Monday, July 28, 2008

Like Old TImes!

Ever since Nate was a just a tike, I would gather his toys and take him everywhere on a bicycle. I had one of those little carriages that attach to the back with a seatbelt system and I'd wheel him all over town and on the off road trail. He grew up loving bikes. So today we packed up the mountain bikes and made our way up past Dixon's Apple Orchards out by Cochiti Lake. What a great day in a magnificent place--crossing the trickling mountain stream, negotiating the rocky trails with a canopy of warm sunshine and tall pines. It's been 20 years since I road those trails--glad we went today. The best part was just hanging with Nate and listening to him download what God is doing in his life now. He just arrived back from leading a team to Belize and is now preparing for marriage in three months. I am so proud of him and thankful for God's evident grace in his life. So a day filled with mud, sweat and cheers!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please Pray for the Laurie Family

I just received a phone call informing me that Christopher Laurie (pictured here with his beautiful family) has just been killed in a automobile accident. Greg Laurie is one of my best friends and my heart dropped and is still falling. On behalf of the Laurie family I want to solicit as many prayers from the Body of Christ as possible. Christopher (we all called him "Topher") was on the 91 Freeway in southern California when this occurred about mid-day. Topher was the firstborn son of Greg and Cathe. He is not only survived by his parents but by his wife, Brittany and daughter Stella (pictured here)and by his younger brother, Jonathan. Brittany is also expected another child in the Fall. Please keep this precious family lifted before God's throne, that God's peace and comfort would envelop them and that He would guard and embrace their grieving hearts. Topher and his wife used to come every week to our church at Ocean Hills while I served there. I was able to watch their relationship blossom into marriage and rejoiced when their daughter Stella was born. Though I know he is right now with Jesus in heaven, I will deeply miss this talented and sweet young man. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Austin City Limits

This week in Austin, 2200 worshipers (who are also worship leaders) from around the country gathered at Riverbend Church in Austin, Texas. The conference hosted speakers, musicians and loads of workshops for the musically and ministry inclined. This worship conference from the first night had a wonderful air of simplicity and reverence. Rather than introducing the "big name bands" or high profile speakers, one after another came to the platform to share their gift but mostly to shine the stage light of attention onto Jesus. It was an exceptionally receptive group and it was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones. Before I spoke Monday night on, "Casting the Worship Vision--Past, Present and Future" Sarah Kelly and Matt Redman fill the sanctuary with a "joyful noise." These folks were up for a good dose of Bible truth and resonated with the message I brought. I thoroughly enjoyed the staff of Riverbend Church and watched firsthand a great teamwork by many faithful servants in that church community. Fernando Ortega did a great job this morning!

Joining Matt Redman in one of his classics!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

OK, I feel short now

I met Damien and his mom and dad and baby brother this morning after
third service. He's 7'1" and has a shoe size of 20 AND he's only a
sophomore in high school.(Wait, I can hear the NBA coming!) Great
family. They have a new infant that we're going to dedicate soon.

Dave's New Best Friend

Dave Row talks to this man every Sunday and loves him like a brother. I happened to get a picture of it. (Check out the bow-tie!) Some of us are wondering if they may be long-lost brothers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Traveling to Austin

Please pray for me as I travel to Austin Texas Monday to speak at the National Worship Leader's Conference. It will be held at the Riverbend Church. I'm the first speaker out of the gate on Monday night. I am told that there will be upwards of two thousand worship leaders from all over the world. I'm excited to see the resurgent interest in worship. 45 years ago AW Tozer called worship, "The missing jewel of the evangelical church." I am glad to see many trying to rediscover this jewel.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From the Study

Trying out some video--a few words about what I'm studying.

Three Beauties

The house has been filled with more volume the past few days--a happy volume!(I needed to say that). These three ladies: my wife Lenya, Janae (Nate's fiance) and Stephanie Chapin (Janae's mom) have all been busy doing wedding stuff--planning for the big event taking place on November 2. The three beauties have worked long hard hours getting everything planned and have kept it all within the budget! Loads of fun, lots of laughter, hours of joy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Election Time--Pray Hard!

Had an opportunity to be with John McCain this morning as he was here in New Mexico (yes this is one of those "battleground states"). He was firing on all cylinders today reaffirming our need to be free from the dependence on foreign oil and develop alternative energy while exploiting our own oil resources in the meantime. Being a military superstar (former POW), he also understands the threat of Iran with it's aggressive nuclear enrichment program and recent missile launch. in the Middle East, along with its arrogant palaver about destroying Israel. McCain was clear on this point, "There MUST not be another holocaust!" I raised my hand throughout the whole meeting to ask a question (yes, this was a town-hall meeting so I wasn't acting out of line). I wanted to get his take on the relationship the government plays with faith-based organizations in solving social and moral ills. Didn't get that chance. I was sitting next to Sam Winder (chairman of Promise Keepers, former asst. U.S. State Attorney and one our church Board Members). Sam is a good friend with the Senator from Arizona and has worked in the past with him. It was a fun morning but also a reminder to me that we as Christians must first and foremost PRAY for the upcoming election and be responsible to vote. Remember, Paul said, "supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men...for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." We can do more than pray AFTER we've prayed, but we can't do more than pray UNTIL we've prayed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Collings

This little Collings guitar is a jewel. I bought it from my musician friend Paul Clark several years ago. It's a 000 body joined at the 12th fret to the body with a slotted head. The wood is warm yet percussive when you bang out a chord. I just put new strings on it and I'm loving it--this is probably my favorite acoustic guitar. I like the tone better than my Taylor or Martin--a fine instrument and a great songwriting guitar.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why Christians Like Fish

No, this isn't taken during a snorkeling session (remember, I'm in Albuquerque) but at the Bio-Park Aquarium on my i-phone. The huge shark tank hosts a number of aquatic species that all lurk close enough to the glass so as to interact with us outsiders. So why did the early Christians use a fish as a symbol of their faith? During the first two or three centuries the church found itself under extreme persecution. It soon was dangerous to be associated with Christianity in any form.So to identify fellow believers one person would draw the upper curve of the fish symbol. It was very easy to inscribe on the sand or with a rock on stone.

Recognizing the symbol, another person to identify himself/herself as a Christian would complete the second (or bottom) half of the fish.

But why the symbol of a fish? We know that among the earliest Christian symbols was an anchor or a peacock (symbolizing new life). Why a fish? Simply because the word for fish in Greek is ichthys, spelled with 5 letters in Greek (the english equivalent would look like this: i-ch-th-y-s and these 5 letters formed an accrostic meaning to these early Christian believers (that is, each of the five letters stood for a word that embodied their faith). Here was their declaration: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, which means "Jesus Christ, God, Son, Savior!" So next time, smile at that fish you see in the aquarium, and say, "I like fish--ALOT!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ah....Monday, Monday!

Flew back from Riverside last night to catch dinner with the family and Pedro Garcia who spoke for me this weekend while I was doing services at Harvest. But this morning was the bomb! Woke up, called my friend Gino Montoya, who was gracious enough to loan us one of his bikes for Pedro and then Pedro, Ken Riley and myself were off to Santa Fe. We rode the back way through Madrid and Cerillos, lunch at Coyote Cafe and then back--great day, great weather and great friends! One of my great joys is to see people from the church or other believers around the state and enjoy meeting them. Thanks also to the great team at Thunderbird Harley Davidson in Albuquerque--a great crew and very friendly. 

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Harvest Christian Fellowship

This morning I am speaking at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside California. Pastor Greg Laurie is speaking up in Montana at Fresh Life Church and Pedro Garcia is in Albuquerque at Calvary--it's like we're all playing "musical pulpits!" Harvest is a great church whose people and pastors all are involved in both teaching and evangelism and I always enjoy a visit. I've done two services so far and am about to do the thirds in just a bit. Already several have responded in committing to Christ in the first two--very exciting. Great to see friends like John Collins, Jef Lasseigne, Paul Eaton, Hans and good 'ol Billy Batstone. I'll fly home in a few hours--tomorrow I've got a Harley ride scheduled with Pedro Garcia. Fun times!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Kicked by a Panda

Nate can't resist hamming it up anywhere, anytime--like father, like son. (You should have seen what happened to the Panda!)


Today we celebrate the free air we breathe in these United States of America as on July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress approved the famed Declaration of Independence. But this "secular" holiday was firmly tied to the strong faith of our Founding Fathers, some of which had a deep and abiding trust in God. I remind you of the wording of their second paragraph of that document, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." There was no mistaking that these original framers of the nation held the firm conviction that there was a sovereign Creator who both initiates and mitigates the affairs of humanity. 
But as Christians, our freedom is even more significant that national freedom only because it is the kind of freedom that transcends any culture, free or tyrannical in nature of governance. "If the Son makes you free you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Freedom from sin by the salvation of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is best all!
On Wednesday night at Calvary in Albuquerque over 5000 believers gathered outside on our campus to celebrate that freedom. What a night it was! I think it was one of the greatest gatherings I have ever been at--anywhere! (And I heard that same sentiment from numerous other people as well).  The worship music that saturated our outdoor plaza and amphitheater by Evan Wickham was simply outstanding. His dad, John, even played guitar alongside him. John was one of the band members of the early Jesus Movement groups, "The Way" and later on "Parable" in the 1970s. So great to see his sons carrying on for Jesus and dad backing them up! The message was from the book of Daniel, chapters 7-12, as we continued our "Bible From 30,000 Feet," and were able to demonstrate the omniscience and omnipotence of God in forecasting and arranging the events of history. At the end, around 150 people walked forward to receive Christ's forgiveness and step into eternal life. It was a palpably powerful evening. Most everyone stayed for fellowship, worship and the fireworks show which started at 9:15-
-25 minutes of some of the best fireworks I've seen--WOW! The best part was seeing and experiencing the sincere love of the body of Christ, being joined together in family affection and building community with one another. It was so very cool!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Prayer Request

Levi Lusko is a "true son in the faith". I have watched him grow in life and ministry since he was born. Now in Montana pastoring a thriving church, Levi and his wife Jenny are raising their two daughters. They're second child, Lenya, is currently having severe allergy problems manifest by a rash both outside and inside her body (the epithelium: the tissue that lines the alimentary canal). She is presently in a hospital in Spokane, Washington. Please pray for her healing as well for peace for Levi and Jenny and little Alivia. They are hosting an outreach this weekend at their church, where Greg Laurie is speaking. Please pray for God to move in the little city of Kalispell.

Here's a pic of Lenya (my wife) with Lenya (Levi's daughter)

"Mr. Big" in Mongolia

Tom Terry, the man in the picture (under the horse at PF Changs), has been living in Mongolia for the last 6 years. ("Tom" means "big" in Mongol and is sometimes referred to by locals as "Mr. Big"). He is headed back there today amidst a national coup over the latest election results in that country. Tom is a spiritual warrior who has learned the language and the culture and operates a TV station that broadcasts in Mongolia's most populous city. He has in that time changed the way the country produces media. There are only just over 2 million people in that entire nation and he has manages to make a significant impact. We had lunch yesterday (and yes, he ordered the Mongolian beef--seriously). He wanted to tell me that our TV program, the Connection is translated and aired in Mongolia daily and is one of the most popular programs there. (Thank you Lord!) The problem he sees is with the church there. Christians have traditionally been syncretists on their approach and open to every form of false teaching imaginable. He's now asking for pastors to come there and start the "expository method" in Mongolia. The vision is to have a string of churches that will teach line upon line, verse by verse, book by book and at the same time raise up local indigenous leadership along side. As he was describing the present conditions in that country, I couldn't help but think that they are poised for something great to happen--in the spiritual level. That nation could be changed in the course of the next several years, but it needs pastors to go and start a work there. I will be focused on this project and will seek to identify and send a pastor or a family who senses the call to go there to start this work. Any takers?