Wednesday, March 28, 2012

20 years

I am in awe of the fact that God blessed me so richly. I am not implying my life isn't without pain and struggle. I am simply aware of how much I have received from the Gracious God above. My struggles have taught me painful but valuable lessons. My failures have helped me see it is in Christ all things are possible and there is always a second chance. It is in humility that I see the grace given not in the arrogant assertions of self.

I have much to be thankful for. Twenty years ago on this date a beautiful Southern Belle said "I do" to a injured, messed up, Southern boy. Seven kids and a grand baby later, I find myself more in love than ever. I get to wake up next to the love of my life and get this... she is still in love with me!!!

I see more clearly every day the need for God's presence in my life. The last twenty years have a been a blur of events both painful and pleasant, but always filled with joy. Joy because God has been present every step of the way. I am blessed! I am excited about writing in 20 years of the continued journey we are on. Twenty years and still counting!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jesus in the Mountains

Just spent an amazing three days with over 100 daughters of God. Jennifer and I served as Spiritual Directors for Northern California Tres Dias #4. What an absolutely amazing time! You don't have to go to the mountains to meet Jesus, but it is really a cool place to encounter Him. We spent a day in the rain and two days in the snow.

All three days were a constant reminder of God's grace and the call to live a life of love. So many stories of God rescuing and freeing women from the past. As the ladies were hearing the message of God's grace overcoming our mess, the snow kept falling. I can't help but think of the incredible visual of pure white snow speaking to the ladies about Christ's sacrifice purifying us.

Jesus in the city. Jesus in the country. Jesus in the good times. Jesus in the difficult. Jesus before me. Jesus behind me. Jesus by my side. Jesus within me. Jesus in the mountains! Jesus and only Jesus!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nehemiah and the lesson of politics

I have been working through Nehemiah for almost two months now. I love the practical insight into leading that Nehemiah lays out in his journal. This past week we focused on Nehemiah's focus amid distraction, threats, and attacks. I took time to use an example that is a hot button for many. I have been warned before about not using politics as an example but I couldn't help myself. Nehemiah remained focused on his calling and avoided getting dragged into innuendo and "might be true" conversations.

I am truly neither Republican nor democrat in my views. I am more like someone through paint against the wall. I have convictions and things that matter to me, but not the kind of conviction where I refuse to be friends with people who disagree. The example I used went like this... "Do you know how many millions of dollars and man hours have been expended by some to try and prove our President isn't a born citizen of the U.S.? Rather than us as believers spending our time consumed with that, let's just go love and serve, and care for the least of our community and make a difference."

My point was not a political statement, but rather a plea and reminder that our citizenship is to a Kingdom not of this world, but that will transform the world in which we live. I'm sure my example received mixed reviews. What I am most hopeful of though is that we live in the present and make an impact on what we can impact. That our lives aren't consumed with "what might be true" rather just live the truth that overcame the grave.

Even in the West it is dangerous to mix religion and politics!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

arrogant and isolated

Two words that we don't really self acknowledge, but that have deadly impact on our lives are arrogance and isolation. I say that from the perspective of takes one to know one. It is my opinion that we all have it in us to be arrogant and isolated. It shows in diverse ways, but it is a problem in the masses. Leaders/ Pastors are some of the worse.

Leaders/ Pastors begin to read their press about success or growth in their realm of influence. It can lead to a subtle belief that we have become the "smartest" "coolest" "most creative" .... etc.... and that can head us down a path of thinking we are smart enough to handle on our own anything thrown at us. It happens in families, businesses, churches, everywhere really. In an effort to protect or insulate ourselves we then begin pulling back from the very people we have been called to lead. This isolation mentality can lead to the deadly thought that I really don't need other people.

I could write books of how this thinking is ruining marriages, taking down Pastors, sabotaging corporate heads and wreaking havoc in every day life. I will stop with just these questions. Who are you vulnerable to for the purpose learning and being taught? Who is leading the leaders? Are you insulated from people knowing your struggles or are there trusted friends who are challenging your walk because you invited them to do so?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

This past Tuesday, I was in the Birmingham AL airport catching a flight back to Northern California. I was booked on the Southwest 4:25 to Vegas then on to Sacramento. Remarkably, on that exact day last year, Jennifer and I along with our five boys were on the exact same flight. A year ago we were moving to Northern California. This year I was returning. Today marked one year of being the Pastor of Gold Country Church. A year ago we were a new church plant. Today we were assembled with about 300 others to make much of Jesus!

What a year it has been... What does year two hold for GCC? I am excited and expectant of what God has in store for us. We set out to be a community of Faith, Hope and Love. Our desire is to invest in the community and be a relational discipleship church. God is so awesome! I love this journey we are on. I am so grateful that my beautiful wife and I are living this together! Happy one year to GCC! I'm looking forward to where God directs us!