Don't Give Me Your Opinion - Show Me Your Passion!

That's a nifty title right?  I hope it got your attention.  If you want to make an impact on my life, I don't need your opinion - I need to see your passion!  Opinion is a mind-set that can change with the latest influential factors in your life.  People can change their opinion as often as the weather changes.  But passion is different.  Passion comes from within.  It is a motivating force that comes from the inside out.  Opinions don't necessarily change things...they just change.  But passion influences, changes, and impacts people, places, and things!

Passion is like fire.  It burns and warms.  It is like the fire associated with the steam engine.  Water is heated producing steam that pressurizes.  The pressure is then released to drive large engines.  However if the fire goes out the engine stops.  With the driving force removed (fire) the engine lies dormant - even though it has great potential.  Many people are just like that engine.  The fire is either gone out or just isn't there!  They are fueled by opinions instead, and don't mind offering their opinion to fuel others in their state!  I'm not trying to be cruel, but the truth is we need to demonstrate passion to a world that really, really needs it.

As followers of Jesus Christ, the Book says we are to impact the world with His love.  The love of Jesus is life-changing.  When we receive His love into our lives we are changed forever!  His love is powerful enough to light a fire within that not only changes me, but those I come in contact with.  For example, when Jesus is coming back is very important.  But if you and I demonstrate no passion for Jesus; if we are not passionate about the people He died for, our opinion of when we think He will come is irrelevant - and has absolutely no influence on people who are not following after Him.  I need to "be" His church everywhere I go.  However, if I have no passion for Him my opinion is just another opinion...with no impact!

I think we've had enough opinions, that's just my opinion.  You don't need my opinion.  Opinions are a dime a dozen, not because their not important, but because so many opinions are not rooted in true passion!  I need to experience people that are passionate first about their God, then about their spouses, families, churches, jobs, etc.  If you show me your passion I'll probably be asking your opinion!  What about it?

Analogies Never Lie

(Re-posted from March 19, 2010)

Being a blogger, preacher and a teacher I love the use of analogies.  The dictionary says an analogy is a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based.  For example, the analogy between the heart and a pump.  Analogies speak very clearly to me.  Perhaps that's why I like to use them.  Analogies don't lie!  When it becomes difficult to make a point, using analogies clearly establish the point.  We all use analogies, even when we don't know it.  Analogies never lie.

God has an uncanny way of getting through to me with analogies.  Maybe that's why I like to use them.  I can relate to them.  One set of analogies (God used on me) drastically changed my life.  He was lovingly dealing with me about consecrating my family and home to Him years ago.  Even years before that Connie and I committed our family and home to Him.  We had one of those "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" plaques above the main entrance to our home.  And we really meant it.  But we were also learning.  One day God clearly spoke to my heart and said, "You need to clean up your home if you're living for Me."  That really shocked me!  I really didn't understand.  I mean we had the plaque above our door and we were serious about it.  What could God mean?  Then He started giving me some analogies that changed my family's lives.  He said, "Stop using profanity in your home!"  I was dumbfounded because we had committed to no foul or profane language from our mouths.  Then He said, "Every time profanity comes through the TV you have allowed it into your home and it is the same as if you spoke it yourself!"  He didn't stop there.  He said, "Every time elicit sex is shown on your TV it is the same as if you've allowed adultery, fornication, and sexual immorality in your home, and done it yourself."  There was more.  He said, "If someone shows up at your door with a bottle of boose looking for a place to get smashed would you allow them in?"  I said "Absolutely not!"  He said, "But you do, every time it is shown on your TV."  There was even more...but I'll stop because if you're like me you quickly get the picture!  Connie and I quickly saw that the TV was a great source of contaminating our family's commitment to have a pure home.  Our loving God made a point, through analogies, we otherwise might have missed.

God used these analogies to speak the truth to me.  And let me tell you...I understood the truth very quickly and clearly!  Jesus used analogies quite often in His teachings.  He said "The Kingdom of God is like...".  Or "It is like..."  So many times He uses analogies to clearly establish His truth.  Analogies never lie! 

Perhaps you can think of some analogies God has used to get the message across to you.  I know He can speak to us in very creative and relative ways.  His point is definitely to change our lives.  He does it with the truth.  Analogies never lie!

This May Bother You

If you know me, you know I can be a little challenging in my posts at times.  I really don't mind being honest about my feelings. However, I never plan my day insuring I will be controversial or searching out ways to challenge (just for challenge's sake).  It's just not in my heart.  After walking with Jesus a few years, and learning His Word, I can't help but speak up when I see things going on that simply don't gel with His word.

So what's eating me today?  It's the same thing that eats at me every day.  Christ-followers who are not following after Christ, while they think they are!  I struggle with reconciling the life-style of many who call themselves Christians with what the Word of God says about the life-style of a believer.  I struggle with the "western gospel" presented by Pastors, churches, and T.V. ministries in this country.  I don't know if you've noticed yet, but it just doesn't line up with the Word!  

In our culture walking by faith means, believing God for a new car or house or for something beyond our natural financial means.  There's nothing wrong with believing God for a financial breakthrough or stuff or physical healing or someone's salvation.  However, if that's the depth of our faith and our understanding of walking by it, we are missing most of God's Word.  According to James, 1st, and 2nd Peter walking by faith means trusting Jesus only for one thing...your entire life! "How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood."  (Psa. 40:4)  The Bible instructs us completely on how to live for Christ.  We don't need a TV preacher (who thinks he's a star) to tell us what he says God says we should do.  Come on somebody!  Our born again, supernaturally regenerated spirit gels perfectly with the Word of God if we will just receive it from Him!  I'm not saying we don't need teachers...I'm just saying, "God give us teachers who teach Your Word...according to Your Word!"

When the apostles James and Peter teach us about rejoicing in and through fiery trials they are talking about trials that will send you to your grave.  Trials that may send you to prison or take one of your loved ones away.  The joy comes now, knowing that when the trial takes this natural life from will be forever in the presence of the One who redeemed your soul!  Man!  There is something about suffering for Christ's sake that produces a supernatural, everlasting!  That new house produces some joy now...but only now and temporarily.  It also produces a big ole honkin' mortgage payment!  

Many Christians in the world today suffer for their standing with Jesus.  Their standing is salvation from sin just like yours.  However, in their particular country they could die today because they said "yes" to living wholly for Jesus. the early Christians walking by faith means trusting God to eat, sleep, clothe, and eventually just live so the gospel can be furthered.  How concerned is the American church with furthering the matter what the cost?  When one chooses to walk by faith, the Bible says that faith will be tested.  Here's why. (James 1:3), "...knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."  That endurance results in the Gospel being furthered!

The Bible talks about the judgment seat of Christ for believers.  At the judgment seat we won't be judged for our sins.  But we will be judged according to the way we served Christ.  Most believers in our culture see that as our version of purgatory.  We think "Oh I know I'm not really serving Him in this life, but I'll get in anyway; just with fewer rewards.  I can live with that!"  But I'm thinking, if the Word of God is true, only those who have lost their life in Him (in this life) will get in!

No one (including me) longs for the fiery trials of persecution due to living for Jesus.  And quite frankly, I am very glad we still live in a nation in which we can live out loud for Jesus without the persecution some other nations are experiencing today.  But God has given us an incredible opportunity to live strongly and loudly for Jesus in our least for now.  He has given us the mandate to carry the gospel to every part of the world, and to pray fervently and consistently for those believers who are persecuted!  I am wondering what Jesus will say (when we stand before His judgment seat) about the western gospel life-style we live?  Will our comfortable life-styles please Him?  Will He say "Cool car" or "Sweet designer jeans"?  I'm just wondering.

Yard Work! Don't You Just Love It!

It’s been a really fun morning.  Connie and I spent some time out in the yard getting it ready for spring and summer.  We’ve got a good bit to go but we are really excited about it.  I must admit, I used to hate yard work but my desire has changed!  I know, that sounds a little crazy but let me explain.  You see, we haven’t had a yard to work in for 8 years!  Since February of 02 we’ve lived in apartments (one of which was the church parsonage).  We recently moved into a house!  We are so excited!  I can have a big ole dog if I want to!  Or we can have a cat…or both!  And we have a good size yard that needs a lot of work because the house was vacant for more than a year.  But…that’s just what we wanted!

It’s also a great time of year.  It’s been very cold here in the south, and we’ve had our share of rain, sleet, ice and snow this season.  But it’s all coming to an end!  The flowers are popping up all over, the tulip trees are blooming, and the leaves are beginning to peek out.  It’s a very special time of the year.  Spring in the south is extremely nice.  It’s that heavenly period between the cold of winter and the oppressive heat of the southern summer. 

Back to the yard.  Another reason we love yard work is that it is a form of restoration and preparation:  It just feels good to restore and prepare.  It is restoration from the winter, fallen leaves, and limbs.  It is also obviously a form of preparation.  This morning I was raking leaves and pine straw in preparation for the grass underneath to grow.  We picked up sticks that had fallen in order to prepare the way for the lawn mower a little later in the spring. 

I don’t mean to imply that you and I are just old, covered over yards!  But in a sense, this is just what Jesus does for us!  Obviously He restores our soul.  (Psalm 23).  And He prepares us for the future.  Not only the future in this life, but in our heavenly life.  I know sometimes (If you’re like me) you may feel like an abandoned yard that hasn’t been tended to for some time.  Or sometimes (again like me) you may feel the pains of God lovingly preparing you for the next level!  Bottom line is that God loves you and me so much that He will meet us right where we are…but He never leaves us there.  According to Jeremiah, He has an incredible future for you and me, filled with hope that never disappoints! 

The truth is…I can’t wait until the next time we get back out in the yard.  It really feels good to restore and prepare!  Now where’s that Icy Hot muscle helper stuff..?

Back Soon!

We've been so blessed to relocate back to Mississippi after many years.  Connie and I are looking forward to great opportunities to serve God and be His church...wherever we are!

Relocating means transition.  Transition means reestablishing.  Re-establishing means no internet until they get it installed.  Hopefully by Thursday, we'll be back up and running and I'll be back up and blogging regularly again!  Just to let you know!  Blessings!