1 The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes."2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you."
how many times are we to keep loving someone who doesn't love back? as i read this, i'm struck by the word "AGAIN." i think this is an incredible description of God's love toward us. He loves us again and again and again and again...of course this is God teaching man to honor his wife. but the comparison is clear that God does this with his people the same.
in verse 2 it describes to us hosea's payment for his wife. i know it's weird because it's not american currency. bottom line, it's a lot of money. love is not cheap and there will always be a price to keep it, bring it back, and if necessary redeem and restore it. again, God is the one who leads by example (matthew 27, mark 15, luke 24, john 19) as i glance over the cost of love, i can't but help stop and breathe deeply...because it hurts. to know that i have been the cause of such great pain. how many times has God told me "I'm your God, don't do that because it displeases me." or maybe "You are cheating on me with your time, your money, your resources, your life; stop it."
incredible that God would use hosea in such a way. we honor these men of the scripture, but this is one guy i would not want to be. i can't imagine the difficulty of raising a family without there mother because she's out prostituting herself. hosea is hardcore because he buys her back over and over again - because GOD tells him to.
i want that kind of obedience, i just don't want that kind of trial. i think it's part of the territory however.
tonite i had the cool opportunity of being with a pastor friend of mine, noel lozano (aka The Don) to celebrate his 10 years of ministry. myself along with a few others laid our hands on he and his wife; prayed for their church, membership, future, and God's will
pretty cool time. please continue to pray for him and his family; most people have no idea how hard it is to be a pastor/pastor's wife/pastor's kids
in case you forgot to call your dad, step dad, dad-in-law, mentor, older guy you look up to, etc.... today is father's day.
you might want to give him a ring. if things are weird and you don't know what to talk about, here's a couple of things you might want to say...all true of my dad and those men that have mattered to me
here's 5 things that could help make father's day
1. i love you because...
2. my best memory with you is...
3. one thing that i've learned from you is...
4. one thing that i would like to learn from you is...
5. you are an example to me because...
and to top it off, give your dad a hug and kiss. yes a kiss on the cheek is all good
so i was going thru my facebook and noticed some new friend requests from highschool...la souwesera (southwest)
i accepted and began browsing thru their page. before i realized it, i was like 50 clicks away from my own home page.
initially i thought it was curiosity. but after some reflection, i'm wondering how nosy i really am. also, it's pretty easy to stalk people thru facebook. when ever someone does anything, like updates, pic change, hangover, fart, anything...i'm quickly informed.
maybe i'm the only one, but this has the potential of becoming an obsession if i'm not careful. curiosity didn't kill the cat, but it's making him blind
so tomorrow am i'll be teaching at christ fellowship - downtown campus. pretty excited about the opportunity.
however, there a ton of other good things happening while service is on. to name a few, a worship environment is created for our homeless friends. about 150 strong show up. we sing, teach, we don't push it, but many of the folks there even give of the resources they have. i'm floored every week.
showers, clean clothes, breakfast, and a hot lunch are served -- this happens every week.
sunday mornings are great for different folks, for different reasons.
so glad to be working within areas that are serving the city; regardless the cost.
so as i'm getting ready for the weekend, a few thoughts are running through my mind...so here goes.
-the nba finals were a great reason for adriana and i to spend dinner and time with our next door neighbors. it was incredible considering that we didn't really spend too much time watching the game
-i'm excited about teaching at CF DT this sunday am again. had a great response from the staff and folks there last sunday. this week, we'll be looking at the next chapter in dave's life - running to the battle and living on the edge...because that's the place that God has invited us to be (you gotta be there for the whole thing)
-class 401 at all the CF campuses are going on this weekend...get connected!
-we are taking dave's pacifier away today...for good. he's not reacting well to that, but oh well.
-my heart goes out to the many friends and family that have told me within the last 6 months that they've lost their jobs or have gone through financial loss. all good people that love God. i have been and will be praying for you
-my anniversary is coming up - June 24 save the date. this year makes 9 years. i love my wife more than i ever have
so today, i thought i would throw out some different ideas that i'm gathering from 2 main sources - 1 samuel and the life of saul and johnny hunt, pres of the southern baptist convention.
basically, being a good leader is tough -- there's so many easy ways to get caught up in the initial success. below are some thoughts that j. hunt came up with; i think this is what happened to king saul.
i hope that i never lose sight of the bigger picture.
-An insecure leader has a hard time giving credit to others. “Why should praise seem like an unrecoverable cost? It is a gift that gives back to everyone.” -An insecure leader keeps information from his staff. “When you release information, you convey trust and confidence to others. When you conceal it, you convey just the opposite: no trust, no confidence.” -An insecure leader doesn’t want his staff exposed to other leaders—people who may possess qualities you don’t, people who may have skills your staff wishes you had. “When one person grows the whole team grows….Give your people the best—even better than you are.” -An insecure leader is often a micromanager. “He’s a control freak.” Nothing can happen that they are not fully aware of. They fear things will fall apart without them. This kind of oppressive control can wring the life out of your team. -Insecure leaders are too needy of praise. “For this reason, more than perhaps any other, they can’t really be leaders. When someone needs his followers to always be telling him how wonderful he is, he works in direct opposition to the heartbeat of leadership, which is: building into other’s lives.”
-Insecure leaders don’t provide security for those they lead. “If the mood and environment in the office is one of fear, second-guessing, and self-doubt, you can be sure an insecure leader is in charge.” -Insecure leaders take more than they give. Instead of validating and encouraging others, they are focused on receiving it. -Insecure leaders limit their best leaders. “Insecure leaders cannot genuinely celebrate the victories won by others.” -Insecure leaders limit their organization. “Not only does insecurity throttle down the horsepower of individual team members; it results in putting restraints on the whole church or organization.”
so at small group tonite, we had a really discussion and reality check. we are not in jail, 1. we are not oppressed to not be able to live out our faith, 2. and we are able to discern those things that truly please God, 3.
i'm excited to be growing with a group of people next to me, not ahead or behind. big ups to our teacher tonite, i think she did a great job.
following our study time, prayer. significant requests were made which is awesome. it shows me where we are as a church family and trust. it also shows the point of maturity where we are in our walk. no prayer requests for in grown toe nails or stuff like that, it was really good.
and to top it off, we talked about how we could be more involved in mission opportunities and serving beyond the walls of the church. it's really cool to see our faith being lived out infront of our very eyes.
if you're not connected to community, you should be. we meet tuesday nites at my place. dinner included, but let us know you are coming.
so for a few years, i had this theory going about a 'water shield' that disney had created to keep bad weather out of it's major theme parks and largest fund generators.
the reason that i held to this theory was that after having been in central florida for a billion times, i would always get rained out at one of the universal parks or minor disney attractions, but never at the big parks, let alone the magic kingdom.
at first it didn't make sense as to why the greater orlando area would be drenched, but disney at best would get a few drops tops. that's it. so out side of being able to control the weather (i don't think that they can yet), they obviously had to have some kind of device to keep inclement weather out...the water shield.
i know it's a stretch, but think about it. if it's pouring everywhere else, then disney gets just a few drops. hurricanes never damage or effect the property of the mouse. they never close down. salese, despite a bad economy, are still up.
how do they promise the 'magic?' with a little help...the weather shield is one of those helpers.
it held true, until today. after a bit of hanging in central fl, the weather shield gave way to a bunch of rain that has left the mouse a bit wet.
i would, however, like to add, that while everyone from daytona to orlando is experiencing 'flood' type weather, disney has rain, but no where near the kind of water found in it's neighbors.
it's funny how consistency with God thru quiet time really yields results. besides the sweetness of being with HIM, the blessings that come out of it are incredible. i don't have more stuff nor have i received a raise at work (wanted to clarify). it has to do with personal fulfillment and personal accomplishment.
i think that i've come to grips with myself on a few different things; one of them being priorities. i always make the time to do the things that i want to do. there's no reason that God should not be in the picture.
when i refocus on my priorities, everything that i should/shouldn't be doing becomes obvious.
what are some priorities that need to be priorities?
it's been a while since i took a test. all to say, that i was super excited when i took a test for something that i've been studying for, for about 2 months...and i passed. it wasn't a 100%, but then again, it's a pass/fail thing. 3 more and then i'm done...for now anyways.
so today crandon park/el farito, CF hosted it's beach baptism for all 5 of the campuses. besides the fact that the day was beautiful, it was incredible to see the amount of friends and family that came out to support their loves in taking the life changing step of baptism
all in all, between the 5 campuses, there were approximately 250 people baptized...incredible.
each person different, different story, different culture, different language; same God and church.
i have a hunch that heaven will look similar to this
so this morning, despite the hour change, i was at the caring place (downtown cf missions dept) working with an incredible group of dedicated volunteers (you all are amazing - i'm honored to serve with such incredible people
the task was beautiful...serving the under resourced and under privileged of the downtown community.
among those present were homeless men and women, recently laid off people with gifts and talent, transexuals, hung over guys, and the 2 or 3 guys that everyone is scared of.
then tonight, at cf palmetto bay, i got to teach 401 - connect to the world.
i was reminded in the middle of the session why we do what we do
God's priority isn't those present - it's those that aren't present (we call them the lost)
Luke 15 talks about...
-lost son (family)
all of them valuable, all of them equally lost.
today i was able to serve genuinely. not for show and definitely not because people were watching. i'm happy to be able to say that. in the past, my motives have been mixed. but not at 7 in the morning after a hard hour change and poor night sleep.
yet i've had more than enough energy today to do what matters most. worship God, love my family, and serve other.
how are you serving where you are?
what are you doing to add to the kingdom in you community?
david nasser from iran - grew up in the US and is now speaking everywhere
the lead singer from 3rd day
shane 1 of shane and shane and some other great musicians
good folks in good places all doing different things. it just reminded me on how organized God is. all of us doing different things at the same time and yet it's all part of the same picture/puzzle.
lots of good things raising lots of good questions among my staff and internally. good stuff today. looking forward to spending time in break out sessions tomorrow morning and finishing with francis chan again tomorrow afternoon.
besides the fact that the movie is a good one, even great one (if you haven't seen it, it's a good one to watch -- much thanks to our friends at fox for the home preview)
something that happened while i watched...i sensed God stirring, yet again.
i was reminded of perspective. over 90 million people living on less than $1 american, per day. this weekend alone i went out to eat twice and spent about an average of $10 per plate -- for one meal.
i know that life here is different. i get that. but knowing that life here is different doesn't change the fact that life over 'there' (wherever there is) is still going on; regardless of me being there or not.
so i wrestle with stewardship...
i realized that while i'm busy here doing great things for God, i've forgotten about those out 'there'... He still cares deeply for them.
so as i was reading this morning, i came across this passage that made me think.
in summary, 10 marginalized men needed physical help. Jesus helps all 10 of them, but only one of them comes back to say 'thanks.' His response is 'where are the other nine?'
am i really thankful for all the blessings that i receive; both big and small?
have i really done a good job saying 'thank you' to God and those that He uses to bless me?
i found my self going thru today's events and realizing that there is a bunch of stuff to be thankful about, but unless i would have stopped to reflect on it, i probably would have gone about my regular business and not saying thanks.
have you stopped to say thank you to God or others that He has used to care for you?
so as we get ready for a historic moment in US history, just wanted to remind folks not to get too busy to miss it.
it's not just another holiday or just another inauguration. for what ever it's worth, whether one voted for obama or not, it's history.
if you wanna see the impact first hand, you are all invited to watch the inauguration with me at Greater St. Paul AME church, in the West Grove (miami), fl. it's a predominantly african/haitian community; low income. we will be showing the live feed of the inauguration plus a moving word from general colen powell earlier. events begin at 9 - filled with words of inspiration, art, performance, food, and history. if you plan on going, please call the number below to rsvp
come and watch the impact of this event on a community near you. fyi, food will be served for free, just be sure to call ahead of time
during my reading in Luke, Jesus was chatting with people who wanted more of a sign from him
he talked to them and the mentioned something huge:
23"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
it's pretty cut and dry. you are either on my team or you are not. i began to wonder about this passage and then thought, would Jesus consider me a team member of his?
i think He would, however, i think he may mention that i've got some pretty bad tendencies. tendencies that remind Him of the other team. bad habits that need to be changed in order to be more effective on His team.
part of my desire it to gather with Him and not be scattered by myself.
so today i was at a family gathering celebrating the festive 'baby shower' event. the catch was that it was not my direct family, it was family of a family member on my wife's side.
needless to say, i observed a few things that are typical in my culture...good, bad, and ugly.
good - watching family come together is always good
bad - watching divorced family members see each other and sensing the tenseness in the air makes the whole experience just plain weird
ugly - watching grown men participate in stupid games - old men drinking bad booz out of mini kid bottles is just wrong (don't make people do those stupid games, serve the food, get the gifts, and get out)
so here a couple of the good things happening in 09
1. new year day at approximately 12.10 am during the ny's day party there was a malfunction with the fire works...they attacked the spectators. it was pretty funny. a bottle rocket punch and a dive into the pool with a dry i-phone were among the highlights of the evening. it sucked for the injured parties, but it was a funny entrance into the new year. for those injured, my condolences.
2. partnerships at work continue to expand. it's gonna be a great ministry year
3. adriana has had a couple of job interviews line up...God seems to be up to something with her
4. ministry seems to keep expanding to new levels...we'll see where that takes us this year
5. my son can say about 25 words, hopefully he'll be speaking by the end of the year
that's not too bad considering it's the first week of the year.