Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless book-My Children's faith

My children are leading me. The sincerity and the simplicity of children is jaw dropping sometimes. As parents we teach our children things out of God's word then are kind of shocked when they actually take it in faith and apply it to their lives.
I am very grateful for the fact that I was raised going to church and hearing God's word since I was a tot. I am extremely grateful that my children are enjoying the same privilege and I don't take it for granted. But there is a danger having PK's (Preacher's Kids) and that is that they will become very head smart and have no heart and works behind their faith. I would bang my head until it fell off if I raised my children that way!

I had a 12 year old prayer that was answered on September 17th at the Oklahoma State Fair. I have prayed and prayed that I would see the Holy Spirit rise up in their lives and see them speak the word boldly. Well we had a golden opportunity for the children to apply what we have been learning during family devotions over the years about being a witness. Child Evangelism Fellowship rents space at the fair every year and does a presentation called the wordless book for anyone that will stop by the tent. The Wordless Book is a method of presenting the best story ever told (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) through blank colored pages . To see 0ur two oldest boys look into the eyes of people 3 and 4 times their age and tell the story of the Good news confidently sent chills down my spine. You should of seen the smiles on their faces...they got bit by the witnessing bug and didn't want to stop.
A few days later we were in Quiznos and my son comes up to me and says, "I think I am suppose to share the Wordless Book with that couple over there, will you go with me?"(He carries it in his back pocket wherever he goes now). Now this is a public eating establishment and a couple that is in their 50's or 60's. Do little boys think of things like that on their own? I don't think so. That is a witness of the Holy Spirit operating in a child. My first thought was son are you serious?...then my next thought was why not? He shared with them; however, they were already believers but are now they were encouraged believers.
Listening and yielding to the Holy Spirit for direction on who we share the simple good news of Jesus Christ with is paramount. My children appear to get it. In Acts 1:8 it is clear that God transforms our lives to be living witnesses for him. Children will take it to heart and act upon it; often adults will intellectualize it and declare it as just a good concept. Oh for the faith of a child!!

Three girls under the age of 18 were at the Fair on the following day that my sons and I volunteered. One of the girls sent there mom a text that said, "I just got saved." What a blessing! Little did they know that the next day all three of them would be in a head on collision with an SUV that would take their lives; you can watch the news report here. A woman volunteer shared the message of the gospel with those girls hours before their death. This is giving their families peace today. Tommorow is not promised, tell somebody today the greatest story ever told.

My children are leading me. They are walking pages of the Bible that their daddy is reading and being reminded to stay humble and submit to the Holy Spirit's direction in my life. Just an excited dad right now..I will tell more stories about our neighbor and the chocolate cake. Stay encouraged

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Thirty Days of prayer-Day 01

Men let's pray! A few men that I know are teaming together for thirty days of prayer. We kick started it this morning and it was tremendously refreshing. It was my wife's idea initially to do with women and it was impressed on my heart that men need to take leadership in prayer also. We are utilizing a free conference call line and getting on the call from 5am-6am every day until October 29th.
It is so funny, if you called a church wide prayer meeting the women would out number the men 3 to 1. I am so thankful for the leadership role of women in the body of Christ. There has been such a deficit of qualified male leadership in the church that women have been pushed to bear the load in several areas in men's stead. It's time for men to rise to the occasion and take leadership and we can start by praying, praying, and praying! We are taking 30 days to pray for any and everything that the Lord puts on our hearts.

I know what prayer does, it tenderizes our hearts, and is an act of humility before a Holy God. Prayer postures our heart so low that God's thoughts and intents will flow through us. Alignment is the word; prayer help us to align our will, our plans, our request, with the Father's heart.

2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

I am excited....this 30 days will be used as a kick start for a life of praying men. If you are reading this and have any prayer request please post a comment or email me at and we will lift the request up in prayer. Also, if you would like to join us on the call or in your own respective way send me an email.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Christian Discipleship-Accountabilty

Clarifying Discipleship at Church Ablaze the past 3 weeks. In order to make disciples that follow Jesus, it will require you to be a good accountability partner. Leading another man or woman to maturity in Christ takes time, sacrifice, and patience. The essence of accountability is if you fail I fail… if you succeed I succeed. I feel with you, I cry with you, I laugh with you, I celebrate with you. I must give an account for you as if I were you and you were me. My actions are not independent but will have an effect on who I am yoked with. Accountability is a stimulant to spiritual growth and to intimacy with the Father and the Body of Christ. Here are a few attributes a good accountability partner should have:

1) Transparent…not afraid to express their weakness that God has made strong. Not appearing Holier than you really are…But being Holy as God is Holy which is through Christ’s Righteousness
a) Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
b) 1Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
c) Phil 3:12-13 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

2) Patient and willing to work with someone to get to the heart of a matter-Prov 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

3) Able to hang in there with someone through the hard times-Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

4) Not fearful to go encourage someone through the tough issues. I Sam 23:16 And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

5) Never expecting the same quality of friendship you give out to be returned. Your thoughts are how to help the other and the by product you will develop a good relationship
a) Pro 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
b) Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another

6) Not afraid to rebuke the person, not afraid to correct, even if it hurts, You never are concerned with the others reputation or your own.
a) Pro 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
b) Heb 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

7) You master the art of meekness in bringing correction or you will find yourself disqualified to help your accountability partner
a) Gal 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (2) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

8) Willing to give Godly counsel and receive counsel.
a) Pro 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.
b) Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

9) Not so prideful that you can’t be told anything
a) Jam 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
b) Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

10) A person that looks to bring conviction of sin through the word versus condemnation. Also, seeks to edify versus cut down.
a) Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
b) Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
c) Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

11) Will keep things confidential
a) Pro 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Success in the wrong things

I picked up a quote today off twitter “My greatest fear? Succeeding at the wrong thing. That would be succeeding and failing at the same time”, Mark Batterson. I retweeted it and also posted it to my Facebook site because I liked it so much. I got a question from one of my Facebook friends, “What would be the wrong thing to succeed at?”, which is a very good question.

In general, the wrong thing to succeed at would be things contrary to God's will for your life whether good things or bad things.

Bad things are like lust of our flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of Life (I John 2:15,16). My prayer is that when we call Jesus LORD we hold nothing back and surrender all to Him since He gave all for us. Often we retain things that stroke our egos and satisfy our lust. I called them "pleasure sins" those are the wrong things to succeed at.

On another note, there are some things that are not sinful at all; but the question is, “Are you suppose to be doing it?” I Cor 3:11-15 paints the picture of a person that builds upon the foundation of Christ but with the wrong material. An analogy I heard, tells the story of a painter that takes weeks to paint the wrong house. Jesus has a narrow, restricted way for us to walk in that leads to life; but often we take the broad, convenient way which leads to destruction. Things I choose independent of seeking God’s direction are the wrong things to succeed at. Things that are not done for the Glory of God are the wrong things to succeed at. Things that are not done God's way are the wrong things to succeed at.

My prayer is when I go before the throne of judgment I do not want to hear God say, “those were great buildings you designed Jonathan, but I called you to preach my word, share with the lost, love your wife, and raise Godly children..I had to find somebody else to do what I called you to do.”


I could easily get distracted, ignore my family, the church, and all other people the rest of my life and build a Fortune 500 engineering company. That would be success and failure at the same time for me. Success in the business world but a failure in things that have eternal value (i.e. wife, children, and God's people).

What would be the wrong thing for you to succeed at?

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Overcoming Adversity, Depresion, and confusion

Sometimes we feel troubled, confused, persecuted, and cast down; but if the Christian can embrace this passage then there is nothing that can keep them down……

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (kjv) 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you

Trouble on every side yet not distressed
If you ever feel like every direction you go in is trouble or like you are inside of a big Cube and the side walls of the cube are closing in from the left, right, front, back, top, and bottom. It is OK to feel like that but just know that you WILL NOT BE CRUSHED.
Perplexed but not in despair
If you ever just feel completely confused and you can’t find a way out, nothing seems to come clear to you and it seems like you can’t even think straight. That OK! Just know that you still have hope and that hope can bring you out of the confusion. Just because you are confused doesn’t mean that you don’t have hope. Just because you can’t see your way out doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. You only have hope in things you can not see or it is not hope. A terrible position to be in is to be confused but then not to have any hope for a clear path, or to not have a God to rely on, or not to have people that love you. I would rather be confused all my life versus not have any hope.
Persecuted but not forsaken
If you feel like people and situations are persecuting you, if you feel like you are being harassed or just completely wronged by a person. That's OK. But just know that you have not been forsaken, you have not been forgotten about, you are not a cast away, You are not left to stand alone. Jesus said he would never leave you. Let the persecution come as long as the Christian has Jesus you will be able to stand. As long as we are in the world there will be some form of persecution, but that's OK. God will not always take the persecution from you but will be there to guide you through it. If I knew that the rest of my life there would be some hard times I would rather choose to go THROUGH it knowing I was not alone versus going through it feeling like I was forsaken or a cast away.
Cast down but not destroyed
If you ever feel gloomy, cast down, head hanging low, depressed, or like you have been just struck to the ground. That's Ok. Because you are still alive, you still have existence, you still have natural life and eternal life. You have not been eliminated there is still fight left in you. The Christian can be knocked down but will get back up again and again and again.

A Christian has to realize that there is a part of them that is not like God and has to die every day in order for Jesus’ life, Jesus’ teachings, and Jesus’ ways to become real in their life. We have to die to our sin, our pride, our jealousies, our anger, our unforgiveness, etc. It is ironic, that it often takes us getting to the point where we realize we can't do it alone that God's excellent power brings deliverance. Some of our hard times are seen as Glorious in God's eyes because the hard times nudge us to take our fingerprints off of our lives and yield to His excellent power to bring deliverance. Trouble, confusion, persecution, and depression may come but God's power will hold them at bay so that we won't be distressed, hopeless, forsaken, nor destroyed. This is the treasure we have as Christians: we decrease He increases in our lives and some times adversity is the catalyst to God's excellent power.

Nothing says it better than the chorus of one of my favorite hymns He Brought Me Out :
He brought me out of the miry clay
He set my feet on a rock to stay
He put a song in my soul Today
A song of Praise Hallelujah

If the Christian can embrace the above passage then there is nothing that can keep them down.

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