December 30th, 2013

As we approach the New Year, The Lord has once again put it on my heart to give emphasis to the daily reading of God’s Word. Many of the issues we face in our personal life and in the church at large would be completely eradicated if God’s people would simply take the time to seek Him through systematic, daily devotion. Every year I ask The Lord to give me a plan for promoting this all important value and this year the Holy Spirit led me to do what I have called “40 days through the Word.”
This plan consists of 2 different streams that are made up of a NT plan and a plan that I call “the whole enchilada” :). Reading through the whole Bible in 40 days may seem to be a daunting task (average 30 chap per day) but reading through the full scope of God’s amazing Word in that short amount of time will reveal things that you would never see in a longer period. This last year while reading through in Jan ’13 the Lord birthed the amazing message of hope in my heart. That message has now gone out all over this continent and continues to inspire people all over.

Whether you decide to do the NT plan, which is an average of 7 chapters a day, or go for the whole thing, I encourage you to do 2 things in order to maximize your experience.
1. Set aside a time and place for your reading that is quiet and uninterrupted. While Starbucks may be a cool place to go, it doesn’t lend itself to deep times of revelation. Scheduling your time to read God’s Word will give you a much better chance of actually doing it every day. Trying to just read whenever will be somewhere between difficult and impossible!
2. Pick a theme to study throughout the Bible. A good example would be God’s redemptive plan or anything that has to do with the Cross. If you don’t have anything in mind then allow the Holy Spirit to show you something that can stick out daily as you trek through the rich grounds of His infinite truth and love.

One final note: This year there will be no readings for Sunday’s. This was built in to give a day of rest or catch up. It also allows pastors and those with responsibility on the Lord’s Day to focus on the task at hand and not have to worry about reading that day.
My prayer is that you would draw closer than ever to the heart of God as you read His Book! May you feel yourself drawn irresistibly into His presence and find yourself weeping and rejoicing at the awesomeness of our Eternal King.
If you decided to join me then please comment below and let me know what you’ve been led to do as well as things The Lord speaks to you in the process. I’ll be posting things on Twitter under the hashtag #Bible40 and I would encourage you to do the same so we can have a collection of exciting thoughts and insight. Happy READINGS!

Wanted: One Kidney

December 4th, 2013

Wanted: One Kidney!

Dear friends and family in Christ,

Today it is my joy to announce that The Lord has opened a new door of hope for Amie and I in way of receiving another kidney transplant. This opportunity has been 13 years in the making. Many of you are well aware of my status as a kidney dialysis patient 3x a week for the last 18 years (with a brief interruption from Jan ’99 till Nov ’00 when I had my first transplant). After receiving my first transplant, it was immediately discovered that the original disease in my body had attacked the new kidney and would soon cause it to fail as well. This disease, that was previously undiagnosed, was determined to be a problem in my blood and would thus attack any new kidney introduced to my body. These medical facts led to many years of seemingly hopeless wandering in a wilderness of sickness and, on several occasions, even being close to death. In fact, this past May ’13 I was placed on life support in ICU at the Baton Rouge General and things looked grim. But all praise to our God and Savior who rescued me from the grip of death and restored me to life and ministry!

Getting to the point, there is now an open door for another transplant due to some medical advances in the arena of the disease that doctors say I have (FSGS). This will not be an easy process and, of course, I covet your prayers as anything of this nature will be very serious and have major risks because of my long battle with kidney failure. Amie and I have faced many battles already and feel as though this Goliath of sickness will now be defeated in Jesus name and will not taunt us any longer!
Having fulfilled all the requirements and tests with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland I have now been officially placed on the donor list and have a green light for transplant. Waiting for a deceased donor would take many years and is not the best scenario for me. We are now in the process of looking for a living donor that will be the best match. This primarily has to do with blood type and antigen match (too complicated to explain). There are 3 basic disqualifications from the donor testing process. 1. Diabetes 2. Obesity 3. High Blood pressure.

Many people over the years have felt prompted to give me a kidney if such an occasion should arise. This process must be initiated and completed by personal pursuit. I can have no virtual involvement in the process due to regulations that guard against coercion or bribery. Below is listed the information for those who would like to be tested (a simple blood test is all that is needed, a kit will be mailed to you). Amie and I ask that no matter what The Lord puts on your heart that you would keep this process in prayer and agree with us for a speedy match and a successful transplant. Our heart is to go to the nations of the world and make disciples. This has not been possible outside of America up till now and we know that The Lord is faithful to fulfill His Word. We have asked and He WILL give us the nations!

Donor intake line for Johns Hopkins:
Danielle Griffin 410-614-9345
Questionnaire online: johnshopkins.trcareportal.com

Action of Grace

November 19th, 2013

2 Tim. 2:1 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.

Many today have mistaken God’s grace as a force that transforms us into the perfect image of Christ and fulfills the perfect will of God for our life all by itself. This is a dangerous place when we have labeled all personal responsibility “legalistic”, all acts of faith “religious”, and any type of suffering or endurance “demonic”. When we are saved by the marvelous grace of God we must continue in this grace and, as Paul tells us, “Be strong in the grace.” Be strong denotes that we have to make a decision or take an action according to our faith in order to walk in grace. As you study 2 Tim. 2 you will find 10 statements that follow up this first command that clearly show our personal responsibility to “Be Strong” in the grace of God.

1. Teach these truths to trustworthy people… vs. 2 Paul’s first command here is to pass on the things that you have learned to others. This means that we don’t have the luxury of sitting around basking in our own deliverance from sin and shame but MUST pass this on to others. (This is not for our salvation but BECAUSE of our salvation!)

2. Endure suffering along with me… vs. 3 As a believer, we will inevitably suffer hardships when we devote ourselves to Christ and His will for our life. This doesn’t mean we have done something wrong but actually confirms that we are doing something right!

3. Always remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead… vs. 8 We must never allow ourselves to move from a supernatural rebirth into a natural existence and limit a God of wonders to a carnal, worldly lifestyle.

4. Command them to stop fighting… vs. 14 Working toward peace and unity is not a “works mentality” but something we constantly contend for in the Body of Christ to fulfill Jesus command and High Priestly prayer (Jn.17) that we might all be one.

5. Work hard so you can present yourself…vs. 15 There is going to be a day of accountability when all who are SAVED will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and receive the reward of their WORKS. Being in grace alone will never build eternal reward! Allowing God’s grace to empower you in obedience to the Word and will of God will produce immeasurable reward.

6. Avoid worthless, foolish talk… vs. 16 Putting a guard before our mouth and not participating in foolish or perverse conversations is something that requires self discipline and reliance upon the Holy Spirit. He will convict us of wrong language and help us avoid situations that would compromise our integrity.

7. Keep yourself pure… vs. 21 Probably the pinnacle of Paul’s commands to Timothy in this chapter is the idea that it is up to YOU, and no one else, to maintain and build upon the purity received at the Cross. Many have missed this point entirely in their excitement of God’s marvelous grace and mistaken His eagerness to forgive as a license to remain passive in their pursuit of purity. Purity is not like gravity. The world is like gravity. You must “swim upstream” so to speak if you want to maintain the purity of Christ and thus be used for His glory as a “utensil of honor, ready for the Master’s good use.”

8. Run from youthful lust… vs. 22 Running requires action! This means being proactive against the forces of the enemy. It may mean moving a computer in the family room, disconnecting a bedroom television, or even getting rid of a smart phone (God forbid).

9. Enjoy the companionship of those with pure hearts… vs. 22b This calls for pursuing relationship with those who have also taken a decided action to maintain the purity of Christ and prepare themselves for the return of the Lord Jesus. Make it a priority in your Christian walk to find other believers that will challenge you to greater heights in Christ and not justify or excuse worldly behavior\pursuits.

10. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth… vs. 25 Even when we feel strongly that we are right according to the Scriptures we must use the fruit of the Spirit in communicating our convictions. There is never a reason for harshness or rudeness. We must allow the Holy Spirit to season our words in order to make the truth of God’s Word appealing.

From these 10 statements you can clearly see that God’s grace is not something that lives out the Christian walk for us but empowers US to live out the life of holiness we have been called to. My heart today is to challenge leaders and believers alike to BE STRONG in the grace of God and don’t allow your flesh to make excuses or your mind to justify passivity in your pursuit of God’s best for your life. At the end of the day we are in a war and we must all stay alert and be fervent in building the glorious Kingdom of God.

2 Tim. 1:9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

Why the Controversy?

November 8th, 2013

Galatians 2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.

Why is it that it seems wherever the prophetic voice is lifted there seems to be controversy? Why can’t everyone just get along and have unity? Why does anyone need to “rock the boat” and cause problems when things were going so well before? These are questions that many are asking today in regards to the prophetic and I believe they are legitimate questions that need a Biblical response.

First, the role of a pastor is to keep the water smooth so the sheep can drink (Ps.23:1-2). If prophets had this mandate then they wouldn’t be prophets…they would be pastors!

Secondly, there were moments in Jesus ministry where He took a whip and handled some business! This is the reflection of the prophetic ministry through the person of Jesus.

Thirdly, without confrontation and conviction the atmosphere of a church can become stagnant and stale spiritually. There is nothing more needed at times in the church than a fresh wave of God’s Spirit to wash out the old and bring a new wave of what God’s desires in the now.

Finally, every sheep needs to be sheared once a year so that it stays healthy and doesn’t become burdened with too much wool. The sheep of any church, along with the leadership, can become too comfortable with things as they are and need a “shearing” in order to keep things healthy and moving forward. This shearing, though many times uncomfortable in the moment, will bring new life and liberty in its wake. Not every thing that feels bad in the moment is wrong in the longterm!(See John 15:1-8) All throughout the Word of God there was controversy surrounding God’s true prophets. Any prophet who brings only “good” words or stays within the lines of pastoral ministry is not a prophet at all. Why bring in a prophetic voice and expect them to preach like a pastor? This is both counter productive and an unrealistic expectation. When the prophetic voice comes in to the local church there should be a warm welcome to whatever God is saying and an understanding that some may not appreciate or like what is being said. Comfort and popularity can never be the goal of any prophet!

2 Chronicles 20:20b Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and YOU WILL SUCCEED.