Tag Archives: Steven Furtick

Stealth Warfare and A Civil War Submarine

The Confederate Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world’s first successful combat submarine, was unveiled in full and unobstructed view for the first time two weeks ago (Jan 12, 2012), capping a decade of careful preservation.

About 20 engineers and scientists applauded as they caught the first glimpse of the intact 42-foot-long narrow iron cylinder, which was raised from the ocean floor near Charleston, SC more than a decade ago.

In the summer of 2000, an expedition led by adventurer Clive Cussler raised the Hunley and delivered it to the conservatory on Charleston’s old Navy base, where it sat in a 90,000-gallon tank of fresh water to leech salt out of its iron hull.

The narrow, top-secret “torpedo fish,” built in Mobile, Alabama by Horace Hunley from cast iron and wrought iron with a hand-cranked propeller, arrived in Charleston in 1863 while the city was under siege by Union troops and ships.

In the ensuing few months, it sank twice after sea trial accidents, killing 13 crew members including Horace Hunley, who was steering.

On the night of February 17, 1864, its captain and seven crew left Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, and hand-powered the sub to the Union warship Housatonic four miles offshore. From a metal spar on its bow, the Hunley planted a 135-pound torpedo in the hull of the ship, which burned and sank. It then disappeared with all eight Confederate sailors inside.*

Stealth weapons and tactics have always been a part of warfare but no one is better at it than the devil. As Steven Furtick puts it:

The devil is a liar. That’s all he is, and he’s good at what he does.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul reminds us to guard against the attacks of Satan. After listing various pieces of spiritual armor to put on Paul says:

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

Why a shield of faith? Because the enemy’s favorite tactic is to tempt us into NOT trusting God; and he prefers stealth mode. He sneaks up when we least expect it to plant a seed of doubt. If undetected, it eventually grows until we turn from God and take matters into our own hands.

Whatever it is that you are facing today remember…

you can trust God!

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* Adapted from a report by Reuters

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Filed under Choices, Doubt, Faith, Satan, Sin, Temptation, Trusting God

Don’t put Jesus first this year!*

Here’s my best advice as we head into a new year.

Don’t put Jesus first this year!

No – that’s not a typo and yes – I’m serious. But before you write me off as having lost my mind please hear me out.

It’s fairly common, at the start of a new year, to pause and evaluate the past year. This usually leads us to a renewed commitment to follow after Jesus and it tends to look like this:

1.  God/Jesus
2.  Family
3.  Vocation/work

The problem is that a list like this tends to compartmentalize life in a way that doesn’t fit neatly into a real, ordinary day.

I take calls from my family when I’m at the office and I occasionally do office stuff when I’m home with the family. And separate time alone with God doesn’t always work first thing in the morning when an urgent phone call wakes me up and I have to attend to something related to work or a family member.

The neat and tidy list of 1, 2, 3 seldom fits into an ordinary day and tends to take Jesus out of those places that we most need Him!

As Steven Furtick puts it: “You end up removing Jesus from where you spend the majority of your time and putting Him on an island by Himself. The biggest island maybe, but an island nonetheless.”

Colossians 1:15-20 describes how Christ Jesus is supreme. It spells out how everything - both visible and invisible - was created through Him and for Him. How everything was reconciled through Him and how all of creation is held together by Him and in Him.

Jesus is supreme because He is at the center of everything!

So instead of putting Jesus first, let’s make Him the center of everything in our lives.

Not Jesus first and then my marriage but Jesus in the center of my marriage! Not Jesus first and then my kids but Jesus in the center of my kids! Not Jesus first and then my vocation but Jesus in the center of my work!

What would it look like for Jesus to be at the center of every aspect of our lives?

***

* The seed idea for this blog came from Steven Furtick

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Filed under Choices, Commitment, Discipleship, Family, God's Will, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Marriage, New Years, Priorities, Work

Thanksgiving quotables worth pondering

Sure it’s another Thanksgiving, but are we really thankful? May these quotes stir your heart and deepen your sense of gratitude as they did mine!

“You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to.”  ~ Steven Furtick

“Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.” ~ William Law

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ The Apostle Paul – I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing the journey!

***

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Filed under Contentment, Gratitude, Thankfulness

Miracles or Magic?

What follows is adapted from a blog post by Steven Furtick. It makes me nervous, at times, to talk about miracles. While I have no doubt that God can and does accomplish miracles daily, my concern is that we tend to want them for our purposes rather than God’s purposes and glory. Keep that in mind as you read what follows.
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When you consider miracles in the Bible, two themes consistently emerge when it comes to the person involved.

1) Many biblical miracles were the person’s own initiative, not God’s idea.

  • Like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.
  • Or Namaan who went to Elisha for healing for his leprosy.
  • Or the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant.

2) Many biblical miracles involved the person’s initial actions, not just God’s supernatural intervention.

  • Like when God parted the Jordan River only after the Priests stepped out.
  • Or when the blind man had to wash himself in the pool of Siloam.
  • Or when Joshua and his army had to march around the walls of Jericho before it fell.

The bottom line is that when it comes to the miracles we want to see in and through our life, God wants our involvement. Most Christians don’t want miracles, we want magic. We want God to wave a magic wand at our problem or need.

We want God to send the money out of the sky.
God forbid we would cut up our credit cards and live within our means.

We want God to heal us of our physical ailments.
God forbid we change our eating habits or start exercising.

We want to see God do miraculous things through us.
God forbid we get off the couch and give God a platform off of which He can work.

I’m sorry, but God’s miracles don’t work like that. Of course they involve His unmistakable power and provision. Otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles. But they also require our initiative and involvement. Otherwise they would just be magic.

Maybe we could sum it up like this:
Without Godyou cannot.
Without youGod will not.

We need to ask ourselves two questions.
1)   What miracle do we need or want to see God accomplish?
2)   What involvement is God requiring from us?

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Filed under Glory of God, Miracles, Trusting God

Don’t begrudge the dips!

I’ve long admired those people who seem to do life with steady upward progress. My own experience is more akin to a roller coaster ride with ups and downs and twists and turns and unexpected dips.

Yesterday was one of those “dips”, though actually I think it began shortly before going to bed the night before, and to be perfectly honest it was frustrating!

For some time now I’ve been thoroughly enjoying every aspect of life. My relationship with God is thriving. My family is doing great! I’ve been eating better and exercising. Ministry is going really well.

But then an unexpected dip came and there I was dragging myself into another day. It’s not that the bottom fell out but more like I was stuck in a haze.

I don’t know how you handle such moments but one thing I do is sort through and organize my stacks. According to Susan, if stacking were an Olympic event I’d be wearing gold! And since my desk looked like the aftermath of a tornado it was a good place to start.

By 1:00 pm that afternoon God had used several different things to get my attention and readjust my focus.

  • Reading about a gal who gave up her 4,000 square foot home to work in Darfur helping the homeless and victims of sex trafficking.
  • The story of Christopher Yuan – I write more about him in a later blog.
  • An article by Carolyn Arends about how our busy pace of life can hinder our ability to listen to God and participate in His primary goal for us – to make us more like Jesus.
  • A blog entry by Steven Furtick challenging us to emulate the attitude of the Apostle Paul – seeing every moment as an opportunity to participate in God’s grand adventure.
  • Reading about a small church in KY that dropped their denominational name and reached further into their community to touch the lives of the hurting – pursuing the Great Commandment (Mt 22:34-40).
  • An email from NewWays Ministries with encouraging words from Larry Crabb.

None of that was on my radar heading into the day!

I’m not suggesting that any of these particulars would have the same effect on you; I’m just pointing out that sometimes unexpected dips or hazy moments serve the divine purpose of interrupting our agenda or current train of thought so that God can more effectively grab our attention. So…

Don’t begrudge the dips!

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Filed under Brokenness, Divine presence, God's Will, intimacy with the Lord