Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Testimony

Does God has a purpose for our lives? I believe he has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. You life is so special to Him. The love that God has for you is more than you can begin to comprehend. The Bible says that God's love for us is immeasurable. Each on of us has a story or testimony.

Here is my story:

When I was six years old I woke up one morning and fell out of of bed. I couldn't feel my legs the way I should have and scooted down the hall screaming for mom and dad to help me. They took me to the Dr. And they immediately put me in the hospital and started running tests. Finally they found out that I had the Guillian-Barre Syndrome which is a disease that effect the central nervous system. It is the body fighting against itself. Within a few weeks I was paralyzed from the neck down. Today there is treatment for the Guillian-Barre Syndrome there wasn't when I had it. It eventually causes the respatory system to shut down and death. As you can imagine my parents called on the church to pray for me. It wasn't just my home congregation that was praying, congregations all over the world prayed that I would live. The church in Guam where had our best friends stationed prayed for me. The elders of the church and minister would visit and pray over me. Well, one night I remember it like yesterday. It is one of the real first memories that I won't forget. I went into respitory arrest. I had a near death experience. I remember seeing the bright light and feeling nothing but complete love and like I wanted to stay. A few days later I assisted in breathing and had to have breathing treatments. I remember the team of doctors. Seemed like ten came in and were looking me over and were in complete amazement. I was alive. I had a full blown case of chicken pox another disease that gave my body something else to fight against instead of itself. A couple days later the doctor came in and said, "I have some good news. Your alive. You are a miracle. But, I also have some bad news, you will never walk again." My parents, Christian family and churches praised God for their answered prayer that I was alive. But that wasn't good enough. They continued to pray that I would walk again. A week later I remember feeling my index finger. I Could move it up and down. My mom would put the finger where I needed to scratch the chicken pox to give me some temporary comfort. Within months I had feeling back. I began rigorous rehab. I had to learn how to walk, write, hold a fork, all over again. I had to catch up from missing school. I was in special education and had some learning disabilities. Over the next year I was walking, writing, eating all on my own. Many believed I would have difficulty graduating high school. I graduated from Abilene High in 1993 and Lubbock Christian University in 1998 with a degree in Bible emphasis in youth and family ministry. I believe that God has a purpose. A plan for my life. He had something wonderful in mind for me to do. I felt called. Called to preach the gospel. A burning within my bones. I totally believe in the power of prayer and know that God is such a God of love, mercy, and second chances. I praise God for what he has done in my life and what he will do in the future. That is my story.

I plan on speaking at some Guillian-Barre Syndrome support groups in the future. I also want to share my story with High School students and others. If you want to know more about Guillian-Barre Syndrome you can check out the Guillian-Barre Syndrome International Foundations website at:

God is so good!

What is your story? What is your testimony? How has God answered powerful prayer in your life? Do you feel like you have been called by God? How can you discover your calling? How have you see God make a difference in your life so you can be a living testimony to others? How have you seen his power at work in the plans of your life? Why do so many refuse to accept their calling and believe in the power of prayer? How has prayer made a difference in your life and ministry?
Share your thoughts.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What Do You Think About The Health and Wealth Gospel?

As Americans we are definitely the most blessed country in the world. Money...Money...Money. It is the true "American Idol". America is one of the richest nations in the world. According to Forbes magazine the 400 wealthiest Americans are billionares. We do live in a very materialistic society to say the least. We are a success driven, materialistic, self-centered society. It effects each and every American. You hear life coaches and motivational speakers teaching on how to be successful, happy and wealthy. You can go into any Barnes & Noble, Boarders, Hastings, and find aisles of books on the topsics.
You even see many television evangelists preaching a new gospel of health and wealth.

Time Magazine September 18, 2006 has an article by David Van Biema and Jeff Chu entitled, "Does God Want You To Be Rich?" In the article Joel Osteen pastor of Lakewood Church says, "I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. I think he wants ut enjoy our lives. I don't think I'd say God wants us to be rich" (p. 51).

Joyce Meyer author and television evangelist stated, "Who would want something where you're miserable, broke, and ugly and you have to muddle through until you get to heaven?" (p.54).

Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor said, "God wants you to own land. The entire Old Testament is all about land. Land represents that God is with you and God has blessed you." (p.55).

On the other side of the debate Rons Sider, evangelical antipoverty crusader, stated, "They have neglected the texts about danger of riches. Prosperity Gospel Lite is one of the most powerful forms of neglect of the poor." (p.54).

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church said, "This idea that God wants everyone to be wealthy? Baloney. It is creating a false idol. You don't mesasure self-worth by your net worth." (p.55).

Has this health and wealth become the new gospel? Has it crept into our churches? Has it influenced our preaching? Do we preach more lessons on how to be prosperous than a committed disciple? When we start preaching a health and wealth gospel does that make people want to become Christians for the wrong reasons? Why? What about commitment, self-sacrifice and discipleship? Do Christian American's know the prayer of Jabez more than they do the Lord's prayer? How is a health and wealth gospel dangerous to Christianity? What statement and message does it send to the world and to the poor? How does that make the poor feel? How does God see all of this?
What do you think? Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

Believe it or not there are some Christians who still believe and preachers that preach that the Holy Spirit is the word of God only.
I believe that the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. We recieve the Holy Spirit at the point of baptism according to Acts 2:38.
Why do some Christians and preachers still preach that the Holy Spirit is the word of God only? Is that quinching the Spirit? If you believe that the Holy Spirit is the word of God tell me why you believe it. Do you believe that they Holy Spirit is the word only or do you think it indwells and empower the Christian to live the Christian life? Does this issue on the Holy Spirit really matter to the Christians salvation? What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Christians: Are Some More Zealous About Politics Than Christianity?

As Christians are we more zealous (enthusiastic and diligent devotion) about politics than Christianity?

Novemeber 7th is less than two months away. You see political adds on televsion, radio, internet, and signs in yards. I put a sign in my yard for one a member of our church who is running for office. I didn't think anything about it. Just a little sign. Well, I got one of those letters. Anonymous letters with no return address. It was informing me that having a political yard sign in my yard (a parsonage) was illegal. Signed cercerned church of Christ members. It wasn't from my congregation because the way they addressed the preacher as pastor would definately not be something anyone in the church would call me. The letter was hateful, threatening and nit picky. It was evident that it was someone from the other politcal party. Since it was nit picky in nature I thought to myself I can play this game too so I moved it over into the city right of way. Well I found out I couldn't do that because the city has its own laws. So, we decided to just remove the sign. As a minister I don't want to cause any problems or division in the church. I love God and His Church more than I do politics.
I just like people to be up front and honest if they don't like something then being cowardly about it.
If I had put a sign of the right polotical party in my yard I would never have gotten this letter.
The letter and this nit pickiness has only made my determination to vote straight ticket (which I have never done) that much more solid.
In politics we see Christians saying that a certain political party is the party that is Christian or the party of Jesus. The right party. You have Christians listening to and reading more O'Riley, Rush, Hanity, than they do God and his word. You have Christians guilting other Christians into thinking they have to be a certain politcal affiliation to be Christain and their zealousness of it is sad. In politics they tend to forget who they are are as Christians and the other party has Christians in it. You have republican and democrat Christians. If only those Christians who were zealous about politics were that zealous for the Kingdom of God. If only they were that zealous in service. If only they were that zealous in their weekly giving and church attendance. Imagine what the kindgom of God could accomplish and become on earth, in their own communities.

I know not all Christians are this way. I know that not all Christians are zealous about polotics.
I undertand that you have Christians who aren't zealous about anything.

Why are some Chrisitans more zealous about politics than they are Christianity? Why do Christians seem to guilt, force or badger other Chrisitans to believing that they have to be a certain party polotically to be a Christian? Can you show me in scripture where Jesus was republican? or Democrat? What can be done so that Christians are zealous about Christianity more than thay are politics? Can you seperate the two? Is there a Christian way to approach political views that someone might have? Does the political views you have make you more Christian? Does politics and politcal views, politcal paties views make people feel self-righteous or tend to be more self-righteous than a Christian should be? Why are Christians nit picky about politics and their Christianity? How are Christians persecuted for the political beliefs? Have you? How have you seen Christians being more zealous about politics than Christianity?
Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

White Apathy...Black Rage...Racism In The Church

ACU Lectureship is next week. I am not going to be able to attend this year because my son and wife just started school but I was checking out the schedule to see what was going to be discussed and taught. I came across a class entitled "White Apathy...Black Rage." It is a class dealing with racism in the church. It has been said that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Why? What message does that send to the world? You have your white middle class churches, black congregations, Iglesia De Cristo's and Asian speaking churches. In 2006 do we still have problems of racism in the church? Is ACU over reacting to a problem that no longer exists or is it something that really needs to be discussed? How do you see racism or segregation in churches in your town? In your own congregation? Is it just white and blacks or is it other nationalities as well that you see not getting along? Do black churches have fellowships with white churches, Iglesia de Cristo's with black congregations, etc.? How can we stop racism in churches? What steps can we take? What can be done? If your congregation has broken down racial barriers how did your congregation do it? Love for you to share your congregations testimony. What is your congregation doing now to help racial harmony within the church and community?
Share your thoughts.
What do you think?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My People Are Destroyed From Lack Of Knowledge

I remember growing up people understood that the Church of Christ really knew the word. If someone had a question regaurding scripture you a could ask someone who was Chruch of Christ and they knew book, chapter and verse. Do we have that knowledge still? Do we know the word they way we should anymore? Hosea 4:6 tells us "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." We hear in the saying "Ignorance is bliss." Is it really? Do we read the Bible like we should? Are we too busy? Do we read more Max Lucado, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and others than we do the Word of God? How does lack of knowledge lead to problems in peoples lives, families, church, church leadership and a nation? Should we be stressing the importance of reading God's word more? Why is bible reading and study so important? How does it help our personally knowing who God is and wants?
Let me know what you think.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and hope you have a great birthday.

Five years ago...9/11/2001 it was my mom's birday. I remember hearing the news and calling my mom to wish her happy birthday and her crying and then I began to cry. We talked about the people, the families, the children who had lost loved ones. Then I wished her happy birthday. We didn't have TV so we went to Wal-Mart and watched the news at the electronics department with about 50 other people. Our son was six months old and we thought to ourselves about him and his future and how the world had changed forever. I remember the emotions on that day and the days to come. Hate, anger, rage, sadness, fustration, confusion. People asking: Why? Searching for meaning in life. Searching for a higher power. Churches were full the next Sundays. I remember seeing Democrat and Republican hand in hand singing at the captial. For a few weeks we were just Americans. People hung out flags and found unity in who we were as American's, we shared the same pain, emotions, country and flag.
Today we remember. Today remember the families in NY, DC and Penn. Remember the troops oversees. Remember who we are as a Americans. We are a country of freedom, diversity, a land of the brave. We remember,but have we healed as a people, a nation? Have we experienced Shalom?
What do you remember? What should we remember? How can we heal as a nation? How can we experience the comfort and presence of God in the years to come? How have things changed since 9/11?
Share thoughts and remember.

Monday, September 04, 2006

What Are We Trying To Restore?

I've been thinking about the restoration movement and think maybe we have been trying to restore the wrong things. In the restoration movement we have focused on form. How are we going to do church. I think as restorationists we tend to restore what we want to restore when it comes to the form. You hear people say we are trying to restore 1st Century New Testament Christianity. Are we? We don't have church houses, we don't meet together everyday, we don't meet in synagogues, don't have communion feasts, don't share and have everything in common. We think we have restored the form when in realtiy we haven't restored anything as far as form. Yes we have weekly communion, we sing, pray, have scripture readings and lessons. Things change over the years. The form changes. It was differnet in the 2nd century, 3rd and so on. We try to we have restored it to its orignial.. But as far as the form of the New Testament or the Pattern we haven't really restored it to its original.
In our focus on the form we have ingnored the function: showing mercy, grace, love, kindness, encouragement, 1st century Christian living. I believe the thing that really matters, the thing in which we should try to restore is the the function. The function not form is going to change lives and make disciples.
1st century Christians were 1st century christians. 2nd Cenury christians were 2nd century christians and so on. If we are to restore anything I believe it should be the function of the chruch in Acts. We need to be and must be 21st century Christians making an impact on our society with 1st century function.

A recommended reading on this subject is Tim Woodroof's book "A Church That Flies".

Please share your thoughts: What are we trying to restore? What should be restoreing? Has the form been our focus? Have we ignored the function? Is it the form of Christianity or the the function of Christianity that changes lives, make an impact, and makes disciples?
What do you think?