Tuesday, December 2, 2008


How does a person grow closer to God?

Isn't that an important question?

We read and study the Bible, go to church, serve there, and do it again every week. Oh yeah, and you have to believe the right stuff. And tell others about Jesus. All True. And our hearts need to be devoted to God, completely...a love without rival.

Those ingredients listed above are in the recipe for growing in our relationship with God.

What else is in the mix?

How about a vital Connection with each other. Paul called the Church the Body of Christ, saying that each part was connected to and belonged to all the others. True.

God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are so Connected. They are in each other and are One. Jesus prayed in John 17, wanting all the Christians on Earth to be connected, be One, like He and the Father are One.

I'm thinking God and Jesus were tight?

Are you tight with the Body of Christ where you are? Do you have an environment where you give other Jesus Followers access to the real you (over some time, in appropriate steps)?

Do the new people showing up at your Church have a real, strong opportunity to get Connected right off the bat? Have you created and supported environments that go the direction of Creating Community? (Connection is a step toward real Community, which is a God-Given desire of man.)

He wants you and me to be Connected in Relationship with some other Followers around us. Then, He wants the groups of followers (churches) all over the globe to be Connected as well.

Are you Connected? What's your strategy for getting yourself and the Church Connected?

My heart beats fast for Building Community in the Church. It helps us accurately re-present Jesus.

And, Jesus said, when we are One, like Jesus prayed, the People we tell His story to will believe that God sent Jesus!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

UNFAIR...Celebrate Unfairness


That's a loaded word. Loaded with pain and anger, outcry and discouragement, loss and frustration.

It was the title of my talk just four short days ago. Do we really want everything to be fair? That's a fair question, don't you think?

What was the greatest unfairness ever? I say it was Jesus choosing the Cross, where the perfect, sinless Son of God would take on the sin, shame, failure, humiliation, punishment and death due to me, you and everyone else who would ever live. He took it and paid our debt in full.


So, in response, we, who have trusted Jesus and had Him pay for our unpayable debt, might live in light of this unbelievable Grace that God does for us in Jesus. We might be able to celebrate life in Jesus, even when life was unfair.

What I didn't figure is I would have to practice this in such a big way so soon...

Today I got some really bad news about a business thing. I was treated Unfairly in a big way. It's going to cost me. A lot.

So, will I celebrate Unfairness, having been the beneficiary of it in the most remarkable way through the Cross of Jesus?

Will you?

All for His Fame! paul

p.s. So I'm clear, God is into Justice and making things right, more than anyone! So I'm NOT saying it's no big deal for people to be mistreated. God said, " I'm in charge of vengeance and payback" in Deuteronomy 32:35. I have no doubt God will set all things straight. What I am saying is that our world is corrupted by sin, and we should not be surprised when unfairness crosses our path. I am encouraging us to respond in light of the Grace that God grants to those who are alive in Jesus.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Jesus prayed for us (John 17:20-23), everyone who has believed in Him because of the message of Jesus' disciples.

He prayed that we would be One, like He and the Father are One.


I'm thinking that Jesus and God the Father are tight.

Yet Jesus prayed that we, the Church, Jesus' body left here on earth, would be One.

I like that!

But it gets even better. Jesus said in His prayer that if we, the believers in Jesus, acted out our Oneness, then people would believe that God sent Jesus.

I really like that!

Us, the Church that belongs to Jesus, looking and being One, in the way Jesus and the Father (and the Spirit) are One, will empower people to believe that God sent Jesus, and that God loves them as He loves Jesus.


So, here's my question to you: What would it look like for us to be One?

One in your Community Group. One at TBC College Group. One at TBC. One in our City. One in the US. One on the Globe?

I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

All for His Fame! paul

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dream BIG. Work Hard. Trust.

I went to a really cool conference a couple of weeks ago, the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. I usually have high expectations for such things, and sometimes it's... Well, you fill in the blank. Not this time, it was outstanding!

Then, when I arrived at home, I got to see my awesome family, which was way cool. After a while, my bride handed me an envelope, with a note from someone really special to me. Personalized encouragement, sent from God. That's how I received it. And that was super way cool!!!

I had told my friend about our new kingdom opportunity in working with the College-Age group at our Church and me now being on the ministry staff there.

He was really encouraging and ended the note with this admonition: Dream BIG. Work Hard. Trust.

Yes and Amen to that!

Can you feel it? It's the Kingdom, the one with THE KING. It's growing. It's going. It's wild. It's free. It's setting loose the captives, and breaking through into the darkness, and tearing loose the strongholds, and proclaiming the Good News to the brokenhearted...

Jesus. That's the only name that is worthy of such a cool admonition.

Dream BIG. Work Hard. Trust.

Friday, July 25, 2008

At the Start...He was there

I like adventure.

But not tooooo much adventure, right? That might be too risky, or too much work.

The coolest adventure I can think of was done by God. He created the universe. He made us and put us on this blue ball of dirt, with His own breath in our lungs.

That was cool!

Then, after we went subversive on God, choosing rebellion over intimacy, He embarked on Mission Impossible. God sent His own Son to pay for our rebellion, and rescue us from certain death and destruction.

That was really cool!

Our little adventure with God continues. A couple weeks ago, I started as the Minister to College-Age-Stage people at my church, Trinity. I love that stage of life. It is where Jesus intersected my life and performed that ultimate rescue operation! It was then that the value of Community in God's Family was demonstrated in my life, and I will never be the same. It was then I saw that Truth is a Person, Jesus, and my life will work as intended, wild and free, as I submit to His leadership and Word.

I will admit, I'm a bit scared. God will have to show up and display His power, or this Movement will flop. I have more than plenty to do already, yet I know that where my Heavenly Father is moving and leading, The Adventure is wild and wonderful. He is leading us here. He is moving in every life on Planet Earth. And that includes in the College-Age-Stage men and women in our corner of the world.

Do you feel like an adventure?

If so, let us join together in THE Great Adventure: God followers, running after Jesus!

All for His Fame! paul

Monday, July 7, 2008

1,215 brave reenlist...in Bagdad, on July 4, 2008

Well, if you know me very well, you know I love Jesus, and I belong to Him!

You probably also know that I love America, the Greatest Nation on Earth! (Just for perspective, all the nations, indeed all creation in the whole Universe and beyond, all were made by Jesus and for Him...and He made me to live in America, and live here I will!)

Today, I saw a clip of the largest reenlistment ceremony yet in the 232 year history of our nation. 1,215 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines reenlisted on July 4, 2008 inside the former Al Faw Palace palace of Saddam Hussein, in Iraq.

There are members of all services, representing all 50 states. These Patriots took the oath administered by Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Forces Iraq.

These are the brave and the strong, willing to live and to die to defend the freedoms we enjoy in America. Willing to live and die for their brothers in arms by their sides...

I am humbled, and grateful. (And choking up...every time I watch it.)

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to live in America.

Thank you, 1,215, and the 1.45 million or so Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who allow me to live free in our land.

All for His Fame! paul

p.s. here are the three videos I found that have the entire ceremony, posted by MilBlogs on YouTube...

Baghdad, July 4th 2008 - largest re-up ceremony in history

Baghdad, 4 July '08 - largest re-up ceremony in history pt 2

Baghdad, July 4 '08 - largest reup ceremony in history pt 3

Monday, May 26, 2008

All Gave Some....Some Gave All (2nd Anniversary)

Today is Memorial Day, where we honor the fallen Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines who died fighting for the United States of America, the Greatest Country on Earth!

Last year, I was introducted to the Avenue of Flags in my hometown. It was started 25 years ago by the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

In an old cemetery here we have the largest display in the country of casket flags of deceased veterans. Over 800 flags! The inner circle contains about a dozen flags from the AMERICAN REVOLUTION! There are a number of flags from the 1800's as well. We are getting new ones each year. Volunteers, including a bunch of Boy Scouts, hang these 800 flags (each is 6 foot by 9 foot!) throughout this beautiful old cemetery. In the morning there is a Memorial Day event. People drive and walk through the display all day. Then the volunteers retire the flags in the late afternoon. We do this each Memorial and Veterans day.

If I haven't mentioned it yet, I Love America!

Here we have this cool experiment in Freedom. But, as you know, Freedom is not free. It costs blood and treasure. Freedom in America is a gift from God, and the sacrifices of the courageous before us. Men like George Washington, Patrick Henry, William Marion, Ronald Reagan.

Here is a the display of flags from the American Revolution!

Men like my brother-in-law who is flying helicopters for the Marine Corps in Irag today.

There was a beautiful ceremony honoring a WWII vet who died recently. This gentelman survived the Battan Death March. He, and those who served with him, is a Hero. Following the proceedings, the soldiers present performed a 21 gun salute. I cried.

I'm tired from putting up and taking down those flags. I'm happy that I'm tired. I am so grateful to live in the United States of America.

Though my citizenship is in Heaven, the Bible says, I love the country God has allowed me to live in. Thank you, Veterans.

All for His Fame, paul

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Remembering Maria Sue Chapman

Yesterday, 5 year old Maria Sue Chapman left this Earth to be with the Lord Jesus. Her body was killed in a terrible accident in her front yard. Her older brother was driving and accidentally ran over her.

Steven Curtis Chapman is my wife's favorite singer. She has seen him perform, like, 16 times. Thanks to SCC, we're talking about maybe adopting, like the Chapman's did.

We were on vacation and just finished watching David Cook win American Idol when we heard the sad news. My tears started, and we gathered our daughters together and prayed for the Chapmans. Steven's (and Mary Beth's) ministry has been so huge to us and to the watching world. His song's reflect the greatness of our God, and His overwhelming love and care for us who belong to Him.

I have 4 girls. I cannot fathom the Chapman's pain at this moment.

But God can. He is grieving with the Chapman's. But His grief is for them, not for Maria, who is with Him right now.

"Heavenly Father, shower the Chapman's with your overwhelming love. Let no lie of the enemy stand. Show your supernatural grace to be sufficient in even this time of unbearable pain.
Only You can turn tragedy into victory. 'Death has been swallowed up in Victory.' 1 Cor 15: 54
We need You, Lord. Today and always."

All for His Fame (even when it hurts), paul

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All Over the World

Passion World Tour

It is difficult to maintain perspective. That is a basic element of the human condition - me centeredness. The good news is that God does not share our problem. He can see fully, even when we see only a poor reflection, like in a polished brass "mirror."

One difficulty in maintaining perspective is detail of remembering that I am only one of about 6 Billion People. I'm not the main one, nor a more important one. I am one.

The good news, is that because of what God has said about me in Jesus, I am an unbelievably valuable one. The even better news is that God has said the same thing about every one of the 6 billion of us.

My friend Louie Giglio (wasn't that fun to say...we've, like, shaken hands twice, though I feel very much like a friend) and the whole super hard working Passion team have set out on a World Tour. 17 dates on the five other continents (Antarctica will have to watch on DVD). Unreal. These are first class, free (or nearly free) events to declare the story of our God to the college age generations in these world cities. Complete with a full-tilt worship experience led by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder*Band or Charlie Hall (usually two, sometimes three of them) and I'm sure a super-cool talk by Louie and sometimes Francis Chan.

I am so humbled.

I'm so glad that God isn't like me. I am way to unable and usually unwilling to think a whole lot past me and mine. Sometimes my vision gets expanded, but it usually shrinks back soon enough.

Not so with our Marvelous God. He sees. He knows. He loves. And His love changes things. His love changed the universe, when His voice thundered out, "You, o' sinful man, are valuable to Me! I will send my Son, Jesus, to rescue you from sin and death, and give you a life worth living...forever!"

And thanks to God for moving the Passion team to go All Over the World declaring this awesome message. God has been using Louie & the Passion team to change me like you would not believe. Isn't it like God to use the passion in a handful of people to start a worldwide movement? Go Jesus!

You can play a part. The cost for this journey is about $7.5 million. Passion has arranged for $4 of that, but still has $3.5 million left for God to provide. I encourage you to go to www.268generation.com, www.268blog.com, and www.passionworldtour.com and check out this story further. If God prompts you to cheer on this movement, then click on there and GIVE.

It is All for His Fame!

And, it's All over the world*!


* Colossians 1:6 (New International Version) All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Big Things!

Our God is really, really Big! He's bigger than you think He is. He is so big, that the Universe you see with the Hubble Space Telescope fits in the hollow of His hand.

I like that! Nothing is beyond His power. And what's more, the character of my God is even more impressive than His creation and power. Do you know why love is so cool and desirable? Because God is love. His character traits are all the things we desire in life, everything that is good and brings us joy and exhilaration. I love that!

This week at my church, we held the Leadership Event for our current building campaign (a cool building we will use to create environments for leading children into a growing relationship with Jesus). I have been really occupied with caring for my folks, and making a living...and this building thing in there too. Well, the leadership night almost sneaked up on me. But it was really cool. Before the event, I got to share with one of the deacons for about 45 minutes my passion about discipling people and how God uses intimate relationships (e.g. Community Group life!) to do that. Then the worship time was wonderful (I just missed my princess wife, who was home not feeling her best). And the dude who spoke was cool. And after the event, I got to spend nearly a couple hours with a new friend one-on-one, which was the coolest.

The next day I learned that the church, the Body of Christ in our little corner of the world, came through Big Time with the commitments made at the leadership event. Thank you, Jesus!

So, I sit this morning and remember, right now, that My God is REALLY, REALLY BIG! He can do whatever He wants to do. And He chooses to do His thing here on the earth through His servants, everyone who has put their faith and trust in the Son of God, Jesus the Christ!

I need God for Big Things in my life right now. How about you? YES! He is able to do so much more than I can imagine or even think. The scope of His work is enormous beyond my comprehension. For that I am thankful and praise My God through Jesus this morning.

All for His Fame! jack

Monday, March 3, 2008

Daily Prayer - Today's Edition

Heavenly Father, You are Great! There is no one like You! Who else can hold the universe in the palm of His hand? Did any other "god" create the earth and stars and all that are in them with a word? Did anyone else make man in His image but You? And You didn't stop there, You showed Your overpowering love in rescuing us, me, from our just penalty of sin and rebellion - You sent the Son, Jesus, to bring all who put their faith and trust in You from death to Life!

Father, I bow before You this morning in humility. Who am I to come before You? Only You have made me eligible, through Jesus, to approach. And You said I can come to you with boldness and confidence, as one washed clean by the blood of the Lamb!

So I start my day with You. Your Word will stand forever. I read of the Rich Young Ruler this morning. Lord, may my heart be set on You, today. I desire to be supple in Your hands, a willing servant, belonging to you through Jesus. May nothing keep me from belonging to You today, to serving You fully, from engaging my heart in Your life and Kingdom.

Father, I choose Your deal ahead of my deal. Jesus did it; in the time before the Cross He knew what was coming...He wasn't desiring to be crushed, but He desired to get into Your redeeming, revealing, revolutionary will above all. I can only obey like Jesus did by Your power within me. I am weak, but You are strong.

Yes, You are strong. Father, You already know all I need. You know my business struggles. You know my folks are both sick and old and in the hospital now for a month. You know how this is putting a strain on my wife. You know the people I teach at church calling on me to help them. You know my friends who are struggling: my bud in the hospital and his bride and the struggles with his son and how that is pulling their family from you; my bro. in lefty TX and his family and their needs; my bro here with work up the the eyeballs and a question about what to do next; my friend who thought he could do it without the "church"; my fiend struggling with life in total and a family fraying at the seems... You know the responsibilities on my at church, our building campaign, my weekly gig, the conference talk coming up... You know my brothers are lost without Jesus. You know my weakness in not seeing stuff right in my own home and expecting stuff to work out...you know how I am shortest with my awesome bride even though I don't want to be.

Praise Your Name! You see my frailty and love me anyway. This setup shows off Your greatness rather than mine. I depend on You. I am desperate without You. If You don't show up, I am sunk. Protect our home, my wife and girls. Provide for our income. Give me Wisdom, Lord, for I need You!

May my life, our life, our home, our business, our ministry, be a glorious offering to you, Heavenly Father. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Passion Dallas... or the Hospital with BOTH my parents

I was planning to volunteer for the Passion conference in Dallas this past weekend. I had a bud who was going to make the trip with me. We might not get to see all the sessions, but we would certainly be blessed and be a blessing to the students. Maybe bump into Louie, or Matt or Chris... And, I would get to hang with my friend on the road trip, which I was really looking forward to.

But we had another issue arise. My mom had a hernia and a part of her inside got outside, pinched off and died. Bad infection resulted. Very much life threatening stuff.

My wonderful folks are in their 70's and 80's. Mom and Dad stayed at home by themselves, but Dad has some dementia, and needs company to keep safe. So with Mom in the hospital, I stayed with Dad at night, with my brothers helping as well.

Then Dad got a virus, dehydrated and developed pneumonia.

God provided through our Community Group through church. One of our Group members is an ER physician. He called me to check on me, and asked if he could come by and check on Dad. He listened to Dad's lungs and said we should take him to the hospital. My friend and his wife (an ER nurse) called the Dr and Hospital and made arrangements for admiting Dad and helped me transition for several hours. WOW, what a testimony to the provision of God through SMALL GROUP!

Mom has survived the surgery, ICU stay, getting off the vent, and is in long-term recovery. From an 80% mortality rate, she has been delivered by the Grace of God to a road to recovery

Dimentia and hospitals don't mix well. They mix badly to be blunt. He is fine, then wants to go home, we keep him in the bed, he gets mad, the cycle worsens... So you medicate him and put on soft restraints. He gets ugly. It is super stressful for him, I'm sure. And it is unbelievbly stressful for the caregiver. My three brothers are all not Christians yet. It's tough for me to be patient, and tougher for them.

PRAISE GOD, Dad is going home today! I've been sleeping at his house or the hospital for 17 days, with two days off. My wonderful wife has been great, with a couple of small breakdowns in the middle.

There is more to say, next time. I'll conclude with this today: My God shall supply all my needs through His riches in Christ Jesus!

I pray for Dad, for Mom, for my unsaved family, and I praise God for my brothers and sisters in Christ at my church, and particularly my Community Group and Sunday Morning Bible Study.

All for His Fame (easy and hard)! jack

It's been 17 days since Mom got sick. Pr

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where thieves break in and steal

This past Tuesday, I was at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet. It was good. Afterward, I was walking out and striking up a conversation about church and Jesus with the guy next to me. As I approached my car, I sort of squinted, then looked again...in disbelief.

Thieves broke open the passenger window, which was now laying on the ground. From the front they reached in and stole my bag, then ripped open the console and stole its contents.

Within my bag was my Bible I have been carrying and making notes in for about 18 years. It had message ideas and notes and some keepsakes. My journal from the past couple of years was in there. I own a business which has a bunch of very expensive keys, which were stolen as well, and some other valuable property.

My best bud came up to meet with me. It was cold. The police took a little bit to get there. Afterward, we drove around hoping to see my Bible if the thieves tossed it out the window or something. We didn't find it. Upon my friend's prompting, we prayed for the people who took my stuff, that the light of the Gospel of Jesus would shine on them, and they would get transferred out of the domain of darkness and into the Kingdom of the Beloved Son, Jesus.

"Father, may the testimony of my life in Christ contained in those pages have an impact for eternity in the lives of people. Your Word is Truth! Use me, even as one who was stolen from, the be a minister of reconciliation, because You care for people!"

It is a bummer getting your stuff taken. Replacing those key boxes is going to be quite expensive (you could buy a nice used car for the price), and my insurance will likely only cover a little of it. Then there is the large amount of time spent getting back to where you already were.

I did think of Romans 8:28, "28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose." God uses even the results of sin in our broken world. I thought about changing a component of my business that those keys have to do with. It would be expensive, but the first part is already in play, thanks to the thieves. I will now put my bag in a more concealed position in my vehicle. A few other security things have come to mind. And I will probably journal electronically more, hence my entry here today, lest my recorded memories get taken away.

My worth is not in my stuff. You can take my Bible, my notes, my journal, my cash, my keys, my sense of personal security, my memory stick, my business documents, my business notebook/log for the past couple years, my gun, my time recovering from your actions...but you cannot take me away from my God. You cannot take away my treasure, because it is stored up where moth and rust cannot destroy, and thieves cannot break up and steal.

Jesus, I belong to You!

All for His Fame, jack

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Die Daily

Jesus is an incredible leader. (When you are God, it just comes with the package.) Jesus challenged his potential followers. He wasn't afraid of rejection. And He was never afraid to challenge people to the very core. One day Jesus was praying in private with His closest followers, and He asked them who they said He was. One of the inner group, a fisherman named Peter, responded, "You are Christ, the Son of God." Wow...what a response!

Jesus then warned these disciples that He was going to be rejected and killed by the religious leaders in the very near future.

Picture yourself sitting there as one of these 12 guys. You just left your family and business behind. You just walked away. You invested all you have in following this Jesus guy. You bought in to the vision and Kingdom Jesus has been proclaiming. Then Jesus drops this bomb...He is about to be rejected, suffer, and be killed. Where would that leave these followers? But Jesus wasn't done yet. He finished that sentence with the real bomb, "and on the third day I will be raised to life."

Then he said to them all, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it," Luke 9:23-24.

Jesus is The Leader. It's His job as God. He is leading those who will follow to die daily, so that He can live His life in us. Die to self-sufficiency, to self-leadership. To surrender self-leadership and Trust in the One who was willing to surrender His very life for our sake, Jesus!

In this season of difficulty in my life, I need to remember that self is not sufficient. Only Jesus is sufficient for my every need. If I forget this for a day, my heart sinks and hope drains away. Our Heavenly Father, the One who didn't shrink back from sending His own Son, Jesus, to sacrifice His life so that I could live and escape the just punishment I earned, will He not continue to show His love and care for me, even through the midst of difficulty?

Yes, I can trust in Him! Jesus leads the way.

All for His Fame, jack

Isaiah 40:26

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Coolest Things of the Day...

  • I am now the College-Age Minister at my church...Wow, do I need Jesus!