Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worn Moccasins

The natives had a saying concerning the judgment of others. "Don't judge a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins." Each of us are where we are in our experience and belief system because of the influence of life and the teaching of others, either in person or through books, etc. Since we each walk a different road and meet up with different people then it stands to reason that each of us will be uniquely different in some ways.

When you encounter someone with a different viewpoint than you possess, the reason for it goes back to the aforementioned. Perhaps you run into someone who is beaten down and has trouble standing against temptation. It is likely they didn't have a strong role model in their lives. Before you make fun of a homosexual, realize that most of them...the vast majority of them...didn't have a father active in their home life as a child. Many of them were sexually molested as a child. While this does not excuse their behavior, we must realize our hyper-criticism doesn't help things either. It is known that as much as 80% of young men in prison had little or no significant relationship with their fathers.

Differences of religion primarily point at one's early teaching. Regardless of whether you are Christian, Hindu, or are whatever you are because of your life's influences. For me, one of the most difficult things I have ever done was to attempt to study the Bible without religious bias. I am still working on it. I believe the Bible because it has proven itself over and over again in a miraculous fashion. I follow the mainstream understanding of the Bible because there is safety in a multitude of counsel and because correct contextual criticism will lead you to a simple understanding.

However, when I walk a mile in other religious folks 'moccasins' I can understand where they are coming from even if they are incorrect or if my understanding doesn't agree with theirs. Many religions operate out of a fear based mentality. "If you don't do as I are going to hell." If that doesn't get your attention nothing will. While there certainly is a hell to shun, I am very wary of religious groups who use hell as the main motive for keeping folks straight. I love the scripture that says, "It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance."

I feel that we would get much more done in the Kingdom if we first try to understand where people are coming from before we simply rush in and judge them. If you have a friend you'd like to win to Christ, the last thing you need to do is jump on them about their 'filthy sins' although their sins may be truly filthy. If you haven't been hooked on drugs, then you do not know what it is like to have to beat that addiction. If you have never been addicted to porn, it is easy to judge someone who is. If you have never tried to beat depression, then maybe a few months beneath its cloud would help you understand others who have been under it for years.

The last thing is, do not judge on hear-say. First, most of what you hear is inaccurate. By the time a story passes through three people it is likely loses 50% of its truth. Exaggeration, errant hearing, and other factors contribute to this. Second, there are always two sides to every story. Unless you are willing to hear the whole story, you have no right to repeat any of it! To do so is to speak before walking in the other guys shoes.

So, I urge you to slip on the worn moccasins of your friends before you shoot them between the eyes. Come to think of it, you and I have moccasins of our own that we'd appreciate others 'trying on' before they judge us.

Have a great day and see through the eyes of other people.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reading is 'Sit-Ups' for the Mind

Recently I was in my parents home and noticed that there is always a stack of books that are being read by my folks. Although they are getting older, they continue to enjoy reading. I wish more folks loved to read.

Reading stimulates the mind. With books you can relax, take a trip, get an education, or glide along the story line of a mystery...and all without leaving your chair! Abraham Lincoln was mostly self educated and he did so by reading everything he could get his hands on.

In our computerized world, we get little blips of information. 'Snippet form' communication is the way of doing business these days. Personally I think some disciplines are being lost when we lose the ability to devote time to in-depth reading. Let me challenge you to read more. It will require turning off the mind-numbing TV and engaging your brain.

Right now I am reading "When a Man's a Man" by Harold Bell Wight, "Studies in Galatians" by M.R. Deehan, and I am personally studying through the book of 1 Corinthians with our church family.

Write in and let me know what you are personally reading. Tell us if you recommend it or not.

Thanks and happy reading.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Choosing Not to Fight

I shall admit one of my vices. Are you ready? Seriously! I am not necessarily proud of it, but I like to watch extreme fighting on TV. OK...I know I am bad, and you probably want to critique me just get in line! Ha.

Extreme fighting is where the opponents are in a ring and they are allowed to use marshall arts, boxing, kicking, wrestling techniques...anything almost to get their opponent to either 'tap-out' or else knock them out! I like to watch it because it is real. No fake stuff here baby! It is knuckle and skull and usually some blood! The next reason I like it is because there is always a winner and a loser. In life it seems there are too many decisions left hanging. That is not the case at the end of four rounds of extreme fighting.

In one of my insane moments I told Trish that I wish I was about 25 again! I think I'd like to try it! I used to box some and loved to wrestle. In high school I tied for first in the school wide PE wrestling competition. Danny Blossom and I wore each other out in the championship, but I loved every second of it. Those were days prior to 40! However, I still get a charge out of watching two, half-crazed, muscular dudes fight it out in the ring.

As difficult as extreme fighting must be, I have found one of the most difficult things in life to be the necessity of 'not' fighting. Those moments when you have reason to, want to, would enjoy it...but you hold on to your emotions, your wits, and you unclench your fists and let the moment play out as it will.

Recently I hung a poster in a restaurant to advertise an upcoming concert for our church. As fate would have it, I was there a day or two later when someone with a heart full of hatred, came by and tore it down. They looked ridiculous in the eyes of the workers there and made me instantly think of a thousand and one ways to get even. Boy, I wanted the bell to ring so I could come out swinging (in a manner of speaking). But I felt the need to let time and the good Lord be the One to settle the score.

You see, when we hold our peace the Lord is the One in charge of fighting the battles. He sees all, knows all and will reckon with those who need it. His mercy is extended for a long period of time. I have been the recipient of it! But there is a time when the mercy ends and the tough times come. Been there too! It has been my experience that God does a lot better job fighting my battles than I could ever do on my own.

So, no extreme fighting in this realm. Turn out the lights and lock up the boxing ring. The only fighting that I am allowed to do is on my knees talking to God and keeping myself straight. Maybe you can understand that. When you choose not to fight against those who would like to fight against will always win because God reacts to that kind of restraint. The old song says, "If I hold my peace and let the Lord fight my battles, then victory shall be mine."

In the end, I figure having to sleep with the conscience of tearing up church property and living with the overt bitterness in their heart would be punishment enough. So I chose not to fight and I am glad I did. If you will do the same, you will find life will become much easier.

There maybe someone reading this who daily or weekly deals with a mean boss, an ex-husband, a hostile landlord, or an in-law that hates your guts. Don't fight! Let God do the fighting. Cast all your cares upon God. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Like Christ, learn to forgive. You will be the winner!

For now, my fighting will have to remain on TV!



Friday, February 20, 2009

America was not built on Socialism

America is quickly becoming a Socialistic nation. This is heart-breaking! Our beloved nation was built upon the principles of people who wanted freedom. They believed in freedom of religion, freedom to work and pursue happiness, and freedom 'from' an oppressive government. Times are changing however.

The downward spiral of our financial environment has played into the hands of socialistic ideas. With the freedom of opportunity comes the risks of failure. As a nation we are under no obligation to bail out institutions that fail. The problem is, we have waited too long, so long that we have allowed the big companies to buyout the smaller institutions. These monopolies, many of them, have fallen prey to greed and from extending themselves beyond their capital base. Now, the government has stepped in and is attempting to be the savior of all these failing businesses and banks.

Our government has just put more and more debt on future generations under the name of 'stimulus packages'. As a nation, we are 13 Trillion dollars in debt already. Talk about needing a bailout! Understand that a trillion dollars would be like making a million dollars a day (365 days a year) beginning at the birth of Jesus and extending 700 years from now. We can never repay this! Let me tell you what we are doing.

We are setting up our nation to fall in line with a one world government! Without socialism, we could go forward as a free enterprise nation. With the financial impossibility, we are just like many other nations around the world. We await someone with the answer. The Bible tells us that man of perdition will be revealed. The world will embrace him, our beloved nation will also. We value our dollars, our businesses, our fine lifestyles more than we value principles.

I conclude by telling you to watch us become more and more socialistic. Listening to the news this evening I couldn't believe my ears when I heard them talking about 'Nationalistic Banking'. Do you realize that puts, not only the auto makers, educational centers, etc under the control of the government, but it now places our financial institutions under their power as well. Didn't I read where the anti-Christ will make it so that no man can buy or sell without taking his mark. Well how can he enforce this unless he has control of the banks? The pieces of the end of time are falling rapidly in place. I urge you to be prayerful, check your heart and be ready for the return of the Lord.

It is too bad our government is taking away from its people the rights that are the basis upon which our government was built. The government is to be for the people and by the people....not to limit and control the people. Such is Socialism.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


It occurs to me that one may purchase any number of books on Leadership, but I have yet to see a book on Follower-ship. (I just coined a new word) I have a library full of great material on the subject of being a great leader, ethics, development, etc. However, I believe there should be more emphasis, and more books on how to be a good follower. That includes all of us.

Remember Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me." Following is a discipline, if done correctly. Obviously there are blind followers who pay no attention to where they are being led. There are followers who follow because, 'we've always done it this way', and there are followers who haven't a clue about anything. That is not what I am talking about here.

On the flip side there are great followers who have the following characteristics.

1. They follow a person who knows where he is going. To simply walk around and around the same old mountain forever is not progress. To have an organization that is content to 'hold its own' is not progress or leadership. But to find someone with a vision, a purpose and a sincere passion for that purpose is heartwarming indeed. There is nothing better than to be behind someone with an awesome destiny. Nothing can stop them! You can sense a calling in a person's life. The old adage reminds, "Some are called, some are sent, some just picked up their bags and went." In time you can tell which is which.

2. Follow someone who is held within the parameters of righteousness. Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." Now get this straight. If you demand perfection, you will never follow anyone. You will likely be one who bounces from church to church, maybe even tries to start his own church, but always comes down to pointing at other's failures and whining about how 'hurt' you are. Even Paul, the one who urged others to follow him, admitted to his own failures. He called himself a wretched man. He admitted that the things he did not want to do...were the very things he did! Yes, Paul said that! The same man who put himself up as good enough to be followed. The point is, the person you follow must have a track record that continues toward a great destiny, despite momentary set-backs. There will be some 'wobbles and bobbles' in every life under the microscope, but that doesn't render them useless or unworthy of being followed.

3. Follow with your mouth shut. I love the story of Jericho. There, God commanded the people to march around the city six times without making a sound. On the seventh day, the seventh time around they all shouted and blew the trumpets to witness a great victory. However, the most difficult days must have been to march, to follow, without saying anything. I am sure they must have wanted to question Joshua. "This is not how we have waged war in the past!" "Josh, can't we stop for a sandwich...I am weary." "Man, this is the craziest thing I have ever seen." Somehow, they held their peace and followed. You know the rest of the story.

4. A great follower must be able to lay aside opportunities to exalt himself above his leader. Every leader has weaknesses. His or her area of weakness may be your exact area of strength. Having the ability to hold the reins on your pride, when you might have the opportunity to 'one up' your leader, is a mark of a great follower. Great followers do all they can to help their leader, to encourage, to forgive, to assist them through difficulty. Remember David could have humiliated Saul...and he probably deserved it. But the man of God had training and respect to be a great follower. Great leaders usually have been through the school of Follower-ship.

Great followers are perhaps more rare than great leaders. Think about this and let me know what you think.

Pastor T

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tween Times

Life is usually measured by the 'big' event of life. We reflect on the grandiose moments...the big vacation... the trophy deer...etc. While all of these are good and make for great milestones, most of our lives are not lived in these exceptional moments.

How many people do you know go to work on Monday talking about what they are going to do on the weekend? If we live only for the weekend, then we are negating 5/7 of life. The majority of our lives will be spent in the 'tween times', that is, the times between those awesome, fantastic, chill-bump moments. It goes without saying, that if we are to have a wonderful life then it is needful for us to understand how to make those not so fantastic moments...well...fantastic. Know what I mean. I mean, if the fulfillment of life is only going to come when you are on a cruise, then you won't have much fulfillment in life unless you get a job on a cruise-liner.

Discovering meaningful things in the everyday life can help make your Mondays and Thursdays vitally important to your happiness. We are so prone to overlook the little things. I know folks who have negated relationships, literally years of meaningful time and help, because they focused on one problem. If we would value the everyday life just as we do the big events, we could come to forgive folks a lot easier.

Here are some things I enjoy on a regular basis;

* Watching birds feed in my backyard.
* A steaming cup of coffee with a friend.
* Meaningful conversation with my family.
* A quick glance through the sports section.
* Warmth of a blanket.
* The smell of supper cooking.
* To watch someone really laugh.
* Sharing in someone's sorrow.
* A wave when passing a friend or neighbor in traffic.
* Day old pizza.
* Hunting vicariously on the Outdoor Channel.
* Scratching my dog behind the hears while they tell me how good it feels with the wag of a tail.
* Reading something profitable and relaxing.
* Peanut Butter on a banana.
* The feel of a freshly ironed shirt.
* Hearing my parents voices on the phone.
* Looking at old pictures and reflecting on pleasant memories.

Look for ways to make the tween times, wonderful times. I think we are missing some grand things right under our noses. Perhaps you will find that the best of life does not have to wait for those rare times when you get to do something big. Write in and let me know what makes your daily life meaningful.

God bless you friends,


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Delegation is a Pastoral Challenge

As a church or business grows there is the inherent need to transfer more and more authority to those who serve with you. Ideally, the pastor functions like a CEO who basically calls the shots, trouble shoots and casts vision while allowing those around him to carry out their specific duties. While this all sounds great, one who attempts it will find it easier said than done.

There are at least two major challenges involved. One is being certain those who are going to do the 'doing' part of the work have a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. Transferal of vision is vital. It takes time, re-stating the goal over and over. Secondly, it is very difficult to simply let go. When you give it to someone, you realize your only affect will be through training or correcting. Sometimes it is faster at first to do the task yourself than to hand it off. However, in the long run the organization will benefit tremendously from delegation, even if it is a little clumsy at first. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to stay on course. When you involve more people...more people have more opinions. Everyone sees it from their perspective.

As an effective 'CEO' one should listen to all of the opinions, for there is much wisdom in that. At the end of the day I have to make the call that most closely answers the problem and also keeps us in line with the vision. There can only be one vision. In making the call it is known that everyone will not agree with it. If you have a good team, they will go along, even if they do not agree. That is teamwork and that is the kind of trust credible organizations develop.

Hope this lets you see a bit through my eyes. I believe in the power of delegation. But I also understand its challenges.

Blessings on you.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Russ Taff is Coming to NLT...and I am stoked about it!!

In case you haven't heard, Russ Taff is coming to hold a concert at New Life Tabernacle on March 7th, 2009. (Tickets can be purchased through the church office) I couldn't be more excited! This is an opportunity that I never dreamt would come my way in my lifetime.

Russ Taff's music has been an inspiration to me personally for most of my life. I had no idea that Russ walked a pathway in his early years that I would walk in my own life years later. That being, to transition from strict 'holiness' denomination to a position of biblical Grace. Although I was loyal, at the time, to my upbringing, I found myself drawn to his music and especially lyrics that spoke of a bigger picture of the Body of Christ. I recall a line from "You're my Brother, You're my Sister" that says, "Sometimes its hard for me to understand, why we pull away from each other so easily even tho we are walking the same road....if you believe in Jesus you belong with me and the bond we share is all I care to see..." Man, that is some powerful stuff that finally came to fruition in my own life years later.

In the days of the Imperials, I saw Russ sing in Barnhill arena. He was easy to spot with his long hair, a characteristic that made him taboo to some in my circle of friends. However, the anointing on his singing was and is still undeniable. Perhaps this is why Billboard Magazine touts him as, "The most electrifying voice in gospel music." I recognize it as the anointing of God upon him.

Russ sings with passion rarely seen in vocalists today. He enjoys the concert and puts his whole heart into it. While I am writing this a whole list of his songs pour through my mind like crystal water. He can take an old hymn too, and do it up like you have never heard in your life! Chills will run the length of your body when he sings one of his most popular tunes, "Praise the Lord." He can rock the house for the youth, or he can slow it down and do some Southern stuff for the older folks. His wide-range appeal is second to none!

I could go on and on, but let me just thank my wife, Trish, and all the folks who have pulled this together to help celebrate our twenty years of ministry here at New Life. On the evening of March 7th, my dad's birthday, I am going to enjoy to the hilt what will be one of the greatest evenings of my life! I hope as many of you as can will enjoy it along with me.

Whether you are a long time fan or whether you will be hearing Russ for the first time, you will not go away disappointed. Google his name and check out his homepage. You will be amazed at the list of awards he has received during his life. God has truly given me a gift when He allowed this talented man, and one who has influenced me heavily, to come to our church for a concert. I hope you can tell...I am stoked about it!

Can't wait to jam!!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Learning Along the Way

I am convinced that life is a perpetual classroom. If one is so inclined, he or she has the opportunity to continually learn from a variety of teachers. The bible indicates that nature itself is a teacher. Animals and insects are used as living lessons in the Word of God.

Often I gain understanding as I listen to others. Whether the information is new or not, the perspective is likely to be. By listening, I discover the other person reveals to me, thus teaching, their own level of understanding and their take on a situation which I may have never seen before. One's training both formally and/or informally usually causes a certain bias concerning one's position and views of life. Seeing through the eyes of others gives us a more rounded view, despite our agreement or not with them. Seeing through many eyes gives a balanced perspective. This is why the bible says, "There is safety in a multitude of counsel."

Experiences of life become wonderful teachers. Experience is and expensive way to learn, but the lessons are not typically forgotten overnight. Once someone told me, "Learn from the mistakes of others b/c you won't live long enough to make them all yourself." There is a lot of truth in that. A smart individual will be honored to sit at the feet of an elderly person who has lived many experiences and is willing to share them.

Antoine de Saint Exupery once said, "A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us." It may be there is a greater person within you than you ever thought. Difficulty and problems can bring your strengths, your fortitude, your widom and ingenuity to the surface. Do not ever assume you know everything about yourself...b/c you don't. Life will help you learn more and more about who you really are. It is likely the person you think yourself to be is not the 'real' person you can become given the right influence and training. Do not sell yourself short.

Maturity is perhaps the ability to lay aside our false-self, with an ever increasing honesty as we learn and project who we really are. To hide from the truth and remain willfully ignorant is to deny the creative genius of our Creator, God. He made you unique and special. Learn more and more about who you really are. Lay aside the pretense...let life become the school wherein you learn more about God and yourself.

Have a wonderful day,

Pastor Tim

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Satan is at Work....The Church Must Awaken!

We cannot look at church in the manner that I fear some do. To some, church is merely a community institution that primarily takes care of a few kids, and provides a social function each Sunday. If this is our view of the church we have missed all that Jesus intended this holy institution to do. The church is to be a dynamic, spiritual force that is pushing back evil.

Satan has not let up. In fact, since he knows there is little time left for him to work he has 'poured on the coals' and is working through every venue he can find. Much secular music and media is filled with evil. It is getting to the grey matter of our children. I have never seen so many young people struggling with drugs, suicide, and promiscuity as our generation. The sorcery, or drug usage, has reached epidemic proportions. The fallout is the loss of the ingenuity our children should possess.

Right here in our own community we have become desensitized to the sickness of gambling, as a huge casino is gobbling up money, family, morals and revenue needed for our local government. Sin abounds! Since this is the generation to which we are called to minister, what shall we do?

One thing is sure, we cannot have church as usual. There has to be a unique mixture of using the technologies that relate to this generation, blended with powerful service spawned in the fires of prayer. The only weigh to fight Satan is with the name of Jesus, the Blood of Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The church that operates as such will find itself always working against the darkness.

I believe our best days are here. But doing our best means being our best week in and week out. The church must not dodge our responsibility. We must go back to our knees in prayer and asking God to be exalted in our midst. If we will, He will. Re-read 1 Chronicles 7:14. I know I want to see the church reach its potential. We can still turn this godless, atheistic, secular, liberal society upside down through God.

This is the kind of church our world needs in the worst way. My prayer is we all will do our part to help make it so. "Where sin did abound....Grace did much more abound!"



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Just Gotta Say...

This one is short and sweet. Maybe you stumbled on to this by accident or perhaps by Divine guidance. Whatever the was for this reason. You needed to hear (in your mind at least) someone say..."God Bless You!"

So for those who read this...I Just gotta say, "May God of Heaven Truly Bless You Today!"

Th...thats all folks!