Draw Near

God will do whatever it takes to get your eyes on Him – to get your focus, desire, trust and hope in Him; in that way, He is relentless and can go to extremes (as Scripture, myself and countless others can attest to) to get our attention.

In light of our recent economic situation, it occurred to me that God may be at work all around. I travel the country speaking on innovation. One of the ways that I teach innovation is birthed is by desperation, but I go on to say that “it’s a desperation that leads to a dependence upon the Holy Spirit.”

When you hit the bottom in your own way: maybe lose your job, your retirement, your house, your savings, your stock portfolio, your (you fill in the blank)… Could it be that it’s by design by our Creator to bring us back to trusting in Him alone?

To quote two spiritual giants and long distance mentors: “God is most satisfied in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” – John Piper. In The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis says, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Deaf world are we listening? Because I believe God is shouting. Please understand I’m not a gloom and doom person. I don’t believe this is the end of the world and I don’t believe this is like the Great Depression. I got to hear Dave Ramsey live at his Town Hall for Hope and appreciate his sound wisdom and advice. I appreciate his perspective and the truth that he spoke that night.

However, though it may have been worse in times past, this is rough on our generation and this is a reality that we have to deal with. On my blog a while back, I spoke of God’s “pruning”. I talked about a situation that was extremely difficult, humiliating, humbling and really put me in my place. At the same time, it was wonderful, Spirit-filled, God-ordained and edifying. Our God takes the tough times and makes something beautiful out of it. Scripture is full of exhortations like this.

Now please know I’m writing this after having lost my job due to the economy; so I don’t write from theory, but from my heart. I sincerely believe that it’s in these hard times that God wants us to run to Him and run to Him first. Not to our banker, our broker, our real estate agent or even friends. First and foremost, He wants His children to call on His name and fall to their knees in worship. The Bible teaches us to “seek Him first. (Matt. 6:33)”

Also from personal experience, I know that God pursues us. He is very jealous of our idols and He, as I said before, will be relentless in getting our focus on Him. He’s constantly molding, shaping, pruning and refining us. The good news is that He has promised to draw close to us when we draw close to Him (James 4:8).

So in these days of trials, allow God to complete His work IN you. Seek Him first, draw close to Him and place your hope squarely on Him. These are days for us to truly be men and women of faith, trusting in the One who is sovereign and unshaken. God, if you let Him, will make something beautiful of the mess you’re going through. Trust Him. Listen to Him. Worship Him.


Dave Ramsey is For Such a Time as This

This past Thursday I happened to be in OKC for my Church 2.0 gathering the next day and got to attend Dave Ramsey’s Town Hall for Hope LIVE. I was told I and my friend, Jonathan (seen here) were on the air at least 3 times.Â

Dave Ramsey has been one of my heroes for years. He’s someone that I have great respect for and love that he’s a Christians, but “his ministry” is reaching far beyond the Church world. I believe with our current economic crisis, God raised Dave up “for such a time as this” and allowed him to speak truth and hope to a nation that really needed to hear it – and they made history while doing it.

Dave Ramsey’s message was broadcast to over a million people (making it historic) and getting the attention of many. Besides the over 1 million people that were watching at one of the 6000 host churches across America, it was also being broadcast on the Fox Business Network (as you see in the picture above).

Dave’s team was also on the ball and used very innovative ways to hear from as many people as possible. Though he was extremely prepared and had great statistics to share (I was sitting on the second row and could see his prompt screen of notes), he was fielding questions from email, Twitter, Facebook and even a video sent in via YouTube. Very cool.

I was proud of how hard LifeChurch.tv worked as a primary partner of the event and it was great to see how well they pulled it off in such a short amount of time. I have a huge respect for their ministry and believe they were the perfect host-church. HERE is a list of the team that made the Town Hall for Hope happen. The conversation is still going on. You can dive in HERE.

Impotent: Mike Murdock

mike_murdockCase #3: Mike Murdock,

Founder and Senior Pastor of The Wisdom Center in Ft. Worth, TX

The previous posts on Steve Anderson disturb me, but deep down I know he’s just whack. Something’s not right with him. Mike Murdock, however, is a smart, educated, calculating guy who is deceiving a lot of people. I have a feeling that the holy anger I feel toward him is echoed and probably magnified by my Creator.

I first came across Mike late one night. My wife and I couldn’t sleep and were flipping the channels at about 3am. We came across the Christian channel and Mike was preaching. Here’s what we saw: For the entire hour, he never preached about Christ, he kept craftilly and strategically building up to a “faith challenge”. I sat stunned, intrigued and upset while watching an entire sermon that was designed to ask people to give to his ministry.

His whole sermon was a build up to a challenge to have 1000 people each give $1000. Do the math: that would be 1 million dollars, folks. Because I’m such a Dave Ramsey fan and try to live by his principles, I really got infuriated when he said (and I’ll paraphrase): “Some of you are in debt and don’t have a thousand dollars to give. God wants you, by faith, to put the $1000 on your credit card.” – Say what? That’s just plain wrong. I was shouting at the TV. Friends, God does not want you to go into further debt by putting $1000 on your credit card for Mike Murdock.

My pastor just recently preached on how too many people misinterpret what the Bible means by “wealth”. Wealth is meant to be spiritual. There are wealthy people all over the world that own nothing and have no money saved up. At the same time, there are rich people that are spiritually poor. Mike Murdock and his money gospel are impotent. In my final “Impotent” blog post I’ll share my thoughts on the true Gospel and how it contrasts his teaching. What are your thoughts?