Friday, December 30, 2005


Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5:18

I have been thinking a lot about the priority of relationships lately. I been thinking about fresh attitudes concerning many relationships I currently enjoy. Before my little partner Sam Wise the Brave(my son) came along, Michelle I would go out on a date at least once a week. I remember that I used to proclaim, "even after we have kids, we will have our date night!" Well, Sam is headed toward 2 years old now and I can tell you that I am a hypocrite. All of my boasting quickly ended as we, like many others who have gone before, began to allow our world to be completely altered by a little man who seems to think that it is all about him. Recently, Michelle rolled over in bed and said "we have got to get some romance back in our lives".

So here we are, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown OKC, Ok. We have just left the little man crying at his gammas' house and I am tranforming myself into Casanova for the next 24 hours.

The most important relationship I have (on earth) is with Michelle. Everything else (on earth) must come after that. I want her to know my heart for her again. I want her to know my pursuit like the early days. She is still so beautiful and interesting to me. I like my work. I find it interesting but my wife Michelle has so much to offer and I have been missing it.

No more!
I am reprioritizing!

In '06 I plan to recapture her heart and rekindle the fires of romance in our marriage. She had better watch out!

Well, gotta go! Dinners to plan-bubble bath to buy...


Thursday, December 29, 2005

if you knew

John 4:10 (NIV) "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

This is an interesting discussion held between two very interesting people. The other day I was at Starbuck's having a cup of coffee and reading my latest book. I was thinking about our churches' finances and wondering how we could afford to begin a new location of worship. I had been there for a while when I noticed something interesting-a man looking at me. He said "you looked concerned, can I help?" I said that I doubted it but thanks. A few minutes later he got up politely and said "are you sure I can't help?" I shook my head no and said "thanks" again. I suddenly realized who he was as he dropped a business card and walked out. It was Bill Gates!

Ok. So I'm kidding!

I believe something greater than this happens every day for many of us. God has satisfying things for our hearts. He has "living water" for me to drink but do I even recognize that he is asking. Who has more resources, Bill or God? Who is more interesting? Who is more likely to be concerned and even ask if I need anything?

When Jesus spoke to the person in the sripture above, he was talking to a desperate woman who had tried a lot of options to satisfy that greatest of human needs. He spoke to her plainly. He speaks to us plainly.

If we know what he has and who he is-really is-then we can ask and he will give to us!

Let me ask you a question. Are you in need? I mean do you have desires? How are you seeking to fulfill them? What "well" do you seek to drink from? Do you know who is right next to you right now and is interested in your heart? If you knew...


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Nothing matters more than relationships. Nothing! One famous writer sought to convince us that no matter how much we accomplished in life-no matter how great it may be if we did not live a life of love it means nothing. In order to love I have to have the right attitude about relationships-about people in general. The greatest man who ever lived was once asked about life’s most important issue and he said that loving God and those around you was most important. Jesus was trying to show us that there really is no life apart from real, loving relationships. We can go places, have experiences, and do many, many things but there is no real joy apart from the warmth found in the exchange of love between people.

In fact, when your life is summed up, all that will count will be who did you love and who loved you. Your “greatness” will be measured by your choices to love. Did I give my heart? Did I truly care? Did I spend time? Did I use my resources and giftings to make life better for others? I truly believe that God’s ultimate evaluation of my life will be in my relationships with others whether they are close friends and family or total strangers. He created me to reflect His image and He is love.

People need love. It is the most basic of human necessities. Yes, even more than food. People die a worse death than mal nutrition when they are not loved. A slow painful death. Yet so few commit themselves to a life of love. The sacrifices that are needed to truly love take us beyond where we want to go. Sure there are a couple of people most of us are willing to do this with but what about Jesus? He said that if we only love those that love us then what reward do we have? He is once again trying to show us the real life. A life that highly prioritizes people and all the diverse relationships that God gives in life.

So, my attitude about relationships in critical. How do I view people? Are they a bother? A hassle? Not safe? Or are they a most precious gift and opportunity that God has given to me for growth, joy, and a whole wealth of life experiences? This is the question I am asking myself these days. What is my attitude toward relationships?


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


So then, as Christians, do you have any encouragement? Do you have any comfort from love? Do you have any spiritual relationships? Do you have any sympathy and compassion? Then fill me with joy by having the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind. Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others. Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Phil. 2:1-5 (GWT)

Recently, I played golf with a man from back east. He had an infectous smile and he was with a group of about 7 other guys. I was paired up with them because I was by myself and their 2nd group needed a fourth player. There was an unusual energy among these men. I enjoyed being with them. As the afternoon progressed, we carried on a conversation that sparked quite a bit of reflection on my part. He was a successsful business man who had built his company from the ground up. He seemed so proud of the guys he was with as he descibed each one to me in great detail. He then told me that these men had all worked for him for years. He had just made it possible for them to buy the company from him. One man in the group was described to me as having an insurmountable attitude. He said to that you can overcome anything in life with the right attitude. I fully engaged him in this conversation on attitude and listened intently to him. He was obviously a well educated and experienced man but his opinion was that attitude was the single most important thing that made one successful in life. He went on to say that he wished that attitude was a required subjuct taught in school. His men looked at him with admiration and they seemed to give and receive energy back and forth between one another.

When I think about Jesus and his disciples, I see a man with an insurmountable attitude. His views on relationships, money, and a whole host of others issues are life altering. He was healthy and whole in his approach to life. Jesus had the attitude of an encourager. You could not be around him without being lifted to new hieghts. He was sympathatic in his attitude toward others and brought deep comfort to people who were in pain. His mind was focused on accomplishing God's purposes as he moved throughout each day. He humbly gave dignity to others by thinking of them before himself. His unselfish attitude is inspiring me to live a different way. A "new a living way"!

Growing up I was modeled some pretty negative attitude traits. I thought that I had overcome much of them but now I am seeing so much more attitude growth possible. In 2006 I am seeking to have the same attitude in me as Jesus. An insurmountable attitude! I want others to draw energy from my can do spirit. I want hope to so fill my heart that I cause others to believe God for a great future. I want to see everyone the way Jesus saw them-as valuable and filled with potential. I want see all that is good in people and endure with them through weakness and sin. I want to, not only become this kind of person, but also take others with me on the journey.
Remember this. You can overcome mistakes, ignorance, lack of resources or education, but you cannot overcome a bad attitude, it will defeat you every time. This year, will you join me as I seek to greatly improve my attitude to be more like that of Jesus? This is a choice we can make. I believe this is a journey worth taking and important that we take it together.

May you choose to have a great day!

New Weekend Series: "Fresh Attitude in "06"
Starts this weekend!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas presence

The bible says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Have you ever heard someone say, "Where is God when I need Him?" Or "where is God in all this?" Have you ever thought that yourself? I have. Sometimes I have wondered where God was. But now a whole new idea is become very real to me. The prophet Isaiah wrote that the "whole earth was full of His glory", all of it! The word for glory in Hebrew means weight or significance. So the planet teams with god's significance. It is loaded with Him.

David the psalmist said, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" So, if God is not somewhere else, then where is he?

In Genesis there is a cool story about a guy named Jacob who had a dream where God spoke to Him and reminded him of his destiny and purpose. Jacob said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it."

Aha! There it is. I was not aware of it. Where is God? All over me. All around me. He is "very present".

A better question for me these days is where am I? Many times I'm absent. Unresponsive. In short, a dead head. Have you ever heard someone speak of a powerful spiritual experience and they said, "then God showed up". I don't think so. We are the ones who show up! We are the ones who finally get it. I am learning to be more aware. To be aware of my surroundings so that I can percieve God more fully. He is there in quiet moments with my son. He is there in a good book. He is there on a long jog. He is here right now as I write these words. He is in my fingers! I am in him and he is in me. I love this. Even right now as I confess this I am become more aware of Him. I am experiencing Christmas.

This time of year suicides rates dramatically go up as people "feel" all alone and acutely depressed. I can understand this. I sometimes feel alone, discouraged, and misunderstood. How about you? How do you feel? Alone, discouraged, anxious, or angry. Scripture teaches us that in his presence is fullness of joy and unending pleasure. It seems to me that my job is to wake up, or to open up. Yes. That’s right. Open up. Open my heart, my mind, my soul to reality. The reality that God is everywhere including here right now.

This brings to my point. God is so interested in us knowing his presence that he would take on humanness and become one of us. He would make himself known so differently that most had expected. He would be born in such a humble place, a dirty place, such a forgotten place. But the most amazing part is that in order for me to truly know the joy of his presence he would be born in me. The Human heart can be such a dirty place. It can sink to some pretty low lows. Emmanuel God with us! God’s presence living in me! It is more amazing to me now than ever.

Now I can have Christmas happening in my heart. I can be encouraged by the indwelling presence of God. Now Christmas can happen on my face. People can experience God’s presence through me. To me this is fast becoming the real meaning of Christmas-to be a part of “His ever expanding, peaceful government” to allow others to be in contact with him through me is now what defines my purpose for living. To spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere and in every place.

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shinethThe everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently,The wondrous gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human heartsThe blessings of His heav'n.
No ear may hear His coming,But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, stillThe dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem!Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angelsThe great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,Our Lord Immanuel.

And now, may you become so aware of this reality. The ultimate reality that God is with us. Here and now! Right here and right now! May you be saturated with Him. May you spread the cheer of His presence to all that you know and love and may Christmas be seen on your face by the world for the rest of your life! Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 23, 2005

white stone

Ever had a Christmas present that you just could not wait to open. I am waiting on this one.

Revelation 2:17 (NLT) Everyone who is victorious will eat of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

John's vision of a future overcoming people is facinating to me. In the ancient world, victors in the games were given small white tablets called tesserae, it had writing on it; and, generally speaking, the possession of a tessera conferred some kind of new privilege or status upon a man. He was then viewed and treated differently culturally and economically. One of the features of the Old Testament is the giving to a man of a new name to mark a new status.

I like the story of Jacob. Hebrews named their children based on something that was true or desired to be true of the child. Jacob at birth was a twin and was said to have grasped his brother's heal during the birthing process and pulled him back in order to come out the firstborn and receive the birthright. Thus first in line for his father's inheritance. Jacob is what they named him which means surplanter or in our day "manipulator". He would win first place on the apprentice or survivor no contest! You can see Jacob living up to his name throughout his life until something very powerful happens to him. Jacob finds himself in another major fix that he is not sure he will survive. His brother, the head of a fast approaching army, is going to kill him. In Genesis 32:24-30 a story is told of a strange "man" who wrestles with Jacob the night before until morning.

This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn. 25 When the man saw that he couldn't win the match, he struck Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is dawn." But Jacob panted, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 "What is your name?" the man asked. He replied, "Jacob." 28 "Your name will no longer be Jacob," the man told him. "It is now Israel, because you have struggled with both God and men and have won." 29 "What is your name?" Jacob asked him. "Why do you ask?" the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

In the match, the "man" askes Jacob "What is your name"? The he gives him a new name "Israel" which means prince with God. A different man emerges from the wrestling match. A changed man I would submit to you. A man who now sees himself so much differently than the night before. A man who for all of his life had to control, manipulate or deceive to make it now becomes a prince with God? Amazing! He now sees a whole new world and walks with God through life with hope and faith moving toward the fulfllment of his destiny.

I ask you, do you know who you are? Do you know where you are going? I believe God has a new name for each of us? It stands in contrast to the old names and old ways of living. I believe each of us can emerge out of life's struggles with fresh insight about our real identity. I believe we will never end up where God intends (destiny) for us to if we don't truly discover our real selves. I also believe that God is the only one who can tell us who we are. His voice is the one I need to hear. I have to struggle with Him and win before I can struggle with this world and win.
The rest of my life is then catching up to what God is showing me is true about me. It is based on the way he sees me-based on who He says I am. Today, like yesterday and the day before, I have to reject my old names, labels, and failures that continually seek to define me and volitionally "put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." This is my daily ritual. To stand in my new identity which is found only in Christ. I am new. I can be different because of what God says about me. His word about me is defining reality for me. This is what it means for me to walk by faith and not by sight. This is a life-long conversation I am having with God. By the way, I can't wait till I see my white stone! I am dying to know what it says.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

very present

At Christmas many feel a whole range of emotions. They run from joy to anger. Friendship to isolation. Some have great feelings about this season while others wish it would never come or quickly pass.

The Bible says "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

This morning, as I was writing my morning thoughts, God began to speak very powerfully to me. As I was nearing the end I realized that my thoughts were not to be sent out in my daily blog but were for our christmas eve services. I believe that I have something special for you and your friends this year. God may not be where you think he is. See you Saturday night!

Christmas Eve Services 5:00-6:30-8:00 PM Bring a friend & Bring some Christmas cookies

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

too easy

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, I Pet. 3:15

Yesterday I was getting a beauty treatment at the salon. After my pedecure and manicure it was time to do my hair. Ok, so I only went to get a hair cut. Anyway the lady who cut my hair also cuts my wife Michelle's hair. Michelle had been there last week and the lady (Anna from Chec Republic) asked her what she did for a living. Michelle told her she worked for a church. She said "really, my friends in Oregon have become spiritual and they are so different now. It has been good for them. What is new born?" Michelle began a conversation with her about "new born" during the hair cut. Well, there I am yesterday and she says "so your pastor yes?" I say "yes I am" and then she starts in on how her friends are "new born" and everything and then she asks "Is this new born in bible?" And away we went. I had a little new testament I like to keep in my back pocket and I showed her John 3 where Jesus says you must be born again. She said " I am catholic all my life and I did not know Jesus said that".

I did not press the new born issue any further. I tried to remain respectful and give her some space to think. She remained very pleasant and open. I gave her one of our Christmas Eve Service invitations. I told her she could choose from three different times and she seemed to appreciate the invitation. It was too easy.

Notice I did not get into and argument with her. I did not try to convince her. I was not going to tell her what I thought was wrong with catholics. I only had a "gentle and respectful" conversation that was easy for both of us. I do not believe that we are to fight with people. I feel that we are to be open to those who are open. And believe me, a lot more than you think are open to spiritual things. If they are treated with respect by a person who lives before them respectably, they often will become open. Then, "gently" you can ask a question or make an invitation. Many times people will ask you a question that opens a doorway to the heart.
Have you invited anyone to an environment where they can hear some good news lately? I have invited my neighbors (who I have been building friendships with) and I am actively keeping my eyes open for others to invite. It is too easy. Jesus said for us to invite people to the eternal party that he is hosting. Did you know you can have conversations with people who don't yet know Christ and look for simple opportunities to invite? Do you ever find non-threatening ways to let people know about your relationship with Christ or that you go to church? The relationship is too good not to share it with others who need Him. I felt joy that comes from obedience as a result of my conversation with Anna. I look forward to our next talk.

Luke 14:23 (NLT) "Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that my house will be full."

Invite someone to Christmas Eve this year. The service will last one hour, it will be fun, and at the end a 10 minute good news moment will happen "with gentleness and respect". Maybe someone you know needs to be encouraged with hope this Christmas. Maybe someone you know is hurting and alone this year. Invite them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

the new me

In last weekend's services we talked about our true identity. We said that God is the only one who knows us enough to name us. Do you know who you really are? Are you getting a sense of your destiny?

So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new II Cor. 5:17

I am taking this to heart. I am believing it this morning. I am choosing to live from my new identity in Christ. I intend to be my best me today! In Christ I am wise, compassionate, thoughtful and courageous. In Christ I have a whole new world available to me. He lives in me and moves in me. In Him I have my inspired being. I am exploring a range of new possibilities in my character. I am looking at the life of Jesus and seeing the things he did-you know, the way He actually lived and I am just going to live like that. He said I could so I am just going to believe Him. He said that the things He did we could do. In fact, He said even "greater" things we would do. I am not quite sure what that means exactly but whatever it does mean it has got to be awesome. I am daring to go on this journey. I do feel like a little kid. I feel a childlike faith but mixed with some spiritual maturity that has been forged out as well. I wonder what God has for me today? Who will I encounter? What will be the challenges? One thing I know. I have the opportunity to show the world Jesus today. This has so much promise.
I am a child of God! I am the righteousness of God In Christ! I am the light of the world! Salt of the earth! I am a branch in the true vine! I am chosen by God to bear fruit! I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me! I could go on and on.
I must sound a little crazy these days I know. But leave me alone its working. How about you? Are you in love? Are you encouraged? Are you inspired? Are you reading a good book? Are building some great relationships in Christ? Are you on a journey to discover who you really are? I want to be an encouraging voice in your life. Go to Him today and tomorrow and the next day. Let Him bring your heart to life. Let Him be the strength of your heart. Let Him be the most powerful voice in your life. Let Him lead you to your glorious destiny. Don't allow another day to be wasted on an old false identity. May you come alive today, teaming with a renewed sense of who God has made you to be. May you know your unique giftedness and give it away to us! May you be life to others today! Bless those around you.

Becoming like Him and taking you with me, Chris

Rom. 12:1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
The Message

Monday, December 19, 2005

Let loving hearts enthrone Him

Revelation 1:12-18 (NLT) When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands.And standing in the middle of the lampstands was the Son of Man. He waswearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hairwere white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were bright like flamesof fire.
His feet were as bright as bronze refined in a furnace, and hisvoice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his righthand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was asbright as the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feetas dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid! I amthe First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am aliveforever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.This ain't no babe in a manger! Wow!

At Christmas time we often think ofthe baby Jesus who was born for us to admire and worship. But this babe wasborn a King. The King of kings and Lord of lords. It is amazing that thislittle child would grow to rule the entire earth. That crying little infanthad already spoken the universe into existence, His voice sustaining thestars in their orbit. What must have it been like for Mary to think aboutthese things? To begin to realize that your son was God in the flesh? Toenvision Him one day assuming a throne? My son? To see him go to thecross? To her astonishment see him rise from the dead? And then for her todie like everyone else and be in the presence of the One that she had givenbirth to.
Then to see Him like this! Eyes like flames of fire! A voice like thunder!A sword coming out of his mouth! This is no longer a little baby. Whatchild is this? "So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh, Come peasant, king to own Him; The King of kings salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him. Raise, raise a song on high, The virgin sings her lullaby. Joy, joy for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary." She must have been captivated by Him. I know I am. He is so worthy of myheart.
I gladly it surrender to my King for today.May your heart be able to appreciate the majesty of this high mystery. May your eyes see afresh the greatest story ever told.

Let loving hearts enthrone Him, Chris

Christmas Eve Services 5:00-6:30-8:00 PM Pecos location only