Feb 27, 2019


Nearly every nation in the world has a McDonald's restaurant located somewhere within that nation.  It is either owned by a franchisee or it is a corporate owned store.  They are privately owned.  At the same time, nearly every nation in the world has a United States Embassy located somewhere within that nation.  Each one is owned by the United States.  They are government owned.  

When you go into a McDonalds in Mexico City, you are still in Mexico.  You are at McDonalds...IN Mexico.  

No matter what nation a United States Embassy is in, the ground where it rests is United States soil.  That land under a United States Embassy does not belong to the foreign country where it sits.  If you, as a United States citizen, are IN that foreign nation, the moment you step into the United States Embassy, you would technically be IN the United States - because you are IN the Embassy. 

That helps me understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he referred to followers of Jesus as being IN CHRIST.  It has been said Paul used the phrase IN CHRIST 170 times.  It has been said, as a result, that it was Paul's favorite saying.  Can I just tell ya something?  I am not going to count to confirm but know that he said it many times.  IN CHRIST simply means belonging to Jesus or being in unity with him.  

There is a wonderful mystery to being IN CHRIST. It is a partnership with Jesus which we cannot fully understand this side of Heaven.  

Words cannot adequately and fully describe this partnership. But oh hallelujah, it is possible to have less than a full understanding about something and still be perfectly delighted about it.

Prayer -
Father, You now I do not understand everything about You and Your ways.  Help me to know that it is not only ok to not understand it all but also that You are not asking me to have it all figured out anyway.  Amen.

He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens IN CHRIST Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us IN CHRIST Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift ​— ​ 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created IN CHRIST Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. -- Ephesians 2:6-10 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

McDonalds Restaurant located in Mexico City

Feb 26, 2019


To say that May 1, 2018 was a "pretty exciting day" at Casa Canote would be a gross understatement.  At approximately 5:20 PM, while sitting in her recliner, my wife looked down to see a 6 foot black snack curled up in our living room.  For clarification, we do not own a 6 foot black snake, nor do we have ANY other pets.

I was on my way home, arriving only moments after "the incident."  As I pulled into the driveway, three of my daughters and my beautiful bride came running out of the house screaming.  They were followed by my 5 year old son, Nicky Blue Eyes, who found the entire scene to be very entertaining.  As I got out of the car, they were getting into the car.  Somehow, in the chaos, I was able to determine there was a snake AND I would need to capture it or otherwise get it out of the house.  One daughter was still inside standing on the couch...also screaming.

After chasing the snake around the living room with a broom, flipping over a several pieces of furniture in the process, I was finally able to coax the snake outside.  It was during this time that my wife, engine running, used several long blasts of the car horn to communicate with me from the driveway.  I very clearly understood 3 distinct statements from her:
  1. This is not ok!!
  2. We cannot live here anymore!!
  3. Burn it down!!
Now, we do live out in the country which I consider to be a privilege and blessing.  It does come with some issues which must be dealt with including the occasional snake, mouse, raccoon, or opossum. However, in the 21 years since we built our house, this was the first snake to violate the clearly established protocol for humans and snakes to co-exist.

Can I just tell ya something?  Fear serves one good purpose:  It keeps you alive.  Good fear is an instinctive natural human response to survive.  When you see a 6 foot snake curled up 1 foot away from you, there is a natural "fear response" which fires off a couple of quick commands:
  1.  Do not pet the snake.
  2.  Get away from the snake.
However, there is also a bad fear.  Bad fear manifests itself in the form of unnecessary anxiety or worry.  Bad fear is a liar.  God did not create us to live our lives in fear.  In fact, according the Bible, we were created to live with power, love, and a sound judgment or courage.

So what are you worrying about?  Where is fear, anxiety, and worry being allowed to manifest and grow in your life?  Christian, oh hallelujah, God gave you a spirit to overcome that!

Prayer -
Father, I know the difference between instinctive life-preservation fear and the unnecessary fear which leads to sinful anxiety and worry.  Help me Lord, to lean hard into You in all things, trusting in Your promises, and relying on the strength of Your Holy Spirit within me.  Amen.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 25, 2019


Yesterday, I discovered that one of our kiddos, who shall remain nameless - I'll just call her #7 - left an open tin can, half full of tomato sauce overnight in the refrigerator.  I happened upon this senseless crime against humanity when I opened the refrigerator and said can tumbled out slopping tomato sauce all over me, the freezer drawer below, the kitchen floor, and across to the china cabinet.  This happened at around 8 AM putting me at only two cups of coffee... just enough to prevent a killing spree at Casa Canote.

Of course, my mind goes to how we have failed as a parents.  It was a punch in the gut to my parenting confidence.  How could #7 have reached the age of 14 in our house and not yet know this is NOT ok?!?  When have we ever left an open half can of anything overnight in the refrigerator?!?  

I could just picture the fuzzy tomato sauce mustache of mold and food poisoning which was surely already beginning to grow across the top!  

It was the same sort of feeling we parents get when our child acts out in a publicly humiliating way...like the grocery store, the library, or worse AT CHURCH!  

Can I just tell ya something?  From the 10K foot view:  We are not perfect parents and I bet you are not either!  To be fair, the older I get, the more clearly this reality becomes settled in my mind.  None of us have it all figured out and that's ok.

We know the One who is perfect, and He has all of the advice we could ever need right in His Word.  As Christ-followers, we also have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us as we do our best to parent our children.

Of course, we want to raise Godly kids who will follow hard after Jesus, and not grow mustaches and botulism in their refrigerators!  

The only way to do that is God’s way.  We cannot expect ourselves to be perfect parents.  We also cannot expect our children to be perfect kids.  We are all a work in progress.  That means one thing we can do is have confidence in God's promise to keep working in and through us until we are complete.  And just a reminder:  If our children know Jesus, then oh hallelujah, that promise is for them as well!

Prayer - 
Father, thank You for your promises!  You have promised to meet all of my needs, that all things work together for good for those who love You, and that nothing I do can make You love me any more or less than You already do.  Help me to lean hard into You as a parent and to trust in Your perfect plans and timing for me and for my children.  Amen.

I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  -- Philippians 1:6 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi



Listen as Pastor Chris Canote leads us through an in depth study of the most influential book of the Bible and the greatest letter ever written. You will learn about the true essence of Christianity and salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus.

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)



Feb 22, 2019


We drove through extreme weather during the drive both to and from Acuña, Mexico for our most recent week of hosting Team Ministry through our mission agency, Evident Ministries.  It was severe a thunderstorm on the way down and ice on the way home.  We travel in two large passenger vans, both full of people and pulling trailers.  The thunderstorm felt like driving through a hurricane and required intense focus but was manageable.  The ice on the way home, however, was terrifying and overwhelming.

We discovered the sleet had turned to ice when our van, trailer in tow, slid sideways across a bridge as we drove through a hilly and curvy area north of Abilene, Texas.  

I frantically tried calling my son-in-law, in the second van, to warn him but we had a weak cell signal.  The only words he made out between several calls was:  SLOW DOWN!  He made it across fine.  

A few miles later, we were on a long downhill slope with a curve at the bottom and the highway was a solid sheet of ice.  I pulled over to the shoulder, but even though we were only driving 15-20 mph it took a half mile or so to get completely stopped as we slid on the ice.  Everyone was praying under their breath as both drivers got out and talked through how to proceed.  If we waited, how long would we be waiting?  We had small children and an infant in the vans.  What is around that curve at the bottom of the hill?  About that time, two vehicles came down the hill from behind us.  Both were sliding sideways on the ice.  We agreed it would be safer to inch forward than to sit still and get slammed into by other drivers.

I can say with certainty that pulling back out onto that ice covered highway, not knowing what lie ahead, required me to summon up a greater amount of courage combined with a deeper draw on my faith and trust in God, than anything I have EVER done in my life.  

It was a leap of faith which required that we literally allow Jesus to "take the wheel."  We made it down that hill and around the curve with no major problems.  Praise the Lord!

Peter had an opportunity to take a leap of faith, but his fear got in the way.  But Peter's faith journey began long before the day he stepped out of the boat.  God had provided Peter with circumstances throughout his life to strengthen his faith and to trust Jesus.  Each situation led up to that one significant moment where he would decide whether or not he was going to fully trust Jesus for protection as he stepped out onto the choppy waters. Can I just tell ya something?  Our focus is on Peter's lack of faith when he took his eyes off Jesus.  But Peter had greater faith than any other disciple on that boat, as he knew in those first steps he could trust Jesus.

Jesus called out to Peter to follow Him and be a fisher of men and He also called out to Peter to step out of the boat. Both times, Peter obeyed and responded.

Each day, we are given opportunities to respond to Jesus. He is always calling us to Him and wants our full surrender, obedience, and trust. You and I can cultivate a heart like Peter’s where we grow in trust and confidence by focusing not on ourselves or our circumstances but on God and the things of God.  Let Jesus take the wheel in your life today. 

Prayer - 
Father, You have promised that because of Jesus and the cross and my surrender to you, I am Your adopted child, co-heir with Jesus.  You have promised to never leave me nor forsake me.  What could I worry about?  Give me the courage today to allow Jesus to take the wheel, not as a co-pilot but as THE pilot.  Amen.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.”  And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me! ” -- Matthew 14:28-30 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 21, 2019



Listen as Pastor Chris Canote leads us through an in depth study of the most influential book of the Bible and the greatest letter ever written. You will learn about the true essence of Christianity and salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus.

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  -- Romans 10:17 (CSB)





In some respects, it feels like my beautiful bride and I have been married 100 years.  We have lived a variable hodgepodge of seasons including our share of hills and valleys.  

We have faced and endured together many of the usual suspects in the obstacles and trials of life.  

At the same time, it feels like not that long ago, we spent our senior year in high school working and saving our money, preparing for a wedding.  We were married a week before our high school graduation.  That meant we had the same last name and sat next to each other at our graduation ceremony.

I still remember our first argument as a married couple.  I will never forget how she came crawling to me on her hands and knees.  She looked me right in the eyes and said, "Get out from under that bed you big chicken!"  Some of my memories are a little fuzzy.  It went something like that.

Married life can be the most wonderful and rewarding of life's experiences.  It can also be a hot mess.  

Marriage comes with the highest highs and the lowest lows.  When two flawed individuals commit to a lifetime together, it is reasonable to expect something less than perfection.  In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage.  Too often in marriage when there is conflict, we identify our spouse as the enemy. Can I just tell you something?  Our spouse is never the enemy. When we recognize the real enemies, we can more effectively fight the battles in our marriages. Our real enemies are the powers of darkness and our own naturally selfish human condition. These enemies often go unnoticed in the heat of battle.

Marriage is difficult and also amazing.  Real success in marriage comes when God is kept at the center and must include humility and a willingness to forgive.

When we are selfishly focused on me, me me and on pleasing our own natural desires and preferences:
  1. We cannot please God.
  2. We cannot love our spouse according to God's Biblical standard or to the commitment we made in our marriage vows.
  3. We are not likely to offer forgiveness for our spouse's failures and weaknesses.

Prayer -
Father, thank You for the gift of relationships and for designing and creating the institution of marriage.  Help me to be the best husband I can be today.  Help me to focus more on You and the needs of others and less on myself.  Amen.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 
-- Ephesians 6:12 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 20, 2019


My wife and I have ten children together.  We married when we were 18 and had our first child one year later.  Our oldest, Samantha is 30 years old TEACHES 1st grade.  Our youngest, Nicky Blue Eyes, is IN the first grade!  They are spread out between 6 and 30.  

You might think we could quote the Farmers Insurance tag line, "we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two."  

I suppose that is a reasonable assessment.  However, to be fair, just when we think we have seen it all, something new comes along and blindsides us when we aren't looking!  We have seen some "success", whatever that means.  We have also had our share of parenting failures.  We are not now nor will we ever be ready to get cocky and overly confident about our parenting skills.  And, of course, we still do have five at home.

One issue which is easier to discuss and plan for than it is to actually pull off is the concept of allowing our children to suffer for the benefit of learning to become an adult.  Whether from their own bad choices or those of someone else, just like any other parent, we want so badly to rescue them from the pain.  Actually, we are naturally inclined to make every effort to prevent the pain of poor choices in the first place by making all the choices ourselves.

God has a better plan than that for our children.  He has a better plan than that for us now as adults.  God's plan is to perfect us through the trials of life.  

Can I just tell ya something?  Character-building life lessons are rarely learned during the sunshine and rainbows.  

Instead, those learning experiences which make the greatest lasting impact, come during the difficult times.  Surviving a trial or difficulty in life teaches us to persevere despite the pain.  Removing the trials and consequences of poor life choices from our children deprives them of the chance to grow, to build character, and to learn to trust in God.

The bottom line is that we ALL experience the best character-building, personal growth and maturity when we go through something.  It is a mistake to inhibit your child's growth opportunities by rescuing them from or taking over difficult situations.  Is that easier said than done?  Yes.  In fact, I submit that you cannot do it alone.  This is, in part, why God designed the family unit with two parents.  It also requires us to rely on Him and the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit within us.  

Prayer - 
Father, thank You for Jesus and for Your Holy Spirit.  Help me to focus less on my circumstances or the circumstances of our children and to focus more on You and Your glory.  Help me to trust in Your promises which are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Amen.

We rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 
-- Romans 5:3-4 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 19, 2019


I took my daughter, Charlotte plus two of her friends to a Mizzou Women's Basketball game at Mizzou Arena on Sunday afternoon.  It was a Christmas gift for her.  The tickets were  purchased last fall.  As the date approached, we realized this might make me late for Easter Pageant rehearsal at church.  It did.  I arrived at 7:30 PM for a 6-8 PM rehearsal.  Oops!  

I made no attempt to hide that fact.  It is what it is.  We all have a life outside church activities and cannot be there for every minute of everything that happens...even when you are the pastor.  A funny thing happened though on my way to the church from the arena.  I got a text from a friend who is "snow-birding" in Florida for the winter.  He asked if I had been to the game because they were watching the game online - from Florida - and thought they had seen me on the screen.  Busted!  Ha ha! You can't get away with anything!

We convince ourselves we can get away with sin in our lives.  We start to think maybe God won't notice. Maybe, we can get away with one more lie, one more time of spreading juicy gossip, or just one more sneak at something inappropriate online.  

Can I just tell ya something?  That is nothing but a bunch of foolishness!

We can lie to ourselves long enough to blind our own view of sin, but sin still finds a way to reflect its glare, no matter how well we try to cover it up.  In fact, our sin is a commonly expressed excuse and reasonable reason for lost people to reject the existence of God. 

In our failure to overcome the temptation to do wrong, we are in fact treating God as if He does not exist.  

We don't want our sinful actions to be exposed. But, in our attempt to blind our sin from others and even ourselves, we are pretending there is no God. It allows justification in our minds while ignoring judgment. This is a foolish stinking-thinking which looks more like the world than like a child of God.

Prayer - 
Father, I know You know, see, and hear all.  I confess to You that I am a sinner and fall short of Your Biblical standard.  And, I know You already know that.  Forgive me Lord, for making it seem like I am trying to pretend You do not exist in my attempt to cover up sin.  Help me to rely on the supernatural strength of your Holy Spirit living within me to overcome the temptations of sin in my life.  Amen.

The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.”  They are corrupt, and they do vile deeds.  There is no one who does good. -- Psalms 53:1 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

The Mizzou Golden Girls performing during half-time of the annual Mizzou Women's Basketball Pink Out game

Feb 18, 2019


Waiting is not my favorite thing.  Who actually enjoys waiting for anything?  Maybe most adults would agree that waiting does actually get easier as we get older.  As children, waiting can be nearly unbearable.  Waiting for Christmas.  Waiting for summer.  Waiting to get there while riding in the car... "Are we there yet?"  And what kid EVER wants to hear from a parent, "Not now.  Just wait.  We'll do it later."?  It often prompts an emotional response of anger, frustration, even hopelessness. 

Maybe the truth is that as adults, we are no more interested in waiting than we ever were but have simply learned to control the emotional outbursts.  

As adults, we have day to day regular life type waiting everyday such as waiting at the doctor's office, waiting in line to check out with groceries, or waiting in the parking lot to get out after a sporting event.  We also have the bigger picture waiting such as waiting for the loan to approve, waiting on the call from your doctor with the test results, or waiting for your adult children to call and check in with mom and dad.

It is good advice to wait and "count to 10" when tempted to speak impulsively or rashly in the heat of the moment.  A wise person not only waits but walks away while counting to ten... ten seconds, minutes, or even days or longer if necessary.  Waiting before speaking can often calm our emotions.  The same would apply when tempted to make an impulse purchase.

Most of us would agree however, that we are living in a hurry-up world.  We are programmed to want everything right now.  Waiting is not easy.  Waiting on the Lord is no different.  But, God's timetable does not change.  God acts according to His perfect plans, purpose, and will.  

Can I just tell ya something?  We may be in a hurry, but God is not.  It has been pointed out by many that there are no examples of Jesus running in the Bible!

Waiting on God for His wisdom and perspective will provide the calm and collected guidance we need in virtually all things.  It would do us all some good to simply slow down, to be more patient, and to keep our focus on God and the things of God.  

Prayer - 
Father, in my heart of hearts and from that 10K foot view, I know Your ways, Your plans, and yes, Your timing are ALWAYS the best.  I know You have Your very best in mind for me at all times.  Please strengthen my resolve to surrender to You and Your plans for me, trusting in Your promises as I do.  Amen.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous.  Wait for the Lord.  
-- Psalm 27:14 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

This would be my man, Nicky Blue Eyes, back in August, 2016, waiting for his big sister Samantha to pick him up so he could go see Peter Pan and then spend the night with his nephew's, Carter and Henry Carey.

Feb 16, 2019


What do you do?

I work in senior management for a global enterprise with outlets all over the world.  We've got hospitals, homeless shelters, feeding programs, orphanages, senior adult living facilities, educational programs, justice and reconciliation programs.  We work with families, children, youth, young adults, senior adults, singles, couples, etc.  We basically deal with people.  We are addressing their needs from birth to death and really focusing on behavioral alteration as it relates to the condition of the heart. It is called the church.  I am a pastor.

- Author unknown

Feb 15, 2019


According to a Reuters news article, out of Guwahati, India last year, when repair technicians arrived to investigate why an ATM was not working, they smelled a rat...an actual rat.  What they found inside the ATM was a pile of shredded Indian rupee notes (cash money) with a value of just under $18K plus one dead rodent.  The rat had spent the previous few days gorging itself on the now worthless cash!

As Christians, we walk around with something inside us which $18K or $1B could never buy.  

We have something worth more than all the gold in the world living inside us!  We are packing heat in the name of Jesus!  

THE Creator of everything has chosen to place His Holy Spirit inside those who have genuinely surrendered their lives to Him.  Paul says that, as children of God who have been bought at a price, our body has become a temple of God's Holy Spirit!  Wow!  That is pretty incredible!  

But, here's the deal.  We are not meant to "conceal and carry" that supernatural power within us.  Oh no, it is intended to be an "open carry" kind of situation.

Our lives ought to be lived in a worship lifestyle which is evident to those around us.  Our lives should be a very clear display of a heart overflowing with gratitude.  This is not about a temporary feeling of gratitude.  Oh hallelujah!  This is a constant and permanent life-attitude produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God as He reminds us of our Hope in Jesus!

Father, what an incredible concept that You, the Creator of all, would place the supernatural power of Your own Holy Spirit inside me!  AND, I couldn't buy that privilege with all the money in the world!  Help me Father to stay mindful of the simple fact that I am packing heat everyday, all day and to live like I know it!  Amen.

Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.  -- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB)

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 14, 2019


"I found out what the secret to life is," said the character Ninny Threadgoode, in the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.  "Friends. Best friends," she said.   In the movie, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, the character Ferris Beuller tells his friend Cameron over the phone,  “If you’re not over here in 15 minutes, you can find yourself a new best friend."  Cameron responds with, “Ha!  You’ve been saying that since the fifth grade.”

I consider relationships of all kinds to be a gift from God.  Those which are pleasant, loving, and comfortable friendship relationships bring joy to our lives.  Those which are difficult and stressful provide an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.  

God wants us to have friendship relationships which which last forever and beyond into eternity.  Christians only separate temporarily to meet again.  Non-Christians suffer a permanent separation from all relationships including with God.

1 Corinthians 15 is often referred to as the Resurrection Chapter of the Bible on account of how it is loaded with encouragement regarding our eternal destiny as believers.  And right there in the middle of this chapter is a warning about the negative influence of what Paul calls "bad company".  

It is a word of caution about the influence of the godless, secular attitudes of those who do not have a saving knowledge of Jesus.  That influence can quickly spread to our hearts and do great damage to our relationship with God.

God created us to be in good relationships with each other, but we must choose our close friends wisely.  Invest in friendship relationships which build you both up.  Run from those which only prove to tear you down.  Toxic relationships are a distraction from a focus on God and the things of God.  Keeping our focus on God instead of ourselves and our circumstances is what will take us closer to be who were created to be.

Father, thank you so much for the gift of relationships.  Thank you for how You have used those in my life, both positive and negative, to strengthen my faith and to draw me closer to You.  Give me the discernment to identify those relationships Paul identified which might corrupt good morals in my life.  Amen

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

3 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” -- 1 Corinthians 15:33 (CSB)

Feb 13, 2019


Maybe you are like me when it comes to using the GPS navigator.  On a regular basis, I will second guess the GPS system and circumvent the plan laid out for me.  Sometimes that works out and sometimes it definitely does not.  The GPS system can see the big picture which I cannot always see.  The GPS can reroute around traffic jams, road construction, hazards, etc. which I am not aware of.  Sometimes it is simply a case of operator error.  In a high traffic situation, where multiple turns must be made, the GPS can be difficult to follow and I miss an exit or make a wrong turn.

Here is where it gets really good.  This is what I call:
The GPS Principle.  

Consider the response of the GPS navigator when a wrong turn happens.  Whether it was an intentional re-routing or an operator error, the response is the same.  The GPS navigator picks up from where you are in that moment and re-calculates a new route to the same intended destination.  You have indicated to the GPS where you want to go by punching up an address.  You have a destination in mind.  You know where you want to end up.  My GPS does not ever ask me why I made a wrong turn or how I ended up off track.  My GPS also never smacks my hand, makes fun of me, or gives up on my because I cannot follow directions.  I bet yours doesn't either.

We tell God our intended destination and where we want to end up when we surrender our lives to Him and accept Jesus as our savior.  We make God the Lord and Master of our lives and sign up for His service.  God has that 10K foot view of life and the Universe which we can never fully see or understand.  He knows the danger ahead to avoid.  He provides for us a perfect plan with His perfect timing for reaching our intended destination.

I am super fan of the story of Jonah in the Bible.  I feel like Jonah and I could be fast friends.  

God had a plan for Jonah's life.  He called Jonah to go to Nineveh and deliver a message from God.  Jonah didn't want to go so he spun around and headed off in the opposite direction.  You know the story and where his horsing around and taking wrong turns sent him:  right into the belly of a big fish.  Jonah had taken his eyes off of God and the things of God.  That is when The GPS Principle kicked in.  When Jonah owned up to his wrong turns and begged for God's forgiveness and rescue, he re-committed himself and re-surrendered to God's plans instead of his own. And what was God's response?  God did not smack Jonah's hand, makes fun of him, or give up on him because of his inability to follow directions.  Nope.  God said, "So anyway as I was saying,  hustle it on over to Nineveh and get that message delivered."  That's how God rolls.  

Lord, my intended destination is eternity with You in glory!  I trust You, Your plans, and Your timing for me to Your very best path for me.  Please give me the courage to trust You in all things.  Amen.

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:  2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” 3 Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command. -- Jonah 3:1-3 CSB

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 12, 2019


I make it no secret that I am no fan of winter.  I begin looking forward to summer in October.  I consider myself a summer activist.  Winter hurts my feelings.  I am not alone.  Many of us this year have already had more than enough of what winter brings:  cold, snow, ice, mud, cancellations due to winter storms, etc.  Winter causes me to whine incessantly in a less than manly manner.  

To be fair, confession time, my response to winter should not be considered a proper example of spiritual maturity.

When the sailors on the ship with Jonah saw the big thunderstorm raging and threatening the integrity of their ship, they cried out to their gods for help.  One big problem was that their so-called gods were man-made and could not help them.  It was THE God, Creator of the Universe and God of the Bible, who cranked up that storm.  He would be the only one who could stop it.

According to the Bible, God is in control of the weather including winter snow storms.  Can I just tell ya something?  There is also no storm or trial in your personal life which is not under the command of God.  At given time, most of us are in one of three conditions:

  1.   Approaching a storm
  2.   Experiencing a storm
  3.   Just survived another storm

What is your response to the storms in your life?  How do you react when you are in the middle of a raging storm?  Is your first inclination to cry out to God?  

God never promised to remove the storms of our lives.  He promised to never leave nor forsake us.  He is with us in the storms - which He has full control over.  When we practice keeping our eyes on God between storms, when the next storm comes, we are more inclined to stay focused on God. It was when Peter shifted his eyes from Jesus to the coming storm that he went from walking on water to drowning.

Lord help me to remember that You are in control.  I want my first inclination when the storms come, to be a focus on You.  Father, I lift up those in my life who do not yet know You and pray Your light will shine through my confidence in You.

But the Lord threw a great wind onto the sea, and such a great storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart.  -- Jonah 1:4 CSB

#Missions #Evident  #MásDeTi

Feb 11, 2019


It is common knowledge that obedience to superiors and personal discipline are key elements to the success of any military force or individual serving in the military.  If you are considering joining, you will want to do some serious soul-searching first to be sure you can not only face or survive this type of environment but also thrive in it.  The instant military recruits step off the bus for Basic Training (boot camp) they are not only taught the value of immediate obedience to orders, they are also conditioned for obedience through a meticulous, rigorous, and repetitive training program.

Setting basic boundaries and teaching early obedience and personal discipline are important when raising children.  

This becomes even more important as a family grows.  Larger families are less likely to have spoiled children.  We have 10 ourselves.  Managing a household with that many people is definitely a full-time job and requires obedience and a personal discipline from everyone in order to keep the chaos to a minimum.  

Of course, obedience is an important principal for children to learn regardless of their family size.  Not only is it fundamental to understanding the concepts of authority, respect, and submission, it can also be the difference between life and death:  "Never run into the street or across a parking lot by yourself!"

Can I just tell ya something?  Our kiddos are not the only ones who need to be reminded of the big O:  Obedience.  

Various forms of the word "obey" can be found well over 100 times in the Bible.  Christian life IS a life of obedience and surrender to the things of God.  

It is to be a voluntary obedience through our own freewill.  Obedience is not forced upon us.  Obedience should also be cheerful, passionate, joyful, and spontaneous.  A personal discipline and commitment to obedience to God's Biblical standards for living are the key elements to finding real reward and satisfaction in the abundant life the Creator has in mind for us.  Obedience requires faith and for us to shift our focus from self and circumstances to God and His promises.

Father, I want as much or more than anything to be the man You had in mind when You planned, designed, and created me.  Forgive me for falling short and taking my eyes off of You and Your ways.  Give me the courage today to chase hard after You!  Amen.

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say? -- Luke 6:46 CSB

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi

Feb 9, 2019


Many think that because of some of the things they have been involved with over the years and because of the mess they have made of their lives there is no way God could ever forgive them.  This is rooted in a world-view of faith and God.  It does not line up with the actual nature and character of God as clearly detailed in the Bible.

Most of us, some more often that others, have days where it is a struggle to accept that God could love us the way His Word says He does or that we really are forgiven.  

Guilt can rob us of our peace of mind and take the joy out of our lives. In moments of weakness, Satan is ready to whisper lies in our ears.  He will tell us God is tired of our failures, that God is angry with us, that God can no longer use us, etc.  We fall for these lies when we allow the influence of the world's view of faith and God to creep into our perspective.  

Based not on feelings or opinion but on the clear and factual Biblical description of God's character and nature, we can know these are nothing more than lies.  In fact, God never loves us any more or less than He does at the moment of our salvation.  Our good behavior does not increase His love.  Our bad behavior does not reduce it.  

Can I just tell ya something?  The Bible says we all fall short.  That is why we need Jesus!  The Bible also tells us that from the moment of our salvation, there is no more condemnation.  

1.  the expression of very strong disapproval; censure.
2.  the action of condemning someone to a punishment, sentencing

Because of Jesus and the cross, we can let go of the guilt. From the cross, Jesus said these words:  It is finished!  We don't have to go through life looking over our shoulder, afraid that our past will catch up with us. We don't have to live with guilt; we can get rid of it by confessing whatever we have done.  It begins by taking our eyes from ourselves, from our circumstances, and from our own weaknesses and failures.  When we keep our eyes on God and the things of God, we will not fall for the lies of Satan.

Father, thank you for Jesus and the cross!  Thank you for forgiving my sins.  I confess to you that, just like every human who has ever lived, I fall short every single day, just as Your Holy Word says that I will.  As I ask again for Your forgiveness, I also know that Jesus has already paid my debt.  In the name of Jesus, Amen!

#Missions #Evident #MásDeTi 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus -- Romans 8:1 CSB