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The Fine Line Between Fear and Fun

My wife headed for Vegas this past weekend, so I took a day off and headed with the kids over to our pool. I put my one-year-old son, Sam, in his frog suit and held him in the rather cold water. He had a blast, but whenever I would move around much or hold him away from me, he would get this great look on his face expressing two seemingly exclusive thoughts... I am so scared! This is so much fun! Ever been there? That place where fear intermingles with fun is the …

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You Can Lead by Fear or Lead by Love

One of my favorite spots to hang out on the weekends is the green room, backstage at Saddleback. It's not just that some kind volunteers stock it with hot Thai food, it's the conversations that happen there. I learn about leadership by listening to other leaders. This past Sunday, I was sitting around with David Chrzan, Dave Greene, and Todd Olthoff, fellow Pastors at the church, and Dave Greene shared a principle I'd never really thought about before. You can lead by …

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Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

The title of this post is attention-getting for an obvious reason - most people fear the thought of standing before a group of people and speaking... out loud. I was too, and still am to some degree. When I was a kid, I was painfully and awkwardly shy. In the fifth grade, I had to give an oral report on the life of Will Rogers. I handled it by self-interviewing. I sat in the teacher's chair and rolled left and right, pretending to be Will Rogers on one side, and something of …

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Katrina to Gustav: God’s Leading In the Midst of Life’s Storms

Last night we had a time of testimonies and praise at Bethel. I shared what has been on my mind for several days now, since I heard of the approach of Gustav almost exactly three years away from Katrina. It reminded me of a time of God's mercy and leading in our lives. Katrina made landfall on a Monday morning and that evening, Angie and I were driving home from preaching in view of a call for an Associate ministry position in Jacksonville, Texas. It was a time of real …

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On Your Feet, Soldier!

This past Sunday, I began preaching in Genesis with chapter one, verse one. The message started a lengthy commitment to preaching all of the word. I don't think I've ever been as satisfied by a message in all of my ministry. I had studied and prepared for about six weeks for just the first chapter of Genesis. So how was it? Exhilarating! The choir was tuned up and did an awesome job. Singing Shout to the Lord with them was great. They also sang a favorite of mine, There Are …

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Remembering the Fallen

Yesterday was a very special day at Bethel. Though we had a lot of folks out on vacation for the holiday weekend, we who remained celebrated God's greatness in raising up heroes throughout the centuries. From Hebrews 11, we recounted the lives and deaths of some of God's greatest servants. Many in the chapter remain unnamed, but their works and martyrdom are mentioned. My favorite line in the passage says, "Of whom the world was not worthy!" Those words reflect my feelings …

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What A Wonderful World

At our wedding, Angie and I chose to have Louie Armstrong's song played... What a Wonderful World. In light of yesterday's shootings, and so many other monumental tragedies in recent years, is it really a wonderful world? We were driving to Fort Smith yesterday for the annual meeting of the BMA of America and were reflecting on some of the tragedies that have taken place at this same time of the year such as the Oklahoma City bombing (April, 1995), the Waco compound burning …

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Whom Do You Love?

"Love not the world... for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world, and the world passeth away..." -1 John 2:15-17 Remember Louis Armstrong's great What A Wonderful World? Angie and I had that song played at our wedding. This truly is a wonderful world in many respects. It's the place where we view the glory of God in creation. This world is where Jesus came to minister and to …

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What Do Your Works Say?

"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him..." -Titus 1:16It is far easier to say "I believe in God" than to live according to His standards, but the reality is that how we live says far more about our belief in God than our words. If I were to build a bridge, recommend that others cross it, but refuse to do so myself out of fear, I would be saying far more about the bridge by my unwillingness to cross than by my words of commendation.The Scriptures are …

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Piles of Anxieties

I must say that yesterday was one of the most stressful days of my ministry thus far at Bethel. It seemed as though God had a bulleted list of tests for me to take. Last night as I sat through the church-wide interview with our potential Associate Pastor, my mind was taken to a familiar passage of Scripture, 1 Peter 5:6-7, which says, "Humle yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, …

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