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Rejoicing in the Good, When Hard Has Been the Journey

Fixing Fractured Families: That is a worthy goal. As a leader, I want families fixed. Maybe you do to. There are different ways to get it done, but it is hard work no matter what way you work on it. Resistence is assured, friend. What happens when you finally have a victory against a string of hard struggle? Whether it is my struggle to see families fixed or you have a different struggle, the principles are the same. Friend, I think today of the many struggles of recovery in the South USA from weather and North from fires and our culture in all parts to find a unity of heart and purpose.
Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. ESV
That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous; yes, my whole body will rest in safety CEV
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure NIV
Every so often, you will find a verse in the original language that defies exact matching translation from different eras and interpretive groups.  This one fits that description.  Many times, it is because an idiomatic phrase is contained or there is such emotion and expression, it is hard to put into a single phrase.   So let me expand this one.
My heart is glad and celebrates in great joy.  With my whole being inside and out, I am excited and alive; my tongue must shout and declare this joy.  It cannot be contained or restrained.  A great sense of peace and restfulness and security envelops my body and mind and spirit.  Phil’s version
Entering In: Entering in to health and joy is many times is preceded by great struggle and pain.  Our habits become acclimated to the struggle.  Our daily routines become expectant of the pain.  A friend going through back surgery shared some of her story.  The doctors instructed her that ghost pain would continue for some time.  Though the surgery is successful and removes even some nerve endings, our minds are trained to find pain at times of day and particular motions.  The pain is not there physiologically.  Yet, the pain is there in our minds.  The conditioning of ill health forms a barrier even when we are healed to enjoying the new freedom.
Rested Health: Now, that quotation that is a picture of great health and well being.  That is a picture of restful trust in God and God alone.  That is a picture of one that has wrestled with God and found Him to be more interested in securing our hearts that controlling our actions.  That is a picture of one, who has encountered fierce angers and pains and problems and illness and has come through to a new realization that the presence and leading of the Father brings us to refreshing and rest.  That is a wonderful picture. Is it attainable?
Breaking Conditional Barriers: In my own experience, I find it difficult to rest after an intense time of development of a business thrust or a strained season with a client.  Though the situation is ended and the issues are resolved, my daily expectation of another problem wrestles with my restfulness.  A wise executive once commented to me, “Even when we receive a new and different and positive answer, we hear the old negative one that is so common.”  He did not say it just like that, but you get the point.
There must be a time of “glory rejoicing” to break the conditional barriers of ill health and negative situations.  Celebrate.  This unspeakable joy works internally for us to remove scar tissues and sensitive nerves of mind and will and emotion and body.  Then we can receive the new and positive situation and answer.  This transition must happen.  It is a barrier breaker.
Returns at Customer Service: Discount retailers dedicate a large area for returned and damaged merchandise.  It is not a happy place.  There is not a lot of smiling for anyone.  When you find a smiling employee working that area, your frustration is defused at having to come back to the store. The transaction becomes more pleasant.  That employee is giving a rejoicing to a healing situation.  The item is broken.  You are receiving a replacement.  That should be joyful.  Yet, you lost value when you tried to use it at home and it broke.  You lost positive expectation and trust.  Now, the item and positive expectation must return before you can get full value.
Broken bones and aching hearts and rent emotions and lingering illness in our body cause us to lose positive expectation and trust in God.  We expect nothing.  Worse than that, we expect bad.  We expect anger and frustration and continuance of a wrong situation.   And we get what we expect until we expectantly express ourselves into a different result after the new answer of health and healing and restoration and replacement is received.
Prayer:
Father, there is a great life available through You and Your presence and Your word for me and for this friend. 
You are life.
You are healing.
You are “Yes” to all Your promises.
You are “Amen” to all Your commitments.
Cause rejoicing to resound in the camp of out heart.  Let us release the joy of the moment that heals and conditions us to hear, “Yes, you are healed.”
Walk with us today, Father, as You heal negative expectation built on real experience with tough living. Let joys restore a new hearing and receptivity to our full health.
 
Family Facts: The effort is worth it.  In our thrust to find solutions in the new urban/rural of the USA, we’ve seen good results that are sustainable.  Check them out at https://solumcommunity.net/give/2016-results-2017-plan/
Phil Larson, Director SOLUM Community Transformation Initiative
Training Offices: 3404 N Grand Ave, Gainesville, Tx 76240
Home Office: 508 Tumbleweed Dr., Yukon, Ok 73099
cell/text 405.388.8037

Why I Believe in Community Transformation

A studied approach to scripture gives great faith in Community Transformation.  Jesus was a transformer.  Paul was a transformer.  Moses was a transformer.  Hezekiah was a transformer.  We are called to transform our society to look and act like the Kingdom of God.  Fill out the info below and I’ll email you a copy of Principles of Transformation – No Leader Before or After.  Over 52 examples from business, community, government over centuries are given wrapped around a study of Hezekiah’s action plan.  Of Hezekiah, it is written no leader before or after matched his leadership.

Every giver in the next 60 days (Dec 23-Feb23, 2014) will receive a printed copy of the book.  The Giving Page

Fill out this form for an electronic version.

The Underpinings of Your Soul Make Your Decisions

Decisions reveal directions and determinations.  How intense are your passions?  Do you like life or thirst for life? Don’t be fooled .Your inner desires are making your decisions.

There is a word in Spanish that struggles expression in English.  Anehlo.  To passionately thirst with intense desire that overwhelms all else.  There is such a desire in you whether you acknowledge or not.

This morning I attended a service at a congregation in support of our DOGS program. Every picture, video, word, greeting, display and person shouted one message.  We want you to meet Jesus, receive forgiveness, and enjoy an energized life in Him.

Another church with which I work has a different message.  We are here to enjoy our Christian heritage and you can join if you fit, but remember you are not priority.

Yet another shouts a love for a specifc culture and community and tradition with Christ’s eventual connection through social engagement.

So what about your family focus fathers?  This conversation is really not about Churchianity, but home front.

The press of living is relentless.  Decisions mark time.  My back is a little sore from playing on the floor with my granddaughter.  At three, she is full of energy and loves to jump and fall and fly.  It was a good workout and fun.  There was a lot more that needed my time.  She got it.

I have books to finish and funds to raise and events to plan and she got all my time.  Loving her in family is paramount to me.  Unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace in close family, friend, and faith community drives my preferences.  I prefer what leads that direction and defer what does not.  All three areas are important but the core is unity of the Spirit. 

If there is fracture, heal.
If there is separation, unify.
If there is conflict, face.
If there is distance, close
Ignorance – educate.
Hurt – forgive
Confusion – clarify

What drives you?  What do your prefer?  What do you defer?

Have you taken time to transform the inner man to conform to an image of Christ?

Inborn desires meld over life into something else.  Chose your mold.  Change the inside to change the outside.

Quit fooling yourself about your desires.  Examine and change them to a better thought level.  Then life will begin to straighten out.  You will prefer your life in a better direction if the better direction tranforms the inner man.

Dirt Gets In Your Eyes

Journey Through Self: Nesting In Who I Am.

Meet Jesus In The Morning On The Mountain Matthew 5

Zoom In On Ineffectiveness of Your Personal Faith

transparencyofreligion

Take  a few minutes to zoom in on this infographic and mull over the meaning.  (More at http://religions.pewforum.org/ .) This infographic provided by Pew Research helps strip away denials we form as we go to bigger church gatherings and have fewer people in God’s family.

The continuing demise of the effectiveness of faith in the United States should bring a multiple of responses.  Why do we struggle to acknowledge our declining influence in community standards?  What is it about faith that enables a complete denial of reality?  Maybe the issue is not faith.  Maybe the issue is religion.  Maybe we have locked into our customs and traditions and so want to connect people with our style that we miss their soul?  Maybe we have so looked to matching their style that we miss our soul?  Either way, we are missing it.

. Attendance has gone from 60% to 25% in our churches in the last 50 years.

. Fatherless homes have gone from 11% to 34% in the same time frame.

. Abortion exists as an acceptable option.  Life dominated.  Now disposal dominates.

. Same sex marriage exists as an acceptable option.  Generational family dominated.  Now, one life flings are gaining ground.

. Our border is a war zone over access to our drug infatuation.

Pray with knowledge.  Act with purpose.

. Get involved in someone else’s life.  Quit being so self-centered.

. Be a concerned listener to your neighbors at work, home, and marketplace.  Take an interest in their world instead of preaching at their world.  Seek to understand.

. Go do something you would not normally do.  Go spend time in an environment that is unfamiliar to you.  Be a missionary to someone in your same city.

. Try to write down the message of acceptance in Christ and forgiveness of the blame of mistakes without using Christianized terms like saved, salvation, blood of Jesus, made pure, Holy Ghost fire, sin, or heaven.  There is nothing wrong with those words except they don’t communicate to an unbeliever.  Surely the Creator can reconnect us to His love and accept us into His family even though we wander off into our own selfish pursuits and need to have our record expunged.  Yes, we need to be honest and transparent with our selfishness and bad living habits. Yes, we need to go to Him and acknowledge He is right and we are wrong and we need His help.  Yes, we need to realize He sent His Son, Jesus, to take our deserved punishment and sentencing of guilt.  Yes, we need to accept Jesus as not just a man, but also The God.  And we can do it in terms that are meaningful to us just like the Greeks of the early days of the church and the Hebrews of the pre-church days.

. Be relevant with a powerful message.  Don’t water down the gospel.  Live it.  Learn it.  Give it away.

Excellence In All Things

Pray For Excellence

Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Winners in life excel.

Whatever they do, they do with Excellence

Consider Daniel.  Daniel was taken from his homeland, sent to be trained in the ways of the wisdom of another country, and prepared in their schools to rule.  Why?  What did his captors see?  These men came in to kill and plunder and ended up taking Daniel, Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael to be trained for ruling.  Most recognize the latter three as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, their captive names.  But few know Daniel by Beltashazzar, his captive name.  Why?  Because he excelled above them all.

 

Ever wonder why a Kleenex is called a Kleenex?  Actually it is a facial tissue, but a company named theirs a Kleenex and produced such an excellent product, their name became a word in the dictionary.  Paper towels are paper towels, but facial tissues are Kleenex.

Ever had a Happy Meal at Burger King or Taco Bell?  Look again.  It doesn’t say Happy Meal.  That is a McDonalds’ trademark.  Their kid service is so excellent, take a child into another fast food chain and they immediately ask for a Happy Meal.

What is Excellence?

Excellence has to do with the way we do what we do.

Is it right the first time?

Is it what we promised to do?

Did we communicate so others could be ready?

Was action taken after we acted to make sure it was right? 

Were problems attended to quickly?

  

Excellence is caring enough about others involved to make sure we provide for them the best service:

  • at the right time
  • according to their needs
  • according to the best of our abilities

Excellence is sticking with it until the job is done. 

Excellence is going the extra mile.

Excellence is giving it all we have and then giving it some more.

Excellence never settles for second best.

Excellence makes sure people understand.

Excellence finds out what people need and gets it there for them.

 

A Prayer of Excellence:

 

Father, I am committed to being a person of excellence in all I do.  Create in me the heart of Daniel.  Let me be the one of whom it is said, “They excel above the rest.” Let me have the testimony of heaven on my behalf of excellence.

Father, teach me the ways of excellence.  Build integrity, honesty, and a knack for detail into my inside approach to life and living.   

I want to care and tend to the needs of others first.  I want to have what people need for them when then need it.  I want to never settle for second best, but be one who sets the standard to which others can strive.

Let me be the person of excellence, who is tuned to Your heart in every situation.  Teach me, Lord, Your path of the heart of excellence.  Stir in me the zeal of personal testimony for others to see my witness shine as a great star in the universe in the middle of mediocrity that others might see You instead of me.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.” 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Go Out To Come In

Genesis 15:7 He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

When we follow the guidance of God, He may take us out of one place in order to put us into another place.  The next place takes possessive action.  That next level of growth does not simply come through being there.  No prophet will speak us into the next place.  No goal will achieve itself.  The words of promise and the outline of goals are good and necessary.  They do not accomplish themselves.  There is an intentional and possessive action required for us to absorb the blessing and the goals of God for our lives.

Now, God makes it clear where He wants us to go and how He wants us to act.  Yet, we must do the acting and accomplish the goals with His grace enabling us.  What He brings us into is much bigger than we will see in the beginning.  Success at increasingly higher levels is ours for the possessing.  How far we move into that blessing depends on our adaptability and tenacity to receive all He has for us.

Struggles ensue.  Hardship pummels.  Resistance presents itself.  Doubt stands as a wrangler against our fortitude.  Others question our motives.  Such is the tempest while possessing the promise.  Persistence wins.

Maybe you are struggling with coming to full realization and activation of a promise into which you have been thrust.  The old land is looking pretty good.  Retreat sounds a welcome call.  It might not be so bad just to go back, huh?  Except the place from which you were taken is no longer available.  It has changed and so have you.  The two of you just won’t fit together the same way if you go back.  Go forward.  Pursue.  Persist.  Change.

Prayer:  Father, sometimes the battle seems so long for just getting along.  Work inside us to do good and love mercy and live justice.  Mold us to be the new man or woman that is needed for the next level into which You have thrust us.  Eliminate the spirit of complacency while establishing a spirit of contentedness.  Let us not be anxious.  Neither let us be apathetic or static in our growth.  Cause our hands to know how to do the task and our minds and hearts to fully grasp the measure necessary to not just accomplish but maintain new levels of living.  Thanks, Father.  Thank You that You do not let us atrophy.  You provide a plan of growth for every day that we might become more like You in every way.

Notes on PrayerMetro: 

This year we made a move to increase our impact in the nation and in men and families.

. Moved from 1800 legislators in 13 states to 4427 legislators in 32 states.

. Moved from working in the Latino churches and Matamoros back into working across the entire metro.

. Moved from a stationary position in men and families to launching the Shepherd Center with a weekly DADS University, concentrated congregational neighborhood thrusts, multiple family and fathering weekends, an increased online intensity of research and information.

. Moved from part-time involvement of about 10% of Phil to much increase involvement of 80% of Phil.

All of this puts an increased taxing on finances.  Your help is needed in financial support, prayer, and personal action and assistance.  We need DADS University in all sectors of the city and in other cities.  We need 50 congregations influencing their neighborhoods in OKC an many thousands beyond.  We need you in order to enter the land into which God has thrust us.

A Note To Christians on The Face of God…

Angela Larson Fashimpaur (yes, my daughter)
Okay, this is enough…I’ve recently seen several posts & viral pictures to the effect of “If only God/The Bible were still allowed in schools…” First of all, God is ever-present (Ps 46:1), it is not possible to ban Him from any location. Second, for those who are Christians and have received the Holy Spirit – He LIVES in YOU! This means that everywhere a Christian walks, he takes the very spirit of God with him (Galations 2:22, 1 John 4:12, John 14:23). Third, the bible has not been banned in the U.S. Teachers/school employees are not allowed lead students in prayer, proselytize their faith to students while at school, or use the bible for religious instruction, but both employees and students are absolutely permitted to be in possession of a bible at school. Furthermore, the bible in many states (I can’t speak for all of them) is recognized as a piece of literature and accepted in comparative religion and literary studies.
The purpose of this is not to debate, but to encourage those who question where God was yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School or whether He is present at your child’s school. God is present, He is alive, and He is victorious over death. Evil is present, awful things happen, God is still present and victorious. I cannot answer for you that guttural cry for “why.” I don’t know why God allowed this to happen, but I do know that the response He desires from us is to press into Him for comfort, cry out to Him for mercy, and count on Him for justice “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (II Chronicles 7:14).
If we are concerned for God’s presence in our schools, let us gather together in prayer and invite His presence. Intercede for your schools, teach your children to pray, bring Christ to your schools with YOUR presence