Saturday, January 27, 2007

Larry Brown and Lot's Wife

Everyone knows the shortest scripture in the Bible: “Jesus wept”. But few know the second shortest scripture in the Bible: “Remember Lot’s wife”. She is the one who just could not seem to let go of the hideously sinful past and look to a future of clean living. But this post isn’t about Lot’s wife.

I am one very lucky man. God seems to keep putting people into my life to help make me a better person. But this post is not about me either.

My spiritual brother is Paul Darby. I can honestly say that nobody in my life leaves me scratching my head in amazement more than Paul. His company is thriving, and he is experiencing the blessings of the Lord in a big way. He is rolling out what he calls the “Wealth 2007 Project”, and he asked me if I would go into downtown Dallas with him and shoot some video of homeless people. A part of his project is showing the difference between people with a financial plan for success, and those without one. But this post is not about Paul.

We met a man on the street named Larry Brown. Here is the video we shot.

What you can’t see is the fact that after the camera quit rolling, we continued talking to Larry. He admitted that he was a pastor of a church with a wife and children. So why was he living on the streets away from his family and church? Two words: crack cocaine! We prayed for him right out in the open, he wept, shuddered, and spirits of drug addiction moved. He left a free man filled with joy and a new found sense of restoration and opportunity.

Two weeks later I received a call at 3:10 AM on a Sunday morning. It was Larry. He was in a horrible place, needed food, shelter, and a ride. I drove 45 minutes to south Dallas to pick him up. He was in a train station because he was kicked out of the local V.A. hospital. He was homeless, penniless, stinky, and desperate. As we drove him out of that part of town, this grown man cried like a baby. But this post is not about that night.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

“And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” 2 Peter 2:20-22 (New Living Translation)

Why did Larry return to the bondage he was set free from to a life which he abhors? I’ll never know. But one thing I DO know: I saw a lot of myself in Larry. And I know that many times I have settled for a life that is far less than what Jesus has in mind for me.

If He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly, why do we not claim it…and live it?

If you read this, please say a prayer for Larry Brown. May the Good Shepherd leave the 99 and go after the one lost sheep.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

God Calls Us Royalty! We Should Act Like It!

Have you ever come across a scripture that just doesn’t seem to go away? I’m talking about the kind of verse that just bounces back in forth in your head. In my experience, that happens until I finally see what God wants me to see about the message contained in that scripture. Then when I “get it” it usually goes away. Here is one that flew off the page at me last week and stayed in my face. It is from the amazing first letter of Peter.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

That verse is talking about us; the Christians. And Peter tells us that we are a royal priesthood. What a strange thing to say, until one really meditates upon it and sees the picture of what we are.

What do you think of when I mention royalty? Think about the person who comes to mind. Maybe it is Lady Diana or Prince Charles. Maybe you see someone like Grace Kelly of Monaco, or Queen Elizabeth II. Maybe it’s Peter the Great or James Earl Jones in the movie “Coming to America”. Either way, there are some things that all these royals have in common.

1. They act like royalty. They have a demeanor and air about them which usually is one of class, dignity, wisdom, and respect. They know who they are, and present themselves in a way that is becoming of someone of excellent blood.

2. They have authority. When I was in London one time, the light suddenly turned red and we came to a screeching halt. The queen’s limo came by. Royals have special privileges and respect because of the position they are in. Did they earn it? NO! They inherited it from their father the king.

3. They use power to accomplish what needs to be done in order to make their kingdom safe, secure, prosperous, and thriving. The welfare of their constituency is paramount. Now what do you think of when I say priesthood. Do visions of someone who is set apart for spiritual purposes come to mind? Is it a person who knows the word, is “prayed up”, a great counselor, and man of God? If you are thinking about some scandalous pastor or priest, it is because you probably had exposure to someone who didn’t fulfill the calling that would make them a royal priest.

Maybe it is time for us to start acting like what we truly are; what God has ordained us to become. When we understand what it means to be a “royal priesthood”, we will act with the dignity, authority, and power of a royal. And we will show ourselves to be the strong, educated, spiritual leaders we should be.


Do I act like a king/queen or a common peasant?

Do I accomplish good things with authority or do I rabble rouse and complain with the Plebeians?

God calls you royalty. God calls you a priest. Be what you are.

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away”. 1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

"I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown.” Revelation 3:11 (The Message)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Fork In The Road For 2007

Have you set your goals for 2007 yet? If you did, have you written them down on a piece of paper and posted them on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. I wonder how much thought you put into what direction your life will take this New Year.
According to the Bible, there are three paths we can follow for the next year. Here is what God’s word says:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 (New King James Version)

So we have three wills of God for us: one that is good, one that is acceptable, and one that is perfect. And the goals hanging on your mirror or on a 3X5 index card in your pocket, which are they to God. Would you consider them to be good for God, simply acceptable to Him, or perfect enough to bring a smile to his face?

I strongly encourage everyone to spend some serious “face on the floor” time with God and figure out what His will is for you for 2007. He has thought you out and ordered your steps before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb. He knew you before you became a Christian, and He knows you now.

The best thing we can all do is figure out which way the Lord is going to move in 2007 and follow Him. He is the master, and we are simply His servants. And no servant plots and plans for the master. They simply follow along being of service to their Lord. And He has chosen you as a servant because of the many things you can do to be of service.

I love this poem from Russell Kelfer:

You are who you are for a reason.
You're part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You're just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You've been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!

Figure out what your king and master would like you to accomplish in 2007. And put that on the bathroom mirror. There are three roads in front of you. I pray that everyone who reads this will be filled with the wisdom to choose the perfect path.