Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

"Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place." Hebrews 10:17-20
"And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:12
“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again." Isaiah 43:25
The first holiday of the Summer season, Memorial Day. Several things will be predictable, most people will over due it and most will get sunburned.
It is great that we have a holiday set aside to remind us of the cost of our freedom and to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom. There have been a lot of wars and a lot of deaths. Just yesterday the 1,000th American soldier was killed.
Saturday night I went to a very moving ceremony at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery where 15,300 soldiers lie buried. It is a solemn place to visit any time of any day, but on Memorial Day moments after sunset with every grave marked by luminaries and a trumpeter playing taps - it was deeply emotional moment. That sight is etched on my memory forever.
You cannot drive past a cemetery this week-end without seeing decorated graves. It is important to remember.
Now that Memorial Day has come and is nearly gone I want to take a moment to comment not on what we should remember, but on something that has been forgotten. Not only do we focus on what has been forgotten but on Who has forgotten. God, Who is the all omniscient and everlasting God has chosen not to remember something - our sins. That is huge!
How can that be? How can God forget?
He has chosen to forget what is forgiven. Our Scriptures remind us that when we receive the forgiveness of sins through His Son Christ, He not only forgives those sins but He forgets about them!
So, during this week-end of remembering honor the memories of those who died for your freedom, also pause to be thankful for something that has been forgotten - your sins!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30, 2010

An eighty-year old couple were having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to make sure nothing was wrong with them. When they arrived at the doctor's office, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory.

After checking the couple out, the doctor told them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down, making notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left.

Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asked, "Where are you going?"

He replied, "To the kitchen."

She asked, "Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"


Then his wife asked him, "Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?"

"No, I can remember that."

"Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down cause I know you'll forget that," his wife said.

"I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."

She replied, "Well, I also would like whipped cream on top. I know you will forget that. You had better write it down."

With irritation in his voice, he said, "I don't need to write that down, I can remember that." He went into the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes, he returned from the kitchen and handed her a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stared at the plate for a moment and said, "You forgot my toast."

Does anyone here have trouble remembering things?

How many of you have to write yourselves notes and memos to jog your memory?

You owe a debt of thanks to Dr. Spencer Silver and Mr. Art Fry! Dr. Spencer and Mr. Fry are the inventors of the post-it notes. Dr. Silver accidentally invented the adhesive that makes it stick but also allows it to removed and reused. That happened way back in 1968. But it was Art Frey who figured out the possibilities for what was to become post-it notes. He first used it as a bookmark for his church hymnal.

Let’s pause for a moment to thank Dr. Silver and Mr. Frey and remember those who help us remember things.

“When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until it’s meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among you. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” Luke 22:14-20


There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments. One snowy eve, his wife was taking their children to a service in the farm community in which they lived. They were to talk about Jesus' birth. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!"So she and the children left, and he stayed home. A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe. "Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn--and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety.He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!" Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm.
God became like man in the Person of Jesus in order to show how to live and how to love. As John said, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Remember God's love for you. Post that truth on your heart and you mind so you will alway remember His life.


One day the bridge tender takes his son to work with him. It's a nice day... the son is fishing on the bank of the river... and the father is checking on the machinery that runs the bridge. Everything is as it should be. But then the son notices the train is coming. It's early! The train has run through a red light and is heading toward the draw bridge and the bridge is open!

The son notices this and tries to pull the emergency switch. But he's too small and too weak and he loses his balance and he falls into the gears... just as the father looks out the window, seeing his son fall into the gears. The father must make a decision. Lower the bridge, saving the train but killing his son. Or run out to pull his son from gears allowing the train to plunge to the river below. In a matter of seconds he must act – save his son and allow a train filled with passengers to plunge to their deaths or close the bridge knowing he will crush the life out of his only son.

One life or many lives? What a dilemma! What should he do? He pulled the switch crushing his son and saving the train. Shaken in his grief he watched the train speed by looking in the window at passengers who were carrying on with life completely oblivious to the sacrifice that had just been made to save their lives.

This bridge tender showed an incredible love for those strangers on the train that day. He sactificed his son's life to save their lives.

That is precisely what God did in Jesus. He demonstrated His love for us by offering His only Son to provide for our salvation!

Remember that! Post it on your heart and your mind.


I hate to be lost. The feeling of being lost is one of the worst feelings in the world - but I dislike asking for directions even more!

There are few things worst than getting lost when you are trying to get to a certain place. With the rise of GPS availability you would think that getting lost would be a thing of the past. Not so.

In a lot of cases GPS has caused people to end up at the wrong address, or in some extreme cases even to drive off the road. Only a few days ago too much trust in GPS led to an even more extreme error: a company sent their workers to demolish a house not providing them with the address but only with GPS coordinates, and the workers ended up demolishing the wrong house.


There once was a baby elephant and a baby turtle drinking from a river deep in the jungle. For no reason, the turtle reaches over and bites the elephant's tail, really hard. Years and years later, the same elephant, now grown up, is by the same river, having a drink with his giraffe buddy, when the same turtle that bit him on the tail all those years ago wanders up to the river. The elephant rears back a leg and kicks the turtle as hard as he can, sending him flying way off into the jungle. "Why did you do that? " the giraffe asks. "When we both were babies, that turtle bit my tail for no reason," the elephant replied. "Wow! You must have a good memory!" exclaimed the giraffe. "Yep!" said the elephant. "I've got Turtle-Recall. "When it comes to the great salvation that God has provided for us through the sacrifice of Jesus – we need to have “total-recall”.
When it comes to God's love for us, and when it comes to the life that He gave for us we must always remember!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010

"When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle." I Samuel 17:28
Today's giant lesson is not as uplifting as most. It reflects an unfortunate attitude that manifests itself too often in fellowships. We see this expressed in our Scripture text for the day.
What is the attitude I am referring to? It is demonstrated by David's brother. Not only did he not want to fight the giant, he didn't want David to do it either. There are people like that. You have probably seen them. They are content being victims and they hang out with other victims who would rather complain about the giant than confront him. When someone else steps up to fight the giant that person becomes a threat to them. There are people, well-being as they may be, who don't want to fight giants and they don't want anyone else doing it either.
So, here we find David trying to defeat an enemy and deliver his people but finding opposition from the very people he wants to help. I have encountered that. Maybe you have, too.
You would think that everyone would be excited by someone daring enough to take on a giant. You would think they would want to encourage that. Not so. Unfortunately, victims become victims because they think like victims and get comfortable with victimhood. Before we get to critical of them, we have to honestly admit we all have our comfort zones and they are called comfort zones for a reason - they feel comfortable. It is hard to blast out of a comfort zone. Fortunately, David's comfort zone was fighting lions, and bears and giants.
As we see, those who get comfortable with losing are uncomfortable having a winner around. A winner exposes their losing. A victor casts a bad light on their victim-hood. It causes them to have to face their impotence. No one likes that.
Life is made up of winners and losers. Successful living is about hating to lose, learning to win, and resisting comfort zones. Losing is easier than winning but ultimately extracts a higher cost and the hardest part is not settling into comfort zones.
Like David, God calls His followers to fight giants. He expects us to be victors and not victims. One of the biggest giants each of us will fight is our comfort zones. Another word for comfort zones is "mediocrity". It is in our nature to do just enough to assure our basic comforts are met and then settle in and coast. When someone with a desire for excellence shows up it exposes our mediocrity and that is a threat.
David faced two giants that day. The Philistine giant and the mediocrity of his own people. One of the great purposes that a giant-killer serves is not only killing the giant but stirring up the saints. The latter may have been the biggest victory of that day - killing Goliath but pushing God's people out of their mediocrity. God had given David a holy discontent which derived from a holy hunger for God.
Are you stuck in a comfort zone? Are you settling for mediocrity? Have you lost your holy hunger? Have you quenched your holy discontent?
One of two things will happen. Either God will send a giant your way or He will send a David. Maybe He already has. If so, it is time to stop moaning and start moving. See them for what they are, God confronting the mediocrity in your spirit.
It happens to each of us and we have to be continually on guard against it. That is why I am asking the hard question today. How is your holy hunger? Have you lost your holy discontent? Do you need to reject your victimhood and repent of it? When was your last victory?

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

"For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army." I Samuel 17:16
Ready for another giant life lesson from David?
Let me ask you, "How do you measure yourself? How do you measure your problems? Do you ever measure yourself against your problems?"
Another big difference between David and the rest of this bunch - including the giant, was how they measured themselves and how they measured their problems. How about if we look at that this morning?
Goliath got in trouble because he overestimated himself. He overestimated himself because he measured himself against the other soldiers. For the most part, that was a good comparison because he was bigger and tougher and stronger than anyone else. He was a champion and he didn't inherit the title he earned it. Two errors here that eventually proved fatal. (1) He measured himself against men who were smaller and weaker than he. I see many people who do that. In order to feel good about themselves they find weaker, smaller, and less talented people and therefore arrive at an unrealistic value of themselves. It is not healthy to inflate your ego by measuring down. You may become a champion by defeating inferior opponents but you won't remain a champion that way. (2) He defied God and despised the man of God. Yes, he was big but not that big!
The Israelite soldiers measured themselves against the giant. They arrived an unrealistic view of themselves by measuring against an unrealistic standard. I know people like that who are always defeated because they set unrealistic standards for themselves. Somehow they have the knack for putting themselves in no-win situations. It is healthy to aspire to be like someone who may be bigger or stronger or more well-known than you but use that for motivation to get better. That is not what these guys did. They devalued themselves by overvaluing Goliath. Not good. Not healthy.
And then there was David! Let's learn from David! David didn't measure himself against the soldiers and he didn't measure himself against Goliath, he didn't measure himself at all! He just lived in the power and grace of God and let God handle the giants, and the lions and the bears in his life. The healthy approach to a self-esteem is not to measure ourselves against others but to lose ourselves in God! God has not called us to compare to others He has called us to complete others! David didn't compare he committed!
Are you struggling with self-esteem or self-worth issues? That is a common struggle. It is one we must each conquer and the sooner the better! But don't follow the lead of the giant and don't emulate the soldiers. Don't get into the measuring or the comparison trap. Do like David! To love yourself lose yourself in God. To find who you are and what you can do, find yourself in God.
There is a giant difference!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

"Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken." I Samuel 17:8-11
Was Goliath a giant obstacle or was he a giant opportunity?
He was both! It just depended on who you asked! There was the actual Goliath, who was a large and powerful man. Then there was the even larger and more formidable giant that the Israelite soldiers were looking at and listening to. And then there was the big target that David saw.
What is it that determines your reality? Is your reality determined by what you see or by how you see what you see? Do you see life through eyes of fear or through eyes of faith? It makes a giant difference!
The soldiers were measuring Goliath's strength against their own. His size and strength were far superior to theirs. There was no denying that! We are talking about faith here - not fantasy! Faith is not denying reality it is focusing on a greater a reality!
That explained the difference between David's perspective on the giant as opposed to how the soldiers saw him. David knew he was no match for the strength and experience of the massive mountain of a man. But that wasn't a problem for David because he never planned on confronting the giant in his own strength. He had a realistic look at the giant but he also had a focus on a greater reality - God's strength!
They couldn't see beyond the giant and David could. They saw a big giant but he saw a bigger God.
Therein is the difference that faith can make. Faith is life without limits. Faith is a God-sized life.
Your life is filled with difficulties and challenges. Even on a good day life is bigger than you! To deny that is begging for trouble. In real life, giants don't always show up one at a time. Often they come in tandem or in groups! If you don't have a faith that is bigger than life, you will spend your days staring at giants paralyzed by fear and filled with frustration.
Don't you think God has something better than that in store for you? Do you think that God sent Jesus to suffer and die on a cross so that you can spend your life defeated by giants? Do you believe that Jesus submitted to leave heaven, become human and die a humiliating death in order for you to spend your life as a victim? I don't think so! I think He wants you to be a victor!
But you can't BE what you can't SEE.
David saw himself as a victor because he saw the power and strength of God! The army allowed themselves to become victims because they couldn't see beyond their own weakness. David chose a faith perspective but they settled for a fearful point of view.
Are you living as a victor or a victim? It depends on how you view your giants. You can decide as David did or you can default like the Israelites. Being a giant-killer is just one decision away. today could be that day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

"Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine." I Samuel 17:38-40
Once you figure why you are fighting the giant. Then you need to know how to fight him. What weapons will you use?
That is the first decision David had to make once he decided the giant must fall. King Saul had an idea for him. Even though he didn't want to fight the giant, he was willing to donate his armor and his weapons.
When your time comes to face the giant you will find other people have ideas how you should do it and weapons they are willing to loan. They don't want to face the giant but sure are free with their advice!
David was wise enough to know that if he was going to bring down the giant he couldn't do it with other people's armor. He could not face the giant with someone else's sword. In a big fight you need a familiar weapon. The shepherd boy had become an expert marksman with a sling and a stone. Because he had practiced and prepared and become proficient with this weapon, God was able to augment his skills to bring down a giant. God can't use what we haven't prepared. David understood that it was really a spiritual battle and that the battle was the Lord's. He understood what St. Paul knew:
"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.In add ition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:10-17
God's battles must be fought with His weapons. You can bring down physical giants with spiritual weapons - David did. And you can bring down spiritual giants with spiritual weapons but you can't bring down spiritual giants with physical weapons.
Killing giants takes the right reaons and the right weapons. David knew. Now you do, too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

"David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” I Samuel 17:45-47

I never served in the military. I have great respect for the military and for soldiers but after high school I went right to college and then out of college I was called to lead a church. So it just didn't work out for me to fight for the nation.
Growing up in America as a guy in my generation it was common to get into some fights with other guys as part of the passage from boyhood to manhood. I never really did. I'm not sure why except I grew up in a small town where everyone was well acquainted. Somehow I slipped into adulthood without being a fighter.

However, in nearly 40 years of pastoring I have come to discover that there are times you need to fight and some things worth fighting for. I have also learned there aren't many and the vast majority of what we fight over isn't worth it. David knew what to fight over. I think it is worth looking at.

The first reason that David fought Goliath was because Goliath defied God. It is never good to defy God. It is pretty stupid, too! But at a time when Israel was so closely identified with their God, it was crucial that other nations respected the God of Israel. Because their identity was so closely associated with God they must respect Him to respect them. Their security was at stake as was His honor. David thought that was worth fighting for. So did I.

The Church of Jesus and local churches that constitute it are inextricably tied to God. It is not wise or healthy to allow people to disrespect or disparage the church. When you defy the church you defy God. The Church must defend its honor and His. That is worth fighting for. David thought so - so do I.

Secondly, David fought Goliath because he wanted to demonstrate the power of God. The giant, the Philistines and everyone else needed to see a demonstration of God's power. Because of the cowardice of the Israeli army, God was beginning to look impotent. Other nations who had feared Israel because they feared Israel's God were now being emboldened by the powerlessness of God's army. Not only did God's enemies need to see a demonstration of God's power, His people did, too.

We live in a day when both God's people and His enemies need to see a demonstration of God's power. It is time to stand and fight against the people, the behaviors, and the attitudes that prevent God from demonstrating His power. When we stand against defiant giants, God moves and we see His power! His power manifests itself in the form of changed lives and changed circumstances and a holy, healthy, hopeful atmosphere! That is what I fight for!

Then, David fought the giant because he decided the battle was the Lord's! He was determined he could win. It is never a good idea to fight a battle you can't win. David faced the giant because God's people felt like they were losing and they needed to feel like winners. It is a good time to fight giants when you need a win.

There is a time to fight. David was a good leader because he knew when to fight - and when not to fight. He knew how to fight. God gave him the victory. Success or failure resides in the knowledge of when to fight and when not to. It rests in knowing how to fight and who to fight. Don't go to battle until you understand those principles and no one illustrates them better than David.

If you need to fight - fight right!

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

"Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken." I Samuel 17:8-11
Giant-sized lesson number four is coming up!
As I read this story the other day it occured to me, "Why did the Israelites allow the giant to set the rules?" Each morning and evening this fierce warrior came out and taunted the people of God. He dictated the terms and set the rules of engagement. They let him do it.
Who sets the rules for your life? Do you allow the enemies in your life to set the rules of engagement for you? Where do you get your marching orders?
That is a key question, don't you agree?
If you want to know the big difference between David and the other Israelities you look no further than that. David looked to God for his orders. He never allowed the enemy to set the rules for him.
I understand how easy it is to feel like you are powerless when you are confronted by an overwhelming circumstance or life situation. When you feel powerless you fell like your life is out of control. During those times you see how big the giant is and how small you seem to be. When that happens you become immobilized. That is where the army of God was when David showed up.
Notice the key word there - "feel". When you allow feelings to dictate your reality you are letting the enemy make the rules!
Here's a rule you can live with - WHAT YOU FEEL IS NEVER MORE REAL THAN WHAT YOU KNOW! As people of faith we judge our reality based on the facts of Who God is and how He works! We live "by faith and not by sight".
If you have a giant towering over you casting a shadow of fear or intimidation over your life - remember, he doesn't make the rules! What you feel isn't real! God is real! His Word is real! His Person and His truth define reality for us!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

"As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head." I Samuel 17:48-51
Are you ready for giant-lesson number three?
Well, here it comes: When there is a giant in your path there is a David on the way!
Do you believe that?
What part of being God's people don't you understand? What part of "the battle is the Lord's" don't you understand?
God's army was already disgraced and they were about to be defeated. Goliath was cursing God and intimidating them. They were discouraged on the inside and about to be defeated on the battlefield. I guess you could say they were between a giant and a hard place. Immobilized and clueless - there they sat. King Saul was looking for someone to step up but could find no takers.
Little did they know that a hero was enroute.
I believe there is more than just a great story here - and it IS that! There is a strong principle here. God's honor was at stake and His people were at risk. When that happens, when we are at our weakest, that is when God steps in.
That is why I say, "When there is a giant in your path, there is a David on the way!"
Sometimes that David is a person. God has an uncanny knack for sending just the right person at just the right time!
Sometimes that David is you! God is able to stir up something in you to embolden you and empower you to stand against that giant until it falls!
Sometimes that David is a group of people or a couple or a family that come at just the right time.
Sometimes that David is an idea or a strategy that comes in the stillness of the night!
Sometimes that David is a financial blessing.
God is sovereign and unpredictable. He has a unique answer to each specific problem. But you can be sure of it! You can be confident that if there is a giant in your path there is a David on the way!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010

"Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul....." I Samuel 17:8
I have been sharing some "giant-sized" lessons we can take from the story of David and Goliath.
Yesterday I talked about why and when we should fight giants. Perhaps you are facing some sort of giant in your life today.
Today I want to talk about an attitude that brought Goliath down. You could call it overconfidence or you could call it arrogance and you would be right either way.
Of course, Goliath had good reason to be overconfident, he was nine feet tall and had never lost in battle. He was tall and he was strong and he was fierce and he was experienced and he had protected all his vital spots with heavy armor. Since no one in their right mind dared to challenge him, it seemed as though his undefeated streak was safe.
There was no doubt about it Goliath was a rock star! And - he knew it.
So, there he stood taunting the army of God. Another day, another humiliation of the enemy. If they sent someone out to face him, he would slaughter them and be victorious. If they refused to send someone out to challenge him then he won by default through intimidation. There was not a man anywhere who could handle him.
But, there was a boy. There was a godly boy. There was a goldly boy who had never heard about Goliath but who was very familiar with God. When that godly boy showed up and heard the taunts and curses of this Philistine, he took it personally. No one fooled with his God! This big guy needed a lesson in respect! It was time for him to go!
Goliath had faced a lot of men. He had never faced a boy. He had faced people who were strong and confident, but none of them had proven to be as strong or confident as him. But there was something different about this boy - different or crazy. This is the first time Goliath had faced an opponent who was not coming in his own strength but in the strength of God. As he was soon to find out, not even the strongest most confident man is a match for God.
David entered the battle with faith in God while Goliath was trusting his own strength. Therein is the lesson.
Anything you do in your own strength will fail. A giant-sized ego is no match for a gigantic God. Strength is nice, but no subsitute for God's power. Confidence is helpful, but humility is better. Experience is a benefit, but faith is superior.
If you are going to battle giants - or little guys, for that matter, trust in God's power and go in His strength. Not to do so would be a huge mistake.

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010

"David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” I Samuel 17:45-47
Not only did David know how to fight a giant, he knew why to fight a giant.
Fighting giants is a big job so you better know why and when to do it! As I conclude these thoughts about David and Goliath over the next few days I want to share some giant lessons.
Lesson one: why fight a giant?
David fought the giant to defend God's glory. This defiant giant was impugning God and the armies of God. Not only did he disrespect God but he was causing God's people to despair and to doubt God. Because David was zealous for God and jealous of His honor, this giant had to go! David knew he had to fight the giant to defend the reputation of his God.
Never fight a giant for your own reputation or to make a name for yourself. That is not a good enough cause.
David fought the giant to deliver God's people. Goliath had the army of Israel trapped in fear and despair. His threats and taunts had immobilzed the troops. That was putting them at risk as well as the nation they defended. God called His people to be free. We are not designed for fear. When David recognized that God's people needed to be delivered he knew he had to fight the giant.
Never fight a giant to impress. Only fight a giant if you or others are oppressed. Freedom is a reason to fight giants.
David fought the giant to demonstrate God power. This mammoth hulk of a man was making God's warriors look weak. The giant was causing people to lose their fear of Jehovah and to embolden the enemies bent on destroying them. Not only were the Philistines beginning to believe they could defeat Israel, other enemies were watching closely. When an army marched in those days they carried the banner of their gods, they carried the banners of their tribes, and they carried the flag of their nation. So, in a very real and visible way the army of a nation represented all that nation represented. When an army looked weak, the entire nation and its culture and its religion looked weak. David demonstrated that God's power through a boy is far stronger than the enemies' strongest weapon.
Never fight a giant to demonstrate your strength or power. Only confront a giant to demonstrate that His strength is made perfect in your weakness.
There are reasons for fighting giants. I have given you three of them. David fought Goliath for the right reasons and God honored him with victory.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20, 2010

"David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent." I Samuel 17:54
Winning is not easy. Winning is not natural. For winning to happen there must be a plan and a purpose and a price to be paid and there must be persistence. There are good reasons why some people win and why some people lose.
There was a reason why David won and Goliath lost. Those reasons are significant and make ALL the difference. Winners understand the differences and buy into the reasons. Losers don't. Winners do the hard things and pay the short-term price to gain the long-term victory. Losers don't.
My granddaughter, Zoey, played soccer in a recreation league that is so typical of our "loser" mentality that infests our culture today. In this league they didn't keep score and they gave trophies to everyone. Essentially, they were teaching the kids that there is no difference between winning and losing. NOT TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER YOU DON'T!
I called her after her first game and I asked her, "Zoey, how did your game go?" She said, "We won!" I asked, "What was the score?" She knew! I told her, "Zoey, you are a winner! Winners keep score! Don't let anyone make you think like a loser!"
We do our kids and ourselves a great disservice if we don't distinguish between winning and losing.
Not only do winners do thing differently BEFORE they win, they also know how to celebrate and preserve their victory. Victors use one victory to prepare for the next.
You need to understand that to appreciate what David did with the head of Goliath and with his armor. What David was doing was preserving the memory of one great victory in order to assure that there would be more of them.
As the story spread through the ancient world about this amazing victory over the great Champion, Goliath, there would be many who would find it hard to believe. There would be a demand for evidence. David was making sure that evidence would be readily available.
The ancient world was a world ruled by violence and the aggressive use of force. Only the strong survived and remained free. Having the head of a mighty giant posted at the gate of your camp or your city sent a clear message to the next potential invader.
When the New Orlean Saints won the Super Bowl they were awarded the Lombardi Trophy. That trophy will serve as a permanent reminded of their victory. Trophies are important.
Goliath's armor served as a trophy for David to remind him of his victory or the giant. Just as his victory over a lion and his victory over a bear gave his confidence against the giant, the armor of the giant would encourage him the next time he faced a formidable foe. It was evidence that a winner intended to keep winning. Every morning when he awoke he could gaze across the room and see the armor hanging there. Every night before he turned off the lights, the last thing he would see is the armor of the giant. So, his first thought in the morning was victory and his last thought at night was victory. No wander he was a winner!
The simple little story of David and Goliath has so many profound truths. There are reasons why it has endured for so many centuries and will remain poignant and powerful forever. It is a lesson on how to win and how to use the victory to prepare for the next one.
Do the hard work to be a winner. Stand for truth and righteousness. Defend the faith. Live out the courage of your convictions. Know your pupose. Live in passion. Have a plan. Keep your perspective. Pray. And when God gives you the victory, grab a trophy! Start a winning streak! God's people go from victory to victory!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010

"Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken." I Samuel 17:8-10
Every obstacle presents an opportunity, doesn't it?
In this case we could say it was a "giant" opportunity. Goliath set up a winner take all situation where one men could fight him in stead of two armies going to battle.
Obviously, Goliath knew the odds were in his favor. He was bigger and stronger and meaner than anyone on the other side. Whoever would dare to take him on would not only have the difficult task of defeating the giant but he would have the pressure of deciding the fate of all his fellow troops. A big decision, no doubt.
I have been where the Israeli army was and maybe you have been, too. They were just one hard decision away from victory. Their unwillingness to make the hard decision was keeping them discouraged and feeling defeated. It wasn't that they didn't know what they needed to do it was that they didn't want to make the decision.
What can we learn from this situation that might help us make the hard decisions?
Two things:
You have to have a cause greater than your concerns and a courage stronger than your cautions. How does that happen?
Take charge over what you look at and what you hear. It's about the view you see and the voice you listen to. Twice a day they were focusing on the giant and listening to his taunts. Predictably, that overwhelmed them.
David walked into camp fresh off of victories over a lion and a bear. His view was focused on God and that is the voice he was hearing. Therefore, his decision was easy to make. He took the challenge and welcomed the pressure. From his point of view it was a done deal. His attitude was that this was God's battle not his. He was right.
Big decisions need to be God decisions. God brings giant challenges before us to cause us to depend on Him. God puts a giant opportunity on the backside of every giant challenge. When we step out He steps up.
David was able to make the hard decision because of the view he had and the voice he listened to. His view was faith and the voice was God's.
You may be just one hard decision away from a great victory. If you are struggling to make the hard decision check the view you are looking at and the voice you are listening to.

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 16, 2010

"So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword." I Samuel 17:50

I am sure you have seen this video clip before. It is one of the great feel good stories of the last decade! Everyone loves an underdog and JMac certainly fills that role!

If you like underdogs (and who doesn't) the Bible is filled with underdogs who become overcomers. Just to name a few:

The Israelites at the Red Sea. When they were backed up to the sea with the Egyptian army riding down on them. They went from vulnerability to victors in the power of God!

The Israelites at Jericho. Confronting one of the most fortified cities in the history of human civilization, they obeyed God and watched the walls collapse at their shout!

Samson took on a thousand Philistines and killed them all. Did he have an automatic weapon or heavy artillary? No, he had the jawbone of an ass! I'd call that an upset!

Gideon was called to face the ferocious Midianites with a force of just 300 men. What did they have for weapons? They were armed with a pitcher, a torch and a trumpet against heavily armed, highly trained and blood-thirsty warriors. But how did that end up?
We serve a God who is able to make underdogs become into overcomers! I am not sure if this is what the Apostle Paul was thinking when he penned the strong affirmation, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
The answer? Not an army! No a fortified city! Not a band of warriors! Not even a giant!
It sort makes you want to stop and re-examine this underdog label. Who is REALLY the underdog, afterall?
What are you facing today? What stands in opposition to you?
No matter how imposing or intimidating it seems here's the truth - IT'S THE UNDERDOG!
Feel like a winner? You should! You will!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010

"David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground." ItalicI Samuel 17:45-48

What have we been talking about this week? We have been proving the statement that it was the five stones in David's spirit that killed the giant as much as the stone in his sling. I believe that and I hope maybe I have convinced you.

The five stones I identified are: purpose, passion, plan, perspective and now, prayer. The key to purpose is commitment and the question is, "What am I willing to live for?" For passion the key is conviction and the question is, "What do I truly believe?" A plan is essential for anything you do, especially if you intend to face a giant. The key to a plan is competence and the question is, "How do I play to my strengths?" Stone four is perspective and the key is concentration. Here's the question, "Where do I chose to concentrate?"
This morning I want to share some thoughts on the fifth stone, prayer. With prayer the question is, "Will I live in communion with God?"
When it comes to David, communion with God was the deal! Giant-killers are built on the backside of the desert alone with God. That's where David and God got acquainted and that's where David found out what God can do. It is also where God found out what David would do.
David proves that prayer is not and act as much as it is an attitude, it is an attachment with God. There is no prayer recorded when David faced Goliath and launched the stone toward Goliath's temple.
Giant-killers live in constant communion with God. His thoughts are their thoughts. His nature is their nature. His will is their will. His strength is their strength. Giant-killers don't start praying the just never stop. They pray without ceasing.
The small smooth stone that pieced Goliath's skull was the world's first guided missile. Was David skillful with the sling? Absolutely, but he was better at trusting God. You can't tell me that David didn't launch a quick prayer the same time he launched the stone.
Prayer brings a giant-God into play against the big trials and tests of life. Got any of those? Any giants on your horizon? Live in communion with God. Don't think about starting to pray think about never stopping!

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

"David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” I Samuel 17:43-45
When I went to my first church as a young fellow fresh out of school I was told by the pastor whom I was succeeding, "You will never grow a church with these people."
I was well aware that I couldn't but I was sure God could - and He did!
What was the difference? Perspective!
Perspective is how you see what you see. It is how you feel about what you see. It is what you think about the way you see and feel. Perspective is the fourth stone we will talk about this week as we talk about killing giants.
So far we have considered the stones of purpose, passion and plan.
When young David showed up at the camp of the Israelites that morning bringing supplies to his brothers, he found a bunch of fearful, frustrated and intimidated soldiers. They were being challenged by a very arrogant and extremely large warrior named Goliath. From their perspective he was too big to mess with. But somehow when David heard his threats and saw his size he thought that Goliath was too big to miss!
What's the difference in these opinions? Perspective!
So, why did the soldiers see things so much differently than the shepherd boy?
I'm sure thare are many reasons but let me suggest a few:
Fresh eyes. These weary soldiers had heard the taunts and stared at the behemoth every day for weeks and hadn't responded. As they became more discouraged Goliath became more formidable.
Obstacles are like that, the longer we try to ignore them or avoid them the bigger they get! Every day we fail to act or hesitate to confront them the more power they gain over us.
That is what happened with my pastor friend while I was coming to the scene with fresh eyes.
Faith eyes. David was seeing Goliath from the perspective of faith confident that God would use him to take down the giant. However, they had become fearful in their perspective and were convinced they couldn't win.
Faithful eyes. Unlike the soldiers, David was not content to stare at the giant and listen to his smack talk, he had to do something. He took responsibility for the problem. The leader in him emerged.
Focused eyes. When he looked at Goliath he saw a bullseye painted right on the side of his head. Looking at the giant reminded him that he had been attacked by a lion and slain it. A bear had threatened his sheep and he killed it. The same God who was faithful against those enemies would not fail him this time.
Fanatic eyes. David was a fanatic! Why do we shy away from that term? We are quick to identify ourselves as a Redskins "fan", or a Hokie "fan", or a UVA "fan", but cringe at the thought of being a "religious fanatic". Do you have a problem with being a "fan" of God? Does it bother you to be a "fan" of Jesus? If so, why? It didn't bother David to be a surrendered, sold out, stand up and be counted fanatic for God! Perhaps, that reason more than any other is why he had a different perspective from the others.
The same reasons that David became a giant-killer are the same reasons he was able to become a king! He looked at life through the lens of a faith perspective. His focus was on loving and serving God and he let God worry about everything else.
How is your perspective heading into this day? Are their some giants that need to fall?
Focus your faith fully on your Father. Concentrate on loving Him and serving Him and pleasing Him and let Him worry about the giants. Spend some time gazing on Him until He gives you fresh eyes - faith eyes! Suddenly the giant will change from a big threat to a big target.
My guess is the giant is beginning to shrink already!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

"Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine." I Samuel 17:37-40
David and Goliath is a story familiar to everyone and it is one of the most beloved stories of all-time. Not only is it a compelling story but everyone loves the underdog. There probably has never been a bigger underdog than David facing up against Goliath. For Pete's sake, Goliath's spear weighed more than David! But the giant fell and David triumphed!
This week we are looking at the "story behind the story"! We are talking about the five stones that David took to go against the giant and applying them to fighting the giants we face. The first stone was purpose and the second stone was passion. We discussed those two important concepts.
The third stone is PLAN. Along with his purpose and his passion David added a plan. That is a powerful combination - as we will see!
One thing you will discover about life if you have not yet done so is this - if you don't have a plan for your life, someone else will! Because David knew his purpose and he was in touch with his passion he was able to know a plan that would work toward the accomplishment of that purpose.
King Saul, wel-meaning though he was, tried to impose a plan on David. He wanted David to put on the king's armor before he went to face Goliath. Nice thought, but the armor didn't fit! Had David followed Saul's plan we would be reading a much different story.
David's plan was to play to his own strengths. He was going to carry out his purpose with the passion that was driving him and using the abilities God had developed in him. You, see, David knew it was not him going against the giant but it was God and him. God was going to be the giant-killer, David was just going to be the instrument. The slingshot wasn't the real weapon - David was! Having killed a lion and having slain a bear, David knew how to do it! His plan was undefeated, so why mess with it!?
With all due respect, David declined the armor and went looking for stones.
What is your plan for accomplishing God's purpose for your life? Do you know? Have you mapped it out?
How would I know that, Brad?
Several ways? What fits you? If you are a slingshot guy you can't build a plan around armor. If you are a sheep tender, you can't strategize like a king. What is your strength? What is your passion? Those are two strong clues for what your plan needs to look like!
Second, look for the carcuses! David had a dead lion and a dead bear to look back to. What victories has God given you in the past and how did you get them? The plans and the strengths you employed to get those victories will be the key to your plan for the next victory.
David had confidence in his plan because he had conquered with this plan. It fit him. It felt comfortable. God was in it. He sprinted toward the giant in strength and in confidence because his plan was a proven plan based upon his tested strengths.
Any plan that is not consistent with your purpose, fueled by your passion and inconsistent with your strengths is doomed to fail. Kindly decline the armor of well-intentioned friends and execute the God-ordained plan that fits you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

"But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you." I Samuel 17:34-37
The first stone that slays giants is purpose. David was crystal clear about his purpose. He lived to serve God and Goliath got between him and his purpose. Goliath fell to the stone of purpose.
Let's look at the second stone. What is it?
The second stone is passion. Passion sells. King Saul objected to David going to face the giant until he listened to his passionate plea and suddenly he went from banning the shepherd boy to blessing him.
We know the power of passion, but what is it? How would you define it?
I think we tend to equate passion with emotion. I'm not sure that is accurate. Passion is much more than emotion, although you can definitely hear the emotion is his plea to the King.
Let's see what we can learn from David's statement.
As I think about his statement I see something deeper than emotion, I see conviction. Emotion comes and goes but conviction lasts and grows! Emotions are often based on feelings but convictions are based on facts.
David's convictions were based on the facts that he had single-handedly, in the strength of God, killed a bear when it attacked his father's sheep. He knew that God had helped him do that and it convinced him that he could depend on God. And when a lion attacked the flock, he also killed it! He had been convinced of God's power and strength and formed his conviction on the fact he had killed two ferocious beasts with his bare hands.
So, David wasn't volunteering to face the giant based on a feeling that he might be able to handle Goliath, we was convinced of the fact of God's power. He has conviction because he had been convinced. His conviction translated into confidence because he reasoned that because God had used him in the past God would also use him against the giant.
One of the big differences between passion and emotion is that passion almost always leads to commitment. Emotion rarely does. Conviction and confidence are a much stronger foundation for success than warm fuzzy feelings. David didn't feel like he could kill the giant - he KNEW he could! He was confident because he was convicted because he was convinced! Because of David's passion Goliath was dead before David ever walked out!
You will never have passion until you have conviction. You will never have conviction until you are convinced. You will never be convinced until you take time to see what God is doing or have done on your behalf. If you aren't fully aware of what God has done for you you will never be aware of what God can do for you!
Our world is full of emotion but it is woefully lacking in conviction. One reason for that is because we settle for feelings rather than searching for facts.
If you are facing a giant in your life. You will need the stone of purpose and the stone of passion. Purpose makes it clear WHY the giant must fall and passion gives you the conviction and the confidence that he WILL fall.
Today, I challenge you to take the time to look for God. See where He has moved in your life. Remember how He provided for you in the past. Remember how He delivered you. Recall how He used you before. When you begin to gather the facts of Who He has been for you you will begin to grow in the conviction that He can do it again! From that conviction will come a confidence to step out and confront the giant.
Why settle for emotion when you can live in passion? Why linger in the shallow waters of feelings when you can live in the depths of the facts? Why settle for the vagaries of emotions when you can live in the certainties of passion and purpose?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

"David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." I Samuel 17:32

If there would have been a National Basketball Association back in Goliath's day, the story could have been a lot different! The guy was seriously tall! How would you like to drive to the basket against him? He could have been a shot blocker and rebounder in the mold of the great Bill Russell! Had he decided to post up in the lane who could have stopped him from scoring?

But, alas, this was about 30 centuries before Dr. Naismith nailed up the peach basket. So Goliath had to settle for a military career. Fortunately, being nearly nine-feet tall and weighing in excess of 500 pounds had some distinct advatages in an age where most battles were fought via hand-to-hand combat.

So, what was a kid half his size doing running out to face him with only a slingshot and a purpose? What was he thinking?

That is what I want to talk about in this post.

One of the five stones that David had when he confronted Goliath was the stone of purpose. And oddly enough, his purpose wasn't just to kill a giant. He had a much higher purpose and Goliath had the misfortune of stepping in between David and that purpose.

What was the purpose David lived for if it wasn't killing giants? Let's answer with him own words:

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." Psalm 42:1

"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" Psalm 103:1-2

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:1-2

"Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD." Psalm 150

David's purpose was to love God and to know God and to serve God and to do God's will. Goliath got in the way of that plan and dared to ridicule the people of God. So, Goliath had to go. It wasn't personal - it was purpose. David was living for something bigger than a killing a giant, he had a giant-sized purpose because he served a great and mighty God.

Are you living on purpose? Do you have a bigger-than-life reason for living? Do you have an all-consuming motive for living? Will you purpose to live for God?

It comes down to this, you will live life with a giant purpose or you will live with giant problems.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

"Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine." I Samuel 17:40
There has been a lot of speculation about why David took five smooth stones in his bag when he marched out to confront Goliath, the giant.
Was he afraid he would miss with one shot?
Where there more giants who might come after him if he somehow managed to get lucky enough to take out this one? Some have suggested that Goliath had four brothers and perhaps David was making sure he was prepared if they came after him.
Was five his lucky number?
Obviously, we will never know what he was thinking but we do know what he did. He took five stones and had four of them left over (along with a dead giant).
It is no small thing to kill a giant. Goliath was not just big, he was fierce! He was not just big and fierce he was an experienced warrior. David had better know what he is doing and be sure of his aim. He probably wouldn't get a second chance!
I am not sure of what David was thinking when he took the five stones but it is obvious that he was creating a margin in his life. A margin is making sure you have more than enough to be successful in any situation. Call it a margin for error. Call it playing safe. Call it caution. Call it preparation. Having a margin is a good thing.
We know now that David didn't need the extra stones but he had them if he had needed them.
During the blog posts this weeks I am going to talk about the five stones necessary to slay a giant. And let's be real - we all have at least one giant in our lives.
The five stones I will be talking about are the stones of purpose, passion, plan, perspective and prayer.
Do you know the purpose of your life? Why are you here? What in the earth are you doing for Heaven's sake?
Are you living with passion? Are you fully engaged spiritually, emotionally, willfully, mentally, and physically? Or are you going through the motions?
Do you have a plan for successfully serving God? Do you have a strategy for taking down the giant(s) hindering your life? If you are failing to plan you are planning to fail!
Do you have a perspective on life? Do you see the giant like David did and as God did? While everyone else was saying Goliath was too big to challenge, David was thinking Goliath was too big to miss! Do look at the giants in your life with faith or fear?
Are you praying for God's strength to face your giants? Some might say that prayer would be the first weapon you should have. I could not argue with that. I believe, however, that you can pray more effectively once you have the other four stones in your sling. It certainly doesn't hurt to pray at every point - pray about His purpose for you - pray for Him to fill you with passion - pray for His plan to be revealed to you - pray until you have a faith perspective and pray for God to fight for you as you face your giant.
Giants are made to fall! The bigger they are the harder they fall but you must have the proper weapons and the right ammunition!

May 9, 2010

Last Spring I did a series during May entitled "Games People Play". This is the message I preached on Mother's Day.

The game I chose for this day was “Aggravation”. Why did I pick this particular game to speak about on Mother’s Day? Because this game requires the players to move four marbles around a game board from their home base to a home on the other side of the board.

That reminds me of motherhood! Mothers have a lot of marbles that there are trying to move from one home to the next – while trying not to lose their marbles in the process! What marbles am I talking about?


How do you move those marbles, get them all home and not lose your marbles?

They will all fit if you put them in the proper order. To do that you must add one more marble – THE MASTER MARBLE

THE MASTER MARBLE – “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…

COMMIT TO HIS WILL – For You, For Marriage, For Motherhood, For Career

COMMIT TO HIS WORD – Let it be a lamp and a light

COMMIT TO HIS WAY – Live Out His Will And His Word

COMMIT TO HIS WISDOM – For Marriage, For Motherhood


ELIZABETH CORCORAN shares this experience:Four – year old Sara, had asked to pray before our breakfast this morning. That is quite typical of her. I think it's more her penchant to take charge than her avid spiritual growth as of yet. But I happily obliged as it still does something to my heart to hear that little girl of mine talk to our Heavenly Father. She started off per usual. Thank You for mommy, thank You for daddy, thank You for Jack. Then she added, and thank You for me.She has yet to come across that place in life where you feel silly or full of yourself in bringing any sort of attention to who you are as a person. As adults, we'd probably be a bit taken aback to hear a fellow pray-er at our Bible study thank God for herself. But if you think about…I think the situation is less that she hasn't quite learned prayer etiquette, and more that she may know more than we as grown-ups do. Why not thank God for ourselves? He made us as much as He made the other people we thank Him for. We have as much value as those other people do. And I bet, if we began to sprinkle our prayers every now and then with a small "thank you for me," I just bet we'd start to see our value though His eyes. And that wouldn't be such a bad thing.She then moved on to the rest of her list of thanks. Sara has not yet progressed much past the thanksgiving kind of prayers. She doesn't ask God for anything. She doesn't confess much either. (That will need to come…) She just thanks Him. And today, I noticed exactly what she was thanking Him for. She went through her routine of thanking Him for breakfast and her pretty clothes, saying, "Thank You that I'm beautiful again today" (no self-esteem issues with this little girl). Now, I'm sure she wasn't hoping to teach me some huge theological lesson in that moment…but wow, did she ever. What if I stopped, just for a day even, asking God for stuff? Asking Him to fix things in my life? Asking Him to change this or that circumstance? What if--what if I just thanked Him for all of my situations as is? How might my life be different? How might I see God and my current status differently…if instead of complaining to Him or asking Him for a quick-fix, I just rested where I was at that moment…searching for His hand and for any lesson I could glean…and thanked Him for it? Maybe I'll just have to find out. – TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

THE MARRIAGE MARBLE – Next Play The Marriage Marble
I heard of a couple who, as they were paying for groceries in the check-out line, were discussing their soon to be 50th wedding anniversary, when the young cashier interjected by saying, "I can’t imagine being married to same man for 50 years!" The wife wisely replied, teaching the young girl a lesson at the same time, "Well, Honey, don’t get married until you can."
"Rules of Male-Female Relationships" 1. The Female always makes the Rules. 2. The Rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification. 3. No Male can possibly know all the Rules. 4. If the Female suspects the Male knows all the Rules, she must immediately change some or all of the Rules. 5. The Female is never wrong. 6. If the Female is wrong, it is because of a flagrant Misunderstanding, which was a direct result of something the Male did or said wrong. 7. If Rule 6 applies, the Male must apologize IMMEDIATELY for causing the Misunderstanding. 8. The Female can change her mind at any given point in time. 9. The Male must never change his mind without express written consent from the Female. 10. The Female has every right to be angry or upset at any time. 11. The Male must remain calm at all times, unless the Female wants him to be angry or upset. 12. The Female must under no circumstances let the Male know whether or not she wants him to be angry or upset. 13. Any attempt to document these Rules could result in bodily harm to the Male.

Recently, a survey was made of 200 married adults in regards to forgiveness The researchers were wondering how one’s ability to forgive others would affect their marital satisfaction and personal well-being. The results were astounding! This research suggests that there is a huge relationship between marriage satisfaction and forgiveness. In fact, it appears that as much as one third of marriage satisfaction is related to forgiveness. Not only does the ability to forgive impact the marriage relationship, it was significantly related to personal emotional distress. As forgiveness ability went up, individuals reported fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue! These results are powerful and suggest that all counselors, both secular and faith-based, should be helping people develop the skill of forgiveness.

Gary Thomas commented, "I don’t believe couples fall out of love—they fall out of repentance."
The secret of successful marriage is to strive for the perfect 16 – 4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer…..

MOTHERHOOD MARBLE – Best Thing To Do For You Kids Is Love Their Dad

My mother taught me RELIGION: When I spilled grape juice on the carpet, she instructed, "You better pray the stain will come out of the carpet." My mother taught me LOGIC: From her decisive words, "Because I said so, that’s why." My mother taught me FORESIGHT: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident." My mother taught me IRONY: "Keep laughing, and I’ll give you something to cry about." My mother taught me about STAMINA: "You’ll sit there ’til all that spinach is finished." My mother taught me about WEATHER: "It looks as if a tornado swept through your room." My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out." My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: "Stop acting like your father!"

One of my favorite columns by Erma Bombeck tells of God in the act of creating mothers. She says that on the day God created mothers He had already worked long overtime. And an angel said to Him, "Lord, you sure are spending a lot of time on this one." The Lord turned & said, "Have you read the specs on this model? She is supposed to be completely washable, but not plastic. She is to have 180 moving parts, all of them replaceable. She is to have a kiss that will heal everything from a broken leg to a broken heart. She is to have a lap that will disappear whenever she stands up. She is to be able to function on coffee & leftovers. And she is supposed to have six pairs of hands."Six pairs of hands," said the angel, "that’s impossible." "It’s not the six pairs of hands that bother me." said the Lord, "It’s the three pairs of eyes. She is supposed to have one pair that sees through closed doors so that whenever she says, `What are you kids doing in there?’ she already knows what they’re doing in there." "She has another pair in the back of her head to see all the things she is not supposed to see but must see. And then she has one pair right in front that can look at a child that just goofed & communicate love & understanding without saying a word.""That’s too much." said the angel, "You can’t put that much in one model. Why don’t you rest for a while & resume your creating tomorrow?""No, I can’t," said the Lord. "I’m close to creating someone very much like myself. I’ve already come up with a model who can heal herself when she is sick - who can feed a family of six with one pound of hamburger - & who can persuade a nine year old to take a shower.""Can she think?" asked the angel. "Not only can she think," said the Lord, "but she can reason & compromise & persuade."Then the angel looked at the model of motherhood a little more closely & said, "She’s too soft." "Oh, but she is tough," said the Lord. "You’d be surprised at how much this mother can do."Then the angel reached over & touched her cheek. "This one has a leak," he said. "I told you that you couldn’t put that much in one model." "That’s not a leak," said the Lord. "That’s a tear.""What’s a tear for?" asked the angel. "Well it’s for joy, for sadness, for sorrow, for disappointment, for pride." "You’re a genius," said the angel. And the Lord said, "Oh, but I didn’t put it there."MAKING A LIVING MARBLE Organize and Plan: Make the most of your timeDelegate: Share the load Develop a Support System: Family, Friends, Church Set Realistic Expectations: Big Rocks First!Take Care of Yourself: Sharpen The Axe!

You CAN move all your marbles and get them home - without losing your marbles! But you must know which marbles to move and the order in which to move them!