hot topic: lost my credit card :/

Yesterday, my daughter & I were going through a drive through hamburger place to grab a quick lunch and when I looked for my credit card to pay, it was missing!  My heart dropped down to my toes – then I quickly started to look for my credit card & with relief found it in my car.

We can all think of various things we’ve lost in the past & what a horrible feeling it leaves in our thoughts.  So when I recently read Jesus’ 3 parables about lost stuff in Luke 15 (sheep, coin & son), I was very moved by some important things for us to consider:

  • the shepherd, woman & father didn’t quit looking until what was lost had been found:  our heavenly Father never quits & gives up trying to find & reconcile us
  • there was a massive celebration when the lost item / person was found & reconciled:  there was no shame or scolding given to that which was lost, but rather a jubuliant celebration over the recovery & reconciliation
  • being lost can be expressed in lots of different contexts:  the father sought to reconcile not only the renegade son, but also the self-righteous son who remained aloof & detached from his family;  being right doesn’t mean we don’t need to be reconciled 🙂

Hot Topic: Donald Trump & the 2016 Election

Politics is a hot spot for many people. Everyone seems to get really lit up about who to vote for, what the candidates say or don’t say, the future of our country, moral underpinnings & HEAPS more. For his part, Donald Trump, has certainly escalated the emotional tone & conflict potential for our upcoming national election. 
My concern for those of us who follow Jesus has many facets:

  • I’m concerned that we will watch & listen to the candidates more than we pray for the election
  • I’m concerned that we allow politics to divide us more than we allow Jesus’ love to unite us
  • I’m concerned that we are deceived to think that human politics can resolve the broken & fallen nature of the human heart

Whether you like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bernie or whoever, let’s make the commitment to pray for our country & its leadership more than we worry or complain 🙂

Hot Topic: Final Countdown

  
We are on the homestretch with this lovely Christmas season & this makes me happy, today. There have been years when I found myself wrapping packages at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, on the verge of an emotional meltdown, feeling overwhelmed with the work I still had to do and no time. Sometimes I can struggle with some procrastination challenges – hmmmmmm
Final countdown modes can help us be hyper-productive. But I think there’s better value in steady and consistent work than massive bursts of energy with stress and pressure. 

Here are some things to think about for steady and consistent:

  • Let’s be consistent with love, particularly with the people who get on our nerves
  • Let’s be steady with healthy daily routines: eating, working out, drinking water, etc
  • Let’s stay consistent with growing and improving ourselves in wisdom
  • The most important thing for our consistency is maintaining our daily Bible & prayer time – nothing keeps us from drowning or being a victim to devotion than this discipline 

Have an awesome Wednesday!

Hot Topic:  Something to Hide

  
My mom started memorizing Bible books when I was about 8 or 9. She was so excited about the memorizing thing that she made a house rule for us that for every 30min of TV watching, we had to memorize 2 verses in Proverbs. My brother memorized like 7 chapters & I quit watching tv because I didn’t think it was worth it. 
Now that I’m more mature, I’m into the Bible memorizing thing, albeit slower than molasses in winter. Here are some advantages of doing the Bible memorizing thing:

Hiding God’s Word in our heart helps us with the not sinning thing

I find that various Bible verses pop into my mind at really strategic times, often giving clear direction or helpful strength

Reviewing my verses is a better decision at 2am than getting stressed out about various stuff that’s out of my control

Bible memorizing is good brain work

There are heaps & heaps of great advantages to keeping our minds in Bible memorizing mode 🙂

hot topic: loving Muslims

If you’ve kept up on the news, you’re probably aware of the ISIS attacks in Paris over the weekend, leaving almost 130 dead, along with massive numbers injured, a city badly shaken & many of us outraged.  Truthfully, I find myself very conflicted with topic.  Not only have there been attacks in Paris, but recently, a Russian plane crashed in Egypt from a terrorist attack & there’s also been an attack in Beirut leaving 43 dead & 239 injured.  To make these atrocities even more barbaric, the ISIS propaganda machinery applauds these attacks and wants a bloodbath across the world, taking aim & great pleasure in particular against “Christian” nations.

My initial reaction to this crazy is to support equal if not escalated retribution & I can make a really reasonable case to neutralize this kind of crazy, with whatever means necessary.  And revenge, according to Alfred Hitchcock, is sweet and not fattening.  But revenge is not the path of following Jesus.  Indeed, Jesus told us to turn the other cheek to our enemies, to repay evil with good and to bless when we receive cursing.  Revenge is the level playing field, but as a follower of Jesus, we get to walk in a higher plane and make choices that are grounded in genuine love.  Let’s pray for, bless and love well, with the help of the Holy Spirit 🙂

hot topic: Starbucks & Christmas

large_Starbucks-Red-Cups-2015-2  As I was making my way home from Singapore yesterday, I checked the news & saw there was some kind of uproar about Starbucks & Christmas.  Since I’m a coffee fan, I decided to briefly look into the uproar only to be disappointed.  I’m disappointed because there are many issues in our world today that are super important that need our prayers & attention.  And today, Donald Trump jumped into the conversation, leaving me to speculate about not only cup decorations and caffeine, but now I get to add politics into this busy buzzy world.

All of which brings me back to thinking about what’s important & specifically what’s important about Christmas:  God loves humanity & Jesus’ birth into human existence.

In the grand scheme of things, let’s keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing 🙂

Hot Topic: honoring Marilyn Hickey

My mom, Marilyn Hickey, is receiving a very honoring & fitting award from ORU.  She’s receiving the Lifetime Global Achievement Award, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  She served on the Board of Regents for ORU for more than 20 years and has made numerous contributions, tangible and intangible, to the success of this university.  For almost 20 years, she was the Chairman of the Board of Regents and faithfully served to promote the vision and purpose of ORU.  I’m super proud of her everyday and today in particular.

I’m also proud of my mom for her continuing pursuit of learning, improving and growing!  She continues to inspire me to love the Bible and walk with the Holy Spirit.  May God continue to work through her life to make the Bible vibrant & engaging around the world!

Congrats mom!!

hot topic: REALLY helpful!!

I don’t do this often, so heads up!!  Buy this book!!!!

 Identity Thief

Seriously, the enemy of your soul wants to deceive and steal your identity every second of your life & often we are totally clueless to these efforts.  It’s his oldest trick from the beginning with Adam & Eve.  This book by my friend Robby is super helpful & brand new!!

I’d also strongly encourage you to buy:  Do What Jesus Did  Also by Robby & totally a blast!!

Happy Wednesday dear friends 🙂

Hot Topic: being human 

Have you had a busy week? Did you get a lot done this week? Are you frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you think you need to?  

Take a deep breath with me for a moment. 

There’s a balance that we struggle to maintain: the balance between human being & human doing. With this thinking, our culture makes that balance very tricky. Heaps of stuff all around us tell us to get busy, be productive, don’t be lazy, achievements equal importance & significance is through activity. While there’s some truth is these ideas, the operative word is SOME. 

Let’s not forget that God’s first day with Adam was God’s day of rest, affirming the truth that we are foremost human beings, lovingly affirmed by our Creator. 

Be human & do balance 🙂

hot topic: gun control

Last week, a gunman killed more than 10 people at a small community college in Oregon & there’s been a  renewed outcry for greater gun control in the US.  For Americans, this is a difficult quandary for lots of reasons, including something about the right to bear arms, somewhere in our Bill of Rights.

Whether you agree or disagree with gun control, I think that it’s worthwhile to consider that the gun user is most likely more dangerous than the gun.  And for that matter, let’s take an even bigger step back & think about how frequently we might use our mouths to shoot up another person’s character, mock their personality or magnify their mistakes.

It’s easy to point the gun, so to speak, at someone else.  But let’s be sure that our words, character and actions reflect Jesus, if we claim to be His follower 🙂

Hot Topic: Cheating ala Volkswagen

In the news, I’ve been reading about Volkswagen & the massive recall they’re doing for cheating on their emissions software – about 700,000 Volkswagens have this cheater software installed in these cars. Clearly, this is a global embarrassment & I have no doubt that there are many employees who have lost their jobs from this debacle, including the resignation of their CEO. The problem we see today is obvious on a global level, but the truth is that the problem was kept behind closed doors for many years. 
My takeaway from this news event is that what we entertain in our minds & allow to grow in our thinking can create behaviors & lifestyles that could be crippling & even destructive. Watching VW has been a sobering wake up call to me, challenging me to inventory my thoughts & actions for the purpose of eliminating duplicity & destruction 🙂

Hot Topic: Presidential Debate

Last night, there was a debate among the presidential candidates for the Republican Party. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the debate, as I had a responsibility with my church that took precedence. Nevertheless, I heard the debate was interesting & that each candidate made some good points. From my perspective, the political situation in America is in a really challenging position & I feel that our country is extremely divided & fragmented. This is very concerning to me & I find myself moved to pray for the 2016 election more than normal. Regardless of your political persuasions, I’d like to ask you to join me in praying for our country & our leaders. Consider the verses from 1Timothy 2:1-4
  

Hot Topic: Presidential Debate

Last night, there was a debate among the presidential candidates for the Republican Party. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the debate, as I had a responsibility with my church that took precedence. Nevertheless, I heard the debate was interesting & that each candidate made some good points. From my perspective, the political situation in America is in a really challenging position & I feel that our country is extremely divided & fragmented. This is very concerning to me & I find myself moved to pray for the 2016 election more than normal. Regardless of your political persuasions, I’d like to ask you to join me in praying for our country & our leaders. Consider the verses from 1Timothy 2:1-4
  

hot topic: crazy love

When I read the news, seeing all kinds of awful things going on, sometimes I want to curl up in a corner with a blanket, headphones & a good book.

And then I saw this today, which is a nice wake up call:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ackGgBPhsOE

While I fully understand that police are flawed humans, I also appreciate that they routinely put their lives at risk to protect and serve.  I like that this lady expresses her love with such sincerity & I hope I can be as authentic and sincere 🙂

hot topic: end times

This month, there’s a convergence of interesting phenomena in conjunction with many Jewish holidays and feasts.  I have friends who think that this month is a very strategic month, maybe even the return of Jesus.  I also have friends who think that the end of the world things in Sept is nothing more than history being repeated yet again.

Regardless of your opinion, if you think Jesus is returning this month or not, let’s keep some essential priorities in mind, based on Jesus’ teachings when He lived among us:

  • love God
  • love people

As a follower of Jesus, these two commandments need to shape my priorities and how I live everyday, so that whenever Jesus does return, He finds me doing His work 🙂

hot topic: fun & helpful :)

Have you read my latest book, Jesus Chicks?  Here’s the honest truth:  this is the best thing I’ve published so far & I sincerely believe everyone should read it!  Why?  Because this book will help you experience & know Jesus is greater clarity, connection and transformation.  I’ve done some TV programs on it and boatloads of peeps have told me how much they loved it!  So here are a few things for your consideration:

  1. buy the book:  here are a few links you can use to buy it:  Jesus Chix  Amazon
  2. write a review on Amazon – this would be extremely helpful!
  3. write a review on Good Reads
  4. Share this post on your social media outlets:  facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, etc 🙂

Thanks heaps for following my blog and for helping me with this really cool project 🙂

PS All of the proceeds from my Jesus Chicks book go to help with our work with Saving Moses we save babies where the need is most urgent & the care is least available 🙂

Hot Topic: GOP Debate & the Presidential Election

Last night, the Republican Party held a national debate.  We heard many ideas and opinions about what the Presidential leadership for the US could look like from several candidates.  Some of the ideas expressed last night were thought provoking and some of the ideas felt naive at best.  Whatever you political beliefs or hopes are, let’s keep in mind a few important essentials:

  • prayer:  1 Tim 2:1-4 says that we should pray for our leaders;  let’s make sure that we endeavor to pray for our government and it’s leaders more than we complain or worry about this topic
  • focus:  Prov 21:1 says that the heart of a king is in God’s hands, so let’s trust that ultimately, God is sovereign
  • peacable living:  in Rom 12:18, Paul tells us to live at peace with each other, as much as possible;  with the upcoming elections, it could be very easy to be offensive or be offended by the various political positions across our nation;  let’s be respectful and prayerful
  • love well:  Jesus tells us in John 13:35 that people will recognize we are His followers by our love for one another, so let’s be committed to love well 🙂

Hot Topic: Ala Carte

“Extra pickles & no onions” – my burger, my way ala Burger King’s mantra: have it your way. So much of our daily living is structured around being a satisfied customer. This is true to the point that we can almost be conditioned to believe that we get to have everything our own way, including our spirituality. 
But alas, such a perspective in relation to following Jesus is inherently dysfunctional. Jesus said that whoever would follow Him must lay down their life & take up their cross. While there is tremendous satisfaction in following Jesus, walking with Jesus is also the path of total sacrifice. Maybe we can start our relationship with Jesus in ala carte mode, getting to pick & choose what we like, but becoming increasingly mature in Jesus is more about being consumed than being a consumer 🙂  

#selah

hot topic part 2: same sex marriage :)

Thank you heaps for all of the feedback on my post about the same sex marriage topic!  It’s obviously a very sensitive topic for almost everyone and by the input I’ve received (some pleasant, some slippery and some hostile), I think it’s worth a final post on the topic.

I’ve been praying about this post for several days because I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit per Ephesians 4:29-32.  With that being said, here are a few questions to consider on the same sex marriage topic for prayerful reflection:

  • Who???  When we talk about this subject, to whom are we speaking or communicating?  Seems like we should think not only about what we say, but with whom we are communicating (seekers, Jesus’ followers, opponents to Jesus’ words, etc).  Jesus was super clear about different messages for different audiences – but all with the same motive
  • How???  How we communicate is a good peek into our motives & ultimately what’s in our hearts
  • What??? After thinking about our motives & audience, the content of our words are very important – what are we really saying?

I’m certainly up to speed with Paul’s words about homosexuality in 1Cor 6:9, Rom 1:26-32 & the relevant verses in Levitucs & the outcomes of Sodom & Gomorrah and I do not disagree with these words.  But I come back to the question of loving well from John 13:35 – the defining distinctive of Jesus’ followers is our love for each other.

To conclude, I believe that we can all find common ground in praying for our nation & our world.  Let’s agree to pray for our pastors, our political leaders, key influencers and let’s pray that Jesus lives well through our lives every day 🙂

hot topic: same sex marriage

It’s been a week since the Supreme Court made their decision on the extremely controversial topic of same sex marriage.  The subsequent reaction to this ruling has been interesting to watch.  I’ve listened to conversations where people think the Supreme Court’s ruling is the most awesome evidence to show that America is progressive and modern.  I’ve also listened to conversations where people think that America will be swallowed up in hellfire and brimstone like Sodom and Gomorrah.  I like to listen and watch how people react with controversial topics like this because their reactions say alot about who they are and what they really believe.  I also like what Bishop TD Jakes had to say about this ruling – he’s a very wise man.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court ruling from last week, one of the defining hallmarks of being a follower of Jesus is our love for one another, based on Jesus’ words in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The question I keep in the forefront of my mind is this:  Am I loving well?

The definition of loving well is 1 Cor 13:4-7, ” 4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Happy Fourth of July weekend 🙂