Meet Jesus : Perfect

Matthew 5: 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 Now this is stiff to face.  A perfect Jesus is here asking us to be perfect.  How in this world can we accomplish such a challenge?  Jesus and the Father are one.  The Father is perfect.  Jesus is perfect.  The conversation exactly before this relates to relationships.  Even working at being even keeled and just and equitable in all our dealings with others in love and graciousness is tougher on perfection than we can match.  But, thanks be unto God, He did it for us.  Jesus was perfect for us to follow.

Greg’s Pressure: Greg liked to think he was strong.  Then the pressure came.  The challenge to do more in less time with less staff was causing him to stay up at night.  Over and over, he would think of reasons the project was late.  Every time, he concluded he just wasn’t the right person for the job.  This night, he decided to read a little and pray.  It was coming down to looking for a new job.  As he read through the gospel of Matthew, the verse on being perfect disturbed him.  Then he thought it through.  The thought wasn’t to do it all according to man’s perfection.  The challenge was to love and greet and meet each situation with the mind of Christ.  Whether the situation was good or bad made no difference.  Just meet it with confidence in Christ.  Love always.  Greet always.  Believe always.  He was the right man because God placed him there.  These were the right staffers.  Immediately he began to review plans and pray for wisdom.  What would he do if it were all in great shape?  Do the right thing.

ACT!  Start now.  Remove an imperfection, an attitude, a glitch in your treatment of someone today.  Don’t worry about everything.  Do work on one thing.

PRAY! Whew! Father, You sure want a lot out of me.  But, Father, You gave a lot.  You gave Your only begotten Son, Jesus.  Jesus gave His life’s blood for me to be perfect with You.  Encourage me, Father, to stand tall to the task and declare, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me fully and completely and perfectly.”

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: Conciliation Matthew 5:23

meetjesusinfluencerMatthew 5: 23: Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24: Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

To Jesus the issue of treating our brothers with respect was powerful. It wasn’t just a matter of not killing each other and not calling each other names. His outlook was one of resolving differences. Jesus is tough on those issues that divide unnecessarily. Surely, 99% of what divides us today can be resolved with humility and the right approach.

In the verses before and behind this the issue is laid out. Don’t attack or be angry with your brother unless it is super serious. Settle a matter quickly, even if the person has set themselves as an enemy against you. Deal with it.

Workday Conflict: The conflict at work was intense. These two just could not get along. Every meeting was full of asides and stares. What could break the personality impasse? Work was not getting done because decisions could never be trusted.
One of the parties stayed after a meeting. Their demeanor was serious. Slowly, they admitted the problem was real and asked me, their manager, how to address it. Fortunately, they were Christian. The concept of grace was easily appealed to with them. We agreed they would begin to list out frustrations with the individual after every meeting and cross off all the ones that had no substance. Then they would follow up outside the meeting with the person to come to a compromise on ones that did have substance.

Everything did not get better immediately. But it sure made the rest of the week more productive. Maybe the other person would eventually respond to the extension of grace.

Community Clashes: A friend was frustrated as we ate lunch. As he worked with pastors, he noted many of them hated each other. They would make vile comments about other pastors and churches working in the same community and culture. How could this be?

We prayed for pastors and leaders. We agreed we would continue to offer love and acceptance to each one of them. Maybe our extension of acceptance to them could help break the bottleneck of competitive spirit we were finding.

ACT! Call someone who is testy with you. Offer them peace and acceptance.

PRAY! Wow, Father, You are really serious about Your family getting along. Surely, You created us to live together with peace as much as possible. Help me today to be a peaceful person and a peacemaker. Help me to move first toward peace with others. I love You, Father. I am glad You are always on my side for me to grow.

Dirt Gets In Your Eyes

John 9:5-7 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Dirt Gets In Your Eyes
Construction stirs up dirt.
Destruction stirs up dirt.
Dirt gets in your eyes.
Wash it out.
Wow! How clearly I see!
I never noticed the dirt before.
Before building, it was there.
Before losing, it was there.
Dirt gets in your eyes.
When dirt flies up, we rinse.
Then we can see.
The dirt was there before.
The dirt of life is always there.
Normal dirt just happens.
When dirt flies up, we rinse.
Then we can see.
Too bad we don’t rinse more often.
Dirt gets in your eyes.
Thanks, God, for days when dirt flys up.
We rinse.
We see more clearly.
The light gets through.

My prayer today is that the dirt of construction or destruction that may have risen in your life would be a blessing once rinsed. May it give greater light to your eyes to see what may have been hidden behind old and normal dirt. May you step into greater strength and greater wisdom, when dirt flies in your eyes.

Journey Through Self: Nesting In Who I Am.

477323_4775650149056_1095401088_oPsalm 84:1-4

How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah

This Dove and Me.

This dove gives me pause for reflection.  Well, much of life gives me pause for reflection.    A friend asked yesterday, “Phil, what are you doing for a living?”  Whew.  Surviving was the answer in my heart.  My answer surprised me.  Quick gut answers in the middle of a challenge reveal a lot.  I’ll get to the answer in a minute.

Back to This Dove.  This Dove showed up in a flower pot on our front porch.  My wife and I took a few days away at the lake cabin.  When we came back, This Dove had build a nest, laid an egg (now two), and taken possession of the front porch.  Being the kind soul that she is, my wife has blocked the front walk and given the entrance to the house to This Dove.  I get the back door and walk around the house.  This Dove has disrupted my life.  How dare she be who she is.

She is just This Dove being a dove bringing more doves into this world.  I like that. She is purposeful without having a little goals card in her wallet.  She is purposeful without going to twenty seminars.  She is purposeful in just being who she is, This Dove.

Now, my answer to my millionaire business friend was this.  “I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m helping fatherless fathers be good fathers.  I’m helping unfathered kids get a better dad.   That is my heart and my passion and that is what I am doing.  I believe people will see that and support as I need.”  Silence.

Maybe he wanted me to come back with some sideline business proposition to reduce his credit card charges or shipping improvement or business development or marketing proposal.  Many do. They want me to sell them some service in order to support.  When I sell the service, I quit being This Dove.  I can do that, but then I’m not This Dove, I’m This Dove with a dark suit.  My light grey beautiful feathers become sullied and indistinguishable. That means leaving the flower pot and the two eggs and hoping they will survive on their own.

Some days we need to just be This Dove.  Take up residence in a flower pot on a porch.  Nestle in the arms of a loving God, who created me to be me.  Be who I am and trust that He will let me rest on His most holy altar just like I let This Dove take over my porch and my front door.  He will comfort me.  He will provide.  He will let me be This Dove.

So, This Dove is going to work on bringing healthy, dedicated men into two elementary schools where the kids are 95% unfathered.  This Dove is going to work on having a catalyst weekend in a community of 80% fatherless homes in June.   This Dove is just going to build the nest in the most unlikely places and trust a good God will let me have some space on His altar at His temple of love and helping others.

Psalm 84:1-4

How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

 Even This Dove, me in who I am, has found a home,
And This Dove, me in who I am,  a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young and fulfill her life’s purpose simply—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house of acceptance and allowance and support;
They will still be praising You. Selah

Meet Jesus: Mercied Matthew 5:7

Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, ….. 7: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

 Mercy interests me.  I need a lot of mercy.  All of us do.  So what is mercy?

Mercy is acceptance in spite of my pain and problems and persistent pressures.

Mercy is being received by others regardless.

Mercy is not receiving bad results from bad actions.

Mercy is having a friend I just offended do an act of kindness for me.

Mercy is having my punishment revoked and let go free.

Mercy is someone loving me even when I continually hurt them.

Mercy is good.  It is kind.  It is abundant in Jesus.  He is full of mercy.

When mercy comes to us through others around us, we want to give it back to them.   A merciful person receives mercy from others.

When mercy is held back in a needful situation, we are deeply wounded.  We can decide to respond with mercy and protect our soul.

A really painful act with no mercy was dumped on me last year.  Really, it has taken me many months of pain and speaking blessing and forgiveness over the offenders to even have a day with rest.  The pain of a merciless act can dig deep into our soul.  This one did.  I won’t recant the actions.  They were disloyal, unfaithful, dishonest, and lacked any small amount of mercy.

Yet, I can apply mercy.  It has taken much of my emotional investment and trust in God’s protection for the future of my family, but He is giving me the smile of mercy for these that were unmerciful.  My joy is more certain and more consistent.  The wound of a friend goes deep.  These were friends.  Really, they were friends turned sour.  An unmerciful act of an enemy is expected.  But, a friend of over a decade is not expected to act such a way.

The great news is that we can take from our storehouse of mercy received over life and apply to the ugliest of situations and offenses.  We can dispense mercy in the face of evil and keep the light in our countenance.  Mercy has power.  Mercy received or mercy given  is healing.

ACT!  Mercy is learned by example.  Who around you is always taking care of others even when others take advantage of them?  You think about it and wonder if the person is all connected upstairs.  Why do they keep putting themselves at such risk?  Go spend some time with that person.  Learn from them. 

PRAY!   Father, I hunger for my family to be complete in You.  That is my hunger.  I wish to see all my friends connected to Christ.  There will never be a total satisfaction in me, Father, until I see my community committed to living fully in You and by character and moral principles revealed in Your word.  Satisfy my soul, Lord.  Show me a way to advance the righteousness of the kingdom in my family and friends and community this week.  Don’t let me sit on the sidelines.  Launch me into action.

Meet Jesus : Cure All Matthew 4:24

meetjesuscureMatthew 4: 24: And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

 Years ago, the traveling salesman would present a “cure all.”  Take this and whatever ailed you would go away.  The problem with it was that it didn’t work.  Cod liver oil can just do so much.  Epsom salts will melt the ice and cleanse your system, but it won’t heal your heart.  Aspirin will thin your blood, and alleviate a fever, and back off headaches, but it won’t cast out demons.

Jesus does it all.  Meet Jesus, and you meet the answer.  He is a cure all.

Turning 30 with 20 years of experience was fun for Phil.   This was great.  At 50, he felt physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally at the top of his life.  How many people could say that?  He had watched so many friends reach 50 depleted and at the end of their game.  Here he was at the end of a year of great stress at the top of his game.  This Jesus stuff works.  He contemplated the day all day.  Everyone should have this opportunity.  After all, Moses had felt this way at 120, why not feel this way at 30 with 20 years experience.

 ACT! What is bothering you that just seems to defy resolution?  Give it to Jesus and let Him begin His healing process.

 PRAY! Father of Love and Laughter, open me up and do surgery on my expectations.  Jesus cures it all.  Give me dancing for my mourning.  Give me praise for my heaviness.  Give me beauty for my ashes.  Fill me my cup with Jesus, and I will overflow.

Meet Jesus: Preacher Matthew 4:23

meetjesusshout

Matthew 4: 23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

 Preaching the gospel of the kingdom was a continual activity for Jesus.  Throughout the gospels we meet Jesus, the Preacher.  He preached good news.  He preached with conviction.  When I think of preaching, I think of someone passionate about whom they are, what they say, and their mission and message.  Passionately speaking good news is a great description of Jesus.

Preaching is so much fun for me.  Yes, it is pensive.  Yes, it is work and takes great preparation.  Yes, it is sometimes a frustration when the message does not seem to get across.  But, preaching is great fun for me.  It is the fulfillment of call and passion expressed all at once.  Seeing people come alive with the gospel through an illustration or comparison is wonderful fun.

We ought to have fun doing what we are made to do.  God made me to be a preacher.  This devotion is a preaching of sorts.  When it hits home with people, I come alive and thank my Father for His faithfulness.  Seeing someone do what they were born to do is so much fun.  Do what you were made to do.

ACT!  Think on something about which you have passion and conviction.  Does it make your blood stir up?  Jesus gets stirred up about you being in His family.

PRAY!  Father, thanks so much that Jesus gets stirred up about the good news that I can be a member of Your family.  I am so excited about being in the kingdom, in the family of God.  Stir in me that same passion and conviction that others might be able to meet the same Jesus, the Preacher, whom I know.  In me, light the fire to fulfill my call.  That for which You have made me make alive in me.  I commit myself to it.  I joy myself to do it.

Meet Jesus: Healer Matthew 4:23

meetjesushealerMatthew 4: 23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

 If anything, Jesus is a healer.  When you connect with Him, you connect with solutions for sickness, peace for pain, and elimination of disease.  All of that stuff is decidedly a curse on us due to our sin condition.  Jesus came to remove the curse.  All descriptions, forms, and expressions of destruction flee in His presence.

Last year was another learning experience for me.  After six months of sickness, the Healer appeared.   Really, I was looking for Him not healing, when He came.

For six months, I had suffered acid reflux.  For six months, I had not slept a full night.  For six months, I had altered eating, resting, and other habits.  For six months, I had followed the doctor’s orders and taken my pills.  Nothing worked.

While going through scripture in my personal study, I noticed the condition was gone.  For four days, I had slept with no problems.  While looking for Him in the scripture instead of looking for healing, I had found both.  He removed my curse while looking to Him the author and finisher of my faith.

ACT!  What dis-ease has attached itself to you?  Name it.  Don’t be afraid.  He is present to heal. Give it to Him for solution.

 PRAY!  Father, all descriptions, forms, and expressions of destruction must flee in the presence of Your Incredible Son, Jesus.  Jesus, You are here.  You are my master, my Lord, my Savior, my soon coming King.  I submit myself and my dis-eases to the healing of Your presence.  Jesus, meet me in the chamber of healing.  Friend and brother, release me from my pain.

Meet Jesus: Worth Following

meetjesusfollowMatthew 4: 21: And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.  22: And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

 The daily drudge can easily cause us to miss opportunity presented.  Jesus is such an opportunity.  It takes guts to break the daily drudge and follow Him.

He is worth following.  He is worth more than our business and busyness.  He is worth more than our blood family.  He is worth more than any occupying of our time and life.  Jesus is just worth following.

In a business meeting recently, it struck me how many originally did not want to be a part of this team.  In the beginning, they had resisted and fumed and made noise in private and openly.  We persisted together.  Now, they were all enjoying prosperity and the team.

One colleague new to the company especially persisted.  She continued to present the positive and the pressing needs.  She continued to follow up with each team member.  What did we need to communicate?  How could she help?  She had been following.  Others followed her following our department’s direction following the executives following the business needs of our customers.   What could happen if we fell in line following Jesus like that?

 ACT!  Follow Him today.  Stop the daily drudge for 2 minutes and see if you can hear Him call.

PRAY!  Father, I’m listening.  I’ve put down my daily drudge, and am listening.  Call me.  Call me to follow Jesus.