Scripture Memorization, Week 16

Last week, we memorized Jeremiah 24:7. Read that post HERE. Today we have what I believe is a great companion verse to memorize.

Years ago I prayed these two together everyday for a month. I would say I committed them to memory then, except that I couldn’t recall them when I went to do these two posts. I guess it’s time to remember them again. I know this, if God gives you a heart to know Him, as we saw last week, and then singleness of heart and action to carry out what you know….that’s a powerful combination.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

How’s it going? I’d love to hear from some of you doing this with me this year.

Weekend Giveaway: Mustard Seed Devotional

Weekend giveaway: Mustard Seed Devotionals winners announced:







I’m feeling generous this weekend and, since I’ve been working this week on my new book, I thought it was time to share the one I already have. It’s a devotional book and I haven’t pushed it much yet, simply because it’s a collection of previously published devotionals I wrote for my ministry website Once a week or so, however, someone will ask about or comment on this book, so here is an opportunity for you to have a copy.

This weekend I’ll give away three (3) copies of Mustard Seed Thoughts: A Devotional.

If you want a copy, simply:

  • Retweet this post on Twitter or share this post on Facebook.
  • Comment on this post (Make sure I have your name or email address) and when you do your daily devotions….Morning, Lunch, Evening, or Never

Monday I’ll give away three (3) copies of my devotional book to random commenters.

Thanks for reading this blog.

Friday Discussion: Importance of Being Healthy

I’m using the LoseIt application. I’ve downloaded it on my iPhone, iPad and laptop. It keeps up with my calorie intake and my exercise each day. Some of those closest to me have picked on me for how intense I’ve been. Someone saw me recently looking to put a few M & M’s in the app. I didn’t eat a whole package.

I’m not tremendously overweight, but over the last year or so I’ve picked up an extra 8 to 10 pounds and I can feel it. It’s impacted my running, which is my way to relax. It’s made my clothes tighter.  It’s made me more conscious about what I wear. More than that, I just haven’t felt as good as I did before I gained the few extra pounds. It’s really affected the quality of my life. I’m determined to get back to my ideal weight. As busy as I am, I can’t afford anything that slows me down that I can control.

I know health is a touchy subject. Some people have medical issues that keep them from exercise. Others have dietary concerns. I don’t mean to offend anyone who may be overweight. For me, however, this is an important issue. My physical health seems to impact every other part of my life, so if I can do something about it, I feel almost an obligation to be healthy. I realize I may be in a minority among some pastors, so I am curious enough to make it a Friday discussion topic.

Consider these questions:

  • Is it important that we monitor our health?
  • Is it important for a leader to be physically healthy?
  • Does a leader’s health determine how well you listen to them or take his or her advice?
  • Do you want your doctor to be in shape when he or she tells you that you should be in shape?
  • Let me take it a step further. Would it be a sin to not take care of your body?
  • Are there any special requirements as believers to be healthy?

What do you think? Share your thoughts on the importance of being healthy. Dialogue. Discuss. Debate if you will…

Let me hear from you.

You can read a couple posts I did about this issue HERE and HERE.

Bonus points: Tell me how you maintain your health. What’s your plan?

7 Actions When You Can’t Respect the Leader

I received a message from a staff member of another church recently. He is struggling with the current leadership and wondering how long he can continue to be where he doesn’t support the vision and direction of the pastor. He wanted my advice on how he should be responding during this season of ministry.

This situation is obviously not unique to churches, but also happens frequently in other organizations. One problem is that in this economy, it’s much harder to transfer jobs, so many people are feeling stuck with their current position. I don’t believe all hope is lost during these times and an individual can continue to grow even with a leader he or she cannot respect.

Here are 7 actions I encouraged him to do:

Talk to God - That’s an obvious, but sometimes it’s not the obvious that we do. Ask God to reveal to you His purposes for your life. It could be He’s preparing you for something, stirring the nest so-to-speak, or that you are in a time of testing. Don’t assume God is absent during this time. I assure you He’s not asleep at the wheel and has a plan. The closer you are to Him during this time the sooner you’ll understand that plan.

Keep working – Most of us need a paycheck. Be grateful while you have one. Unless you know for certain you are to quit, it is destroying you or your family, or you sense something immoral is happening, there’s nothing wrong with working until you find something else.

Do your best - While you are there be above reproach in your work ethic. Make it your aim to prepare for your successor and to leave your area of responsibility better than you found it when you arrived.

Follow the leader – I know. That’s the tough one, but as long as you’re there you must respect authority. You may not respect him as a leader but you can respect him as the boss.

Learn all you can - The fact is we learn more during the stressful and difficult times, so be a sponge. You may gain all the wisdom of what not to do when you are in control, but you will learn something if you try.

Be thankful for the connections and experience - You will be gaining connections in the church (work) world…or at least you have that opportunity. It’s easier to network when you’re in the field than it is once you are no longer working. Be thankful for that opportunity.

Be a cheerleader for life - You may not enjoy your work setting but you can still be a positive life influence for those around you. Use your smile and your pleasant disposition as an encourager for others. You’ll feel better about yourself after you eventually leave.

Keep watching - Be open to what God will do next in your life. It may not be what you are expecting. Chances are good it will stretch you and require a leap of faith. Prepare your heart, family and attitude for that opportunity when it arrives.

By the way, because I know someone will think this, my friend understands the concept of a call but isn’t sure God hasn’t already released him from his assignment. He just can’t find another position right now.

I have thoughts on the call I can share in another post, but basically I believe the call is more to a person (Christ) than to a location. I think we often confuse those two and the person call trumps the location call every time.

Have you ever been in this position?

What would you say to my friend? What advice would you give him?

Don’t Pray Before You Eat

It happened like this…

Cheryl and I were eating at a restaurant…

That’s happened many times before…

There was a large family gathered at a table nearby…

We’ve seen that before too….

The family prayed before their meal came….

That was nice…

We noticed…

Then their food came…

The order wasn’t right…

They were mad…

They made it known that they were made…

Numerous times…

They were just plain rude to the waitress…

We felt bad for her…

Cheryl even apologized for “their” behavior after they left…

It made me wonder….

If you’re going to be a rude customer, should you even bother to pray before you eat?

Aren’t you sending mixed signals?

Just asking…

What do you think?

Leader: Put Your Mask on First

If you’ve spent any time flying commercially, you’ve most likely memorized the flight attendants instructions prior to take off. Remember when he or she says “Be sure to adjust your own mask before assisting others”.

I’m probably like you, not really paying attention closely, but often when I hear that phrase I’m reminded what an important leadership principle that is also.

Here’s a quick reminder…probably something you already know:

Leader, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t continue to lead at the level needed to keep your team successful. You can’t lead a team to be healthy if you are living an unhealthy lifestyle. The healthier you are…physically…emotionally…spiritually…socially…the more health you can bring to the team.

Just like on the airplane, you can’t help your team if you are having trouble breathing on your own.

Be honest: What is one thing you would need to change in order to live a healthier life?

How Can I Be Sure I’m Saved?

A common email for me is one where someone is questioning their salvation. The typical person is one who has been in the church for a number of years, perhaps even growing up in the church, but, for whatever reason, never quite feels they are saved. Recently I had this kind of question and decided others may have the same struggle. I’m not pretending I have the best answer, but perhaps you need to read it.

Here is my email reply:

Thank you for your email. I don’t know if I can help or not, but I’ll try. I think though, that this may be less complicated than you are making it.

The Bible is fairly clear to me what is required to be a follower of Christ…to be a Christian…to be saved…

John 6:29, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13….

It takes believing that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lived and died on a cross and rose from the grave, and that Jesus is the only way for a sinner such as you and me to be right with a Holy God.

Do you believe that?

If so, you are saved. Not because I said so or you said so, or even because you feel you are saved or you do not feel you are saved, but because God said so. In my experience, many times when a person doesn’t feel saved, it’s because they are looking too closely at what they have done or haven’t done instead of at what Christ has done. Salvation hangs completely on the finished work of Christ, not on the efforts of man.

I seldom meet non-believers who even question their faith. That seems to be something the devil loves to use against believers…causing us to doubt our salvation. The key may be to accept truth…and convince yourself that what God said is true!  (It is by the way.)  You may have to remind yourself of that truth many times until it sticks.

I’m praying God speaks clearly to your heart that you are saved…that your heart has been changed…and that you are in a right relationship with Him, not by your efforts, but by the grace of Jesus Christ, in whom you believe. Remember also, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He measures and weighs our motivation.  If you truly are desiring to be saved, I’d say you have a saving kind of faith…

From what you are telling me, I think you’re in! I don’t believe it takes special words or a special prayer to be saved. I believe it’s what happens when a heart chooses to simply, without reservation, follow Christ alone. There’s nothing wrong, however, with saying a simple prayer if it makes you feel more certain in your decision.

You might pray, “Dear God, I know you love me. I know I’ve done things wrong…I’m a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose from the grave, paving the only way for me to get to you. Forgive me of my sins, come into my heart, and save me. I want to follow Christ with my life. Thank you for saving me.”

Again, use your own words, but be certain your heart is fully open to Jesus!

God bless,

Have you ever doubted your salvation? Are you doubting now?

Scripture Memorization, Week 15

Even if you only memorize the first sentence of this verse, I think it has the potential…as all Scripture does…to change your life.

What if you memorized this scripture, and every day prayed it came true in your life?

Here is this week’s Scripture memory verse:

Try this prayer:

Dear God, give me a heart to know you.

For accountability purposes, leave a comment if you are willing to pray this prayer everyday this week.

The Honeybee Kingdom-Building Approach

What if we used the honey bee’s lifetime approach to Kingdom-building?

I saw an article in Southwest’s Spirit Magazine last month. Did you know a bee produces 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life? Don’t concentrate on the fact that it only lives seven weeks, because during that time the bee races around…literally…traveling about 37,400 miles gathering the sweet stuff to make that 1/2 teaspoon. Talk about frequent flyer miles! That’s a lot of flying! On it’s own, that’s not a lot of honey, but when combined with the efforts of other bees…it’s mucho honey!

Here’s my point. What if all believers saw our role as a worker bee? Doing our small part. Not seeking glamor on our own. Staying the course. Working together. Being part of the bigger picture of making disciples of all nations. Not making our role seem an bigger than another, but just doing what we were assigned to do…

When you look at an individuals accomplishments…maybe not so impressive…but the collective efforts….

Wow, now that’s sweet! Sweet as honey!

What do you think?

Getting Safely to the Other Side

After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. Acts 28:1

I’ve been to Malta….what a beautiful island country! I even visited places Paul supposedly lived while on the island. Paul apparently enjoyed his time there.

Here’s the point that struck me about this verse. Paul was headed safely to a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, but he didn’t know where he was going until he got there. In fact, there were certainly times, on a boat in stormy seas, when he wasn’t sure he would even make it. Yet, he did. God had a plan and Paul landed on the island…called Malta.

How many times in our life do we wonder what the end will be? How many times can we not see the outcome and wonder if we will ever land safely on the other side of the storm? How many times? Can you count the number?

As someone once said, “faith would be an easier subject if you didn’t have to live it.”

Are you having to trust God for the unseen island in your future these days?

Just for fun, and maybe so a few people can pray for you, what are you waiting most on God to provide these days?

What are you asking Him to do for you?