How big is your God?

How big is your God? That is how big your dreams for your life should be. I learned the Bible at a young age. I became a Christian when I was just five. But my parents read the Bible to us every evening during dinner. When I was big enough I read to the family. I believed what I heard. One time when I was older a minister asked us if we really believed the Bible or just the parts we liked. Some of the commandments can be hard to live.

It was that day that I decided. The Bible is true. God said it and I believed it. That settled it in my mind. From that day on every time I read the word I tried to imagine it actually happening. I would play the scenes in my head like I was there. I held Gods promises and commands for me in my heart.

In my years at the nursing home I have gotten so close to God. He’s my friend and I can spend hours talking to him. I hear him speak back to me and always commit to doing everything he asks me to do. So when he began stirring my heart about moving out of this home I was excited.

I believe God and trust God. My God can do anything and will whenever he sees fit. For twelve years I have been in this home. It was God who brought me to this home after my stroke in 2005. I came with the intent to learn to walk again. That never happened but he taught me to accept that. He told me that one day I would go home, but to rest in him for the time being. I was very content in my new home and never thought of leaving.

It was New Year’s Day when the Lord woke me up and said we are going to move. Confirming what I felt in my spirit for a couple weeks. He opened doors I never even imagined. Things started falling into place and it seemed overwhelming to me. He gave me a verse to hold on to. 1 Corinthians 2:9

“No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, and no mind has conceived, what God has planned for those who love him.” NIV

Right after this began my family went ballistic there was no way I was leaving this home. My hometown was out of the question. God warned me this might not be easy. Following God isn’t always easy. He was mocked, and criticized even beaten till the point of death for me. When God told Moses he was going to use him to free the people from Egypt was it easy. NO, there were many trials. Right up to the Red Sea. But the bigger the trials, the bigger the reward in the end. If I never was told that I was crazy then I must not be dreaming big.

You see I come from Dream City Church. Where the man we call the Pope, Tommy Barnett, teaches us all to get a God sized dream. If your dream seems impossible and it could only happen with your Gods help then your dream is a God sized dream.

He once had a dream to jog all the way to Los Angeles from Phoenix to start the very first Dream Center. It happened and now there are hundreds of Dream Centers around the world.

God thinks big. People throughout history have accomplished great things with God’s help. Before the light bulb was a huge success, he made a thousand attempts to get the filament just right. He did not fail 1000 times. It just took longer for that success.

President Lincoln ran for office many times before he became president.

Every good and perfect thing comes from God. The harder it is to get there the sweeter the reward. Depending on how big you see God to be the farther he can take you.

I am in the best health, best strength, best mind, and best spirit than I have ever been. At least since the stroke. If God says we’re moving. Then we are moving. Just the other day my family met with authorities here to talk about me. Trying to save me from myself. My mind may not be all there or just right, they thought. Just because I am so adamant to do what I strongly believe God is showing me to do.

Well when God wants to do something he will. Even without everyone’s permission. This move will happen if and when God wills. I will be right there.

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3. NIV

The Puzzle

God showed me that life is one extremely large puzzle that He is putting together. Every piece is lovingly placed where he knows is best for us. Only he knows what is best for us. He knows everyone he has ever made over thousands of years. He places other people in our lives just when we need them.

I can look back over my life and see where people have come into my life at just the right moment that I truly needed them. Just before my stroke I had strayed away from the Lord and was living”my” life my way on my own. After my stroke God sent a beautiful woman that I highly respected to me. I was hurting mentally from the recent stroke. God sent her to read the Bible to me and pray for me. It was a very big turning point in my life. I saw how much I need God and began reading every day on my own and twelve plus years later I wouldn’t miss a morning.

I have learned so much about the Lord and his ways over those years. The more I know him the more I want to know. I went to live in Phoenix at a nursing home with rehab to work at getting my life back. It was a difficult move but God placed me there with wonderful people who had great influence on my life.

I have learned how to serve them and influence others with God’s love. He has shown me that my handicap is not stopping me from making a difference in the world.

He once told me “Bloom where you are planted” and that is what I have done. In my time here he has helped me to write three wonderful books that honor him. Because I can’t make money or have much money. I have been able to give my books to others and bless them.

Now he is moving me to another part of his puzzle. Back to the town I lived in at the time of the stroke. My previous business partner offered me his home to live in and it benefits both of us. He has always been a father figure to me and mine has passed on. We need each other right now. His wife died a year ago and he is lonely. It gives both the opportunity to be needed I can be there for him and watch out for some of his needs and he can be there for me. Living together is like family again. I love him dearly and want the best for him.

That is what being part of God’s puzzle is all about. You never know when a new or old friend is coming into your life at just the right moment for just the right time. Anyone you come in contact with might be God’s special puzzle piece.

I have been reading lately about faith. Faith is doing what God has for your life even if you don’t know how it will work out.

A Brand New Day

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. We get to have only one life so make the best of it. As the new year starts there are many changes we want to make in our lives. For me I am planning a move back to my hometown. Looking forward with great excitement it’s always good to stop and pray about it. It will be a big change for me with my disabilities. The Lord has great things planned for me and I can’t wait to discover them.

I have the support of some really great people and care workers. But as we all look to make changes we need to be doing it all for the Lord and seeking his guidance. Spend time each day talking to God and seeking his wisdom. Spend time each day in his word. As you read you will understand more of what the mind of Christ is. Learning his commandments so you can keep them.

Making resolutions is great we all have things we want to do better or change. I myself have problems judging people by their actions. I need to remember that they are all God’s children. He loves each and everyone of them. They may be far from him. Lost. But they do not know what they are doing. As Christians we have higher standards to live by.

“ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NIV

By leaning on him he will help you. We can’t always change ourselves by willpower alone. We may want to break bad habits such as drinking, smoking, or drugs. With God we can. Maybe it’s just bad habits or procrastination.

Let’s make decisions the way Christ would. Go out and make it the best year yet.

Jesus Our Savior

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,”Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will bring great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

It has been hundreds of years since the Lord spoke to his people. Even if you were Jewish and knew all about the prophecies of a coming king. You had probably given up hope, but an angel appears to shepherds. Ordinary guys like you and me just doing an ordinary job. Late at night, it was probably quite dark, cold, and quiet and along comes an angel. That in itself was quite unexpected. I can understand their fear.

To us that would be like a UFO landing in our yard. Then the glory of the Lord shone around them. Worthiness had to be on their minds. “What are you telling me for?, I am nobody special.” I am just a shepherd with all my flaws and sins.” Yet they had to see him. This was a once in a lifetime event to tell people all about for years.

They rushed to Bethlehem to find this new born king. When they found him they were flooded with joy. Could our Lord come in any more humble of way. Just a perfect simple little baby to young struggling parents that were probably wondering how they ended up being the parents of a king.

How could they raise this kid properly. But with anything God calls us to do. God equips us to do it well. Jesus grew up in a struggling family full of brothers and sisters. Living a life just like you and me. This helped him understand what you and I go through.

Our Savior was just like you and me. But he was perfect. He did it all willingly just so he could be part of a family with those of us who accept him. A family that will live happily ever after.

Following Jesus

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24. NIV

What does it take to be a follower of Jesus?

Jesus never said it would be easy or that many would make it to heaven. Actually he said that the road to heaven was narrow and few would find it. Most people don’t make it. Do you want to be part of the crowd? If they don’t make it then that’s probably not the way to go.

Sure the free gift of Christ is eternal life. Accept him and you are on your way. If it’s that easy then why can’t everyone get there? If you read God’s words there is more.

Love your neighbor as yourself. One of the greatest commandments. Do you love everyone you meet? Do you prioritize people, wanting to be around a certain people more than others. Do you shun some people that don’t come up to your standards.

If someone was in need of help would you give them the help they need no matter who they were. What about a homeless, or handicapped, or sickly person. Loving your neighbor can sometimes be difficult. I like myself pretty much all the time. But can I love others all the time?

“If you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:15 NIV

Do you keep all the commandments? Do you even know them? There are a lot of commandments to keep. This is starting to sound like a commitment. I guarantee the more you commit the more you get back. Not just life eternal but, abundant life forever with him. Since I started serving him and following him wholeheartedly my life has gone from ok to amazing. The blessings just keep flowing my way. I still have difficult times, but they seem to come further and further apart.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2. NIV

“”Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”Matthew 7:19. NIV

Are you producing fruit in your life? What are fruits? Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Are these showing up in your life? Some off the time? What can we do to see these happen more often?

God’s word has all the answers if you look.

There is so much more to being a follower than saying I’m a Christian. Truly following Jesus is more than just a commitment. You need to get to know him. You need to have a relationship with him. He will give you all the help you need if you will just ask him.

Christmas all year long

I wish Christmas would last all year long. People are so nice and accommodating this time of year. God asks us to be that way all year long. Loving one another as ourselves. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. People spend thousands of dollars trying to get just that perfect gift. A lot of times the gift is set aside and forgotten anyway.

We can do so much all year long. Take time to appreciate everything in your day. The beautiful world around us. God made it just for us. How he gives us our daily bread each day, he helps us all throughout our day, and always does what is best for us. Pay attention to everything around you. The secretary at work has a new haircut, let her know you noticed. Debbie’s dress is cute, tell her. Appreciate people you meet, talk to them.

Do nice things for people. Hold the elevator, the door. Smile and say hello. Invite someone to coffee, or bring them a coffee. Show hospitality by inviting someone over for dinner tonight. Offer to mow a lawn for an older neighbor. Bake cookies for someone.

Spend time with someone who seems lonely, or visit a relative. Write a letter, write a poem, you never know how much that could mean, especially to loved ones. Going the extra mile to make someone feel special. These things don’t cost a lot of money but can mean so much to people around you. It makes life fuller for us and for others.

Giving is so much better than receiving. If more people tried harder to be friendly to those around them the better our world would be. I saw on tv the other day how a woman who missed her flight and was forced to spend the night at the airport waiting for another flight. She got over being upset. She decided to get people to dance with her. It started out slow but really caught on. She took pictures and posted them. They went viral.

It only takes one person to start a chain reaction of love. So let it begin with you.

Dream City Church

Welcome one and all to Dream City Church. On the corner of Sweetwater and Cave Creek in Phoenix. Started by Tommy Barnett 38 years ago. This has got to be the best church I have ever been to in my 58 years on this earth. I first came when the nursing home I was living in told me about it. They have wheelchair buses that travel throughout the valley on Sunday’s picking up special needs people that might not get out to church otherwise.

So I went, and I fell in love with the people and the church. I have never felt so much love and acceptance in my life. Being handicapped in a wheelchair from a stroke I had often felt out of place in public. So I stayed in my little care home with people just like me who understood me. That really was not living. Now I have so many friends to fellowship with each week and my life has never been better.

The church has a special needs ministry that reaches out to people like me. The people at the church have so much love to give. They have accepted me and been so wonderful to me. I just want to tell everyone.

This week in our class we had a Christmas party and we all received gift bags full of things we can use. Next week is the Christmas Pageant that they have been putting on for years. It is bigger a better than ever before. Professionally directed, it is fantastic. We make a full day of it. The buses come a little after 8:00 am to pick us up. We have our special needs class from 9:00-10:30 and then go to the sanctuary for the main service at 11:00. Then we gather for a great lunch and some entertainment till time for the Pageant.

The night of the 16th we are having a big Christmas bash and dance. We have so much fun together. We have bar-be-cues during the year and at the end of summer we spend a week together at camp in the pines of Williams. Swimming, zip lining, and doing all kinds of fun things just for us. Boy we in special needs sure are spoiled aren’t we.

The wheelchair buses drive from Union Hills in the north valley to Van Buren in the south valley. From 20th St. to Tatum up north. From I 17 to 7th St in the south. Contact Chip Gilliam at the Phoenix campus of Dream City he is running the buses so you can set up a ride with him.

If you want to know any more about the church or special needs you can email me at.