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13 years ago today!

my life changed in so many ways!

our son was born 13 years ago today and it just seems like it was only a couple years ago.

teenager...

while most parents loathe this time of life, i look forward to it.

you see, God checked me last night as josh and i were talking...while most of the world views this as a time when attitudes and hormones flare (and yes, i know they will), i see this as a time in which all of the years of love, direction, correction, prayer and discipleship begin to produce fruit of independence, personality, development, and growth as a young man.

i see this as another season in the development of a Christ-follower...a time to be embraced and every fruit in this season harvested for growth and the future. perhaps some will think me too idealistic...my thoughts about those that think so are that perhaps you are too pessimistic.

as with most things in life that pertain to change, your attitude determines your altitude - this is a season in which me and the young man God has allowed us to raise and disciple can soar to new heights - i'm going to embrace this moment because in another 13 years, life will again take on new meaning and look drastically different than it does today.

happy birthday son, i'm proud of the young man you are becoming in Christ!

what did you say?

i watched this video and it challenged me on two levels:

1.) because i'm deaf in my left ear, i can totally relate to the young man mark speaks of here - i have experienced many of the same situations...going to an altar, having someone pray for me, having no clue what they prayed (it does not negate the prayer, just the ability to agree in prayer)...having a waiter/waitress walk up and ask to serve and being totally unaware that they are there...

2.) because i believe we - the CHURCH - have the greatest message to tell - i'm constantly evaluating how effective we are in making it easy for people to hear --> understand --> receive the message

take four minutes of your life and watch this...at about 3:15 and forward, it gets really powerful - great stuff...please, chime in on your thoughts!

back

been out of town at youth quest-perhaps more on that later - in the meantime...it's important that i honor this day by realizing the amazing blessing that being married for 17 years is! so, more to come later this week...for now, good night! :)

quick post-pray

in daytona for our denomination's nat'l teen talent and youth quest event - anyway,

please pray for a young lady from one of our georgia church's - she needs God's healing and protection AT THIS TIME! Please, PRAY NOW!

i'll give more details when appropriate - in the meantime, her name's samantha - pray and thanks!

mama's don't let your babies grow up to be...

ok, i gotta level with you - i've failed as a dad!

i want to take a moment to seriously encourage, exhort, explain and basically vent to all men (and women) out there that read this...please! don't let this happen to you like it did to me!

it started so simple...we were in our old hometown, taking care of some personal matters...the wife was gone, my daughter was with her...just me and my son - let me just tell you, me and my son are sharing some great moments together lately - and i'm loving it...until it happened.

we were bored, nothing to do, time on our hands, killing time, (insert cliche for boredom here), nada, zip, zilch...you get the point. so...

we enter a business that's teeming with women and the fall happens
we saw something we ought never have to see...that's right...

we were in a nail salon (WAITING ON MY WIFE AN DAUGHTER) when we saw it...

another man having a pedicure AND a manicure!

don't ask me if he got his nails painted - dunno!

don't ask me what type of "did" he got on his nails - dunno!

the point is this...i felt like revoking his man card right there.
don't tell me he was "confident" in his manhood, or he was a metrosexual, this was jefferson for crying out loud - there are no metro-whatevers there - perhaps as tony says, he was a rednexual!

anyway, mamas don't let your babies grow up to be guys who get pedicures and manicures

and

dads, learn from my fall - don't subject your young men to such an experience (pretty sure that should be in scripture)...

for the record, yes, i did apologize to my son for subjecting him to such a traumatic experience and i repented!

life goes on, apologies exchanged, counseling is next (jk)

my updated thoughts about lakeland

this is the third attempt at my trying to state my thoughts concerning the lakeland outpouring...today, i want to tell where i've been on this journey of understanding, reference what i've learned and pass along an appeal from a brother and friend in Christ...

first, my journey of understanding - since my last post regarding the lakeland outpouring, i've watched many more hours of the services on tv. i have yet to attend a service there - i may try to do that soon. here are my observations: the worship is incredible! every major outpouring that i've been aware of has had "a sound" - lakeland has that same sound. its the sound of worship, prophetic intercession and cries to the throne for more of God. the testimonies are real - many people encounter God in powerful ways - on a purely pastoral level here, let me say that if the same expectancy can be experienced in our local churches, the testimonies will be similar! that's my prayer - "God, make us expectant." along the journey i've talked with friends and other ministry leaders. a former pastor of mine (i served as youth pastor for him) when i asked about some of the theology that seemed to challenge mine remarked, "a lot of times in revival the theology is a work in process" - wow! i had forgotten that and it's true - although we'd love to think we've got "all things theology" figured out, we're still learning! here, for instance, is an article that traces the history of eschatology. peter wagner, whom i'll reference more in a bit has this to say about revival, "We have learned that God-driven revival is often messy, tending to pull some out of their religious comfort zones, but at the same time opening gates for new seasons of the movement of God."

second, what i've since learned about the lakeland outpouring - one of the most comforting things for me personally is knowing that several key charismatic/pentecostal leaders have come alongside bentley and helped bring apostolic direction, blessing and alignment to the ministry that is taking place. you may read peter wagner's report here. as well, there is a story on charisma's site that also details the event that took place. it was shortly after reading this that i began to feel a peace that order was being (not control...there's a difference) established. on a personal level, let me say this...one of my concerns has always been an attitude that develops out of something like this that exalts self and gifts over others. i dealt with this when i was a youth pastor early on - guarding the "revival spirit" that was powerful and real with a realistic understanding and appreciation for authority. let me borrow one of chuck pierce's statements that reflects well how i feel and perhaps some of the concern that i may have had early on, "I can now rest in Him, knowing that if things get way out of sync, they can help Todd make adjustments so the Spirit can keep moving." (you can read chuck's report on what's happening here). my approach has been all along similar to that of many Christ-followers...here, i'll reference a quote from someone whom i have the utmost respect for, "With time, whatever is taking place in Lakeland and through activities issuing from its happenings will either verify or discredit the source of the manifestations." (jack hayford). more about hayford and his thoughts on it are available here

finally, let me pass along an appeal from someone else whom i respect, from lee grady's most current issue of fire in my bones...this is lengthy...please take time to read it all and read it with an open heart and mind - i think you'll find it biblical and motivated by love and a pure heart...read on...

Can We Avoid a Charismatic Civil War?

Some leaders say the controversial Lakeland Revival is forcing us to choose sides. But I don’t believe God wants to split our movement.

It’s been more than 10 years since charismatic prophet Rick Joyner predicted in his popular book The Final Quest that believers would experience a Civil War in the church. Joyner’s book, based on a series of visions he says God showed him, describes in graphic detail a turbulent conflict that redefines Christianity as we know it.

Other charismatic leaders have echoed this theme since Joyner’s book was published in 1996. They have predicted that our movement will be divided between “Blues” (those who constantly live in the supernatural realm of dreams, visions and miracles) and “Grays” (those who rely more on their intellect), and that the Blues will win and usher in true revival as champions of the Holy Spirit’s power.

Even in early 2008, before the Lakeland Revival erupted in Florida in April, some charismatic prophets were declaring that a great rift would divide those who believe in “the glory realm” and those who have a more conservative, left-brained approach to their faith. When God TV began its nightly broadcasts of evangelist Todd Bentley’s healing meetings in Lakeland, the Civil War prophecies reappeared overnight on hundreds of blogs and e-mail blasts.

“Jesus prayed that we would be one. There is no record of Him praying that we would split over doctrine.”

I’ll admit I was not paying too much attention to these Civil War predictions 10 years ago. But I was jolted into reality in May after I wrote an online column in which I raised honest questions about some of Bentley’s teachings and techniques. Even though I celebrated his passion and zeal, and praised God for the healings that were reported in Lakeland, I was immediately branded a revival critic and banished to the Gray camp.

I became the bad guy because, by asking questions, I was “relying on my intellect.” To those in the Blue camp, my skepticism made me an enemy of the Holy Spirit and all things supernatural—even though I believe that all the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today!

I tried to laugh this off at first. Surely, I imagined, my Christian brothers and sisters do not really think it is wrong for a Spirit-filled believer to test the spirits (which we are instructed to do in 1 John 4:1), discern truth (see 2 Pet. 3:17) or evaluate prophecies and angelic encounters (see 1 Cor. 14:29, Gal. 1:6-8).

But now I realize that some people really want a war. They want the charismatic movement to split right down the middle. They imply that all those who do not embrace 100 percent of the current movement in Lakeland are “old wineskins” that cannot be used by God in the coming revival.

I can’t even describe how much this hurts because I love people on both sides of this conflict. I love the Blues and the Grays, along with every other color in the body of Christ. I refuse to believe that God is trying to split us. Division is the devil’s work.

I want to plead with everyone in our movement to reconsider the whole Civil War scenario. Instead of rattling sabers and stockpiling gunpowder, maybe we need to take steps in the opposite direction:

1. Let’s accept one another. The apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthians because they exalted certain gifts above others. He reminded them that every member of the body of Christ plays an important role, and that no individual part—whether eye, hand or foot—functions on its own. He rebuked this elitist attitude “so that there may be no division in the body” (1 Cor. 12:25, NASB).

Most of us already acknowledge the importance of supernatural gifts of healing, prophecy, tongues and other demonstrations of God’s power. But in our zeal to recover these gifts, let’s not isolate those whose primary functions may be mercy, giving to the poor, teaching or intercession. We should cherish every spiritual gift—not just the sensational or the exotic.

2. Let’s admonish one another. Christians have not always been the best models of conflict resolution. When tension gets high we either avoid it (usually by saying nothing and hoping the problems go away) or we overreact (by childishly picking up our marbles and playing somewhere else). But the Bible tells us to work things out in eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation.

In the case of Lakeland, there are some doctrines and methods that have come under intense scrutiny. Heresy hunters are having a field day as they toss their grenades and label everything in Lakeland demonic. But because I embrace Todd Bentley as my brother in Christ, I must take a higher road even if I don’t agree with his prayer methods or his claims regarding angels. Anything I say, even if it is corrective, must be said in love (see Eph. 4:15).

Thankfully a group of leaders from various charismatic camps (both “Blues” and “Grays”!) are discussing the contentious issues surrounding Lakeland—and biblical confrontation is occurring. I trust this process will result in correction where it’s needed, apologies when necessary and more humility on all sides of the debate.

3. Let’s pray for one another (see James 5:16). Jesus prayed that we would be one. There is no record of Him praying that we would split over doctrine. So why in the world would any of us hope for a Civil War?

Please pray for Bentley—and for the leaders who are speaking into his life during this season. And pray that the church will not only experience genuine spiritual revival but also true unity. Let’s work out our differences, support one another’sministries and focus all our efforts on one common goal: To tell a lost world about the love of Jesus.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.


challenge the process

was reading a back issue of ministry today magazine and came across this article by andy stanley

here are some highlights:
  • there's something in every leader that yearns to try things in new ways, to test the status quo–to challenge the process
  • it's human nature to gravitate toward the familiar. And left to
    themselves, virtually every person and organization is in a
    subconscious pursuit of the status quo
  • the world needs leaders to venture boldly into the unfamiliar and to
    embrace the uncomfortable–because the best solutions are often
    found in unfamiliar, uncomfortable places
  • When God created leaders, he equipped them with an unsettling urge to
    unpack, undo and unearth methods. This explains your tendency to
    question everything around you
  • your zeal for improvement isn't always appreciated out in the real world
  • Effective leadership means learning to challenge the process without
    challenging the organization. There's a fine line between the two. But
    it's a crucial line
  • The first line of resistance the leader faces is the organization
    itself. As we've already mentioned, organizations don't like new ideas.
  • The second line of resistance you face is from other leaders. You might
    think you'd find an advocate in this group. But, by nature, when you
    challenge a concept, you challenge the conceiver.
  • When you stop challenging the process, you cease to be a leader and you become a manager.
here are some of my thoughts:
  1. i've been the one that's challenged the process...unfortunately, i didn't always count the cost or realize that when i did i was challenging the organization and the conceivers...bad move!
  2. in ministry, it's all about ministry (another word for serving) - so, i have to constantly remind myself that it's not about me
  3. when you are a leader, and you cease to challenge the process, or look for other ways to lead, and resolve yourself to management, you become frustrated and burned out - quickly!
  4. not only that, but you loose your passion to lead
  5. this is a process that God allows us to go through so that we're constantly "in Him" - for out of Him is where life flows! actually, it may not be a process that everyone goes through...but i've been through it...
This article appeared in the May/Jun 2006 issue.

top 5 mexican restaurants

5.) el jinete - locations in clarkesville, ga and jefferson, ga

4.) el charro - griffin, ga

3.) el patron - cumming, ga

2.) el sombrero - statesboro, ga

1.) abuelas - in okc, ok

too good to pass up...they said it...

seth's post this morning is fantastic, pithy and powerful...couldn't pass up this quote

"If you are willing to satisfy people with good enough, you can make just about everybody happy. If you delight people and create change that lasts, you're going to offend those that hate change in all its forms. Your choice."

- be sure to read the corresponding article here - seth's post is here

a quick question...

just curious,
are the memories of your past outweighing the dreams of the future?

top 5 websites

5.) www.pandora.com - reason: the ability to create your own station based on an artist, genre or song

4.) www.facebook.com - reason: the ability to stay connected to others

3.) www.igoogle.com - reason: pulls together my gCal, gMail, and all things google

2.) www.ajc.com - reason: keeps me in the know on all things ATL

1.) www.bloglines.com - reason: it simplifies my tracking of over 50 bloggers

my top 5 list for the day

going to start a series of posts this week that are all "top 5 related"...tonight...

the top 5 blog posts that i've read this past week (and their are 11 that are really great, so this is gonna be tough!


5.) tony shares 9 do's and don'ts for ministry growth here - reason it's in my top 5: because of #3 - it's all about relationship! (a close second is #9!)

4.) the guys over at swerve have a guest blogger (andrew statezny) - he shares what it meant for his church to become a video venue church location of lifechurch.tv - reason it's in my top 5: because i think there's incredible validity to the video church (multi-site) model....taking a strong communicator and coupling it with a passionate pastoral leader with a heart for people is a win-win...btw, the new testament epistles are the predecessors to the mult-site movement

3.) bill references a new way of measuring success in ministry - this will challenge you! reason it's in my top 5: 'cause its a new way of thinking about our mission!

2.) tim posts about doers vs. leaders here (original post from mark here)- reason it's in my top 5: cause it's good!

1.) michael write about how to create a life plan - reason it's in my top 5: because i need to do this! i'm going to block the time in the coming weeks, read the books he references and make this a priority. the other thing i want to do is find a 'coach' - someone that can help me like they were able to help michael through this process...someone that's further down the path, or hovering over the path at about 30,000 feet...so that i can help others!