Friday, June 27, 2008

The Beasts

Our family's two terriers are quite interesting. I have little to do with them, but the girls love them - so I think you understand my position. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned from these two wild beasts.

Early in the morning they go outside and play in their dog pen. Any time you step outside they are looking right at us waiting for that opportunity to enter back into our fun kingdom.

Once given approval for re-entry, they run, play, and use up my air conditioning. Even though I am not enraptured with these two, I must admit that they are smarter than I am. I find that I am not as focused on Jesus' return to get me and what I'll have in His Kingdom as my dogs are on me. To top it off, I have a God who loves me. He does not tolerate me as I do the beasts that live in my house. OK...I'll learn from the dogs.

1 Thessalonians 4-5

Thursday, June 12, 2008

11 Observations of Bold, Godly Leadership for 21st Century Churches

1. They seek God's will through His Word, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.
2. They have a spirit of fearlessness/boldness.
3. They have a desire to build the Kingdom, not please people.
4. They have a powerful sense of destiny, mixed with humility.
5. They have a personal commitment to observable ministry, missions, stewardship, and servitude.
6. Their leaders work together in unity.
7. They make bold decisions based on vision of God and need of culture.
8. Their decisions always involve faith, not sight; even more so when there is no money.
9. There is trust between elders and pastoral staff.
10. There is no micro-management at any level.
11. They dare to do the impossible daily, as the church did in the first century.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Plea and God's Response

This was written by Bree Morrison. Bree & Rich Littleton are Tomoka Christian Church partners.


I never knew cancer was going to be so hard. No, I don’t have cancer; my husband was diagnosed with one form of this enemy called multiple myeloma; a cancer of the plasma cells that is linked to the building blocks of the body’s immune system.

It seems strange realizing that someone you love is so fragile. Like a wind that seemed so strong and suddenly became windless.

The initial shock of understanding the medical cancer details, treatments, and possible life threatening conditions left me overwhelmed. Then, just as an order to the daily treatment routine seemed to settle our world, a great realization hit me one cloudy afternoon.

My husband did not have a cold that would cure itself with some fluids and extra bed rest. He had cancer. The words kept haunting me; there is no cure, only management of this disease. How do you manage a unchecked cell that doesn’t want to do the right thing to nourish and support your body? I felt helpless watching my husband take handfuls of pills that made him hyper, down, nervous, irritable, nauseated, and constipated, with more pills for addressing the side affects of the treatment drugs. I just wanted to scream out, “give me my husband back.” I don’t know this stranger that I watch daily transform into various people. I missed my sweet temperament friend, my lover, and my spiritual lead.

No matter what someone tells you, there is no getting ready for cancer. Not the person with the affliction or the loved one that stands by and watches the drama unfold. Desperate for answers, desperate for a return of the happy and normal life you once lived. Yet, knowing life will never be as it was before since this dreaded disease took control.

I go to God for guidance. I don’t dare ask God why, just how do I make it through it all? I ask, I wait for answers yet nothing seems to surface. No great revelations, no obvious signs, no special peace that give me strength and understanding. Only despair that the current is our tomorrows. Convincing myself that this is only temporary, it still lingers that change is only a threat of what worse is yet to come.

Why do I write these words? To comfort those reading it or to listen as I describe the horror of feeling helpless to control this ‘gone wrong’ life giving cell in his body. Confusing, frustration, and a sense of lost in time is the only way to really connect with this unusual feeling. Suspended in a bad dream that one only hopes has a morning. A time to wake up and take a breath, knowing it was not real. The whole experience was just an imagination gone wild.

However, morning comes and the reality is crystal clear, this cancer has come to stay at our home as an unwelcome guest. You can refuse to give it a key to your home, or feed it. It appears to thrive on just knowing how much you wish it gone. Who sent this evil seed into my husband’s body? Like a thief it dropped off contaminated droppings and fled in the night. It is a coward that aggressively destroys all things in its path for self gratification. You can’t wish this disease away. You can’t deny this disease an opportunity to run its course.


God’s word says that through faith that all things are possible. Faith takes actions to strengthen the cause. This faith has a name, God and me. You can’t go it alone. For no matter what you want, God wants this disease to represent a purpose. So no matter what that purpose is, it is for the good of mankind. Maybe not for you or even for Rich yet for someone who needs it?

So don’t get caught up in the self. You are my children and I love you. I admire your strengths that allow me to use you as an instrument for good. Walk the good walk. Love me, be obedient to my ways. And more importantly, stay firm and faithful. At the right time, I will reveal my purpose. You will look back on these times with no regrets, only a sense of humility as you realize what a great role you played in changing lives. Keep helping those to move toward me and to their Heavenly home.

So, don’t fret, don’t worry. I am with you for all times. That should be enough to comfort you.
Step out and teach of my hope. Don’t wait for something to come seek you out. I love you. I will never leave you. That is my greatest blessing to those that serve me. For when you are at your weakest points, you will receive your greatest blessings if you seek me for understanding.