Archives For Time

Gone Fishin’

May 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

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Thanks for dropping by my blog where I post 3 to 5 times a week. Please enjoy looking through the archives. I’ve gone Fishin’

Look for a new post on June 3rd, 2013. I’m taking some time with some good friends and hope to take friendships deeper and enjoy God’s creation at the same time. Thank you for your love, and thanks also for sharing with others the writings of my heart.

Peace,

Pastor Steve

 

 

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That day in the future, you know the one I’m talking about. That dream of becoming a (Insert dream) will only be accomplished when you do the work today that needs to be done in order to get there. Dreams rarely just fall into your lap. Therefore, hard consistent effort must be you daily exercise.

When you apply faith to daily hard work, your dream will take one step closer to you. If you believe in your dream, and have the passion to see it come to pass, your dream will happen in God’s timing. Dreams are not accomplished through haste. Dreams require time to develop and grow.

All great dreams take time to be accomplished. Don’t let impatience steal your dream by causing you to give up before you cross the finish line.  You have the dedication it takes! There is no mountain you can’t climb with God help.

Nature often teaches us about patience if we will only notice. I spend a lot of time in the woods hunting and observing nature up close. For instance, I’ve seen birds building a nests as I’ve set for hours in a tree stand. I’ve watched them over hours and hours fly back, and fourth finding sticks and straw to build their nest.

At times, while the bird was away finding more material, the wind would blow away the previous work, but it didn’t deter the bird once it returned. The bird would simply replace what the wind blew away and continue building. The dream of a nest must move forward.

Pursuing your dream will not always be easy. You will have times that you feel like giving up and walking away. Hang in there! Don’t throw in the towel! God is with you and will give you the grace to take daily steps if you will just trust Him and keep moving and working.

Don’t let anything or anyone discourage you from dreaming your dream and pursuing it. Don’t allow stumbling blocks and bad days to be the strongest voice in your life telling you to stop. Don’t settle for average, but instead, set your sights high and land among the stars.

John Maxwell describes a dream as “an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”

Allow me to give you a few tips on achieving the dream God has put inside of you.

1. Know what the dream is. (Write a book, Become a painter, Become…)

2. Plan the path and pray the path. (You need action steps empowered by prayer)

3. Bring others into your dream. (Find people who will keep you accountable)

4. Overcome fear. (Never allow fear to master you) 5. Stop waiting. (Today is the day you start and not tomorrow)

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your dreams be built in a day. Now get going.

Guilt And The Lap Of God

January 17, 2013 — 2 Comments

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Have you ever had trouble staying awake during your prayer time? Many years ago I had a season in my life where I fell asleep more often than I would like to acknowledge. At first, it didn’t bother me much. I just excused it because I had been working a little more than usual.

However, guilt quickly set in, and it made me feel horrible.  Each time I fell  asleep it just increased the guilt. I was beginning to  feel shame, and I had thoughts of God being seriously disappointed in me. It’s distressing enough, I thought, to fall asleep during prayer but to feel like God was disappointed in me was worse.

No matter how hard I tried to stay awake during this period of my life, I would doze off. No one else knew but me, and of course God, but I was feeling like a spiritual failure. I was feeling like God was mad at me. I was trying hard to stay awake but getting nowhere. I heard the voice of guilt more than the voice of God.

Then it happened! One day I came home from work early, and my daughter who was about four at the time came running up to me and said, “Daddy, can you read me this book in your chair?” I smiled and said, “Of course I will.”

We settled into my favorite chair, and I lifted her up and into my lap. She turned her head slightly back and up and made eye contact with me, accompanied by a smile. I was feeling pretty good. I was having a perfect Father and Daughter moment.

As I was reading, she would look up and back at me asking questions and making comments. I was completely pleased with the moment. We were simply spending time together, and it felt incredible.

As I continued to read, her conversation and questions fell silent. She was getting tired. It wasn’t long until she fell asleep in my arms. I closed the book and just enjoyed the time we were having together. I was thankful she wanted to spend time with me at all.

Then it happened! God spoke and healed my guilt about falling asleep on Him. I could hear Him whisper to my heart. “Are you mad at her for falling asleep?” My heart whisper back to God was, “No Lord, I love just being with her.” His response back was, “I feel the same way about you.”

It was on that day God took my guilt away. His love for me was not based on effort and discipline, even though they are beneficial. His love for me is unconditional, and He is pleased even when I fall asleep in His lap with His arms wrapped around me.

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DON’T LEAVE YOUR FAITH AT CHURCH IN YOUR SPIRITUAL GYM LOCKER

Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.   

Wesley once said, “Salvation is by grace…but the fact of God’s presence in our lives is shown, or made complete, in our works.”

We like to separate the two but they should be looked at like a coin. There are two sides but one coin. Jesus taught by his life spirituality was lived out in servant ministry. Jesus healed the sick, gave food to the hungry, released those who were in bondage and many other works of righteousness.

In other words, faith was being lived out because that is what faith does. Faith doesn’t just stay in the church waiting on us to return next Sunday and give it a hug. It walks out the door with us in the mission field of life.

In Luke 9:28-43 Peter, John and James go up to the mountain and there they see Jesus transfigured right in front of them. They see Moses and Elijah and Peter wants to stay on the mountain. He wasn’t in that moment of glory wanting to leave the mountain. However, Jesus takes them down the mountain the next day and heals a boy.

What’s the point? Jesus understood where the real miracles took place. Real miracles take place off the mountain in the mission field of life.

Don’t leave your faith at church but take your faith where it is truly needed. Here are a few ways.

1. Spend time with people who aren’t Christians

2. Bless those who aren’t Christians

3. Show mercy to those who aren’t Christians

4. Show love to those who aren’t Christians in a practical way

5. Develop a relationship with an atheist or agnostic or both

Don’t be afraid to hang with those that don’t know the Lord.  You must understand that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Therefore everywhere you go God is with you. God creates a sacred space everywhere you go. I once heard it said, “Growth happens in the context of Christian fellowship, but getting Christians outside the Christian bubble is essential—both for them and the people they encounter.”

What’s your thoughts? Leave a comment.

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I constantly have to remind myself that the unknown to me is not unknown to God.

To have all the steps planned, and documented seems safe. However, having it all planned can be an unsafe place to be in your walk with God.

I’m not advocating not planning ministry, or  not thinking through what needs to happen next,  but I’ve noticed that the unknown times seems to be where God shows up and does His best work.

I think we can spend way to much time praying for God to show us the next step when the real blessing could be in not knowing what to do next. Sometimes waiting in the unknown is the most holy place you can be.

So instead of poor mouthing the unknown times, celebrate the fact that you don’t have a clue and just watch God work. I promise you will not be disappointed.

 

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Emerson once said, “Do not waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”

Are you wasting yourself? If you are spending unhealthy time cursing the closed door…you might be. The secret to moving forward is to stop cursing  the closed door, and walk through the open door God has for you.

When I look back on my life, there have been many times I’ve wasted my time and God’s by remaining angry or confused over the closed door.  I’m older now, and more mature in my faith. I tend to move forward much faster now. I know without a doubt that God always opens a door when He closes another.

It’s only in moving forward that you will accomplish what God has called you to do for Him. You can no longer stay where you are, and at the same time, you can’t go backwards. Going forward is where God is calling you. Yes, it can be painful to move forward, but moving forward brings healing. To stand still…to go backwards…will only bring you more pain and pause your life to all that God wants to do through you.

Moving forward means to let go of what YOU want and embrace what GOD wants for your life. He knows the future and the sure path to get you there. You can curse the closed door, you can stand there with your arms folded in angry, or you can move forward for His glory and your healing.

To experience Psalm 147:3 which says,  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”- YOU MUST WALK THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR.

What are your thoughts? Share with us by leaving a comment.

 

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Fighting the forgiveness of God is exhausting, so stop battling and give yourself to Him.

I remember when I was thirteen, I decided to run away. Going my own way seemed to be a better choice for my life than staying home.( e.g. There are times we do that with God)

Sometimes, we don’t run a long ways away.  Sometimes, it’s just a short ways down the road but it’s still in the wrong direction.

I can’t recall which mile I was on when the unwise choice I had made began to make me rethink my departure. I just remember it was hot. I remember I was miserable. I had come to the end of myself and knew I had to return but guilty and pride was stirring in my heart.

Finally, I turned around and as I turned to walk home… my father was in the distance coming for me. He pulled over on the side of the road and opened the door.  I got in the truck and  there was a  moment of awkward silence. Then it happened… a rub on the head, a smile from my father and all was forgiven. Home we went.

We must never forget…It’s hard to fight forgiveness. You see,  it’s a choice that takes you away from the Father and it’s a choice that will bring you back to the Father. It’s always your choice. Choice is  one of the greatest gifts besides salvation that God has ever given us. God also has a choice and His choice is to love you unconditionally no matter what. (e.g. Remember the Washing of feet. Last supper)

His choice is to always wait for your heart to turn back to him and then he makes the choice to run to you.

We all run. Some run farther than others. But when we turn around His kiss of forgiveness awaits.

 

What are your thoughts? Please share a comment or insight?

 

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Sometimes you don’t need to know what to DO. Sometimes you simply need to know what to BE. When life is not adding up and everything that can go wrong is going wrong…we desperately look for answers to why and what to DO next. Let me ask you two questions that I want you to think about today.

What if God doesn’t want to give you an answer to what to DO next?

What if God wants you to just BE instead of giving you something to DO?

I contend that sometimes God simply wants us to BE, instead of showing us what to DO.

You see, DOING makes us feel like something is happening…that’s why we like it. On the other hand, BEING feels like nothing is happening and that’s why we hate it some much.

Here’s the truth. God is in both of them and at this time in your life he might just be calling you to simply trust and just BE. Never forget, our BEING is found in HIm and our DOING is commissioned by HIM. Maybe, just maybe…this is a time in your life to just BE , while you wait for the DOING to arrive.

What are your thought? Share with us by leaving a comment.

 

 

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How do you deal with an emotional painful situation in your life?  I’m not here today to give you a big list of things you can do. Instead I simply want to give you a picture and allow you to meditate on it today.

Imagine you are walking along the beach and you come across a group of kids digging deep holes in the sand in order to build  a sandcastle. You watch for awhile as they go about their task of removing sand from one place, leaving holes everywhere, using the sand to build their sandcastle. After watching them for a while, you depart and continue on your journey up the beach. Finally, on your return trip down the beach, you discover the holes are now extremely deep. In fact, a few of the holes are deep enough to stand in and hide 3/4 of your body.

The sun finally sets and off to bed you go. Early the next morning you take a walk along the beach. You make it back to where the holes were. Over night the sea has pushed sand into them and a few of the holes are completely gone but a few others are still there. The holes that were deeper than some of the others are now more shallow but they are  not completely gone. They need a little more time to fill.

You continue on your way up the beach and on your return trip, just a while later, you stop at the spot where the holes WERE. Now, to your amazement, they are completely gone. The sea, over the proper time has filled the holes (emotional pains) with sand and what was once many deep holes in the sand are now gone forever.

Sometimes, emotional pain takes time to heal. Sometimes, God doesn’t heal them immediately. However, healing does come… it just takes time for the sea and the sand to do their work.

If you would like to share your thoughts just leave a comment. God bless you.

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“Pastor Steve, I have a prayer request.” I heard him say it loud and clear. I had seen him a few times in our Sunday morning service, but this was his first time in our new believers class. Without missing a beat, I jumped way ahead of his request and began to interject what the request might be. You see, at this time in my life I was the pastor of a church in San Francisco and most of our people were very low-income and many were homeless. It was a wonderful time in my life that shaped who I am and I am thankful to have been a pastor in the inner city for over 13 years.

Anyway, back to the story. Because I had dealt with the homeless for many years at this point I made a lot of assumptions about what his prayer request could be. I threw out a few can’t miss things. I said, “Do you need us to pray you can find a job, a place to stay or to help you get off drugs?” He looked at me bewildered for a moment and then said, “No, I don’t think you understand. I’ve been coming to church here for a few weeks and you have really touched my life through your messages. I’ve been listening and recently I gave my life to Christ. That’s why I’m here in this new believers class.” “That’s wonderful” I said.

He continued. “I’ve lived behind a dumpster for many years and I’ve been sleeping on the sidewalk for all of those years also. I’ve recently got into a drug program and I’ve even found a part-time job. Things are starting to turn around in my life.” What he said next blew me out of the water!

He dropped his head a moment…holding back tears and then slowly raised his head making eye contact with me. “Pastor, I can’t sleep at night in a bed. I’ve not slept in a bed in many years and each night I end up on the floor. When I sleep like that it causes me to remember the past and I want to go back to that life. It’s a life I know how to control.”

I had missed it big time on the prayer request and I was holding back tears as he went on to finish his request.

“Pastor, do you think God can teach me how to sleep in a bed?” He began to cry. That was his prayer request!

I went to where he was and got on my knees in front of him and held his hands. I looked him in the eyes and said I was sorry for jumping ahead of him. I called the rest of the class around him and we prayed a prayer over him that God would teach him to sleep in a bed at night. It was a strong prayer and everyone in the room could feel God moving. Over the next several weeks that prayer was answered mightily. Sleep finally came to him the way he wanted.

 

What’s the take away?

When it comes to making disciples we should start where they are and not where we think they should be. We should never jump to conclusions about the lives of those God sends our way. We need to listen first and find where God is working and then join Him. You might just be surprised at where God wants to work in their life first.

 

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them. Share with us. Leave a comment.