Wednesday, November 15, 2017

EPIC TRIP – EPIC TREK


What an inspiring journey. It was both heart breaking and heart warming. We experienced the exhilaration of God's glorious creation.  We were touched by the beauty of the people and broken by the "beastly evil" in the people who sell children into human trafficking .  We left both encouraged and challenged.  We were encouraged because of the help and the hope that only the Gospel provides.  We left challenged because of the need for the Gospel to reach these unreached people. 


Click on the link below. 

DO NOT FORWARD 


EPIC TRIP — EPIC TREK

Sunday, March 12, 2017

If God Can Use a Dead Piece of Wood . . .

Once upon a time a man shepherded sheep his with his “stick” (rod) for forty years. One day this shepherd saw a bush on fire that did not burn up. When this shepherd went over to get a closer look at the bush that burned but did not burn up, a voice spoke to him from the bush.  The voice said, “ Moses. Moses.”  Moses, the shepherd responded, “Here I am”.  “I AM the God of Abraham, the God if Isaac and the God of Jacob”, said the voice from the bush.  
God told Moses that He has seen the horrific affliction and suffering of His people in Egypt and has heard their cries.  “I have come down”, said the Lord, to bring them out and take them to a good land, a land “flowing with milk and honey”.  
Moses probably thought, “Come on down!”  Yet, God said, “I will send you!” 
Of course Moses said, “Who am I that I should go?”  God said it doesn’t matter who you are, “I will be with you!”  
But Moses was full of excuses saying,  “they won’t believe me”; “I am not eloquent but I am slow of speech and of tongue”; “please send someone else.” 
God asked Moses one question.  “What is that in your hand?”  A “stick (rod).  It is my shepherd’s staff, It is a dead peace of wood I have used to shepherd sheep for forty years, said Moses. It was Moses’ rod. 
God told Moses to let it go and throw it down on the ground and it became a serpent. It freaked Moses out!    
Once Moses yielded his stick to God, it became the “stick”( staff or rod) of God, Exodus 4:20.  And this is what God did with that stick through Moses. 

What is that in your hand?  A “stick” (rod).
  
Now that the “stick” belonged to God, God used that same “dead” stick to turn it to turn the Nile river (which the Egyptians worshiped) in to blood red; Moses stretched forth God’s “stick” to orchestrate the ten plagues on all of Egypt’s gods. He used it provide life-giving water from the Rock. He raised it up to battle against and win against the enemies of Israel. Almost forty years later, God established Moses and Aaron’s authority by causing the “stick” to blossom with Almond blossoms.  It was once dead but now it was alive!  

Lesson:  God has seen the affliction and suffering throughout the world and has “come down” in the Incarnation.  He has called us to go into this suffering world and make disciples of all the people groups in the world.  We make excuses like Moses, saying, “who am I”. God responds.  “It doesn’t matter, I will be with you”.   We say, I am not able; I have no abilities; I cannot speak; I am weak; . . . “ God asks, “If I can use a dead “stick”, can I use you?
However, as Moses gave the “stick over to God, so we too must give ourselves over to God.  As Francis Schaeffer said in his book, No Little People, “so that which is me must become the me of God. Then I can become useful in the hands of God.” 
Doug Brown must become the Doug Brown of God.  How about you?   


Inspired by Francis Schaeffer book, No Little People

Saturday, January 7, 2017

5C HEALTHY LEADER — CALLING


Leadership realities
What is leadership realities.  How many of you have read books about balance in your life, about margin, about living by your priorities, about making plans and steps to achieve your goals?  We all have and there are many good points in these books to learn from and apply.  But reality doesn’t mean life will become like a “well-oiled” machine. Rather, I find leaders living lives in tension, in pressure, in chaos, in confusion, in great and overwhelming challenges.  When you read the life of Jesus and of Paul which do you find?  A nice and tidy, well organized and balanced life or a life that is full of tension, needing to be constantly adjusted, painful, bloody, with tears, pressures from without and fears within?

If you find tension and such in your life as a leader be of good cheer.  You are in good company. As Paul said, there is a wide door for effective service for me and there are many adversaries.   So, be all the more sure of your calling for, leadership is no cake walk.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

5C Healthy Leader: COMPETENCY

Competency — more than skill 

Competency defined is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. It has to do with skill, knowledge and ability. To be competent means to be equipped and made adequate to fulfill God’s calling.  
Even as competency is important, competency does not operate in a vacuum.  A person may be highly skilled but if he/she is not a man or woman of integrity.  It matters little how competent a person is for their lack of integrity will sabotage them and their team.  A person may have great skills and knowledge but if they also need to be competent or "skilled" with interpersonal relationships or they can easily shipwreck the team.   
Competency is essential but if the competent person does not communicate, cooperate and is not committed to the team the team experiences a slow death.  
Grow your competencies to complement your integrity and as a team player.  Use your competency to strengthen your team and train them in the 5Cs.(Christ, Community, Character, Calling, Competency)    (inspired by Robert E. Quinn, Deep Change - Discovering the Leader Within, chapter 13)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Incarnation



The Incarnation: In the beginning was The Word, John 1:1. The Eternal Word. The Eternal Living Word. The Eternal Living Personal Word. The Word became incarnate: "in" (into) "carn" (flesh). The Word became human and made His home among us, John 1:14 AND our world now has hope eternal. Is He at Home in you?

The Incarnation: "In the beginning was the Word", John 1:1. Jesus, The Word, existed before the beginning of the heavens and the earth (the universe). The universe had a beginning. Jesus is eternal. The universe is created. Jesus is the Creator. He spoke it into existence! This fallen universe is "wearing out". Jesus is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. The universe is impersonal matter, space and time. Jesus is an eternal-personal being. The universe doesn't know you or care you exist. Jesus does — He became flesh (human), John 1:14. in order to rescue, redeem His entire creation — including you!

The Incarnation: What was Jesus doing before He created the Heavens and the Earth? He was face to face with The Father, John 1:1. He enjoyed eternal companionship, fellowship. He had (has) face-time with the God, The Father & God, The Holy Spirt - the Three in One God! God exists in perfect unity, love and fellowship. It is this eternal living personal God who has entered our "hood" to bring us into this fellowship forever! Are you at peace WITH God? Are you experiencing the peace OF God? Christmas makes both possible. 

The Incarnation: In the beginning was the Word, John 1:1. The word "Word" in Greek is Logos. The Logos is the rationale Mind; the central Principle governing the entire universe. But The Logos is not an impersonal-unfeeling-unloving principle or rationale. The Logos is also the SON, John 1:18. God is the Eternal Father and God has the Eternal Son — Jesus. Jesus is The Logos. He is the full expression of God. He expresses the very character and nature of God. Jesus radiates the beauty and glory of God, Hebrews 1:3. It is this Logos, The SON, who became human, John 1:14. Why? The Logos/SON became human to express and reveal The Father to you, John 1:18. Your Heavenly Father has a gift for you! He has purchased the way Home to Him through the gift of The Logos, the SON — Jesus! "As many as believe in Him (Jesus) to them God gives them the right to be called children of God, even to those who believe in His Name", John 1:12. This is Christmas. 

The Incarnation: “The Word became human and made His home among us”, John 1:14.  Life is not now as it should be. When God created the world, it was good!  There is a day coming when Jesus will “make all things new” and the world (this earth) will be right-side up again.  God made the world for men and women to live “face to face” with the Holy One.  In The Day to come, “God‘s home will once again be among His people”. And it will be good!  

Yet, now, we live in a world that is “Fallen”.  It is broken and we are broken: selfishness; envy; jealousy; pride; covetous; injustice; rebellion are at the core of our being.  We devour one another on our streets and in our homes. There is corruption in our governments, injustice in our courts, and unrest in our cities. 


There is a line from a popular movie which says, “There is evil out there...”  This is true but evil is also in here — in each one of our hearts.  It is into this darkened world that the Light of World, Jesus, came.  The Word/The SON/ also known as the The Light came into our world and lived among us to begin the cleansing and restoration of justice and makes things right in our world once again.  For God said, “Let there be light in the darkness.”  Through Christmas, God has made His light shine in our hearts so we could know God. Now, let your light shine in such a way that people will see your life and glorify your Father in heaven.


The Incarnation:   The Incarnation was not an “emergency” contingency.  The Incarnation was not an event for the unforeseen human “Fallen” condition.  The Incarnation was an integral part of God’s sovereign plan before the creation of the world, Matthew 25:34; Timothy 1:9.  It was foretold by the Hebrew prophets that a champion; a rescuer; a deliverer; a king would come to rescue Israel and all peoples.  He would come to make the world right and rule over it in righteousness and with justice for all.  
The prophets foretold this champion would come as a “lamb” and also as a “Lion”.  As a “lamb” to be slaughtered for all of us — Isaiah 53:6-8 and as a “Lion”to subdue His enemies and rule with a righteous reign over all the earth forever — Genesis 49:9.  The Hebrews also foretold who this champion would be. This deliverer would be none other than God Himself!  

He would enter our world as a man and rescue His people from their sin and He would be the one to grow and establish His Kingdom over all the earth.  For example, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “ For a child will be born to us a son will be given to us and His name will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace....”, Isaiah 9:6-7.  The title “Mighty God is made up of two Hebrew words — “mighty” in Hebrew is “gibbor” which comes from geber.  Geber means man.  The word God, “Elohim”, is the one of the Hebrew words for God.  The underlying meaning of “Mighty God” is this one who will come will be the God-man! 

“What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping.  This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing:  Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the babe, the son of Mary.”  Merry Christmas!


The Incarnation:  The incarnation is a promise made and promised kept.  There are two Greek words for time: chronos and kairos.  We get our word chronology and chronometer from this chronos.  Chronos has to do with, what time is it? While kairos asks the question, what is this time for?  
The Scripture tells us that God sent the SON  at the “kairos” moment or at the right time.  It was at this time that God the Son became human!!  

One of the reasons why this was the right time is because the Hebrew prophet Daniel had predicted that the Messiah would come four-hundred and eighty three years after permission was given to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which occurred in 444 BC.  Jesus came at the right time. Thirty-three years after Jesus was born, Jesus approached the Temple in Jerusalem and wept over it, saying, “If you had in this day, even you, known the things which make for peace!   Jesus, God the Son, came at the right time.  Promised made and promised kept!  

Now, is your karios moment to put your trust in Him, the One who can give you peace. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Knowing God



Christ — made to know God

"The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever!" (John Piper's version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)


What is the goal of the Christian life? Read John 17:3. The Goal is to know God. The Christian is brought into relationship with God now and for the rest of eternity. The goal of the Christian life is not knowledge, though knowledge is important. We are to use our minds love God! The goal of the Christian life is not happiness or comfort but as the Apostle says in Philippians, "that I may know Him . . .", Philippians 3:10. Knowing personally and experientially God is the foundation of everything else. What we do needs to and must flow our of being in relationship with Him! Even though I know this in my head, I find that I struggle with this in my daily experience. I tend to be a doer and not a "be-er" (no real word in the English but you get the idea). We can learn much from the two sisters, Mary and Martha. Both of these women were friends to Jesus and we can learn much from both. One lesson we learn is that - this is not putting down serving and exalting listening; not putting down doing and exalting being. Both are necessary. This is a lesson of priority: Doing comes from being. Being in relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is above all and out of this relationship we do. Jesus demonstrated this and modeled this to His disciples during His earthly ministry. He modeled the need to be with the Father, to hear from the Father and then to act with the Father.

I have a brief exercise I do when I am doing leader training. I write on a white board this statement: "I am doing my work for the Lord." And then I ask, "Is this a biblical statement? The attendees all respond with a strong, "yes!" This is true, we are to do our work heartily for the Lord, Colossians 3:23. But then I write another sentence: I am doing my work with the Lord." I then ask, "Is this a biblical statement? The attendees all respond with a strong, "yes". And this is also true for Paul says in 1Corinthians 3:9, "we are God's fellow-workers...." (italics mine). And in 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul says, "Working together with Him …


"My question, then is, "Is there a difference in these two statements"? The answer is ”of course” these two sentences have different meanings. So, which one is correct? The first statement implies that God gives each one of us assignments and then we go out and do and that at the end of the day or at the end of our life, we give an account to Him of all that we did for Him. The second statement suggests that we are in partnership and in relationship with Him as we do His work.

The difference is titanic or enormous. I often find myself living out the first at the expense of the second and I end up weary and heavy-laden.

Here is what I discovered: Both statements are good and true. The first statement has to do with our life purpose while the second statement is how we fulfill the first. I am learning to fulfill "I am working for the Lord" by "working with the Lord."

Therefore, we must be vigilante and careful how we live and build our ministry. It must be built upon the foundation of a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:11

• Is the way you are pursuing your life helping you in growing in your relationship with Jesus? What does this mean to you - to have a relationship with God? What are you doing that deepens your relationship with Him? How do you experience God? What do you need to do or redo to deepen your walk with God?


• What have you learned about God so far in your life?

• How has this changed your life?




• Challenging Assignment: This week, get out of the traffic of lanes of life, pull over, praise, pray and listen. Share with a friend what God is teaching you about Himself.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Spiritual Ambition

Calling — "A Man of a Different Spirit"

Therefore, we also make it our ambition to be pleasing to the Lord.  2 Corinthians 5:9

The explorer of Antarctica, James Cook, once said, “I ... had ambition not only to go farther than any man had ever been before, but as far as it was possible for man to go.”

He was a man of ambition.  As Christians, we must be men and women of ambition as well.  Whereas, Captain Cook was ambitious for himself, we must be ambitious for God!  God is worthy of nothing less from us. Thee are many stories of men and women who because of an insatiable desire accomplished great things.  I am not aware of any person, who desired very little and yet accomplished anything great.

Often, as believers we have not thought it right to pursue “great things”.  We tend to think that this reeks of pride and arrogance.  And to be candid, this has and does happen in the Name of Jesus to our shame.  Someone has said, “there is no room for pride in ministry.”  Amen. Yet, I think we can pendulum swing to the far extreme in the other direction and develop a false sense of humility.  This actually can easily become an excuse for us to stay in our comfort zone and become complacent. 

Humility is not opposed to greatness. Humility is a recognition that I am not here to seek great things form myself (Jeremiah 45:5).  Humility is a recognition that if I am going to be involved in something great (like the Great Commission) I must live in a daily dependence upon the Lord and in supportive community with His people.  

Jesus never said it is wrong to desire to be great.  On the contrary, He said, “whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first shall be your slave, (Matthew 20:26-27).  Jesus also said, “whoever keeps and teaches His commandments shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven, (Matthew 5:19).  Jesus never put down anyone for desiring to be great.  He redefines what greatness is and He transforms our desires for greatness.

It is not wrong to desire.  Buddhism teaches that desire is the source of suffering.  Therefore, the goal of Buddhism is to remove or extinguish desire so there can be harmony.  Christianity teaches that although our desires have done bad or even mad, it is through the transforming power of Jesus Christ that our desires are transformed.  Jesus renews our mind and purifies our desires. For example:  “He who hungers and thirsts for righteousness shall be satisfied, (Matthew 5:6).  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”, (Psalm 37:4).  “For it is God who is at work in you , both to give you the desire and the ability to work for His good pleasure”, (Philippians 2:13).  

What do you need then to leave your mark on this world for His glory?  In a word, focus.  If you are careful, you can inscribe your name on a piece of wood by using a magnifying glass as you focus the sun’s rays.  Otherwise, the sun will beat down on the wood all day long and never leave a mark.  Even so, if we are to leave the mark of the Gospel in this world, we must focus our lives around three aspects of spiritual ambition.

Spiritual ambition is made up of vision, passion and action.  If you have vision but no passion or action all you have is a fantasy.  If you have passion without a clear vision and action, then you have passion out of control.  This would be like water pouring out of a fire hydrant without the hose or the fireman to direct the water.  Action with no vision and no passion is legalistic or meaningless activity.  It is mere duty obligation which won’t last long.  But when all three are working in concert with each other then you turn ordinary events into something that is atomic.  This is spiritual ambition.

God called Caleb, “a man of a different spirit”.  He was a man of ambition (vision, passion and action).  Caleb’s vision was founded upon God’s promise given to him through Moses when he was forty years old.  At eighty-five Caleb is as passionate about the vision God had given him forty-five years earlier, (Joshua 14:10-12).

This was Caleb’s vision.  It burned in his heart for more than forty years!  Caleb made God’s promise his life vision.  Caleb made God promise his passion.  Caleb acted in faith on God’s promise.  It became reality.  

What was different about Caleb from all of the others?  He followed God fully because he was a man of spiritual ambition — a man of vision; a man of passion; a man of action.  

May God raise up many men and women today with a Caleb spirit!  


doug