Gideon compared to me.

3/29/2005 6:59 AM
Title: WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A MIGHTY MAN FOR GOD!
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S: “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The LORD is
with you, you might man of valor!'” Judges 6:10

O: Gideon was hiding form the Midianites. He was grinding grain in a
winepress to hide it from the Midianites. He wasn’t in the grain fields.
He was in the vineyards. It wasn’t grape season. And God calls him a
mighty man of valor. I think that is probably because God saw two things:
1) that Gideon was going to become a mighty man of valor, and 2) that God in
him, was what made him a mighty man of valor.

A: I am not a mighty man of valor for God because I know Tae Kwon Do. I am
not a mighty man of valor because I have nearly 300 people coming to church.
I am not a mighty man of valor because I am somehow strong or mighty in my
life. I am a mighty man of valor only when I am spending time listening to
and following God. Each day that I have my devotions and each day that I
read and apply the Bible to my life, is a day that I can become an even
mightier man of valor. Because it’s not about me, but it’s about the GOD
who lives in me!

P: Lord, my prayer is that you will fill me with the Holy Spirit. My prayer
is that you will make me like this earlier part of the story of Gideon. I
pray you will fill me, change me, and mold me into the man of valor that you
want me to become. It’s about fighting the devil and the devil’s people and
it’s about gaining ground back for You, Lord.

We have to fight, because we have not obeyed. If we would have obeyed from
the get-go, we would have had peace and safety. I pray, Lord, that you will
turn us into people that is like you and that wants to be like you.

I submit myself and my church to you. I submit my attitude to you, I submit
my life to you. Please change me, make me like you. I love you, Lord.

God Keeps His Promises – will it be through me?

3/25/2005 6:16 AM
Title: WHAT GO PROMISES, HE DOES
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S: “So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to
their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD
gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their
fathers..Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to
the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Joshua 21:43-45

O: These are good and demanding words. Good, because it shows that you can
count on God. Demanding, because what God says he is going to do, he does
and he must follow through. But they are powerful words of promise and
powerful words of fulfillment. They are also words of thanksgiving.

A: Can I say the same of God? I think I can. He has never failed. I am
the one that has failed. HE never fails and never will fail. I must
follow-through with what it says in the next chapter.

“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the
servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all
His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him
with all your heart and with all your soul” Joshua 22:5

In other words, one way or another God is going to keep his promise. If
through me, it will be because I have followed. If I don’t, he’ll work
through my kids. If they don’t, he’ll work through the next generation.
That’s a promise. God is patient. He’s willing to wait for followers.

P: Lord, I commit to following you today. I commit to walking in your path.
Please help my unbelief. Please help and strengthen my commitment to you.
Make me into a man like you.

Thank you for the ways you have always kept your promises to me. Thank you
for the way you have always watched over me. I love you, Lord.

The Pursuit of Discipline

3/24/2005 6:04 AM
Title: THE PURSUIT OF DISCIPLINE WILL GET ME WHERE I WANT TO GO!
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S: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, let, when I have
preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians
9:27

O: Paul is simply following this phrase from a couple of days ago – all
things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. Now he’s simply
saying that if we are going to win the race of reaching lost people, we’re
going to have to take it seriously. Discipline. Most people don’t like it.
Most people don’t want to deal with it. That is why there was a new report
recently that says Social Security will fix itself, because so many people
are obese, that the average age for death will come down!

American’s are not disciplined. It’s a dirty word to them. They don’t want
to take the time to deal with things the way they need to, because they want
to focus on their wants right now. Later they’ll deal with it. We live in
such an immediate society that not wants to focus on the long-term
decisions.

But I like Paul’s reasoning here in verse 27. I discipline myself so that
somehow I myself might not become disqualified.

A: I understand that. One of my core values is, “The pursuit of discipline
will get me where I want to go.” So, things where I have disciplined my
life are:
1. Food – we try to eat healthfully most of the time
2. Daily Walking – Gail and I have been walking for years now every day
and it’s about an hour long or more usually now.
3. Other Exercise – I try to ride my bike, jog, or other form of
exercise about 3-5 times a week.
4. Purity – I don’t meet with women in private – EVER. I have a filter
on my computer that sometimes is a pain, but is a very valuable thing.
5. Preaching – I try to have a disciplined time where I work on my
schedule for preaching and then I follow through with it each week.
6. Devotions – for nearly 17 years now, I’ve had a time where every day
of my life is first dedicated to growing closer to God and building our
relationship.
7. Work Schedule – I strive to work according to schedule and be off
according to schedule so that I can focus on work when I’m at work and focus
on my family when I’m with family.
8. Calendar – this is related to the above, but trying to focus my
calendar and not just jump when people call.
9. Leadership – I’m trying to discipline myself to become the kind of
leader that will lead others as well as lead the church and my associate
pastors.

But here are some areas that I likely need to focus my discipline:
1. Schedule – Although I’ve grown in my work schedule, I need to not
quit growing and I need to get it more totally under control.
2. Block Schedule – figuring out my daily blocks, and sticking to them.
3. Food – When I feel like it, I eat junk. And when I eat junk food, I
eat too much of it.
4. Email – I can’t let email run my life, or the internet. I need to
use it as a tool, and only as a tool. Not run my schedule around it.
5. Attitude – I want to have and maintain a positive attitude about all
people and not get sucked into my own stinkin’ thinkin’ at times.
6. Leading my kids – I want to NOT be a complainer about people around
my kids. This is related to the above, but not 100% because that one
relates to my mind, this one relates to my words. I want my kids to see me
as a person who believers in people – neighbors, church members, fallen
church members, or people who are volunteering for church.
7. Reading – I need to get back on track with my reading, and make the
time to read and read often.

P: Lord, here are some things I need to focus on. I pray you will continue
to lead me down the disciplined path. About the only way I lived a
disciplined path as a kids was through the area of sports. But even that
wasn’t really disciplined, as much as it was out of balance with the amount
of time I spent with it. In other words, I played sports too much.

You led me to get more disciplined when I studied Tae Kwon Do. You led me
while I was in sports. You led me when I became a vegetarian. You led me
towards more discipline when I was in college and later in seminary. You
led me towards more discipline when I was working for other people. You led
me down the path of discipline when I started having daily devotions. You
have led me a long ways. I know you are leading me now.

Lord, continue to guide me along the path of discipline, lest I disqualify
myself for the prize. I love you and I want to continue to love you.
Please guide me and please protect me. I love you and will follow you.
Thank you.

Baptism – Buried by God

3/17/2005 5:45 AM
Title: BURIED AND FORGOTTEN – BUT NOT BY GOD – BAPTISM
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S: “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab,
according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the
land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.”
Deuteronomy 34:5, 6

O: I never noticed this before. God buried Moses. This reading is taken
out of the NKJV. Here’s what the footnote in the NLT says:
Deuteronomy 34:6 Hebrew He buried him, that is, “The LORD buried him.”
Samaritan Pentateuch and some Greek manuscripts read They buried him.

I never saw this. God must have really cared for Moses, like I’ve never
seen for anyone else. That’s an amazing amount of love and care. It’s not
that Moses died, it’s that he was buried by God.

Deuteronomy closes with these words: “But since then there has not arisen in
the land a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew fact to face..” V. 10

Face to face. Buried by God. He’s the only one to have these things happen
to him. That’s amazing. Then after he was buried, he was not forgotten by
God.

9Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed
about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation,
but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 1:9 (NKJV)

A: Ah! But isn’t that the message of the gospel. We CAN see God face to
face. We can see him with our own eyes. That’s what I keep telling some
people who want to know more about having a personal devotional life.

And although cannot physically see God face to face, I often feel like this
time in the morning is a time when I literally see God. I don’t mean he
stands before me, but I see his heart, I see his mind, I see where he wants
me to go.

This picture of Moses is a perfect picture of baptism. God buries our sin,
rebukes the devil and resurrects us to new life. That’s amazing. God
buries our sin, buries our past, buries our old lives and doesn’t forget us.
Instead, he makes us like Him. He brings us into a face to face
communication with Him.

P: Lord, I want to follow you. I want to be like you. I want my past and
my present buried away. Thank you that you have never forgotten where I am.
Thank you for always rebuking the devil away from me. You have raised me up
in your power and in your strength. Thank you, Lord, for the way you have
continually made me like you.

Please forgive me again. Please cleanse me from sin. Cleanse me from self.
Cleanse me from selfishness. Cleanse me from pride. Cleanse me from
walking away from you. Make me like you, Lord.

I submit myself to you, and I want to walk with you. Please fill me with
the Holy Spirit. I love you. I will serve you. I will follow you. I love
you.

Chosen

THIS IS MY JOURNAL ENTRY FROM LAST YEAR ON THIS DATE:
3/8/04 6:18 AM
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S: “The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of
the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 7:6

O: Moses is giving his final countdown to the people of Israel. He’s
winding it down because he’s soon to leave them and they are going to go on
into the Promised Land. He is then going to go and die and they are moving
forward. These are his last instructions, his last reminders, his last
words to them.

We’re only at the beginning of them for him. We’re only at the beginning of
these words and they will last for a few more chapters.

But Moses spends much of chapter 7 reminding them that they are God’s chosen
– NOT because they are great, NOT because they are wise, NOT because they
are more numerous, NOT because they are stronger, mightier, or better
warriors. He reminds them there is NOTHING they could do to become God’s
chosen people, but rather, it’s because of God’s love for them.

“But it was because the LORD loved you..” Deuteronomy 7:8

God loves his people before he chose them. He loves his people, that’s why
He chose them. He loves his people so he leads them, chooses them, protects
them, disciplines them, changes them, makes them like Him.

A: It’s pretty obvious here that this is a strong message of grace. It’s a
message that truly shows that all people are chosen and they are chosen
because God loves us. But in that love, he requires of his people to do
certain things. It’s that basic message of Grace that saves and Grace that
changes.

I can see here a message that Grace is above all – it’s by His grace that we
are saved it says in Romans – but it also says it here in Deuteronomy too!

P: Lord, thank you for that saving grace. Thank you for the time you’ve
taken to choose my family and me. Thank you for the message of grace – the
message of my salvation. Thank you that I can’t do anything for my own
salvation. I struggle with that as much as possible, Lord. I struggle with
it and I know without a shadow of doubt that I am saved by your grace alone.

That’s the message I want my kids to hear, Lord. That’s the message I want
my church to hear. That’s the message I want my friends to hear. That’s
the message I want to walk by, live by, and teach.

Spring Up- O Well!

2/27/2005 7:06 AM
Title: SPRING UP O WELL!
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S: “Spring up, O well!” Numbers 21:17

O: This is talking about all that God has done for them.

A: I am amazed sometimes at how much God has done for me. The last few
weeks was culminated in yesterday’s church service and it made it a very
strong and real category for me. It showed me just what God can do and will
do and wants to do.

Yesterday we had 327 in church. That means that 11 months ago, we were
averaging about 180 and then we started the 2nd campus at the end of March.
Our two weeks leading up to that was over 200, but that means we’ve
essentially doubled our attendance in less than one year!

I know that I shouldn’t get too excited about this, because one Sabbath does
not an attendance average make. Rather it opened the door for people to see
what could be.

I had two people come up to me yesterday and talk about it specifically.
Erik Stenbakken came up and said, “We need to do THIS more often.” When I
ask what, he talked about bringing both campuses together. He said he
sometimes wondered why we were doing two campuses and when he tried to get a
seat and was forced to go up to the balcony, he totally understands why. I
told him about the numbers and he was SO excited about it.

Joe Schlueter came up also and said, “I feel so proud to be a part of this
church.” He talked about the vision is actually working, the plans are
working, and he also talked about this church being aggressive in reaching
people and he was humbled and proud to be doing just that. It was awesome.

P: Thank you, Lord, for the way you have led. Thank you for the way you’ve
led in all your ways and in all your days. Thank you for the way you’ve led
in my life. Spring up, O well! You are an everlasting well of refreshing
and of amazing proportions. Thank you, Lord. I love you!