“Hey God, I’m Doing You a Favor!”

Phyllis and I became the pastors of a small country church in Arkansas the week I turned 22. I still had a semester of college left and we made the 180-mile round trip each weekend. Then we served as assistant pastor at my home church in Nashville, Arkansas.

By the time I was 25 we were pastoring in Texas and I was ready for ordination, which is the third and final step for pastoral recognition in our movement.

I’ll never forget the night of the ordination service. At the end, one of my leaders placed his hands on my head as I knelt praying. I hadn’t expected anything special, but I got it anyway.

You see, I showed up for that meeting pretty beat up. Pastoring a church looks easy to those who have never done it. I’ll agree. It’s as easy as piloting a Boeing 767 in a thunderstorm. I like people to like me and be happy with me, and even in small churches there are always a few people who wouldn’t be happy, even if the Lord Jesus was the pastor of their church.

I’ve remarked to my wife more than once, “I’m glad I only have to deal with that person at church. Their spouse has to deal with them all the time, and I don’t imagine that’s a picnic.” And there are some husbands who are mad at their wives, but they are afraid to take it out on them so they take it out on the pastor.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of the best people I ever met were in those churches. If you’re reading this, you were one of them. The Texas church is still one of the highlights of our ministry.

But, the night I knelt in that ordination service, I must confess, I figured God was getting a bargain when He got me. “Gave up what I was planning for the ministry. Put up with being a punching bag for unhappy individuals. Willing to live on a minimal salary. Yes, sir Lord. You’re really lucky to have me.”

Now, I didn’t say that out loud because I was afraid God would give me a “Gibbs slap” on the back of my head. But, I felt that way.

Until the old brother prayed for me. Continue reading

Try Time Travel For a Powerful Life

God has given humans the ability to travel into the past or a possible future. Our mind flies forward to see things that are going to happen; that friend we are going to see gives us joy even before he arrives. That rendezvous with the grouch- of-the-week makes us tremble, even before it happens.

A real key in a powerful life is to see what God wants to do before we get there. We don’t always know the specifics but we always know God has this future in his hands. Try to see it the way He wants it to be.

If you want to rip all the joy out of life today, imagine all the bad things that can happen in the future. Corrie Ten Boom once said, ““Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

At times the future scares me, because I feel inadequate for what I imagine might happen. I also get excited about the future when I see a ton of good things that might await me. What’s the difference?

Most people say that imaginary things aren’t real, but I’m not one of them. It’s crazy the effect they have on our lives. When I see a bear hiding in the darkness near the road I’m traveling on, I’m scared to death whether there is a bear there are not. I tremble, my heart beats faster, my peace is gone.

The bear may be imaginary, but he’s changed my life.

Time Travelers Sink Millions

Twelve spies traipsed off into the Promised Land. Millions of people had been exploring this Promised Land in their imagination, but they hadn’t been imagining a lot of problems. It’s not wrong to think of future problems. It’s just wrong to think about them and not count on God’s help.

Now the time had come to take hold of their promise. The spies walked through the land, their heads swiveled right and left. “Wow, look at that city! Look at how fertile this land is. But look at how strong those people are. They’re big. They are mean. I feel like a grasshopper standing alongside them.”

And they begin to travel to the future and see themselves stomped into the ground in any battle they might have with these people. Ten of them painted such a negative picture of the future that millions of people began to howl in defeat.

Before one single arrow had been fired!  Continue reading

First Step Towards An Improved Version of You In 2017—Attitude

Once I got mad and I stayed mad a long time. I figured I was right to be furious but it

didn’t do me much good. When I think about that period of my life, I recall a lot of misery, me walking around fuming inside.At night I tried to sleep with a chip on my shoulder. It didn’t work very well. Angry, angry.

And then there was the time I went through a stretch of feeling sorry for myself and comparing myself to others. Or do you want to hear about the time … no? Me, neither.

That was a tough patch.

I’ve been a lot of unhealthy things in my heart and in my head for a slice of my life. But, I’ve learned something: if I find a stray cat in the kitchen, I’ve got to kick him out, or he’ll make himself at home. If I keep my anger, or self-pity or any other sick attitude for too long, I become that thing. I’ve got to do something about the “stray cat.”

Otherwise, I’m not just angry for a moment. Everyone gets mad. But, when I hold onto that anger too long, I become an angry man. Some folks, if you separate them from their self-pity, their anger, their critical spirit, or a host of other “stray cat” attitudes, they almost cease to exist.

There is a story about a lady whose constant request at the prayer meeting was, “Pray for my terrible husband.” The people prayed and God saved him; changed his life.

And she left him for another man.

I suppose she felt a need to be pitied. She was defined by her misery. “Poor Sis So and So.” I imagine that her new man made her miserable, so her itch to be pitied was scratched.

Watch/develop/decide… your Attitude

What is your attitude in life? What do people think about when they think of you?

There is a Syrian immigrant somewhere, shivering under a tent who has more hope than some of us. He’s in miserable conditions, but he’s hoping for something better and that keeps him going. And many of us whose lives are better than 90% of the people in the world are wretched and depressed.

Remind me again why that is.

Hope is an incredible factor in healthy, happy lives. It’s a foundational stone for a good attitude.

Our feelings ebb and flow during life—physical battles, trials, difficult people, emotional changes, life-stage changes, so many things influence our attitude. Good things shape us, too.


We have to take charge of our attitude. We have to be intentional about it.

Seth Godin says, “”Attitude is the most important choice any of us will make. We made it yesterday and we get another choice to make it today. And then again tomorrow.

“The choice to participate. To be optimistic. To intentionally bring out the best in other people… they are a choice. No one does these things to us. We choose them and do the work (and find the benefits) that come with them.”

So How Do You Do It?

 I suspect that some babies show up in the delivery room, pop open their wonder-struck eyes and say, “Hello, doctor. You’re really looking good. This is going to be a great day.” They seem to be born with a great attitude.

Maybe that happens, but for the vast majority of us, it doesn’t come naturally. As a matter of fact, I think the only ones who were ever like that were Adam and Eve. And they weren’t exactly born. A rotten attitude seems to be a result of man allowing sin to enter the world.

Since then we’ve had to work to get our attitude right. Here’s how to get started.

1.      Be thankful. If you’re convinced that the world owes you life, liberty and happiness you’ll always be mad when life isn’t like that. Stop and genuinely give thanks to God for His blessings. If you can’t think of any, you’ve got a serious blindness problem. Really. Do it! Stop and thank Him. Make it a habit. (Romans 1:21; Colossians 3:15)

2.      Become the master of your thoughts. You decide what stays in. Your heart decides what’s important and if anger and frustration prevail it might be that you’ve got a heart problem. Look and see why you’ve got heart disease and deal with that.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

“A good man produces good things from the good stored up in his heart, and a bad man produces evil things from his own stores of evil. For a man’s words will always express what has been treasured in his heart.” (Luke 6:44 J.B. Phillips)

Sometimes a thought gets hold of us and we can’t get loose. We need supernatural deliverance—either once and for all or once a day.

‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Rom. 12:2, J.B. Phillips)

But, it’s more than a choice. God has to do a work in our attitude, so that we can have his attitude. Positive thinking isn’t enough.     « To be made new in the attitude of your minds » Eph. 4:23

3.      There is a powerful connection between your mouth and your heart—one influences the other, one reveals the other. Wives, how do you talk about your husband to others? To him? Husbands? And how do you talk about your life? All that reveals your heart AND influences your heart.

We all talk to ourselves. This is our narrative about ourselves, our story as we relate it. Do you want people to pity you or pay attention to you? Sometimes if we feel incapable of exciting admiration we settle for provoking pity. Proclaim your praise for the Lord—and others. Proclaim your confidence in Jesus and His promises. Let your story be the story He tells about you and the dream He put in your heart.

4.      Choose those that you hang with, as much as possible. When you can’t stay away from grouches, gripers, criticizers, complainers and “the-world-is-coming-to-an-end-ers,” be a positive influence in the life of these negative people.

And if positive people are constantly encouraging you by interjecting something positive into your self-pity, it might be a sign that you’re the grouch in the situation. Quit it!

5.      And …

Don’t just resist a nasty attitude. Fill your mind and heart with good stuff, so there is no room for junk. Read and pray the Psalms; fill up every spare corner of your mind with the great promises of God’s Word. Get excited about God’s promises. Remember His answers to prayer.

Keep your relationship with God up-to-date: love His presence, admit your sin when you fail, and pay close attention to difficult relationships with those close to you. Here’s something to think about–if we’re constantly clashing with others that might indicate a problem with us. We all clash at times but when it happens often, it may well be our attitude—the world owes us, we feel disrespected, angry about something, or we might be disobeying God in an area of our life and we want to misdirect attention.

Get some exciting God-given goals. Learn to pray and walk in God’s presence.

Getting your mind « renewed » is a process. We must work at it each day. But, it sure beats the alternative which is stinking-thinking, stinking-speaking and stinking-acting.. All that leads to a stinking life. (Rom. 12:1, 2)

“A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.” (Proverbs 18:20, NKJV)

Putting It into practice:


What is the one word that best describes your daily attitude?

Ask three people who know you well to describe your attitude in one word. Then ask the same people to describe you biggest negative attitude in one word.

Pray seriously about this: what am I going to do to change the negative part of my attitude?

This article might interest you: FOUR SURE-FIRE WAYS TO FIX THOSE PROBLEMS BETWEEN YOUR EARS https://davidscoffeestains.com/four-sure-fire-ways-to-fix-those-problems-between-your-ears/)

Here’s a book that will help you in your journey towards an attitude that leads to God’s abundant life—“40 Days to a Joy-filled Life” by Tommy Newberry

Images: pixabay.com, johnhain; fr_golay, petelinfort; keijj44

Continue reading

Survivor of the Scorpion War

I survived the first war of the scorpions.

Four years ago I stayed in a duplex located in the countryside for about five weeks. Birds sang, crickets cricketedand I could see a beautiful lake from my front door.

And I was nervous and on edge for five weeks. Drought bit the Texas countryside at the time and it must have brought out the scorpions. I never saw so many scorpions in my life—in the kitchen sink, climbing on curtains, lurking on the bathroom floor, in the garage.

At the end of five weeks the score was Porter 30, Scorpions 0. That’s how many scorpions felt the pain of the underside of my sandal or whatever I found at hand to whap with.

The music of the countryside sounded like: “Tweet, tweet,” “cricket, cricket,” “WHAM!”

“Take that!”

I said the score was 30-0 in my favor but that’s not all the truth. I didn’t get stung but they had me spooked. I was afraid to put my foot on the floor at night without house-shoes. I left my house-shoes on the nightstand or a chair where the little rascals couldn’t sneak in and wait for my innocent toes to wiggle in and stab me with their scorpion stinger.

The truth was that the psychological score was Porter 30, Scorpions 300. They took a lot of joy out of my life.

Although who knows, a mama scorpion who sees a size 11 sandal smash the life out of her beloved young scorpion offspring would probably be traumatized, too.

So maybe it was 300 to 300.

That was why I was a little leery when we moved back into the same apartment recently for five months of visiting churches in the USA.

You know what? The house had been sprayed and I’ve haven’t seen a scorpion, spider or anything except several dead crickets.

And the birds still sing, the crickets, the ones that don’t get too close to the house, still cricket and I’m really enjoying living here. Beautiful countryside. In the morning I step out in front of my house and look at that little lake and praise the Lord.

So, what’s the difference, David? You didn’t get stung last time so what’s the big deal? Continue reading

Frustrated About This Stage of Your Life?

grandparents-1017825_640Once I attended an orchestra concert in Differdange, Luxembourg.  A young lady in our church participated in the evening and I wanted to encourage her.

That episode might have passed into the forgetfulness of a thousand other events of life that you do and move on, but someone that night caught my attention.  My memory is a bit fuzzy, but the fellow who marked me was a drummer who didn’t have much to do.

This fellow looked a bit like a slightly overweight, balding Ian Fleming (you know, the first James Bond guy). In this memory he did mostly nothing for most of the concert, waiting for his big moment. The trumpeters trumpeted, the percussionists percussed, the flutists fluted, and the violinists … did whatever violinists do.

And our friend mostly waited.

I think he may have dinged a triangle or a few inconsequential things, but in my mind I see him next to a big drum (memories are cloudy). Finally, his time came and he banged away on the drum for a few bars like James Bond delivering right crosses to the temple of Dr. No.

Then he went back to doing mostly nothing. Continue reading