4 Reasons You Don’t Feel Forgiven

Four Reason You Don’t Feel Forgiven:

  1. You’re not.  Your relationship with God is not a forgiving, personal relationship. You might believe in a god but that doesn’t mean you have submitted yourself to Him, confessed your sin, and asked for forgiveness.
  2. You are lying to yourself.  You have not done a ruthless moral inventory of your soul.  You have not faced your specific sins.  As a result, the sin pattern remains.
  3. You have every intent of sinning again.  You treat forgiveness as a transaction – “Forgive me Lord,” and you know you intend to sin again.  “God is not mocked.  Whatever a man sows, that’s what he reaps.” Galatians 6:7
  4. You have not attempted to make amends.  To truly repent means you try, to the best of your ability, to undo the harm you have done to others.  This includes confessing to them that you have harmed them.

20 Things Forgiveness is:

Forgiveness is:

  1. Being released from the debt your sin made between you and God.
  2. Rebuking the old memories that taunt you about failures from the past.
  3. Having the old sin habits sanded out of your soul and new channels of grace forming.
  4. Seeing the world differently because you no longer think everyone is better than you.
  5. Being set free from shame that twists your behavior into something unnatural.
  6. Extending grace to people who hurt you, because you had grace extended to you.
  7. Feeling clean in the presence of God.
  8. No longer bracing against God for fear He will torment you with your stupidity; but instead finding no condemnation in His eyes.
  9. Knowing your sins have been hurled past the borders of the universe.
  10. Hearing the Judge declaring you “guilty” and then telling you that His son will pay your fine.
  11. Going to the promise that God will cover you with layer after layer of grace, so your sin is buried under the weight of His love.
  12. Feeling grateful to the One who forgives you.
  13. Jesus taking your burden of the past from you and putting it on Himself.
  14. Your soul dancing because God has done for you what you could not do for yourself.
  15. Feeling a deep peace because your soul no longer wars within itself.
  16. Agreeing with God about the truth of your life, the mess you’ve made of it, and how much you need Him.
  17. Being set free from being the victim.
  18. Not bought with trinkets you bring to God hoping to buy it, but is extended to you as a gift.
  19. Changes your future forever.
  20. What you need.

5 Things to Remember when You Ask God for a Miracle

Five things to remember when you ask God for a miracle:

  1. He invites you to ask Him! “Ask and it will be given to you.Seek and you will find.   Knock and it will be open to you.”  Matthew 7:7
  2. You are not placing an order, you are asking the King.  Adjust attitude and tone accordingly.
  3. Ask for insight into the timing of the miracle.  Keep an eternal perspective.
  4. Believe.  “Nothing is impossible with God.”  Matthew 19:26
  5. Trust.  There is a larger picture being painted.  The miracle we ask for today might not be the miracle God wants to give us tomorrow.

4 Places in your Soul that need to be cleaned

4 places in your soul that need to be cleaned:

  1. Your heart/will needs to be cleaned.  We make too many decisions not based on what Jesus wants, but on what we’ve done before.  Clean out the old reference points.
  2. Your mind needs to be cleaned.  Old thought patterns need to be redirected.  When feelings arise, you need to check them out before you act.  Are they based on old values and memories not yet touched by the grace of Jesus?
  3. You body need to be cleaned.  No, I’m not talking about juicing.  I’m talking about evaluating your habits and appetites.  Have you cleaned up destructive habits?  Have you cleaned up your appetites so they lead you to health?
  4. Your relationships need to be cleaned up.  You need to forgive.  You need to confess how you have harmed people.  You  need to make amends where possible.

Ready to get cleaning?

Clean…

I first lived in the Old House. It was called that because it was the oldest house of sawed lumber east of the Peace River. My great grandfather had built it in 1876 after the original log cabin burned. Plumbing and electricity were not added until after my mother married my father in 1945. The bathroom was located in an ideal position – right off the back porch. After a day of working hard in the groves or with the cows, you stepped right into the bath room to shower off. Unfortunately, the electrician and plumber failed to communicate, so the fuse box and cloth insulated electric lines were also located in the bathroom (not exactly up to code).

For this reason (and many others) my mother built the New House when I was seven. It had air conditioning, a bedroom for each child, and best of all, a bath without a fuse box. The only problem was the architect was not familiar with the work habits of cattlemen. All the bathrooms in the house were located at the far end, away from the door most often used. Shortly after we moved into the house, my mother’s voice would ring out, “Stop tracking dirt through my new house!” Thus began the custom of stripping down to our underwear under the carport, hosing off, and dashing through the house.

This system worked pretty well until the day my mother was entertaining her bridge club. My brother and I were riding horses, had gotten sweaty, and needed to a good bath. We stripped as usual in the carport at the back of the house, not seeing the cars parked on the half-circle drive in the front of the house (where company entered). My brother hosed himself off, then squirted me in the face, temporarily blinding me. Naturally I took this as a provocation to get him in trouble, and perhaps sent to prison. I darted inside the house screaming “Steve squirted me in the eyes and now I am blinded for life!”

In my quest to find Mama, I ran in the direction of voices. The ladies were arrayed around a card table in the front room, where I was forbidden to ever set foot. I temporarily forgot this prohibition, my blindness inducing amnesia. I arrived in my underwear, my eyes squinted shut, sobbing, screaming, and dripping.

Apparently, the refined ladies of the Lemon Grove Bridge Club had never experienced sibling rivalry, or at least they had never heard it expressed so loudly by a sopping wet boy in his underwear. Their mouths formed large, silent “O’s” at this breach of etiquette. My mother flashed me a look that clearly communicated, “I am going to kill you.” At this moment my brother also entered the room, to act as his own defense counsel. He had reached the age where he was ashamed of his body in front of strange women, so his eyes widen, and he scampered down the hall to lock himself in the bathroom.

My memory of that night’s events are hazy after that. I recall peals of laughter, the abandonment of the bridge game, a beating for myself and my brother (I still don’t know why I was spanked – he was clearly the one at fault), and being forced to mop up the lake that had formed in the hall while my mother grieved over her new front room carpet, now clearly imprinted with mud.

Jesus cleanses us before we ever come in the house. His grace washes over all the dirt of our souls. He is never shocked. The power of His forgiveness deals with all the dirt that clings to you. There is never shock in the Father’s house when you come in, dripping of grace. There is only, “Welcome home.”

5 Things you can learn about Leadership From 1 & 2 Kings in the BIble

5 things you can learn about leadership from 1 & 2 Kings in the Bible:

  1. The Leader sets the example.  When the Kings seek God, the nation does.  When they don’t, the whole nation goes astray.  The Leader sets the values.
  2. Arrogance guarantees failure.  Rehoboam arrogantly thinks he out do his Dad Solomon.  He winds up splitting the Kingdom.
  3. Someone wants to harm you.  Note the number of Kings who were assassinated.  Leaders can’t escape this reality.  They can only prepare.
  4. When the leader is distracted, vision is lost.  Solomon got distracted by many women – and he stopped being wise.
  5. Every leader is left a legacy to either clean up or embrace.

5 Reasons Why “Don’t Fit” is for You.

We start a new message series Sunday and Monday called “Don’t Fit.”  Here are 5 reasons this series is for you:

  1. You feel like everyone else has it together, but not you.
  2. When you pick the book “The Ugly Duckling” it has your picture on the cover.
  3. You internally kick yourself when you say something awkward or stupid in a group of people.
  4. You worry that one day people will really discover who you are and they will turn against you.
  5. You know what you did last summer and you still feel ashamed.

There’s probably more on the list, but you get the idea.  This message series will help you!  Look forward to seeing you

Don’t Fit?

I hated Physical Education in Middle School. I hated it because our PE Teacher, Coach Whatever-His-Name-Was believed in team sports. He also believed in picking the most athletic students be the captains. They would start off every period by picking their teams for the day. I don’t know why it was done this way; the teams never changed.

The first boys chosen were always the same. They were the friends of the captains, fellow athletes blessed with bodies that moved when and where they wanted them to move. There was a little variation when it came to the middle of the pack depending on the sport. During football season, size mattered. Same thing with basketball season, though size was measured in height, not weight. During volleyball season, height also mattered, along with the ability to smash the ball over the net. All that mattered during baseball season was your ability to hit the ball.

After the first twelve boys are so, the picking slowed down. The captains looked over the dregs and decided who would do their team the least amount of damage. The dregs were the same four guys: Neal, who was small for his age; Robert, who would often get blown away during a stiff a wind; Matt, also small for his age, with really thick glasses; and me.

I was not small for my age. In fact, I reached six feet in middle school. Unfortunately, my body had grown so fast, my brain had not kept up. I would send a signal to my arms to swing, and my body would respond about three seconds later – after the ball had been caught by the catcher. I would shoot the basketball during warm drills and miss the backboard and rim. The chant of “Airball! Airball!” was invented to describe my play on the court. I was of some value during basketball season. I could stand in the lane, hold up my arms, and occupy space, so the shooter would have to dribble around me. Sometimes I wouldn’t either bother to run to the other end of the court – I would just stand there, knowing the game would come back to me.

I remember the team captains arguing over us: “I took Clay yesterday, you take him.” “No way, he can’t do anything!” Was it any wonder that my nickname throughout childhood was “Charlie Brown.” Physical Education was the one hour of day guaranteed to send me the message that I didn’t fit. It was a regular pounding of my ego.

I only found out later that the athletes felt out of place in history, where I made straight “A’s,” and in English, where they would struggle to read through the stories I would zoom through. Everyone feels like they don’t fit sometime.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus sought out the people who didn’t fit, and he gave them all the same message: In my Kingdom, you do fit. I love you and I want you to belong. He comes to the wounded space inside all of us with the same message: I choose you.

Listen to His voice, not the voice of PE teachers and captains of long ago. He wants you for His team.

Cut it Out, you’re Stirring Up the Cows!

We’d let some kids come out and help us work cows. We put them in the pen, bringing cattle from one pen to another. I was working in the catch pen, when we stopped everything for a few moments to lance a boil on a calf.

We heard the cattle stirring, and then I heard Uncle Earl’s voice boom, “Cut it out, you’re stirring up the cows!”

The kids had discovered they could run the cows in a circle in the pen. The cows were getting anxious and were pressing against the fence. The cypress boards were groaning from the pressure.

The kids naturally assumed a posture of innocent cherubs. One of men helping us, Tom, climbed the fence into the pen, and just stood there, calling to the cows: “Whoa, cattle, whoa.” In a few moments, a swirl of cattle settled down.

One non-anxious cowboy equals a herd of non-anxious cattle.

People take emotional clues from leaders. If the leader is anxious, the followers are anxious. The leader sets the emotional thermostat.

As a leader, I cultivate self-awareness. I need to know what feeling I am transmitting. I bring perspective to problems that may seem huge to members of my team. I remind them of greater context, of resources they may have forgotten, and possible outcomes.

Anxiety is rarely a performance enhancer. A little bit is needed to help add energy to an organization, but too much dissipates the focus of energy.

So are you stirring up people?  Be sure it’s what you want to do.  A little anxiety is not bad, but too much equals chaos!

6 Signs You Are A Fool

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a fool if:

1.  I think lying is game and I will never get caught.  Proverbs 10:23 – Doing the wrong thing is like a game to the fool; but wise living is real joy to the person that really understands life.  The liar is always the loser.

2.  I insist I am always right.  Proverbs 12:15 – A fool thinks he is always right, but a wise one listens to counsel.  If you are the smartest person in the wrong, you are in the wrong room.  Change rooms or change people, or shut up and listen.

3.  My “friends” hurt me more than help me.  Proverbs 13:20 – The one who walks with the wise, becomes wise; but the friend of fools gets hurt.  Who you are with determines who you are.

4.  I believe my own lies.  Proverbs 14:8 – The really wise one understands where they are going, but the stupidity of the fool gets him off track.  The problem with telling a lie is most of us have poor memories.

5.  I am always in conflict with others.  Proverbs 20:3 – The honorable man walks away from fights, but the fool is fast to fight.

6.  I like to repeat failure.  Proverbs 26:11 – Just like a dog goes back and eats his vomit, a fool back to what got him into trouble in the first place.  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” – Einstein.

So what do the signs tell you?