Monthly Archives: September 2012

apparently, it’s not harvest time

I heard a country song the other day by Luke Bryan called Harvest Time. The theme of the song is the hard work that farmers do this time of year. Everything else stops while these guys and gals work like crazy to gather whatever is in the field. The top priority is getting all the crops in. The bridge of the song says: At a quarter ’til 2 I kick off my boots in the laundry room. We’ll start it all over tomorrow at noon ’til it’s all done, until we’re all done.

Can you image a farmer who, at harvest time says, “who cares?”

My whole life, I have heard people in the church talk about harvest time – as a spiritual metaphor. The crops are the people who need Christ and we are supposed to be the “farmers” that bring them to Him. The idea comes from what Jesus said, “…wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” John 4:35 (NLT)

We sing the songs, hear the sermons and even name some of our churches something connected with the idea of “Harvest”.

Well, I’m not buying it. We don’t believe it. Most Christians I know do not believe that this is harvest time. We do not believe that our time to work for God is short or that there are a lot of people who need Jesus. In fact, it appears that there is very little urgency by most American Christians to gather any crops (souls) for God’s kingdom. If we believe it is harvest time, we would adopt Luke Bryan’s approach and work hard until the job is done. We would do whatever it takes to get the job done. As it is, we may as well be saying, “who cares?”.

I guess that’s why Jesus said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Luke 10:2 NLT) I am praying for laborers, but I want to do more laboring in the field.

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you have no idea what you are praying for

Ten years ago, I was involved in a several month series of prayer walks around a particular community. We were praying for a new ministry that was starting. Well, the ministry didn’t survive 6 months. However, five weeks ago, I moved into a house that is on one of the streets that we walked up and down. Irony? I think not. The thing is, I had no idea that I would ever live in this state again, never mind on the very street we were praying for! We moved away 8 years ago only to return in an unexpected fashion. But God knew the whole time.

He knew that when I was praying for the neighborhood, I was praying for my neighborhood. He was fully aware that I was sowing spiritual seeds in a field that would come back to bless me. I did not one time ask him to bring my family back or give me one of the houses to live in – but he did both.

When we pray, we are connecting with a God who already knows what is going to happen. We have no idea what we are praying about, but He does. That’s why prayer is so important. We probably ask too small, believe too little and limit Him too much.  We rely too much on our words and understanding. We pray small because we know so little. Let’s start praying big.

When you pray, remember:

God is bigger than your imagination.

Open minded prayer is the way to God’s will.

Once you realize what God is up to, don’t fail to come back – with thanksgiving.

I wonder, had I refused to do the prayer walks, would we have ended up back here? Only God knows.


leaders can’t be for sale

Most of us know what it’s like to be desperate. Leaders have to make things happen in their organization. Sometime we are desperate for something to happen in our organizations – and sometimes we are willing to do nearly anything to make it happen! But leaders can never be so desperate that they are willing to compromise their better judgment. Never turn a blind eye to someone or something that can bring your organization down. You don’t need that person or their money or their prestige that much. You have too much to lose.

Don’t sell your leadership integrity to someone who could destroy you. Keep your standards high. You and your organization deserve it – and so does God.


here we go again!

I am in prep mode for this year’s 120 for Orphans, a 120 mile bike ride sponsored by International Orphan Support, to help children in need. The project this year will fund a clean water system for a beautiful orphanage in Haiti, Destiny Village. Our goal is to raise $10,000. Can you help? Just go to our fundraising website by clicking here.  Every dime you donate will go directly to this project – no administrative costs!

I have personally visited Destiny Village. The kids are beautiful, and the need is sincere.

By the way, last years’ 120 for Orphans raised enough money to dig a fresh water well for an orphanage in Dufailly, Haiti.  So this thing works! Will you help?


an eye-opening lesson on biblical community

Sometimes I think I know a lot about church. On Sunday, I learned some very important stuff.

We visited a small church in central Minnesota on Sunday, they asked me to come and preach in the morning service and stay for the evening gathering.  There were only about 25 people in the morning service. The people were very nice, they welcomed us with open arms. We enjoyed ourselves.

Sometimes we assume that it takes a large church to do a good job at ministry. Sometimes we are wrong. After a long day spent with this lovely congregation, I was thoroughly impressed. After about seven hours spent with them (including the after service gathering at Perkins), we were convinced.

They are a small church, but…

They are committed. Nearly everyone who came in the morning returned in the evening.

They love the community around them. They feed about 40 families a month from their food shelf.

They support each other. They prayed sincerely for each other and followed up on previous needs.

They embrace new people. They were very interactive and supportive of a new family that has only been coming about one month.

They care about and for each other. I overheard discussions about offers to help with projects and checking in on the elderly.

They just loved being together. You couldn’t pry them away from the conversation, the laughter at Perkins was genuine and rich.

They don’t demand perfection. They were not distracted by less-than-superior performance in the worship service. They just focused on God.

The funny thing is, on Sunday morning, I preached about how the church must grow  warmer through fellowship. Little did I know that they were the ones who should have been preaching to me.

That church understands real, genuine Biblical community. They don’t have a fancy mission statement. They don’t identify themselves as missional. There is nothing “mega” about them. But they get community. I learned some things.