November 06, 2013

Happy New Year To Me!

Today is November 6 and I turn 56 and I am loving it!

Life either expands or shrinks as you age.

It depends on your attitude and activity level.

If you love life and love learning and love people then each year is a wider adventure.

If you take new action to push the boundaries of last year, then the coming year is bigger than the previous year.

At 56 I am in AWE of my Great God who has blessed me beyond measure and blessed me inspite of my stupidity and frequent failures. Some people have frequent flier miles...I have frequent failure miles...but by learning from those failures they are taking me new places!

One of my favorite passages is:
Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

If his great love and mercy and kindness is new EVERY MORNING then how much more are they NEW EVERY YEAR?

I can't wait to explore the NEWNESS of life and the newness of HIS love during 56!

I bless you LORD with ALL that is within me!

(No time to write more because speaking at the Multi-Ethnic Ministry National Conference today)

October 28, 2013

My Mission Statement In Life

My mission statement in life is quite simple but very personal and powerful for me.

For the glory of God and by His power I WILL: LIVE fully, LOVE sacrificially, LEARN continually, LEAD wisely, LAUGH frequently!

LIVE Fully: Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Make every day count and maximize the opportunities of every day. Here's one of my quotes I made up to live by: "Of the senses God gave me five, use them all to be fully alive!"

LOVE Sacrificially: You can live for self or others. God calls us to follow the example of Jesus and lay down our lives for others. I seek to live by my quote that is on every email I send: "The greatest privilege of living is authentically loving others."

LEARN Continually: Life gets richer the more that you learn. You can pursue entertainment or education in life. You can learn from people, places, experiences, books, etc. My quest is to stay young by learning for all of life.

LEAD Wisely: I am a servant leader who seeks wisdom in influencing those who look to be for leadership. I am a footwasher. I am a door opener. I seek to bless my family, my friends, my church, my conference, the body of Christ, through my life.

LAUGH Frequently: I love to play. Our family motto is "Pray hard, work hard, play hard". "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"my momma used to say. Laughing with family & friends is gift from God to be enjoyed as an act of worship.

September 12, 2013

The Night the Waters Roared

In light of the Colorado floods today, it reminds me of one of the most awesome God-stories in my life. It happened in the same location as the current flooding.

One of those beautiful 1997 summer days in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains had faded into a light rain as 3000 teens made their way into Moby Arena on the campus of Colorado State University. Moby Arena is a huge windowless concrete structure seating 8000.

As the worship finished, I stood to deliver the evening message that I believed God had originated in my spirit for this group. I preached passionately and although I was not scheduled to do so, I gave an altar call. Students began to respond.

At that point I felt impressed strongly by the Spirit to give a clearer, more urgent call for teens to come to the front and surrender their lives to Christ. I hesitated as we were far past the scheduled dismissal time. I sensed the nudging of God again. At that point I told them to keep coming until God was finished with what he wanted to do.

We had no clue what was transpiring just outside the strong concrete walls. As the altar call took place an eight foot wall of water roared through campus of Colorado State leaving $200 million of damage and five dead people behind.

The fact is had we dismissed these teens at the scheduled time, they would have been directly in the path of the flood. Tens, if not hundreds of people would have died. Instead we were in the safety of the stadium. We spent the night in that secure environment while the flood raged outside.

The next morning we emerged and many of the teens spent the next day helping the devastated community of Fort Collins clean up from the flash flood.

That story always gives me goose bumps about so many things: The leading of the Spirit, the safety we have in Christ (our ark of refuge), the fragility of life and the sovereignty of God.

September 01, 2013


RANGE is the distance between two different realities, the distance between your low point and your high point, the distance between two different experiences, the distance between your secure point and your fear point or your comfort point and your misery point,

My wife has a temperature range of 5 degrees..she's comfortable between 68 and 73 degrees. I accuse her of being the princess in "The Princess and the Pea". Remember how the princess slept on top of twenty mattresses but still felt the small pea under the bottom mattress thus proving her royalty? I am honored to live with royalty!

Now actually my wife has a huge range...she can go from doing the dirtiest work in the garden to hosting the fanciest of teas, can go from relating with the homeless to laughing with the professors and governors, go from changing a spare tire to writing a dissertation. So I honor my wife's real range.

RANGE is what I see in Jesus as I study his life in the gospels. From engaging lepers to engaging Pilate, from wilderness solitude to speaking to 8,000 or more, from the carpenter shop to the temple courts, from fasting to feasting, from partying with the tax collectors to the mount of transfiguration, from cuddling children to staring down the high priest, Jesus had RANGE.

I am working on my RANGE...
Range comes from being secure about who you are and knowing how "with you" God really is.

It stems from not being scared for discomfort and misery but also not fearing to embrace the best of life.

It comes from having nothing to prove and seeking to give more than receive.

It flows from wanting to push the limitations of both ends of the spectrum.

It comes from living in a learning posture.

It comes from experimentation and a love for stretching my current reality.

It flows from facing fears and pushing through.

I believe God wants to increase our range rather than reconfirm our comfort zones.

So being in the jungle with cannibals or speaking at Exponential at Saddleback Church OR
skiing a double black diamond run in British Columbia or serving the homeless on Skidrow OR
teaching 5 year olds in a Sunday School class or lecturing Denominational leaders OR
preaching in a mud hut in Ethiopia to preaching to white folks in Kansas...I want RANGE.

August 22, 2013

Uncle Roy & John Deere & Grace

A handful of people impact your life far beyond what any others do. Uncle Roy is one of those handful for me. He is a gift from God to my life over the decades.

In the picture above Uncle Roy presents me with the gift my daddy gave me 53 years earliers.
It was Christmas 1959 and my daddy was sick. For Christmas he gave me a John Deere tractor I could ride on and pedal. I was 2 years old. 3 weeks later daddy died. Uncle Roy took a special interest in me.

For the past 53 years I have been the grateful recipient of his godly example, his wisdom, his generosity, his prayers and his love.

Recently he moved from his small town of Hugoton Kansas where he had lived for 80 years, to La Habra, CA...the LA suburb. What a daring move for someone headed to their finish line. He moved next door to my cousin.

At a family gathering to welcome them to our "neck of the woods" he surprised me with my "restored" tractor. He had brought it from Kansas to share with me.

My life has been enriched by my Uncle Roy. I did nothing to merit or deserve his love. I did not choose the family I was born into. I can simply receive his love and rejoice....and ain't that just like God's GRACE?!

August 17, 2013

Dancing at Midnight

Am I one of the few weird people in the world who has risen from bed at midnight, put in my earbuds, turned on a favorite worship song and danced in the moonlight....then slipped quietly back into bed to sleep in peace the rest of the night?

Is it just me that gets up on a 13 hour international flight, goes back near the squished up bathrooms wearing my anti-jet noise headphones, my neckpillow and my eyeshield blinders and while everyone is conked out... begin to slowly, unobtrusively dance to the tune of a intimate worship song?

The Word of God calls us to praise Him in dancing...but what's being pictured in those verses is a boisterous dance of joy...a whirling dervish of delight...mourning into dancing kind of dance. I have those kind of dancing moments too...but not at midnight.

No... at midnight, on rare occasions, perhaps 3 or 4 times a year, I will "slow dance" in worship to my King. My masculinity or sanity could be called into question by such a move...(especially if you could see what I call dancing) but if you deeply know Jesus you may resonate with what I am talking about here.

I love how David responds to Michal's criticism about his dancing. David says in 2 Samuel 6:22 "It was before the Lord..." as if to say, "tough cookies sweetheart, this is between my Lord and frankly Scarlet I don't give a darn!"