Thoughts and Musings


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.


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Conforming to Christ


Download this powerful tool.

Our challenge is to conform our thoughts to the path of the Lord.

This tool, used on a regular basis will engage and enable the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Bible to see that happen.

You may get stuck when identifying an appropriate scripture to help you progress.

Email me and I’ll help.


Faithful in Fear

Christ is faithful even when we think ourselves faithless. Fear and failure, friend, are faithful teachers of exemplary courage. ;-{)

This morning as I remember you in prayer, I think of the face of a friend recently when I asked how I could pray for them. Shock responded. Their face was incredulous that I would pray for them. “What me? I am living in horrible mistaken moments and imperfect obedience (my definition for sin). You would pray for me? God would listen to me and my mess?” It was written all over the face.

Too often we pray for our mistakes instead of praying for our success. Pray for success. Pray for standing on the mountain top instead of wallowing in the shadow of a weeping willow.

Elijah was a man of like passions to us. I love the stories of Elijah. One of the greatest miracle workers of all history found himself at the footstool of fear and failure.

1 Kings 19: 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

The story goes on and he finds his footing again in faith and courage and goes on to serve for many more years in power and success.

Let’s Pray: Father, sometimes we find ourselves standing on the rickety footstool of failure and fear. But we don’t live there. That is not our home. Our strength and courage lie in faith and faithfulness. You are faithful. You are full of strength and courage. Let us embrace that and move to higher ground.


MOSAICS Immigrant – Migrant – Transitory

Lent is a season of introspection, confession, and repentance. It is a good time to review our intentions and motivations as individuals and as a nation.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
As we begin the introspection let’s be honest. Much of what we hear in the media and from pulpits is focused on the law not on Christ.   That is a falling away from grace.  Let’s be sensitive.  Persecution of the children brought illegally into the states and persecution of families is something not on God’s agenda.  He is greatly opposed to such action.
Exodus 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
God took strangers, illegal immigrants and made them into the nation of Israel. Seems like He has a soft spot.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  
God places strangers, travelers, in our society as messengers.  We need to distinguish between those He sends and arranges and those that just happen and those sent of an enemy.
So given these three premises, let’s take a look at our world.
Migrants:  Migrants are people who come and go into and out of a culture or area.  We have a migratory population in the church.  People come and go.  They “come to Jesus” and then return to their normal chaos and personal control. We have a migratory population in our nation.  People come and go.  They are here for a season to do a job or visit, but have no intention of staying for a lifetime.  In the church and in our nation, we need a place for these people to exist, thrive, and have free return to their world.  They can contribute fellowship and friendship for a season.
Immigrants:  Immigrants are those that come to merge into a culture or area. We have an immigrant population in the church.  People come and stay.  They come and commit to the Lordship of Christ and grow into disciples in support, attendance, prayer, worship, fellowship, study and life.  Sometimes they come in with questions and concerns and don’t know that they are going to stay and then they change, they commit.  We have an immigrant population in our nation.  People come and stay. Sometimes they come through an initial illegal means.  They have questions and concerns and then they change, they commit.  They become us.
Transitory:  Transitory people can be dangerous.  They come dangerous.  They come to take, to abuse, and to vilify others.  These are not migrants. There are transitory people in the church.  They are predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They do damage.  They gossip and slander and undermine unity.  They need to be rooted out.  There are transitory people in our nation.  They live in the dark shadows of crime and abuse.  They capture women and force them into human traffic situations.  They abuse. They steal, kill, and destroy.  They need to be rooted out.
When my father was without parents, another family took him in.  He was a migrant,an orphan. At birth and later when his mother was killed. He was a migrant.  A man named George Ollie took him into his home for a season and raised him.  George was an immigrant.  At ten years old, George hid on a boat from Syria to Mexico.  His father was working on the boat.  George was left in Mexico for a year and then his father brought him into the states.  They became citizens.  My father was raised by a Middle Eastern stowaway smuggled in from Mexico.  A migrant become immigrant.  Sometimes strangers become angels.  George was my father’s angel and mine.
Our summation:
Be sensitive in the church and in the neighborhood to who is with us and why.
Stay clear of being too engaged in the pure legal definitions.  You might miss your greatest blessing.
Remember you were a migrant when you came into the church and became an immigrant.

The Tricky Part is Timing

There is nothing that can resist the power of an idea, whose time has come. Get the idea and the timing in sync and POW!
One of my mentors says it this way, “Nothing, nothing, nothing, POW!”
Incremental and intentional steps develop momentum that moves mountains.

Since locating to Gainesville, it is my firm opinion there is a need for an innovative, dynamic, and enterprising church. Radical. Idealistic. Founded on thousands of years of considered and revealed truth focused on today with a tenacious grasp of wisdom and well being, a prosperity of mind, heart, body, soul, relationships, and economic health and stability. That place where all cultures mix and intersect and develop mind share. That place where we all discover truth and apply it to life in practical moments. Live a Biblically sound, currently practical and authentic faith.

Que problema es (the problem is), the critical mass has not been present of the right number of people with the right heart. Those interested were much more interested in leaving Gainesville to find leadership, opportunity and social connection. Even those that live here look elsewhere. The angst of an area depressed over itself and lacking a defined hope for a self-fulfilled future is lifting. That is changing. That is a good change.

Otra problema es (another problem is), the church as a whole has been insensitive, stodgy, and disconnected from the deep issues of life this generation faces. The answers have been here all along. The delivery vehicle is antiquated. Some have reached back to 90’s mode flashing lights and entertainment and applied a name and face change to the same stuff. That is good for a season, but the face falls off eventually and real change is exchanged for religion with a new face.

Really, this is a day to strip back and get to original intent and engagement. The Christian church was established in the streets, market places, and homes of the community. Face up discussion and a faith that moved mountains interrupted life as usual and demanded attention from the community. That is progressive. That is radical. That is right.


Wisdom for Life and Living

Hello, this is the Think Doctor, Pastor Phil coming to you with wisdom for life and living.

That is how I start out the 1-2 minute devotional blurbs. And I mean it. Hope C is all about bringing you into a place of wisdom and well being through discovered truth. Truth undiscovered is like the tree that falls in the forest with no one around. Did it make a sound? Yes. Was the sound of any value to you? No. It passed by and you missed getting the value.

Let’s examine the power and impact of these verses. Let’s discover and uncover the truth that will set you free in body, mind, spirit, emotions, relationships, and finances. The truth brings wisdom and well being in all areas of life in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Summary: The Thessalonians found that by imitating the leaders sent of God and imitating Christ that they entered into a life of joy and escape out of severe suffering. This was such a powerful testimony that it became known everywhere. They left the old life and found a new one full of joy and power from that day forward.

1. They became imitators

2. They welcomed the message in the middle of severe suffering

3. Their reception was so powerful and the joy so evident it RANG OUT to others.

4. Others repeated the message of the living and true God, Christ.

So, let’s walk through this snippet out of testimony from these great people. These are people just like us. There was nothing special about them until they connected with the power of the joy of the Holy Spirit in Christ. We have the same opportunity. We can become imitators, receive, drop our suffering, and become models for others. Yes, we can. Yes, you can.

On facebook a friend posted a video story that I love. She pointed out that she had learned this lesson in one of our workshops from me. She is becoming an imitator. She is ringing out the message of wisdom in living for others to follow.

When I met this person, she was not showing her happy. There were issues that needed resolving. She was determined to do something different with her life and received the message with joy. Well, not a first. At first, she wanted to punch me out. But she changed. She opened up and received in the midst of severe suffering. Now her reception is so powerful, it is ringing out to others and they are repeating the message.

There is great freedom in Christ. Now, the part of the message in this video is only a part. What about the bigger message?



The fire of life is a consuming agent meant to cleanse and strengthen. It sure does not feel like it when you are in it.

Oh, trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it. And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, But only how did you take it. Edmund Vance Cooke

A good friend and mentor reminded me this morning that when God is prepping us for good things, the enemy launches defensive attack to stop us. Jesus knew this in the garden and prayed for us. In my struggle to stay on top of issues instead of buried by them, I needed that loving reminder. Maybe it can encourage you also.

When Jesus prayed for us in His last recorded prayer before his execution on the cross, He prayed ‘a full measure of joy’ along with a commission to live in this world “as it is not as we would have it” (Serenity Prayer – Niehbur).

He let us know that the systems of the world will hate us. How true is that today? Education, government, politics, arts, even benevolence would like to crush the heart of a believer in Christ. Even knowing that it is only the presence of that heart of genuine compassion birthed in Christ that is the eternal engine of dignity and hope in the very world that rejects Him.

It is the heart of real Christianity that sees there is neither male nor female nor black nor white nor EU nor USA in God’s family. There are just people for whom He died and lives and unites. It is the real heart of Christians that treats all with dignity even in disagreement. And it is that heart that is hated because it convicts and convinces of mistaken living and imperfect obdience.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 17:13‭-‬19 NIV

When you read this prayer, pray it over yourself and your leaders. Pray in agreement with Jesus.

Father, I agree with Christ as He stands in front of You on my behalf right now. Fill us with the full measure of His joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that shines bright in the middle of a lost and distorted generation filled with violence and greed and self fulfillment.
Your word is a lamp to us, a light to our path in the dark. We are hated for living Your word and heart. Days can be cold. Never let our hearts get cold to reach out with hope and life in Jesus. No matter the rejection, the lack of gratefulness or persecution, never let us be bitter or cold.
We are not of the world any more than Jesus is of the world. My prayer is not that you take us out of the world but that you protect us from the evil one. Sanctify us by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent Jesus into the world, you have sent us into the world. We accept and acknowledge our selection and calling as hard as it may be. For us Jesus sanctified Himself, that we too may be truly sanctified, equipped, and set out for this special task each and every day.

Stand strong, a generation separated from God needs you. You are loved and appreciated in the highest court of heaven by the King of the Universe.