31 August 2006

excuse #7

here's another excuse in the list about going to the mission field from keith green's "why you should go to the mission field."

"I'd go to the mission field, but...."

"But I need to get married first, and then maybe my mate will want to serve God full-time on the field, rather than me going alone."

and here's keith green's response:

"Nothing could be a more foolish reason for putting off obeying God now. God does not want you to look for a husband or wife, He wants you to be married to Him, and trust Him for any mate He may bring into your life. I know of many single Christians serving Jesus overseas who are trusting Him for everything. And some of the most beautiful stories of God's grace I've ever heard are told by couples who went to the mission field single, and then God led them to marry another whose heart was also fully devoted to serving Him there. Remember, 'Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.' (Matt. 6:8) Trust Him!"

reminds me of one of keith's songs: "He'll take care of the rest... You know He'll do it, yeah He'll take care of the rest.... He'll see you through it...."

30 August 2006

tori... again

call me biased. call me "just a proud dad." call me whatever you want to, or even tell me you're tired of hearing how great my daugther is. i don't care. it's my blog and i'm going to write about her again cuz i want to. :)

i saw a post on tori's blog this morning and i thought, i've still got a lot to learn. check out this excerpt:

"...sometimes i get so wrapped up in my own life and my list of things to do, that i miss out on the joys of the life God gave me.

my little brothers do the sweetest things, and i miss it because i am too busy....

life is so full of opportunities to be happy and share joy- and yet...i'm too stressed to see them.

no more...i'm tired of wasting the life that Jesus died just so i could live. i'm tired of wasting life on stress.

no more. i'm done with it."

thank You, Jesus for entrusting such a life to vicki and me - i pray that You'll continue to draw close to her as she pursues You.

excuse #6

here's excuse #6 in keith green's "why you should go to the mission field" deal i've been going back through.

I'd go to the mission field, but....

"But I need to get an education first."

Keith's response is right on, I think.

I don't believe that God wants every Christian to go to college just because, "Well, everyone goes to college now, unless they're too dumb!" You shouldn't go to college unless God has definitely called you to go. Just like everything else in our Christian lives, He's the Master, we're the servants. He's the General, we're the soldiers. If you're really a Christian, you're at the beck and command of the King. If you're not at His command, then you're really not a Christian.

Yes, God does call some people to go to college. Sometimes it's to get training for a ministry calling He's made clear to them. For instance, if you know what country you're called to, perhaps God would lead you to learn the language and culture somewhat before you go (although the very best place to learn is within the country itself - it's a definite "crash course"!)

Of course, another reason God might lead you to college is to minister to people right there on the campus - as well as to mature emotionally and spiritually. But be careful! Make sure you're there in direct obedience to God, or else you're wasting your time - and His.

25 August 2006

tagged by ben about my reading

pete kim and i (and three other people i didn't know before but whose blogs i plan to read now) got "tagged" by ben abu saada, my blogger buddy worship leader fellow mk from kansas.

i'm supposed to answer a list of questions about books and then "tag" five other bloggers to do the same. ok here goes:

  1. One book that changed your life: duh. the Bible. ok, i'm gonna try to not just put that down for all of these questions... ummm - there was this book called "Raptured" that i read when i was about 10 - scared the bahoncus out of me - but i don't think that really counts. i think the real answer will have to be Ken Gire's Windows of the Soul - a phenomenal book by a great writer.

  2. One book that you've read more than once: Proverbs. okay - non-Bible book would be Before We Kill and Eat You by H. B. Garlock - way cool book.

  3. One book that you'd want on a desert island: Emergency Origami: How You Can Fold the Pages of This Book and Create a Rescue Boat For Yourself in 4 Easy Lessons

  4. One book that made you laugh: That last one. Ok - Erma Bombeck's The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank - way funny book. (btw, for you Bombeck fans out there, check out lori fitzgerald's blog - funny and very similar writing skills.)

  5. One book that made you cry: The Diary of Ann Frank - having visited breendonk - a nazi concentration camp as a kid living in europe, this book really hit home for me.

  6. One book that you wish had been written: The Cure for AIDS

  7. One book you wish had never been written: there's way too many books to list that i wish were never written - junk like the Book of Mormon, The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, The Koran, etc. those all have to top the charts. but the fact is that they ARE written, and honestly, while they sadly deceive many, they also do not scare me - the Truth is still the truth. NO book out there will ever change it. but worrying about it and wishing that some book hadn't been written isn't really something i do much of. just not worth my time to worry about it.

  8. One book you are currently reading: How to Answer Questions Briefly - right. i need to read that one. actually i have several books going right now, but i'll just give this one in the interest of brevity: In The Presence of My Enemies (the Martin and Gracia Burnham story) - martin's younger brother brian and i were classmates at faith academy in the philippines back in the 70's and 80's - an amazing story of grace and heroism of a different kind.

  9. One book you've been meaning to read: Heaven Is In This House
  10. (by Brian and Bobbie Houston at Hillsong)

and my five "tagees" - Dino Rizzo, Carole Turner, Travis Johnson, Robert Pooley, and Matt Fry. Come on boys (and girl) - don't lemme down.

24 August 2006

excuse #5

another excuse people give why they don't go to the mission field (from keith green's article "why you should go to the mission field.") check it out and think about it a while:

    "But I need to stay here and lead my relatives to the Lord first. If I go somewhere else, how can they get saved?"

check keith's response out:

    There was once a man who wanted to follow and obey Jesus, but he said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Jesus' answer to him was, "Follow me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead." (Matt. 8:21-22)

    This may sound cruel of Jesus not to allow the man to have a funeral for his dead father - but most likely, the man's father had not died yet. The phrase "wait until I bury my father" was sometimes used to say "wait until my father has died." What he was really saying was, "I'd like to follow You now, but You see, my parents wouldn't understand. Please wait until after they've died, and then I'll be more than glad to follow You!"

    Jesus' answer was appropriate... "allow the dead to bury their own dead." In other words, "allow the unbelievers to take care of themselves, and follow Me!" Jesus doesn't want us to throw our usefulness away because our relatives are not yet saved. The greatest witness they can see is you fully obeying the call of God on your life. Jesus didn't want this man's father to be buried - He wanted the young man to follow Him, and then maybe even the man's father would come to know Him too. Obedience is truly greater than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22) - when we obey God, He takes care of all our other obligations. (Matt. 6:33)

who ever said serving in ministry was gonna be painless?

trying to remember what i prayed like when i was 15

it sure wasn't like this, though - i can promise you that. check out this prayer i just read on my daughter's blog tonight. actually the whole post is pretty incredible - i just pulled over the prayer part of it but the whole post is worth the read.

    God, take this life...take my heart...take everything i am...God, convict me of my sins, and show me what to do, speak to me, and direct me.

    take all the glory to Your name- let me not become proud.

    let us draw near to You.
    let us know you intimately.
    all we want is to see Your kingdom come- that's why we're here on this earth.

    let our lives be a monument of worship to You.

    let us not lose sight of our purpose.
    i pray that You will be proud of us. let us put a smile on our Father's face.

    God we are your children. carry us like a daddy carries his young children. hold our hands. teach us. when we fall- heal us. show us your tender love and discipline us. God, we love you. thank You for being our Daddy. hold us in Your arms. and tell us that You are here protecting us and loving us.

God, thanks for such a fantastic daughter. And thank you that she challenges me to be a better person because of her authentic faith and raw passion for You.

23 August 2006

another win for the Kingdom

this is a really cool story that's a good reminder why we do what we do. donna frank wrote this up and sent it to me. (thanks donna!)

    Alliece Cole almost always asks people what brought them to Healing Place Church. In Mary’s case it was a TV commercial. Mary explained to us that she and her husband had been having problems for some time. Without getting into details it sounded pretty serious. One day she saw a commercial advertising the Easter event at the River Center. She had heard about Healing Place, experienced a water giveaway and had listened to Pastor Dino online once or twice. She decided to attend the Easter service, but her husband refused to go. The following week she decided to attend HPC, once again without her husband. By her third consecutive week her husband stated that he was going with her; to find out who she was meeting at church. She said that it felt like everyone left the building that day except she, her husband and Pastor Dino. The message was so on track that her husband asked if she had met with the pastor and told him all of their business. She assured him that she had not talked to anyone about anything. That brought Mary back the next week, along with her now-willing husband.

    They started attending service regularly and decided to see what the church was really about. They took Spiritual Formation class together, and then Basic Christianity. They got plugged in and now both are active volunteers with Cooking For Christ. Wanting to stretch herself a little, Mary recently started volunteering with ICU. God is good!

    Mary will be the first one to tell you that their marriage is far from perfect. They still struggle and face challenges, but at least now they are facing them together with Christ.

    God finds people wherever they’re at. God found Mary in front of her television and within 30 seconds He changed the course of her life. Through that 30-second TV spot, her husband returned to church, their marriage is being restored and her family is seeing the difference that a relationship with Jesus can make.

    I don’t say this very often, but thank God for television. Thank God that HPC is progressive enough to use the tools and technology that we have to promote the Gospel. Information is powerful…the Truth is all-powerful. Let’s continue to spread the Good News and watch people like Mary change our community. All glory to God!

22 August 2006

excuse #4

why you should go to the mission field - an article by keith green - here's excuse #4:

    "But my family and friends would frown upon me going."

the truth:

    "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me..." (Matt. 10:37)

    God is very clear about whose approval we should seek. It's shocking to me how even Christian parents react when their children say that they'd like to go for training as a full-time Christian worker. "A missionary! Are you crazy?!" It's as if they've announced they'd like to be a thief or a prostitute.

    It is true that God wants us to honor our parents and love our friends, but He has also made it clear in His Word that this honor and love must not exceed our love and obedience to Him and His calling on our lives. We should always try our best to explain God's call to our families, lovingly and patiently, but the bottom line must be that we will obey Christ no matter what the cost. We should always try to get our family's understanding and blessing when God makes our ministry clear to us, but we must also always be ready to leave "houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms" for His sake "and for the Gospel's sake." (Mark 10:29)

preach, keith. preeeeeach.

21 August 2006

excuse #3

continuing with keith green's list of 15 excuses people give for not going to the mission field:

    "But God needs people to stay home and financially support those ministries and missionaries who are already all over the world. In fact, my church is already supporting some missionaries with my tithes and offerings."

here's the answer:

    You should never have to worry about there not being enough Christians staying home to support missionaries! There will always be enough people around who will not answer the call to go - who will stay home and gladly just send a check (instead of themselves) to reach to lost. After all, nothing is easier to give than money (except nothing!).

    This does not mean that everyone who stays home is selfish and disobedient. As I've already said, there are some who know they are definitely called to stay, and they are doing exactly what God would have them do here, while they greatly support other ministries. I'm just saying that there will always be plenty of people around to financially support the pitifully few who answer the call and obey God.

thank God for those who are called to send. i wonder how many of us there are that should be going but are hiding behind our checks we send, instead? is God asking for something more than your money?

ya think?

20 August 2006

excuse #2

here's excuse #2 (click here for my post on excuse #1) in the "why you should go to the mission field" article by keith green:

    "But God needs people to stay here to be a witness to those lost in America. There's enough need right here!"

and keith's response:

    It is true that God has called some people to stay right where they are to be witnesses for Jesus in their daily lives and professions. But again, God is merciful and just. Since America has only about 5% of the world's population, then only about 5% of the believers would really be called to stay in this country as a witness (that's only about 1 out of 20) while the rest of us should go into the parts of the world where there are almost 0% believers. (In Albania, for instance, there are only "a handful" of known believers in the whole country of 2.7 million people - less than 1/2 of 1/1000th percent!!)

now, i realize that these stats are from the late 70's but do you really think they've had a massive enough shift to make this an invalid argument? hardly. the argument that there is great need here in the USA is true - more so today than ever. but comparatives still are tremendously out of balance - the USA still has far more Christian ministry going on per capita than the vast majority of the world - and there's no way that this is how it should be.

wow - what a story from a friend who pastors a church in...Beirut, Lebanon

yeah i said it. this guy is a pastor in beirut - right where the bombs were hitting the last few weeks. check out this amazing report we just got from him:

greetings! well, it has been a very long month, it seems that it will never end, yet we know always that our God is on the throne and heis able to do exceedingly abundantly above all what we think or imagine. yes i did receive the funds and thank so you so much for that and for every dollar coming in the future as the needs are still enormous and we will not let the terrorist give to there cause more then the christians.

Well, more then 1200 killed, 5000 injured, around 70000 homes and apartments units has been completely destroyed, around 30000 homes are partially destroyed, leaving more then 500000 people homeless. more than 20 billion dollars loss of our economy and the cost of the rebuilding of our bridges, road and power stations that are destroyed completely and moreover the surrounding of our country is still there as until now they haven't allow any ship to come in to our ports and also the airport is still closed for any civilian flight.

Moreover recently they made a survey about immigration from Lebanon and the estimation is saying that 70% of the Christians in Lebanon are thinking about leaving Lebanon once the airport is open again. I do have already so many people who left from our church and yet still there are many in ourchurch that are thinking about it seriously.

All of this to say we have a lot of work to do in these days. However in the midst of all this disaster wonderful news, halleluyah on Monday the 14th of august we had a historical meeting in our church, you find attached to this e-mail some photos of this meeting, were

more then 400 Shiite Muslims gathered together in our church
women and men and around 150 kids all Muslims and almost all are supporters of Hezbollah. We did sing and worship the Lord and the presence of God was so awesome as if a radiance of God's glory was all over me and the team of ministry of our church.
I did preach a sermon about who Jesus is and salvation, it was a crystal clear message no compromise what so ever, to the extend that the people of our church were shocked by the boldness and anointing that was on me. And in the end I gave an altar call and to my surprise more then 95% of them asked the lord into there life for the first time, some of them with tears and some of them with visions of Jesus as they told me afterward.
Later I prayed for the sick people and more then 50 people get serious healings that it blow there own mind that our lord is alive and can still heal today. Women with an issue of Blood disease like the women of the bible completely healed instantly, bones were healed, skin disease etc. sister I was in the glory, now I understand how God can turn everything around for the good to those that loves him.

one of the people heard about the meeting and he was on his way to the north of Lebanon, he drove for 4 hours to come and be with us and he had to drive back for 4 hours even though there is no gas in the nation. There are amazing level of hunger for God and for the salvation of our Lord, almost all of there testimonies is like this "we haven't heard something like that ever in our life" halleluyah, to God be all the glory.

Now the work start, here at [the] church we are keen not to leave these people go without any follow up , so we decided to follow them to there homes even if it is going to take to go to the south of Lebanon and start something there, amen.

you don't know how that is so great, no one ever in the history of the Arab world that I know of ever dared to preach to that number of fanatic Shiite at once without no compromise, this is making history it will be mentioned in books of the evangelistic work in the Middle East as many people preached for Muslims but not Arab Muslims and when they come to the Arab world they preach for Christians. This is surely gave us a great breakthrough and a great encouragement not to stop here but to go further. So as soon as the situation of the south will be settled down and things are back to its normal state we will surely be there the first by the grace of God to start churches and tell all about Jesus amen and amen. Please pray for us and tell everybody to do so as well.

I am still thinking about the TV ministry and believing God for that as I think as many now already know about us and get in touch with us somehow or another, they will surely be happy to see us via TV and they will listen. Also brother we will be starting there from scratch so at the first we will be in need to open an office and later hire a hall and start a church.

sister there are so many things to share however I leave you now with this, please continue to pray for me especially for my health and my sleeping, as I am used now not to sleep... I need [rest], as the work is so great and the needs are enormous and I am so excited and hyper. halleluyah.


19 August 2006

i am not forgotten - what a great message tonight

this is gonna be one awesome series at hpc. it started tonight and i'm telling you, i feel like this one has some extra umph to it. i pray God will use it to touch a lot of people.

here's my notes i took during the service just now. well worth the read - not because my notes are great but because the Truth in them is very potent.

here's a section of the notes:

I couldn’t shake the thought. Let people know – the lost, the overlooked, the abandoned – that they have not been forgotten.

Taking a look throughout the Bible where God himself remembered people even though they felt that he was a long ways away.

Have you ever felt that God was far away from you – like you got lost in the shuffle? In the big crowd of your family or your workplace – you’ve been overlooked.

When you wonder if God forgot where you live, or wonder where He is when you’re suffering – God is closer than you think. He loves you and is there for you and is waiting on you - right now – to bring you into truth and to have an intimate relationship with you – that you matter- you’re not just a number.

God knows the number of hairs on your head. For some of us God is doing math every day on us.

God cares about the details – he KNOWS your details.

To be forgotten – to escape notice – to be cast away – passed up. Unremembered. When the list was compiled, you are the one that was unremembered. Godforsaken. What a word to even have in our vocabulary. That anything would be labeled “Godforsaken.”

this stuff matters

alliece cole emailed me this report that donna frank wrote up after an outreach to a FEMA trailer park the other day. nearly a year after katrina, the aftermath is still very real, but so is the ministry we're involved in as a church at HPC.

"I have never been on an outreach that I didn’t see God’s hand at work. It was at work within that family who, for the first time since the storm, talked about their experience. It was at work in front of Larry’s trailer as we cried out for his family’s return. It was at work within the residents as they walked away, smiling, with new clothes and new backpacks. And it was at work in the volunteers, none of whom left the same. Thank you HPC for giving us the opportunity to see God’s hand at work."

click here to read the full two-page story.

this stuff matters.

18 August 2006

why you should go to the mission field (excuse #1)

keith green was one of the great influences in my life during the 70's and 80's through his music but also through this article i just found a copy of online. the first time i saw it was when it came with my "pay what you can for it" copy of the "so you wanna go back to egypt" LP (remember that one?). excuse the flashback moment there. if you wanna talk about the early days of Christian rock, i'm ready when you are.

so annnnyway - this article called "why YOU should go to the mission field" really hits hard - maybe even harder than it should (no one ever accused keith green of being timid). but i agree with the premise: if you aren't called specifically to stay, you'd better be going.

it'll mess with your head. it asks the question that maybe you've been afraid to ask: "Lord, where do you want me to serve you from while i'm here on this planet?"

in the article, he lists 15 excuses people give as to why they don't go to the mission field. here's the first one:

    "But I'm not called."

and here's keith green's response:
    You don't know how many people I've met who have said to me "Keith, I agree that more people need to go to the mission field, but I've never heard God tell me to go."

    Well, the truth is that God has already told you to go in His Word. In fact, He commands you to go... "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." ( Mark 16:15) That's right... YOU ARE CALLED!

    In fact, if you don't go, you need a specific calling from God to stay home. Has God definitely told you not to "go" somewhere outside your country to preach the Gospel? If He hasn't, then you'd better start praying WHERE to go, instead of IF you should go - for again, you're already called!

brace yourself - the next 14 aren't any easier to deal with.

10 commandments for maintaining moral integrity

a while back i did a post about a message dino rizzo spoke at our men's bible study, and in it i referred to a list of 10 commandments for sexual purity that we use here on the staff at hpc. a few people asked me to post that list, so here it is. it is hardly a definitive work on the subject, but it certainly would help if we all stuck to these:

  1. Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex.

  2. Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.

  3. Thou shalt not kiss any member of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned.

  4. Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home.

  5. Thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex without accountability and openness in your office, and must not have extended counseling with the same person of the opposite sex.

  6. Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.

  7. Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with a member of the opposite sex.

  8. Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chatrooms, cards, or letters from the opposite sex.

  9. Thou shalt find a protective ally on staff (administrative assistant, person in the office next door, friend on staff).

  10. Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.

17 August 2006

check out this post over at dinorizzo.com

lotion and bacon - what a smell

check out the end of the post - the contest question: what's the most irrelevant thing about you?

if you have the best (truthful) confession, you could win a starbucks giftcard! come on, go for it!

messy stuff

i just ran across something i wrote several months ago but that really still is very fresh in my spirit. it's long, so i understand if you don't wanna take the time to read it. BUT if you do, i think it'll bless you and challenge you as it does me every time.

    This morning I stood at the place where the entryway into our new building will be one day soon and I paused a moment to consider what I was about to step into. It was as if God asked me, “Are you ready to step in to this?” Our official groundbreaking event is just 10 days away.

    “Of course I am, by all means,” my heart responded instinctively.

    “There will be trouble here.” My spirit rejected the notion – “No God, I don’t want that – we’ve had plenty of trouble here already. People that have come in and caused a lot of damage to other people and given us an armload of trouble to deal with as a staff. It needs to be different here in this new place.”

    “It will be different – you’ll have more trouble. Here’s why: Your mission is to be a healing place for a hurting world. I’m going to bless you with tons of hurting people, and they’re going to come bringing their baggage with them. Their bags are full of hurt, anger, pride, broken homes, strife, perversions, gossip, selfishness, and the like. If you do what I’ve called you to do, you will indeed have trouble in this place.”

    “Ok, then I’m ready for it, Lord.”

    “Are you sure? When they come in the door, some of them will hold on to their bags for quite a while only to deal with them later on. Surprises like those can be trouble. People you thought were with you will turn against you. Are you ready to love people even though you don’t know if one day they’ll hurt you? Others will drop their bags to the floor and they’ll spill their contents all over the place. In those situations, you’ve got trouble to deal with. Sometimes you’ll need to go pick up the spilled bag and carry it to the trash for them. Sometimes you’ll need a broom to sweep up the broken pieces; sometimes a mop to wipe up the mess. Are you ready to get dirty, messy, filthy to see people come in?”

    I looked around me there on the dirt path where we’ll break ground next weekend. I could just about see the bags strewn across the ground. It stunk. It was the kind of nasty mess that’s not easy to bring yourself to pick up; the kind you have to allow your plans to be interrupted for; the kind you have to get on your knees to clean. Thank God there will be trouble in this place. I want to be ready. I want to believe that none of us will ever become so consumed with what we’re doing here that we lose touch with cleaning up the messes from spilled baggage. It takes effort, time, money, energy to deal with the trouble that people bring in. It cost Jesus his life to deal with my trouble.

    We have NO business calling ourselves “Healing Place Church” if we don’t want to deal with trouble in this place. That’s as preposterous a notion as the staff of an emergency room deciding they don’t want to deal with any more people bleeding in their facility. No one wants people to be hurt. But when they are hurt, as people inevitably will be, I want them to know that Healing Place Church is a safe place to come – broken, bleeding, addicted, or depressed, and they’ll find people who care about getting them through so they can have an encounter with God’s grace.

    Then we know what happens – God always responds with grace to those who come to him hurting. “Where sin abounded, grace was much more.” There will be trouble in this place – but even more, God’s grace will flow in this place. People will find grace to wipe away their hurt. Grace to give them new life. Grace to give them a clean start into a holy life. And this will absolutely be “a healing place for a hurting world.”

    As I took the step across the “threshold” into the perimeter of the new building, I said this prayer, “I’m ready for it. I’ll need your grace strong, Lord. Grace for my own life, and grace for me to share with others.”

    That’s why I believe in this – it is a place where the grace of God is flowing through people.

16 August 2006

party time in heaven!

today we celebrated JD's (my oldest son) 12th birthday. he did the jr. high internship program this summer at HPC, and out of 30+ students including 1st and 2nd year students, he graduated 4th overall. and what's even more important to me is that he learned a ton of great stuff about serving, about the Bible, about studying, praying, and doing ministry Jesus-style. yay crystal tullos (and tyler - you get it too) - y'all did an awesome job running Navigate.

my dad and i got to pray a blessing on my son jd at his graduation a few days ago

my boy lincoln and his cousin sophie just a few hours ago

PLUS... check out this post on my six-year-old son lincoln's blog.

when i told him there's a party going on in heaven for him right now, he thought that was really cool.

what could possibly make a dad prouder than a day like i've had today?

i think this is really cool

got this from dr. cheri leblanc. i think it's pretty cool, but also something for you to pray with us for.

There is one story that I wanted to share with all of you who believed in what we are doing before we were doing anything. The first [FEMA] trailer park, Airport 1, we visited twice. A few days before the second visit we were informed that one of the local hospitals was providing a doctor to visit there once a week in their medical van. That was certainly more than we could do, so we explained to the people and site manager that we would not be back after this 2nd time. So, that is when we found out about Mt. Olive... because they have no medical services.

Anyway, I received a call about 2 weeks ago from the site manager of Airport 1. He asked me if we would reconsider going to that park. I explained to him that we were trying to spread around very limited resources to other parks with no medical services since they received a doctor weekly. He told me that although that was true, the people have been asking for us. The manager said (his voice sounded baffled, like he couldn't understand it) "There is something about your group that attracts these people. I don't know why, maybe because you all are nicer. Anyway, there is not a day that goes by that they are not knocking on my door asking me to get you back. I'm BEGGING you to reconsider."

I was absolutely astounded, but I shouldn't have been. Our mission from the beginning was not to just be another free clinic; it was to show people the love and hope of Jesus. And we have succeeded!!! The site manager didn't seem to understand that it is not us, but Christ in us that these people are attracted to.

We are now trying to figure out how to put them back on the schedule. Please pray for these people....

15 August 2006


check out this post over on charles and kristen's blog from swaziland. it's what i'll see in my mind's eye from now on when i hear the song "i'll become even more undignified than this..."

click here to read it.

08 August 2006

Dung Stinks

i have debated about sharing this email exchange on my blog. but i got pushed over the edge to post it after i started reading some bloggers who are not understanding the heart behind the top 100 churches issue of outreach magazine.

we were blessed to be included in this year's list of fastest growing churches (hpc is #92). they also did a story on hpc - one of the six church highlights they did. below, i've included the email i sent lindy lowry (editor of outreach magazine) after getting my copy. then after that is her response to my email.


    Not many other words can explain how we’ve felt around here today. “Humbled” is probably one of them. Thanks so much for including us in this issue in such a positive light. We are very aware that God has blessed us and that is why anything good that’s happening here is happening. And we’re also very very encouraged by the whole magazine – to see so many great churches doing a lot to reach a lot of people. It’s not about numbers – but it is about people – about trying to make (like you quoted) it hard for people to die not knowing Christ – and the more people we can help with that, the better.

    It’s a very humbling thing to be included in this issue – especially when you consider how we were included. Everyone on staff that came thru my office today that saw it (I made sure all of them did) did the same thing – it starts with a “wow – check us out – we’re in outreach!” but in just a few seconds it turns into a “wow – thank God – what an honor – I can’t believe it – how humbling – where’d this come from?”

    Anyway – I just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement this issue represents to us – and I hope to others as well. You’re doing a great thing for the Kingdom and it’s making an important difference.


now here's lindy's reply:

    I'm so glad you were encouraged by the issue and the coverage of HPC, as well as the other churches. That's what we try to make this issue about, but unfortunately, it never fails that people make it about who's on the lists, what ranking they have, etc. I heard yesterday about one church questioning another church's ranking that was higher than theirs....--it's so discouraging.

    I forwarded your e-mail to our team--something as big as a magazine is only accomplished through a team. Thanks for working with us so well and quickly. I was really pleased with the story and the opportunity to feature you guys. And to think, it all started with one e-mail way back when, saying, "Let me tell you about our church." :)

    Thanks for taking the time to write...


it is pretty cool to get listed among such a great bunch of churches. that's for real. it's very quickly a humbling thing - to think that God has put his hand on us and entrusted so many lives to us.

it can't be that we're better than anyone else. i know me. i wouldn't qualify to be part of something great enough to deserve this blessing. it is just God's sovereign favor. and it is up to us to do all we can to put that blessing to use to help as many people as possible have a destiny-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

big church or small church - it's all for His glory or it's all a bunch of dung. i'm going for the "to God be the glory" option because dung stinks.

the Great Dreamcrafter

i read this several weeks ago in chazown by craig groeschel. i've been chewing on it ever since.

"Disturb us, Lord, when our dreams have all come true because they were too small."

think about it, then go let God adjust your dreams. let Him take them and stretch them and pull them and remodel, rework and rebuild them - and see what they end up looking like.

He's pretty good at dreamcrafting.

06 August 2006

a monumental weekend

i was able to observe a monumental, landmark event this weekend. something that previous generations of church leaders have talked about, dreamed about, even declared should happen, but rarely, if ever, we able to see become a reality.

i saw the pastor of one megachurch preach at the weekend services of another megachurch. not that rare, you think? take into consideration that these two churches were both included in the recent outreach magazine top 100 churches issue, and they have similar missions and target audiences. take into consideration that these two churches are less than 5 miles apart.

pastor dino rizzo speaking at bethany world prayer center today

healing place church and bethany world prayer center are both located in baton rouge, louisiana, and today dino rizzo who pastors hpc was the speaker for bethany. back in november of 2005, bro. larry stockstill (pastor of bethany) spoke at hpc. this just doesn't happen much. at least not in my 40 years of experience, i haven't heard of it much.

it's not just pulpit swap, either. there has been a divine appointment between the two great churches and their pastors. the pastors have made a covenant together to not let anything come between them. it's not about the two churches. it's not about the two pastors. it's about Jesus and reaching the lost for the Kingdom of God.

it's a long story that is worth hearing. i won't take the time to lay it all out right here right now, but trust me, God is in this relationship.


on another note, part of the weekend involved me doing something i've rarely had the opportunity to do lately, and that is to attend a service at a church other than healing place church. and even though bethany has been around since before i moved to baton rouge, i'd never been to one of their services.

i was very impressed. from the parking lot to the seat inside, i was greeted nicely (not cheesily, just nicely). i was made to feel invited and welcome (no one had a clue i was from hpc as far as i knew - i just went like anyone else).

worship was very good - quality music, true worship (jonathan stocksill led, did a really good job of leading worship - not just leading songs), and great interaction with the people around me.

when it came time for the visitor welcome, i debated about raising my hand. not a scenario i'm in very often. i decided to just go for it and see what happened - just take it all in. it was painless - an usher brought me a really classy piece of info and no one made a big deal of it but i did feel included. that was cool. not big hat to wear with VISITOR on it, and no making me stand while everyone sings "for he's a jolly good visitor" to me. thanks.

i was specifically impressed with their missions presentation - i've known for years that they have a huge impact in missions all over the place, but hearing firsthand what God is doing through the people of bethany to plant 10,000 churches in the last 5 years was just ridiculous (to use a tim elzea expression i've now added to my vocabulary).

jonathan read an email from his dad (bro. larry) who was in khazakstan at a church gathering. he told of a lot of great things, but the one that grabbed me was how there are five thousand young people who are preparing to walk from beijing to jerusalem down the "silk road", preaching Jesus the whole way. they are aware that it likely will cost them their lives due to the anti-Christian ruling powers in their path, but they are fired up and ready to lay down their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

i'm a weenie. that's all i could think.

i began to realize what an honor to be sitting there knowing that God has people all over the world who he wants to pull together and connect for the cause of Christ. some are in khazakstan, some are in danville, california, some are in iraq, some in gaza, some in nepal, some in miami, and some at bethany just down the road from where i go to church. we're all just His servants and we all just need to do what He's given us to do.

thank God for bro. larry and the great team at bethany. thank God for dino rizzo. thank God for those who are willing to lay down the egos and logos and just get after it serving the Kingdom.

it's gonna be interesting when we get to Heaven and all these stories start getting told. maybe that's what i'll do the first 10,000 years. well.... i do wanna eat some of that dinner the bible talks about....

Heaven's sure not gonna be boring. i can't wait. but until then, i'm gonna give my life to making it hard for people to miss Heaven.

update from post-storm swaziland

check out this update from kristen young about the state of things in swaziland after the 90-mph wind storms last week in mbabane...

what a time to be praying!

a cool post about prayer

i saw a post the other day about prayer on tony wheeler's blog. it really challenged me - especially considering how we're doing this FORTY DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE CHILDREN right now for children's cup. check this thought he shares about prayer:

Don’t say prayers that you aren’t willing to be a part of the solution for.
read the entire post here.

i love the challenge in that. don't expect to talk to God about a need you see and not have Him tap you to be part of the answer. that'll preeeach. sometimes i catch myself telling someone "i'll pray for you" and i go my way. the sad part is that too often i have forgotten to pray for them and in many cases i have neglected to give God a legit opportunity to show me how i can actually help meet that person's need - because of just being "too busy" or whatever pulls me on.

i need to be more interruptable. much of what God has done in my life and through me has transpired by way of interruptions that somehow God gave me grace to not race past.

Lord, make me part of the solution.

04 August 2006

the circus... no really

left to right: tori, lincoln, my mom, jd (hat), rhodes, and rhett

my mom took my family to the circus last night. the twins loved it - the horses were their favorite i believe (when rhodes and rhett say, "horse" they tend to always yell it but they always drop the "se" part - making for some embarassing moments in life for us). and lincoln was hilarious - he cracked up laughing at the clowns. mom has a pic of that in her post about it here.

thanks ma, for taking us and for making a greeat memory for all of us! i love you mom.