Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Jim Meredith on why accept suffering?

1) Suffering softens the human spirit. There is so often an indefinable fragrance which wafts around people who have suffered. Their fragrance is the aroma of the suffering Christ. It is meek, gentle, and infectious. I hope I exude this fragrance; I desire it for you as well.

2) Suffering gives opportunity to worship. We noted this past summer in studying Job, that after receiving the calamitous news of the death of his sons and the loss of all he possessed, he fell on his knees and worshipped God (Job 1). Focus on that for a moment; is it not indescribably poignant?

3) Our suffering allows us to identify with Christ, and experience the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death (Philippines 3). In death and suffering emerges victory. Life emerges from the pain of death; it can be no other way; God planned it so.

4) Suffering aids self-examination. God does not mind our asking why. ‘Whys’ of His children lead to deeper truth and trust. We are often given the cup of suffering to learn firsthand our responsibilities of stewardship and the dire consequences of living life, humming, ‘I did it my way’.

5) Our suffering leads us to consider the impact of our lives on others. We are not always the oppressed; we can oppress others. Columnist George Will said recently, ‘This is an age of social autism, in which people just can’t see the value of imagining their impact on others’. God help us! Deliberate or unconscious infliction of suffering on the unprotected and undeserving is cruelty of the rankest order.

6) Mutual suffering can build longterm relationships and enhance community. Suffering shared is half the pain quite often. Walking in another’s shoes promotes understanding, steers honest criticism, and bonds suffering saints together.

7) Suffering often uniquely advances the kingdom of God.

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Monday, November 28, 2005


I forgot to mention - I'm in Cincinnati this week and I made my own personal step, albeit a small one, into the world of Mac...I got an iPod 60G video. Black - - - way cool!

And I had a little bit of a personal victory – I resisted buying a new computer that I have been coveting. Another time I guess…

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“When I read a good book I wish that life were three thousand years long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. Again as I reflect on characteristics of leaders, I find that they all yearn to grow through reading. When looking for future leaders, one of the questions I listen for is, “What are you reading lately?” The following is by Dr. Peter Hammond of Frontline Fellowship.

Some years ago, George and Alec Gallup undertook an exhaustive investigation as to what makes some people more successful than others. Using the polling techniques that have made them famous, the brothers researched and wrote a book titled, "The Great American Success Story". One of their conclusions: Successful people read.

George Gallup found that reading was essential because it "makes a person ready to converse…these people have a broad knowledge…and more information with which to make evaluations and decisions."Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Books are minds alive on the shelves. By taking up one of these books, and opening it, we can hear the voices of people far away in time and space. By reading we can hear great people of long ago speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.

If it was announced that Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon or David Livingstone was speaking at a particular church, Christians from all over the world would show up. But we need to remember that when we open up a book by one of those authors, we can hear them speak and learn from them in a greater way than you could if you just heard them at a single meeting.

A man is known by the company he keeps. It is also true that a person's character is to a large extent developed by the books he reads. A man is known by the company his mind keeps. A book is good company.

"The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries." Descartes.

"In books lies the soul of the whole past time." Thomas Carlyle.

Mark Twain observed: "The man who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."

Abraham Lincoln commented: "The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who will get me a book I have not read."

Walt Disney said: "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island…and best of all you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."

"In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot, or will not, read…it is not true we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish." S.I. Hayakawa

"If we encounter a man of rare intellect we should ask him what books he reads." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Charles Spurgeon counseled his students: "Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and re-read them…digest them…a student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by 20 books he has merely skimmed."

Daniel Webster recommended that it is better to master a few books than to read indiscriminately. It was his contention that to master a few great writers was preferable to skimming a multitude of lesser works.

C.S. Lewis recommended: "If one must read only the new or only the old, I would advise them to read the old. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow one self another new one until you have read an old one in between."

Inferior books are to be rejected in an age and time when we are courted by whole libraries. No man's life is long enough to read even those which are good and great and famous. Why then should one waste ones time with lesser works when some of the greatest are available?

Francis Bacon wrote: "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

"Read the best books first, or you may not have the chance to read them at all." Henry David Thoreau

"Many times the reading of a book has made the future of a man." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for." Socrates.

"Next to the Holy Scriptures, the greatest aide to the life of faith may be Christian biographies." A.W. Tozer.

"The reading of good biography forms an important part of a Christian's education. It provides him with numberless illustrations for use in his own service. He learns to assess the true worth of character, to glimpse a work goal for his own life, to decide how best to attain it, what self denial is needed to curb unworthy aspirations, and all the time he learns how God breaks into the dedicated life to bring about His own purposes." Ransome W. Cooper.

"Biography transmits personality…who can gauge the inspiration to the cause of missions of great biographies like those of William Carey, Adoniran Judson, Hudson Taylor, Charles Studd…" J. Oswald Sanders.

"History is but the lengthy shadow of great men." Emerson.

Those that love reading have everything within their reach. For a small price one can visit other lands and great periods of history, learn from some of the greatest minds and world shapers, grapple with great issues, learn in a space of a few hours what others grappled with, researched and studied for their whole lives.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

how can we help the suffering of others?

A stirring by Dan Wilt…

Guiding Idea: You can’t heal everything; and some things are not ready to be healed yet.

We can build bridges of kindness.

We can empathize - imaginatively enter into the perception of another.

Community can heal - practical acts of love are more powerful than we’ll ever know. It can offer support and accountability in practical ways.

To intercede for others in prayer is a way we can alleviate suffering that we ignore to our peril.

The prayer ministry pattern that is from the ancient pattern for baptism is confession, forgiveness and renunciation of evil. We can be a priest to each other, and lead each other, in this way. It’s an excellent way to cleanse the soul, both of yourself and others, along the journey.

These are all ways to care for the suffering of others. A commenter added, “to ‘be’ with those who are suffering.”

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lead by example and give god the glory

Today I lead our church council meeting. This is a team of all ICF ministry leaders. As the team leader, I must instill a sense of vision. I am motivated by Charles Kettering, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”

I find myself frustrated with the sacrifice of time, energy, and money in the congregation (not unique to ICF). It seems we are falling short of the greatness we believe God intends.

As I reflect on my frustration, I am reminded of 1 Chr 29.1-20 and realize that I have not demonstrated the same. That is, to give wholeheartedly and then stand before God and His people to proclaim His goodness.

My intent today is to do that. Lord be with me.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005


From John F. Kennedy, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I find this absolutely true. Every good leader I know is hungry to learn more. They are consistently reading. They eagerly listen to others – and make their circle of friends as diverse as possible. They find themselves writing or speaking their thoughts to bring clarity.

I often teach small group leaders that a characteristic of a future leader is that they are the ones hanging around after a meeting asking more questions. Personal growth marks their life.

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Monday, November 21, 2005


Today I am off to Moscow. I have been there only once before. This trip is for business but I hope to find some time for sightseeing – or at least get to the Hard Rock CafĂ©.

Barb and Angela are back from shopping in London. It’s great to have them back. I had a wonderful time with my son Isaiah but our house did not seem the same without these two “angels”.

The study in small group last night was challenging. We looked at 1 Chr 29.1-20 and discussed the concept of free and wholehearted giving. I love the sequence in the passage, i.e., God had given instructions to David regarding what needed to be done. David in turn gave sacrificially. Then the other leaders did the same. Then there was great worship. And then the people gave. It seems they gave cheerfully and they gave significantly. David did not take time to teach them about the tithe or outline the budget. Rather he proclaimed God’s providence.

The application is that all that we have in terms of time, energy, and money – any resource – comes from our Father above. He has provided and will continue to provide all that we need to accomplish what he has put before us. Out of that grace (2 Cor 8.1-9, 9.6-15) we must give cheerfully and sacrificially.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

seven constants of church planting

My dear friend Marlin just posted this article from John Wimber. I found it a timely reminder as I wrestle with what church is and why we do it.

The Seven Constants of Church Planting

By John Wimber

This article is adapted from a talk John gave to church leaders in the Spring of 1994 at a church planting conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Rather than changing the format significantly, we've retained John's basic speaking style throughout as he delivered the talk. We wanted to include this as our lead article because, as we gratefully reflect on John's legacy, it was he who established the Vineyard as a church planting movement from the very outset. Few people today speak to these kinds of essential issues with the kind of candor, humility, and pragmatic wisdom John brings. The following words are vintage John Wimber.If I had to boil it all down and talk in terms of essentials, I would suggest that there are seven constants to church planting and these are constants that come out of years of experience! I think they are crucially important, not only for new church plants, but for old church leaders, as well.

1. Constantly Tell Your Story Constantly. Guys come to me and say, I'm going a particular town to plant a church. Do you have any advice for me?" I say, tell everyone why you are there. And once you've told them ten times -- tell them five hundred more: "Here's my story. This is why I'm here. This is the vision God has given me for planting this church, and this is how he's brought me to this point. We're the Vineyard and this is what we're about. This is the Bible, this is Jesus. God loves you; I want to tell you about him. That's why I'm here. You constantly tell your story, and you do it over the long haul, as well.As a pastor I still do it. I tell parts of my story in sermons all the time with my people. Some of you have heard me do that and didn't know why. You've got to understand that I'm not trying to exalt myself -- I'm trying to bring new people on board! Here's who we are, here's where we've been, here's where we are now, and here's where we are going." I constantly tell the story about what we're about and what we're doing. It's like an atomized can; I just spray it on everybody because you don't know who is going be sitting there listening to you and thinking, ``This what just what I've been looking for!"The problem is many pastors get bored of telling their own story-- so they quit telling it. And then they wonder why their church quits growing. Telling your story is a major part of vision-casting and leadership. Not telling your story can be a contributing factor to lack of church growth, because people lose focus when you're not consistently telling who you are and where you're going. And they lose their reason for existence. For many people, their sense of mission and reason for existence rightly comes in part out of being a part of this thing -- advancing the Kingdom through the local church. And so people need to be constantly reminded of where we've been and where we're going with the vision that God's given this church. And you do that by constantly telling your story.

2. Constantly Tell His Story I'm putting them in that sequence because that's kind of the way it works. Of course, that's not the true priority. The true priority is his story. Constantly tell his story. Every occasion ought to have his story in it. Jesus is the Son of God. It's always in there, always wrapped up in the midst of any exchange with people.

3. Constantly Explain the Mysteries of Life What's important in life? Well, escaping the big one! Heaven or hell. That's a big one isn't it? I elect, I'm going to heaven. It's a better deal than hell. Now, the next big priority is, Do you want to get there first class or tourist? First class. That means commitment: commitment to Christ, commitment to his church, and commitment to his cause.All over the world there are people who have committed themselves to Christ in the sense that they have prayed the prayer, bowed the head, or raised the hand. They want an insurance policy for the life hereafter -- but they are not committed to the church! They disdain the church. Watch out for those. You don't want those people around you. Call them to commitment to the church. Our movement is full of people who are uncommitted to the church. They see it as something to merely accommodate them, to meet their needs. They do not see the church as the vehicle for the mission of Jesus. The first and foremost question isn't, What's in it for me and my family?" but rather, What's in it for Jesus? What is he going to get out of this?" It's his church.And it also means commitment to his cause. There are a lot of people who are committed to Jesus, and even to his church -- but they are not committed to his cause. How do you know that? By looking at the measurements of how they spend their time, energy and money. They don't give any time to evangelism, to ministering, to caring for the poor, to looking after widows. Look at their calendar. Look at their check book. Who are they serving? It looks to me we are often serving everything but Jesus, when we look at where our money goes. Where are you really focused? Most people are not focused on Christ and his cause. So you need to tell them that, over and over again: "Alert! SOS! Wake up! You're not where you want to be! You're not where you are supposed to be! You're not committed!" Measure it!We have to have ways of measuring where we're at in ministry. Most people play church like guys playing basketball without a ball and without a hoop. They play without the very things which provide a measurement, or standard, for who's winning the game. So long as you're playing basketball without an actual ball, anyone can appear to be graceful. Or if you don't play with actual hoops, everyone looks like they're a high scorer. But it's not real. You're playing a game without the very elements that tell you if you're winning or not! So when it comes to church leadership, I keep putting in the ball and the hoops. I keep bringing out things that are concrete ways of measuring how you're doing: Is the church growing numerically? Is there tangible fruit? Are people getting saved and assimilated into the church? How many of the poor are you caring for? How many new leaders have you developed? Is the quality of ministry and body life and love amongst people growing? Those kinds of questions make some people mad. That don't want you introducing those kind of elements, because if you start actually measuring, things don't look so good. Some would rather appear to play than actually play.Now, listen: The Vineyard is no exception in this regard. Sometimes when I'm one-on-one with pastors, they get scalded because I start asking them those kinds of questions and it just infuriates them. "He doesn't like me." I like him fine. I'm just trying to get him to wake up and smell the coffee. Because he has the illusion that he's successfully serving God, but he has no measurement. I can tell you the specific measurements of how we're doing in our church here in Anaheim: I know that we had over five thousand street decisions last year. People that prayed the prayer. I know that by actual Bibles distributed and actual cards turned in. I also know how many of those people were actually discipled and assimilated into the church. I know how many people we baptized last year. I know how many new home groups were started. I have a system that reports that. Sometimes the system defaults, and I'm not always on top of it, but I know generally. And I know who to call if I don't have the numbers. You've got to have ways of measuring where you're at.

4. Constantly Disciple How many of your people are actually in the army? That is a crucial question. Now, some of the people in the army are actually in the hospital at the same time. (Remember: the church is supposed to be an army, a hospital, and a family.) Sometimes more people are hospitalized than not. People get shot up. Or some people are back in school getting retrained because something happened that blocked off their ministry. They are out of the army -- but that's okay. They aren't absent without leave. They're being retooled to go back in. You need to know that. And they need to know that it's okay to be in the hospital or to just be in the family. But its not okay to live there permanently! Eventually we have to get you fielded because the measurement is not, I'm hanging out here indefinitely," but rather, "Here are the sheaves, here are the results, here are the works done in your name and in your service." I've read the Book pretty carefully and that's what I think it's all about. We work with people to get them in the army. Constantly disciple.

5. Constantly Expand the Infrastructure Discipling produces the people to fill the infrastructure -- but you have to constantly expand the infrastructure for the people you're bringing in. Different things need to be developed. Now, if you are a specialty shop (which is what a church plant is), then for the first six months you don't have much infrastructure to put people in because you don't need it. You may be a few years into the church before you need a lot of infrastructure. (Of course, it's possible that you should need more infrastructure, but don't, because you're not multiplying or discipline people. Sometimes that's because you yourself are not a disciple. The first person we often have to disciple is ourselves. You'll reproduce in kind. Some of you are in the process of planting a church and are wondering why it isn't happening. It could be one of a thousand variables, but one may be that you are not actually yourself doing the very things you want reproduced in others.) But if you're doing that if you're discipline and bring people in you need to constantly expand the structures of your leadership teams, your small groups, and your ministries to accommodate and assimilate and train up those who are coming in. Expanding the infrastructure is a constant task needing our attention if the church is to grow.

6. Constantly Live in Brokenness The New Testament description of a Christian and the church suggests a very high level of godliness, and character, and constraint, and ministry, and compassion, and blessing, and spirituality. Then you look at the church we live in and it's way below.The church is represented in my life. I'm not all that Jesus wants me to be. I'm not all that he's provided for me. I'm not walking in all that I know. I'm trying, but I'm not doing all that well some days. Are you? That leaves me in a broken state -- an awareness of, ``O God, O God, except for your mercy and except for your grace." I think it's designed to be that way. I think we are supposed to live in the constant reality that we are not measuring up. Even in his righteousness, even under his mercy, even as a recipient of his grace, I can't walk like Jesus does. I touch on it every now and then. I visit it. That gives me hope and encouragement for more. But the reality is that we have to constantly live in brokenness. The way we do that is by not developing some sort of external religious thing that hides us and puts us in a denial process by which we pretend to be more than we are. Rather, we just learn to live constantly with the awareness that we just don't measure up. But that's good news, folks. If you don't measure up -- if you can't measure up then you're constantly asking for Jesus to make up the difference. That's good news! It's pretty hard to act overly religious when you know you don't measure up, and that he's paying the difference. I'm not sure that we ever get incredibly better or stronger or mightier, becoming these great men and women of God. I think we always live with the awareness that we are serving the great God of men and women. Jesus came down to earth. I didn't go up to him. He came to the world. The world didn't come to him. I got saved by a merciful savior. Didn't you? And he's still merciful toward me. Everyday of my life I live in a constant awareness of that.

7. Constantly Reevaluate and Be Flexible in What You Are Doing No program, however lovely, isn't ready to measured and inspected from time to time. Continually look things over. Don't fix things that aren't broken. That's not valid. But be aware that something you did two years ago that did so well may not work this year. You had better look at it. What can we do to adjust it to make it work? Sometimes it's minor. Sometimes it's major. Sometimes some of the same leaders who were pulling your cart five years ago maybe can't pull your cart now. So you need some new leaders.But whatever you do, don't hold onto things for their own sake. Programs are means to an end. Evaluate their effectiveness. Keep what works; get rid of what doesn't. Do whatever is necessary to help the church of Jesus Christ to advance.

John Wimber (1934-1997) was the founding pastor of the Anaheim Vineyard and leader of the Vineyard movement, which now numbers over 750 churches worldwide. He authored several books, including Power Evangelism, Power Healing, and The Way to Maturity

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getting older

Today I celebrate my 44th birthday. Psalm 90.12 instructs us to number our days so that we may gain wisdom. I have now lived 16,071 days. Verse 10 suggests I could live to 70. If so, I have 9,496 left. If I live to 80, then I have 13,149. The US average for white males is 73.

So thank God for the days I have had and I pray that I make maximum use of what I have remaining – be it 1 or 100,000. I want every moment to count for Christ.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

deliberate acts of kindness

"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." Abraham Joshua Heschel

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." Aesop

"The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty and truth." Albert Einstein

"Only a life lived for others is worth living." Albert Einstein

"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate." Albert Schweitzer

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." Benjamin Franklin

"Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much." Blaise Pascal

"Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can." John Wesley

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?"" Martin Luther King, Jr.

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light over dark

"Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself." Desiderius ErasmusDutch priest, humanist and editor of the New Testament, 1469-1536 I must learn to stop fighting with the dark and focus more on shedding light...this is the only way to overcome.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

life together

Today was a reminder that life is more than a blog. A few days ago I was asked to do something by a godly man. I took issue with the request, not on biblical or spiritual grounds but simply because I saw the situation differently. Marlin gently reminded me that to submit and prefer another was the higher ground…and in fact, my resistance would only be perceived as pride and stubbornness – which of course it was (I like Marlin’s love for me). I yielded but begrudgingly…that is, I did what was asked but did not control the “fire” in a series of emails.

As God would have it, I saw this man today and the tension was high. Together we spent quite some time acting out our old natures. But praise is to God! We both saw the ugliness in us and forced ourselves to talk it through, understand the other’s perspective, and even more – ask for, give, and then receive forgiveness.

Today the kingdom of darkness was dealt a blow as two people who have no other reason than Christ lived together in love and forgiveness. We never really came to alignment on the triggering issue but it doesn’t matter – our unity in the body of Christ is of eternal importance, this issue was not.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Today my dad emailed me and indicated that he liked one of the posts on this blog. That felt real good to me. I realized that even at 43, I still enjoy my father's approval. Initially that bothered me. But then it became ok - I love my father and knowing that I somehow please him feels good - and I'm ok with that! So dad - I hope you read this and please - feel free to continue to let me know I'm ok to you.

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the kingdom of god

“While the miracles served as signs, they were not performed in order to be signs. They were as much a part and parcel of Jesus’s ministry as was his preaching – not … seals affixed to the document to certify its genuiness but an integral element in the very text of the document.” F.F. Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus. The Kingdom of God has come, is here, and is yet to come. The demonstration thereof is simply a part of our lives in the Kingdom. God is here to redeem us from all the enemy has stolen and in doing so, executes the will of His Kingdom. This is what He does.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

community and mac

This just in from Dan Wilt, “Community is us. Community covers us in our weakness, and at the same time humbles us in our strength. The strength of community gives us a context for our strength to help the whole, and usually frustrates us until our strength is broken on the rock of real relationships.” This just in from Marlin Watling, “Life almost always comes down to a mac.” I love both!

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the company of friends

In The Pursuit of God in the Company of Friends, Richard Lamb explains, “…Jesus is the tangible incarnation of God, and his manner of inviting people into deep relationship with himself is the manner we have available to us today. Jesus gathered a group of people together, some good friends and brothers, some complete strangers and natural enemies, and eventually he told them that by their love for one another people would know that they had been touched and changed by God incarnate. In fact, this kind of friendship, inexplicable apart from God, was the apologetic by which he demonstrated his power to the world (Jn 13.35; 17.20-21). He told his disciples that their friendships would either make or break the mission of the church, his mission in the world.”

“What would it be like to pursue – and find – God in the company of friends? What would those friendships look like? The process we call discipleship, and the context we call community.”

Lamb later provides some definitions for friendship by citing Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics 8; “…qualities enjoyed by friends that continue to be apt and helpful today: friends (1) enjoy one another, (2) are useful to one another, and (3) share a common commitment to “the good”.

I no longer feel awkward about having relationships for purpose. My passion for pursuing God now leads me to connect with those that are useful and share the same passion. My compassion for the lost now leads me to connect with those that I perceive God is working in. While I care for the “crowd”, I am selective about time spent building relationship without one of these purposes.

The Word became flesh and blood,
     and moved into the neighborhood. (The Message)

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Friday, November 11, 2005

over russia

I’m at 38,000 feet right now somewhere north of Jekaterinburg, Russia on my way back from Japan. I was able to use google talk to not only message a friend but we were able to have a voice conversation. Cool!

“Jesus then came into Galilee announcing the good news from God. ‘All the preliminaries have been taken care of,’ he said, ‘and the rule of God is now accessible to everyone. Review your plans for living and base your life on this remarkable new opportunity.’” Mark 1.15

“We are, all of us, never-ceasing spiritual beings with a unique eternal calling to count for good in God’s great universe.” Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy I trust I counted for good while in Japan. He has been so good to me, I want to represent Him well.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

kobe beef

WOW!!! It doesn't get better than Kobe beef. These guys are beer and sake fed. They get a daily massage. The result - the best beef in the world! I wonder what the other cows think when they look across the pasture and see that going on? I suppose they are like me watching MTV's Cribbs or The Fabulous Life of ... oh no ...

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Monday, November 07, 2005

jesus and the kingdom

“God’s care for humanity was so great that he sent his unique Son among us, so that those who count on him might not lead a futile and failing existence, but have the undying life of God Himself.” John 3.16 “Jesus’ good news, then, was that the Kingdom of God had come, and that he, Jesus, was its herald and expounder to men. More than that, in some special, mysterious way, he was the Kingdom.” Malcom Muggeridge, Jesus: The Man Who Lives

How can I demonstrate more of Jesus, which is more of the Kingdom of God, in my everyday living? As I sit here in Japan with these wonderful people, how can I express to them the love of God? Lord help me to see people with your eyes of love and compassion so that I might be the ambassador that you called me to be.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

traveling today

Today is a difficult day for me. I travel a lot – too much actually. But when it’s planned I tend to cope better spiritually and emotionally. This trip to Kobe, Japan however came up only Friday. I was really looking forward to spending some time with my beautiful wife and precious children.

Additionally, it is a long trip. I leave today (Sunday – cutting into our normal weekend routine) and come back Friday.

Oh well, the comfort I take is that they are in God’s hands…but I still miss them terribly. God has really blessed me with a wonderful family. I am truly the most fortunate man on earth.

Before I leave today I have the pleasure of presenting lesson 3 of the Becoming a Contagious Christian class that I have been leading. This is such great material. It is a wonder that the great and awesome God not only chooses us, but then He includes us in His plan of redemption for others. Amazing! Today’s lesson is about initiating spiritual conversations. Such simple concepts - but for people unfamiliar with the material it can be really freeing. I guess some people just need a seed of idea or perhaps permission to just be themselves.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

spiritual leaders

A spiritual leader is one who is moving back into relationship with God and taking others with him (or her). Spiritual leadership will involve influencingand serving others. It will reflect a blending of natural abilities and spiritual gifts, but if effective, it will be distinguished always by spiritual empowerment outside of oneself. True spiritual leaders are never self-made, they are God made. Men of God, who are exemplary spiritual leaders, are men of priority, of power, and of passion.An absolute truth in spiritual leadership is the undeniable fact: One cannot take others where he or she has not been.

Jim Meredith

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

the law of the minimum

Justus von Liebig, generally credited with being the "Father of the Fertilizer Industry", propounded the "Law of the Minimum" which states that if one crop of the nutritive elements is deficient or lacking, plant growth will be poor even when all the other elements are abundant. Any deficiency of a nutrient, no matter how small an amount is needed, will hold back plant development. If the deficient element is supplied, growth will be increased up to the point where the supply of that element is no longer the limiting factor. Increasing the supply beyond this point is not helpful, as some other element would then be in a minimum supply and become the limiting factor.

The concept of the law of the minimum has been modified as additional elements have proved to be essential in plant nutrition. It has been extended to include other factors such as moisture, temperature, insect control, light, plant population and genetic capacities of plant varieties.

The yield potential of a crop is like a barrel with staves of unequal length. The capacity of the barrel is limited by the length of the shortest stave (in this case, nitrogen), and can only be increased by lengthening that stave. When that stave is lengthened, another one becomes the limiting factor.As I consider the productivity of my life, what are the limiting factors? What is it that keeps me from maximum potential? Is it time to revisit the Celebration of Discipline?

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005


- The Principle of Effectiveness: Learning to do the right things. [Priorities]

- The Principle of Excellence: Learning to do the right things in the right way. [Excellence]

- The Principle of Efficiency: Learning to do the right things, in the right way at the right time. [Time Investment]

- The Principle of Exaltation: Learning to do the right things in the right way at the right time and for the right reasons. [Values]

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