Friday, November 30, 2012


Photo from

The Biblical Book of Acts tells the story of King Herod's wrongful imprisonment of Peter who was a disciple of Christ and a leader of the early Church.  Chapter 12 Verse 5 says "So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the Church to God."  Not only did the Church pray for Peter but in Verses 6 - 12 we are told that the Lord sent an Angel who supernaturally freed Peter from the prison.  Not much doubt that those prayers were answered in a big way.

Many leaders find themselves facing great trials much like Peter.  While they may not be physically imprisoned they are often restrained by the fear of the consequences of big decisions or may be paralyzed by indecision in the face of uncertainty.  The leaders sometimes find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations where their failure would most certainly affect their lives and the lives of those they lead.

Photo from
How many members pray for the leadership of their church routinely?  How many citizens pray for the leadership of their country each day?  How many employees regularly pray for the leaders of their organizations?  The Church learned thousands of years ago about the power of prayer and the miracles it could accomplish.

What if we fervently prayed:
  • That our Pastors and Staff would be empowered with crystal clear teachings divinely delivered from God that spoke clearly to each and every person who heard the Word and those who heard the Word responded in complete obedience to the Word becoming servants in their communities and devoting themselves to making their communities places of peace, harmony and cooperation.
  • That God would fill the hearts and minds of our President and nation's leaders with His commandments such that the actions and accomplishments of the leaders would result in the establishment of a nation where hard work, justice, respectfulness, kindness, service and selflessness were the cornerstones of daily life.
  • That the Presidents and CEOs of large corporations would lead their organizations to seek the betterment of the consumers they serve, to make a positive difference in the lives of their employees and to seek to return even more to the communities they operate in than they take.
Almost everyone who has ever earnestly sought God in prayer knows that He answers prayers according to His will.  You wonder just how different our world could be.  WHAT IF WE PRAYED for the leaders in our lives routinely; what might God do for us?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


In Judges 14 the story of Samson's trip to claim his Philistine wife is told. Samson belonged to a people called the Nazirites. While there was no strict prohibition against a Nazirite marrying a Philistine woman, Samson was wrong in pursuing her because her people worshiped false gods. Samson's parents strongly advised him to consider marrying within his own tribe which were people who worshiped the living God. But Samson did not heed their wise counsel.

On his way to secure his Philistine bride Samson was surprised by an attack from a wild lion. God came to Samson's aid and gave him super human strength to kill the lion. Now you would think an encounter like that might cause one to reconsider the rest of the trip.  Not Samson.  Undeterred by the extraordinary encounter with the lion Samson continued on and collected his Philistine bride.

On the return trip to his home Samson passed by the dead lion carcass only to find it filled with delicious honey. It was so tempting that Samson tasted the honey. Other than being a little "gross" that probably doesn't sound like a big deal.  But the Nazirites lived by strict vows that prohibited them from touching anything dead as it was considered unclean.  So the decision to take a bride he shouldn't have put him in a position where he committed an even more serious offense against God.

Warning shots.  Everyone understands the concept.  You get too close to some place you're not supposed to be and someone fires a warning shot overhead.  Not meant to harm you but instead to make you stop and think about what you are about to do or enter.  I don't know for sure but for some reason I think God was trying to get Samson's attention with the lion encounter.  In a sense it was a warning shot.

Here are a few things as leaders we should consider about "warning shots":
  • When wise people offer us counsel we should always take and weigh it very seriously.  We rarely see things we are close to or emotionally involved with as objectively as those who are removed from it.
  • If we decide to proceed against the judgment of wise counsel we should be on the look out for signs that our decision may not have been well advised.  I'm not suggesting that we be "superstitious" or continually second guess ourselves.  But if we proceed against the recommedation of wise counsel just be sure that if something unusual happens along the "road" to the final objective to be sure to give the circumstances due consideration before continuing on.
  • Even if you achieve your goal while going against the advice of wise counsel be cautious that your success does not blind you to other risks that may present themselves as benefits of your success.  It's easy to make a big mistake in a moment of supreme self-confidence.
While we may not always follow the advice of wise counsel we should always pay attention to things that happen along the way when we take a path that strays from the advice of wise counsel - just in case a WARNING SHOT gets fired.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


A few weeks ago as I was travelling around I had occasion to hear a single statistic about abortion rates that had me in tears moments later as I began to think about what the statistic actually meant.  Surely, I thought, there was a better way than the horrible picture I had in my mind.  After some thought about it I came to realize there were alternatives to abortion that are simple, effective and achievable.  Elective abortions are not a necessary fact of life.

Here Are Some Facts about Abortion

Sonogram of Baby In Womb
According to statistics published by the Guttmacher Institute, a nationally recognized abortion information source, approximately 3,300 babies will be aborted today. In a year’s time approximately 1,200,000 (1.2 Million) babies will be aborted. Since 1973 approximately 55,000,000 (55 Million) babies have been aborted. And this is in the United States of America ALONE.

According to the world renowned Mayo Clinic within a couple weeks after conception a baby's organs are already forming. Just four weeks after conception the baby's heart is pumping blood. Within days after the heart begins to function the arms, legs, hands and feet begin to emerge. At seven weeks after conception the baby's arms grow, develop bones and bend at the elbow as toes form and eyelids and ears continue developing. Almost 40% of abortions occur after this point of development when the heart, head, brain, arms and legs are already formed in the womb.

According the Orlando Women’s Center the predominate methods of abortion in the United States are: Menstrual Extraction where a hand held manual suction device along with a sterile curette (a specially formed hook/scraper) is inserted inside the cervix and the "pregnancy tissue" is removed; Dilation and Curettage (D&C) where the cervix is anesthetized and dilated followed by insertion of a sterile curette the size of a straw inside the uterus and the "pregnancy tissue" is removed; Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) where the cervix is dilated and softened and where special forceps maybe be used to help to manually pull out the "pregnancy tissue" inside the uterus; and Medical Abortions where drugs are used to induce destruction and elimination of the "pregnancy tissue".

And Here Is Where It Starts

Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice the clear losers in the debate are the aborted children who are not afforded the right of choice. They are sentenced to death with no rights, no due process and no chance. Inside the womb in the one place a baby should be safe from harm they are poisoned, crushed during extraction or in effect stabbed and pulled out in other procedures. All these actions are considered crimes outside the womb and would be considered an atrocity of the greatest proportions if they were carried out against a baby outside the womb.

Yes, I’m aware I am using the terms “baby” and “inside the womb” together. Yes I am aware that makes me sound as if I am taking the position that a human life exists within the womb prior to the birthing process occurring. The question of exactly what this "pregnancy tissue" is that is chemically destroyed or mechanically extracted from the womb during abortion will be debated for time to come. Regardless which side of the debate you choose, let me make the proposition that elective abortion is almost always unnecessary if we accept responsibility for our personal actions and consider the following simple alternatives.

Alternatives to Abortion

The following simple alternatives could eliminate any possibility that a life is being taken during an elective abortion procedure:

Accountability is making the clear choice to take responsibility to raise a child that is conceived as a result of sexual intercourse. If you choose to have sex you choose to accept responsibility for any outcome.

Abstinence is making the clear choice to refrain from sexual intercourse to eliminate any possibility of unwanted conception occurring.

Contraception is making the clear choice to take responsible action to significantly reduce the possibility of unwanted conception occurring as a result of sexual intercourse.

Adoption is a responsible alternative for children born to parents who choose not to raise the children or are otherwise unable to care for the children.

There is no situation that can develop where one of these four alternatives is not preferable to elective abortion and the risk of being wrong about when life begins. But they all require that we accept personal responsibility for our actions.

In Closing
I’ve presented simple, reasonable and well known alternatives to elective abortions. I didn't come up with them.  They are not new or unique.  They are not based on religion.  They are not judgmental. They are alternatives that only require us to take personal responsibility for our own actions to avoid being placed in a situation where elective abortion becomes a consideration.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I cannot close without sharing what God has revealed in scripture that is relevant to the act of elective abortion.  These are not personal judgments about any one's actions.  They are simply statements of what is found in the Bible and why abortion tends to lead to other problems in our lives.

Life begins at conception in the womb. In Psalm 139:13-16 David says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”  It's clear that life exists in the womb.  We inherently know it whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.  That is why many people become depressed and have difficulty dealing with the elective decision to abort a baby.

Elective abortion is sinful fact the Bible considers it murder. Because I believe life begins at conception in the womb and Jesus said in Matthew 19:18 “…You shall not murder…” I have no choice but to accept that elective abortion is sinful and murder since the process of elective abortion is a willful act to end a life that has been conceived in the womb.  We are called to care for babies from conception as in Psalm 127:3 scripture says “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  God places a sense of sanctity for life within each of us and that is another reason why many people become depressed and have difficulty dealing with the elective decision to abort a baby.

Personal responsibility for sexual activity prevents the need for the majority of elective abortions. The large majority of elective abortions are reported as performed on unmarried women.  That does not mean it is the sole responsibility of the unmarried woman.  The Bible is very clear that sex outside of marriage is not permissible for men or women. In I Thessalonians it is said “…that you abstain from sexual immorality;”. Scripture is clear that sex is only to occur between husband and wife as to do otherwise is immoral.  Immoral activity, sin, always leads to undesirable consequences - in the case of sex outside of marriage it can lead to the elective decision to abort a baby.

Forgiveness is available for those in need. If you or someone you know has chosen to electively abort a baby it is not a hopeless situation where we can never come to live with what has happened. We have all made mistakes in our lives and we all sin sometimes without understanding the full nature or consequences of our actions. The amazing thing about God’s grace is that He is willing to forgive us for any sins that we commit as stated in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No matter what we have done God will forgive us if we seek Him.  It is His Promise to us.  For information on God’s forgiveness you can visit at or speak with a Christian pastor.
There are alternatives to elective abortion and they require that we TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HUMAN LIFE.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Much has been written in the 20th and 21st centuries about the responsibilities of business leaders. Peter Drucker, Stephen Covey, John Maxwell and others have written extensively on the subject. Many have approached the topic from a contemporary secular point of view and a select few have written from a more biblical perspective.

The Bible addresses the responsibilities of leaders in Colossians 4:1 as follows: “Masters give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in Heaven.”

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary has this to say about Colossians 4:1; “Employers also have a duty not to take advantage of employees. Instead they should offer a just wage, proper benefits, and adequate rest. In contemporary societies, many of these benefits are required by government regulations.”

So if Colossians 4:1 is the leader’s instruction, let’s dig a little deeper. Part of the instruction is “to be fair”. The Online Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary says fair is “marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.”

Impartiality implies treating all equally or indiscriminately. How many leaders’ careers have been shortened as a result of terminations and litigation resulting from discriminatory actions? A quick query through Google on the topic returned 1.4 million hits (in 0.42 seconds). It’s a safe bet it’s happened a time or two.

What can cause a leader to be impartial or to discriminate? Here are a couple of common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Preferential Treatment - Some leaders fall into a trap of providing preferential treatment to those they befriend; those they have similar interests with; those who are of the same race or sex. In God’s eyes we are all the same. In Galatians 3:28 we read: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." God does not treat us preferentially. God is impartial, loves us all equally and we are likewise instructed to live in a God like manner.

  • Dishonesty - Honesty is a component of fairness. We all believe we know what honesty is. James defined it like this in James 5:12: “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.” In other words, be truthful. Speak the truth and act the truth. Lying and cheating are dishonest - period. In general, if you have doubts about whether you are being honest or not it would be best to examine your motives very carefully.

In summary, being a good Christian leader means to "do as you say you will do" while treating everyone in the same fair and just manner. Pay the employee who you share friendship with outside of work in the same manner as you do any other employee. Treat the employee who is of a different race or sex the same as you do the employee who is just like you. Do exactly what you commit to do even when it may come at a cost to you personally. As a leader IF YOU TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES FAIRLY AND JUSTLY YOU WILL FIND YOUR FAIR AND JUST REWARD – the favor and blessings of God.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Every truly great organization, secular or Christian, consists of great leaders at all levels of the organization. Leaders are often defined as those who influence individuals or groups to think, feel and take positive action to achieve goals. Based on that definition one could say that all Christians are called to be leaders. How so? Matthew 28:19-20 calls for Believers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;…”. This call from God to make disciples of or to “evangelize” all nations is actually a call to leadership for every Christian. By sharing the Gospel Message Believers "influence others by causing them to think, feel and take positive action" when they receive the Gospel Message. It is important to note that the Believer is only able to influence others to action by sharing the Gospel Message with them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict a non-believer of their sin and true need for repentance. Scripture is clear that God intended to use Believers as leaders in His plan to make disciples of all nations.

Every great organization, secular or Christian, understands what its key challenges are and develops strategic missions and plans to achieve its goals. And the Church has quite a challenge in “making disciples of all the nations”. While much of the world has been reached estimates are that about 35% or better of the world has yet to hear the Gospel Message. According to the Joshua Project ( ) approximately 7,000 of the estimated 16,600 People Groups in the world have yet to be effectively reached. People Groups are simply a breakdown of the various nations of the world and groups within each nation. That means roughly 3 BILLION people are at risk of dying without hearing the Gospel Message. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 70,000 people die per day in this world without ever hearing of the Good News of Jesus Christ. That startling statistic alone is reason for a sense of urgency in evangelism efforts. The body of Christ still has a lot of work to do when it comes to the spread of the Gospel Message. And therein lays the great need for Believers to embrace their roles as leaders. In Matthew 24:14 we are told “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” God has placed a great responsibility on our shoulders and we are not done until the entire world is reached.

Every great organization, secular or Christian, must assume responsibility at all levels of the organization for achieving its stated plans and goals to be successful. If ever a time existed for Christians to step forward and take charge in the field of evangelism it is today. The call to evangelize all nations is clear in scripture, there is much to be done and the challenges are many. According to the Joshua Project for every dollar of Christian giving only one penny goes towards Church planting in the un-reached People Groups. Financial reforms in Churches relating to the allocation of monies to Missions are critical to church planting efforts on the Mission Fields in these final frontier areas. Funding for Missions in the unreached People Groups must be increased to a level that permits adequate and timely progress to be made.  The Joshua Project also points out that the nations in which the un-reached People Groups reside are among those nations that are the most closed to Christianity and where scripture has in many cases yet to be translated into the native languages. See the Map of Un-Reached People Groups areas of the world below:

Missionaries frequently find obstacles at every turn in these tightly controlled countries and often face personal risks to their own lives. Probably due in part to all of these challenges only 10% of missionaries are estimated to be working among the unreached People Groups. Finding ways to increase the presence of missionaries in these hard to reach countries is critical to advancing the Gospel Message.  Obviously the lack of Bible translations in the native languages of the unreached People Groups makes communication more difficult and time consuming.  Finding ways to expedite translation work is a key to the spread of the Gospel.  The Church will have to sharpen its focus and its allocation of resources to address the challenges in reaching these remaining People Groups.

So the next time someone asks you “who are the leaders in your Church that are responsible for world evangelism” you won’t have to look far for the answer – the leadership is wearing your shoes. Possessing great leaders at all levels, having solid strategic plans to achieve goals and taking personal responsibility for action are THREE TRUTHS ABOUT GREAT ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE A ROLE IN CHRISTIAN MISSIONS.

Monday, October 1, 2012


How many times did you see Joe Montana looking frightened at the line of scrimmage right before the ball was snapped when it was fourth and goal in the final minutes of a close game?  Like me, I bet you remember seeing that courageous expression on Joe’s face that would have made a combative lion think twice about making a move.  Do you think Jack Welch ever walked in the doors of GE thinking “this company is facing so many problems it’s doomed and I just need to quit”?  No, he strolled in with fierce determination to tackle the problems head on.  Can you imagine Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane telling James and John He had decided to run rather than surrender to fulfill His purpose on earth?  Christ’s optimism that His impending suffering and death would be overcome was symbolic of His faith.  All these great leaders had something essential…they had the right attitudes.  No family, team, organization or collective group of people ever achieves lofty goals without leaders who possess the right attitude. 

Here are some, but not all, of the key attributes of a leader’s attitude that are absolutely critical for a leader to elevate the team to its full potential.

·         An Attitude of Courage – God repeatedly instructed Joshua to be “strong and courageous” because God knew the Israelites would need to see Joshua’s courage and strong conviction to follow him into the many battles that would take place in the journey to claim the Promised Land.  God asked Joshua on numerous occasions to step out in faith and Joshua’s courageous actions allowed him to lead the Israelites to conquer the land God had pledged to them.  Can you imagine the troops in any army charging in to battle when their General always cowers in fright in a bunker until the fight is done?  An organization will follow a leader through the greatest of challenges if the leader has repeatedly demonstrated an attitude of courage in the face of battle whether it is during an armed conflict or in the midst of a severe market downturn.

·         An Attitude of Determination – Historian Thomas Fuller said “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”  Winston Churchill was certainly one of those “great men” that Fuller spoke of.  Churchill’s fierce determination to reject a negotiated settlement with Germany changed the course of the war that ultimately led to the defeat of Nazi Germany because Churchill could see what the long term outcome for his country and for the world would be.  A lessor man would have looked at all the reasons there were to compromise and would have simply given in to the German demands.  Not Churchill.  He was determined to do what he thought was best for his country and the world no matter the cost.  The leader who makes principled decisions and then has the determination to stick to those decisions in the face of monumental opposition is the leader who gives his organization the will to succeed.
·         An Attitude of Optimism – Nothing will defeat the possible quicker than the impossible.  Legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi once remarked "We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible."  In Joshua we find our Lord telling Joshua “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  God’s instruction is simple…there is no reason for anything other than optimism for God is with us no matter what the trial or tribulation.  Have you ever experienced the tremendous sense of joy and relief when you trusted in God to get you through a difficult time and He delivered?  Think about how much sweeter it was when you faced those times with the full belief and comfort from the very beginning that things would turn out well.  And if that doesn’t encourage you enough to be positive…think about how many times you expected the worst to happen, you worried yourself sick and then it didn’t happen?  In Luke 12:6-7 we are told “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.“  There’s really no good reason to expect the worst to happen with God in your corner.  The greatest leaders have that contagious attitude of optimism that keeps their organizations in high spirits. 

Courage, determination and optimism…if you’re a leader who works continually to display these attributes in your attitude then you can be confident that your family, team or organization is being lifted up because THE LEADER’S ATTITUDE DETERMINES THE ORGANIZATION’S ALTITUDE.


In 2008 my wife Mary and I stopped on the side of a dark roadway to render aid to a young man injured in a motorcycle accident. That young man, who we came to know as Dane, died that night despite the best efforts of many people to save his life. What transpired over the months to come after that fateful night would remind me of the lengths that God will go to in order to comfort us in times of tragedy and how closely He is involved in orchestrating the events of our lives so that He can be glorified through us.

We came to know Dane's Grandmother Elsie as a result of this tragedy. As God used Mary and I to help comfort Elsie in her grief He was silently working on answering the prayers of someone who was hundreds of miles away and lost in a world of drug addiction. Over the next few years God worked a plan of healing for my drug addicted nephew that was directly related to Dane's death. God has used Dane's life here on earth to work in the lives of many others.

Mary and I co-authored a book with Elsie about our experiences and how God has dealt with us all after the night of Dane's death. The book is titled "And God Sent the Dragonflies". It is a true account of the events that happened in our lives and is clear proof that with God we are never alone or without hope in dealing with tragedies and addictions in our lives. I am humbly asking that you consider purchasing and reading our book. I would also ask that if you feel moved by the things you see in the book that you would recommend it to others, whether they be friends, family, coworkers, fellow church members or anyone else you feel led to refer to it. We realize the power that modern day electronic media has to reach others through our various personal relationships. It is our sincere prayer and hope that if sharing the story brings one lost soul to Christ or delivers one person from their hopeless addiction that God would be further glorified through that.

Links to the book, available in both print and digital formats, are located on the right hand side of the page below the author's photo. The book is available at the Scroll Christian Bookstore in Tyler, TX and can be found on the shelves, as well as ordered, from select Hasting Stores. For those who prefer you can contact the authors directly to purchase a book until such time as they are available in your local stores. Mary and I intend to donate our portion of any profits from the book to the various charities and ministries that we support. We will be doing some promotional stuff (book signings, speaking engagements, etc.) that I will try to keep posted on this blog. You can contact me at if you have any further questions, comments or just want to catch up on life.

In Christ Jesus...Bruce Hinton

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Matthew 24:36 ESV
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

So What’s So Special About Time, It’s Ticks on A Clock Right?
  • Time is precious
    • It is finite
    • It is fixed
  • Time is measured
    • It is diminishing
    • It is distributable
  • Time is managed
    • It is demanding
    • It is determining
OK, Time Is All Those Things But Why Should I Care?
  • Time is precious
    • We all get the same amount of hours in a given day
    • God has determined the number of our days; we won’t add to or take away that number
    • God requires us to use our time wisely and in a manner that glorifies Him
  • Time is measured
    • Each tick of the clock is the same interval of time for each of us, no more or no less
    • Each tick of the clock is one second closer to the finish (yes it’s kind of morose, but it’s reality)
    • Each tick of the clock is a commodity, spent or distributed like money or any other resource
    • Each tick of the clock is a second of opportunity passed
  • Time is managed
    • If you don’t manage time, time will manage you
    • You must choose how to use your time; if you don’t you actually have chosen how to use it
    • In real estate it’s location, location, location…in management of one’s time it’s allocate, allocate, allocate to the right things
    • You must use tools to help effectively manage your time (calendars, task lists, time maps, etc.) and be intentional with your time
    • Reflect on your performance in managing your time; how are you doing relative to how you plan to use your time and what do you need to change to better use your time
    • How you manage your time determines how your life is spent and how you finish the race
 Applicable Scripture

Colossians 4:5 ESV
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Psalm 90:12 ESV
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Luke 14:28 ESV
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Psalm 39:4-5 ESV
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

2 Timothy 4:7 ESV
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

The next time you think life is passing you by it literally is.  That’s why realizing time is precious, measured and managed are “3 REASONS TIME IS IMPORTANT”.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Adapted From A Previously Published Article...

In a dream I had a few years ago I was walking down a familiar street in London with a dear Pastor friend. A door opened out into the street and an old college friend of mine emerged. He was noticeably high on drugs and had that absent looking stare in his eyes I had seen many times during the years we’d known one another. I spoke to him as he approached and he walked right past the Pastor and I without ever acknowledging we were there. We turned and I watched him disappear into the distance as suddenly as he had appeared from the door. I felt this deep sense that he was gone forever and I wondered if I would see him again. I remember wondering why my Pastor friend was in the dream.

The next day the doorbell rang at my home and I opened the door to find my Pastor friend from the dream standing there. I had not seen or spoken to him in many months. He said he thought about me and wanted to check on me and my family. I was almost speechless as I stood there fresh in the memory of my dream and fully believing that God had sent him at that very moment.

Now I'm not saying God sent me a vision in a dream like He did to the Prophets of old. But what He has done is place in my heart and mind the ability to discern from the things I see and hear.  His message to me here – use your relationships with those who are lost or afflicted to minister to them. For all we know it may be our only opportunity to share God with them. In the case of my friend from college, I’ll have to wait until I go home to Heaven to know if I’ll see him again. He died at a young age from a life of substance abuse. Although as Christians we are called to share the Gospel Message with others I never had a single conversation with him about God. And so it is that I say to my old college friend "To continue to remind me of my true purpose in this life I HAD A DREAM ABOUT YOU."

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Few things can be more bewildering to a new believer than figuring out exactly why God is speaking to all the “veteran believers” and isn’t speaking to them routinely. They hear long time believers say things like “God spoke to me” and “God said”. The reality is there’s little evidence anyone has audibly heard God’s voice since Biblical times. However, there’s plenty of scriptural evidence to support the fact that God speaks to His people routinely.

The most common manner God speaks to us is through scripture itself which is God’s divine word. The more we read the Bible with a seeking heart, the more God reveals to us. Proverbs 1:5 says "let the wise listen and add to their learning".  If you’ve spent much time reading God’s Word you’ve no doubt read the same passage of scripture multiple times and suddenly had a revelation about what it really meant and how it applies in your life.  That's God's voice coming through the written Word.  READ YOUR BIBLE. God is speaking to you loud and clear!

God speaks to us through our individual circumstances. He gives each of us gifts that He wants us to use to build His Kingdom. The gifts of preaching, teaching, raising money, praying, caring for the sick, ministering to the afflicted, building relationships, etc. are God’s way of telling you what He would have you do. In 1 Peter 4:10 God tells us He gives us these gifts to serve others with.  USE YOUR GIFTS. God is speaking to you loud and clear!

God speaks to us through other people and the wise counsel they provide. For example, the Pastor who always seems to be talking to you from the pulpit, the Godly friend who encourages you when you are facing life’s challenges or the spouse who lovingly reminds you of your obligations to your marriage and children. You know that little voice or tug at your heart when you feel it.  LISTEN TO WISE COUNSEL. God is speaking to you loud and clear!

While these are not the only ways in which God speaks to us they are certainly THREE WAYS THAT GOD MAY BE SPEAKING TO YOU.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Any successful leader will tell you that it is impossible to build a high performing business or organization without a plan that involves setting goals and establishing priorities to achieve the goals.  You have to possess a clear understanding of the goals you need to achieve to be successful and you must prioritize the time and resources you use in working to accomplish your goals.  It's LEADERSHIP 101.

I'd suggest to you that those same two keys, goals and priorities, are essential to enhancing your walk with God.  And here is why I believe that.  If we are not intentional in developing our relationship with God we are simply working Him in when we can or just letting our relationship with Him happen.  And that is not what we should want and it is clearly not what God describes that he wants in Jeremiah 24:7 where he says of His beloved children "I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."

Here are three simple steps that effective business leaders use to form a plan that you can use to "tighten up" your walk with God:
  1. Identify the key goals you need to achieve as part of your plan to improve your relationship with God.  Common goals might include daily prayer, daily bible reading, ministry work, church volunteer work, etc.  Actually I think these common goals I've mentioned are likely at the top of the list of things you need to do to get closer to God. 
  2. Prioritize the key goals you need to accomplish as part of your plan.  Listen, none of us have unlimited time on our hands.  There are just so many hours in a given day - 24 right?  So establish which goals you think are most important to help you deepen your walk with God and put those at the top of your list of daily activities. Make sure you devote the biggest portion of your available time to the highest priority goals.
  3. Execute your plan.  As they say in the Nike commercials "Just Do It".  You've established what you need to do and what is most important to do - so simply do what you know you need to do.
Now I'm not suggesting this mechanical approach is all that is required to know God or get closer to God.  The Holy Spirit indwells and leads us in gaining understanding of God and in deepening our relationship with God.  But the process suggested here will certainly help you be more intentional in your efforts.  IDENTIFY, PRIORITIZE AND EXECUTE - it will make a difference in your relationship with God.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


As I watched Dr. Charles Stanley teach on the topic of God's Precious Promises this morning ( I noticed how different his approach was compared to many popular mainstream pastors and teachers.  While the message was certainly positive, it was not the typical "just believe and you'll receive" message that is so popular and sought after today.

First, he made clear that the promises were made only to Believers in Romans 5:6-11.  Then he went on to explain where the promises were made in 2 Peter 1:3-4 which reads "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us very great and precious promises...".  He then proceeded to describe all the richness of the things God has promised us, to wit: daily cleansing (1 John 1:9), answered prayers (1 John 5:14-15), peace (Phil 4:6-7) and healing (Psalms 103:1-3) to name just a few.  But with those promises come some conditions:  " must believe and not doubt..." (James 1:6), " good thing will He withheld from them that walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11).  

Just to be clear we aren't guaranteed the benefits without the commitments.  There are too many teachers who would leave their students believing they can receive what they ask for pretty much on their own terms.  That is, they can live to a standard that they find acceptable and simply because they ask in the name Jesus Christ it will be answered. That's not what an all powerful and benevolent God is required to accept.

You cannot lose the promises as clearly stated in John 10:27-30 "And I will give them (my sheep, my children) eternal life; and they shall never perish,...".  But our sin can separate us from the promises as stated in Psalm 84:11 if we are not earnest and diligent in our obedience.  Obedience to God's commandments (which are always good for us anyway) in return for the possibility of unlimited blessings that only the Creator of all things could promise - A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR SUCH RICHES.

Friday, August 10, 2012


It's incredible that hundreds of years before the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ the Prophet Isaiah was writing in such detail about the coming Messiah and the way in which He would be received.  Isaiah Chapters 35, 40, 52 and 53 among others spoke clearly of the things to come.  Yet the Jewish leaders who stood in the presence of the promised Messiah and knew the scriptures from memory were so wrapped up in the religion they had themselves created that they denied His very existence.  They were misled and blinded by their own religious prescriptions and teachings.

And that is what happens when man begins to speak for scripture instead of letting the scripture speak for itself.  The things that man does not understand in scripture he tends to explain to his convenience.  The things that man does not care for in scripture he tends to change to his favor.  Man's religion becomes one of accomodation for man's sinful nature.  That in effect "changes" what God has written.  In Revelation 22:19 it is said "And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."  In my estimation that's about as stern and plain a warning on the penalties for altering God's word as we could read.  It clearly states "GOD DOESN'T WANT ANY CO-AUTHORS".

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


While reading John MacArthur's "The Vanishing Conscience" I was struck by his discussion of how society seems bent on encouraging us to blame our wrong doing on someone else or teaching us to ignore feelings of guilt as a means to feel better about ourselves.

Now making yourself feel better when you are feeling bad about something you've done wrong sounds like a good idea until you consider that those feelings of guilt we are trying to "get rid of" or "ignore" are the gift of conscience that God has blessed all human kind with.  That conscience is the regulator of our actions.  Without feelings of remorse for our wrong doing we easily violate God's laws and those of the land.  In a world where there is no conscience there is only anarchy and lawlessness.

Feelings of guilt over the commission of sinful acts is a normal reaction.  It is acknowledgement of sin and the inherent sense that repentance is required for forgiveness.  No amount of blame shifting or attempts to ignore sin will make the feeling go away.  The guilt is only replaced with depression, aggression, or other harmful conditions.

The only true freedom from guilt lies in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  1 John 1:8-9 says "If we say that we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  Basically, if we admit what we know we've done wrong and ask for forgiveness it will be forgiven.  Our conscience is cleansed.  We have not forgotten what we have done but we know we have been forgiven.  A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE IS THE KEY TO CLEANER LIVING.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Joseph's brothers were likely terrified when they realized that the brother they had sold in to slavery was now one of the most powerful men in Egypt. In Genesis the Lord tells us that Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery and explained to them it was part of God's plan to deliver him to Egypt to do great things in God's name.

It's even easier to forgive when we recognize God's hand at work in our trials. LORD, MAKE IT EASIER FOR ME TO FORGIVE.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Recently a friend related a story about an experience she had at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. While seated in a bustling waiting room she began a conversation with an elderly gentlemen who she described as tall and very slender. In a kind voice noticeably altered by the lack of facial muscle tone he began to tell my friend about his life. He had driven a truck for decades until a stroke he suffered made it impossible for him to continue in his chosen profession. During his years driving his truck he and his wife had bought a home, raised their children, paid their taxes and done everything they could to set a good example for their children. Despite his health issues and inability to work they continued to make ends meet.

The small rural town where they lived sounded like one of those places where life is slow and easy. Not much happened there and the people liked it that way. Life there was generally carefree until the day the doctor in the small town clinic told the man that his wife likely had breast cancer. They couldn’t be certain because they lacked the facilities to test her. They sent her to a regional medical facility where the diagnosis was confirmed. She indeed had breast cancer and needed immediate treatment.

Because of the man’s disability and discharge from his job they no longer had health insurance for his wife. They were not eligible for governmental assistance for her either. They had always paid their own way. Suddenly they were faced with the reality that his wife needed treatment to save her life – treatment they could not afford. After many failed attempts to obtain assistance they were ultimately told by the hospital that they could not treat the woman due to their inability to pay. There was nothing they could do.

Devastated and with nowhere left to turn, the elderly gentleman left his sick wife at home to turn to the only place he knew he could find relief from the worries on his mind. In the small town church they attended he knew he could find solace.

At the end of the sermon as the pastor brought the service to a close he was getting ready to pronounce the benediction when he said he felt there was someone there who had something they needed to share. The pastor asked for another verse of the closing hymn. The elderly gentleman suddenly found himself rising from his seat and making his way down the aisle toward the front of the congregation.

As he neared the front he wondered “what in the world will I say”. He never spoke in front of groups. He was terrified. As he turned to face the crowd he thought his knees might not hold him steady. As he began to speak in an uneasy tone about the life he and his wife had lived and the situation he found himself in his voice became filled with strength.

He could not believe that they had worked all their lives, raised their children, always taken care of their business and now when he needed to care for his ailing wife there was nothing he could do to save her. As tears streamed down his face he said it was almost unbearable to stand by and watch his wife grow sicker each day with no way or hope to secure the care she needed. He didn’t know where else to turn or what he could do.

After some comforting words from the pastor and prayer from the congregation the elderly man excused himself to the bathroom to dry his eyes and steady himself. As he emerged from the bathroom the pastor said there was someone who was visiting in the congregation that day who wanted to speak with him. The stranger from the church service told him she was very moved by his story and wanted to help him. She couldn’t make any promises but gave him a phone number and asked that he call it the next day.

That stranger in the congregation worked at M.D. Anderson hospital. The call made the next day started the wheels in motion that would deliver an answer to the elderly gentleman’s prayers. You see, the elderly woman sitting in the wheel chair next to him in the waiting room the day my friend heard this story was his wife. The stranger in the congregation arranged for her treatment at the leading hospital in the world for cancer treatment – free of charge.

When our lives are the darkest and hope seems like a distant flicker in the blackness of our despair God is always there. WHEN WE CAN’T FIND A WAY GOD CAN.

Friday, June 22, 2012


As I re-read the Bible each year God continues to reveal things from the same passages of scripture that were seemingly void of revelation in prior years.  Such was the case today while studying Joshua and the treaty made with the Gibeonites in Chapter 8.

God had strictly instructed the Israelites to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before them.  God knew that if the Israelites allowed those who worshipped other Gods to remain in their midst that the Israelites would be tempted to worship those other Gods.  The Gibeonites, fearing for the lives as they knew God was delivering all of Israel's enemies into their hands, planned to trick the Israelites into making a treaty with them.  The Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites and agreed to a treaty with them because the Israelites did not seek God's counsel before making the treaty.  This allowed the Gibeonites to remain among the Israelites and continue to worship other Gods.

And what does that have to do with anything today.  Well, God repeatedly tells us in scripture that we need to avoid those who worship other Gods.  Ephesians 5:3 says "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."  When we expose ourselves to those who worship other Gods we allow a temptation to enter into our lives.  Temptation we may not easily see or be prepared to deal with. 

In the well known "Lord's Prayer" in Matthew 6:13 "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION" are words for the wise for today and for eternity.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Recently I received a call from an old friend. I was immediately excited to hear his cheerful voice. That excitement turned to concern as he told me he was in the hospital once again. "Cancer's back" he said.

I thanked God silently for giving me a chance to minister to my friend once again. But before I could say a word my friend said "I want you to know how much what you did for me has meant to me. You gave me chances to be more and it has opened doors for me ever since. I could never have done these things without you."

I mumbled some quick "thank you" and wiped a tear from my eye while hoping no one walking by would notice I was standing on the sidewalk weeping. I thought "here he is, fighting his battles again, every right to expect me to comfort him and he says one of the kindest and most humbling things I could have experienced."

God is so faithful and good to bless us when we least expect it. And He does it in the most unexpected ways. I love my friend as a brother and he's reminded me today that "WHAT WE REAP IS WHAT WE SOW".

Friday, June 8, 2012


King Herod exemplified the unscrupulous leader who reacts to threats by turning to his dark side and trying to eliminate the competition by any means possible. Herod ordered the slaughter of innocent children in an attempt to protect his possessions. Some would say no businessman would ever take a life to protect a business. History is full of proof to the contrary.

The irony in King Herod's case is much the same as it is in the cases of all unscrupulous leaders. They attempt to protect things that are temporal. They wrongly believe their possessions are of their own making and that they control their destiny. In reality, they are never in control. In Herod's case, his worship of the temporal held eternal implications for him.

Always REMIND ME OF FAIRNESS Lord, so that I may achieve success in business and life eternal.

Friday, June 1, 2012


At the conclusion to our nightly devotional concerning King Saul and David's "near encounter" in the cave, my young daughter and I discussed how it was sinful to want to "get even" with others. My daughter told me she was glad we read that story because she was thinking about "getting even" with someone who did something to her. She said she couldn't tell me who it was, but that it didn't matter anyway. She said she knew it was wrong now and she just wouldn't do it.

She said her usual prayer and asked to say another "special prayer". The second prayer went something like this: "Dear God, thank you for letting me read the story tonight so I wouldn't sin. Amen."

I wish it were that read it, accept it and do it - SO THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN. Is it...that simple?