Through His Eyes
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.Rom.12:2 (MSG) Then you can see things through His eyes.
- Name: Royal
- Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, United States
I have the best job in the world. I am the Pastor and Church planter of Life Connection Church. I am married to Lisa for 27 years and have two adult children, Brooke 23, Nick 21 that have been and still are an incredible blessing to my life. Brooke is a graduate of UTA and is in the corporate world and Nick is a business major at Texas Christian University.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Crisis of Faith
You know what I am talking about. Walking in faith is sometimes hard. God allows us to go through tough times to test our faith. 1 Pet. 1:7
Mother Teresa is a modern day hero of the faith. For over 40 years, she devoted her life to the needs of the orphaned, penniless, and sick people of Calcutta. She lived such a sacrificial life of service that she has achieved super human status among us common folk. Surely a woman this devoted to God would never have doubts, fears, or a crisis of faith. Unless she really was human. What if she was just a normal human being who committed her life to Christ and God used her in a great way?
In a recent Time magazine article, Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith by David Van Biema, correspondence between Teresa and spiritual confidants show the human side of this faithful Christ-follower.
In 1979, while receiving her Nobel Peace Prize, she said, "It is not enough for us to say, 'I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'" she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had "[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one." Jesus' hunger, she said, is what "you and I must find" and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world "that radiating joy is real" because Christ is everywhere — "Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive."
Van Biema wrote, "Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. "Jesus has a very special love for you," she assured Van der Peet. "[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."
The presence of doubt does not mean there is an absence of faith. It takes great faith to be obedient to God when the darkness of fear, doubt, and loneliness are present. No matter how many times Teresa struggled with her faith, because of her faithful obedience, she was very pleasing to God. Heb 11:6
It does not take super human strength to serve God and be a hero, or a great witness of the faith, it just takes the commitment to be obedient. Rom. 12:1 God provides his strength. I am thankful for God lead human witnesses like Mother Teresa. There is hope for me yet.
This Sunday Morning: EPIC Joy - A Study of Philippians part 9 - Running a Race for Joy
In chapter three the apostle Paul compares living a life of faith with running a race to win God's prize. This Sunday we will look at how we are to run to win.
If you are part of the LCC family, please join us Sunday and bring a friend. If you are a friend of LCC your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.
Serving you in Christ
Friday, August 17, 2007
Very Realistic and Amazing Sculptures
Know What Counts
How is your joy doing? Is it great or not so great? Is your level of happiness going up and down with the stock market? Are you struggling this week? Many are, Christians and unbelievers alike. It is easy to get caught up in looking for happiness in situations over the joy that comes from having a supernatural delight in God and His love for us. The devil wants us to believe that God's love for us is not enough. Our human nature drives us to seek comfort through the approval of others and our own success as determined by the world in which we live.
It is easy to forget that we are aliens (1 Pet 2:11) to this planet and God's provision for joy is not the same as the world's answer for happiness. The world says that in order to be happy we need physical pleasure or comfort derived from things like sex, security, popularity, and the freedom to be who we want to be. God, on the other hand, through Jesus Christ provides love, trust, peace, and the freedom to live without the guilt of sin and the knowledge, through faith, that we have great value. God provides the promise that when we are through with our time on planet earth we will spend eternity experiencing the rewards passed down to the children of God.
Joy is a matter of the condition of the heart that is the result of God's investment in us and not the rise and fall of the economy and our investment in the stock market.
This Sunday we will continue in our study of the book of Philippians called "EPIC Joy". (Phil 3:1-11) "The Joy of Knowing What Counts"
If you are part of the LCC family I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Bring a friend.
For the rest of you, thanks for your friendship and your prayers and support of the ministries of LCC.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Make Quality Time
I went on a vacation cruise out of Galveston with my family last week. We last went on a family vacation two years ago. We had a great time together and I had a great time relaxing. For me a cruise is the best vacation on the planet, because it is the only place I can totally disconnect for a week and chill out. Every morning I would get up at 6:00 and go to the restaurant at the front of the boat, before everyone else got up, and get in the Word of God, journal, and look out over God's incredible ocean. When I am on the ocean I am reminded how small I am and how infinitely large God is. I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded of that more often than I would like to admit.
I think what I liked best about our vacation is that my mom went with us. Lisa and I had some great quality time hanging out with mom and my kids enjoyed time with their grandmother you can't get dashing through our normal busy lives. I really enjoyed watching my mother enjoy herself and have fun with my kids. I did have to ask mom to slow down one night as she was keeping up with Nick on the dance floor at the party on deck 9 by the pool. I got some great pictures.
You know the enemy is against quality relationships and our spending quality time together. Our environment in the 21st century continually distracts us from what Jesus said is most important. Love God and Love people. We have to intentionally and deliberately make quality time with God and the people we love. Sometimes we are so busy driving our kids to events that we mistake that time for quality time. It's not. We have to slow down and spend time with the people we love just like we have to be still in order to know God. (Ps. 46:10)
You don't have to go on a cruise to have quality time, but you do have to put yourself in an environment where the distractions to quality time are removed. Computers, TVs, Cell Phones and Blackberrys demand much of our attention. (For many they become an addiction) Parents, the best way to improve your parenting is to spend more time with your kids. Husbands will become better husbands through quality time with your wives. Christians will become devoted Christ-followers as they practice God's presence.
This is the time of year, before school starts, when many people are looking at life situations and trying to set priorities and schedules. If you want life to be better. Make time alone with God and with the people you love a priority in your schedule.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Hero: Billy Graham - Grief with hope
'"No matter how prepared you think you are for the death of a loved one, it still comes as a shock," Billy Graham observes, "and it still hurts very deeply." Ruth and Billy would have been married 64 years this month. He called her his soul mate and best friend; she was also a woman who could keep him humble, help swat away the temptations and ego trips and the offers from moguls who wanted to make him a movie star or talk-show host.'"
Rest of the article here.....
Friday, July 27, 2007
The Way to Knowledge - Oswald Chambers
The golden rule to follow to obtain spiritual understanding is not one of intellectual pursuit, but one of obedience. If a person wants scientific knowledge, then intellectual curiosity must be his guide. But if he desires knowledge and insight into the teachings of Jesus Christ, he can only obtain it through obedience. If spiritual things seem dark and hidden to me, then I can be sure that there is a point of disobedience somewhere in my life. Intellectual darkness is the result of ignorance, but spiritual darkness is the result of something that I do not intend to obey.
No one ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test regarding it. We disobey and then wonder why we are not growing spiritually. Jesus said, "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" He is saying, in essence, "Don’t say another word to me; first be obedient by making things right." The teachings of Jesus hit us where we live. We cannot stand as impostors before Him for even one second. He instructs us down to the very last detail. The Spirit of God uncovers our spirit of self-vindication and makes us sensitive to things that we have never even thought of before.
When Jesus drives something home to you through His Word, don’t try to evade it. If you do, you will become a religious impostor. Examine the things you tend simply to shrug your shoulders about, and where you have refused to be obedient, and you will know why you are not growing spiritually. As Jesus said, "First . . . go . . .." Even at the risk of being thought of as fanatical, you must obey what God tells you.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Why can't church be like camp?
It will be hot. It may rain on us a couple of days. We will be blessed if the A/C unit is cranking enough to keep the room cool. We won’t get much sleep. There will be incredible emotional ups and downs. New friendships will be made and old ones will grow stronger. People will meet God for the first time. Others will get closer to God than they have ever been before. There will be around 1300 of us in a room with terrible acoustics and hard metal chairs having incredible times of worship a couple of times a day all week long. We will have some very personal and honest share times within our own group. Our adult shepherds will get as much or more out of their time with God and the teens as the students.
At the beginning of the week there will be cliques. Within a couple of days, we will become God’s family. As God starts to move we will come to the realization that it doesn’t matter how much money one makes, what sport one plays, or the color of one’s skin. It won’t matter if one is an artist, a jock, an introvert or an extrovert. It will not matter your denomination or what church you attend.
During this week of camp, selfish people will become servants, prideful people will become humble, mean people will be loving, hard people will soften, those who mourn will be comforted, tough people will become gentle, and spiritually hungry people will be fed.
At least for a week, hurt people will feel loved, shy people will come out of their shells, anxious people will find peace, angry people will love others and receive love, unforgiven people will be forgiven, bitter people will forgive, and the guilty will experience God’s grace.
We will have more fun than we can stand. People will wish it were always like this. A couple of years ago, I was riding with a student in a cart on the day before we left to come back “to the real world”. She said, “I wish we could stay. I wish when we got home it would be like this.” I responded, “Be like what?” She said, “Where everyone loves and cares for each other.”
If you have never had this kind of experience it may be hard to understand. Now you know why I love camp and it is important to take as many soon to be adult teens as possible each year. It can be life-changing and life-altering.
The apostle Paul wrote that if we want to have this kind of unity as Christ-followers in the real world, if we want the church to be like camp, we have to focus on Christ. We have to focus on having the same attitude of humility as our Lord and Savior.
Paul wrote: Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Phil 2:3-8 NLT
This Sunday I will continue teaching a series called “EPIC Joy “ from the book of Philippians, Ch. 2:1-11.
We will pray for our students and shepherds and they will leave for camp around 1:00-1:30pm and be back by noon on Friday.....
Join us Sunday and bring a friend.....Nine out of ten people who do not attend church say they would go if a friend asked them.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Why do bad things happen? - Tony Dungy
Tony Dungy, talking about his son's 2005 death in Quiet Strength (Tyndale House, 2007)
Friday, July 06, 2007
Freedom is not Cheap
Between thunderstorms on Wednesday night (July 4), Lisa and I went for a motorcycle ride. It was a beautiful night for riding and we found the perfect place to park and watch the fireworks display at the Bedford Boy's Ranch. I got a little emotional (real men cry) as I thought of the freedoms we have in our great country and the sacrifices that have been made for the past two hundred plus years to earn them and keep them. I am sure you have heard the phrase many times, "Freedom is not cheap." We are truly blessed and privileged to live here, and I can understand why so many people want to leave their countries of origin and come to the USA.
On the Tonight Show, Jay Leno does a piece called Jay Walking. He goes out on the street and asks Americans what seem to be simple questions. Many of the questions are American history related. Jay Walking is a TV fan favorite as people like to laugh at the mistakes of others. I am always surprised at how little, especially young Americans, know about the history of our great country.
I think it is easy to take our freedoms for granted when you really don't know anything about how we obtained them. When freedom seems free, and we are not grateful for, or even acknowledge its cost, freedom seems cheap. It is easy to disrespect something that is cheap. I believe that when you don't respect the cost of a gift, you don't respect the gift, and you don't respect the giver of the gift. So you burn flags, disrespect our leaders, disobey our laws, and do it in the name of freedom. Cheap freedom.
Although I don't believe it is done out of purposeful disrespect, I believe the majority of people who claim the gift and the freedom that comes from God's grace don't really understand or focus on the cost and live a cheap and not very deep form of Christianity. They live their lives believing they will be in heaven one day, but don't live their lives on earth as the Citizens of heaven they are. The gift of the Gospel or Good news of Jesus Christ is that we become children of the King and citizens of heaven.
When citizens of heaven live their lives on earth as children of the King, different than citizens of earth, people change.
As Christ-followers we know what real freedom costs. The apostle Paul wrote, "Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God's grace." Rom 6:14 NLT
The spiritual freedom from our sin is freedom in no matter what country we live or what situation in life with which we are faced. Paul writes to the Philippians that we are really citizens of Heaven. Our freedom and our citizenship came at a great cost. It was a free gift to us but it came at a great expense to God. He loves us that much.
God's unselfish love, given to the world by God's people, gives others an opportunity to acquire true freedom. The kind of freedom that is life-changing....
As Christian parents it is our job to teach about and live out the life of a Christian not controlled by sin to our children. Psychologists and sociologists say that what we learn in the first twelve years of our lives have the greatest impact on our future.
On Sunday mornings I am teaching through Paul's letter to the Philippians. The main theme of this letter is that if you live your life as a citizen of heaven you will have joy no matter what your circumstances. If we can draw close to God, study His Word and live it in faith, we can have EPIC Joy.
Join us this Sunday as we look at Philippians 1:27-30 and learn how to practice the disciplines of living a life of Joy.
This will be a great message for all and a great opportunity to invite that person you have been wanting to bring to church.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Who is God to you?
31% believe in an "Authoritarian God" who is angry at humanity's sins and engaged in every creature's life and world affairs.
23% believe in a "Benevolent God" who is forgiving and accepting of anyone who repents.
16% believe in a "Critical God" who has his judgmental eye on the world, but he's not going to intervene, either to punish or comfort.
24% believe in a "Distant God" who is more of a cosmic force that launched the world, then left it spinning on its own.
Source: Cathy Lynn Grossman, "America's Image of God Varies," USAToday.com (9/11/06)
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
Friday, June 29, 2007
Gain from the Pain
He had to have his arm amputated to stop the spread of cancer. His baseball career was over.
Several weeks after his surgery, Dravecky returned to Jack Murphy Stadium to thank his teammates, fans, and friends. He received a long standing ovation. As he had many times since his surgery, he glorified God and gave praise to Jesus Christ.
After his return to the stadium he received hundreds of invitations to speak during the next year. Dravecky has been an inspirational speaker and author ever since.
(Taken from Comeback, by Dave Dravecky with Tim Stafford)
For the single-minded Christ follower, the pain of adversity is always an opportunity to grow in our faith in God, and be used by Him for kingdom work, in ways we could never have imagined before. The Apostle Paul wrote from prison to the church in Philippi, "And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News." Phil 1:12
The witness of the Apostle Paul and many Christians, who have found victory in the midst of and after adversity, points the way for us to gain joy from the pain we are allowed to suffer in our lives. That's right, I said "allowed". I know it is more fun when we are looking at the world from the mountain tops, but real spiritual growth comes when we are traveling through the dark valleys of life. God allows us to suffer the pain of adversity so He can mold us to be more like Jesus.
Dear Friends and Family of LCC. This Sunday I will continue teaching in a series from the book of Philippians, EPIC Joy. This week's message will be from Phil. 1:12-26. I am calling it, "Gain from the Pain."
Friday, June 22, 2007
Blessings of Hope and Joy
Why don't you try it!!! It may seem goofy to you, but it couldn't hurt and most likely it will help... When you are lying in bed at night, in the dark, don't count sheep or focus on your problems. Focus on the many blessings you have. If you can only think of one blessing right now, focus on it. But I know there are more... Ask God to remind you of your blessings... tell Him your blessing vision is being blocked by the pain in your life. He will open your eyes.... He is a loving Father and He wants you to feel joy and hope....
For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11
Last week I started a new teaching series from the book of Philippians, "EPIC Joy". We did an overview of the four chapter letter from the apostle Paul and this week we are going to dive right in to chapter one. I have read this book of the Bible many times and I am really enjoying digging in to it to learn for myself and to teach God's people at LCC.
In the greeting Paul says he is writing to God's holy people in Philippi. So why 2000 years later are we reading Paul's letter to this church. Because Paul's letter to the Philippians is also God's letter to the holy people in NE Tarrant County.... That's right.... For us it reads, "I am writing this letter to all of God's people at the church by 7-11 in Euless" (LCC).
God calls us, His children through Jesus, holy. In some translations it says "saints". How often do you think of yourself as a Holy Saint. Whether you do or not, God does. Isn't that amazing. Holy means set apart. When we decide to; admit we need God, recognize that God sent Jesus to pay for and erase our sins, and commit to following Jesus or making him leader of our lives, we are set apart by God to do His work on earth. That's right holy person. You know who you are.
This Sunday we will be learning from the first eleven versus of Philippians how the real secret of joy is found in "The Partnership of Joy." You can catch up by listening to last weeks teaching here,,,, http://www.lifeconnectionchurch.org/Pages/downloads.html
Friday, June 15, 2007
EPIC Joy and Father's Day
I loved that song. It has a catchy tune, you can clap and laugh while singing it, and we got to sing, "If the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack (Hey)." My favorite line.
As a kid, I didn't spend much time thinking about joy, or why I didn't have it. It is a big deal for adults. We want to be happy. We think that God wants us to be happy. We even think that it is our right to be happy. So we spend lots of time, energy, and resources on; seminars, books, religion, possessions, and many other avenues to pursue happiness.
I searched Amazon.com books this morning and got 365,609 hits for happy, 212,539 for happiness, and 299,105 books on joy.
Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Philippian Christians on how to live a joyful life. Lisa and I have read these four chapters over and over again when we are a little short on joy in our lives. What is unusual and even incredible about Paul writing this letter of encouragement is that he wrote it while incarcerated. Yes, he was in jail waiting for a trial that would most likely result in the death penalty. Paul was an innocent and godly man just working hard at spreading the Gospel of Jesus and it landed him in a Roman jail, chained to a Roman soldier, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Paul knew the secret to living a life full of joy, regardless of his circumstances (Phil 4:11). Starting this Sunday, we will spend the summer learning from the Apostle Paul how to live a life of joy. I am calling this teaching series: EPIC Joy. This Sunday we will look at the situations in our lives that block our joy and start unpacking the secrets to a joyful life.
If you are part of the LCC family, you might want to read Philippians (It's only four chapters) and then bring your Bible to church. For those of you who worship elsewhere, if you don't already use this letter of Paul as a source for joy then try it out. I promise you will be blessed, no matter your circumstances.
Father's Day - Just a reminder that Sunday is Father's Day. Honor you father. The Word of God promises you will be blessed.
'Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God will give you. Deut 5:16 NLT
For those of you who are fathers, remember, you are the greatest spiritual influence in your kid's life. it is a responsibility and a privilege given to us by God our Father.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The Risk of Faith
By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis— only one out of an entire crowd is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.
by Oswald Chambers
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The Faith to Persevere - Oswald Chambers
Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, "I can’t take any more." Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" ( Job 13:15 ).
Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.
God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet— places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You . . ." ( John 17:3 ). The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.