Monday, December 31, 2007

Stumbling Rock

I had a new perspective this morning on an old passage that I have heard or read hundreds of times.

22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

When at first glance...Peters stance is noble. He is merely standing up for his teacher, master, friend....but God doenst require that from us. As a matter of fact, the commentary i read on this morning.....said that Peter (acting as Satan's agent) was trying to tempt Christ the same way that Satan had tempted Christ in the desert, when he offered His kingdom with no cross.

Jesus tells Peter that he is merely looking at this with the worlds perspective....and not a God perspective. Again.... something this commentary talked about, was all the Christians today, who offer Worldly perspective on Christianity without the cross, these to would be discounting Jesus' atoning work on the cross and discounting the value of a Savior. If Christianity merely meant prosperity, or in a constant state of blessing, or euphoria.... Christ would not have said order to save your life you must lose it.... and he followed that with, what would it be for a man to profit the whole world yet forfeit his soul.

Just a new perspective on 'Your best life now' and "becoming a better you' that just has never sat well with me. I have never ascribed to this, mainly because I know God will take us through the fire to refine us. Amos talked about refining gold and removing all the dross, or physical impurities with fire. I pray that as painful as that seems, and as counter culture as that is....that God continue to refine us like this. IN this instance.....when gold became its purist.....the refiner could remove all the dross....and peer down into the gold and see his reflection. I know that is what God to refine us to the point where he sees Himself in us.

Gen 25---Again another story I was told 100 times in childrens church growing up.....this is a bad deal.....but in order to fulfill prophesy the older will serve the younger...being all out of whack, Esau sold Isaac his birthright.....for a bowl of stew. this doesnt at all seem logical or practical. So when Esau left....he realized this and despised his birthright.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jesus--not too concerned with Tradition

Matt 15:

I can see this same type of example play itself out today in some churches......if Jesus were to possibly talk to its leadership......
Jesus...why do your disciples (insert your own disputable matter here) Dont you know that it is a sin?
and Jesus would know of marital infidelity, porn addicts, cheating the IRS, rampant gossip, oh...and 8 out of 10 of you are FAT....and you want to say that is sin....YOU HYPOCRITES!
Isaiah was right when he said of you
8" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men

Tradition...whatever...Jesus was more concerned with the heart.

Brandon may know this...but about a year ago I had lunch with a Catholic priest....who i approached and encouraged after a funeral mass....he had done. I was super encouraged to hear a Christ-alone gospel presentation. He subsequently invited me to lunch and I accepted. We had great conversation. we talked about his conversion....he asked about mine....and we just enjoyed the differences without being critical. I told him about my 4 years in a Catholic school and he told me his brother was a Baptist. While eating....(he was in his collar) we were approached by a parishoner...and she gushed at him.....then she turned her attention to me...asking me "what parish I attend" I felt like i was in college......"what frat are you in?" anyway I told i was in this small little known parish ..... then I admitted that I wasnt catholic....and she just shook her head.... looked sadly at me and said she was sorry....and left. Minutes later, she came back in with tracts....(trying to save me) and the only thing she offered me, that she said I was missing....was Tradition (with a capital T she said) She said without the Tradition of the Catholic church i was missing the Fullness of Bla bla bla. My new priest friend was amused...and kinda slyly smiled as I graciously accepted a rosary she gave me (still in the wrapper) then she crossed herself and left again.
We joked about that....and i told him that was the first time a Catholic tried to save me. He said....Baptist do it to him all the time (thanks to his Brother) .....we both had a laugh....he asked if i was going to use the rosary....and I gave it to him.

Genesis 24 Isaac's servant did as he was instructed. He prayed for success in his journey. how many times do you think that if you were at a well and asked a woman for some water, she would offer to water your camels. That Rebekah was some kind of woman. Anyway....this was no chance meeting. It was definitely orchestrated, and I praise God....for stepping into my life, when I had no clue....and placing a two struggling kids together....who would eventually line themselves up with God.

I thank God that He provided me with my own Rebekah. Now, Jenny has never watered my camels....but she would if i had some. Guys, we need to really treasure our wives.... praise them and treat them like 'crystal'.

God I pray that I am able to reflect your heart. TO learn your ways....which arent Traditions....but allow your word to "define the way I live' I pray that church leaders everywhere, are seeking your heart....remembering their first love...and not become so encumbered with doing church...that they forget to be your hands and feet. Bless our effort and be glorified in us.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


dont know why....but the verse that really jumps off the page for me this morning is Matt 14:14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Jesus had just heard the news of the death of his first cousin, who had baptized him...and introduced him as the Son of God. Of course Jesus drew a crowd these days...but I'm sure this may have been one of those days that Jesus would have liked to have 'an alone day'.....yet when he saw the saw the crowd...he had compassion on them... and he healed their sick.
Not only did he heal heir sick...but then he met a basic need for the entire crowd, he took what little they had (food)...and multiplied it and fed the 5000 (and had leftovers). Isnt that cool that God is still in the multiplying business. He takes what little we bring to the table... supernaturally enhances it, as only God can do....and then pours it out as a blessing.
God is dealing with me...and the little compassion that I DO have... may be the miracle that God is working with my few loaves of 'compassion' this morning. I pray that he blesses and multiplies it in my life that HE may be glorified as my compassion for others grows.

Genesis 2312 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, "Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there." the vein of compassion....Ephron ....was moved to give what he meet the need of a grieving friend. Apparently, Abraham knew Ephron, because he knew his name..and knew his land and of this cave.

God, i pray that your compassion runs through us.... so that we not only begrudgingly give..... but give abundantly to bless those in need.

Little Rock is chilly this morning....pray for us as we continue on to Gatlinburg Tennessee. Pray that we have good times with Jennys brothers and sisters... I hope you all had a great Christmas and are enjoying your kids during their holidays.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Huge Faith of Abraham

I love the FAITH of Abraham. AND though i hate just stealing part of a sermon i heard stuck with me.
Genesis 22:5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
Abraham knew what God had called him to do....and yet in his statement to his servant I believe he didnt lie to him. WE will worship and WE will come back to you. I firmly believe that he was telling the truth....although he knew he would kill Isaac. But, like he told Isaac later, the Lord will provide a sacrifice.....but even if he didnt, Abraham had faith enough in God, in his character, in his word.....that he would raise Isaac from the dead ....if Abraham killed him.

in the parable of the weed.....weeds have been sown into the wheat field (by the enemy), or "unsaved" have worked their way into, come along side, or are trying to look like believers (for whatever reason) and
Matt13: "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.
i thought why this must be true....the first is obvious..there will be final judgement..and we arent the judge. but the second is that because we ARENT the judges....we wont judge correctly. and in doing so...other new, believers...who are young in the faith, may se this as too harsh, wrong, unjust, hypocritical. We may actually undo the good we have previously worked for in these young believers by acting AS God. Jesus...explains that there is a time for that...and the judgmemt will be strong....but now isnt the time.
I took this as a challenge equip our sons, each others sons....families and those who will join us.....we know who the weeds are, we should be aware of the weeds, but not be so concerned with judging and punishing.... Gods timing and sovereignty will handle those things.... and I can do what I am called to do.

Woke up this morning in Buda....was nice to sleep a night in my own bed. Not for praying for us as we head out today for see Jenny's family. This is a trip Jenny now wishes we didnt have to do. She is just ready NOT to be living out of a suitcase.... but I know we'll have a great time seeing all of them when we get there.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Runnin with the Devil

God delivers....literally.

Gen21:1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac [a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Isnt it cool that God doesnt have to work or isnt limited to working within the "norm"
I love the fact that Sarah laughed. I love the fact that she knows this is foolish to most....but that God has no limits. She in the next verse wants others to laugh with her.

In Matthew 12
Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, who have been saying that Jesus is driving out demons in the name of Satan. Jesus challenges them with;

"Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand."
Telling them what a rediculous presumption this is. I cannot believe that the 'religious' leaders of the day would have the audacity to challenge the Messiah by saying he is 'Runnin with the Devil'---(80's Van Halen reference....forgive me)

He then tells them "for a tree is recognized by its fruit."

And here is the kicker--
Matt 12:43"When an evil[f] spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

Jesus is challenging the Pharisees and their lack of discipleship.... saying that people who haven't been discipled...filled with God's word, become bearers of 'good fruit' (doers of God's word), basically being Pharisees....are highly likely to be overrun with 7 times the evil...and be worse off than before.

I feel this is a word to today's churches who are preaching a watered down gospel, a prosperity gospel or any church that is more about its business than God's business. Pharisees were all about going about looking religious, and they cared outwardly about the 'religiosity' of those who would listen.....but inside these guys were ...."whitewashed tombs" "broods of vipers"...."bearers of bad fruit".

God your bride....never let us forget your commands to love You and love others.
Never let us (as a body of believers) become whitewashed tombs... that look good on the outside, and has rotting corpses on the inside. Let us be about your business and less about our own agendas.

Merry Christmas Gentlemen. I will probably not post tomorrow, we start early...and have activities until we leave with the trucks loaded for Austin.

Tray Pruet - Associate Pastor

Friday, December 21, 2007


Matt 11:25At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

After hearing previous sermons on the YOKES of the Rabbis in Jesus day...I cannot even imagine what it meant to study under one of these educated men who 'knew' the Torah. From the age of 5 to 14 young Jews learned the Torah...backward and forward, according to his Rabbi's bent (his YOKE)

At the age of 14...that rabbi would take the cream of the crop...the smart boys...the ones that were a cut above the rest....and continue their education to be Rabbis themselves of his YOKE...and I was quite heavy, laborious, daunting, almost impossible....yet some (the smartest) were singled out and called to that honor.

The others....were fishermen, carpenters, inn keepers... regular joes...workin stiffs, who couldnt cut it, because the burden was too much, the load was too heavy.

So I love the picture of Jesus calling his disciples (the less than well educated) and them dropping their nets and following him, I love the fact that Jesus' yoke is easy....too easy for the educated sometimes....yet easy for those of us with chillike faith.

God thank you that you provide an easy yoke for us. I am sorry when we consider it a burden....God dont let us make it SO complicated to meet and know you. Dont let us get in the way of your easy YOKE....

My old pastor led men's discipleship groups called Yokefellows...and it was a time in my life that I was a spiritual child...and learned daily what it meant to be a follower of Chirst. What it meant to be a Godly husband and good Godly Daddy. A yoke is also a farming implement that ties two ox together to pull a plow. And like a cord of three strands isnt easily broken.....Yokefollows are the support group...the accountabilty we have with each other.

Tray Pruet - Associate Pastor

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pervs, Spears, Clemens, Vick and Craig

When i think about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, I forget that Lot...when the city pervs wanted to come have sex with the visiting 'stranger' (angels of God)...offered up his daughters to them instead, knowing who these guys were.
That strikes me as odd. Was he trying to save his city? What was he thinking? Let the pervs deal head on with the Angels.

Matthew Henry made a great connection with Lots salvation and is by the grace of God yes....but we dont need to hang around sin and our sinful life, we must run to the mountains and never look back! That wasnt just an odd request. My response may have been like Lots wife, want to look back at the ruin....but i think God doesnt want us to look back and questioned His judgement.
Was it too severe
Why didnt he save more people
Why me (its not my own righteousness but Gods)
Im going to miss some things about that life

Great question for today....
Was Lots wife saved? yes...she was saved by God grace from the ruin at S & G
yet she was still punished for disobedience.

I have thought about so much with Sodom and Gomorrah this morning and how we are living in that same type of environment today. Gay marriage, teen pregnancy.....( Jamie Lynn Spears (16) for crying out loud), prostitution, internet porn, divorce all time high, single mothers, homelessness and just overall declining moral absolutes and values.

Why do i have to explain to my 11 year old daughter, why a star of one of her favorite shows got pregnant. WHy do i have to tell my son why Michael Vick hung dogs after they wouldnt win fights. Why do i have to tell him that a baseball player he thought was a good a cheater. Why do i have to tell my son that Senator got arrested in the Minneapolis bathroom for rubbing feet with another dude.

OK....this is again...Brandon did you set this up?

Matthew 10:14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

So Jesus sends out the 12 with special instructions.
16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Jesus warns that this message will not be received well. The 12 are to take to the Jews first, but that they will not be received. Be on guard....

29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

this is a great verse in light of the fears (from yesterday) of having our kids involved with "lost kids".

39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

God I pray that, in your strength, we have the courage to lay down, and lose our lives. To take up our cross and follow you daily. God you truly showed us undeserved mercy when you saved us. God, give us wisdom and shrewdness of serpents...yet let us be gently as doves....let ME be gentle as a dove. I know I am more the bull in the china shop when sharing my faith....but allow me to slow down... realizing its not ON me.... and it all about YOU.

Tray Pruet - Associate Pastor

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Can I trust God with my kids?

12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

This has always been a challenging verse for me. WE like to say that we believe this but things we do in the name of "protecting our children" or "fellowship" seem to get us the company of believers ONLY.
I work very hard to rely on Gods protection within reason for my kids. I want them to reach to their lost friends....but i want them to be grounded enough not to be enticed away. I am pretty sure this is why the Mormons send Elders out in twos, for accountability.
I have taught classrooms of teens...who say that dont know ONE sad is that? They are home-schooled...and they go to church, and play upward basketball.
How can they be salt and light...if they are stuck in a closet. Now, my daughter...I want to keep in that closet until she is 30 (kidding...kinda).....but my son, I have already had a discussion with him about the move to Buda. I want him to be more like Christ in this aspect. He is very exclusive. He writes kids off....if they cuss, or cheat or do other bad stuff......but I want him to engage these guys and girls in order that they are attracted by the Love of Christ.
Its very easy for us as parents to rest in the fact that our child is living right....why would i mess with that....but i think its a trust issue, between me and God.

Tray Pruet - Associate Pastor

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

He laughs

Whats in a name....From Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many) from Sarai to Sarah ( both meaning "Princess") a change in dialect. And then Isaac (he laughs)

Genesis 17: 17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?"

I have to wonder what it was that Abraham laughed at. was it that Sarah was too old, he was too old, she couldnt have children, was it a laugh of joy, was it a laugh of disbelief.....

I love the fact that God didnt get mad at Abraham. I love that in his covenant, that God didnt "change his mind" because of Abraham's lack of belief, or respect, or lack of ability to control himself.....God doesn't change or isnt limited by our "foolishness"

God thanks for your new covenant. Thank you that our stupidity, our lack of effort, our inability to understand your goodness doesnt mean we cannot become your children.

Matthew 8 Jesus starts to gain some attention. Healings, driving out demons, calming storms....all stories we know so well..

and the response he got....
34Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Not quite the response I would have thought, or hope for....but Jesus knew this. He expected this....this is why a few verses earlier he talked about the Son of Man having no place to lay his head.

Jesus, and the Gospel.....mess with the balance of power. People are still uncomfortable with it, this is why it isnt polite to talk about "religion and politics" at parties. So what did Jesus do? He kept on healing, doing miracles and meeting the needs of people. So let us not only in our words...share Christ....but in our actions as well.

Guys something very interesting is unfolding....I want you all to pray for. I shared with you about the Corpus gathering Sunday night....there was a pregnant woman there....she is 5 months pregnant, living in a tent. I wrote about her on my blog yesterday ( and a friend of of the two people that actaully read my blog....called and emailed me last night and inquired about the woman.
Shane and his wife Kim are unable to have kids, and have started the foster parent procedure and are looking into adoption... they have been praying that God would allow them to adopt a baby in this type of situation.... and I am setting up the contacts for him to find out more. Just pray for them as well as the baby's mother (Freedom) and her husband (William).

Tray Pruet - Associate Pastor

Monday, December 17, 2007

Big Mo!

Can you feel the momentum?
Having been part of good teams and can just tell when momentum swings. When all the breaks are going your way...and you just ride it. Its hard to force....its hard to "manufacture", and with momentum its impossible to predict. You always hope for it, and when the other team gets pull everything from your bag of tricks to get it, or get it back.
Well, the momentum of God moving in Austin New Church is picking up. I would have said that a week ago, it was an all time high....but its building....gaining even more momentum. Praise to God....

Guys...the thing that was laid on my heart this morning...almost sounds you'll have to forgive me. But we need to be the MEN in our can all act macho...and say that we are. But in churches as a whole, more women are the spiritual leaders in their homes than the men, and it started back at Adam and Eve, and its still alive and well in 2007 almost 2008. You will find out through me that I am madly passionate about men sharpening men. I dont think its a "natural thing" to want that....because it exposes truth, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, feelings all the things that we like to bottle up. But guys have got to step up....

Case in point:

Genesis 16:2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."

Guys we might at first glance think....hey, well if she is alright with it.....who am i to....? But, much like the story of Adam and Eve, when Eve was tempted by the serpant...where was Adam? right there with her...and why didn't he step up and "be the man"? Shame, Deferring to whats easy, Not want to fight, a wuss, Heck, I don't know why Adam didnt bow up and say "Honey, you know that God said if we did this...we would DIE, and since he DID create us, I say we go with that. I think its funny too that now although Abram so quickly, in the last chapter trusted God would build this Sarai, is saying I can build a family through her (apparently not the same family God was talking about) so he just goes with that.
God I pray Austin New Church is a group of Godly MEN, who lead with your love in the home.

Matt 7: 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Brandon talked last night about the love that God has for us. The deep (in your gut) love that he has for us. And a point have that for our spouse or for our kids....God just points out again...that we can give good gifts to our children, but they are incomparable to the gifts our Heavenly Father can lavish on us...if we simply ask.

God I thank you for this body of believers, I thank you that you have drawn us together for Your Glory. That as we continue what you have ordained as a work in Austin..that we always remember that you are the source of life, of all good things, and the greatest gift ever.....Jesus.
Father use us this holiday season to share You with open our eyes and hearts for opportunities to be a witness. God continue to draw your Austin New Church and let us be faithful.

Last night....I told many of you that my sister was ministering to the homeless in Corpus....after hearing about the work in Austin...God just touched her and she encouraged 25 or people from her church to do the same exact thing....burgers, chips and blankets.....that we did in Austin. Guess what.....she got blessed....and so did the others.
They met a lady living in a tent, 5 months pregnant, no prenatal care....obviously, no way to get to a doctor, and a desire to give the child up for adoption. My sister hooked her up with another girl in the group and they are making that happen. They met a guy living in his car....who was saved.....lost his job, and was just sharing the Gospel with other homeless people. He had asked God to use him...and he sees this as God's answer for him, now.
So indirectly....Austin New guys made that happen. But God gets that GLORY!

Tray Pruet - Associate Pastor

Friday, December 14, 2007

What does God want?

I am almost giddy as I write this. I have been looking forward to coming back to Austin since we left there two weeks ago. Jenny and I have enjoyed the parties, send-offs, nice words….etc. but its time to do this.

In this mornings Genesis reading..... the aspects of Abrams giving over the ‘really big stuff’ (lack of no children) to God and kinda clutching the small areas because we know how to handle those……poked me right between the eyes.

In our Matthew reading, I am reminded again…..dont lay up treasures for yourself here on earth, that moth and rust destroys and thieves will steal, but lay up treasures in heaven. How come it is…that the more materialistic we are…the more scared we are someone will take it? And God in the same breath says…..dont worry about tomorrow…..there is enough to deal with today.

31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Apparently Christians and Pagans have the same needs……I guess its just our wants that differ….or do they? Maybe that’s why the following verse is Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well… keeps ‘our wants’ at bay…and more focused on God’s wants.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fishers of Men

Genesis 13
Abram to Lot:
"Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left."
Lot was Abrams nephew….but the fact that Abram was proactive in his relationship, had great discernment, don’t know if “kingdom minded” is the right word….but he blessed Lot by giving him space. Note too..that Abram gave Lot his choice. The elder deferred to the nephew…..oddly enough….Abram showed faith in God that… need to try to control the situation…..God’s got you. I also love that God continues to tell him that his offspring will be too many to count….

18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.
Also I love the way Abram marks his thanks and worship of God….seems that he has built these altars…everywhere the Lord has made him stop. He is continually compelled to make sacrifice for Gods continued provision.

Matthew 4
I have always loved the stories of the calling of the first disciples. The supernatural Christ calls….two sets of brothers….both fishermen, to leave their jobs, families, security, lives…and follow him. At once…and immediately….they each left their nets and boat….and followed. Fishing must have been an important trade…and one that would have provided for their families…properly, but it doesn’t even seem to be a consideration for either of the sets of brothers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

mmmmmmmmmm locust

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11"I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

I am impressed with the ‘original’ Turn or Burn Sermon. It seems that John the Baptist has more in common with Jesus than just being blood relatives. He felt empowered to ruffle the feathers of the power brokers of the day. We need to be careful with the ‘in your face’ Gospel….but it’s the religious that it seemed that Jesus reserved that for.

Interesting note….in my Archeological Bible I was gifted by a pastor friend of mine…I find that the dietary fiber in locust…..was an acceptable form of protein, by practicing Jews….not the disgusting ‘Fear Factor’-like stunt reserved for a caveman type….like I have always assumed. No doubt John the Baptist was a rough and tough hombre…..but locust at least made the list of stuff he could eat. And covered in honey…may have been a delicacy.

Gen 12….
Commentary I read
We have here the call by which Abram was removed out of the land of his nativity into the land of promise, which was designed both to try his faith and obedience, and also to set him apart for God.

Okay…so this is similar to my story…

Gentlemen…you have all applauded me for my move…and I have treasured that…but I don’t seek that anymore, but thanks. What I did want to share with you is that there are other steps of obedience that I reflect on that were smaller in scale that I have missed, ignored and/or failed (because I went back).
Listening and hearing…then acting in obedience is the tough part. I pray that as God continue to move us…we arent just so keyed in on the HUGE things that we miss the small steps of obedience we are to take every day.

God, give us ears to hear and hearts to move…when you call us to work. Give us discernment when dealing with lost people…..whether they are ‘religious’ or not. Give us the opportunities to share the good news of Your Son, in this Holiday Season. Let us make it more about you…and less about us.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Iron sharpens iron

Yesterday....I was ordained into the Gospel Ministry. What a trip. Tomorrow, I am speaking at my home church (Yorktown) and the church I grew up in (Parkdale) and the thought that occurs to me is.....11 years ago....had anyone said, God would allow me this honor.....and call me to this point....i would have said "you're %*@#$ nuts!" (because that was 11 years ago...I dont talk like that anymore) Today I am humbly recollecting all the folks who I appreciate pouring God and their lives into me:
Sam Douglass-gave me that eternal perspective and love for "the lost"
Paul White-who challenged me to live a "holy" life "set apart"
Brandon Hatmaker-who had and continues to challenge me, my heart, my walk, and my calling
Todd Jimenez-who showed me at the "end of me", God still uses and stretches us
Wayne Bartley-who challenged my leadership and creativity
Shane Miller-showed me how to worship in spirit and truth
Alan Billman-showed me to love those different than me
David Taylor-validated me and my calling
Mike Benton-my spiritual trailblazer, who showed me how to live, love my wife and kids, and gave me a passion for missions

These men shaped me, sharpened me and showed me where to find strength.

We as men...have got to seek out other help in this life.

God, thank you for Your Son....thank you that you chose to save me. I humbly commit myself to you, and pray that I can be a blessing to these have been to me. Use me despite my faults, clean me from the inside out....I love you...for you first loved me.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Enemy in the Camp

I’m seeing Jude as a very discerning man, a very humble man…but a very passionate man.

First of all…..I would be tempted to say…..Hey ….this is me Jude, Jesus Half brother…..but he refers to himself as a bondservant.
And obviously he is encouraged at what is going on, and would love to talk about the “salvation” they share, he saw something else and felt impressed to warn
I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (NIV)
I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. (Message)
I don’t think he is merely talking about people who are abusing grace….I feel like he is saying…the enemy has slipped into the camp. That someone has represented himself as a follower, yet their intent is to divide, cause problems and possibly destroy, from the inside out.

There will always be those in church, there for the wrong reason…socially, good for business, to feel better about themselves, duty….but we must discern between them…and the malicious
22-23Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

God give us your wisdom, your insight/discernment, allow us to be on guard….loving sinners….but not allowing sin to infiltrate this work. Give us your compassion for sinners. As we transition into the next phase of ANC, allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Keep us safe, God. You are our shelter in the storm, you provide for all our needs, you are the healer, you are our salvation….let us just be your servants.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bless Missionaries

3John1 Delivered to Gaius by Demetrius

In my daily reading this week…as I was preparing to come say something to ‘my old church’ I found this passage (in 3rd John) …and Demetrius ( a missionary) hand delivered this letter to Gaius ….who the letter is written to.

5Dear friend (Parkdale), you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.

I plan on using this passage this week at my old church. I hope they’ll consider partnering with us long term…but this is a note to the ‘flock’ during what I am doing in the Missions Minute….so it applies to all missionaries. Bless them. They aren’t taking money from pagans…so we the church need to step up and bless them.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Jenny's Birthday

Happy Birthday Jenny!
To my much older, lovely wife....I just want to let you know how much you mean to me. I thank God that we happened upon each other almost 20 years ago. Thanks for asking me to dance.....sorry I said no. I'm glad you accepted my offer later, and eventually we decided to "dance" for a lifetime.
We weren't looking for God, let alone each other...and God took a couple or selfish kids....who were only concerned about "our tempural happiness" and created a marriage with few stuggles....maybe....but definately is striving to remain Chirst-focussed.
Thank you for being my eventual biggest supporter in God's crazy adventure we find ourselves on. Your support HAD to come.....God knew that.....and I appreciate the sacrifice in comfort and security you were able to muster. Your faithfulness to Him encourages me to strive to be a better husband and dad.
I hope as we pour ourselves into our new friends, community and people who live broken lives, that God will exponetially multiply our love for each as well.
I love you!