Saturday, March 27, 2010

Seen God Today?

I was doing a Bible study on the Road to Emmaus in Luke using Prof. Hendricks book "Living by the Book". It was very enlightening and made me want to take something about Emmaus for the Tuesday night study at the prison, something other than the basic Easter message. As I was searching the web I came across a sermon by Rev. Keenan Kelsey and he related the following story. "Some of you have heard me tell the story of the young lad who decided to go look for God. He packed a lunch and got as far as the park before he got hungry. He sat on a bench next to an old woman. They sat together for an hour. He offered her a Twinkie. She offered him a huge smile. When the boy got home he announced to his mother, I met God today, and she has the most wonderful smile! When the elderly lady got home, she said to her son, I met God today, and he is much younger than I’d imagine!" This brought to mind our lifegroup and how our desire is to meet God in others and have them see God in us.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I was very encouraged this week by my nephew, who asked if he could bring a friend along this Saturday morning as we go to visit, share, and be a blessin' to the homeless. He said his friend wanted to "give back" to the community, and he thought this would be a good way to do it. He also has some things he wants to donate to them.

I must confess I was not at that point when I was 23 years old. I am so blessed, and am grateful God has let me experience this.

My prayer is that they will grab a huge armful of Jesus and never let go.

The blessing of the world ...

"The blessing of the world through the people of God is not like a violent, quick revolution that takes over power. It starts small, grows silently, faces setbacks, but nevertheless permeates the world with love. That's difficult for us in a world where we bounce between agressive impatience and parlyzing cynicism. Without a doubt, Jesus portrays patience and perseverance as essential characteristics for dealing with this crazy world; his caution on ridding the world of evil makes no sense without them." - Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw

The Organic Growth of Service ~ Wayne Jacobsen

I don't know of a story that better answers all of our how-to questions. How do I find relationship, fellowship, or an outlet for my creative expression? Instead of looking for what we don't have, Luke 14 invites us into the space of responding to God's working right where we are. Rather than having to make something happen by our own wisdom or ingenuity, the path to God's life comes by loving the people he has already put before us, applying our gifts to their needs. I'm convinced that will create opportunity enough for whatever God wants to give us and what He desires us to share with us.

Most of our how-to questions focus on our abilities, wisdom, or connections and trying to find what we don't have, rather than allowing us to live freely in what God has already given. It's easy to miss His gentle nudges when we're more focused on our desires or ministry. He knows how to draw us into relationship with Him and, it's not by following someone else's steps.

And He knows how to connect us with others near where we live. Most think they have to find an existing group of like-minded people. While that is a wonderful gift if you come across one, it doesn't often happen. What if you just began to love the people that God has already put around your life--neighbors, co-workers, other parents at your children's activities, and even strangers who might cross our paths on a given day? Caring about them would lead to conversations and conversations to relationships and you would soon find yourself a caring part of people's lives instead of attending a group.

As for ministry, trust that the slow reality of organic growth has far more value in this kingdom than flash-in-the-pan promotion the world exalts. As you simply do what God puts before you and let Him be concerned with how far it travels and whom it touches. If your life is encouraging others on this journey, opportunities will come to share that with others. But keep your eyes focused where it counts the most, not on high-visibility opportunities, but occasions to help others. Serving them, rather than getting others to serve you, will open more real doors than the false promises of hype and promotion. It probably won't be as fast as you want, but it will be real and your focus will be more on the people you're touching than the "ministry" you want to grow.

In the Scriptures we read about a God that transforms over time--of a seed growing into a plant, of Abraham wrestling with the promise of a son for 25 years before Sarah got pregnant, of Jesus spending 30 years as a carpenter before he ever performed a miracle, or Paul, the former Pharisee, sorting out who God was over 17 years in a wilderness before he ever taught anyone else. Why, then, do we keep looking to build a name for ourselves or create a following others will notice?

God is less interested in helping you reach a place of honor, as He is teaching us how to honor the people He has already placed around you.

So how do you find ministry, find fellowship or live transformed? Simply accept the invitation to live deeply in him, love those around you the way you are coming to understand how he loves you, and then simply listen when he nudges your heart. If you live in that space you will find his power transforming you, his Spirit connecting you to others and everything he wants to do in you will be fulfilled by him.

That's what Jesus wanted his disciples to know. If they had set out to change the world, they would have failed miserably, lost in their own ingenuity and wisdom to accomplish so large a task.

This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest acts of giving or receiving make you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing." (Matthew 10:41-42, The Message)

Jesus knew the most amazing things could begin with a cup of cold water.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Venture Deeper

"Those were some lonely times for Deborah. In Dallas, she had a tough time finding friends who were willing to venture deep into spiritual waters. Most people (including me, Ron) were happy to watch from the shore. Some braved the shallow end on occasion, but most were afraid of getting in over their heads." from the book "What Difference do it Make?"

I am so thankful for friends that want to venture deeper into the "water" and won't let me settle comfortably as a shore bird.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The People of God

"Groups have always seemed to me the best way to go about getting things done, but now I was seeing more clearly than ever how important it is for Christians to be the people of God, and not just a collection of individual believers who gather weekly for the convenience of joint worship on Sunday." - John M. Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down

Thursday, March 18, 2010


God's word gives us a lot to consider.


1. To think carefully about..
2. To form an opinion about; judge.
3. To take into account; bear in mind.
4. To show consideration for.
5. To esteem; regard.
6. To look at thoughtfully.

for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

"Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Again a voice came to him a second time, " What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

"But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Tears in a bottle

Just wanted to share another Psalm snippet with all of you Shack fans. This morning as I was delighting in God, I read Psalm 56:8, "You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?" Wow, Almighty God not only knows the number of hairs on my head, all of my days, the paths I will walk, but He also collects my tears! He feels every sorrow I feel and every joy that brings tears to my eyes, what a loving, caring Father. He is so worthy of my praise so deserving of my worship, as David Crowder sings, "O how He loves us"!

What is your delight?

I was moved by Psalm 37 while doing my dailiy reading and reflection and decided to teach it on Tuesday night to encourage my brothers in prison. I was taken off guard when after reading verse 4, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart" NKJV, one of them asked me what delight meant. As I thought about how best to describe it many things came to mind: hugging my wife, laughter of children, sunrise, the singing of birds at dawn, serving others, anything that made me feel great joy. But as I thought even more I was overwhelmed with memories of the great delight and joy that I experience when I get to sit quietly, alone with the Creator of the universe. I go to bed with expectancy of what God will show me in the morning and I awaken with expectancy of "the peace that surpasses understanding" as I sit with my heavenly Father. And what's really cool about this Psalm is that later in verse 23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way", God delights in us when we walk with Him! What a cool thought, and it gets even better in verse 24, "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand"! God not only delights in us but even when we stumble or fall He picks us up with His own hand. How can we not delight in Him, how can we not immerse ourselves in His love and share our delight with others. So what do you delight in?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hold the door!

In AKA Lost, the question was asked if holding the door open for someone was evangelism. Louie Giglio answered that with a resounding YES during Live Link 2011! I want to be a doorkeeper! How about you?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I was asked by one of the inmates how I could walk in the world but not be caught up in the world. My quick response was that I choose not to get caught up. The more I thought about it and tried to expound on it to him my answer was still, I choose not to. We serve a mighty God who is in full control of all things but He still allows us to make choices. I told him, and the others who were listening more intently now, that I had to keep my focus on the right things and resist the devil when he came at me with the wrong things. I told them I am by no means perfect and it’s an ongoing battle to keep Satan from trying to steal some of my worship that God desires all of. But by the power that is in me I can and do make right choices although sometimes not as quickly as I’d like to so there is still a constant battle between my flesh and the Spirit. I shared with them that I had been working on adjusting my attitude about God over the past year and it has made the greatest difference in my life and reduced the daily battles. Instead of feeling that I needed to start my day with praise and prayer and fellowship with my heavenly Father, I now anticipate and desire to start my day with Him. He’s my last thought at night and He’s my first thought in the morning. I open my eyes realizing how greatly blessed I am and how special it is to sit alone with the Creator of the universe! With that mindset there is no temptation that I can’t resist and no day that I can’t make it through. I can walk firm in my faith knowing that, “Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. (Gal 2:20 the message).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Should I give ?

I like this answer. I found it on The Simple Way website.

Should I give money to homeless folks or beggars?Jesus said give to everyone who asks. That’s a tough command. Sometimes we wonder what Jesus would do in the Calcutta slums or in these heroine-haunted streets where folks ask for change on every corner. What we can say with confidence is that we are to give something to everyone who asks – dignity, attention, time, a listening ear. Sometimes we may give money, sometimes not. But we can always give love. And there are times when giving money can even be a way to insulate ourselves from friendship or the messiness a real relationship might demand. So you can toss a few coins to a beggar or write a check to charity precisely as a way of insulating ourselves from relationships (and still appease our consciences)… but at the end of the day Christ’s call is to relationship and compassion. When Jesus speaks in Matthew 25 about caring for “the least of these”, the action he speaks of is not about distant acts of charity but personal actions of compassion – visiting the prisoners, caring for the sick, welcoming the strangers, sharing food with the hungry. Better than sharing money is sharing life, a meal, a home. Having said that, most Christians need to get taken advantage of more. And we can usually spare some change. Sometimes folks say this question about giving to beggars and panhandlers with suspicion, speculating that homeless folks will just use their money for drugs or alcohol… which happens sometimes. But we don’t always ask what CEOs are doing with our money when we give it to their companies (and the recent events on Wall Street raise some flags about how responsible they are!). In the end, if we cannot take someone to dinner or give them a ride when they ask for money, we might as well give some money. It’s better to err on the side of grace than on the side of suspicion. And we doubt that Jesus is going to reprimand us for giving too much money to addicts… more likely, we will discover we could have been a bit more generous than we were.


I met him this past Friday as I was starting out on my day of sales calls. I pulled in to McDonalds for a cup of coffee and some breakfast for the road. I saw him sitting at the edge of the parking lot with his three dogs. (Don't ask me how I knew he was homeless.) Immediately I knew I was supposed to get coffee and breakfast for him also. I did, then I pulled around the building and parked my car nearby. I got out and offered him coffee and breakfast. We struck up a conversation that went on for the next 20 minutes. We had an enjoyable visit. I found out he was from Florida originally, and that he has two sons that still live there. I asked him how he ended up in Shreveport, of all places. He told me he had taken a cross-country bicycle ride from Florida to California. He stopped here on the way back, and after getting some things stolen, he has been here ever since. He told me he lives in the woods behind the Racetrac gas station on Bert Kouns, across the street from where I met him. As I walked back to my car, someone was calling his name from the Racetrac parking lot. He told me he picks up a little work there occasionally. I sure hope I get to see him again. I'm thinking about him tonight. Thank you, Lord for those special times. Oh, yeah, his name is Catfish.

"He'll show us how He works so we can live the way we're made." - Isaiah 2

Give Yourself Away

"The way of Jesus is not a proposal for how to take over the nation-state and make it Christian. It is, rather, a lesson in learning not to take over - to be a community where we find a new way of life by giving ourselves for others."

- Becoming the Answers to Our Prayers - Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shut Up

This one kind of stung me this morning during my quite time.

"For many of us who live active lives among the poor and marginalized, prayer doesn't make the top of the urgent-to-do list. After all, wouldn't God rather have us feed the masses, help a kid with homework, take a friend to detox, heal the broken or liberate the captive? Surely Amos tells the people of God to shut up with their songs and worship and feasts and festivals, and take care of the poor (Amos 5:21-24). Without justice for the poor, religious activities are little more than annoying noises in the ears of God, and the prayers that used to smell like incense to God become a nauseating stench when there is no flesh bringing those prayers to life."

- Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers by Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prayer Request

I have a friend sitting in jail this week. I've only know him a short while, but I have felt a burden to go see him, encourage him, and let him know he still has a friend around. Through a friend on the police force I was added to his visitation sheet and get to see him on Thursday night. Please pray that I will be a blessing to him, and that God will strengthen him powerfully to walk out ways pleasing to Him. "Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found;" - Psalm 32:5

Fox Trot 2.27.10

We had a great time this past Saturday visiting the Homies, and just trying to be the blessin. Lester was on the move early. We saw him later at the bus station. No one was at the warehouse where Billy used to live. We had a nice, but short visit with Raymond and JJ. Hooker must have had a hangover, so he didn't want to get out of bed. We moved along to the Bridge camp (formerly the 4 Star camp & formerly the 5 star camp). A lot of the gang was there. Mike was not there. He had court the day before and never came back. We went to a couple of new sites after this. Both of them were up around the train tracks not far from the First Methodist Church. We met Laura, AAron, David, and one other man. Aaron is actually a college student. Laura, we found out has breast cancer, and will be starting treatments soon. Some of those in this group asked for books to read. They like mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy. They have already read all of the James Patterson and John Grisham books. Let me know if you have any mysteries or sci-fi you want to get rid of. I will pass it along.

I came away from Saturday feeling like I was the one blessed. Funny how that works.

Relational Tithe

Weird ?