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What are you DRINKING?

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Signed up for my first FULL Marathon… 26.2 Miles I am scared, never done anything like this before. The race (or time for me to run) is March 3rd 2013

I am going to ask you all for support and motivation as I am dedicating this race and training to raise money for a well (borehole) for clean water in Africa! Hope to dedicate it when I go back next year!

This will be through Hope 4 Kids International or Hope 4 Water… I am going to build a site or a way to update you all with information and a way to give as I go on this journey!!! More info to come!!

I can see through it

I can see through it

When have you been tested… a moment in your life out of YOUR control? I have been connecting with many people lately that are in the mist of those moments. Whether it be waiting to see if there child will be accepted into a new school, the loss of a job of 18 years and the weight of being the soul provider for your family, the test result for that “spot”, the notification your family member has cancer, the husband of your 3 young kids and your best friend just passed away. There are many more…

I am seeing a pattern… We often think we are living a life of faith, but we are actually living a life of belief.

Far too many of us have mistaken belief for faith…  Believing, friends will not be enough, will not sustain you, will not get you through, will not carry you on.

Belief is the manifesto of human contentment. To understand, be comfortable and in control.  You don’t need clarity, you need courage!

Its quality not a quantity of understanding.

I can see through the surface… can you?

 Galatians 3:3

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

What every Pastor should hear…

I started my day today by reading this comment…

“Every year, 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity. This translates into the realization that people are leaving the chuImagerch. From our research, we have found that they are leaving as hurting and wounded victims-of some kind of abuse, disillusionment, or just plain neglect!”

http://www.intothyword.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=36557

It was then followed by this statement:

“If you don’t come to church for 4-8 weeks and and elder or pastor doesn’t call and ask why, they are the reason why!”

This was written by a mentor of mine and fellow pastor… this really is what every pastor should hear.

Does this stir you up, maybe because it should… it did me! If this kind of stat an comment does not stir you up in some-kind of why then YOU DON’T CARE… well you do…just not about the “right” things.

My first response to Dennis was this-

“They become the reason or were the reason in the first place? Funny how this just goes to the “what can you do for me to make me happy” “YOU don’t do enough for me” me myself and I’m number one junk…”

His response has very RAW and real truth to it…

“I agree Larry, there are a lot of people who give excuses or who are selfish, but as a church leader, you should know that going on… working with sinful selfish people is what you will be doing until you die – it’s what you signed up for.

That’s the job you took as a leader, and the challenge of modeling a better way. What scares me these days is the amount of entitlement by church staff. As if the title suddenly elevates them to deserve a congregation of unselfish people who will give them gifts and bestow upon them the mantle of an easy life, a white-collar paycheck, 5 weeks vacation, full benefits without having to pay a portion of them, no accountability and I don’t have to have a real relationship with you, “just sit your ass in the seat Sunday morning, write a check and don’t challenge my authority” attitude. I understood the ministry as the “good shepherd laying down his life”, but I haven’t seen this in a long time. Look at most leadership boards. They are made up of “yes” men, usually businessmen who never challenge or push the minister or themselves to really disciple/mentor people. The congregation is seen as a pain and a bunch of whiners. If a person challenges or asks questions they are alienated, marginalized and finally ignored. It’s a sorry state of affairs!”
The sad reality is this can be very true in so many places across the country… I have heard comments before like these. If I am being naked about it, I have not only worked in some of these circumstances… I have lived them myself.
Can we really be ok with and remember…
 “working with sinful selfish people is what you will be doing until you die – it’s what you signed up for.”
As a follower of Christ I challenge ALL to remember loving people, SELFISH people (including yourself) is what you signed up for… as a follower of Christ…or your not FOLLOWING!

Lost in Transition

Waiting on God isn’t to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan. Waiting is an essential part of the plan.

For the child of God, waiting isn’t simply about what I’ll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I’ll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what He’s promised.

Through the wait He’s changing me. By means of the wait He’s altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires. Through the wait He’s causing me to see and experience new things about Him and His kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in His redemptive hands.
What are you waiting on?

Tears are Tears…

Watching people grieve, feeling overwhelmed by people’s pain, hearing about the funerals of others–these have all brought me face to face with a specific calling we have as followers of Jesus: “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (see 1 Thess 4:13-18).

The instructions are very clear, but not overwhelmingly helpful. What does that look like? Tears are tears. There’s no sign that appears over the heads of grieving Christians that says, “Mourning with hope, just FYI.” Even Jesus’ weeping, I imagine, outwardly looked the same as everyone else’s. Bystanders at the scene of Lazarus’s death, for example, noticed that Jesus was crying but saw no sign of hope in his tears, no rosy glow emanating from him that prompted them to hope for a miracle. If anything his tears seemed to bring about a new wave of grief for Lazarus’s friends: they lamented that Jesus hadn’t gotten there before Lazarus died, when he could have done some good. Now, they assumed, there was no hope for their friend who’d been dead for four days already.

What I’ve come to think is that our call to mourn with hope is fleshed out in what Jesus does after he weeps, in the midst of the weeping around him: He speaks the truth. Specifically, he calls people to believe. He acknowledges that his Father has heard him. And he speaks directly to dead, embalmed Lazarus, because he knows the life in the Son of Man is stronger even than the death that had temporarily claimed his friend. We mourn with hope when, in the midst of our tears and in defiance of the despair that tries to overtake us, we speak the truth about what should not be (cancer, heart failure, senseless shootings) and what is: Jesus is alive. His Spirit is continuing to restore his creation and bring his kingdom to earth. He has defeated death. And what should not be one day will not be, as Christ will be crowned the full and final victor over death and sin.

Where do your thoughts go? How do you find your comfort?

Difference Makers

This past weekend we had to opportunity to share a few small moments from our recent trip to Uganda, Africa. My favorite part was hearing from some of the young people that went and how it changed them!

One of the things I am most passionate about is Child Sponsorship… it is an easy way to be a DIFFERENCE MAKER in a child’s and even family’s life!

Sponsorship is a special kind of giving that creates a relationship between you and the community in which you are helping to create real and lasting change. It provides more than the satisfaction that comes with aid for improving the health and well-being of children; it delivers a special opportunity to witness young lives lifted over time. To bring hope and necessary care to kids through dignity, health, joy & love.  Through child sponsorship, two lives are changed forever: yours and the life of your sponsored child.
I am so thankful to God that this weekend we had the chance to be just a little part of true Religion…

James 1:27 (NIV)

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

And blessed to see 84 new children sponsored! If you are interested in being apart please go to the Hope 4 Kids website at the bottom of this web page and sign up today… you can be a difference maker for CHANGE!

This Sunday will be PERFECT

The team that went to Uganda, Africa with me the last two weeks are now home and mostly, kinda, pretty much, maybe back to normal.

One of the first things I got to do when I came back to the office this week was visit a friend that had just had knee replacement surgery. While I was there visiting I was introduced to the Dr. that had just walked in to check up on things. As I was introduced, the Dr. was also informed that I had just returned from Uganda.

The Dr.’s response with out even looking at me was quickly “well I think there is much we need to do here”. I gave a kind smile behind his back and did not feel as though he was interested in a response nor would he be ready for one.

It made me feel very defensive, but what am I defending? People in Africa? People in California? Myself and MY decisions?

One of the things that can be most paralyzing to me when I am preparing to share is the awareness of my own imperfection. It can downright cripple your ability to believe that God can use you to do anything of substance in people’s lives.

But what I have to remember is the reality is you still have a message to deliver. And it’s the most relevant and powerful message in the history of the world. People desperately need it and you can’t afford to hesitate to deliver it.

I regret saying nothing… something simply could have been “God loves the people of Africa too”…. or “Its not the kind of trip your thinking of, you should come this weekend as we share about this journey”.

Never the less… People desperately need Christ, and you can not afford to hesitate to deliver HIS message.

So I ask… Join me this weekend as we testify what God is doing and did in Africa during our time there, we have opportunity to play apart , and we share the most powerful message in the WORLD!
And please one up me… invite someone else to come along…its just too important not to!

We will be sharing this Sunday Aug. 12th at 9am and 11am

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