Fire prevention starts at home

On a bike ride a few months ago I came across a US Forest Service sign that had this warning written on it: Fire Prevention Starts at Home. As I rode by it I sensed God speaking to me clearly. If I want to see the world set on fire then the flames need to burn the brightest at my house.

I realize that is not what the US Forest Service had in mind when they printed the sign. They want people to be careful with fire in their homes so that it doesn’t lead to fires elsewhere. God wants the opposite to happen, spiritually speaking. He wants us to be zealously on fire for Him and for that to spread like wildfire.

But that will not happen if we are not living it out under our own roof. You can’t ignore your own soul’s need for time with God, neglect time spent in prayer with your wife and fail to be a spiritual leader with your children and then show up at church and be a powerful leader or a an effective witness for Christ at work. If your own house isn’t burning how can you expect to catch anything else up in the blaze?

Nothing saps of spiritual strength and renders you powerless in public ministry so much as not living it out where ministry matters most, in private. If you aren’t fanning the flames at home you will have to conjure it up elsewhere; and fake fire is dangerous (Leviticus 10) and it lacks both heat and light.

Fire prevention starts at home.


Clutch

This weekend we are beginning a brand new series at freshlife. It’s called Clutch and I am really excited about it. Join us at one of our locations or online. You can also invite someone to come here

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Happy Birthday Alivia!

Six years ago today I held my eldest daughter for the first time and my heart was officially ripped out of my chest and stolen for good. She gets funnier, prettier, and spunkier every day. I love being a dad. I love being her dad. Happy birthday Alivia!


Get yourself a snuggie

Whenever I am on an airplane and we encounter turbulence I always look up and try to gauge the flight attendant’s reaction. They always remain calm, but what they do next is often telling. If they keep serving drinks than it is probably no big deal. If they quickly put away the drink cart it might mean more rough air is coming. If they strap on a parachute… we are in trouble. I figure they do this all day every day, many of them in high heels, so they are a reliable judge of the severity of the situation.

In Mark’s gospel there is a story where the disciples would have been wise to approach the turbulence they were in with a similar line of thinking. One evening, in Mark 4, Jesus and the twelve got into a boat. He told them that they were going to cross to the other side. But halfway across the lake a great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat. The Bible tells us that this was so severe that the boat began to fill with water. Scary.

Now had they thought back they would have remembered that Jesus had told them they were going to cross over to the other side. He hadn’t said that they were all going to get into the boat and drown. Remember this the next time you get into a storm, Jesus’ command is His enablement. His promises never fail. Let’s give them a pass for not remembering His exact wording.

I think that the crucial thing they overlooked was the flight attendant concept. Had they looked at Jesus they would had noticed that He had gone into the stern of the boat and was asleep on a pillow. I love that. Here they were in a situation that was causing them to panic and to come unhinged. But Jesus wasn’t phased, He was entering the REM phase of the sleep cycle! Mistaking His calm for indifference, they go on to wake Him up and accuse Him of not caring that they are dying. Had they taken their cue from Him instead of trying to “backseat Messiah” Him they could have tucked themselves in and gotten the benefit of a nap as well.

Here is the point. God is not even remotely phased by the things that freak you out. He isn’t. Psalm 29:10 says that He SAT enthroned at the flood. The flood. As in the biggest storm that the world has ever seen. Yeah, He remained seated and composed throughout it all. He wasn’t pacing or frantic, bothered or nervous. Trust me when I tell you that whatever you are going through today isn’t getting Him to the edge of His seat. He is in control and has it completely under control.

It might seem like the whole thing is going to go under the water. The wind is so loud you can hardly hear anything else. It is dark and scary and cold. The other side seems so far away. But He is in your boat! Get yourself a snuggie.


Last Night’s Party

I wish you could have been at Skull Church last night. It was over the top. Having Pastor Greg Laurie come and preach in the skulpit was such an honor. God has used him to communicate the gospel to over 4 million people in person through out the years at Harvest Crusades. There is no other person who has so helped shape and mold my evangelistic calling as him and everything we are trying to do to reach those stranded in sin is fruit to his account.

Leeland was our musical guest and they were so great. We have never had one of these events in the rain but we still had a great turnout and saw people respond to the gospel. That never gets old.

Just a few hours before the party started I got a breaking news alert (on my iPhone) about Steve Jobs dying. It was sobering. I am a card-carrying apple fanboy and I have read several biographies on this prolific luminary. As we thought of this sad news it caused our hearts to burn brighter as we prepared to preach the gospel. Life is short. Eternity is near.

Later in the night we used many different apple products to produce and send out the Skull Church webcast that went out to apple devices (and others) all over the place. Even though we have never had such difficulties streaming our HD video stream, probably because of the whole world rushing to read about and tweet about the news (we heard that many servers were overwhelmed by it all), after the invitation was given I took great joy in seeing commitments to follow Christ made online. It was technologically possible for us to reach out this way because of Steve Jobs.



You are not on a road

I have discovered a secret about figuring out God’s will and I want to share it with you. If you are anything like me you have spent time vacilating between two options and gotten stumped trying to figure out which direction God wants you to go. Maybe it was a relationship you were wondering about, a college major you couldn’t decide on or a move you were contemplating. It’s agonizing and frustrating to sit there spinning your wheels looking for traction, one way or the other.

During these times we do things like: list out pros and cons on a paper with a line down the middle, seek wise counsel, pray and fast and sometimes, in desperation, we look to God’s Word for hidden clues as though it were a magic eye poster. I remember messing myself up pretty good when I was praying between moving to Montana and staying in California while reading the book of Acts….Paul had a dream with a man from Macedonia and that sounds kind of like Montana if you slur your words…maybe I should go there! But then in the next couple verses he went down to the river side and Riverside is in California so maybe God wants me to stay here! I was admittedly clutching at straws.

And while we should definitely be turning to godly friends, and praying as we seek His will, I think we often neglect one of the most important and obvious steps. Instead of obsessing about the areas where you don’t know what He wants you to do, focus on the ones where you already do. Figure out which parts of your life are already out of His will and get in line.

His Word tells us it’s not His will for any to perish but for all to repent. If you aren’t saved you are outside of His will.

His Word tells us that it’s His will for us to be sanctified and that we would abstain from sexual immorality. If you are sinning sexually you are outside of His will.

His Word tells us that it’s His will for us to be thankful, rejoice in everything and to pray without ceasing. Let’s just say we are all in need of serious work in this area!

You get the idea. And those are just the times that He explicitly says, “The will of the Lord is…” The whole Bible is packed full of crystal clear precepts that reveal God’s will for our relationships, our work ethic, the way we discipline our kids, even the way we treat our animals. It might not tell you whether or not to take that job offer, but it will tell you how to approach work at the job you already have. If you don’t get that figured out it won’t matter where you work, the bigger problem will follow you to your new job and you will remain outside of His will.

What I have found is that when I shift from focusing on the mystery area where I’m waiting for a mexican food induced dream or a hologram to show up on the pages of my Bible; and instead I deal with the areas where He already has given me instruction but I haven’t obeyed, the whole process seems to gel and fall into place without the agony. It’s kind of like being in a car with a GPS unit deep in a parking lot. If you punch in where you want to go you are expecting list by list, turn by turn navigation to show up but instead sometimes you will hear, “You are not on a road. Get to a road and your navigation will begin.” Sometimes I think God says the same to us. We are stalled out waiting for Him to speak and He’s going, “I already did. Do what I have told you, GET ON A ROAD and the next step will come naturally.”

We shouldn’t expect Him to tell us something new until we are doing what He has revealed to us.

Romans 12:1–2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.