Thoughts and Musings Posts by Phil Larson and team hopecgt@gmail.com

26
Jul

When Christians Fail

A recent flop in Christianity disturbs me. It should disturb you

A university, under legal pressure, decided to remove ChriStian religious symbols of the cross and Bibles from a campus historic chapel.  That does not disturb me.  

What disturbs me is that the Christian presence is weak enough to be questioned.  No one complained about Bible studies, just dusty books.  No one complained about mass conversions through revival, in fact they use the chapel for many non-Christian meetings. 

Pray for Christ’ life to be so evident on campus that the chapel is a moot point.

The failure of Christians to present a viable, soul winning action plan that puts living Bibles (believers) in and around the building is the angst.  The lack of dedicated servants that will take up their cross and follow Christ as living examples is the pain.

Pray for the congregation you attend and serve to be a challenging presence of Christ in community.  If you don’t attend and serve regularly, then join us at Hope.

This morning a friend called to report a young man came to a Bible study we host on campus at Hope Connection Christian Community Center. He struggles with drugs. He dropped in and received compassion, prayer, and Bible study. May our campus be open every day that anyone can find Christ. We are open on the internet 24/7 and constantly reaching with the gospel of Christ.  Some 2500 video presentations were seen in the last four weeks. 

I pray for you to be effective as a member of Christian community.  These are not days to travel alone.

10
Jun

Balancing the Cart

Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Psalm 16:4 NIV

Developing life, business, and community can at times take too much of us.  Our pursuit takes over our thought life and overall sense of well being.  When that happens, our balance is tipped and the joy begins to retreat. Thehi Lord sees that.  He wants us to enjoy balance.

“Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life.” Gregory Peck

Many gods consume attention. Social climbing, physical beauty, happiness, perfect health, good works, education, personal fulfillment, recreation, profit, and religion are a few of these gods. They do not need to be of wood or stone or precious metals. They only need to take our primary attention away from The God.

Every one of these gods mentioned is good. They build us.  They build our lives and the lives of others. Each develops a component of life and society. You need to develop socially, physically, mentally, financially, well being, personally, benevolence, and expression of faith. They only become a god when we worship and serve above our worship and service to The God and His desire. Anything that becomes bigger than Him destroys. Our creative design is upset.  Enjoy all of life starting with the God component only He can fill.

Businesses and organizations become skewed. Over focus on profit and mission disallow balanced lives of colleagues. The corporate man or woman must conform to the corporate look, feel, and religion at unreasonable levels. Eventually, it fails. A certain freedom of personal balance needs support.

Personal lives become skewed. Drive to look good or have the best or promote personal opinion stifles faith, family, and friendship. Love becomes violent. Hurt replaces health. Anger stirs and streams.

Three of the Ten Commandments focus on: 1. God first 2. God honored and respected 3. Keep His days separated to worship and rest. The others speak also to family, finances, friendships, community, and order. The Lord of Creation wants us to be balanced and fulfilled in Him and others and self. He is not hung up on hard living.  He is hung up on us living fully and healthily in spirit, soul, body, mind, will, emotion, wisdom, wellbeing, relationships, and family.

Consider the layout of your week.  Prioritize time in each day and the Lord’s Day to worship Him. Prioritize your relationship with Him. Many distortions can be healed through a simple and top priority friendship with the Creator.

Have a great day. The Lord of All is on your side. He is FOR you.

Phil@shepherdok.com 

08
Jun

Stand and Stare

I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2 NIV
When I pray, I pray to the Creator of All.  Remember to whom you are speaking. Realizes He is able to do whatever is needed. Acknowledge Him in His greatness. Stand before Him as a child of greatness.

When I pray, I pray to The Great Love. His love is outstanding above  all human expressions of love. Come repentant. Acknowledge gratitude for this love through a changed life. Yearn to be like Him.

When I pray, I pray to The Good God. His goodness challenges me to step up my life. He is good to all. His mercy covers all His creation. Acknowledge love and acceptance for others unlike yourself. All are Hs creation and objects of His goodness and affection.

 Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Struggle through life issues with a confidence and reliance on the Great Lord. He is Lord. He is Master. He is Boss. He is In Charge. He is King. He is not here to do my bidding but for me to express His will and way.

In employment and business relationships I try to remember the parable of the talents. Jesus tells the story of a business operator who assigns assets to be managed by three men. Two are faithful and increase the value. One does nothing. In the end the businessman says to the two, “Enter into the joy of the Master.”

The joy and reward is most defined by the owner of the asset and the most powerful in the transaction. When I recognize that, I open myself to greater reward in negotiation and relationship.

Approach God open. Allow Him to define the terms of reward. Drop preconceived ideas of what you want and understand He only has good to give.

Stand before the Lord, Creator, Great Love, Good God and stare into His power and presence. He will change you and your circumstance.

07
Jun

Morning Moment – Position in Prayer 

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. Ps 16:1

The writer positions in God as he prays. We need that. We need to position to posture and to pose in our our mind and heart as we approach the Living God.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do You Stand in Front of the Lord of All?

Position with humility. Recognize He is God and I am nothing. Yet, in my nothing , He makes something. He makes worthy. He makes valuable. He makes able to stand before Him. No longer am I nothing. I deserve nothing and receive by grace everything as a free gift.

Position with gratefulness. Thank Him for all He brings. He brings life and life with abundance. He gives forgiveness and the freedom to walk without bondage of depression and anxiety and defeat.

Position with power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is on my side and your side. Stand there in His favor. Allow Him a place.

Position with confidence. Confidence builds through conquest. Problems rise and fall. We rise and fall in and through them. Rise more than fall. It is said the average strong business leader fails five times before striking on the right formula to success. Get up and go again. Stand up and sing again. Never stop singing. Never stop standing.

Approach the Lord of All with a calm dependence on Him and a sure readiness to act. Be ready for Him to support and you to work without tiring. Position heart and mind to succeed. Shake off failure and put on confidence. He invests in you. He believes in you. He will not make a bad investment.

28
May

Dad’s Tale on Memorial Day

I remember Dad today.  Early life was full of adversity, violence, and abandonment.  Tough stuff.  He prevailed through separations, unexplainable childhood expriences, and two wars on the ground. He prevailed through illnesses and raising a family. He prevailed with compassion for others who suffer and a spirit of self sacrifice for his family.  Money was never really important to him.  Have enough plus some to share.

WWII and Korea left indelible marks on his soul. He prevailed. His kids received the advantages he never knew. We did not have much but we had enough and a little to spare.  We all worked hard and young and enjoyed learning life.

Dad’s life marked my life and marks the lives of my children. We give freely of our time, talent, and treasure in many different ways. 

I’ve had opportunities to “make money” that would require stepping away from family and community action. People and family always won out over money and prestige.  Serving the heart of my Heavenly Father as best I could made my top list.  Others are called to make the money.  That is a good God calling. We must follow our call. I am called to serve in this path I walk.

Dad taught me that. Follow the call. Whether it be to be a manager or a minister or a millionaire follow the call not the desire or fad of the world.  Be who you are to the best. The world will fade. Dad lives on in the lives of others.

It is about the generations not the moment.

23
May

Retreat, evil! Advance, Christ!

Morning Moment of Power –

What about YOUR pain?

This morning I stopped in prayer for the tens of thousands we reach each week in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma and Northern Mexico and Central Oklahoma.  Many faces and names come to mind. Specific situations come to mind.

One is delivered instantly from a foreboding fear of death so evil it would wake him in the morning.  Another family is allowed to celebrate a big event that the normal evil wanted to stop. A woman crippled is given back her mobility with zero pain in an instant in prayer.  Children come home from foster care to a renewed family being built in faith not fear. Crime in our community went down 17% in the last year. 85% of those in community supervisor (probation) are completing their time against a national standard of 40%.  The daily miracles of life abundant are too numerous to list.

We sit in the shadow of the world’s largest casino where drugs, alcohol, violence, and human trafficking abound through the area and our community stares back and says, “Not here! Go away.”

It is not an easy road. TV preacher says, “Quit walking across the desert to serve those who won’t cross the street for you.” I am proud to serve Christ not Machivelli and grateful He crossed the expanse of eternity to serve me while I as yet broken, ungrateful, and self seeking. 

It is not a  easy road.  Some can only give a smile in return for great sacrifice. His grace is sufficient.

What about YOUR pain?

It is fine to read about someone else receiving a job after a drought of months of no paying work.  It is nice to take joy when a disease leaves someone else. What about me, Lord?

I simplified these verses and turned them into a declaration.  All the promises of God are YES in Christ.  When I walk in my new creation position in Him, I can see.  I can receive. Of course, I need to receive that new creation where old is past and all is new. I need to walk in Him and His grace not in myself.

Will you declare freedom in forgiveness?
Will you walk away from pain and embrace relief?

The decision can be hard. We love our pain. It gives us something to talk about.  We like sympathy it causes from others.  I like the power of freedom and the taste of strength and the satisfaction of evil running like a frightened dog.  I like the comfort of peace and security. I like the stability of Godliness and being surrounded by understanding love.  Those await all on the other side of pain and in the middle of the fight with pain.  When I accept my new position in Him, evil and pain begins a retreat into the invisible and ineffective. It may take a few days or months to get where you need to go.  It may be a bigger struggle than sitting down and living in pain. But, the walk becomes more peaceful and pain free every step I take toward Him and away from the normal evil of this world.

15
May

Opportunity from Disaster

Every disaster has potential opportunity.  These three wise women took action based on faith in God and faith in the future.

Consider their stories. Take time to open your Bible and read the story that surrounds each. Meditate on their actions.  I’ll post commentary and exposition through the week.
 Eve believed in life and men called on God.
Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord .Genesis 4:26

Naomi exampled faith and the heritage of Christ was set.
 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 NIV

Abigail overcame evil with good and a kingdom grew strong in God.
His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite. 1 Samuel 25:3