I have been gone for the last 5 days to Elko, Nevada teaching at Calvary Baptist on how to raise Champions for Jesus. I enjoy traveling and teaching at other places and meeting new people, and I am thankful that God has opened up doors for me to do this. I always pray hard that I make a difference in someone’s life, and that changes are made that make a difference for eternity. But it is so good to be home again. Was so nice to walk into the waiting area of the airport and see Patty waiting for me, to get home and see some of my kids and Russel my dog. I sleep so good in my own bed. I like my house a lot, and I plan on living in it until I die or Jesus comes. Someday though I am getting a new house, one that Jesus builds just for me. He said in John 14, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places… I go to prepare a place for You..I will come again and get you that where I am you may be also.” I am ending tonight as I always do, setting my mind on eternity, my new body, my new house, and my Savior, Jesus.
Most of the experts picked the Panther’s to win, and my guess was they would, but I was rooting for the old man. I am kind of partial to old men. Football is fairly unpredictable in the final outcome because of so many little things that can happen like fumbles, missed field goals, interceptions, bad punts, etc and the best team can do them. Football is a lot like life. You fight and struggle, work together with your team, try to do everything right, and things go wrong, often. With football it is over until next year, but with life every day is a new game. The person who perseveres and endures to the end wins the crown of life that Jesus gives. I will go to bed tonight and let out a big sigh very glad for the chance to rest, and anticipate another unpredictable day coming up but confident because of God’s protection, guidance, strength, wisdom, and the team I am part of, I will win. A major element in my life is the team I play on. My wife, Patty, my family, my friends and my church family. The Bible makes it clear that by ourselves we will lose. We were not created by God capable of winning without being on a good team. The church is the “Body of Christ”, the “Bride of Christ”, the “Family of God”. Every person ought to be a functioning part of a church family if they want to win. That is the way God made it, and He is in charge.
I made a mistake and scheduled a speaking appointment in Nevada over Super Bowl Sunday! How could I be so dumb!! But it is working out ok, I am going to someone’s house tomorrow here where I am speaking, a dentist, with a big house and a really big screen TV and he is having a big party with lots of snacks. Everyone here is rooting for Denver and I am to. I want to see the old man, Payton Manning go out a winner. The Super Bowl for me is the moment that I appear before Jesus at the end of my life and I hear Him say to me, “Super, you did super living and serving Me with your life, come on in to My house now as a winner!” That is what I want and what I focus on everyday of my life. I will finish well and receive from Him the crown of life, the greatest trophy ever.
Jesus said every word that we speak will be brought up at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Proverbs says our words have the power to give life and the power to kill the motivation and hope in others. I am in Nevada teaching a parenting seminar and a main emphasis that I am making is teaching our kids how to talk and communicate, that includes social media, in such a way that they give life and hope and joy to those who hear them. Our communication skill will be powerful to give life if it isn’t about us, but purposely thought out so as to give worth and value to others, to give joy and hope to others, to create unity and love in others. Much speech and communication today causes conflict and disunity because it is loaded with fussing and whining about how we are not being treated fairly, and about the negative and what is bad and wrong. Very few things make me feel more fulfilled in life than listening to my kids talk to others or read what they write on Facebook. They will bear much fruit for God because they understand the power of a word spoken or written to give life or death, and they choose to give life.
The strongest desire of my heart is to become like Christ in character, entirely. At 67 years of age having pursued this desire passionately for many years I have found many things that don’t work. At this point in my life my firm conclusion which I intend to make the structure of my life from here on out is to maintain the perfect balance between “grace and works” or “grace and effort”, and the phrase I like best that I read in the book, “Renovation of the Heart” by Dallas Willard is “Grace and Method”. He says, “all of creation is an orderly realm, and for that which is broken God provides a methodical path of recovery or healing. Grace does not rule out method, nor method grace. Grace thrives on method and method on grace”. No human activity has it’s hands on both God’s grace and man’s methods or efforts as much as prayer does. In prayer I ask for wisdom To know what the right thing is, in prayer I ask for the will to do what I know is the right thing, and in prayer I ask for the strength to do the right thing well, and not give up until the right thing is finished. In much of what I read and hear today there is a big pendulum swing towards passivity and calling it grace. If that worked there would be a lot more Christ like people than there are. Passivity is a reaction to the “try harder” method of growing and changing which results in guilt, despair, and apathy. If “trying harder” does produce a little progress the result is pride and a critical spirit. But passivity is just apathy masquerading as trust. Prayer is hard to maintain with any level of faithfulness or sacrifice, and requires planning, great self-control, accountability and encouragement from others, but those who pray like Jesus become like Jesus in character, and begin to act and live the way Jesus did. I like it, balance has a harmony to it that sounds good, sounds right, sounds true. I will pursue a lifestyle devoted to prayer asking for wisdom, will, and strength.
I have been hanging out with 60 or so Pastors for the last three days as we have been here at Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center for our annual “Prayer Summit”. It is a great time of fellowship with lots of sharing, eating together and praying for one another. As we share with each other and pray for one another each year there is always a number of guys who are very discouraged, weary, burnt out, and looking for some answers. For the most part Pastors are a great bunch of people. Most work 60 plus hours a week at unpredictable hours that regularly interferes with normal family life. They do that for below normal income level often working a second job to support their families. They pray faithfully for their people, counseling them, doing weddings, funerals, visiting in the hospitals, studying hard each week to teach the Bible so that people can have an eternal relationship with God, administrating church programs and ministries, and all day long carrying a lot of concern for those struggling in life for a multitude of reasons. Then after all that they receive a regular dose of critism, gossip, and slander mostly because they represent God and people are often upset with God because life is hard. It shouldn’t be that way. God has forgiven each of us of everything bad we have ever done and we should be able to do that for each other, especially for our Pastors. The key to that actually happening is people praying for each other. I have a relatively easy time at JBC, and the reason is that there are so many people who pray for me, for each other and for unity and love to abound in our church. Each year when I come to this “Prayer Summit” and this is the 28th in a row, I am impressed and encouraged by the growing devotion to prayer on the part of Pastors, and I recommit to being devoted to prayer myself.
Do you ever wonder what heaven will be like? I do all the time. For sure it will be a place of incredible joy. Also relationships and fellowship will be a major part of it and they will be without any hint of bitterness, or resentment, or criticalness. Occasionally we all have an experience that is like that. They don’t usually last long but long enough to give us a little bit of a glimpse into our next life, and make us long for it and look forward to it with eagerness. My first day here at the “Prayer Summit” at Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center has been such a glimpse. If the next two full days are as wonderful as the first half day has been it will be an amazing time. There is something about this place for me that automatically causes deep reflection about who I am, what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what I am going to do from here on out. Along with the refextion comes personal resolve and commitment to really do it, and make it happen, along with a deep awareness that staying close to God is the only way that I will succeed at keeping this new commitment. Well, I think I will go to sleep and see what tomorrow brings.