Sunday, July 31, 2016

Choosing to keep a good attitude

Habakkuk 3:17‭, ‬19 NIV
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,  The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

I want to be more mature by keeping a good attitude regardless of my situation.  That is only possible by keeping my focus on the Lord and being more impressed by Him that the conditions around me.

Heavenly Father, please increase your joy and hope in me.  Please help me keep my focus on you and your glory instead of being frustrated or disappointed by worldly things.  Lord, may I be satisfied with you.  May I enjoy being with you. Holy Spirit, please help me be more aware of you and interactive with you. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, July 29, 2016

impact and value

Rhett wet the bed sometime before 4am, and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I prayed about a lot of stuff.  Somewhere in there, I think the Lord gave me a message for myself and other professors:

Your value is not measurable or quantifiable. Your value is not determined by your salary, how many journal publications or patents you have, how much research grant money you have brought in, nor even how many students you have taught or graduated.  Your impact is not measured or approximated by any sort of "impact factor" that can be calculated. Most of what you do is intangible. Your impact on society through teaching, research, and service is fundamentally immeasurable. Your impact is meaningful and significant.  You make a difference.  But you are not valuable because of what you do; you are valuable because of who you are.  You are are loved by your Heavenly Father and made in His image, and Christ Jesus has purchased your freedom with His own blood.  Any quantification of your value or worth is less than your God-given value.  You are unique and irreplaceable. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and encouragement.  Lord Jesus, thank you for purchasing my freedom.  It is for freedom that you have set us free, and I want to join you in the good works which you have prepared in advance for me to do.  Holy Spirit, I want to abide with you today.  Help me be aware of your presence, your activity, and your speaking.  I want to listen and obey.  And I want to share your love and kindness to people around me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

spiritual leadership

King Josiah pursued the Lord, and he led his people to pursue the Lord.

2 Chron. 22:29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD. 31 And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.

I want to be a spiritual leader.  I want to lead my family to pursue the Lord, and I want to lead others around me to pursue Him.

Heavenly Father, please give me a heart to pursue you.  Lord, I want a hunger for your Spirit, an appetite for more of you.  Lord, teach me to hunger for you, and help me lead others to hunger for you.  Lord, please use me to lead others to know you and walk with you with all of their heart and soul.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, July 22, 2016

reflections on Ecuador 2016

July 9-16

The Lord provided funding for us to travel and purchase supplies, and He provided filters through Thirsty People.  

It was a privilege for me to take five of my students (four current and one graduated) to work with me in distributing over 90 of the 100 donated filters in El Recreo and adjacent cooperativas.  Throughout the week, we talked about: knowing, doing, and being; the importance of spending time in getting to know people before we gave them a filter; and watching to see what God was doing in us and through each day.

I really enjoyed teaching on the first chapter of Colossians during the church's Bible studies on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (with the help of Kyle Kallestad in translating).

Thursday evening, Chuy put his faith in Christ and prayed to receive forgiveness and eternal life!  Yesterday, Chuy and I met to talk about Acts 1-2 and next steps in growing as a follower of Jesus.  I look forward to discipleship.

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the opportunity to go, and for the opportunity to go with my students.  Thank you for the support of my wife and family who sacrifice my time to allow me to go.  Lord, please multiply the blessings for my family,  for the people who gave money, filters, and prayer, for the people who received the filters, and for the local church in El Recreo.  Please grow your Kingdom, and send out more workers.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ecuador 2016 Sunday and Monday

Yesterday and today were great!

We landed around midnight Sunday morning, waited in line to report a lost bag, got a little sleep, had breakfast, and attended the Sunday morning service.  We celebrated with them in two baptisms, and we spent time getting to know the people here in the local church.  Later in the afternoon, we picked up the lost bag, experienced the tremors of a 5.9 earthquake 220 miles away, and had a nice devotional together in the evening.

This morning, we purchased buckets and prepared the filter kits for distribution.  This afternoon, we formed four teams and gave filters to 17 homes.  I felt like the way our team walked through the streets was like living water flowing through the neighborhood; indeed, we are vessels for clean water and living water.  I felt the heartbeat of God, the compassion of our Heavenly Father reaching out to His children, the intense love of Christ Jesus who gave His life to rescue us from death, and the flow of the Holy Spirit through us and among us in the lives of the families who received the filters.

Heavenly Father, please help us grow in knowing and experiencing you. Please protect us from spiritual attack and make us overcomers. You are so good, and I love you.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sustaining discipleship across multiple generations

(This was in my drafts from mid June.)

King David was a man after God's own heart.  Unfortunately, his son, Solomon, turned away from the Lord.  King David only had half a generation of godly descendants.  It makes me sad, and it makes me think about how intentional I need to be in teaching my children to teach their children to pursue the Lord (if He tarries that long).  I want my children and their descendants to know the Lord and walk in His presence every day.

Psalm 89:15‭-‬17 NIV
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.

Heavenly Father, please help me teach my children to know you and follow you.  I want them to transition to an independent relationship with you at an early age so that they consistently seek you and grow in walking with you their entire lives. Holy Spirit, please bless them with the privilege of going deeper with you than I have.  Help me pass on the spiritual inheritance that Brandi and I have received from our parents and grandparents to our children so that they will leverage it for enjoying their abundant walk with you and advancing your Kingdom.  I love you, and I pray this in the name of Jesus.


I preached on tithing a week ago, and ironically, I think I have received more encouragement from folks about that message than any other I have preached.  I did feel spiritual opposition before delivering the message, and I praise the Lord for giving me the opportunity to deliver a message that helps people.

In our Leadership Development Program through Global Legacy, we focused on prophecy this past month, and one of the readings mentioned that giving people encouraging words is one form of prophecy.  I remember Pastor Lewis in Austin telling me that I had a gift of encouragement.  I want to grow in allowing the Holy Spirit to flow encouragement through me.

Yesterday, we stopped at Wendy's for lunch, and we sat in the back of the eating area.  There was an elderly man sitting near us, and when I walked by, he told me that I was doing a good job with my boys and that I was a happy father.  This was very encouraging to me because I have been trying to be more joyful around my family and not quick tempered.

Heavenly Father, please grow me into your character.  I want to emulate you.  Holy Spirit, please flow through me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, July 1, 2016


Restoration has been heavy on my heart recently.  It is not easy.

I am thankful for the restoration that we have in Christ Jesus.  On the third day, He was raised to life, and by His death and resurrection, we have been restored to fellowship with God - even as His own children.

Hosea 6:2‭-‬3 NIV
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.  Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

Heavenly Father, thank you for restoration through Jesus Christ. Lord, may I abide in your presence, minute by minute.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence.  May I walk in your anointing, for your enjoyment and mine, and for the blessing of those around me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.