bad news.  Family, friends, work, community, and other areas have been full of blessed news.  The consulting business is prospering.  The work on fathering is prospering.  Many people want to meet and talk.  At the same time, this coming week, I have some time away to write and reflect.  I’ll be in my quiet spot at the lake.  It is timely to go sort out the news and make plans.  God is faithful.  He gives us space.

ACT!  Bad news?  Much good news?  How did you respond?  Did you respond with faith and joy in Christ?  Do you need time to sort out the next steps?  Let Him give you a respite.  He is faithful.  It may only be a few minutes or a few hours, but He is faithful.  He will not push you beyond His ability in you.

 PRAY!  Father, it is comforting to know You care so much for me.  In the middle of the tempest, You cover.  In the face of bad news, You allow a breath to come to take it in.  How can I thank You enough?  Help me to face every bad news with joy and confidence in Your provision.  Help me to absorb the punches of life with joy and family and friends.


Meet Jesus: Taken Matthew 4:5

meetjesustakenMatthew 4:Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

The fact that Jesus would allow himself to be taken anywhere by the devil astounds me.  What was going through His mind at those moments?  Here he was, led by His own Holy Spirit, to spend time with evil.   Here he was entering the beginning of His public ministry dealing with a defeatist devil.  Our present thinkers tell us to feel good and be happy and then minister.  Our present ideologies point to pleasure as the entry to ministry.  Jesus allowed himself to be taken into the presence of evil itself.  This was His entry point into public ministry.  He allowed testing.  He presented himself for inspection.  He was taken.

Pushed to the max, Jim was about to pop.  This was supposed to be his year to get the big promotion.  It began with pain.  Employees were livid with some decisions he had made.  Every emotion in him was twisted.  He had worked night and day and given himself totally on behalf of these.  They turned on him.  The year before, he had handled the torrents of accusations from a disturbed man.  The threats had been against these very employees that now turned on him.  For defending them, he now stood their accusations of being unfair and inequitable.  Was this how to start his big year?

He resigned himself to stand through the accusations.  He remembered that the name, Satan, really meant Accuser.  He remembered, Jesus had stood testing before His big year.  Surely, he could allow the Healer to live in and through him in this critical time.  “Father, forgive them”, he whispered, “They don’t know what they are doing.”

ACT! Testing is never fun.  When God has something big, He can allow life and, yes, even the devil a place to sort out our intentions and grace living.  Is there a place of testing in your life?  Is God preparing you, stabilizing you for the next big thing?  Submit to the test.  Let it prove you out.  Don’t fight.  Let God fight for you.  Take time to pray Psalm 35 and see what happens.

PRAY! Father, I am not my own defense.  When life and the enemy rise against me as a flood, You be the boat of my salvation.  Carry me away from that which is too strong for me.  Deliver me from the hand of my enemies.  Cause in me conviction to repent of those weaknesses in me that could have led to this situation.  Cause holiness to well up in me.  Cause me to crucify any flesh that needs changed.  Let these troubles be a directional that causes me to become closer to You in thought and word and deed.  Cause me to be more like You than ever before.  Then, in the next big thing, I will be able.  I will be founded.  I will be strengthened to do that to which You have called me.  I surrender myself to be taken.

Meet Jesus: Mystical Matthew 3:16

meetjesusMatthew 3: 16: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 At times a relationship with Jesus can get a little mystical.  Doves, spirits, voices from heaven, and the heavens being opened all make for a mystical moment.  Jesus transcends what we see on a daily basis.  He operates in heaven and earth simultaneously.  That may throw our normal pattern, but be thankful that He is access to the Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit on earth at once to affect our lives.

Listening to the message of the moment from the pulpit, my life seemed to be the content.  The preaching pierced pointedly and profoundly into the core of that night’s dilemma.  All day, I had lived the problem being answered.  It was exhilarating.  God’s timing in bringing my pastor to the present point of my life is amazing.  There are too many times to tell of when this has happened.  The scriptures come alive with fire and stir me up to new levels of faith.  How could God care so much to make the message match my messes?  What an amazing God!

ACT!  Need anything from heaven?  Some things we need don’t exist right now on earth.  Jesus is access to heaven.  Ask the Father for the impossible in Jesus.  Go ahead and plan the rest of the day as if you had it.

 PRAY!  Our Father, who is in heaven, Holy is Your name.  Cause the heavens to open for me in my life.  Cause Your Holy Spirit to brood over my life and cause chaos to come to order.   Release all You are in heaven and earth in me that Your will would be done here even as it is there. 

Meet Jesus: Destined Matthew 1:16

meetjesus4Matthew 1: 16: And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Born of men, born of a woman, and born to destiny was Jesus, the Christ.  Meeting Jesus means meeting a human full of humanity.  Jesus meets us in this frail human family of Joseph and Mary.  A simple husband was Joseph.  This family came from a line of prostitutes, murderers, connivers, kings, and faithful men and women.  They look just like our families.

Jesus is a family man.  While He is the Christ, the anointed, the Messiah, He is a simple family man from a flawed, fractured, but persistent family life.

ACT!  Thank God for your family line.  Don’t worry about the problems.  Praise Him that you exist at all through that family line.

PRAY! Faithful Father, You brought me to this time and place in life.  You gave me the family line.  You gave me a father and mother.  I exist.  No matter how flawed that line, I have destiny.  There is an anointing in Jesus for me through You.

Meet Jesus : Receiver of Gifts Matthew 2:11

Matthew 2:11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Abundant living is a promise of  Jesus.  He comes to give us life and life more abundantly.  The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus brings abundance.  In that abundance is our capacity to respond in giving to Him.  He is never embarrassed in receiving.  He is a receiver of gifts as well as a giver of abundance.  Abundance is the capacity to give.

ACT!  Give to Jesus.  You may not have gold or frankincense, but you have something.  It may be finances for the kingdom.  It may be an ability that will bless the kingdom.  Give out of your abundance.

PRAY!  Father of Giving, You have enabled me with more than I need.  Jesus told me that when I give to the least, I have given to him.  Show me where to give of myself of Your abundance.

copyright 2001 Phil Larson

El Punto De Cambio – The Point of Change

“Bring to me what You have spoken of me.”         “Bring me to what You have spoken of me.”

Genesis 18:19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

“Bring to me, God, what you have spoken of me.” That is my prayer. I want what Abraham had. For first few weeks of 2013 and the last few of 2012, this has been my prayer.  It is designed to bring healing to some scars in my soul.  Over life and time and relationships we all encounter betrayal and disloyalty and lack of gratefulness.  It hurts.  As a father of a family and a community initiative and  a business invention, I thrive on “thank you” many times more than others do.  A real father gets up every day looking to build those for whom he cares.  When they take advantage of that, he is happy.  At least if they are grateful and express it, he is happy.  No healthy person likes to be “taken advantage of”.  That is imbalance.  Imbalance is painful and unhealthy.

The other side of that prayer is important also.  “Bring me, Father, to what you have spoken of me.”  Yes, bring it to me and bring me to it.  I need to change to be more like the Father every day.  As a father I need to be brought to the point of change, el punto de cambio.

Over these last few weeks, we’ve launched a definitive and irretrievable thrust into the community of Oklahoma City and the world.  Sometimes you take steps in full assurance of faith that God will meet you on the path.  Along that path are many points of change.  You will encounter el punto de cambio, the point of change.

Creating Chaos

Change creates chaos.  Make no mistakes on that measure.  Introduce change to settled situation and watch the chaos.  The more impact the change is designed to create, the more chaos you can expect in the beginning.  “Why did we do this?”  “Are you crazy?”  “This won’t work.”  All comes crackling back like a hot fire touching dry weeks and thistle.  Those flames will singe and scar.  Do it.  Embrace “el punto de cambio”.

Shifting Alliances

Note who stays and who goes and who supports and who decries.  Yes, change means changing partners. Those that have walked with you just might disappear like a scissor-tail flycatcher slipping away from a fast diving hawk.  In a flash and a flurry the hawk finds himself quite lonely and so does his prey.

The plus side of the equation is the new partners.  Yes, when you commit to uncharted territory, there will be new partners. They can be loving and kind and supportive.  Remember, they might leave you at the next “el punto de cambio”.  This season they are with you .  This season they are on the path.  Many may stay for many weeks and even years.  A friend of mine has worked with insurance brokers for decades.  He advised me once, “Phil if you have 3000 brokers it means 1000 are staying, 1000 are going, and 1000 are coming.  Out of the 1000 staying, 200 are producing.  You just have to find out which is which.”  His wisdom applies to most ventures.  Not without pain.

Finding 200

Gideon took thousands and reduced the count to 300. Each “el punto de cambio” reduced the numbers until he found the committed.  Of course he started with himself and an angel. Then he gathered a few friends and family. Then thousands jumped on board at the first signs of success and retreated at the first signs of scars.

About nine months ago, I was working with a group on a business invention.  At the most critical “el punto de cambio” some of the backers jumped ship in a surprise move.  Wow!  We had walked together for years, and then for some undisclosed reason they lost heart and vision.  Maybe another “el punto de cambio” came at them from another direction and swayed loyalties.  Some shifts come and you will never know.  You just carry the scars.  Now I am working with a completely new team on the concepts and beginning to have fun again.  Now I am working with another completely new team on a related concept and beginning to have fun again.  Not without pain.


Each “point of change” has footholds.  There are lessons to learn and take to the next “el punto de cambio”.   At a recent gathering of a small group, more support was committed in a morning than all the folks to whom I have been giving for ten years.  You read that right.  Those that have been receiving for free have less commitment than the new.  Maybe I should drop the old and embrace the new?  Hmmmm…. A new foothold.  Maybe I should begin a sorting process and whittle down to the 200?  Is that a new foothold I see?  Would my energy revitalize?  My base is bigger now.  Ten years ago it was 500.  Now it is 7500.  Let’s see, do the math. 2500 are going.  2500 are coming.  2500 are staying.  Let the going go with blessing.  Welcome the coming.  Find the 500 in the staying and run shoulder to shoulder with them.

Healing in All

All of this has a point.   You can live in the scars or you can live in the stars.  There is a balance.  Let the stars heal the scars.  Let pains slip away.  You flitted off the fence post and the hawk missed.  Land among healthy friends.  Don’t run alone.

Prayer: Well, Father, You are amazing. Again, you have touched my soul in a most amazing moment.  You bring healing with every light and lesson.  Thanks.  I am grateful for You.

Get Outside The Reach @Christmas

Get Out Side The Reach

Usual travels this week include a trip from OKC to Matamoros and back again.  Sort of a Bilbo Baggins adventure.   Though, I’m not sure which end is the Shire.   Raul and I certainly don’t look like Hobbits even though we might have hairyness.

This year, I am staying home. Raul and Abdiel are in Matamoros.   Fiero will take another load of   toys today.   I will watch the star from afar and trust the wise men to do the job.

Why do we do this?  Why have we connected with this congregation in Matamoros called CAREVI?  Why don’t we just stay home instead of drive for 12 hours one way?  What is the purpose?

Get Outside Your Self…

A big reason is to stay outside of ourselves.  It is easy to go downtown and deliver gifts to kids who have more on a poor day than some kids in Matamoros on a rich day.   Ever watched a kid who has never opened a new box open a new toy?  Used stuff really is not the focus.  But getting a new toy in the box is an amazing experience for some of these kids.   Sure, I’ve helped a little and my wife has helped a lot right here in OKC with families needing Christmas.  Yet, they have so much even when they have little.

Get Outside Your Comfort

There is a need to be uncomfortable.  Our lives have little real sacrifice.  Try driving toys across an armed border knowing you will drive past military and cartel operations just to bless someone.  A little unnerving.   We need to be unnerved.  We need to remember.  We need to think about the chaos our comfortable, drugged, entertainment, make me happy culture in the US creates to sustain.  All of those guns and threats exist to supply US entertainment and leisure.  Hmmmm

Get Outside The Reach

Sometimes we need to see the miraculous.   How in this world doe multiple churches and business professionals in OKC come together to support folks in Matamoros?   Black and Latino and White churches here; Baptist and Nazarene and Full Gospel churches here;   join and bless with gifts and gospel folks they will never meet.


Then we come home.  Then we live with memories and facebook connections in between.  Sure I  get to stay connected unlike missions works in the old days.  But it doesn’t smell the same.  It does not taste the same.  It does not love the same.  Sorry, I can’t hug a facebook post.   I can hug a friend, a child, a cohort, a fellow human on the journey.

That is Christmas

There you go.  That is Christmas.

Jesus went outside Himself and became an extension in humanity.

Jesus went outside His comfort zone in the throne room and stepped into an earth zone.

Jesus went outside the heavens and touched the earth, where we live in sin and destruction disturbing His intended peaceful creation.

Jesus returned to heaven; yet, He stays connected with us.   He is more powerful than facebook.  He takes up residence in hearts and stays even though He returned.

Guess That’s Why

I guess reliving that journey of Christ every year is what drives me and the team.   Thanks for sending us.  Thanks for allowing us.

Enjoy the Light of Christmas

navimg8Isaiah 9: In Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.

During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family has always enjoyed watching Christmas themed movies and celebrating with friends.  For us, an opportunity to have a world focused on giving and receiving and thanking the God of Comfort is special.

I am thankful for each of my friends and family. The honor to exchange prayer with you is a blessing.

Yet, one friend belied the missing element of Christmas movies.  Where is the Christmas movie that celebrates an individual connecting with Christ and His love?

  • There is connecting with the Bishop, Santa Claus.   Surely he loved Christ and spread His love.
  • There is connecting with others.  Surely some of them are full of the love of Christ.
  • There is connecting with ghosts.  Surely some of them lived for Christ.
  • There is connecting with the spirit of Christmas.  Surely it is the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ that spawned the spirit of Christmas.
  • There are movies about the life of Christ that end with a story but not a changed life.

What about connecting directly to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Light of Life, and the salvation of our souls?  Where is that movie?

The entertainment dollar is king.  People don’t want their souls pricked and a challenge made for real life change.  We like entertainment in our movies, churches, community events, and homes.  Real life changing impact is not supported financially for the most part in our communities.  Yet, ignoring truth is a dangerous seasonal habit to form.

There is a mournfulness underlying our Christmas season.  Aversion to life changing truth brings depression.  It brings pain.  And pain brings destruction.  Evil is real and waiting for opportunity to express itself in dark acts.  Yes, especially at Christmas, evil erupts.  Suicides prevail greater than other times of year.  Depression is in high season.  Conflicts shatter otherwise smooth relationships.

Understand that the truth of Christmas does show itself.  It cannot be denied.  As a society, we love to deny the truth and replace it with a smoother reality.  Repressed truth erupts in pain and anger and depression and destruction.  Embraced truth erupts in joy and liberty and happiness and thankfulness and strength and life.

It would be better if we embraced the truth of Christmas and placed some life changing messy messages into our media.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  He is no longer a babe in the manger.  He is a Lion of Righteousness.  He demands we face truth and change our direction.  Yes, He demands it.  He knows that repressed truth ends in destruction for eternity and embraced truth lives in liberty for eternity.  He loves us enough to change us.

Embrace truth for a healthy life.  Embrace Christ.  Face realities and connect with a power to change and develop full health in body, mind, desires, emotion, spirit, and relationships.

Prayer:  Father, give a little light.  Better yet, let the Great Light You have already given explode into our darkness. We need You.   We need Your light.

Powerful Healing: Glad Heart

Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure. ESV

That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous;
yes, my whole body will rest in safety CEV

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure NIV

Every so often, you will find a verse in the original language that defies exact matching translation from different eras and interpretive groups.  This one fits that description.  Many times, it is because an idiomatic phrase is contained or there is such emotion and expression, it is hard to put into a single phrase.   So let me expand this one.

My heart is glad and celebrates in great joy.  With my whole being inside and out, I am excited and alive; my tongue must shout and declare this joy.  It cannot be contained or restrained.  A great sense of peace and restfulness and security envelops my body and mind and spirit.  Phil’s version

Rested Health

Now, that is a picture of great health and well being.  That is a picture of restful trust in God and God alone.  That is a picture of one that has wrestled with God and found Him to be more interested in securing our hearts that controlling our actions.  That is a picture of one, who has encountered fierce angers and pains and problems and illness and has come through to a new realization that the presence and leading of the Father brings us to refreshing and rest.  That is a wonderful picture.

Entering In

Entering in to health many times is preceded by great struggle and pain.  Our habits become acclimated to the struggle.  Our daily routines become expectant of the pain.  A friend going through back surgery shared some of her story.  The doctors instructed her that ghost pain would continue for some time.  Though the surgery is successful and removes even some nerve endings, our minds are trained to find pain at times of day and particular motions.  The pain is not there physiologically.  Yet, the pain is there in our minds.  The conditioning of ill health forms a barrier even when we are healed to enjoying the new freedom.

Breaking Conditional Barriers

In my own experience, I find it difficult to rest after an intense time of development of a business thrust or a strained season with a client.  Though the situation is ended and the issues are resolved, my daily expectation of another problem wrestles with my restfulness.  A wise executive once commented to me, “Even when we receive a new and different and positive answer, we hear the old negative one that is so common.”  He did not say it just like that, but you get the point.

There must be a time of “glory rejoicing” to break the conditional barriers of ill health and negative situations.  Celebrate.  This unspeakable joy works internally for us to remove scar tissues and sensitive nerves of mind and will and emotion and body.  Then we can receive the new and positive situation and answer.  This transition must happen.  It is a barrier breaker.

Returns at Customer Service

Discount retailers dedicate a large area for returned and damaged merchandise.  It is not a happy place.  There is not a lot of smiling for anyone.  When you find a smiling employee working that area, your frustration is defused at having to come back to the store. The transaction becomes more pleasant.  That employee is giving a rejoicing to a healing situation.  The item is broken.  You are receiving a replacement.  That should be joyful.  Yet, you lost value when you tried to use it at home and it broke.  You lost positive expectation and trust.  Now, the item and positive expectation must return before you can get full value. 

Broken bones and aching hearts and rent emotions and lingering illness in our body cause us to lose positive expectation and trust in God.  We expect nothing.  Worse than that, we expect bad.  We expect anger and frustration and continuance of a wrong situation.   And we get what we expect until we expectantly express ourselves into a different result after the new answer of health and healing and restoration and replacement is received.


Father, there is a great life available through You and Your presence and Your word. 

You are life.

You are healing.

You are “Yes” to all Your promises.

You are “Amen” to all Your commitments.

Cause rejoicing to resound in the camp of my heart.  Let me release the joy of the moment that heals and conditions me to hear, “Yes, you are healed.”

Walk with me today, Father, as You heal negative expectation built on real experience with tough living. Let joys restore a new hearing and receptivity to my full health.