Archives For August 2012

Devocional para hoy- La Manera Correcta. La Biblica.
Marcos 7
Jesus estaba otra vez en conflicto con los fariseos. El tenia problemas con la religion basada en tradiciones que ellos profesaban. Nada malo con las tradiciones, excepto cuando estas entran en conflicto con la Biblia. A continuacion hay tres peligros que evitar.

1. Adoracion basada en tradicion. 7:7 Su adoración es una farsa porque enseñan ideas humanas como si fueran mandatos de Dios” El topico de la Adoracion es una “papa caliente”. Menciona esa palabra y la gente inmediatamente toma un lado o otro y comienzan las bombas. Si notas, muchas de las discusiones revuelven alrededor de preferencias personales y tradicion. Lo que deberia definir que es appropiado es la Palabra. Nota que Jesus llama a la adoracion que esta basada en tradicion y no la biblia “una farsa”. Esta adoracion te mantiene ocupado por una hora, pero no te puede llevar a la presencia de Dios. Basa tu adoracion en la


2. Ensenanza basada en tradicion. 7:7 “Su adoración es una farsa porque enseñan ideas humanas como si fueran mandatos de Dios”. Todos venimos a la Biblia con ideas preconcebidas. Necesitamos el poder del Espiritu de Dios para poder ver mas alla de nuestras preferencias y ensenar la Biblia, toda, no solo las partes que me gustan. Muchos de los que leen este devocional ensenan en sus iglesias. Te animo a presentar la Palabra de Dios, de una manera interesante y practica, que atraera a personas a Jesus, en vez de impresionarlos con tu abilidad.

3. Practica basada en tradicion. 7:8 “Pues ustedes pasan por alto la ley de Dios y la reemplazan con su propia tradición.” Aqui hay una sustitucion que nunca debes hacer. Alguna vez has estado en una conversacion con una persona que aunque es presentada con evidencia biblica elige seguir practicando su tradicion? (un ejemplo comun es el sabado con los catolicos, pero nos pasa a nosotros tambien) Una vez mas, la solucion es clara. Vuelve a la Biblia. Deja que la Escritura defina tu practica.

Conclusion- Cuando veas diferencias entre lo que piensas, crees o practiques con la Biblia, siempre escoge la Biblia y estaras seguro.

Por que puedo orar? Escribelo aqui y orare individualmente por cada uno de tus pedidos.

Devotional for today- The Correct Way. The Bible Way.
Mark 7
Jesus was at it again with the Pharisees. He had issue with their “tradition based” religion. Nothing wrong with traditions, if they are practiced in the right context, for the right reasons, and come from scripture. Here are three pitfalls to avoid.
1. Worship based on tradition. 7:7 “Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.” Worship is a hot topic. Mention it and people immediately take sides. Many of these discussions have to do with personal preference and tradition. What should define what is or not appropriate is the Bible. Notice that Jesus defined unbiblical worship as “a farce”. Base your worship on the word.

2. Teaching based on tradition. 7:7 “Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.” We all come to the Bible with preconceived ideas. It takes the Holy Spirit’s power to help us see beyond our preferences and teach the Bible, all of it, not just the parts we like. Many that read this devotional teach in their churches in some capacity. I encourage you to present God’s word in an interesting, practical way, which will draw people to Jesus instead of amazing them with your skills.

3. Practice based on tradition. 7:8 “For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Here is a substitute you never want to make. It happens too often, however. Have you ever been in a conversation with a person, that even though biblical evidence is clearly presented, still choses to practice long held beliefs? (a common example is the Sabbath for other Christians, but it happens to us to!) Once again, the solution is clear. Return to the bible. Hold on to the Holy Scriptures. The God’s Word define your practice.

Conclusion- When at odds with personal beliefs, tradition, practice, or teaching, always choose to follow God’s Word and you will be safe.

What can I pray for today? Leave your prayer requests here, I will pray for all of them individually.

Re-Vision —  August 29, 2012
Re: Vision

Romans 4:17 …This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

This year, my wife and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. As I pondered about what gift to give to her on this momentous occasion, it dawned on me. I decided to give her less of me. I would go on a diet and exercise regimen, start P90x, and by the time our anniversary date came around, she would be able to see the difference. After years of inactivity, promising myself that I would exercise “soon”, I began the journey after a post on Facebook. Progress has been good. I have lost some weight, and am on my way to my goal of losing twenty pounds. My vision of a healthier life is coming true. Finally.

This is an article on vision. Vision, simply defined, is to ability to “see it before you see it.” What does vision have to do with weight loss? Or an exercise regimen? My journey to better health began with a personal vision of what could be. I could get in shape. I could feel better. It waspossible.

Before every great invention, before every great accomplishment, before every transformational idea, someone had a vision. Someone “saw it, before he/she saw it”. Visionaries share similar characteristics. I would like to share four of them with you. We will illustrate these qualities through the story of a biblical visionary and his armor bearer. Theirs is a compelling story of vision implementation that has some practical applications for leaders everywhere.

Israel was in bad shape. Their constant enemies, the philistines, had them on their heels. The people were demoralized. The king was distracted. The enemies we destroying them. In that failure –ridden climate, God raises a leader. His name is Jonathan. The story is found in 1 Samuel 14. Jonathan had several characteristics that visionaries have in common.

1. Careful who he/she shares the vision with.

1 Samuel 14:1

One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost.” But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing.

Suppose for a moment, that you are Jonathan. If you had a plan to attack the enemy, wouldn’t the logical choice for sharing that valuable bellic information be the king, who was also your father? Yet, Jonathan chose not to share his plan. Visionary leaders are careful who they share their vision with.

Why careful?

  1. Some will get upset. They don’t like the fact that it wasn’t their idea.
  2. Some will oppose it. They don’t like the fact that it wasn’t them who was chosen.
  3. Some will laugh at it. They see silliness where you see success.
  4. Some will question it. They say “You sure?”, not “how can I help you?”.

Here is some practical advice. Once you are convinced that God has in fact given you a vision, when someone comes to give you the all the reasons why it won’t work, you can take criticism in stride. Don’t discount criticism altogether, it can be the sandpaper that can polish the work of art God and you are building. At the same time, don’t let criticism stop progress. Whatever God blesses the devil attacks.

Remember,they are not supposed to understand it, it’s not their vision to begin with. Not everyone is happy, thankful or supportive about your vision. Opposition does not mean your vision is not worth pursuing. While you don’t want to be reckless and irresponsible with your decisions going forward, you do want to step out in faith. Most great inventions, as well as almost every great accomplishment had two things in common:

1. Was conceived by a visionary.

2. Was opposed or dismissed by many.

When I declared in Facebook, that I wanted to start P90x to lose the weight I thought the support would be universal. Yet, it wasn’t. Here are some of the comments:

“You are crazy”

“You won’t do it”

“I started, but quit”

Maybe you identify with me. We have all been there. You show up with a fist full of dreams like balloons, and someone greets you with a hand full of bobby pins. In order to lead many, sometimes you must listen to just a few.

2. Gets going while others talk, plan, rest, and complain.

1 Samuel 14:2

Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. 3 Among Saul’s men was Ahijah the priest, who was wearing the ephod, the priestly vest. Ahijah was the son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord who had served at Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.

A cursory look at the previous text reveals three groups of people that were camping under the pomegranate tree:

Camping Saul- he was the king, who should have received the vision.

Camping Soldiers- the followers, who should have implemented the vision.

Camping Ahijah – the religious leader, who should have confirmed the vision.

Should have, would have, could have, but didn’t! Jonathan, instead, preferred death to inactivity. He decided it was better to attempt something and fail, than to do something and succeed. The greatest enemy of the church these days is not worldliness, is laziness. One of my favorite quotes encapsulates my point:

I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees. CK Chesterton

God’s calls us to do something! More important than discussion, charts, ideas, opinions, words and desires, is action. One key part of the text must not be overlooked. While the demoralized people camped and complained about how bad their situation was, Jonathan, a young person, was active. The sad part reads like this: “no one was aware that Jonathan had left”. That should hit us right between the eyes. Are we so worried about the previous defeats that we neglect the next generation? Some commentators argue that armor bearers were usually young people, probably because they were the only ones who were that crazy!

What you say is not as important as what you do. Opinionologism (a word I coined meaning to share with others the opinions no one else is asking you for), is not a spiritual gift. When I was pastoring a church, I always liked to have a soccer team from the church. It built community, (except when they punched each other, which thankfully was not every week) and was great exercise. Other than the occasional laying of hands on the opposite team, we had a good time. Since I was the pastor, I always got to play. As the game got going, so did the crowd. Everyone had an opinion on the game. It was interesting to hear some misguided soul yell “take the pastor out, he’s horrible!”. At halftime, people from the crowd would come into our huddle, and offer unsolicited advice, strategy and ideas. Not only were they very straightforward about what we should be doing, they became upset if we did not do it the way they prescribed. Sounds a lot like church. Many watching, complaining and planning, few actually working. According to church growth experts, usually 20% of the congregation does 80% of the work, the same ratio applies to giving.

God does not expect us to do everything, yet he does expect us to do something. Maybe you are reading this article in your computer, the same one who contains the blueprint of the next big idea for your organization. My question for you is this: What is stopping you? Instead of waiting around for circumstances to change, you be the change. They might not build a statue in your name, but it will make your creator smile. Action inspires your followers, develops your strengths, and catches God’s attention. Do something!

3. Acts, regardless of fear.

1 Samuel 14:6 “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

The third characteristic of a visionary is the ability to attempt great things, regardless of fear. There are two important principles I would like to share concerning fear and leadership:

1. As a leader, I would venture to say that if before you act on a vision from God, you are not even a tiny bit apprehensive, then that vision is probably not from God. Ask yourself, If you already knew you could do it, why do you need God for? If you wait for the fear to subside before attempting something great, you probably never will.

2. The process God uses to increase the leader’s faith is detailed in this verse.

a. Faith cares-“lets go…”

b. Faith crisis-“perhaps”

c. Faith conquers-“He can win”

Another way of saying it is: Promise, Problem, Provision. As part of His plan, God sometimes allows us to experience trepidation before triumph. Why? Maybe because we must understand that at the end of the day, it’s not about us.

Early in my ministry I read a quote that impacted the way I operated. It went something like this: “what are you doing, that if God is not completely involved, and comes through in a big way, it will absolutely and utterly fail?”. If you think about it, many of the things we do, we could do without divine intervention. What have you attempted in the last year that took you out, way out, of your comfort zone? What risk, without being reckless, have you proposed to the people you lead? What innovative, daring, out of the box idea have you implemented? God did not call you to the ministry of beige. Yes, I said it. Beige. Safe. Familiar. Known. Beige. When was the last time you came home excited to tell your family about the beige building you saw? I encourage you to use God’s paintbrush and repaint with vivid colors. Go spend a weekend in the mountain and rediscover His passion for your life. You were meant for bold passion. Definitely, not beige. (I apologize in advance to the beige lovers of the world. All three of you. Sorry. Email me and I will send you a bright red bumper sticker that says: my other car is beige) Do something!

4. Understands the power of two.

1 Samuel 14:7 “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.”

Unity multiplies impact. That is another key lesson visionaries have learned. Jonathan understood that while it’s easier to do it alone, it’s more effective when we involve others. There is a small word, with big power, and that word is: and. It’s one thing to say, it’s me. Another thing to say, it’s me and my church. Unity multiplies impact. What we sometimes fail to understand in this polarized society, is that we need each other. We can grow as we learn from each other.

God created us for community. God is emphatic about giving the vision to the leader first, but not exclusively. A right vision, shared with the right people, at the right time, for the right reason, will accomplish more, in less time. I believe every leader should connect on a regular basis to the following three people:

Mentors. These are wise people whom you can listen to. They have probably gone through similar experiences to yours and can point out some specific ways you can deal with your present situation.

Friends. These are caring people you can lean on. They might not have all the answers, but just the fact that you know that they are there for you makes a huge difference. Students. These are the less-experienced people who can learn from you, similar in this story to the armor bearer. Every experience you have had is a lesson that can be shared to encourage, inspire, or warn others.

Unity, multiplies impact. In order to finish the work God has entrusted to us we need everybody.

*Traditionaland contemporary

*Menand women.

*Publicand personal evangelism.

*Youthand adults.

*1stand 2nd generation.

*Educational institutions and self-supporting ministries.

*Lay members and paid denominational employees.

*Administratorsand normal people.

We are one church. When we attack each other it creates confusion in our youth, discouragement in our members, and delay in our progress.

One last note. As God gives you vision, and the vision is implemented, there will be some times where you will feel discouraged. Let me share a story with you, to put things in perspective. One night, I was coming home late, and hungry. Very hungry. Recently married, I was not expecting my wife to be up, but she was. A feeling of happiness began stirring up inside of me. Maybe she will cook something for me. I did not have to ask. She volunteered to prepare anything I wanted. I asked for fried plantains, beans, and sour cream. (Don’t judge me, I was hungry!) As she cooked, that loving feeling grew to gargantuan proportions. After what seemed to be an eternity, she came out of the kitchen, a celestial vision like no man had ever seen. Angels were singing the Hallelujah chorus and her hair moved in the wind (the fan was on) as she made her way toward me. My heart was going to explode from all these feelings of appreciation and love.

She gave me the food. I prayed a short prayer, a hungry prayer. Then I proceeded to put the first spoonful of beans in my mouth. Now, there are two recipes for preparing beans. One is beans with a little bit of salt. The second, lesser known one, is salt with a little bit of beans. Guess which one my celestial vision used that night? If you guessed option number two, you are correct! I love sugar, but I’m not a fan of salt. The beans were so salty that the Dead Sea took a bite and said, “Wow, that’s too much.“

I learned a couple of lessons about feelings that night. It was amazing how fast the adoration was replaced by discomfort. All the time it took for the “loving feeling” to disappear was the time it takes a spoonful of beans to travel from the plate to the mouth. Feelings are tricky. If you make decisions based on them, you are treading on dangerous ground. Instead, let God’s word, his principles, and his vision be your guide. I pray that God will help you discoverand develop His vision, for your life, today.

Romans 4:17 …This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Choices —  August 28, 2012

Devotional for today: Choices
Luke 10:38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
As a leader everyday you have choices to make. Here are three.
1. Choose the important over the urgent. Mary chose the important, while Marta gave in to the urgent. Be careful of “the tyranny of the urgent” that tries to distract you so you don’t concentrate on that which is really important in life, such as God, the family, and your personal growth. What are one or two urgent things that do constantly, and which compete with what is really important?
2. Choose the best over the good. The most difficult decision for a leader is not electing between the good and the bad, but between the good and the best. In what area of your life are you giving in to the “good,” rather than seeking the “best.”
3. Select the permanent over the temporary. The latest fashion, movies, telephones, and clothing are all designed to call attention. They also have something in common. They’re all temporary. Don’t concentrate your efforts in persons, pastimes, and problems that won’t be around in 10 years. What current problem is bothering you, though you know it will soon pass away?
Conclusion- This week memorize these three words: important, better, permanent. Every time you need to make a decision, ask yourself if your election is in line with these three words.
Prayer- what can I pray for today?

Link to a sermon on the same topic-

Devotional for today- Dysfunctional Leadership

Luke 9

In today’s story, the disciples show us how NOT to lead. We learn from bad leaders and great ones. One, what not to do. Other times, what to do. Here is what not to do.

1. Don’t try to control everything. 9:49 John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” 50 But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”

I have seen leaders that try to run their organization through them. Every idea, every initiative, must be first cleared by them before it’s implemented. That is not a good way to run anything. You can’t expect everything to be run by you first and then complain that people are not “buying in.” Deal with your insecurities as a leader. Empower your followers, don’t control.

2. Don’t fight for position. 9:46 “Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. 48 Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Once again, the fight for position and recognition takes center stage. Jesus tells them not to “self-promote”. From nominating committees, to nominating the next conference president, I have seen people work the backroom politics to get elected. Be faithful. God will promote.

3. Don’t destroy your opposition, just MOVE ON! 9:51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.” One of the characteristics that separates dysfunctional leadership from others is the way they treat their opposition. Move on. Haters usually destroy themselves, you don’t have to spend a minutes with that.


Conclusion- I want to be an honorable leader. Jesus, please help me.

Prayer- I want to pray today for you to become a better leader.

Up with Women —  August 26, 2012

Devotional for today- Up with Women

Luke 8

Regardless of your position on women’s ordination, it is clear from scripture that all of us have a part to contribute. Today’s passage addresses our service to Jesus.

1. Deliverance precedes discipleship. 8:2 “along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases.” The fact that Jesus took women with Him as part of his team was in itself a revolutionary act. Women were second class citizens, yet Jesus took the time to heal, deliver, call and speak to them. When delivered, they did what disciples do. They follow the master. It’s a natural response to follow Jesus, when we know where we came from, and what he did for us. Deliverance precedes discipleship.

2. Deliverance and healing brings unity- 8:2 along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others…”  Just like Jesus’ disciples, the women that followed Jesus came from different backgrounds and life experiences. You have an ex-prostitute and a high society wife. Different backgrounds, same mission. Society’s caste system is replaced by a common goal. Cattiness (BTW, men can be like that too) gave way to unity. Deliverance precedes unity.

3. Deliverance and healing brings giving. 8:3 “Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.” My friend Dr. Byrd likes to say: Grace is free, but ministry takes money. These women were able to produce resources, and give out financial support. It has been my experience in 20 years as a pastor, to see great sacrificial giving by women everywhere. When we are delivered, it’s not just our spirituality that gets delivered, it’s our wallet too. Deliverance precedes giving.

Conclusion- Have you been delivered? Follow. Unite. Give. In ministry, no one is “excluded, excused” (esther knott)

Prayer- how can I pray for you today? Let me know.

Today Matters —  August 24, 2012

Devotional for leaders- Today Matters

Luke 6

Jesus taught through stories. One of his most familiar ones is found in Luke 6, a tale of two houses. Let’s pick up some practical lessons on the importance of today.

1. Today is important to dig deep. 6:47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock.” Many Christians have little depth. They have a mile long, and an inch deep faith. That’s why when the winds of doctrine or a new sensationalistic preacher comes along, many follow the crowd and just believe and repeat what others say and do. Dig deep!

2. Today’s faith will be tested in tomorrow’s storm. 6:48…”When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.”  Faith is not a feeling. It is best revealed and strengthened through life’s storms. You won’t be able to prepare for a storm in a storm. If right now there is peace all around you, prepare, prepare, prepare. Don’t lay in a hammock somewhere; get intentional about your growth. Prepare today.

3. Today matters. John Maxwell likes to say the following “Character is not built in a day, it’s built every day”. Digging a foundation is not glamorous work, nor is it easy, but I bet when the storm hit the man who did was glad! Many of the great sports figures were fantastic practice players. It’s by giving your best when no one is looking that you may do your best when everyone is.

Conclusion-What action steps are you taking today to grow? What are you neglecting to do, because it’s hard work?

Prayer requests- so nice to pray for you. What is on your mind today?

Devotional for leaders- Find Me
Luke 5
You may not realize it yet, but you are a leader. Today might be the day Jesus taps you on the shoulder and says, like a coach, “let’s go, you’re in.” Three lessons:
1. Jesus can pick out you from the crowd- 5:1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge…”  There were hundreds, probably thousands of people Jesus could have called. But he zoned in the two boats. Be faithful where you are at, other people might not know you, but God knows.
2. Jesus can pick you out, unexpectedly.- 5:1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge…”  Peter did not wake up that morning thinking he might start his day as a fisherman and end it as a disciple. Be ready today, all day, every day, for today might be the day.
3. Jesus can pick you out even though you are not perfect- Notice three imperfections of Peter.
a. Doubt- 5:5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing.” He doubted, even though it was for a moment. This concept that leaders must be all-confident, all-powerful and never have a moment of doubt sure does not fit with most Bible leaders.
b. Un-perfect- 5:8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” Once again we see a leader recognizing how frail he is. But he is in the best position he could be, on HIS KNEES! Powerful.
c. Afraid- 5:10…Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid!” I always say when I speak about leadership, if you already knew you could do it, why do you need God for? When God gives you a vision, it’s bigger than you. That can make you afraid. But it should not detain you.
Conclusion- Do what Peter did. 5:11 “And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
Prayer requests- What is God calling you to do you are afraid to do? I will pray for you today.