Ever Thought Of…BINGO and Life!

I remember when I was coaching football, we would have to work fundraisers for the league.  Every Saturday night we would rotate working down at the bingo hall.  I remember that I really didn’t like going there because the room was filled with smoke and I could barely breathe.

It was real funny to watch how intense the people got towards the end of the game.  The anticipation was crazy…and all of a sudden you would hear “BINGO!”  There would be a big sigh that traveled through the room, a few moments of chatter and boom…the next game would start.

Have you ever thought of Bingo and Life?  I mean in some ways they are very similar. In bingo your given a card filled with numbers and you are given a dabber to cover the numbers when you hear them called.  The key is to listen to the caller so you won’t miss your number.  Once you have completed a row ‘BINGO” the game is over.  But your not the only one with a card, the whole room is filled with people that have cards too. No two cards are the same but everyone is hoping to win.  If someone gets bingo before you, they win the prize and the process starts all over again.

You can go to bingo every night for years and never win, but someday when you least expect it “BINGO!” you win.

This reminds me of something that I read;


You made my life short, so brief that the time means nothing to you.    “Human life is but a breath, Psalm 39:5

We disappear like a breath; we last no longer than a faint shadow.

Psalm 144:4

You see, like the Bingo game we don’t know when our number is going to be called, the game can end at anytime.  You can be sitting with someone and in an instant “BINGO” game over, there number is called. One minute they’re playing the game just like you and the next moment they are going up to receive their due.

In life we are given a plan (like the bingo card) and in that plan there’s a journey filled with instructions from the caller (God).  Like in bingo we must hear the instructions of the caller so we can have an opportunity to complete the card. God gives us work to do while we are here on earth and we must hear his instructions so we can know what to do.  And we never know when God will call us to receive our due.

You see at some point the games over and hopefully by that time we can say;

I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do. John 17:4

Every day we live gives us less time to live… so what are we going to do with it?

Just a thought…

Is Hell Real?

So what if you’re wrong?

I recall a conversation I had several years ago with my cousin.  She was very passionate about life, everything she did was all out.  When she set her mind on something it was very difficult to convince her otherwise.  So one day she called me up and we began to talk…you see my cousin had her  own beliefs about heaven and hell.  She believed in heaven but she believed that hell was a metaphor.  She didn’t think that hell was a real place, therefore she believed that when she died the worse thing that could happen to her is that she would return to the ground…and the best thing that could happen is that she would live forever on the new earth.

Hmm…

Actually that’s not so bad.  I mean if the worst thing that can happen to us after we die is either nothing, or eternal life on the new earth.  That sounds like a pretty good deal.  Live life how-ever you choose and end up either dead without life or knowledge of anything, or live forever on a perfect earth.

You see, she and I would go round and round with this discussion.

Here’s the problem with her belief system–it has no foundation. She claimed to believe the bible but she didn’t want to accept hell. Jesus Christ said;

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.                                                                                               Luke 12:4-5

Jesus describes hell as the place “where the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:43) and hell is also described this way;

“In hell, where he was in torment” (Luke 16:23).

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”                                                                   Matthew 25:46

Okay…I believe that hell is a real place that people who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior are sent to for eternal punishment. I believe that scripture is clear regarding hell and we have all been made aware of it.

So…what if I’m wrong and my cousin was right?  Well the worst thing that can happen to me after I die if I don’t accept Jesus is, I go back to nothing, no feeling, no knowledge, no nothing.

But what if I’m right and she was wrong?  Then the worst thing that can happen to me after I die if I don’t accept Jesus is,  I live forever in eternal punishment, separated from God forever.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to take that chance.  I would rather live believing that when I die there’s a hope of a better life after this life.

Sometimes this earth feels like hell, but the cool thing is, it’s the only hell that I will ever know.

You see… my cousin has found out the truth already, she was murdered at the age of 31.  I often wonder where she is today and my hope is that while she was still alive she found the truth.

We are all created in the image of God, and God is eternal.

We will live forever… somewhere.

Where will you spend eternity?

Think about it…

In memory of Shani Renee Holloway

Words to Live By…Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

If we set our sight on God then we will never go blind.

Think about it…

Childhood Dreams

Remember when you were a kid?  Remember your dreams?  As a kid the sky’s the limit, you can be what ever you want to be.  I remember as a kid I wanted to be a police officer, then I wanted to be a Mariachi musician.  As I got older I wanted to be a rock star…yea, a rock star..lol  All the typical childhood dreams.

What happened?!  As adults do we still dream?  Do we still believe that we can do those things?  I understand that as we get older our dreams and goals become more sensible.  And we begin to discover ourselves and identify our strengths and weaknesses.  But I really feel that at some point we give up and we begin to settle.  I mean think about it, are you doing what your passion is?

There’s this verse that I love;

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.                                     Psalm 37:4

That is so beautiful, if we delight ourselves in God then he is true to give us our hearts desires. WOW!

But let’s break it down:

Delight– to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly:

Okay our first step is to give joy to God, find our joy in him and bring him pleasure.  That’s pretty simple right? I mean all it’s saying is to spend time with God, get to know him and do what he says.  We bring pleasure and joy to God when we are obedient.

So if we do these things that means God will give us the desires of our heart. Right?  But what desires?  Here’s the key;

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

You see God has created us with a unique plan for our lives, and he places that desire in our heart.  Now as we grow, we begin to place our own desires and plans in our heart.  This can cause a lot of confusion and uncertainty.  The key is to recognize which plans are ours and which plans are from God.  It’s not that simple is it?  Or is it?

If we do what this verse says to do, “delight ourselves in the Lord” then we will be able to know God’s will for our lives opposed to our own will.  At birth God places in our heart a purpose, desires, dreams, plans and hope.  In order for theses things to be clearly revealed to us, we must delight ourselves in Him. Then God can give us the desires of our heart.

So delight yourself in the Lord, hang out with him, talk to him, listen to him and he will release his perfect plan for your life. It’s not too late!  As long as you can breathe, you can live. We are never to old to live for the Lord.

Dream big, because your God is big and he wants you to have the desires of your heart.

Think about it…

Just Another Day…

It was just another day. I remember getting up and going into work like any other day.  I worked for a local collection agency and a good portion of our business was done on the east coast.  I walked into our building and immediately a co-worker says “they attacked the Twin Towers, they think it’s Bin Laden”.  Bin Laden? That was the first time I had ever heard that name.

In an instant our lives can change.  On September 11, 2001 our lives changed. 3000 dead, 3000  families directly impacted and countless individuals in-directly impacted.  The way we travel has changed, the way security in America is handled has changed and the way we view people has changed.  Wow…

I wish I could say that this tragedy made us stronger as a God-fearing nation.  But the truth is it really hasn’t.  Right at first everyone was open to prayer and the term “god” was thrown around in places that normally we would never hear it.  But today it’s business as usual.  America continues to fight to remove God from our schools, government builds and government agencies.

How is it that even people who aren’t really followers of Jesus Christ turn to him in times of need, but forget him as soon as things get better?  This is not a new practice. In days of old the Israelites would turn to God in desperate times but go back to their wicked ways after he would deliver them;

10 After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.

11 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. Judges 2:10-11 (NLT)

You see,  like the Israelites we Americans don’t learn from our past.  Did you know that the original school text-book in America was the Bible?  You probably didn’t know that because you were never taught that. I’m not saying that we can stop crazy people from doing crazy things. I’m just saying that we never know when disaster will strike, so we need to be prepared for it.

We can’t always prepare physically for tragedy.  I mean, no one was prepared for 911.  But spiritually we can always be ready and we owe it to our children and our children’s children to train them up in the ways of the Lord.

The bible says;

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”                                                                             Romans 8:28

Believe it or not there has been good that has come from 911.  We have watched a nation rally to re-build a city, we have seen and heard testimonies of great selflessness and acts of courage.  And many of the families have turned their lives to Jesus Christ. You see, no matter what, God will get the best out of the worst.

As for us who do believe, all we can do is be the hands and feet of God, ready to be used to show the world his love, grace and mercy.

Let’s choose not only to remember our past, but to learn from it.

Are you ready?

TRUTH

In times of despair we have opportunity for greatness.  I just watched the news and I saw houses burning and flames over 300 feet tall. It seems that a gas line exploded and a whole neighborhood in San Bruno California went up in flames.  Sometimes life gets serious very quickly.  I don’t know what you believe but I’m sure the families of that disaster would appreciate your thoughts and prayers right now.

One minute we’re planning  our future and the next second we are faced with disaster. What would you do in this situation? When disaster strikes will you be ready?  I don’t know if any of us could seriously answer yes to this question.  We all would love to think that we are prepared for hard times. But are we? This reminds me of a story.

There was this man named Noah who began to build an ark. He built and built for over 100 years. All the people thought that he was crazy because he told them that a great flood was coming and that water would fall from the sky.  The people ignored him and they kept living their lives as usual.  You see in the days of Noah it had never rained before, so when he warned them that water would fall from the sky they scoffed at him.  I mean, what would you do?  I probably would think that he was crazy too.  Well the day came when the ark was finished and the rain began.  It rained for forty days and forty nights. The entire earth was covered with water.  Only Noah and his family survived.

Here’s the point, we can go our entire lives hearing the truth but never believing it.  So if we don’t believe it, does it change? Does truth change?  One thing is certain,  time can’t change truth. Truth is truth.

For those families in San Bruno the truth is their lives will never be the same.  Some have lost everything that they own. Others have lost loved ones. You see in life there are no guarantees for tomorrow.  We have never been promised that we will live to see another day.

So what do you believe and are you willing to die for it? The truth is that there is a God that created you. He loved you so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for your sins and for mine. If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior then you will one day be joined with him in paradise forever.

That’s the truth. Now what are you going to do with it?

Ever Thought Of…Telling Someone?

Have you ever read something or heard something that got you real excited?  Or something that you just couldn’t wait to go tell someone about? Have you ever tasted something that was so good that you had to call a friend and let them know about it? Learning something new is so cool. Or experiencing something  for the first time always seems to bring excitement.

It reminds me of my youngest son who is four years old.  He is in his first year in school, kindergarten.  He comes home everyday so excited because he has learned something new.  He can’t wait to share it with us.

What if I told you that you could learn something new everyday of your life and you would be so excited about it that you would have to tell someone.  It’s true, we have the capacity to never stop learning. Human beings are built with an endless ability to learn. Now that’s all good, but what are we learning? Are we investing our time in things that make us want to shout it from the roof tops?  Or are we learning things that are only useful to us?

I remember when I first learned that Jesus called himself God. For me that was awesome, I couldn’t wait to tell someone.

I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.  John 8:58-59

Isn’t that exciting?! You see you have to understand some of the background of the story. Why did I get so excited about that?

Well, I had a cousin that didn’t believe that Jesus and God were one.  I was new in my faith and I would study for hours.  One day my cousin called and we began to discuss the bible and she said that Jesus never claimed to be God.  It was one of those “okay God I’m counting on you” moments.  I remember turning to John and reading that verse, it was like God himself explained it to me…actually it was God himself, the Holy Spirit. I read it to her and she said I was misinterpreting it. So my response was, I guess the pharisees misinterpreted Jesus too because they tried to stone him.

You see the bible is alive, it is like living water and it brings life, hope and excitement, to those who read it. If we spend time with God everyday and we are willing to learn, then God is willing to teach.  In this lifetime we could never learn everything, so let’s just learn the stuff that God wants to teach us.

If we do that, we will always be growing closer to him and we will become more like him.

Now isn’t that something to be excited about? Read the bible and tell the world. It’s that simple.

Just a thought…

Vision…

I was having dinner the other night with some friends and the subject of helping the needy came up.  My friend got real excited as he began to layout this plan to feed the nation.  He started breaking down how our government subsidizes the farmers and how we have silos of grain rotting and going to waste.

I mean he was really into it.  He had carefully thought through everything he needed to do to accomplish his task.  It was pretty intense.  This guy had a plan and a vision.

That reminds me of a scripture;

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

Let’s talk about that.  You see if you don’t have vision, or revelation from God then your life will be out of control. If you aren’t in tune with God’s purpose, or his laws then you will spiritually die.  But if you are in tune with God’s vision for your life and with his purpose and you let them guide you, then you will thrive.

You see God has created us to have a vision in life, to have a purpose for life. But it’s his vision for us, not our own.  Do you feel like life is going no-where? Do you feel like your constantly spinning but getting absolutely no-where?

If so, you may want to have your vision checked.  Are you in tune with the leading of the Holy Spirit? Are you listening to the guidance of God?

You see God created us to thrive, to overcome, to be more than conquers.  If those things aren’t happening in your life, then maybe you’re going blind.

How’s your vision?

The Impossible

It was early in the year 2003 and I remember this overwhelming desire to pray for my city.  You need to understand something, I’m not just talking about… Oh Lord bless my city kind of prayer.  I’m talking about something that I could never imagine doing.  Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew was impossible?  Something that you knew was just too big to tackle.

You see when I accepted Jesus as my savior, I told him that I would do anything he asked me to do.  I told him to send me to do the work that the others refused to do.  I told him that I was one of “the few” that he had referred to in the book of Luke .

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.                                       Luke 10:2-3

You see, “like lambs among wolves”, this was serious stuff. Let me give you a little history about me and my wife. In 2001 we founded a ministry and we felt that God wanted us to trust in him for everything. Now I know that sounds simple, but it was harder than we thought. In September of 2001 I lost my job and we felt that I was supposed to work the ministry full-time without pay and just watch God provide. That’s another blog in its self.

So here we are feeling like God wanted us to pray for our city, but what we heard was pray through the entire city, down every street.  What!!  Every street?  That could take days , even weeks! How could we do that?  The answer is, we can’t, but…”Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

You see sometimes God asks us to do the impossible so he can show himself to us.  My wife and I prayed and prayed and God was faithful to give us the plan.  We assembled a team and we fasted and prayed together.  We chopped up the city into sections and on a Saturday morning we met at the park and all 14 of us took our section and off we went.

I remember my wife and I and 3 of our sons driving down each street praying.  It brings a smile to my face as I write this because it took us 10 hours to complete all the sections that we had, but God’s grace was so good, our boys never cried or complained.  That in it self was a miracle!

Next time you feel a passion or a stirring for something to big to be you, or to big to do.  It might just be God calling you to do his work, calling you to do the impossible.  Are you willing to be the answer to prayer?

Think about it.

Ever Thought Of…Weakness and Strength?

Do you know anyone who always has a bad attitude?  Or someone who always has something negative to say?  No matter what’s going on they just aren’t happy.  I know some people like that and no matter what, the conversation always turns south.

Or how about someone who is always tired or weak.  I mean they aren’t sick or anything they just always seem to be overwhelmed with life.

I was wondering about that and suddenly it came to me, there’s this verse that  says;

The joy of the Lord is your strength.       Nehemiah 8:10

Wow!!  How sweet is that?

Have you ever thought about that?  When you are pressed into God and you begin to delight yourself in him, then you begin to experience his joy!  I know for myself, when I’m not focused on God and my focus is on all my stuff, I feel worn out.  I mean literally tired, without energy or strength.  But when my focus is on Jesus, I have a pep in my step, a real strength, I notice that I’m happier and full of life, full of joy.  Wow imagine that!

You see the strength that you need to get through this life comes directly from the joy of the Lord.  Next time you feel sluggish or weak ask yourself this question;

Have I spent time with God lately?  And if the answer is no, then you may want to press into him, because he is faithful to release the joy that gives you strength to thrive in life.

Enjoy life, it’s too short to not to.

Think about it…