Thanks for nothing!

Posted November 21, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.   When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” – Acts 11:22-24

Thanks for nothing!

Have you ever heard someone utter these words? (Truth be told, we’ve probably said them a time or two as well.)

But, in the case of Barnabas, many had much to be thankful for, because of nothing. Many folks today are so concerned about being something, Barnabas was content to have nothing.

John Maxwell, in The Maxwell Leadership Bible, explains it like this:

(Barnabas) initiated and did whatever it took to raise morale, men, or money. He led with charity and by example by becoming a servant. He considered no task too small. What allowed Barnabas to demonstrate such a lifestyle? He had…

Nothing to prove – Barnabas didn’t have to play games. He never sought the limelight. When he mentored Paul, he happily let the emerging apostle rise above him.

Nothing to lose – Barnabas didn’t have to guard his reputation or fear that he would lose popularity. He came to serve, not to be served. This enabled to him to focus on giving, not getting.

Nothing to hide – Barnabas didn’t maintain a façade or image. He remained authentic, vulnerable, and transparent. He could rejoice with others victories.  

My prayer this week is each of us will have “nothing” in the same way Barnabas did.

“Kidnapped by the Taliban” – by Dilip Joseph with James Lund

Posted November 21, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“Kidnapped by the Taliban” was a very good read.

The book is written very much in the style of a man just telling the intriguing story of what happened to him.

Because of that style, the reader gets drawn into the emotion of the events. The fear of the initial capture, the relief in discovering death isn’t immediate, the isolation of not understanding the language, and so on.

The story begins when Dr. Joseph is in Afghanistan to help the local people learn how to better themselves and have a brighter future when he and two Afghan nationals are kidnapped by the Taliban. The account unfolds over the next few days as they travel from one location to the other, never knowing whether they will be killed, ransomed, or sold to other terrorists.

Obviously, he survives or there would not be a book about it, but I won’t ruin the end of the story for you.

I enjoyed reading this book and I think you will as well.  

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booklook” Program www.booklookbloggers.com ; however, I am not required to give a positive review of the book.

“For Real”

Posted October 30, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” – I John 1:7-8

Tomorrow is Halloween.  Hold on! This is NOT a message about how dangerous it is to dress your kids up and take them out trick-or-treating.

It is a comparison of what so many do every day of the year. The whole Halloween costume thing is to dress up as something other than who you really are.

Sadly, many Christians do that every day. They act like they are perfect (and we are not). They act like they have it all together (and we don’t). They act like nothing ever goes wrong in their life (and it does).

John’s words quoted above are directed at believers – not pagans. They are told not to deceive themselves – and certainly not to try to deceive others about how good they are, or that they have it altogether.

Sounds pretty hopeless if we leave it there, doesn’t it? But, John didn’t stop there, so we shouldn’t either.

The verses immediately after those above tell us “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

My prayer for us this week is that each of us who name the name of Christ would be authentic every day in order to show the power of forgiveness, love, and grace God has poured out on us.

“Danger!”

Posted September 18, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” – Philippians 4:8

While out on a walk the other evening, Murphy found a copperhead. Murph was stretched out to what appeared to be about 8 feet long as he leaned toward the snake, yet he kept some distance between them (not far enough for my taste though!)

The snake was about the biggest copperhead I’ve ever seen. To my knowledge it was the ONLY copperhead Murphy has ever seen, or any poisonous snake for that matter. Yet, he seemed to know there was danger there.

I can only surmise this ability to detect danger is a God given trait given to protect critters. I know God has given us that ability.

There are things which will slither into our lives to tempt us, to harm us and our family, and our reputation. God has given us the ability to detect those things and the sense to stay away from them – if only we will heed His warning.

If you feel you must lie about something, hide it or cover it up  – that’s a sign you need to stay clear of it!

The verse above gives us the alternative list – the things we should pursue. I’m pretty sure if we devote our time to the things on that list, we won’t have time for the things we should stay away from.

My prayer for us this week is we will heed those warnings to stay clear of those things which may harm us, our families, and our character – and go after those things which will strengthen us in all those areas.

“Don’t Get Over It!”

Posted September 7, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”– Psalm 51:12

I just returned home from a couple days away on business. Every time I awoke last night my dog Murphy was right up next to my face. A couple of times I woke up because he was licking my face.

No, I didn’t have bacon grease on me and while he often gives me “kisses,” it usually isn’t during the middle of the night. (Some of you may have seen him in the “kiss a pit challenge” video).

He often likes to sit on my lap with a paw on each of my shoulders.

Someone asked me the other day why he does that.

I said the only thing I can think of is that he just hasn’t gotten over being rescued.

At one point, he was on his way to certain death, and I think somehow in his little doggy mind he knows his life is much different than it would have been - and he is grateful, and isn’t afraid/ashamed to show it.

Those of us who have experienced God’s grace ought to be as grateful. We should be as devoted, but sadly, we often seem to have gotten over being “rescued.”

My prayer for us this week is that the joy of our salvation would be renewed and we would never get over it!

“Leadership Lessons – Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul” by Ralph Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott

Posted September 2, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

I recently read “Leadership Lessons – Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul” by Ralph Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott, and as one who studies and teaches leadership, I was pleasantly surprised.

This book is not light reading. There are some very thought provoking points based on the mistakes, missteps, and missed opportunities from the failed leadership of King Saul.

A sampling of chapter titles:

  • Saul Failed to Handle Authority Humbly
  • Saul Failed to Think Before He Spoke (ouch!)
  • Saul Failed to Act When the Time Was Right
  • Saul Failed to Promote or Make Necessary Changes
  • Saul Failed to Consult God

These lessons are applied in a variety of stings and are not limited to the church.

Each chapter is followed by discussion notes and questions – some for personal reflection and some for group study.

I plan to incorporate some of this material in my leadership training.

“Leadership Lessons – Avoiding the Pitfalls of King Saul” by Ralph Hawkins and Richard Leslie Parrott is well worth the time it takes to read it, but don’t plan on going through it in one sitting.

It needs to be digested in manageable potions in order to reap the greatest benefit. In short, I recommend it.

(I will be posting a few of these book reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program – they provide the book at no cost in return for a review – I am not required to post a positive review, just a review. J )

“Watch Your Step”

Posted August 24, 2014 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”– Psalm 37:23

I listened as my friend described the pain in his back, from having “stepped wrong” off of the curb.

I once broke my foot as I took a “misstep.”

We have probably all done it, and it hurts – sometimes physically, as in the cases above. At other times, it hurts our pride, as our misstep may cause us to fall, or at least stumble in front of a group of people (hopefully strangers we will never see again!)

Those are bad – but arguably worse are the times we “step wrong” in life choices. Those painfully poor choices we often make. Just like the physical missteps, these can be private (still painful) and they can be public. They are embarrassing and can leave emotional scars, painful memories, and cause self-doubt in future decisions.

This is when we need to remember the verse above. When we follow God’s ordered steps, through obedience to His word, seeking wise counsel, and learning from past mistakes (ours and those of others).


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