Great Book

Have you ever read a great book and told people, “you have to read this book”?

The book challenged you, encouraged you, motivated you, inspired you to be better and do better.

I have read over a thousand books. I love to read. I could name so many different books to encourage you to read.

I could give you a list of some incredible books but I will only recommend 66 on this blog post – the Word of God, the Bible.

The Bible is infallible, inerrant, Holy God breathed.
The Bible contains 3,566,480 letters, 810,697 words, 31,175 verses, 1189 chapters and 66 books.

The Bible is a divine library containing the most exciting, dramatic, heart pounding, pulse racing words that are sharper than a two edged sword. It is able to increase your faith, save your soul, grow you spiritually, motivate you, rebuke you, encourage you, help you, guide you, and confront you.

The Bible is God talking to you. It is God’s love letter to you. Hold it, cherish it, study it, meditate on it, embrace it, love it, and obey it.

The Bible contains the most epic stories and of course the greatest story ever told. The story of How God loves you died on a cross for you and rose again!

Let me recommend a great book…The Bible!

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Nothing is Impossible!

“Impossible”?
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“Impossible”? Philippians1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

“Impossible”?
Romans 8:31 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

One of my all-time favorite quotes is this one by Napoleon Bonaparte. I really try to live believing this. I don’t believe in quitting or giving up…throwing in the towel or the “three strikes, you’re out” mentality. Maybe that is true in baseball but not in life.

Don’t take no for an answer, don’t quit on your dream, your family, your work or your life.

I have been at the point of exhaustion, burn out and complete totally frustration. Who hasn’t been at this point? All of us have come to the same fork in the road where we ask, “what will we do – will we give in, give up, let go, lay down and play dead or will we rise up, take that situation by the throat and say ‘no,’ I will not go out like this?

I will not visualize the regret of failure, I will visualize the reward of success for staying in the game.

Pat Riley, NBA coaching legend says, “In every contest, there comes a moment that defines winning from losing. The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intensive and so intuitive that it could only be called one from the heart.”

I am not saying your situation is easy and I am not saying that I understand exactly what you are going through but I will say to you, don’t quit! There is nothing too hard for our God!

Nothing is impossible with him.

 

Broken Record

When someone talks about something over and over again, we use the phrase “broken record.”

Well let me tell you again about the Holy Land trip…

How would you like to take the trip of a lifetime?

What if I could guarantee that this trip would change your life?

What if I could assure you that you would see breathtaking sites?

What if I told you that you would stay in nice hotels and eat delicious food?

What if you had the opportunity to walk in the same spots where Jesus preached…to sail on the sea where He walked, to walk in the empty tomb and witness the fact that it’s empty! Glory!! Getting excited writing this!

I have so many favorite spots so it’s hard to narrow it down and give you descriptions. Floating in the Dead Sea; standing on top of Mt. Carmel and looking down where the Battle of Armageddon will take place; baptizing in the Jordan River; taking the Lord’s Supper outside of the empty tomb and so much more!

Join us February 16-25, 2017 as we travel to the Holy Land. I am being totally serious when I say that this trip changes you. Your Bible comes alive. It “feels” different as you walk on the same streets where Jesus Himself walked.

Vickie and I have had the privilege to go to Israel several times. I have incredible memories of each trip and look forward to making more with you! Get your deposit in right away.

Check out this link for more information:
https://www.discoverywmtracking.org/TourDetailInfo.asp?DestinationID=1&TOURID=92172

Make plans now to take this trip of a lifetime! Yes I know I sound like a broken record!

 

Slow No Wake

I love being on the water. I have been deep sea fishing, sailing, and cruising.

Have you ever seen the sign, “slow no wake?” That means that the boat must be going slow enough not to put out any wake behind the boat. It is a sign that you need to slow down.

Most of us don’t need to slow down, we need to put it in high gear!

Is your motto, “slow, no wake?” Today, you need to make a conscious decision to expand, take a risk and get out of the slow no wake zone.

Your zone should never be static. When it’s not expanding, it’s contracting. Its time to put your foot on the pedal.

The slow no wake zone is the place where you get compliant and comfortable. When that happens, it brings an unsettled, “closed in” feeling. You begin to feel trapped because you were made for more.

Are you in the slow no wake zone?

Let me give you five characteristics of this zone and you can see if you are there.

1. Compliancy has set in.
Compliancy is the disease of being satisfied where you are in your life.

2. No Growth.
You are coasting through life…you’re not growing mentally, emotionally or spiritually. It’s like riding in a taxi and being stuck in traffic. The meter is running and it is costing you but you are not moving forward.

3. You’re Afraid to Take a Risk

4. Unwilling to Pay the Price

5. You have convinced yourself that you’re okay and “this” is the way that things will always be.

Today let me encourage you to push down on the throttle!

Come With Us to Israel! Guest Blogger – Vickie Flockhart

In 1996, I had an opportunity to go on my first trip to Israel. I declined the offer and let that opportunity pass me by. Our Student Pastor at the time went in my place.

Do you know why I didn’t want to go? Sure I had 6 kids between the ages of 5 – 13 and life was crazy busy, but my parents lived down the street and they kept my kids anytime we went out of town.

I was scared…really scared. I had  watched too many movies where Chuck Norris had to rush into Middle Eastern countries to rescue hostages. I had watched news reports and seen horrible terrorist attacks in “those countries.” Sadly the U.S. is now part of that list.

I allowed fear to rob me of an incredible trip to the land where Jesus walked, preached, taught, loved, ministered and lived His life.

Steve came back full of excitement as he shared story after story of all that he saw and did on the trip. I listened but like anything, if you are not there or if you do not participate, you do not really get it.

The next trip came around and I went. Still a little nervous but I had to go and see what he was talking about.

I remember stepping off the plane and feeling the difference in the air. It’s hard to describe and I am not trying to sound dramatic. You just know that He was there!

I fell in love immediately with the country and with the people…God’s people! The places we traveled were incredible. So much history and biblical application. It really is true that your Bible comes alive!

We took a boat out on the Sea of Galilee, dropped anchor and had a worship service. All of a sudden, fog began to rise and it was so thick that you could not see the person next to you. I kept thinking that is what is was like when Jesus came walking on the water and the disciples were so afraid that they thought He was a ghost. Just to be in the same place where Jesus and the disciples fished and gathered together so many times…

We visited the courtyard where Peter denied Jesus after He had been arrested. It was do convicting to stand and reflect on that story, comparing it to my own life and times of my own denial of Jesus.

I could go on all day. To kneel and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and wonder, “is this where he knelt”?

To stand by the empty tomb and imagine what it felt like “that” Sunday.

To stand on the Road to Amaeus and imagine what it was like to talk to the risen Savior…

So much of this trip is a spiritual and emotional journey. You feel a special connection and a desire to learn more, love Him more and be more committed.

Israel is beautiful. You will see dry and dusty desert land, but you will also see lush, green areas and fruit trees weighed down with apples, lemons, oranges, grapes, figs, olives, etc…

We stay in very nice hotels and we eat delicious food. (nothing “weird”!)

I feel safe each time I am in Israel. Tourism is a major source of income so the Jewish people and the Palestinians do not want anything to happen to tourists. I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu goes to great lengths to protect his country and those who visit.

If you have been contemplating going to Israel, come with us in February! You will be so glad that you did.

Click this link to pay your deposit and register. Join us February 16-25, 2017!
https://www.discoverywmtracking.org/TourDetailInfo.asp?DestinationID=1&TOURID=92172

 

 

Who Are You Going To Please?

Solomon, the wisest man to ever live (besides Jesus) said in Proverbs 29:25, “the fear of man brings a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

Many, many years ago I was consumed about what people thought of me. I wanted people to like me, I wanted to impress people, I wanted everyone to affirm me for my hard work and I wanted to please everyone. I just wanted everyone to like me.

No matter what you do for a living and no matter how hard you try, you will never please everyone so stop trying!

You will make someone mad and they will talk about you. I know this will shock you but not everyone will like you!

If you are in any type of leadership role, than I can guarantee you that people will not always understand you.

Your job and my job is to make a difference, to influence lives and to lead. It was difficult to move away from my “people pleasing” mission until one day when I realized these 4 things:

1. Your ultimate goal is to please God.
When you know that you are walking with the Lord and your life is pleasing to Him, that is all that matters!

2. You will NEVER be able to please everyone!
No matter how hard you try and no matter how you try to accommodate people and be there for them, you will always let someone down.

3. Is this taking away from your family?
Do your “people pleasing” duties take away from the most important people in your life?

4. You are okay with who you are.
You have to be okay with YOU. At the end of the day, know that you did your best.

Know that you lived with integrity and you sought to please God. Go to bed that evening being okay with that knowledge.

Who are you going to please?

 

Get Back Up

Have you ever been knocked down so hard that you thought, “I will never get up”?  I don’t mean physically, I mean “life stufff” knocking you down.

In Acts, chapter 14, we read where Paul was being stoned at Lystra. He was doing what God called him to do…preaching the gospel and seeing God do the miraculous. After a crippled man was healed, Jews from Antioch and Iconium stirred up the crowd and the Bible says they stoned Paul.

Can you imagine having rocks thrown at you? (the physical kind) The Bible says in verse 20 that Paul got back up and went back into the city.

Listen, be prepared – people are going to oppose you and will throw rocks at you. They may not be actual rocks but on occasion, you will be knocked to your feet and even flat on your back.

Do what Paul did…get back up! Go and continue what you have been called to do. Persevere no matter what the obstacles. I know it is easy preaching and hard living, but let me encourage you to get back up!

Paul didn’t quit. People and circumstances will do everything to bring you down. You are going to want to throw in the towel. I speak from personal experiences, I have wanted to quit several times in my life.

I love this quote by Booker T. Washington, ”I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

You will be knocked down. You will feel like just laying there and everything in you will want you just stay down.

Get back up! Get back up! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! Get back up.

 

You’re Going To Miss This

Do you remember the movie Toy Story 3 when Andy goes away to college? If you have children and you have experienced a child leaving home, then you are probably crying right now.

You love each of your children equally but you also love them uniquely. If you are a parent with more than one child, then you understand that statement perfectly. As a father of 6 kids (4 boys and two girls), I can say that I love all my children equally and uniquely.

Last Friday, my baby girl celebrated her 25th birthday and on Sunday, she got married. I have so many mixed emotions about this.

My “Kirby Dirby Shirby Lirby” was just 8 years old the other day, kicking a soccer ball around and now, she is a married woman. How did that happen so quickly?

Kirby was our sixth child and she was a little surprise from God. Our twins were 10 months old whenever we found out that Vickie was pregnant with Kirby. We were a little stunned and maybe even a little overwhelmed.
Then Kirby entered the world on Labor Day, Sept. 2, 1991…life was never the same!

Our Kirby, with her sweet little raspy voice always had the greatest sense of humor and kept us all laughing.

She was a tomboy and she was a tough little thing. If her four older brothers were playing a game of basketball, she was in the middle of them. We have watched her get fouled and pushed to the ground with a busted lip but she would jump back up, wipe the blood off her face and go after the ball. (Funny, we watched her do the same thing a few months ago at Youth Camp!)

Kirby loves her family…she has great relationships with her siblings and their spouses. She is crazy about her nieces and nephews and they are crazy about “Turby.” She and her Mom are best friends and they do everything together. They are Tarheel fanatics and have a few stories about sneaking in the family room after games to hang with the coaches and players.

I love my long talks with Kirby. It’s awesome to have adult conversations with your “baby.”

Kirby is a passionate person. She will take a stand on things she believes in and not back down. She is stubborn (maybe like her Dad).

One of her greatest passions has always been politics, even as a little girl. Vickie and I have asked her opinion on who to vote for many times because she researches all of the candidates. She knows her stuff!

Kirby is extremely passionate about her relationship with God. She prays and reads her Bible and other books to continue growing. She is bold in sharing her faith. She has strong convictions. I have watched God use her on the foreign mission field and now, as a staff member for FCA. (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). She has committed her life to serving Christ.

Kirby’s new husband Reid is a great guy. He shares her passion for Christ (and soccer) and I’m excited to see how God is going to use them as a couple.

At her wedding, Kirby chose the song, “You’re Going to Miss This” for out Father/Daughter dance. I cried like a baby as I danced with my little Kirby who was suddenly this stunningly beautiful woman.

Yes, I am going to miss this…but I look forward to making many new memories with this awesome woman and this man who stole her heart.

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Life Change in Israel

I have probably over used the phrase “this will be life changing” in my years of preaching.

That really is a big statement…to say that an event/experience is life changing is a pretty real tall order. When we say that this is a trip of a life time and you will never be the same…it is an understatement!

Join us February 16-25, 2017 as we travel to the Holy Land. I am being totally serious when I say that this trip changes you. Your Bible comes alive. It “feels” different as you walk on the same streets where Jesus Himself walked.

What if you had the opportunity to walk in the very same spots where the people in the Bible that you read about walked? Places like the Valley of Elah, where David picked up 5 smooth stones and killed Goliath.

What about standing on top of Mount Carmel where Elijah called fire down from heaven?

How about having the privilege to pray in the same garden – Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, “not my will but yours be done.”

When you see Calvary and visit the empty tomb, it is absolutely life changing.

Follow this link and pay your deposit today for your “trip of a lifetime” and a truly life changing experience!
https://www.discoverywmtracking.org/TourDetailInfo.asp?DestinationID=1&TOURID=92172

Four Kinds of People

I find myself complaining a little too much. It is just so easy to slip into the mode of complaining. If we’re not careful, we get to the point where we will find fault in everything and everyone.

Negative people are everywhere. Have you noticed that they have a six sense? They will sniff you out and find you to complain about something.

Surely you know what I am talking about…have you ever been around a really negative person? You know the ones I am talking about, they whine and complain about everything! If you give them just two minutes of your time, they will manage to tell you what is wrong with their job, their family, their kids, their neighbors, their church, etc…Everything in their lives is negative.

I find myself wondering what happened to those type of people  to make them so mean and critical. Their glass is always half empty and if you give them a chance, they will even pour water out of your glass!

I do know that some people have had a difficult past, a rough childhood or a really negative situation that has left them bitter. I understand that there are things in life that we cannot control. But your critical, complaining, grumbling attitude is not one of them!

Do you complain too much?

Do people avoid you because you are so negative?

Do you avoid certain people because you know their critical spirit and negative attitude will pull you down? I do! Really, I do! Life is too short to be consumed by those kind of people.

There are four kinds of people in everyone’s life. Those who add, those who multiply, those who subtract and those who divide.

If you are around negative people, you will soon become one of those negative people yourself!

Stay positive and be the kind of person that people love to see coming their way.

Out of these 4 kinds of people, which one are you? Do you add to people or multiply? Or do you subtract or divide ?