Thoughts and Musings for Hope Connection Faith


Discipleship – get it done

Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 HCSB

Realize now that the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be strong, and do it.”
1 Chronicles 28:10 HCSB

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”John 16:33 HCSB

I am certain that I will see the Lord ’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord ; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord .Psalms 27:13‭-‬14 HCSB

How much of the Lord do you want? Me? All of Him consuming all of me.

A few years back, I determined to make a difference in our fractured family landscape in the USA. 41% of children born with no marriage. 40% of children with no father in the home. Violence, abortion, abandonment, anger, alcohol and other drugs, and anxiety rule against peace and joy. A better life is available.

This journey is expensive financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. The Spirit of the Living God pours strength, peace, joy, and comfort in all these areas. He is faithful. He will get it done.

This morning, how are you doing on your journey with Him?

My days are spent face to face with situations that read like horror film plots. Media centers on horrific visible events and turns an apathetic eye to the daily storms that kill, maim, injure, and permanently damage thousands by the minute. We live in a terrorist nation, where we are the terrorists against our own sensibility. Our weapons of mass destruction are the mind, the tongue and the hand and they are bent on violence and manipulative control from the White House to your house. No place is safe.

And in all this, those in Jesus are more than conquerors. We are able in Him.

Last year I spent 10 months studying under top psychologists from the Beck Institute in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT is the best of the best psychological techniques to address addictive, violent, anxious, and depressive mental patterns. Great stuff. Limited. But, a good approach.

Every component of CBT can be found in more effective implementation in core Christian discipleship based on principles documented and established thousands of years ago in the Bible. Jesus said, “Make disciples.” He did not say, “Fill the seats on Sunday.” There is a huge difference in outcomes. Solid discipleship builds solid citizens who build solid families who fill solid congregations who build solid communities of right living, joyful living, and peaceful living.

Sensible Biblical disciples do not need legislation to tell them what to do. The have good discretion, sound wisdom principles, and compassionate intent.

Our next steps include building an onsite and online interactive Biblical learning and counseling center for discipleship. The mass of people overwhelms me. We must enable more who will enable more. We must get serious and urgent.

There is not enough time to share the miracle stories of this week. Let me share one. A young man we are training struggles significantly with suicidal thoughts. He came to me and verbally committed His future into the hands of Jesus and asked how he and his girl friend could be discipled. He did not use all the right words. He just asked. We agreed when and where to meet weekly. Discipleship is personal. It is an intentional, personal transference of wisdom. Discipleship helps a person take one step deeper in Christ-Life every day. He smiled, shook my hand firmly and thanked me. He has HOPE. He has a focus on Jesus. He is ready for a better life forward.

Back to you. I get tired. I get weary. I get exhausted. Maybe you do, too? Then I go back to that incredible history of miracle life change, the Bible. Go there. Find courage in Christ. Find hope in the Holy Spirit. Find faith in the Father. Continue your journey in Jesus.

Like David said to Solomon as he passed the torch, “Be strong and of good courage and get it done.”


Easter Is Big This Year at Hope Connection!

That’s right.  Easter is Big. Resurrect the Power of Jesus in your life, family, and friendships this Easter.

We’ve pulled out all the stops for you, North Texas and South Oklahoma.

Come Easter Morning at 10.30am and evening at 7pm for an on fire experience with God.

Then join us on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with great friends,who understand the anointing of the Holy Spirit of Jesus.

Solid, Biblical answers.  No fluff. No fanaticism. This is solid, biblical answers.  Signs, wonders, miracles, healing for body, mind, emotions, relationships, finances, family, friendships, wisdom and well being.

It starts with works of unity and partnership and prayer and fasting.

The Christian season of Lent started this year on Valentine’s Day.  What a joyous celebration of Love and Sacrifice joins us this year.

Community Lenten Luncheons start on Feb. 21st.

Community Sunrise Service is 7am on Easter




Tested Souls

Morning Moment
These days of testing strain my soul. This missionary life is a challenge worth living. This missionary life gets old.

Have you entered a path before that resists all sensible success? The measurements fail to report the real impact and influence? Those are hard days.

Many endeavors will only show fruit visible to others after you have moved to another endeavor. You must continue in faith not fact. You must center your days in Christ not conquest.

During a year of depressive business results, I struggled silently. In conference with my senior executive I struggled out loud. He was an honest man, so forthright conversation was easy. Honest men are rare.

John looked at me and said, “Phil, you will find in your hardest years, you have grown the most.”

He believed in me. He spoke faith into me. We need those people.

At the close of a prosperous year, under different leadership, the response was not so warm. This cockle-hearted executive glared and shared political lies. The demeanor showed neither belief in me nor the project. (Read here for good stories of good leaders Five Leadership Tips for Tough Times Every Mature Executive Needs to Learn.

In both moments the words of Rudyard Kipling simmer up from my memory.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

It is a trap to let the confidence or lack of confidence of others be your guide.

In Christ, we have a confidence based on a living hope. He is that hope. He believes in us and stands with us in measured and unmeasured success. He keeps us with His power and ability. Our power and ability is temporary at best and short lived at times. The measurements change with the whims and wants of others.

In Christ, the measuring stick stays the same. He looks at but one point of decision. Are you in the family? Have you surrendered your life to the Father through Him? All else falls to the side and He keeps, protects, guides, forgives, and empowers based on that truth. In hard fought losses and wins, He is on your side.

May you place yourself in His abundant grace this day.


A Lonely Moment?

Sure cure for loneliness is perfect peace in Jesus. We crave people. We must have Christ.
Psa.25.16.niv Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
“I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust.” Hudson Taylor

There are days and moments that any and all of us experience great loneliness. The sense that we carry a burden and none can share it is a heavy load. It comes. We shoulder it. We wonder why it should be this way.

It is not that others do not care. It is not that others do not want to share. It is that we have an assignment that is ours alone. We have been built for such moments as this.

Hudson Taylor was a great man, who dedicated himself to serving the people of China. Many times he would be without comfortable friends or family and unable to reach back to them. There were no cell phones or even telephones in the remote places he served. He writes in one intensely lonely moment, “I am so weak that I can hardly write, I cannot read my Bible, I cannot even pray, I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child, and trust.” That is a hard place to be, but one that finds us all at some time in life.

Let’s Pray: Father, this is your child, Phil. You are the Father of All Comfort. I bring my friend to Your throne today. If there be any moment of loneliness, I ask that You fill it with Your presence. If there be any moment of lack, I ask that You be the full supply. Carry my friend Father, into a place of knowing You are there. Sometimes, Father, You are all we have. That is enough.


Disciples Resist Bitterness #4

A tremendous well written lesson for disciples on handling disappointments.  A disciple pushes through these.

Where has disappointment and bitterness stopped you in the past?

Which of the approaches in the article will you apply this week?


Purposeful Disciple #3

A strong follower or disciple is full of purpose. Make no mistake. When we follow right leadership, our individual purpose and design becomes clear.  At first, as we apply ourselves, we must sort through desires of our selfish nature and find the desires of the Lord for us.  This takes time and commitment to follow through when we are confused, hurt, pained, and problematic. Blame this on leaders and you fail in faith and fall in the path. Accept personal responsibility and community accountability and find growth and positive maturity.

Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?
Proverbs 20:6 NIV

Have you been angry with a lease because they did not do life your way?  Are you mature enough to go back and ask forgiveness?

Mistaking Purpose for Judgement

Strong purpose may be intimidating. Out desire bumps the purpose of another. They continue the journey seemingly with no compassion for our thoughts and feelings.  Just because you think it does not make it true. Just because you feel it does not make it right.
As leaders, assume they have compassion. Compassion wants the best for another. The leader sees a path to positive growth and wants you to follow. The intensity with which they pursue God should challenge you to a higher life. You will find pain as you cast off personal desire and take on the image of Christ, ready to give up all position, accolades, and post to grow and achieve the focus of the Father.
You might ‘feel’ judged and ‘be’ experiencing sharpening of focus and purpose. Love believes the good of all things not the bad. Believe the good and you will grow.  Believe the bad and you fail both in the love of Christ and in His design for your life.

Where have you missed an opportunity to build a follower in kindness?  Look for the next opportunity.  Do no dwell on your mistakes. Learn and live.

Toxic Leaders

Toxic leaders exist. They are the exception, not the rule.  When you fail under many leaders, it is probably you that needs fixed. God believes in you. He sends you to learn, again and again. Settle and learn. Quit moving.

Real toxic leaders are dangerous and few. An abusive style that uses people to attain personal agenda is toxic. An ego trip leader will see success by world standards, but not life change in followers. A leader may carry a wound that wounds others. That leader is not necessarily toxic, just human. There are No Perfect People. Leaders need grace, too. Discern the difference. Drop your judgementalism of leaders if you want to grow.

Have you been wounded by a toxic leader? How have you allowed God to heal your soul so you can serve under a normal leader without being overly sensitive?

Welcome Leader, I Receive You

Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.  And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Matthew 10:41‭-‬42 NIV

A disciple of Christ is a good follower and gives respect while developing a sense of purpose and design.  It is a God process.  Engage with leaders. Learn and serve. Do not let yourself be abused, but remember much is not abuse but a sifting of the chaff from your life and a sharpening of the saw of your purpose and design.

Who is leading who needs your thanks?  How can you express gratitude in a tangible way this week?

Be a Good Disciple. Be blessed.
I love you because the Great Love loves me.

When you complete this study reply in below


Bold To Victory – Disciple #2

Who am I in Christ?  That is a big question.  The weak and watered down gospel of rescue is far from what Jesus taught.  He taught victory over sin and situation.  He taught kingdom living.  He taught rescue from the power of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  He taught son-ship with the Heavenly Father.  He taught unity and peace.  He taught service to all.  He taught discipleship, following, and radical change of heart and direction.  Dare to be a Disciple.

Let’s examine three more aspects of the a Christian Disciple.  You want to know who you are now that you are following Christ in conjunction with His leaders.  Jesus worked through the principle of leadership. He selected 12 to be leaders to initiate the work of the kingdom in the church, the body of Christ.  He appointed 70 to be instigators of miracles and change.  He baptized 120 with His Holy Spirit to set off the historic birth of the church on the day of Pentecost.  Jesus lives through leaders and followers.

In Him I am a conqueror, I am confident and I am connected.  These three aspects will be our focus for the next few minutes.

I am a conqueror in Him.

Confess that.  Pray that.  Declare it over your heart and mind and body.  This life will strip you and attempt to get you to live in defeat.   Resist through your position in Christ and the power of the gospel, the good news of conquest.  A middle-aged truck driver pulled me aside for a talk.  “Pastor Phil, I want to tell you something.  When God began to send Black folk into the congregation, I became angry.  My whole life, I have hated Blacks.  But I decided I could be bigger.  So every time I come to service, I make it a point to sit by someone who is Black and get to know them.  At first, I would get angry and hot.  Now, after a few months, I have no problems.  I am joyful to sit with anyone in the congregation no matter how much they are different than me.” This man found himself in Christ.  He discovered that he was a conqueror, who is not bound to old ways and old ideas and old habits.  He expressed his conquering position through love and acceptance and repentance from dead ideas.   Romans 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

What area of life resists being conquered?  Have you taken the time to search out the Bible for a promise that empowers?  Have you let leadership guide you in your search?

I am confident in Him.

Confess that.  Pray that.  Cover your thoughts with it.  I am confident in HIm.  Loss breeds discontent. Discontent destroys confidence.  Confidence is a given in Christ.  It is a privilege and gift.  We don’t have to go and get it, but we do have the honor to live and use it.  A young director I know struggled with confidence.  At his annual appraisal with his senior executive, he admitted this had been his worst year yet.  It seemed that at the end of the year, no significant progress had been made on goals.  It was frustrating to him.  The executive looked directly into his eyes and told him that he would find that during his hardest years he would discover that he had grown the most.  His confidence boomed at that point.  He got it.  Results don’t build confidence.  It is an inside job.  In Christ, the inside job of building confidence goes on daily as the hidden man of the heart is developed over and over.  Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

What have you lost that makes you feel less than confident?  What has God given you to make up for that loss?

I am connected in Him.

Confess that.  Pray that. Resist the way of the world.  One of the biggest struggles of our century is an ailment title ‘attachment disorder’.   Many write of this ailment only in relationship to how it affects children.  Children grow up into men and women.

Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments to primary care giving figures in early childhood.” Wikipedia

Our nation is full of adults, who grew up fatherless and detached.  It is an harbinger of domestic violence and constant change in relationships.  The average person only stays in a congregation from 18 to 36 months and then moves on.  Over and over we detach and struggle.  In Christ this is not necessary.  We have a healing attachment through Jesus to the Father from whom every family gets its name and call.  We are connected in Christ.

This connection needs to be chosen.  Like all of the positions and powers we are given in Christ, we must choose to live in them.  We are to put on Christ. We are to conform to His image of us and not the image of the world.  Get connected.  Stay connected.  Through problem and pain, there is no reason to escape connections.  That is the way of the world, not the position of a believer.  Get connected and stay connected.  It is your heritage.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Are you connected in a local congregation where you give love and service as much as you receive it?  Make the commitment.  Join.


We are conquerors, we have confidence, and we have been connected in Christ.  These are our inheritance in Him.  In Jesus, we live and move and have our being.  Know who you are, what you have been given, and how to live your new life.  I love you and appreciate you.  Are you in Christ?  Then I love you and appreciate you.
Connect.  Tell me what you have learned that strengthens you today or share a prayer need



Accepted in the family. Servant to Christ Disciple #1

What is a disciple?  How do I become one?

A mentor asked me, “Do you teach those you disciple who they are in Christ?”

Our discussion covered how hard it seems for many to find rest in Christ and His goodness and live as disciples serving Him and others.  For a moment, I scratched my head and thought about my example and my teaching.  Am I being clear?  Am I being declarative?  Am I being challenging?

A disciple is a follower:

Humor me.  Do you call me pastor?  That would make you a disciple.  A disciple is a follower.  In a kids ministry, one of the workers came to me and said, “Pastor Phil, I prayed over the phone with one of the students this week.  You do that with me.  You just pray while we are on the phone.  You don’t wait to another time.  You just do it.  So I am doing that also.”  She is a disciple.  She is a follower.  Followers receive blessing.  John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 

Have you faithfully gone out into your world to bring others to meet the rest of the congregation family?

Do you deeply love and serve other members of the congregation?

A disciple is a servant:

Donese brought her family to the church campus.  I quit counting at 110 and know there were 20 more.  The blessing of watching people play volleyball, cook catfish, enjoy fellowship, and fill the parking lot is good.  Watching her run about setting tables, serving food, and checking to make sure all had a good time is good.  She served.  She served her family. She served the church, the congregation.  She served me as pastor. A disciple is a servant.  It was joy to share scripture, a lesson, and prayer with the family. Servants receive blessing. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

How can you serve the church family and your pastor this week?

How can you serve your home family and friends this week?

A disciple has authority:

While speaking at the mission, people were being healed of physical and emotional diseases.  The speaker was one that attended a Bible school, where I taught.  She took what she saw and learned and gave it out to others.  Her authority came from her submission.  In Christ, she had all authority.  As a submitted disciple, she was placed in a position to reach others and she ministered out of what she learned and saw.  Jesus uses lines of authority to enable and release us. While we all report directly to the King of Kings, He releases authority through submission not pride or arrogance or independence.  Disciples have authority. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Is there a need where authority would break you free?

Are you submitted and listening to leadership so that authority flows through you freely?

There is more:

This is just a small lesson, but powerful.  Begin to live it and you will find more peace with God.  I’ll be obedient to teach you who you are in Christ in my example and with clarity.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.


Confess Your Discipleship Position in Christ

I am a follower. I choose to follow the leadership chosen for me and to follow Christ in all I say, do, and think. John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 

I am a servant. I look for opportunities to serve my family, friends, my church family, and my leaders. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

I have authority. I am under authority and live with authority in Christ. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.








Fit For Service

Morning Moment 4 Lent
You are Loved – Made Fit
The powerful truth of the Cross on this Good Friday is forgiveness. All the mistaken living and imperfect obedience of our life is forgiven when we accept. Yes, we must accept and commit our lives to Christ to enter into that forgiveness.
Some believe that because of the Cross all will enter into heaven.. What a horrible surprise, when they die, meet Christ and He says, “I never knew you. You did not enter into the family.”
Don’t be surprised. Don’t let your friends and family be surprised by an eternity of punishment and separation. Share this note today on a great Good Friday.
I’d love to hear today that you entered into the family in solid faith.
When a person genuinely confesses and repents that we are not able to live up to the perfect love of God, I make mistakes, I deserve the punishment.
When a person hands over their life to Christ and asks Him to come in and live in me and guide me and be my Lord.

In sold out faith I step into the family of God and accept that now through Christ’s death I am offered forgiveness, through His resurrection, I am offered life eternal and that I am now in His family and He is my Lord and Master and God is my Father forever.

This is a transaction of giving up my broken life and taking on His perfect life. I am no longer in charge. He is in charge of my life. He makes me fit for living and brings joy unspeakable.

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.