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what if?

Over the last few years I’ve had some amazing conversations with guys like this guy, this guy and this guy about effecting change in their world.  I mention these guys because I know that one day they will truly impact the world for Jesus Christ.

I’ve had the opportunity to talk to guys like this pastor, this leader, or this guy all of whom are doing some pretty amazing things for God RIGHT NOW!!!

I’m so honored to have this guy in my family.  And I can tell you that this man has done more for the Kingdom of God from the furthest corners of the earth than anyone will ever know and I know he has a lot more work ahead of him.  I remember sitting with him  a couple of years ago in the food court of a mall in downtown Atlanta.  As we polished off some Chick-fil-A I remember telling him that my greatest fear in life was the fear that I would one day find myself sitting in the grandstands of heaven watching a heroes parade of the people that did something amazing for God in their lifetimes, and I would simply be a spectator.

I gotta tell you that thought still scares the daylights out of me.

The craziest thing though is this.  I believe the one thing that could possibly stand in the way of me truly doing something GREAT for God is the one little question: “what if?”

What if I fail?  What if I’m wrong?  What if I try to lead, but no one follows?  What if? what if? What if?

I love the story of Peter walking on water to Jesus.  I imagine this guy had some BIG TIME what ifs bouncing around in his head before he got his feet wet.  The big one:  What if I drown?  But I’ve often wondered what if Peter DIDN’T step out of the boat.  Would his story be the same?

Would he have continued to be one of Jesus’ closest disciples?

Would he have been restored to relationship with Jesus even after denying him?

Would he have led thousands to Christ in one sermon on the day of Pentecost?

Would his shadow have brought healing to whomever it passed over?

Would he have been arrested for preaching the gospel, then released from prison by an angel?

Would he & John have healed the crippled man at the temple gate?

Man I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I seriously have to doubt any of those things would have happened if he gave in to “what if?” sitting on that boat that night.

I guess the point I’m getting at is this:  What if I don’t do what I know Ive been called to do with my life?  What if I don’t walk the path that has been divinely planned just for me?  What miraculous things will I miss seeing with my own eyes.  It may be that my greatest fear of sitting in the grandstands of heaven watching the heroes parade go by me, might come true.

You know what?  I don’t want to take that risk.   I may not be in a heroes parade in heaven one day, but I refuse to sit in the grandstands and just watch.  I’m stepping out of the boat?

You comin?


The Disease to Please

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to listen to Craig Groeschel speak at the C3 Conference in Dallas, about the Disease to Please.  I have to admit to you that its the only note sheet that I apparently kept of all the phenomenal speakers that spoke.  Don’t worry I still have notes saved somewhere on my computer.  But, this talk was particularly impacting for me.  Let me share some of the main points from his talk:

Becoming obsessed with what PEOPLE think about you is the quickest way to forget what GOD thinks about you.

Paul says in Galations 1:10 NLT – “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser!  No I am trying to please God.  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.”  (Ouch)

People who are people pleasers:

Take most criticism PERSONALLY

Feel an extraordinary fear of REJECTION

Find it hard to express their true FEELINGS

Have a hard time saying “NO”

“The Disease to Please is actually an ADDICTION

People pleasing is a form of IDOLATRY

John 12:42-43 – . . . But because fo the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

People pleasing traps

Proverbs 29:25 – Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the LORD is kept safe.

The word for trap in this verse literally means a noose for catching animals or a hook for the nose.  So the picture of a person who fears man is one who is led around by others with a hook in their nose.

That trap is a:

I will COMPROMISE for you trap
I will over-COMMIT for you trap
I will let you limit my SUCCESS trap.

The fear of GOD is the best antidote for the fear of PEOPLE

Psalm 34:9 NLT – Let the LORD’s people show him reverence, for those who honor him will have all they need.

1 Thessalonians 2:4,6 – We are not trying to please men but God, who test our hearts. . . We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

Some of the other “extra” points that he made were these:

The higher God takes you the more people will hate you.

The more He does through you the more people will come at you.

If you are concerned about what people think about you, then YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL!

When you have the approval of God you have all you need.

I cannot begin to tell you what an issue The Disease to Please has been for me in my life.  Now after 34 years, I’m finally learning that if God isn’t pleased with me then I’ve got bigger problems to worry about than worrying about what someone else thinks about me.  I’ve spent too many sleepless nights wondering what other people thought about me, wondering why someone said what they said to me, why they acted the way they did.  Sometimes living in absolute paranoia.  Its a debilitating disease.

But I’m letting God heal me.  I want to do what I can to live at peace with all people, as much as it depends upon me.  But at the point that I have to choose between pleasing God or pleasing others, I am compelled, I have to please Him.

I’m not there yet, getting there with His help.



good church/bad church

I have literally been in church all of my life.  I have vivid memories of cutting my teeth on the hard wood pews where we sat, fifth row back on the left side, close to the center aisle.  I remember people like Brother Mac, Sister Elsie, Brother Dean and Sister Dean, Sister Thelma and Her sister Vernon.  I always thought it was funny that all of their first names were “brother” or “sister.”  I remember my mom & dad’s friends; Jack & Joni, Ruby & Harold, Mike & Sheryl, Linda & Skeeter. Then I had my friends, Renae, Wayne, Denise, Gemmia & Sean.  We really were a close church family, and the members of that family are what make my memories such fond ones.

Still, growing up in our church there was a lot about how we did church that I didn’t really understand.  I did what ever I was told to do, because I was afraid that if I asked a question about Why we did what we did then I would be questioning God, and . . .well. . . .  “we’re not supposed to question God.”  I believed everything I was taught, and for the most part what I was taught was solid teaching.  But looking back at some of our practices, some of our customs, has left me wondering why we did things the way we did them.

churchedI read a book a couple of weeks ago by Matthew Paul Turner called Churched.  Its a relatively lighthearted read.  Turner reflects over his childhood  growing up in Church.  I can identify with so many of his stories and  thankfully I can laugh about our similar experiences.  I’m no worse for wear from my childhood in church.  Like I said I was taught truth, and the teaching was generally sound teaching.

When I finished reading that book, I began to think of all the stories I’ve heard of others, who do not have such fond memories of church.  It always breaks my heart to hear a story of a person who was “hurt” by the church.  Countless stories can be heard today of people who were molested, verbally abused, and financially ripped off by people who called themselves “christians.”  Leaders who called themselves “pastors.”

I don’t know what your experience has been with church.  Maybe you have the good memories like I have, even ones you can look back and laugh about.  But maybe, you’re still dealing today with hurt, pain, disillusionment because of people who claimed to represent “the Church” of Jesus.

I pray today for you.  I pray that you will be healed, restored, and that you will see Jesus not as the icon of a group of abusers, but as a friend who hurts because you were hurt in His name.  May you see that church was meant to be a good thing, not a bad thing.

How would you describe your past “church” experiences?  Maybe this is a good place for us to laugh and cry together.


fear of failing

sorry  for the long delay in blogging again.  its been a busy busy couple of weeks since my last post. I hope to be back in the saddle again.

spellingbee3Makenzie, my oldest, will compete in her first school wide spelling bee.  She was so excited when she won for her class, but this deal today. . .well its a much bigger deal.  We sat with her last night trying to review words that we had gone over before. She would get one or two right, and then she’d get one wrong.   When that happened the biggest tears would puddle up in the bottom of her big brown eyes.  Immediately we would  tell her, “Don’t worry about it.  You’ll get it.”  “You’ll do fine.”  We even made a game of studying the words and it lightened her mood.

Last night when I went into her room to tuck her in, I could tell that she had been crying again.  So I laid down on the bed beside her and asked her what had her so upset.  “I don’t want to be the first one to get a word wrong and have to sit down tomorrow.”  So I told her about the time I was in the school wide spelling bee and how I had to sit down for missing the word “cheif” I mean “chief” and that seemed to blow away that cloud of worry.  Then she said, “I’m afraid I’ll disappoint my teacher, she says I’m her best speller in the class.”  To which I replied, “You don’t have to worry about that, you’re still the best speller because you won the spelling bee for your class.”  But it was her last concern, that stung my ears as she spoke the words, “Dad. . . I just don’t want to disappoint you.”  And the tears began to pour.  Mine as well as hers.

Have you ever felt that way?  The absolute fear of failure.  The fear that if you fail, or maybe even when you fail, that you will disappoint someone.  Man, I have so many times.  And so many times that fear has caused me to do the wrong thing or even worse nothing at all.  I know of people who will never make the commitment to have a relationship with Christ, because they’re afraid they can’t live it.  Afraid they’ll fail.  Afraid they’ll disappoint God.

But I read somewhere, that “perfect love drives away fear.”  And the only one capable of showing perfect love is God.  That says to me His love for you, for me, is so strong that it can even override your fear of failure, your fear of disappointing someone.

So what are you afraid of? What have you avoided because of your fear failure or fear of disappointing someone?

Maybe its time to reconsider.


Almost Live From #C309

I’m in Dallas this week at Fellowship Church for the Creative Church Conference also known in Twitter world as #C309.  I gotta tell you that right now I’m so full of mental food for thought that I’m seriously about to bust.

In fact, we have two hours this afternoon in breakout sessions.  When I tried to go sit down in one, I realized that I just couldn’t hold one more bit of information without processing some of what I’ve already heard.  So while my traveling buddy is in his breakout session, I decided to muddle through some of my thoughts.

Now I know this will sound absurd but I’m going through nearly 47 pages of notes.  Some of which I’ve taken but mostly from other C3 attendees who’ve been posting their notes here.   I copied and pasted most of these pages and I’m weeding out the highlights which I gotta tell you is not a small task.

I’ll process through it all in the next couple of days, but I just have to tell you on an emotional spiritual level that God has been so powerfully speaking to me these last two days.  We’ve heard speakers like Ed Young, Jentzen Franklin, Christine Caine (an Austrailian powerhouse “chick”), Craig Groeschel, Steven Furtick, Tommy Barnett, Ben Young, Bil Cornelius, and tonight the Bishop T.D. Jakes is “bringin it.”  (If I’ve heard one “get ready get ready get ready” impression I’ve heard a million.)

So here’s what stands out so far:

Mercy must be in the middle of EVERYTHING the church does.

God is consumed with the LOST

Being consumed with what other people think about me is IDOLATRY.

My generation must bring HONOR back to ministry.

If I’m going to be effective in seeing people come to Christ, I’ve got to have IT.

I know this will make little or no sense to anyone out there reading this.  And I’m okay with that.  These are sort of stakes in the ground that I gotta come back too, as God leads me down this path I see Him taking me.




I abso-feakin-lutely love the connectivity that has come through facebook.  It has been so cool to reconnect with friends from years and years ago.  Its cool to see photos of friends, their kids, some of the cool places they’ve been and some of the cool things they’ve done.  Facebook is really a pretty cool social networking tool.  But I gotta tell you that there are just some things that drive me crazy about Facebook.   This guy has done an excellent job highlighting some of my more favorite reasoons why “I hate facebook.”  Can you identify with him on any of these?


In a Pit group

We’re just finished up our fourth week of a small group study of Mark Batterson’s, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, and I gotta tell you that this group has become something that I truly look forward to every week.  This is actually the third small group we’ve hosted and/or led at our house over the last 12 months.

When we first started leading a small group, we wanted to target a young single adult crowd.  But instead we’ve brought together, a group of young singles and married couples as well.  I absolutely cannot wait for Thursday nights to roll around each week.  We started out with about 22 people, but on any given week we miss about 3 or 4, still leaving us with a good sized group.  We intended to offer light refreshments, but the ladies of the group decided to share food responsibilities each week, and most weeks we’ve had full on meals.  One other major plus this go around is that I’m not leading this one by myself.  My buddy Chad, is co-leading the group as well, and although he thought he was getting into a young adult group, he even said that he really likes our group.

As the group left this week, I saw first hand how cool it is to be part of a group like this.  There’s a bond growing here between all of us that just feels so comfortable, so godly.  Part of my responsibilities at our church is to encourage people to be in a small group.  And at first it was so people would participate in a group.  But after the last few times of being part of a small group I’ve found myself feeling sorry for people who don’t have a place like our group, a place to connect with other people, a safe place, a group of people who care for you.

Do you have that small group environment where you can connect with other people on a more intimate level?

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