Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Got some questions? Got answers? I've got kind of a strange sounding question: How Are You Livin' Your Dash?

Dash? Huh? I mean your lifetime here? 
It's really kinda short - that dash. You'll only get one life to live. And just like a life, I guess a dash is very short. That's how I like to think about a lifetime. 
So how are you spending your short dash? Do you like to ask questions? There is a need for that at times. How do you start ministering when you meet someone? Do you like to  ask key questions.. for their sake? It seems to me that people really want to be heard today. Many want to find a way to make their dash count. I think that people wanting to be heard.. is the very reason for the fast rise of so many social networks everywhere. They don't want to be just another number in this life. Yup, people want to express their opinions and they want em to be heard. 
Q? Are you a believer? Do you want to make an impact with your brief life for eternity. Do you listen to people? Do you seek to win them to Your Savior? Are you busy about your Father's biz? 
I would like to respectfully challenge you to start your 2012 off in prayer and in the Bible asking God some questions about His specific will for you. And start it with some questions directed to people as well. 
If you're a believer, then I dare you if I may to use your dash for Christ, yes, all of it 100% for Him. And please use a few good questions now and then to addressed those that you love, so they will begin to think on spiritual matters rather than merely about natural things. How do you break the ice with new people? Ask God for the right questions and then listen up? Yes, perhaps you can use questions with some new people that you meet. Might sound scary for some, but you can ask for boldness as well. 
Good idea.. proper questions ..if they're not too personal or the prying type of questions! I dare you to answer questions this year using the Bible as well, instead of merely giving your opinions out. You know that the Bible addresses every need of man. That the best tool to use without a doubt..either digitally or your old worn out hard-copy Bible. Christ lived right before others, but He also used words of truth and questions. He also used the Scriptures before asking if His hearers believed in them. Without em, what will you use with your dash to make it count for God? What will you have to present before the Lord who deserves so much, when He soon appears?       
Ever minister usin' respectful questions? (my favorite way to start). With what did Jesus start His ministry? Famous first words: "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Lk2/49nkjv). A couple good questions huh. They set the ministry tone for the remainder of Christ's life on earth. Jesus frequently used questions to stimulate thinkin', to fish, to minister, to communicate spiritual truths. What opens a ♥ and mind quite like questions? They still cause a hearer to do a bit of soul-searching as they stop to consider what's asked. When Jesus was the one askin' the questions, like He did at 12-years-old, those questions declared more than they were asking. What do those 2 Qs tell u about Jesus the Minister? 
In closing let me share a poem with a few questions in it.. that means a lot to me.
"I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning… to the end
He noted he first came to her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1900 – 1970)

For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on this earth…
And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own:
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard….
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left

That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider whats true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives

Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile….
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?"



Hear more on how to really make your life count
Poem's Author Linda Ellis

Monday, December 26, 2011

Totally free, zero manipulation, as service..

..clearly speakin' their language, enterin' their culture to relate..short of sin, providing an opportunity for any to be born again, rejoicing in Jesus. 

I'm looking at the word of Herr Paulus, "..present the Gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the Gospel. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you." 1 Cor. 9:10c-23


The person who would effectively "friend" goldfish for a good purpose, would.. if he could.. grow gills and become a fish. Yes, he or she would thoroughly investigate every possible way to climb into their bowl. Yup, all decked out in that orangish color with fins on to better get around, but not to deceive em. Swiiish, bubbles, propulsion..of course they'd show respect, do their best to be themselves and yet simultaneously understand how a goldfish brain ticks. You know they'd even make familiar fish sounds as well. But really, none of us are called to reach fish. 

God had an only Son who was Himself, yet He became one of us where we are, as a missionary with a rescuing-heart and mentality.
"Let us in everything not sinful ..become like the Chinese, that by all means we may save some".."Brother, if you would enter that Province, you must go forward on your knees." ~ J. Hudson Taylor, (who endured criticism from missionaries who sought to preserve British ways as he dressed in native Shanghai garb. Taylor was convinced that the Gospel would only take root in Chinese soil if missionaries were willing to affirm the culture of the people).  

"Charlie Studd has written me a delightful letter.. He thinks the Chinese language was invented by the devil to prevent the Chinese from ever hearing the Gospel properly." ~ Ion Keith-Falconer

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hope you Don't have Troubles, Loneliness, Heartache or Pain this Christmas Season, but if You Do...

"Let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator." 1 Pet. 4:19

If you do, there is a Comforter standing by to help you right now. I am so sorry for anything negative at all that you might be feeling or experiencing at this time. Is there something I can pray for you about? Please feel free to email us or to simply inject a comment below. 

When ya hurt, believer, just know that God cares and is doing a greater work in you, a work that can only come about as you continue to lean on Him, regardless of the circumstances that surround you.  Want to rest with peace inside? Sure you do. Meditate upon certain Scriptures that address the need. Continue to have honest fellowship with Christ, without demanding an explanation from Him. Place the sovereignty of God right next to His huge unfailing agape love, and then your heart can really rest.

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering.. The love of God did not protect His own Son.. He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

"All born-again people are in training for rulership. Since the supreme law of that future social order, called the kingdom of God, is agape love, therefore their apprenticeship and training is for the learning of deep dimensions of this love. But deep dimensions of this love are only learned in the school of suffering. Purity is one thing, and maturity is another. The latter comes only through years of suffering. If we suffer, we shall also reign - because where there is little suffering, there is little love; no suffering, no love; no love, no rulership." ~ Paul Billheimer

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.." Heb. 4:15

Amazing concern and charity! Reverse this statement, yeah, put it in the positive and it reads: For we do have a high priest who can indeed be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

Good news for any of us? Yes! Jesus is always sympathetic in just the right way. He is our high Priest and lovely Savior..completely human, yet without any sin.. and cuz of His great Love, the sacrificial work of His priesthood was finished for you on Calvary's cross (that's unlike what false teachers still teach).

‎"So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you." nlt

"We all know people who have been made much meaner and more irritable and more intolerable to live with by suffering: it is not right to say that all suffering perfects. It only perfects one type of person...the one who accepts the call of God in Christ Jesus." ~ Oswald Chambers

"When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. We need to see how great God is; we need to recover our lost perspective on life., Things get out of proportion when we are suffering, and it takes a vision of something bigger than ourselves to get life's dimensions adjusted again." ~ Warren W. Wiersbe

Man, I have the best Savior who reached out to all He could. He is right there with you now. Do you have a relationship with Him during this Christmas season - His birthday. And I have the best wife in the whole world too. Liney has been so busy this Christmas season delivering food and ministry to the sick and to some of our elderly neighbors. When I observe her in action, her selflessness always challenges me to the core. 

The bottom-line is this, many people around us are headed to, yeah going to hell in a hand basket if you will and many others feel that they're already in hell right now. We are sometimes shocked by how some people are even making it, when outwardly we might not have noticed their struggle. We've all heard how "getting out of yourself while in trials and looking for someone worse off to minister to".. for their benefit.. is helpful. Well, it's really true. Christmas ain't really about what's under the tree, it's about Him who selflessly died up on a lonely tree..for you. So reach up, and reach out. Pray and ask God who, how, when and where He would lead you to minister to another person in need. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Lord ain’t really lookin’ for better methods or systems per se...

..but people who make themselves available to Him saying something like.. "Yes Jesus. Yes to whatever You want. I wanna be on-fire for You, and to have a good attitude that honors You in all things. I want to seek You first and then just get it done - what You want and have called me to do. Wanna work with You, not against You. Be Lord - rule without rival in me. Lead me step by step cuz I'm ready to follow close. Make me full of biblical faith and totally godly as a Christian. I give up all to You for Your sake – for the sake of Your Kingdom's expansion. Please do make me useable, pure and use me. Thank you for not giving up on me when I have missed. You are so faithful and kind. Please help me to obey all the way, to go where You want me to go, yup, to live it the way You did, to spread the Gospel the way You did. I want to tell people exactly what is good and edifying for them at that moment, in the way that you want me to say it. Help me know when they are open and if they are not, then show me if there is something I can do or say that might soften their hard or cold hearts. Nothing more, nothing less. Speak through me what is in keeping with your Bible and strong loving Spirit. In Jesus Name!"

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~ Paul, Phil. 4:6-7

How does He lead you to pray for peeps? You can list some ideas that might help others below if you like. Do you quit too easy? Where is the place that you like to get alone with God and how do you avoid all the distrractions? Do you love fellowship with Christ ..in Christ.. more than merely serving Christ? We all should. The Lord is more concerned with our character than our methods and systems, and with our heart's inner motivation including our attitude, than just the outward actions that we exhibit.

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." ~ Isaiah (40:31)

"Jesus taught that perseverance is the essential element of prayer. Men must be in earnest when they kneel at God's footstool. Too often we get faint-hearted and quit praying at the point when we ought to begin. We let go at the very point where we should hold on strongest. Our prayers are weak because they are not impassioned by an unfailing and resistless will." ~ E. M. Bounds

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kinda thinkin’ about Christmas...

 ..today and thinkin' 'bout those who were involved at the first one. I saw a manger. I no longer see very many mangers during this time of year, but did lately. Many in government along with those they serve, no longer think that what a manger points us to.. is the main thing for anyone.. yes, as our nation slides down the tube if you will. You'd think they'd get the clue and turn back. Wanna be different from them and keep the "manger thing" (I mean it's Message and the Master who was in it) the main thing during Christmas. Yup, don't know about you, but that's what I desire. Wanna Keep Him and His purpose the main thing all year long. 

How often do you think about those at the first Christmas? What can we learn from Joseph? What a great man he was. We can learn it's better to die to self, yes, to put God's plans and His purpose before our own. He didn't lean on his own understanding, but went with the Word. At first he wanted to put Mary away in a respectful way and not get married to her, but Joseph obeyed God instead. So many today just want to have the benefits and pleasure of marriage in a sinful fornication kinda way minus any marriage commitment, but Joseph wasn't flakey. He wanted to do all things righteously. He was an honorable and proper man. And we can learn about obedience from Him.. no matter what we feel like doing. Pleasure is so short-lived, but eternity is long. Sometimes it might not seem reasonable to obey the Lord, but we should obey Him no matter what. Why? Because a little obedience brings a whole lot of blessing.

"Then Joseph.. did as the angel of the Lord commanded him." ~ Matthew 1:24

"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey." ~ Sammis

To obey is better than sacrifice. King Saul sacrificed religiously but didn't fully obey God, so he was greatly demoted. King David was humble and he obeyed so he was promoted in Saul's place. But we can also learn biblical obedience from Joseph's young wife, Mary, like we saw with Joseph as well, yes from this godly woman who in one context told some servants, "Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you'" (Jn. 2:5). You remember Many and how loyal she was to Jesus.   

What can we learn from Mary like during this wonderful season of the year ..or during any season for that matter? What example did she set for us? What does she teach us as we look in the same Scriptures that she believed in?

Don't you just love the good example that Mary set for us? I sure do and therefore want to keep everything in proper perspective regarding her, cuz I want to please the God that she pleased.

Mary boldly teaches us the submission of godliness. We tend to hate that "S" word but it's a good word for all of us, for the Word is our ultimate Authority. 

"Then Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your Word" (Lk. 1:38, nkjv).

She lived by the Word of God. Yes, Mary was  a woman of Scripture and a woman of faith. I love how she faithfully followed close behind Jesus all the way to the cross and didn't ditch Him for self preservation, for personal gain, or for fear.

There at the cross she suffered in silence, as her Son suffered and died. Hey gang, God wants us all to learn from the people of the Bible. He wants us to even learn from seeing their suffering as well. Sure we will either embrace and learn from it or we will spend our time on this earth fighting against it, trying not to have any of it. People of faith suffered at times, they didn't just confess it away. But suffering here on earth is temporary. It's only here because of man's sin. We aren't to desire it or intentionally seek it out for ourselves or to cause for others. Many think that if they purposely cause themselves to suffer, they will glorify God by that. Wrong. But suffering in this world is not God's fault, though so many blame Him for it. He ain't at all mean, but has our best interests at heart. You know this. God allows Christian people to suffer at times and He is indeed with them in it ..to minister to em and give em His strong grace.. so that we can learn how to hate sin as He hates sin. We can learn other important lessons while in it as well. And He will also comfort us. He won't leave us alone as orphans. How could the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) comfort any Christian if none of us ever suffered? Don't hate Him for it. He suffered in obeying the Father.. for your sake. He understands and will be close to you when you suffer.   

This might sound kinda crazy or even disrespectful to some and that certainly is not my aim, but we also learn from Mary ..from her own words..  that she too needed a Savior.

Sure God existed before the incarnation, but God the Savior who was born of Mary, also wanted to (for her benefit) make Mary inside her heart ..new born. Yes, God wanted to resurrect her dead human spirit and empower her.. to fill her to overflowing with joy and His Holy Spirit. And guess what. She was there present on the day of Pentecost with some of her kids. She was filled and empowered for more service. Sound new to you? Why was she there then? We are all to be humble servants unto our King. We all were born wrong the first time—in sin says the Bible—and that's why we all need to be born again. We all need to live filled to overflowing with God's Spirit too. But, Kurt, why do we each need to repent and be born again? Well, cuz God said, "..You must be born again" (Jn. 3:7).    

They are sadly growing in numbers out there, I mean those who are unfamiliar with the real Message of the manger. It's true. So many today are biblical illiterate, not knowing anything about Adam, Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses etc. And most people have not yet heard the clear-cut Gospel. But we can tell them, and we have new tools to use in this with! 

I sat down with a man from Southern California and a formal denomination a few days ago as we drank some apple cider together. Robert (that's not his real name) had been in church all his life and yet he wanted to hear about my story, of how I found the assurance of my salvation. It happened in the spring of 1977. What a relief for me to find Jesus. Yes he didn't yet have this same assurance and I didn't always have this assurance so I could relate. So He asked about it ..being totally unfamiliar with the Gospel.. and I was only so thrilled to explain my testimony and the simple Gospel (not of works, but of grace alone) to him ..in non-religious terms cuz God ain't religious. Never has been. It was a good time to chat. How cool is that! Made my day. And he listened very carefully to the Bible verses that I shared with Him as I simply pointed Him to the Jesus of the Bible who could save him... who could give him a free gift. Everyone needs this Christmas Gift that keeps on giving. He was even thankful. (I use that word "save" not to sound preachy, but because God's Word uses that word to describe such an experience). I'm praying for him now so that he can receive by faith the same gift of salvation that the people at the first Christmas needed. Mary, who was a virgin but only until after the birth of Jesus, knew that she too needed to have forgiveness and assurance of salvation. She wanted to be with her Son forever. Do you need such assurance? What present do you need more at this time of year ..than His presence? There ain't one, not even one.   

"Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said: 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Lk. 1:45-47, emph. mine).

You can't need a Savior if you aren't a sinner. Duh. I had to figure that one out on my own as a teen who had for years been taught some error about Mary. Took me awhile. 

Lots of people preach a different Jesus today ..one of their own making and preference, but the Jesus Christ of the manger is the Bible Jesus and He is my Savior. He is God - sinless. He is the centerpiece of the entire human race. History is His story. He is in control. Yes, and He is the focus of all human history. It will be that way in the future too. He is thee Leader in the line of progress. He is the only One who can get you into Heaven and keep you from Hell (which is a real place) and keep you from purgatory (which is not a real place). Perhaps you need this Savior today? If you have not yet turned from your sin and believed.. if you do not know Him in a personal kinda way ..then you are lost. Simple as that. Not trying to guilt you, judge you, condemn you, or put "a heavy" on you. I was lost for 18 long years, but He found me and now tells me to tell. This Jesus was born to die. It was our sins that put Him up on that cross, but after He was dead and in the grave, He arose from that hole ..totally alive again. There were eyewitnesses. And you can walk with Him and biblically be used of Him to tactfully help others. You've perhaps seen pushy, puffed-up preachers talking down to people. Well that isn't what God wants you to be like. We are not to manipulate or be greedy. No worries. Just be yourself in Him and He will guide you in the right way. He will make you a blessing to be around. 

What can we learn from the wise men? We can learn to seek the Savior until we find Him. We can learn to give to Him for He first gave to us. Please don't wait any longer to address this most important personal issue. He wants you.

Like Mary needed forgiveness, we do too.

She worshipped and prayed to God alone. You can't find one verse that says otherwise, or that she talked with any saint who had passed on. What good would that do for any of us? The Bible says we have one Mediator between God and man - Jesus Christ. Yes, we can and outta follow her example in in prayer as well.. unto God. We ought to lay down all our idols and bow before God alone. He is the only One worthy of that. He is the One who longs to help and provide for you, because He loves you so.

What is your master passion today? What have you lived for up to this point in your life? I say that you were made for Christ, not for your career, or for your goals, or for your date.. if you have one, or even for your family first. You weren't made for the Church, though it's good for every believer to be a part of a local church. You were made for the praise of His glory. He gave Himself for you, but the best birthday gift you can give to Him is yourself—all of you.

"That night so many years ago which brought the Savior's birth,
Gave promise of a brighter hope: good will—and peace on earth."
~ Anon.

Do you need a brighter hope today? Let's all remember to keep the manger thing the main thing, worship Jesus alone, obey and then go tell


BTW: I took the photos of Chuck Swindoll (above) with some friends yesterday. That's his cool manger scene. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The work of God done in the will and..

..loving Spirit of God, yes done by the power of the Word of God, is to the glory of God and is gladly provided for by the generous providence of God.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

 1 Cor. 10:31


"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us."

2 Cor. 1:20


"For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God."

2 Cor. 4:15


"..and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Phl. 2:11

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pray and wait and pray and hear and tactfully tell

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas in the Lord. 

I was basically knocked offline (by me) due to technical difficulties (I caused by overloading my droid with too many apps ..I think), but I finally found the reset factory defaults button in my droid. Yeah.. back on. 

Was lookin' at what God said about perseverance and it really encouraged me in seeking Him without falling over on my side to sleep too much, "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isa. 40:31

"Jesus taught that perseverance is the essential element of prayer. Men must be in earnest when they kneel at God's footstool. Too often we get faint-hearted and quit praying at the point when we ought to begin. We let go at the very point where we should hold on strongest. Our prayers are weak because they are not impassioned by an unfailing and resistless will." ~ E. M. Bounds

If ever there was a season during the calendar year when it's good for believers not to be faint-hearted on their knees, it's now during this season when so many are hurting and when some are gettin' together with peeps needing ministry that they don't see much all year long. fish4souls.org

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If a sailor washed up on shore of a secluded island and became stranded, and this person..

..found a Bible under a palm tree from a former stranded sailor ..and he or she hadn't heard any type of "message" before, but they simply started to read it, then that person could indeed become a real Christian, but they could not become a Mormon or a J.W. Just sayin'. Think 'bout it, cuz I'll never be a hater - I actually feel love for all types of peeps.

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…" ~Paul, (Romans 1:16, Bible).

On that island that lone person couldn't become a Catholic or Methodist or Episcopalian etc.. either ..and I do love those people as well (of course cuz I was raised as a Catholic and I know some real Christians in those denominations). BTW I Currently have Mormon friends and Mormon teaching erroneously says that Jesus was and is the spirit-brother of Lucifer, a fallen angel.. which would make Christ much lesser - as a non-omnipresent angel (not a Savior) as well. (The kernel of thought here is not original with me - it came from a discussion that I had with my friend on the road named, Russ, and we don't remember where we heard part of this idea, but it is true. Jn. 3:3)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jesus took time for it, so today and everyday... why don't you?

Note2SometimesStubornThickheadedSelf: Jesus thought it was real important and found moments alone with His Father, but not to sit there and generate anxiety with, but to get vertically candid ..and so can you, Kurt, do what He did. Wishin', hopin', plannin', frettin' about, merely musing with that handwringing kinda worryin' over.. will never be a substitute for prayer. 

God is still awake, He sees, hears and He works. Man, wish I'd convince myself once and for all, cuz how easily I seem to forget my most important ministry. Will stop and get to it ..cuz really we do enjoy Him. Lost friends and loved ones need prayer so much. Will do it on the go while doing my duties out there with those of the world as well. Sure, stuck at the Red Sea with those heated Egyptians wantin' his scalp, the Lord told Mo that it was time to act. 

"One can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer and never do any praying." ~ Catherine Marshall

"Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.'" Luke 11:1

Monday, December 5, 2011

So many feel empty, bored, guilty and lonely. Searching?

Did you know that most peeps go online 'for no particular reason' ..but hey.. we believers do have a great reason for going online when the Lord leads us to. Yes, we prayerfully want to be a blessing to others and want to see God use us to meet needs. So many are there wanting to be listened to.. wanting to express themselves.

Of course we want to learn online, discover good ideas, visit with our friends as well, but we also sincerely want to address the questions that people currently have with the Word of God, not old ones from yesteryear that no one is asking today. And we want to do this wisely and help keep people safe online too.. helping em discover the main reason they are here - to worship in Spirit and in truth. We want all people everywhere to find true repentance and a meaningful, lasting relationship with Christ who can same them in the best kinda way. 

We love to challenge their thinking with good questions without compromise, or being tainted or corrupted... you know, with Scriptural thoughts of truth. So many lies have sadly been swallowed by this generation and that's why we are here. We seek to encourage people with truth, to edify em, to boldly point people to the Lord and even win unbelievers to faith in Christ who alone can meet all their needs. We also love any supplement to promote fellowship and church fellowship. Do you pray that God will edify and help disciple His fishers through you?  

Did you know that, "About 53% of young adults ages 18 to 29 go online on any given day for no particular reason except for a diversion or just for fun. About 81% of people in this demographic said they have done so at least occasionally. But it's not just young web users that turn to the Internet during their down time—about 58% of all adults or 74% of online adults said they use the Internet this way, up from 45% of adults who said they did so in a Pew survey conducted in 2006." ~ Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life (CNN). This study—conducted among 2,260 adults ages 18 and over on landlines and cellphones—has a margin of error of 3.7%.

The Bible says, "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself" (kjv),"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered" (esv). Most westerners don't ever want to be made fat, but it's so good to be made fat spiritually as long as we keep exercising, properly applying God's Word. Go for it.. I mean go for Him.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If you are born anew, then you will have a desire to witness for the Lord as He did this...

..yes, either locally or abroad.. or preferably both here and there. And you will indeed want to pray about this, because you want people to one day go to Heaven with you. If a so called Christian says that they don't like personal evangelism, then what they don't like is more than likely a bad caricature of evangelism that someone else gave them.. but all true believers will like biblical evangelism like Jesus did.
 
"If the Church of today.. would have the power of God come mightily upon her - and is this not the great need? - she will necessarily receive it while in the pathway of larger obedience to the missionary command." ~ John R. Mott

 

When was the last time that you simply asked for a refill.. or for boldness? Of course you need to be wise and work hard when on the company clock instead of merely flapping your jaws, but I have found that the days when I am most bold are the days when I ask God to give me boldness about my relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

"Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken: and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:29-31
 
With all due respect, I earnestly want to challange you both on and offline to pray and then go tell someone about Christ's saving grace today. As I hear the news reports about Iran and their nukes, it kinda makes me wonder.. Who knows how much time we have left to get His Message out?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why try to be more than what God has made you to be?

Be yourself in the Lord - labor to enter into His rest. 

None of us can do what all of us can do. You know that Christ wants us to depend upon His Spirit in fishing and in equipping, but also to remain interdependent. He does His work through Christian community. Us believers enjoying fellowship with the Lord wherever we go, and fellowshipping with each other in love is so important. 

Why flap my jaws about God to men when I haven't even first discussed men and others with God?

"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." ~Jesus, (Mat. 6:6-8)

 

Challenges me gobs..this passage. Wanna be drawn and follow Jesus in this first priority thing..without getting distracted away. My dog wants to as well it would seem. Roxy scratches on the door to be let in when she hears my voice. Always glad when I'm there. I think about this passage the most when I think of prayer. Billy Graham would pray short in public and long in private - still does. I think, if He ain't Lord of all, how can I call Him "Lord" at all?

 
"If we would have God in the closet, God must have us out of the closet. There is no way of praying to God, but by living to God." ~ E.M. Bounds

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank God "In".. Not "For" All Circumstances

"Trouble and prayer are closely related.. Trouble often drives men to God in prayer, while prayer is but the voice of men in trouble." ~ - E.M. Bounds

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms." ~ Jam. 5:13

Ungrateful people sometimes opt to be that way when they don't get their own way, or fail to receive what they want (I've unfortunately been there before). But even if we believers don't receive an answer in the affirmative for everything that we ask for, we can still heartily thank God for all that He has not allowed to come to us. Don't know about you, but I deserve much worse than I've experienced.

Let's keep prayin' for the lost and the saved around us who don't have it as good as we do and thank God. He is so for blessing us all in Christ Jesus, more than we are for that. Are you sure you are in Him? Call out to the Lord in faith.

Remember, sometimes those things that seem so awful to us, might not end up being that way. I'm glad that my SoCal pastor named, Greg, shared something with me along this same line of thinking...  

I once heard a story about a man who was shipwrecked on an uninhabited island. Seeing that rescue might not happen for a long time, he painstakingly built a little hut to provide himself protection from the elements and a place to store the few items he had managed to salvage from the wreck. Every day he would prayerfully scan the horizon, hoping for the approach of a ship. But he saw nothing.

Then one evening, after he had been out and about on the island, searching for food, he came back to see that his little hut was in flames. He tried to put out the fire, but it was too late. Everything he owned in this world had gone up in smoke. He went to sleep that night listening to the pounding of the surf, stunned by his own misfortune.

Best-case scenario.. The next morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island—the first ship he had seen since he had been marooned. Still trying to believe his eyes, he heard footsteps, and then a human voice, saying, "We saw your smoke signal and we came to rescue you."

That's how it happens sometimes. In divine sovereignty and grace, the worst-case scenario somehow becomes the best-case scenario.

Disasters can turn out to be great opportunities for God to work in your life. The Lord is always present with us, always intimately acquainted with our circumstances, and He specializes in taking "impossible" situations and turning them around, for His glory and our benefit.

Will it be so bad if God is in control? How do you know?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Love the sounds of the ocean and from the creatures that dwell near it.

"Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it.." ~ Psalm 98:7

shout. waves rollin' in…

roll, mighty waters n oceans. crest and roll. with great joy, shout!

run rivers run, out of the valleys and into the wide open.

purge and cleanse and redeem.

I mean, I'm never lookin' to the sea as my Source. Got only One. I'm just reminded of ..and looking to You O Lord. Let your torrents of living waters flow in, out, and through.. to refresh and touch ..please touch all the untouched places within us..and others too. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

10 Keys Of Hospitality


If you singularly or corporately have and want to keep friends, you really need to think and be, not just act, friendly. Being genuinely considerate should come from who you are as a person or group. Guests can tell. If we opt not to care, our valued guests will feel it and simply go elsewhere.


Have you ever served in a "people business" before, like in real estate, or an upscale restaurant, or at a high-end hotel or in an excellent para-church or local church ministry (and I don't at all mean to business-ify a church for that is family and calls for family lingo)? It's really a lot of fun and the people keep it interesting. I love their various stories. Personally, I've had the opportunity to serve in all of the above, but I still have a lot to learn and the Lord keeps helping me. He's the expert.

It's been my aim and prayer, no matter how grand or trendy or fancy-schmancy the place is, that our guests leave more impressed with the service and kindness they recieve, than how they felt when they arrived looking at whatever type of temporal facility.

I'm sure it can be a challenge at times for any employee or leader at any location, to reach such a goal, but we all can do our best. If we are believers, then we especially need to do our best as unto Christ to glorify Him instead of "us." And we indeed can encourage each other to this end, yup, towards giving extra value in spreading His light and His warmth with true hospitality.

Perhaps you've travelled some before. Perhaps you have run into a rude staff in different churches or hotels etc. Maybe you've run into a pretentious snooty staff, or an incompetent staff that couldn't even handle a basic task well. What do you think when you leave such a place? Is it like.. Note-written-to-self or to TripAdvisor.com: Never ever stay at that place! (Of course, you know you won't stay at that establishment again).

The numero uno reason for a customer, guest, congregant.. to reject returning to a certain store, hotel, restaurant or church is due to a staff member's weird attitude or indifference. Who can't feel it? Ever work with someone puffed up, or apathetic, or who had an attitude of entitlement? How do ya like that?

Basically, what should you be like if you serve in the hospitality industry or any people business/ministry? What quickly comes to your mind? I would encourage you to keep Jesus Christ first for there are many temptations especially when lots of people are involved. And choose to be a genuine people-loving individual who is:

·         Efficient
·         Personable
·         Spiritual
·         Competent
·         Practical
·         Professional
·         Patient
·         Biblically-sound
·         Upbeat
·         Warm-hearted
·         Straightforward
·         Tactful
·         Thoughtful
·         Responsible
·         Engaging
·         Reliable.. and
·         Guest-oriented


"Duh," you might say! "Kurt, all that is a no-brain-er, concierge dude."
Hey gang, I know it is, but it never hurts to be reminded of this stuff. I love to be reminded, because I can so easily forget stuff.

I say have the fruit of the Spirit in Christ rather than being merely religious. Remember this. Never allow your ego to become bigger than your calling or career-purpose, no matter how many people around you allow that to happen. Hopefully none will as we intercede for them. Choose to be exemplary as a person of eternal purpose instead of allowing the pride to get in your way.

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality." ~ Paul, Romans 12:10-13


Ok, here are my so called "ten keys" (among many other keys) for all of us to apply…


1.      Make eye contact and always give a warm greeting with those pearly-whites of yours (yes, a big enthusiastic smile). Never hurts. Travellers wanna meet locals who give a flip. It makes their day and their stay. I've never met even one that feels like being greeted by some robotic-ally nerdy-nerd display board ..and those high tech lobby-boards probably do have their place. Who knows, audio greetings on those things might soon arrive via a built-in Android app, but I believe that human gestures like I mentioned, from real human volunteers or committed paid workers will always be appreciated more. Will an upscale hotel or restaurant actually be able to call itself "upscale" minus humans serving in the foyer or lobby? Maybe one day, but that day is still off in the distant future. That warm personal touch, recommendation, corroboration, edification, chit chat about local hot spots—that's what I myself love most when I travel.. especially when the employee (a friend I've gained) remembers my name or possibly something I said about my family ..or about my dog, Roxy. Priceless!    

2.      Listen attentively to the patron's (person's) heart or request or root need behind their request ..with discernment and understanding. Part of my duty has always been "matching" (in counseling or in secular work) and that often takes a few careful questions to the guest, just to make sure I know exactly what the guest desires or does not desire. Can I find a passage or verse that would fit and properly build them up? We all can learn the right questions for our respective departments, to respectfully ask our visitors (quests) without getting too personal. I'd rather be a sharp-shooter than a shot-gunner with polite questions and responses. How can I live.. how can I share Christ and His truth that they need to hear most..or should I just shut up and be there for them while they hurt, celebrate, etc? Being tactful has to do with making a point and hearing ideas an preferences, without making an enemy. Where selfless hospitality begins evangelism or discipleship can join in, at some locations of service or employment. On other job sites they require you to first sign a promissory agreement first to never share your faith on their property, or you'll be released simple as that. Let God lead you in where you work and do your best to honor those in authority so that you glorify Him while shining brightly, instead of being  fired for verbally witnessing when you should be working. Too many get fired for being lazy or religiously foolish "in the Name of Jesus." But I say never be afraid to work hard, or to rephrase Scripture when you can in certain places while keeping the meaning of the text accurate. Don't be afraid to rephrase what you think the visitor is asking for ..or to ask them to repeat their wishes so that you're absolutely correct in your assessment. Know before they go.
"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers…" ~ Hebrews 13:2


3.      Be sure to anticipate the visitor or guest's subsequent needs that could be connected to their original request. You can ask, "Would you like for me to set up some economical or luxury transportation for your group to and from that restaurant (retreat, field trip etc) as well?", or "After shopping all day, you might have quite an appetite. Have you had the pleasure or chance to try some of the excellent restaurants on the property? You indeed know it would be my pleasure to get you in at the best." Your leaders should know how this would work at your locale, but keep in mind that you never need to have wrong motives, methods, or in any way compromise spiritually just to serve people in a hospitable manner. Never. Wisely appeal to your boss if he or she pressures you to sin, but don't cave even for your boss.  

4.      If a guest ever says "Thank you", consider that as an extra bonus and respond by saying something like, "You are so welcome. You're satisfaction is of course my top goal." (check it out tipped employees, this kind of attitude might just help when the bills need to be paid).

5.      Any staff member who receives a complaint needs to "own" that specific complaint until it is made right. I mean don't pass em off like a sack of trash because that is how they would feel. You know what I mean. Personally, I sure ain't perfect. I'm a learner, and that means that I aim to profit from all that I experience (learning) towards perfecting my skills inside churches and in the marketplace. But it also means I unfortunately could make a few mistakes at times, or my co-workers or fellow ministers could, though we all do our best to avoid them. I say that everything I've ever done wrong ..was my fault, not a neighbour's fault. Wanna make the mistake into my stepping stone rather than tombstone. I want to be a stepping stone for others instead of a stumbling block. There's just no room for carnal living or blame-shifting today. We all are responsible for ensuring congregant growth or customer satisfaction if you will—we're in this together. Gone are the days of "Hey, I'm outta here. Got other things to do. This is not my department or section." We've all heard a lot about being a "team player," but this is the area where the rubber meets the road. It isn't always easy working with needy people that are saved or spiritually lost, but God can make it a huge joy for you. We do it for Him who served and died for all people, not willing  that any should perish.  

"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit." ~ Conrad Hilton


"Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."  ~ UCLA Coach, John Wooden

6.      Communicate effectively. Pray in the Spirit (if you're a believer) and be accurate with real facts about a guest's problems, trials, pains.. with your fellow team members, leaders and management.. not at all to slight or joke around, but to adequately address the issue. And if at all possible, have a fitting (biblical) solution ready when going into the meeting or conversation. Intelligently serve "God's sheep" so to speak or everyday guests.. blessed (I mean 'til they want to return for more)! Never forget that good teamwork really does make the good dream work.. the corporate dream and then your own God-given dream as well. Jesus Christ was hospitable on earth. Follow His example.

"Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men." ~ Jeremiah (9:2)  

7.      Treat others how you want to be treated, and don't treat others how you really don't wish to be treated. Of course not everyone wishes to be treated exactly the way that you wish to be treated all the time, but in a general sense they really do. So many are lonely—hungry to experience God's agape love. Many feel guilty, empty, unfulfilled, or afraid to fail or afraid to die. There are indeed times to reprove or correct when others are being ill-effected in certain situations, but show respect to all. Who wants to be looked down upon, or paternalistically spoken down to? No one. Sure, are we believers really all that different from each other in our basic needs and aspirations? Are unbelievers so radically different from each other regarding basic needs? We have the Solution they are looking for—Christ. I say show sincere care to all guests no matter what, even if you feel that they don't deserve respect because they haven't been behaving respectability. Always remember that "us showing it" never has to be contingent upon "them earning it" from us.. for they are after all, our guests, and we ought to cut em some slack. Wouldn't we like some of that? Sure. We love God's grace, mercy and protection. Besides, you know that the security department where you serve (if they have em) is also there for you.. if things get dangerous or too outta hand.

Hospitality is more about makin' your guests feel at home than about your own personal feelings, even if you feel like that is exactly where they should beat home. Feelings are fickle.

8.      Take responsibility for your own attitude, body language, behaviour, deeds, and communication. Do your homework in these areas before you arrive in your department at church or work. Everyone will be glad you did.

"You can't make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody." ~Les Giblin
 
"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different." ~ Katherine Mansfield


9.      When things go wrong, forget lame excuses, whining, and fault finding. Just tell the truth. Look on the positive but realistic side, and be careful not to offer up any glib cliches or cavalier remarks that really don't help, comfort or better the situation. Always try your best, without being afraid to blunder. Stay (or get) in the Word. Be wisely cautious. If what you do is done in good faith and your efforts are sincerely intended to put the guest's needs at the forefront, then I believe it will all work out for the good, and advance the collective cause.

"Hospitality should have no other nature than love." ~ Henrietta Mears


10.     A pleasant farewell (again, using the guest's name if at all possible, for they are a person rather than a number..) or hug at church because we "are family".. and remembering to say, "Thank you for your visit (or business). We do look forward to serving you again soon" ..is equally as important here as our initial "Welcome! How are you?"