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Monday, June 30, 2008

Living Dangerously

I want to thank everyone for the positive comments about the sermon last weekend! I know that the Call On Jesus website was down at the time, but it is up and running again…if you missed the sermon or if you’d like to watch or listen again or get the CD or DVD: www.CallOnJesus.com.

This week, I’ll be in Cincinnati attending the North American Christian Convention (NACC), which is a yearly gathering of Christians all over the world. There are booths, workshops, praise music, and awesome main sessions every night that are like going to church for a week straight! Bill Hybels—author, speaker, and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago—will be one of this year’s speakers.

“Living Dangerously” is the 2008 theme. It connotes the charge to each of us as believers to live a life less ordinary and to step out of our comfort zones for Jesus.

I am involved in leading several workshops and sharing with others about Dream of Destiny, the ministry I founded last year to promote greater, racial diversity in the leadership within our Christian churches, schools, and organizations. (You can check out www.dreamofdestiny.org for more information.) I have been asked to serve as the president of the NACC in the summer of 2011, which is a great honor and a joy! I would love to see as many of you as possible attend that year. Please visit www.nacctheconnectingplace.com for more information about the NACC.

Monday, June 16, 2008

U.S. Open or a Divine Appointment





Over a year ago, I was scheduled to be in San Diego during the weekend of June 14 & 15. I was able to secure some tickets to the U.S. Open that was held at the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course. It was a tad exciting to walk the course and to see the best golfers in the world. The only problems were that the tickets cost $100 each, parking was a hassle, there was A LOT of walking involved, and it was hot... but the most difficult thing was the fact that you had to dodge the other 42,000+ people who were all there for the same experience.

Now, you need to know that I enjoy the game of golf. For the most part, it is one of life's simple pleasures that allows me to get a little exercise in, and, of course, I love to compete. So when you wrap all of this information together, then you might realize to what degree I was hyped up about attending the 2008 U.S. Open (which, by the way, Tiger Woods won).

Little did I know that the reason for my trip was that the Lord had SEVERAL divine appointments for me. See, I had all these great plans, but the Lord had other plans. Can all God's people say????? Amen!!!

The first divine appointment came at dinner one night. There were three of us having dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and in the middle of the dinner, a waitress walks up to our table out of the blue and asks us if we believed in the Bible. That's the equivalent of God lobbing a softball in my direction saying, "Dudley, see if you can hit this out of the ballpark." "Of course!!!" we said, and we proceeded to discover that our waitress had been eavesdropping and had heard us talking about the Bible. She just wanted to learn more. She was from Mazatlan, where she explained that $4.00 was a day's wage in her hometown, so she is waitressing here in the United States to earn money to send back home to her family. She did NOT have a nice Bible, so this week I know the Lord would have me send her a Bible for her continued growth and interest in the Lord.

Secondly, we had to shuttle (catch a ride) to Torrey Pines because of the crowded parking situation and the woman who drove us began to ask some questions about our church. I'm not sure she heard anything I said, but I know that the Lord used me to plant some seeds into her heart. I was able to tell the person who drove us to the golf course that God revealed Himself to us through His son, Jesus, and that's why we study the Gospels to learn more about Jesus.

Finally, once inside the ropes of the tournament, I was one of 42,000 people spread out over a rather large golf course, and had only been inside the gates a few minutes when I heard my name called out. It was a lady who attends the Westside campus (mywestsidechurch.com). She, too, was attending the U.S. Open with a friend of hers. We talked for a few minutes, she introduced me to her friend, and--praise the Lord--I was able to walk a hole or two with her friend just to meet him and plant a few seeds within his heart as well.

While I was leaving, it dawned on me that I thought I was there for my own enjoyment, but the Lord had me there for these three divine appointments. For me, it was a vivid reminder of Luke 19:1-1o, where Jesus, in the midst of a vast crowd, looks up and sees Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector, and right there on the spot, the Lord has an encounter with a man who desperately needed salvation.

So remember, whenever you have a plan, the Lord might have another plan. Remember that wherever you go, the Lord might be sending you there for a divine appointment. Remember that even in a crowd, God may have a divine appointment for you, and that appointment will be a MILLION times more significant that seeing someone hit a little ball into a little cup.

Monday, June 02, 2008

a few last pictures from Israel

Western Wall
hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Model City of ancient Jerusalem
The Place of the Skull