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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Words have power, and thoughts, like seeds, can take root in the heart to alter our perspective or change our behavior altogether.  The following is a list of quotes etched in my memory, and a brief explanation of their significance. 

This is not a collection of the greatest quotes of all time, but quotes that have impacted me, personally, for a lifetime.  It is important that we remember and rehearse the words that have touched our souls.  What words have moved you in your life?  What would your list look like?

“`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.” – from Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.  Taught me that words could be fun, that language captures the imagination.

“. . . Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” – from Dulce et Decorum Est  by Wildfred Owen.  Taught me that words are powerful, descriptive, moving and memorable.

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” –Proverbs 22:1.  Printed on a bookmark someone gave me in church as a child.  Taught me to treasure who I was and respect the impact of character.

“I do” – Mindy von Atzigen.  Taught me that words could be trusted.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”  – J.R.R. Tolkien.  Taught me that a book could take you anywhere.

“I have not yet begun to fight!” – John Paul Jones.  Taught me that words reach further than the sound of our voice.  They can echo through history.

“Failure is not falling down, it is refusing to get back up”  – Pastor Dan Pinto.  Taught me that life is bigger than the present and there is hope on the other side of any disappointment.

“In some way, what we do on a Sunday morning has to make sense to people.”  – Pastor Morris Sheats.  Taught me to lead in such a way that empowered others to be able to follow.

“The pumps don’t work ‘cause the vandals took the handles.” – from Subterranean Homesick Blues by  Bob Dylan.  Taught me that people don’t always have to understand you to be inspired.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God.  And that is what we are.”  1 John 3:1Taught me that I was loved and accepted by God.  That I was significant.  That sins could be forgiven.  That brokenness could be healed.  That a prodigal could come home.  That a life could be made new again, and again, and again.

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  1. I am thankful to raise my children in Sweetwater, the oasis of West-Texas.  A beautiful city, filled with beautiful people.
  2. I am thankful for the team I work with every day.  A passionate, energetic, creative, and hard-working crew of Jesus-loving pastors.
  3. I am thankful for men and women who laid down their life to lead the Body of Christ and pioneer a path of revival.  Men such as Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church are my modern day heroes.
  4. I am thankful for Nelson Searcy’s book “Fusion,” which has taught me how to love and appreciate the new guests at EFC.  It takes courage to walk into a church for the first time, and I want to honor that courage with a warm welcome and great encounter.
  5. I am thankful for every unsung hero and unknown face that loves unselfishly, lives faithfully, and serves unconditionally.  These are the saints I look forward to singing with someday in a Heavenly choir.
  6. I am thankful for my spiritual heritage, a legacy of faith of three generations of men loving the church and seeking revival in West-Texas.
  7. I am thankful for my kitchen table.  It is so much more than warm food and sweet desserts.  It is a place of joyful conversation, heartfelt prayers, and everyday discipleship.
  8. I am thankful for grace.  It is as amazing today as it was the first day it pulled me out of darkness and into light.
  9. I am thankful for my wife.  She inspires me every day to live fully and freely, to continually press further up and farther in to the grace of God!
  10. I am thankful for this year’s harvest: salvations, healings, rededications, restorations, weddings, baptisms, and freedom.  It’s been a good year!
  11. I am thankful for the opportunity to press into next year — and the hope that 2012 will be even more alive, blessed, and fruitful than this year!

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Super Size, Value Size, Whata Size.  It has become the nature of American consumer that when we place an order, we want to go big with it.  We all want to get the most bang for our buck.

But, real life is much more complicated than ordering off of a fast food menu.  How do I go big on the menu of everyday living?

Jesus may not have frequented fast food establishments (though He was the originator of the super-sized happy meal), but He understood the principles that can make life much bigger and more full than the smallness we often relegate ourselves to.  In Luke 6, He tells us:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  — Luke 6:37-38 (NIV)

Jesus says you are the determining factor of the size of your life.  When you measure generously toward others, you measure generously toward yourself.

I pray you find freedom in this remarkable teaching from our Lord Jesus.  As you walk in forgiveness and generosity toward others, may it lead you to experience the fullness of life our Lord desires to pour into your lap.

May you experience the joy of a King-Sized life today!

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Everyone dreams of living an extraordinary life, of being an extraordinary person.  But, when the moment comes to put on those extraordinary shoes and walk that extraordinary path, we often find ourselves shrinking back.

We second guess.  We self-examine.  We sell ourselves short.

The greatest enemy of the extraordinary is fear.  We fear the cost of the extraordinary life.  We doubt whether or not we are the right person for the extraordinary job.  We wonder if God will pull through for us if we really step out on that extraordinary limb.

In Hebrews chapter 11, we see a beautiful picture of the courage necessary to embrace the extraordinary.

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.  — Hebrews 11:23 (NIV)

It is my sincere prayer that you will find the grace to see the extraordinary in your life and pursue it unafraid.  God is doing the extraordinary all around you, and He is inviting you to participate with Him.

  • In your church.
  • In your spouse.
  • In your children.
  • Through your gifts.
  • Through your passions.
  • Through your prayers.
  • At your workplace.
  • In You.

May you see by faith that you are living no ordinary life, and may you be not afraid.

Amen.

 

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I am overwhelmed, my friends, overwhelmed by love.

Every once in a while it hits me.  It sneaks right up in the middle of busyness, interrupts my “to do” list and punches me right in the gut.  I am amazed by how much I love you.

It is a privilege and a joy to pastor and love the people of Emmanuel Fellowship Church and the city of Sweetwater, Texas.  Your faces and your stories each have a special place in my heart.

My heart overflows with thanksgiving as I consider the miracles of grace God has done among us.  I rejoice over the marriages that have been healed and the salvations that have occurred.  It is a tremendous joy to know that among us the lost are being saved and the broken healed.

In the midst of the joy, I am also painfully aware of those among us who are hurting right now.  I know there are hearts wrestling with disappointment, loss, and grief.  I know there are those among us who show up smiling on Sunday morning attempting to mask loneliness and frustration.

My friends, I love you.  I care about the things that matter to you.  Your problems are not too small or too big to talk about, and I am not too busy to spend time with you.

You are loved, and I pray as you read this message, the love of God will overwhelm you.  May you be overwhelmed by love from God and love for God.  May you be overwhelmed by love from your church and love for your church.  May love replace lies with truth in your heart.  May love shine light on darkness.  May love win in your heart, in your mind, in your life today.  May love win!

 

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Speak Sweeter!

Speak Sweeter!

Our tongues travel on a continuous tightrope of what to say and what not to say.  Most of us have been trained that we should keep the reigns tight and “hold our tongue.”

With the realization that in a given year most people will speak enough words to fill fifty books that are each 1,000 pages long, and when we tally the word count of a single day to be between twenty and thirty thousand words, it seems easy to draw the conclusion that we should all speak fewer words and we would be much better off for it.

But, I do not believe the answer to taming the tongue lies in speaking fewer words as much as in learning to speak the right words.  When each of us reach the point of looking back on a long and fulfilling life, we may regret some of the words we spoke, but the deeper regret may be the words we neglected to speak.

Did we speak:

  • Words of Affirmation to our children?
  • Words of Endearment to our spouse?
  • Words of Appreciation to our parents and everyone else who ever influenced our life?
  • Words of Support for what we believe in?
  • Words of Life to those in search of truth?
  • Words of Apology to those we hurt?

As we embrace this week with a determination to speak sweeter, I encourage you to leave nothing unsaid to those who need to hear from you.

“The tongue has the power of life …”  –Proverbs 18:21

Podcast

Did you miss this week’s message?  Do you need to grab a quick refresher of what was said?  Click here to listen to “Speak Sweeter” the second sermon in the Live Like You Were Dying Series.  

Links

While preparing for yesterday’s message, I stumbled upon a great song that has become my new favorite.  Take a minute to reflect on “100 Years” by Five For Fighting.

You can find a great follow up to Sunday’s message in the sermon archive online.  Scroll down on the sermon player to 1/18/09 to hear a message on prayer and discover how one brown crayon can change a life forever.

On the Radar

Last night Peter Lopez kicked off our “Beauty of the Bible” discipleship series with a fantastic teaching from Genesis 1:1.  I encourage you to join us next Sunday at 6:00 p.m. as Peter leads us through an exploration of the treasures in God’s Word.

We have a Freedom Retreat coming November 6 – 7 at EFC.  If you have not attended a Freedom Weekend yet, prayerfully consider joining us for this remarkable weekend .  For more information, a schedule, and registration information, click here. 

You  Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “My Redeemer Lives”
  2. “Open Up Heaven” by Kim Walker
  3. “Where You Go, I’ll Go” by Brian and Jenn Johnson

Sunday Preview

My friends, next Sunday is going to be a very remarkable time for us as a congregation.  We have the amazing privilege of hosting a special guest who is doing a wonderful work in some of the most difficult to reach countries in the world.  I hope you will make it your plan to come Sunday expecting a blessing and expecting to be a blessing as well.

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