Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuck Between Seasons

James 5:7
Be patient, therefore, beloved until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

Waiting for your breakthrough can be one of the most trying things for a believer, especially when you have sown seed and nothing seems to be coming up. Even though we know the scripture Isaiah 40:30-31 (New International Version)

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

…It’s the waiting part that can get to you. This has been a difficult season watching the people of God struggle through this recession. Yes, we have been believing God for our breakthrough. Yes, we have been preaching through the storms. Eyes we have been giving but we are stuck it seems, between two seasons.

When you are stuck between seasons waiting on the Precious crop there is a quiet panic that tries to creep in. Imagine a farmer looking out at his seeds he’s planted depending upon what he or she hopes to grow. The first rain gave him/her some hope as the plants started growing, but when the first rain stopped, there is nothing but heat. The plants on the outer fringes are scorched, some of them even die off while the farmer is hoping for the late rains to hurry up and come. For some of us this month feels like we are stuck between seasons waiting on your precious crop.

The Thing that you have to do between seasons is:

1. Don’t panic but Pray. James 5:17-18 (New International Version)
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
2. Be Patient. Good things come to those that wait. Waiting is not being idle it’s being productive while you wait on God to do His part.

3. Endure till you mature. James 1:2-4 (New International Version)

Trials and Temptations

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Dear God, thank you for my precious crop! I know that when it comes in it will be worth the wait. The weight will be worth the wait. I know this dry spell is almost over. Sometimes, I felt like giving up but I know you will come through! I’m going to pray until you come. I’m going to pray until the late rain comes. I ain’t giving up until you show up. Thank you for the 100 fold Return.

In Jesus Name!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Get That Weight Off You!

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

Shoe manufacturers like Nike are coming up with more and more ways to make lighter shoes and clothing. This marketing effort is to draw in those athletes who want the comfort in running without the weight. The idea is the lighter I am the easier the run and the faster I go.

It is true that when you are in a race you want to be light as possible and streamlined. We need to cast off everything that would hinder us or slow us down.
The weight is the guilt and shame that gets heavy on us. When we are disobedient to God the consequences of our shame weigh our conscience and make it hard to run. Over the years we have put on some weight by the things we have participated in or allowed to go on in our lives. Whenever anybody wants to get rid of some weight they have to go into strict training and consciously put off some of the weight they’ve put on. We can’t continue to consume some of the things we’ve been consuming if we are going to get this weight off. Then we also have to exercise regularly so that we can burn up the calories that come as a result of intake. It’s not just the bad stuff we eat but we can be eating good stuff and not exercise causes us to put on weight. For example coming to church periodically but not serving in ministry is like eating one big meal a day and never exercising. Your body stores up fat because you are not eating regularly and there is no exercise to burn the excess fat. In other words faith without works is dead and plus it makes you fat (faithless and Tired).

Sin Clings to us and builds up resistance to the wind. The Wind is the Holy Spirit. We ought to be running with the wind but when sin clings to us it causes us to run against the wind. Sin slows us down because we can’t run as fast as we need to. We can’t go forward as efficient as we need to because we are slowed by what clings to us.

In order to run more effectively we need to lay aside every sin that so easily entangles us. The way that we can do that is because of the great cloud of witnesses that surround us. When you are running a race it’s the people in the stands that cheer you on. Read the list of Witnesses in Hebrews 11. They are the heroes of faith. They finished their race now they are cheering us on. Take off whatever is slowing you down so you can finish strong.

Run with Perseverance. The race is not given to the swift or to the strong but to those who can keep on running. You remember the race between the rabbit and the turtle. The turtle won because he kept putting one foot in front of the other. The rabbit lost because he kept sleeping when he should have been running. He wasn’t consistent. Too many of ya’ll are sleeping in on Sundays when you should be running. Sundays is when you fuel up for the race Monday through Saturday. Don’t let the weight of Saturday night cause you to miss the most important day of your week. Get that weight off you!

Dear God, give me the strength to streamline my life. Help me to take off whatever is slowing me down so I can run like I need to run. Lighten my load so I can finish this race!

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gain More With Less

I Timothy 6:6
Of course there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment…but if we have food and clothing we will be content with these.

When is enough ever enough? In our consumer culture there are more and more offerings to peek our cravings for the next thing we didn’t know we needed. It’s humorous to listen to my children say, “Daddy I need this new thing.” I have to remind them there is a difference between want and need. Need is something you can’t do without for survival, “want” is a creature comfort that is pleasurable but not necessary for my survival.

Some of us treat God like a divine parent and we think that because we are good or “godly’ that we should gain more, that we should be profitable, rich. That thought is partially correct. There is a gain in godliness. David said in Psalm 37:4
delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. But that gain only holds when it is coupled with contentment... God has never liked greed. When he gave Adam and Eve everything they needed in Eden, they still lusted for the one thing they couldn’t have but wanted. They didn’t need it but Satan produced a false want, they wanted to be like God to know the difference between Good and Evil. They were in Paradise but were not content. Godliness + Contentment= Great Gain. In other words, I get more by being content with less.

Paul talks about contentment in Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Rick Warren in his “Purpose of Christmas” says we live on three levels:

1. Survival level. Is where everyday people are struggling to get their basic needs met, food, water, clothing. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source 4

2. Success Level is where we have attained our basic needs plus some creature comforts. When you are struggling financially in the United States or even poor you are doing better than the majority of impoverished people in third world countries. If you didn’t sleep on mud floors last night or send your children digging through the trash for food then you are probably at the success level.

3. Significance Level is where we take our success and bless others. The more you gain the more you must learn contentment. In order to reach significance you must live out your God-given purpose and continue to give back and not worship your gain (riches)

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (New International Version)
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Dear God, thank you for good and clothing, for a roof over my head, and clothes on my body. You’ve been embarrassingly good to me and my family. This season help me to give back a portion of all that you’ve given me so someone else can make it out of survival mode to success to significance.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do Not Be Deceived

I Timothy 4:1
Now the Sprit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful sprits and teaching of demons.

de•ceive [ di sv ] (past and past participle de•ceived, present participle de•ceiv•ing, 3rd person present singular de•ceives)



1. transitive verb intentionally trick or mislead somebody: to mislead or deliberately hide the truth from somebody

2. de•ceive your•self vr fool yourself: to convince yourself of something that is not true

3. transitive verb be sexually unfaithful to somebody: to be sexually unfaithful to a spouse or sexual partner [13th century. Via Old French deceveir< Latin decipere "ensnare, take in" < capere "take, seize"]

More and more young people are being pulled away from their faith in Jesus Christ because of deception. The devil comes in like an angel of light to deceive believers away from the truth. We have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. Today’s deception is like false advertisement from competitive dealers. The dealer promises you the same thing you’ve been accustomed to but when you leave what is the genuine article you discover you have traded down and paid a higher cost.

We are in danger of being deceived away from the true and living God by the cultural pull of what Morpheus would call the Matrix. Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage... born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.

The Matrix

Hip Hop is not a Religion. Yoga is not a substitute for Prayer. All Roads do not lead to Eternal Life.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13:
[The Narrow and Wide Gates] "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

As human beings, we choose the path of least resistance, the less offensive way, and the most convenient path. Many people are trading in Jesus for more “flesh” efficient religions that make you feel good and accept any lifestyle even if it goes against everything God says in His word.

We are entering the days when it will not be popular to be a Christian. Many will no longer follow because they would rather please men than please God. They would rather please their flesh than be pleasing to God. Do not allow yourselves to be deceived. Deception is subtle. It’s in our music, in our movies, in our churches, in our books, our schools. Slowly, but surely, God is being removed from the fabric of our faith and we're making ourselves and our stomachs our gods. We have got to wake up before we look around and God is gone!

This is how we avoid deception:
1. Watch what you listen to. Verse 7. Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives tales.

2. Train yourself in godliness (verse 7b)

3. Set an example in speech, and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (v. 12)

4. Give attention to the Public reading of Scripture (v. 13) Do not be ashamed of God before men. If you are ashamed of God before men then Jesus will be ashamed of you before the Father. God’s Word does not return void. Something happens when you read God’s Word in Public. It’s sharper than a two edge sword cutting through to the conscience of men and women.

5. Do not neglect the gift in you. (V. 14) the oracle told Neo in the movie the matrix, “You have the gift but it looks like you are waiting on something.” God has gifted you to break the matrix and to deliver other slaves from deception. Wake up Neo!

Dear God,
Keep us from falling away. Remove the wool from our eyes. Sharpen our ears to the sound of your voice so we will not follow the voice of a stranger. Keep us steadfast, unmoveable, so we will not be pulled away or deceived by the enemy. Keep us strong until you return.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are You Salty?

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech always be gracious seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

During this Holiday season it’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday rush that we forge to have the Spirit of Jesus. In fact, people can be down right rude. Clerks are snappy. Shoppers are nasty. Attendants have the disposition of Bon Qui Qui, “I will cut you!” Some people will say that these people are just being salty but I would argue that they are not being salty enough.

Some people understand a “salty” person as being someone with a chip on their shoulder but Jesus understood “salty” people to be believers who had the transformative influence of the Holy Sprit.

Matthew 5:18 You are the salt of the earth, but what good is salt if it loses its flavor. It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled by the foot of men. Our salt is not laced with anger but with grace. Salt does not destroy it preserves, it helps food to taste better as long as you don’t use too much.

Paul says when we talk to outsiders or unbelievers we ought to be careful by:

1. Making sure our speech is always graceful. We should be polite. How you react or respond to any given situation could be a visual aid to what it means to be a Christian.

2. Seasoned with Salt. We should taste our words before we speak to make sure something of transformative value will come out to help not hurt, soothe not escalate the situation.

3. That you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Each conversation requires a different response but they all need a little salt. The bible says always be ready to give an account for what you believe.

Dear God, season me with the right words and the right response. Help me to make my environment better and not respond as a product of my environment. Season me with grace and kindness so that I can show in my speech that Jesus is the reason in my season.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't Let Them Outdo You!

Romans 12:10
Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

When I played football in High School one of the ways the coach would motivate the starters was to lift up the younger, hungrier players as examples in practice during drills. I was 4’11’ and 90lbs going up against 5’9’ 150 pound guys with everything I had. Coach would say, “Look at Spencer’s heart; ya’ll going to let this little guy outdo you?” How could someone not even starting, smaller, and less talented outdo these gifted athletes? Heart.

In relationships, it ought to be our goal to outdo one another. There should be competition in marriage, on staff, on teams. Yes, I said it! You ought to outdo the person you work with, on a team with, married to. Don’t you let them outdo you. Hey man, how you going to let that little woman you're married to outdo you. Hey woman how you going to let that big old man you work with outdo you? You ought to outdo the person you care about and especially the ones you don’t like.

Two things you ought to do to make your goal today in your relationships, be they work related or personal:

1) Love one another with mutual affection. This love is agape love, a self-less love characteristic of God. This means you have to love people you don’t feel like loving by looking out for their best interests without waiting on them to move first. Not withholding good when it is in your power to do so. It must be mutual affection. Love is a two way street and in order for a marriage to work affection must be reciprocal.

2) Outdo one another in showing honor. Every day you should wake up trying to figure out how you are going to outdo the people you are in relationship with in showing honor. “I’m going to wake up earlier and have breakfast waiting for them. I’m going to get there before everybody else and have coffee ready. I’m going to randomly call them in the middle of the day just to tell them how wonderful they are to me.” Don’t let them outdo you in showing honor.

The good thing about this competition is that everybody wins. It’s not about how big you are, how gifted you are, how much money you have, but it’s about how big your heart is!

Dear God, help me to outdo the ones I love today by showing honor. Forgive me for falling behind in the love department. I’m ready to give it everything I can. I’m stepping up my game this morning!

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's Your Mindset?

Romans 8:6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

I remember taking golf lessons and trying to hit the ball straight. There were some other players ahead of us and my instructor told me to make sure to focus on the flag or else I would hit the guys standing on the next hole. He said, the brain will subconsciously focus on what you see in your peripheral if you do not focus the mind on where you want the ball to go. You will hit what you don’t want to hit if your mind is not set on your goal. I found this to be true in fishing as well. I can be fishing by a tree, see the tree and tell myself I don’t want to throw into that limb. I bring my pole back, cast my line and where does it go? Right into the limb. The very thing I said I didn’t want to hit, I hit it anyway because of my mindset.

Whatever time you have your alarm clock set for determines what time you wake up. Whatever channel your DVR is set on determines what you see on playback when you get home. Ironically, when I get back in my truck, whatever the last station I played on my radio station comes back on when I power up because it was set on that channel.
Our mind is like a computer whatever we set our mind to that is what we will see, hear, and wake up to. Like a TV set, we come with many pre-sets, programs that contradict our morality but with the right controller we can program our pre-sets so they will not contradict with who we are trying to become.

We must control our mind sets. A mind set on the flesh leads to death while a mind set on the Spirit leads to life and peace.

I was watching Sex Rehab on VH1 with Dr. Drew who said, “Sex addiction is harder to overcome than drug, food, or alcohol addiction because people have to change their mind sets. They have to dig into their psyche to discover the trauma that has had them set on sex instead of dealing with their intimacy issues.” Many sex addicts set their minds on pleasing their flesh to self-medicate a tormented spirit rather than setting their minds on the Spirit. Since their focus is on pleasing the flesh, they keep hitting what is killing them. It is only when they set their minds on their spirit that they are able to overcome the enslavement and consequences of the flesh.
There is an inner conflict in all of us, whether it is sex, food, alcohol, or drugs. Part of us want to do what is Right and the other part wants to do what feels good for the moment which leads to a lot of other moments which leads to shame. How do you overcome the conflict?

We have to change our mind set through the power of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:7 “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s law indeed it cannot and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

How do I change my mind set?

1. Fasting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline where you deny the body of its cravings so that you show your body who is in control. 1 Corinthians 6:12
[ Sexual Immorality ] "Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. Set a time whether it is a day, three days, or 21 days to go without whatever it is that is mastering you. Purge yourself of this need to please the flesh and go into prayer.

2. Re-programming your mind. Romans 12:2 (New International Version)
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Instead of eating when you are lonely, set a schedule to eat when you are supposed to eat. Instead of having sex when you feel empty replace it with intimacy with real friends who care about your soul not just your body. This re-programming comes with the help of a licensed counselor or pastor who can help re-program your mind set.

3. Blocks or filters on your computer/TV/mindset. When you are trying to watch the right things on your computer or TV some people have opted to put parental blocks on their Sets to prevent corrupting influences to come through their screens. Pragmatically, this is a good idea for people trying to change their mindsets but spiritually we need to put in the Word of God to support the practical side. David said in Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Dear God, thank you for the Holy Sprit who changed my mindset. If your Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, then I know you will give life to our mortal bodies also through the Sprit that dwells in us. Today my mind is set on pleasing the Spirit not my flesh.
In Jesus Name,