Mexican Food and Prophecy! They Go Great Together!

I was in Edmond, Oklahoma a couple days ago on my way home from a trip to Tulsa. Sitting with a friend having Mexican food, I was reminded of an incident 10 years ago, or so, that occurred only a block or two from where we sat.

Julie and I were in Oklahoma City Christmas shopping and took a lunch break at On The Border. Mid way through our meal a threesome came in and sat in a booth twenty-five feet away from us. It was a couple and, what appeared to be, their college aged son; handsome looking family. While we were eating the Lord drew my attention to them. I didn’t know exactly what it was but what I was feeling from the Lord was very, very strong. If we’re being sensitive He will often do this with us when He wants to, somehow, touch other people through us. (I think He would like to do this with all of us!) And, as He often does with me,…I didn’t feel like He’d given me anything specific about them….or ‘for’ them. ….which makes it pretty hard to know what to do. But the feeling was strong!

I considered just getting up and going over to their table….but that seemed really awkward seeing that I didn’t have any prophetic word at all. And, ……we’re right in the middle of the Mexican restaurant, they’re eating……double awkward! (I’m thinking, “Really, Lord?! Right here?!) So, I kinda talked myself out of doing anything. We finished our meal, got in the car and headed for the mall. I got no more than a quarter mile away and the feeling came on even stronger than before. And, then I got the feeling that I had really missed the Lord on this one. “I gotta go back”, I told Julie….who I hadn’t even mentioned any of this to as of yet. “I think I missed the Lord”. Well, we were in some intensive road construction so I couldn’t just turn around and go back. I had to go nearly a mile before I could exit and go back.

In my mind I was kinda hoping that they’d be gone….but that didn’t feel good either. I made it back, went in and they were nearly finished with their meal. I walked up to the table and said, “Excuse me, we were sitting right over there and the Lord brought y’all to my attention. I really feel like He has a ‘word’ for you but I wouldn’t dare give it without your permission.” *(I still had absolutely nothing specific from the Lord!) If they had said, “No”, then I’m off the hook. I’d been obedient to the Lord. But they said, “Sure, please do!” At that precise moment the Lord showed me that he had something for their son.

It’s been ten years but to the best of my recollection it went like this, “You’re the kind of guy that makes decisions on the spur of the moment. That’s the way God has made you and He loves that. You’re kinda like a ‘gunslinger’ in that respect. It’s a good thing.” At this point all three were nodding their heads in agreement. “But, you have a decision in front of you that the Lord wants you to know that you can’t make like that!” At this point they were still nodding but got very serious. I asked, “Is any of this making any sense?” And, in unison they replied, “Oh, yes! We know exactly what this is about!” I finished up, “The Lord wants you to move seriously, slowly and prayerfully before you make this decision.”

I said, “Well, that’s it.” By now all four of us knew that the Lord had intervened; it was clear! They were extremely grateful and said, “Thank you so much for the word….and thank you for being obedient to the Lord!”

We left there for the mall. Julie went in and I stayed in the car. A feeling I still can’t explain came over me and I began to weep. The only way I have of explaining it is that maybe there was something so very important to the Lord….and to this family that had some enormous spiritual implications. 

To this very day when I tell the story it’s hard for me to tell it without breaking down in tears. Still don’t have any idea ‘why’! Even writing it today I’m having to wipe away the tears to finish it. All I know is….something pretty important happened!

And, I came really close to missing my part in it.

Why not check these out:

I’ve Never ‘Led’ Anyone to the Lord……and I Ain’t Planning on Doing it Anytime Soon!

You Can Live in the Past if You Want To…..But There Is a ‘Downside’

Virtual Reality

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I Don’t Know How He Does It!

I’ve been seeing Him do it consistently for over thirty years now! My guess is that He’s been doing it since time began! It’s amazing to me how the Lord can inevitably, flawlessly and decisively, cause good things to happen …right in the midst of what we might think are terrible circumstances. It started for me in 1984 in what I thought was the worst time of my life. At a time when I couldn’t see my way out the Lord miraculously came through. And, I certainly didn’t know it at the time but it has turned out to be, undoubtedly, the best time of my life. It wasn’t the funnest….if you know what I mean….but it was definitely the best. Because it was there, at that point, that the Lord rescued me. It was there that my relationship with Him began. A relationship, by the way, that I didn’t even know you could….or should have.

I really think the Lord just loves to do this kind of thing. He loves His kids, there’s no question about that! And He loves the opportunity to bless us at anytime, really. But, it appears that maybe He loves to bless us when we think and feel that there’s nothing good that can come in our circumstances. I have a dozen or more stories, and have heard at least a hundred others from people I know, of how the Lord did some amazing things in the midst of life’s greatest tragedies. In fact, if you think about it, the very worst thing that has ever happened in the context of time (without question), was when Jesus died on the cross. But for you and me….it turned out to be the very best thing that could’ve possibly ever happened!

Maybe you’re in the middle of one of those crises in your life right now. I can almost guarantee that the Lord has something very good for you in the near future!

It’s just routine for Him!

Tell me your story.

Try these, too:

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Walkin’ the Floor

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“You Are Here”

I know you’re familiar with those “You Are Here” signs. In the mall is the most obvious place I see them. I find myself looking at them pretty often when I’m there. I go to the mall occasionally but not often enough to actually know where everything is. I know where a few of the stores I’m interested in are located but there are dozens that I have absolutely no idea where they are. But, really, I don’t have a problem knowing where I am so, for me, the “You Are Here” sign is kind of a moot point. But, if I could find a sign that could tell me where Julie is in the mall…..now that’s something I think I could find extremely useful! But, and I’m talking from years of experience here, I guarantee that if I headed straight to the point where the sign says she is…..she’d be gone by the time I’d get there. Yep, done that too many times to count!

But, seriously, in the course of our lives one of those “You Are Here” signs would come in pretty handy. It’d be helpful for us to realize where we are….especially in relation to where we’re going. I think there are several surefire ways to help us identify exactly where we are. Some of them are pretty revealing and some will undoubtedly expose some of our immaturity, our weaknesses and inconsistencies. But if we’re serious about arriving at a certain destination they can provide some serious personal growth opportunities.

Life is full of ‘tests’; all kinds of them. And if you’re serious about your walk with the Lord there’s going to be a lot of them. It’s important to know that when the Lord tests you it’s not so He can find out where you’re at…..He already knows that. No, the tests are so you can find out for yourself where you are. That’s good information!

At that point we can adjust, refocus (and repent in some cases) and seek His wisdom about our situation and then get lined up again with His plan for our lives. I’m convinced that He likes nothing more than to help us get on track. 

So, look at your life right now. If you’re in the middle of some test, observe how you’re responding to it. More than likely it’s one of those “You Are Here” opportunities!

Some others you might like:

Are You ‘Led’, or Are You ‘Driven’?

Don’t Tie the Ends Up!

Objects in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear!

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Accepted or Valued? There’s a Vast Difference!

One of the hard things in life occurs when we don’t feel accepted. And, I imagine just about everyone of us has experienced it more than a few times. It just doesn’t feel good to be on the outside…especially when the ‘in’ group is our family or friends and people we care about. Because of our insecurities (and most of us have ’em) it’s possible to have that feeling pretty often. But, many times that feeling is just something that’s perceived on our part and not really legitimate,….or even intended on the other party’s part. But we can still experience the blunt pain of it anyway. Being accepted on the other hand has a very positive feel to it. 

There’s plenty of talk around the church these days about acceptance. I hear some people, from time to time, kind of ‘braggingly’, alluding to the fact that they accept everyone, as it’s supposed to be some real badge of nobility. It’s not rare to hear someone say, “Yep, we accept bikers, poor folks, alcoholics, drug addicts, ex-cons, those that are all ‘tatted’ up, gays, lesbians….”, and the list could go on and on. I wanna say, (but I don’t!) “Well, ain’t that what we’re supposed to do anyway?!” I don’t have much tolerance for bragging about something that oughta be commonplace, and a ‘no-brainer’,  for the church!

But, just deciding to accept someone….I don’t think is enough! I mean, from the position of not being accepted to being accepted, that’s a big thing, no question. It’s huge!! But, just accepting someone has the feel that we’re just kinda ‘tolerating’ them ’til they change to be like us. (which in most cases they really don’t care to do….and, seriously,…..who could blame ’em!) 

But, something really supernatural happens when we go beyond just ‘accepting’ them to actually ‘valuing’ them!! Valuing someone is going to the next level. It amounts to seeing someone through the eyes of the Lord. When we can do that and then show it through our attitude….and actions with them….amazing things are apt to happen!

I’m glad the Lord didn’t just accept me! I’m really glad that He’s not just ‘tolerating’ me! I can tell by my interaction with Him, and how good He’s been to me, that He’s gone way beyond that…and that He’s put a huge amount of value on me. (….incredibly undeserving on my part, I might add!) 

Oh, and those people that you ‘accept’…..they can feel whether you actually value them or not. And, if you don’t….enjoy their presence now ’cause more than likely they won’t be there long!

Check these out: (click on the highlighted link to read)

FOMO

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite!”

The Thing About Unconditional Love

“It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!”

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An Often Neglected Part of Prayer

Most everyone’s aware of the importance of prayer. And, the Bible is clear, for those of us who believe….it’s not “if” we pray….but “when”. It’s one of those non-negotiables for us. Like the Nike slogan….we “Just Do It”! It’s how we appropriate that which is already ours’ but which we haven’t attained, as of yet. Interesting thing about prayer….faith is ‘built into’  the activity of prayer. In essence you’re asking Someone you can’t see….to do something you can’t do. And, that right there…..that’s faith!

He must love answering our prayers! In fact the Bible says that before we say it….He’s busy about doing it. He’ll take every opportunity He can to grow and nurture our faith. It’s just more evidence of how good a Father He actually is. We’re encouraged in His Word to  ‘let our requests be made known to God’. My experience has taught me that when I pray in generalities…He answers in generalities. But when I pray in specifics…..He answers specifically!

But, there’s a part of prayer that I hardly ever hear anyone talking about. Simply put, prayer is how we communicate with God. And, if you’ll think about it….genuine communication, productive communication is always a two-way street! Good communication involves a balanced mixture of talking and listening. And, while expressing your heart to Him is important….it just might not be as important as what He has to say to you. I’ve learned that the more time I take to ‘listen’ to the Lord…..the less things I need to ask Him for! It’ll work that way for you, too!

With that in mind it makes all kinds of sense to work on perfecting our ability to hear Him. In doing so there’s a few things that’ll help. 1) Understand that He wants to ‘talk’ to you even more than you think you need to hear from Him! 2) Don’t make it difficult! He’s a Father…you’re His chosen kid!  3) He’s not limited to ‘speaking’ in an audible voice. Learn to notice all the ways in which He speaks. (your circumstances, dreams, visions, through other people, through His Word…and the list could go on and on!)

The Father doesn’t waste words. He always speaks the things we need to hear the most. He always knows just the right thing to say at just the right time!

So, the next time you pray…invest a little time in listening. You’ll be glad you did!

Here’s some more that’ll be helpful:

Listen More …….. Learn More!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think!

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

Hell Fire, and Brimstone!

Hell fire and brimstone; that’s the term some use for preaching, or ministry, that threatens the listeners with the dangers of hell if they don’t turn from their wicked ways. It’s a style of ministry that, sadly, still finds its way in churches today. I’m not sure what the proponents of that kind of preaching think its merits might be. Personally, I don’t think much good comes from it. But you know, some people will make a decision based on their fear of hell, I guess, and I’m sure that decision is as valid as any other. It’s certainly not my style, and it’s not in any direction I’m headin’ towards.

I had a conversation a few years back with someone who commented about how much he liked that kind of preaching. He went on to say that people out there that are living in sin need to hear it in that ‘turn or burn’ terminology so they’ll, out of fear, run to God! I kinda got the feeling from this guy that he fancied himself to be pretty holy, and righteous, and that his own personal approach with his friends not walking with the Lord was the “hell fire and brimstone” method. I really wanted to ask, “Well, how’s that workin’ out for ‘ya?”, but I didn’t! But, I can make a pretty calculated guess…...It ain’t workin’! It also makes me wonder if the guy ever spends much time with the Lord at all.

The worst thing about that kind of ministry is that it conjures up a totally inaccurate image of Who God is, in the first place. That’s a pretty serious mistake, if you ask me. Here’s the thing; You and I will ‘portray’ to the world the “God we know. That’s just another good reason that each of us should connect relationally with Him as Father. If He’s been portrayed to you by one of these HF & B preachers you’ll believe He’s mean,‘unappeasable’ and out to get you. That would be a gross misrepresentation, to put it mildly!

The gospel needs to be presented in the ‘right’ way! It is, after all, “The Good News”! As we connect personally, and relationally, with the Father we’ll find the Truth that the Bible talks about.

It’s the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.

Check these out:

You Got to Me Too Late!

It Ain’t Just “Good News” …… It’s “Great News”!

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It Was a Great Answer!

If you’re not familiar with our Camp of Champions, you should check it out. It’s just about the most unique church camp you’ll ever bump into. It’s a rodeo church camp. There’s a few others out there but I’d estimate that ours’ is the biggest of its kind anywhere. This was our 14th year and as usual we had participants from about 8 states. It’s for boys and girls age 6-16 who have their sights set to participate in Jr. rodeo. In the 14 years since the inception of the Camp of Champions we’ve had several national junior rodeo champs, high school rodeo champs, college champions and even a PRCA world champion!

Instructors for the Camp of Champions is a virtual “Who’s Who” in the rodeo world. There’ve been too many world champions to mention who give their time and energy for a few days to help these kids in their respective rodeo events…but they’re also ‘champions’ in their walk with the Lord. Rodeo instruction takes place in the daytime and there are tent services at night with the instructors doing testimonies and most of the ministry. In the past 14 years there’s been well over a thousand young people who’ve given their lives to the Lord without any ‘pressure’ from us! We believe that the Holy Spirit is good enough at what he does that we don’t have to try to manipulate or frighten kids into making a decision. Jesus didn’t do that…..so we’re not going to do it either! 

I learned a long time ago that you don’t have to convince kids that God is real…..or that He’s good! They already know…..and they already believe! But during our camp recently I was reminded again of just how much the Father has already done for us to enable us to believe. It was on the last night service of the camp. There were over 80 boys, and about twice that number of parents, instructors and helpers under the tent. I was closing out the service when I asked a couple of really simple questions. “Do you believe in Jesus?” It was unanimous! I think every kid and adult in the tent responded with a loud, resounding “Yes”! I then asked the question, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” …..and it was unanimous again. But, this time, not one single person answered, I mean, total silence! It was 100% quiet! And, it suddenly occurred to me that, that was a great answer!! 

Here’s my reasoning; The Bible is clear that we’ve all been given ‘the’ measure of faith. It’s the same quality of faith that God used when He ‘spoke’ the world into being. It’s faith to believe in Jesus, His Son, even when we can’t even tell you “why”. I heard someone say it this way one time; “I just know down in my ‘knower'”! It’s that deep, God given, assurance of the reality that He exists….and that He’s good!

So, if you can say you believe in Jesus but you just can’t answer why…..That’s a great answer!!

Maybe you should tell Him, “Thanks”!

Check these out, too:

The Thing About Unconditional Love

Maybe You Should Quit Whippin’ Your Own A#$!!

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Don’t Tie the Ends Up!

When I say, “Don’t tie the ends up”, I’m, in essence, saying, “Don’t get so rigid in your current Biblical knowledge and understanding that you can’t change when presented with ‘new’ Truth.”  I’ve seen this happen a lot over the past 25+ years and it’s problem of the highest order. For a leader, such as myself, it can make change, transition and transformation come to a grinding halt for both the church, and individuals alike.

The church is known for rigidness in it’s particular doctrinal and denominational mindset. Don’t get me wrong, some of that can be good but it can also stunt the growth and halt the spiritual advancement of everyone involved. It has the strong potential to lock us into systems of thinking that will eventually lead us to boredom, staleness and exclusivity in our Christian walk.

The argument might arise as to how one can have a certain spiritual view today and then later totally change their stance on an issue. I actually think, in a perfect world, we should be doing that all the time. If we’re genuinely on a search for the truth it just makes sense to change when we get a better, clearer view on any subject. We all have ‘some’ truth….but none of us has ‘all’ the truth. We should be open to others’ perspective, give it a listen, weigh it out in light of Scripture, let it ‘marinate’ in our mind and spirit, test it in real life situations and pray about it. By doing so we’ll stay in a perpetual state of spiritual growth (as we should be!) and not high-centered in our own limited little, tunnel-vision view of truth.

There will surely be those detractors out there who would want to accuse me of compromise or being wishy-washy about the truth. I’ll be quick to tell you that where I am today…..is not where I’ll be a year from now. I intend to keep growing, changing, adapting and shifting based on my understanding of the Truth. I’m a learner…..and learners must be flexible and open to change. There’ll be plenty of times that the change won’t come easy…..but for the most part….it’ll be for the better.

Don’t tie the ends up!! I’ve given this advice many a time over the past 25 years. It isn’t always received with open arms. In fact, here in the ‘ol Bible Belt that kind of advice is often met with harsh criticism and some pretty mean-spirited indignation. But, it’s good advice.

Don’t be so locked into your little piece of the truth that the Holy Spirit, Himself, can’t break through the crust to enlighten you more. 

Check these out:

The Bible Does Not Have All Your Answers!

$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

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Identity Theft

You hear about it all the time these days. Someone, somewhere, somehow gets the personal information on an individual. And, then that information is deliberately used to assume that person’s identity. It’s nearly always done to make purchases on everything imaginable including prescription drugs and clothes…..and just about every other thing you can think of. It’s very hard for authorities to find and catch the perpetrators because it’s usually hard to determine how they obtained the information in the first place.

I got an email a couple of months ago from a credit card company which I had a card from. There were three charges in the previous week that they somehow identified as ‘suspicious’. After looking at the charges it was obvious that I had become the victim of identity theft. It was a good ‘heads up’ move by the credit card company. If they hadn’t noticed it I would’ve probably just paid my bill and went on without ever knowing it. The transactions amounted to a little over $300 dollars. $250, and some, at a Publix Supermarket in the Orlando area. The other two totaling about $60 were used at gas stations in that area, as well. It was nice to find out that the credit card company covered those bogus charges.

There’s an even more serious case of identity theft happening today, and it’s happening in the church. There’s an outright ‘identity crisis’ and it’s affecting the the overall effectiveness of the whole church in a negative way. Here’s the issue at stake; For the longest time we’ve heard that we’re to be ‘servants’ of the Lord. That’s somewhat true….but only from a ‘functional’ position…..but not at all from an ‘identity’ perspective.

The Bible is crystal clear; the Father has called us His own sons….not servants. Sons have greater responsibility than just a hired-hand. And, they should….because sons…….have an inheritance! And, the difference in mentality and motivation between servants and sons is vast. 

So, maybe it’s not so much a case of ‘identity theft’ as it is ‘identity forfeiture’. But, at any rate, we need to step into our true identity as sons and daughters and change the world!

Check these out from a year ago:

Are You God’s Servant??

The “Only Thing” That Really Works

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“It’s Complicated!”

I hear that a lot these days. It’s a common admission on FaceBook and other social media sites, and it’s usually used to describe one’s relationship status. It may just be me….but I think I’d steer away from any relationship that’s ‘complicated’. If I were to give advice to any of those claiming to be in a complicated relationship, it’d be to simplify. I think that’d make it easier on everyone involved. I’d love to see just one person on FaceBook describe their relationship by posting….”It’s Simple”!

I imagine a lot of people might also classify their relationship with the Lord as complicated. I mean, He’s a pretty profound Entity to say the least. In fact, in His infiniteness, He could decide to make Himself totally un-understandable if He wanted to. But, it’s just not in His makeup to do so. He could reveal Himself to be so complex that it would totally boggle the human mind. He definitely has that capability, too. But, again, it’s not anything He’s interested in doing in the least.

He has never wanted His relationship with us to be complicated. That’s one reason He reveals Himself as, Father. And, He doesn’t just reveal Himself as Father only because it’s a relationship that we can understand, and relate to….although it does go a long ways in helping. Nope, He reveals Himself as Father…..’cause that’s Who He really is!! It’s the clearest description of Him and of His nature.

Religion has a way of complicating our relationship with the Father…..but don’t let it! When you’re feeling like it’s getting complicated….just revert to the simplicity of that Father/son, Father/daughter relationship that He deeply desires to have with you. Enjoy! 

And when anyone asks you about that relationship you’ll never, ever have to say, “It’s Complicated’!

Check these out:

Simplicity! It’s All I Have to Offer

If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

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