Friday, January 29, 2010
Tonight, January 29th, 2010 TBN will air my interview that was recorded last night. I think it comes on from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m and I am on around 8:15 p.m. Pacific Time Zone.
Matt and Laurie invited me to come down and to talk about Shepherd of the Hills Church, and they told me that they have visited here on several occasions. I have always been a little hesitant because there are so many people on TBN whose theology is different than mine, yet the opportunity to talk about JESUS with the world was the only reason I needed to accept the invitation.
I admit I was a little nervous, because whenever I preach I always have my notes written out in a manuscript manner. (This is a result of preaching 5 times every weekend and not wanting to forget an important thought, which is easy to do.) So, when the interview began I thought we were going to go off of a set of questions that I was prepared to answer, and right off the bat Matt throws me a curve ball and asks me to say whatever I want.
So I started talking about the last thing that I read in my Bible, a verse that mentions that "you will once again be able to distinguish between the righteous and the unrighteous." I didn't even know if it made any sense at all, but it was from my heart.
I enjoyed meeting the singer named JAVEN, who lives here in the valley and hopefully we can have him come sing here at Shepherd sometime in the near future. The song he sang before I came on was POWERFUL; so you might want to start watching at 8:00 p.m.
There was a studio audience and I could sense and feel that they were praying for me, so I felt I connected with them, and the entire night I could not stop smiling! They kept asking me what was so funny and I simply said, "I'm just happy to be here."
One funny thing before the show started: All the people who were going to be interviewed met for a few moments, and Matt asked me in front of everyone if I had ever read the book "The Shack," to which I responded "NO," primarily because I don't care to read fiction. I'm just not a fiction guy. Little did I know that the gentleman to my right was the AUTHOR of THAT book, and it has sold 14 MILLION copies. So, they were all looking at me strange.
Tonight is also the opening of a movie called "The Preachers Kid," which was produced by TBN, and it's the story of the Prodigal Son, except it's told in a more modern setting. I for one think that the story of the Prodigal Son might be the greatest story in the Bible, and so I hope if you can find the time that you'll get out and support this movie.
Byron Davis and Will Wright on our staff both rode to Costa Mesa with me, and I enjoyed the time of fellowship with them. They both have such good hearts. Looking back on the evening, everyone I came in contact with had such sweet attitudes. At the very end of the taping, Matt asked me to stick around and pray for the studio audience that had been sitting for over 2 hours; so I stayed and prayed for them and for all who will be watching tonight's show.
It was a great opportunity, and I hope I had a chance to say something to help someone become more like Jesus.
Be blessed and thank you for letting me share.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I have been reading a book called Bus Ride to Justice by Fred Gray, a lawyer for Rosa Parks, who was arrested on December 1st, 1955 for sitting where she was NOT supposed to sit. As you know, African Americans were supposed to sit in the back of the bus during that time and save the seats in the front for the "White" people. When the courts finally ruled that segregation on city buses was unconstitutional, it was the one case that truly began the civil rights movement in America.
On page 97 of his book, Fred Gray writes, "A pebble cast in the segregated waters of Montgomery, Alabama, created a human rights tidal wave that changed America and eventually washed up on the shores of such far away places as the Bahamas, China, South Africa, and the Soviet Union. And it all started on a bus.”
But there is ONE GLARING problem -- that tidal wave never hit the CHURCH in AMERICA.
It was in 1963, which was almost 50 years ago, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said 11:00 a.m. is still the most segregated hour in America. Here we are some 47 years later and that statement, even is Los Angeles, is still true. An article in the Jan. 11, 2010 issue of Time Magazine states that 93 percent of the churches in America are still primarily segregated. Less than 8 % of churches are diverse. How is this possible?
The 5 Star Initiative is simply to get churches to be more intentional about diversity… getting our churches to ACCEPT the great commission to reach "all nations." And I know is sounds simplistic, and I am sorry if you do not agree, but if we could just start by diversifying our platform and our stages, we could see immediate change within our churches today. Finding ways to include people of all cultures in our worship teams, in our praise teams and in our choirs; being intentional about representing all nationalities with who makes the announcements, who conducts the baptisms, and who leads the congregation in prayer. All of this would have a HUGE ripple effect on those who are first-time visitors, those who will look to the stage and see that this is a church that accepts people from all walks of life.
I've seen the difference in the church I serve, and I think you'd see the difference in your church as well. It is time that the Church of 2010 reflects the church of Revelation 7:9-10.
Watch the above video. Go to http://www.dreamofdestiny.com/ and sign up to be a part of the 5 star Initiative.
Friday, January 15, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- She had already spent three days under the rubble, and by the time rescuers pulled the woman from the crumpled home, they told her crying relatives to dump her broken body with the other corpses on the sidewalk.
The family protested: She deserved better.
So a Mexican rescue worker leaned over and felt 19-year-old Josyanne Petidelle's throat. He looked up at her relatives.
"She's alive!" he shouted. "She's alive!"
Against increasingly high odds, search teams and rescue workers around Port-au-Prince found more victims still breathing under the rubble and collapsed concrete on Friday, the fourth day of recovery efforts after a devastating magnitude-7.0 quake that toppled countless homes and buildings.
British firefighters pulled a 2-year-old girl from a fallen building on Friday. Seven people were freed from the Montana Hotel Thursday night and Friday - including four Americans who were up and walking soon after being hauled from the wreckage.
Even an Australian television crew got in on the rescue efforts, digging out a healthy 16-month-old girl from beneath her destroyed hillside home about 68 hours after Tuesday's earthquake. The crew was about to film an interview when neighbors, and reporters heard the toddler's cries.
"We had to break some walls," said David Celestino of the Dominican Republic, who was working with the TV crew. "We had a big hammer, we made a hole and she came out to the light. She basically walked out to me."
Experts say people trapped by the quake and without access to water will soon die.
"Beyond three or four days without water, they'll be pretty ill," said Dr. Michael VanRooyen of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in Boston. "Around three days would be where you would see people start to succumb."
Petidelle was discovered amid the sad resignation and stench of rotting bodies in the downtown neighborhood of Carrefour-Feuille. Her rescue sent shudders of excitement and hope running down the street, where crowds flocked to congratulate themselves on what they viewed as just short of a miracle.
Petidelle's father, boyfriend and neighbors had dug frantically for three hours after hearing shouts from under a collapsed concrete house.
When they finally reached Petidelle, they found her motionless, with her dress tattered and her skin bruised and caked in white dust. As flies buzzed around her open wounds, she kept her eyes wide open, staring into the empty without a blink.
Most neighbors thought she was dead and shifted their focus to a team of Miami firefighters who'd just arrived nearby. But relatives pulled her onto a battered old mattress and carried the makeshift stretcher up the street to a team of Israeli and Mexican medics, who were searching for dozens of students believed trapped under a flattened St. Gerard University building.
"We can hear their shouts, but for now we can't reach them," said Louis Alva, a Mexican volunteer rescue worker whose small team only worked with shovels and bare hands on Friday.
When the medics saw Petidelle on the mattress, they angrily told her relatives to take her down the road to where other corpses were lying in the dust. But her father and brother begged until one medic wearily leaned over the mattress and pressed two fingers against Petidelle's throat.
After a second's surprise, he cried out that the was still alive.
A handful of doctors and nurses flocked to the woman to drip water through her half open mouth and intube her.
Petidelle eventually burst out with a loud screech of pain, which the medics viewed as a good sign.
Dov Maisel, a doctor who'd just arrived from Israel with the aid group Zaka, said she appeared to suffer from multiple internal injuries. Her condition would be assessed at Port-au-Prince's main hospital, he said. "But I think she'll live," Maisel said, as relatives carried the woman away.
But Petidelle's ride to the hospital was a truck coated in blood piled with corpses, where she - wounded and covered in dirt - barely stood out.
One Haitian woman was found Friday near the Montana Hotel bar after a 17-hour operation by a search and rescue team from Fairfax County, Va. The first thing she asked for was a glass of wine, said Rebecca Gustafson of the U.S. Agency for International Development disaster assistance team.
Four Americans rescued there Thursday were in good shape, but a fifth American - found Friday - was flown out of Haiti. It wasn't known how many were still inside in hotel ruins, alive or dead.
"They're still searching for those who are surviving in this rubble. We're still in search and rescue mode," Gustafson said.
"This is a real boost to us all," said Mike Thomas, chief officer of the team. "This is what we do the job for."
Borenstein reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Mike Melia in Port-au-Prince and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.
Many are wondering who caused this earthquake. You might be surprised to know how many people have asked me, "Was this the devil? Or was this God?" My answer may or may NOT surprise you. I'm not sure it was either. Geologists have known for a LONG time that Haiti was ON TOP of a fault line, just like geologists have told us that Los Angeles is on top of a fault line. Earthquakes happen all over the world when faults beneath the surface of the earth shift. One day, as almost every expert has predicted, we are going to see the earthquake of all earthquakes here in our home town.
My heart and time are filled with other issues, such as trying to figure out how we can rescue people physically and spiritually in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and it's only a short 2 hour flight from Florida's coast, I might add. They are OUR neighbors, and three days ago, as many as 50,000 to 100,000 Haitians lost their lives when the 7.0 Earthquake hit at about 5:00 p.m.
Those numbers will climb if we are not able to get rescue teams and equipment into the heart of Port-au-Prince as soon as possible. I am told that three days afterward, we are still struggling to get rescue equipment and the basic necessities of food and water to the people who need it.
My heart breaks when I see the news and hear the reports of complete devastation. My prayers are with the people of Haiti, and I pray that we will all do whatever is possible to help send relief. We will be sending a lot of the monies that we collect to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission(www.nwhcm.org). We have sent several teams in recent years to this missions outpost, which is 90 miles north of the epicenter. They have their own medical team, and we know for sure that any monies we send will be used for those who were hit the hardest.
Having grown up in the Midwest, I am familiar with tornadoes and floods, and since moving to L.A., I have experienced several earthquakes. They are natural disasters, and we are seeing them happen more and more around the world. But whenever we see natural disasters, we also see supernatural responses when Christians around the world dig deep into their pocketbooks to help send resources to those who are hurting. Every dollar counts, and every prayer counts. They have both a physical need as well as a spiritual need. I would like to see God move in our hearts to help in both regards -- that our people and our missions can help rebuild broken homes and cities and then be used to help introduce the Christ that saved us all.
Please pray for God's blessing upon those who need to be rescued. Pray for those who are trying to coordinate the search and rescue teams. Pray for peace and calm in the streets. Pray for God's mercy to flow upon all those who need Him. Pray for the many mission departments around the world who have ministries in and through out all of Haiti. God's people are already there, equipped and prepared to rise to this occasion. Ask what God would have YOU TO DO to help make a difference in that part of the world.
May we, too, prepare our hearts for the time where we will ALL CRY OUT to the King of all Kings.
In love ,