Thursday, July 14, 2011

Locked Out.

"Why does your heart carry you away?" Job 15:12

As I walked out the door and heard it shut behind me, I knew what happened. I left my keys in the house. So I turned around to check to see if the door was locked and it was. I went to the back door; and it was locked also. All the windows, you guessed it, they were all locked too. So there I was sitting in the hot Texas Summer locked out of my house, no way to get in. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn't get in. I was locked out.

"Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23

As I wrote about in my last post, I was nothing but a hypocrite. I was just like the Pharisees of Jesus' day. I was Christian on the outside but sinner on the inside.

I recognized the place I had to clean was my heart. I realized that I locked Jesus out of my heart just like I locked myself out of my house. No matter how hard Jesus tried to get in, I would not let Him. I shut Jesus completely out of my life.

Solomon warns us if we want to stay alive we must guard our hearts. Now I was alive physically but spiritually I was deader than all get out. Spiritually I was ten toes up.

Why is it so important to guard your heart? Solomon tells us it's where we get our life. Life flows out of heart. For sake of space go read Mark 7:14-23.

When your heart is not saturated with Jesus you're a dead man walking. What do we need to guard our hearts from? As I looked at my heart and what it was full of I noticed several of Satan's most powerful heart blockers had penetrated my heart.

My next few post I will talk about the things I found in my heart.

My question for you is this:
1. What is flowing from your heart?

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Check Yourself.

Once I learned that God was not the center of my life I knew I had to do something I did not want to do. I had to look in the mirror and check myself. I had to look at myself and look at what kind of person I had become.

In one of the darkest times in Israel's history the Prophet Jeremiah instructs the Israelites to do this same thing.

Lamentations 3:40 "Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord."

Examine - to search through.
Probe - to investigate or explore.

In this dark time, Jeremiah did not tell the Israelites to feel sorry for themselves or to get a group of people together and have a pity party, instead he tells them to search and explore their lives and to see what led them to become the wretched nation they were.

I must be honest and say as my life was mirroring the book of Lamentations I did not want to do any exploring of self. But I knew this is what I must do.

What I found out about "King" Dustin was I became just like the people that Jesus struggled with throughout His ministry.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also." Matthew 23:25-26

The word hypocrite in the Greek means, "an actor or pretender."

Here are the Pharisees acting and pretending to be the righteous and Godly people. Kind of sounds like the author of this blog. Here I was in full-time ministry teaching Bible class, counseling, instructing people how to live life for God and the whole time I was doing this I was nothing more than and actor playing the lead role in my life pretending to be a Disciple of Jesus. When I looked in the mirror I saw a hypocrite.

My cup was sparkling clean on the outside but on the inside it was a a mess. The inside of my cup was filthy and dirty.

The second half of this verse Jesus tells the Scribes and Pharisees to clean the inside of their cup. The word clean carries the meaning and idea to purify oneself from wickedness.

My next blog entry I will discuss the first place I had to clean.

But until then I have two questions for you:
1) Have you divorced yourself from God?
2) Do you need to check yourself?

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What Happened?

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." Elie Wiesel

To say that my life can be best described by the word chaos these last few months is not only true but an understatement. The main question that I've heard over and over is, "What happened to you?"

For those of you who don't know, I'm no longer in full-time ministry because I had an affair. Most people cannot believe and are shocked when they attach the word "affair" to my name.

Since the affair came to light in March, I've experienced what is know as a "rock-bottom" experience.

My "rock-bottom" experience consisted of the following: having my wife change the locks on the doors of the house, as well as transferring all of our money to another account so I could not access it, being out of my house for 30 days, losing the trust and respect of my wife and kids, friends questioning the validity of our friendship, a ministry I love letting me know they believe its best they sever ties with me, and much more. Please know this statement is not for the purpose of sympathy, because there is no one less deserving, but just to explain how much it took to wake me up from my own selfish desires.

So, back to the original question of, "What Happened?" The answer to that question can be found in Revelation 2:4. The problem with the Church in Ephesus was that they lost their first love. Some thirty years earlier this Church was described as a Church with an incorruptible love.

Just like the Church in Ephesus, I also left my first love. The word "left" in the Greek means: to send away, to divorce, to disregard. I was no longer in love with God. I sent Him away, disregarded Him, and divorced Him to be in a relationship with MYSELF. I loved me more than I loved God. I wanted to be King of my life.

The Israelites begged Samuel for a King so they could be like the other nations. As a result of them getting a King they endured many unnecessary hardships in their lives. Like the Israelites, I suffered many hardships because of my selfish desires and wants to be King.

Like the Church in Ephesus I once had a love that could be described as "incorruptible" but my selfish desire to be King corrupted my love for God. And to be honest with you being King for a day is not all it's cracked up to be.

My next several blog entries will look at the life of "King" Dustin and what happened to his kingdom of one.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Know You.

"Jesus knows all about our struggles; He will guide till the day is done; there's not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one! No not one!"

As you know the above lyrics are from the hymn, "No Not One." The first part of this chorus gets me every time I hear it. To know that no matter what I'm faced with or going through, Jesus knows how it feels and will walk with me hand and hand through the day. What a friend we have in Jesus!

The reason why Jesus can do this is because He is familiar with us. That in my opinion is the second reason why He is The Good Shepherd. In John 10:14-15 Jesus uses the word "know". The word know is defined in Webster's this way, "to be familiar with or have experience." Jesus is the Good Shepherd because He can empathize with us. He has experienced what it is like to have people talk about Him. To abuse Him. To spread rumors about Him. To say false things about Him. To leave Him during His hardest and roughest times. He knows what its like to be viewed as an outcast. Jesus knows all our struggles.

And His response to knowing us is, "I lay down my life for the sheep."

This is the Good News that so many people need to hear. In a world where there is so many uncertainties, the only thing that is certain is we have a Shepherd that is familiar with us and is willing to die for us. In a world that is filled with so much pain and heartache the only answer is for us as Disciples is to tell those in need about One that understands.

Another reason why He is familiar with us is because He created us. Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I Knew you." Isaiah 43:1-3 tells us that God calls us by name. He knows what we can handle, He created us. He knows our limits, He knows what we can withstand and how much pressure we can handle.

Why is Jesus The Good Shepherd? Because He is Familiar.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Now

Sacrifice. I think it's fair to say, thats a word that most of us don't like to hear. According to Webster's dictionary sacrifice means, "to give up something of value for something else."

The first reason why I believe Jesus is the Good Shepherd is because of His Sacrifice (vss. 11-13). What kind of sacrifice did Jesus make? Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up His life for us. In John 15:13 we learn that Jesus laid His life down for us. The word lay in the Greek means "to carry no longer." When Jesus died on the Cross He gave up His life, He carried it no longer and began to carry our life.

As I stated in the first blog post in this series a Shepherd is so attached to His sheep that he is willing to die for them. We read in John 10:12-13 that when the wolf comes that the hired hand (opposite of the Good Shepherd) flees and leaves the sheep as easy prey for the wolf. I'm sure as Jesus was saying these words images of Jeremiah 23:1-6 and Ezekiel 34:1-16 was going through the listeners mind and reinforcing what Jesus was saying. We know that in these two sections of Scripture that the Shepherds here were destroying and scattering the sheep and tending to their own personal needs.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd because He is willing to die for us and protect us from the enemy, even if it means giving up something of value for something else.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Good Shepherd

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." John 10:11-18

This passage draws the contrast between the good and the bad, the faithful and unfaithful shepherd. The Shepherd is absolutely responsible for the sheep. To the Shepherd, it was the most natural thing to risk his life in defense of his flock. The true Shepherd never hesitated to risk, even to lay down his life for his sheep.

In this text Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd. The word good here carries the meaning of loveliness and being honorable.

This is one of my favorite sections in the Bible. We learn so much about the character and mission of Jesus in these few verses. For the next several weeks my blog post will be coming from this section of Scripture.

If there is a passage of Scripture that I believe we need to get back to, this is it. The lost people of this world don't need to here our Church traditions and doctrines! They need to know there is a man out there that has laid His life down for them. As followers of Christ we must heed the call that Jesus gives in this passage to get all the sheep together.

I hope you enjoy the next few post.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Good Stuff

Today's post is my last in this series that looked at Mark 4:1-20. Today we will look at the last the soil, the soil that we all want to be. Jesus describes this soil as the "good soil."

To be the good soil you must be receptive to what God wants you to do. This is the person that accepts God's Word and puts their wants and desires on the back burner. I'm sure that last sentence is something that most of us struggle with. If you're like me, its very difficult to put what you want aside and put what God wants in its place.

To be the Good Soil, you must do the following 3 things with the Word of God:

1. You must hear it. This means you must be still and listen to what God is trying to tell you (Psalm 1 and 46:10). I'm sure you must thinking that I have no idea of how busy you are and for you to slow down any is hard to do. If you truly want to know what God is saying to you then slow down and listen. And for someone of you it might not be you need to slow down, it may be that you need to stop talking (James 1:19). Some of us have a talking problem, we like to talk but not listen.

2. You must receive it. Whenever a foreign body threatens to enter the eye, they eye automatically closes. Sometimes we are like this with the Word of God. We do not like what God is telling us so we close our hearts to it and do our own thing.

3. We must put it into action. As followers of Christ we are called to tell people about Christ (John 1:40-45 and Matthew 28:18-20). It does us no good at all to have the greatest gift in the world and yet keep it to our self. As followers of Christ we must to people about the love of Christ.

So, what do you need to do to be the Good Soil? Pray this week that you become this soil.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.