Let Me Be Frank… 6-13-18

This past weekend, we talked about realizing our potential and being content when we know what we are capable of.  Our race is not against someone else…  It’s not about comparing what we have done with others.  Our race is with our content self and complacent self. 
We are to be content with what we have, but we are also meant to push ourselves and allow our Heavenly Father to stretch us daily.
But how do we know when we’ve gone too far?  When will we know we are operating outside of our Father’s will?  What happens when the rubber band breaks?
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted
down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

If we want to stretch ourselves in any way, we will experience tension.  I love the way verse 8 and 9 plainly outline what we can expect in this life. Pressed on every side by circumstances outside of our control, perplexed when we aren’t sure God is even listening, hunted down by fear and anxiety, and knocked down by failure.  
An object that breaks when pulled apart does not care about the tension, but only about the stress that it experiences.
Our power comes from God and not from ourselves.  This is how we know we’ve gone too far.  We’ve stopped acknowledging that the “One who holds the Universe” also holds our future.  He knows our past.  He knows our limits.  And He knows our potential.  He sees more in us than we see in ourselves. 
Soli Deo Gloria…  It’s what I end each post with.  And it means, “glory to God alone.”  This is how we know we have gone too far.  The rubber band breaks when we try to do it on our own.  The stress we experience is too much tobear, because we refuse to let God do the lifting.
I’d like you to encourage you to push yourself this week.  But don’t do it for the accolades, or the success, or all the things you may accomplish.  Do it for the glory of God.  Do it to show someone that, as Christians, they have the same power inside of them.  The stress decreases when it’s not about us.  When we realize that our God is for us in every way imaginable we embrace the tension, seize the opportunity, and proclaim the glory of Christ.
Because, in the end, it’s not about us…  It’s about what He is able to do through us to change our world!
We are Central… and we’re in this TOGETHER! 

Something Don’d on Me! 6-13-18

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper[a]), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.”
Acts 2:42-43

We just returned from a POWERFUL week at El Porvenir High School camp! We had 27 up there (kids and adults) and we head back there for Junior High week this Sunday! We have 36 signed up for that week!! Thank you to ALL that have financially supported, that have prayed for and that continue to love on and encourage our AMP group!
The Theme at HS Camp was “THE TABLE”-we discussed how Jesus INVITES us to the table, that we are LOVED, we are VALUED, we are SEEN, we are REDEEMED…and all of these are personal to each one of us! This concept was really encouraging to me, especially when we got to the last day and read the verse that is listed above! To see the body of believers come TOGETHER and bring others to the table…that really was powerful to me!
And then in our group, Dennis (one of our adult sponsors) brought out a quote of something that he had been reading. In the King James Version, the verse above uses a different word. It says, “And they continued…” It actually uses that phrase 3 times in the passages at the end of that chapter! And it really hit me…THEY KEPT GOING!
And they continued…when the times got tough and people were getting on each other’s nerves, they continued. When the money was short, and the fears were tall…they continued. When someone was in need…they continued!
Do you need that phrase today? Do you need to be reminded to CONTINUE? To stay STEADFAST? Maybe your marriage is struggling and it’s been a long time since those “vows” mattered…do you need to CONTINUE? Maybe God has felt far away from you as you read His Word. Do you need to be reminded to CONTINUE in your seeking of Him? The bills keep rising, and the income doesn’t. It’s easy to look at the short term and cut out some things like your commitments to God. Will you CONTINUE??

Franklin & the CentralWired Praise Team leads us often in a song called “Steady Heart” -(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfh_x5rFuWc if you want to watch it) and it often reminds me…CONTINUE! God is calling us to have a STEADY heart that keeps on going, a steady love that keeps on hoping! And maybe He is talking to YOU right now! How steady have you been with God? What’s your prayer life like? Have you been in the Word? Maybe you need to get BACK to church!
I love that the First Century Believers HUNG IN THERE! Do you need someone to “hang in there WITH you?” Let us pray for you! Let us lock arms with you! Let us CONTINUE ON together!
Almighty God, Forgive me when I quit to quickly, give me a steady heart, one that continues on…even when we can’t see what is happening! May we be filled with a sense of AWE as we hold on to each other! Through Jesus we pray, Amen
Shalom Alachiem, Don

Let Me Be Frank… 6-8-18

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”(Isaiah 40:28-31)
I remember walking in the woods with my brother.  I was a little nervous about bears in the area and asked him what to do in case we spotted one.  “Run,” he said.  “You can’t outrun a bear,” I said.  “With a slight littlesmile he responded, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.”
We run pretty fast if we’re running away from something.  Adrenaline takes over, your emotions are working overtime, and we just go.  It’s like that in life…  We run fast away from our past, the things that scare us, and mountains that seem too massive to move.
Running toward something?  There may be some apprehension.  There may be some exhaustion.  There may be some anxiousness involved with the outcome.  And the question comes.  “Why don’t I just stop running?”
I hit a wall two days ago.  Not literally (that would hurt) but I was having trouble continuing.  It wasn’t a long run, just a little under three miles, but I had to stop and catch my breath two or three times (should have grabbed the inhaler on the way out). 
A voice said, “Keep going.”
And then it said, “You’re not running away from anything today, you’re running toward something.”
Isaiah 40:31 will always be my life verse, I think.  But on that day I was floored by the fact that, as I ran towards God, He gave me strength.  I couldn’t keep going, but I put one foot in front of the other and finished the run. 
Where are you today? Are you running toward Him?  Do you feel like you’re not going to make it?  Just take that step…  and then take another one.  Let Him be your strength when you don’t have anymore.
We are Central… and we’re in this TOGETHER! 

Something Don’d on Me! 6-8-18

“I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
~ Luke 12:49

As I type this, I am sitting in the beautiful surroundings of El Porvenir Christian Camp, with 27 of our High School Students and volunteers, studying, worshipping and seeing God at work! But it’s interesting this year, because the Santa Fe Forest that surrounds this camp is completely closed to campers. We are about 70 miles south of the tragic “Ute Park” Fire up near Cimmarron. (We are safe…please don’t worry.)
But we have heard the words “BURN BAN” quite a lot recently. As tinderbox-dry as it has been this year, no one is shocked at that phrase. However, when rangers went into the forest after the Memorial Day weekend, they found almost 100 fires left unattended!! Even after posting signs, advertising on the radio, TV and everywhere they could find…people still were not listening!
Fire is spoken of in scripture MANY times. We see that the “Tongue is a small member but can set a forest ablaze!” (James 3:5) God is referred to as a “Consuming Fire” (Heb. 12:29) and even appeared to the Israelites as a “Pillar of Fire” (Exodus 13:21). And even Jesus speaks of fire in the verse listed above…but it’s here that I want us to dig a little deeper!
I love how Jesus speaks in parables and metaphors, and if you’re not careful, you could miss His point! Taken out of context, you might think Jesus to be a pyromaniac! But I believe He is speaking of a different KIND of fire! I think Jesus is talking about seeing a world on fire…FOR HIM!
I saw a blog recently that was talking about A Daily Dare. For 30 days, they were going to send you a text with a spiritual challenge for you to attack. Here was one of the “Dares”:

Spend 15 minutes in prayer asking God to fill your heart with
Passion and power to make an impact today.”

Such a simple little exercise…but it really does answer what Jesus was saying: “Ignite a fire on the earth!” Can you pray that? Can you spend 15 minutes praying for God to use YOU to impact Portales?? Maybe that’s by connecting with someone at work! Maybe that’s by sending encouraging texts to a few people! Maybe it’s by going on a prayer walk around a school or the church building! Do you realize that Jesus was speaking of YOU when He was talking about “kindled fire?”
We WILL make an impact on Portales! That is one of our core concepts at Central! We use it in our 20/20 Vision…but it’s not just for the staff or the Pastoral Board…IT’S EVERYONE! My dear friend, Franklin wrote a song recently that we sing in our Worship Times called Ignite Our Hearts. The chorus includes lyrics like this:

Ignite our hearts, burn with fire
For the one who sent His Son!

Fire is a powerful tool that brings life, or it is a destructive weapon that destroys everything in its path. It has many uses and purposes, but in God’s word, it frequently represents the powerful presence of the Lord. May we together seek His Presence…and may we as a collective body of Believers ignite a passion for Him today!
Can you pray for that WITH me today? And while you’re at it…let’s pray for rain to help THOSE fires in Northern New Mexico, too!
Shalom Alachiem, (Peace Be Unto You)

Let Me Be Frank… 5-30-18

“Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”
Psalm 46:10

If you’re like me then the idea of being still before the Lord looks something like this… a nice quiet morning, a beautiful view, a nice cup of coffee (an absolute necessity), and your Bible. 
The whole world stops as you take time to read God’s word.
But, to be honest, our lives may look more like this…

The command “be still” means to “cause yourselves to let go” or “make yourselves weak.”  But what are we to do with that statement?  In Hebrew grammar, the emphasis of coordinate imperatives (“be still!” and “know!”) is on the second imperative.  In other words, we “make ourselves weak” and surrender in order to know that God is in control and at work in our lives.
“Be still” is not something I do well.  I struggle with letting go of the things I can take care of.  “God, I’ll ask for help when I need it.  I’m good for right now.” 
But if the focus is on the second part of the phrase (and it is) we are still BECAUSE we know that GOD is Lord over all!
Being still, then, is not quietly sipping your coffee (although God is more than willing to meet you in those moments).  Being still is acknowledging Him as Lord, surrendering your ALL to Him, and allowing Him to work in your life day after day!
If God is who He says He is, then we must believe that He can do what He says He can do.  Know that He is God and let Him quiet your heart. 
Be still and know that He is God.
We are Central… and we’re in this TOGETHER! 


Something Don’d on Me! 5-30-18

GARAGE SALE…two words that strike FEAR in the hearts of some… and make other hearts pitter-patter just a little faster! The THRILL of the early morning dig-through!! The EXCITEMENT of that “found” morsel in a pile of cast-offs. The RUSH of making the “deal of a lifetime”…and rushing to the truck before someone realizes what a bandit you are!!

To others, the idea of people knocking on your garage door at the crack of midnight, and pawing through your things…or having to work hours on Friday pricing and folding, only to watch your nice neat stacks of clothes, demolished inside 10 minutes of opening! To those people, there’s only one letter’s difference between a garage sale and a garbage sale!
Some LOVE the idea of garage sales…others loathe them! I would be in the “former” category! I love NOT paying retail! I love finding something that could be my “treasure”from someone else’s trash!
That last statement is the mantra of the TRUE “Connoisseur ofle Garage Sale”-one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure! My Dad, my sister and I recently jumped into a garage sale with both feet! We had accumulated piles/boxes/bags full of “someone else’s treasure” in our garages, and it was starting to be difficult over which to climb! We usually pile things out on the pavement in front of the Print Shop…and let people go at it! It was a sight to watch!
But I couldn’t help but hear that phrase in my head: “Another man’s treasure,” as people dug through our “junk.” We had accumulated MANY things, that, AT ONE TIME, we purchased with a purpose! Over time, that purpose had changed, that waistline had grown, that toy didn’t entertain as it once did, that décor had not matured with my tastes. So what was once MY treasure…was now going to belong to someone else.
I was a little overwhelmed then by the thought of what my Savior thinks of me! Sometimes I feel FULL of purpose and ready to make the world aware of how Great He is! Other times, I feel less valuable, no longer fit, and wondering if my tastes and skills are outdated. But my Heavenly Father, and my Servant Brother, never tire of me! They have never tossed me out on the lawn to let others find value in me…HE PUTS HIS VALUE IN ME!!
The world may have made you feel like trash this week…can I assure you that our God thinks YOU ARE HIS TREASURE! He scours the refuse piles of this world, to buy you for a VERY expensive price, to dust you off, and to TREASURE you as that “pearl of great price!” (Did you ever wonder if that parable is really referencing Garage Sales? Just a thought…)
You are worth EVERYTHING to our Father! He finds you beautiful, valuable, and still having great purpose in you! Don’t think of yourself as tossed out…but rather as PICKED OUT! Because He loves you!
Father, help me see myself as YOU see me-valuable, wanted and worth the effort! I don’t feel it sometimes…but I know that see each of us as “AMAZING” and you have transferred your great worth into our messed up lives! Thank you for the gift of your “beautiful exchange!” May wewalk in the truth of knowing that this week! In the name of my Brother, Savior, and Friend I pray, Amen.
Shalom, Don

Let Me Be Frank… 5-23-18

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Cor 13:12

God loved the broken version of me.  He loved the “upstart, know-it-all, bull-headed, prone to wander, and fill the hole in my heart with anything but Him” me.  He didn’t extend His love to me in the hopes that I would change or be better.  He didn’t extend His grace hopeful that I would see the error of my ways and stop doing what I was doing.
He loved the broken version of me because He is love.
I knew of love when I was little.  My parents modeled that for me.  They were always there for me, praying and sacrificing so I had what I needed.
I knew more of love when I married the most beautiful girl in the world.  I felt like my heart would jump out of my throat watching her walk down the aisle in “something borrowed.”  And now, eighteen years later, I see her and love her in a way that has only deepened through the journey. 
And then our kids were born.  And I understood sacrifice and unconditional love in a whole new way!  They won’t always get their way, but they will always know that we love them and we’re in their corner.     
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
It’s no coincidence that this little verse comes at the end of the “love” chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.  I think that’s because we spend our entire lives trying to “earn” love, but God’s love was there the entire time.  Before you were cleaned up and presentable.  Before you were “living your best life.”
Some day we will know fully of His love for us.  But, my friends, we have always been fully known.
God knows everything about you and CHOOSES to love you!  One day we will know fully of His love for us but, in the meantime, we EXTEND love to everyone.  We walk humbly, we are slow to speak and quick to listen, and we are prayerful – always allowing the Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done in our hearts. 
I love knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me.  I pray that you know He loves you too!
We are Central… and we’re in this TOGETHER! 


Soomething Don’d on Me! 5-23-18

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
If you’ve been in Church anywhere for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard that verse used. It’s a great encouragement to make my mind focused on things above not things of this earth!
But I went back and spent some time IN Psalm 19…and it’s a VERY powerful Word! The bulk of the Psalm is David DECLARING the greatness of God! He addresses the perfection of the things that God has ordained, and just keeps talking about the Glory of God! I LOVE THAT! I NEED more of that in my prayer life-just focusing on God’s Greatness!
Then down in the middle of the Psalm, David begins to pray for forgiveness! After praising God for His Wisdom and that His Commands are right…it brings King David to his knees! “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”(Psalm 19:12) When we spend more time thinking of HIM than of me…it SHOULD drive me to my knees!
Then later, I found this quote from Amy Carmichael:

Holy Spirit, Think through me till your ideas are my ideas!

And that hit me like a freight train! I run off planning my life and running my life…maybe God is whispering to me, “Hey Don…you know that you’re not REALLY controlling all this now, don’t you??”

What I got from that passage and that quote is a simple thought, but a rather profound one: Put my thoughts on HIS WORDS and not mine. Too often, though, my words are on MY thoughts and MY actions and what I plan to get done! The prayer from David in Psalm 19 is “LET my words be acceptable!” Maybe the best way to do that…is to concentrate on HIS Words!
We know from another verse to “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart!” (Psalm 37:4) That’s not a Christmas list or a no-limit MasterCard! The more we DELIGHT ourselves in Him…the more our HEARTS will align with HIS HEART! The more my THOUGHTS are His…the more of His heart will come through my thoughts!
Can I encourage you this week: Hear David’s words…and follow his example! Marvel at the glory of God’s creation. Praise Him for His Wisdom. Count on His forgiveness. And then ask the God of Creation to watch your words and your thoughts.
May we ALL have thoughts and words that Glorify Him!
Shalom Alachiem, Don

Let Me Be Frank… 5-16-18

My first eye surgery was at five years old.  I don’t remember much about that one, but I did come home to an electric train set.  That was pretty awesome.  At fifteen I had my second eye surgery.  No train set, but I was able to do away with the “coke bottle” glasses I was supposed to be wearing.  I took them off most days and threw them in my locker.  Junior High is rough, those things were thick, and I could manage without them.  Manage means I would see two of everything but I could get by.  Oh, the joys of crossed eyes…
By the time you read this, I’ll be out of surgery.  I’ll most likely have “readers” (I guess that comes with getting older) but I’ll only see one of everything.  Even now, as I type, I see a second faint computer screen off to the side. 
The brain is a funny thing, though.  You see, my brain believes perfect vision is seeing two of everything.  This statement from an article I found completely blows my mind!  “Your brain directs and controls your eyes and eye muscle surgery is not brain surgery. Cutting and moving the eye muscles will not automatically change the brain or the signals it sends to the eye muscles. This is why patients’ eyes often “go back” or deviate again after surgery.” 
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it!  Prone to leave the God I love!”
I don’t want to go back when it comes to God.  I want to stay close to Him, to abide in His presence.  But it’s so easy to slip back into old ways because they are so familiar.  Paul knew this and reminds us that God wants us to renew our minds and transform our thoughts each and every day!
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2b

“Start with Jesus.  Stay with Jesus.  End with Jesus.”  This is the life that we as Christians are called to.  Much like my surgery, Jesus’ blood covers our sins (fixes them) but we can’t stop there.  We must allow God to transform us as He uses our lives for His Kingdom!
We are Central… and we’re in this TOGETHER! 

Something Don’d on Me! 5-16-18

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”
 -II Tim. 4:7

My friend, Andy Mason and I, have been playing guitars together for over 15 years now! We’ve played coffee houses, fairs, & events for all this time and I always have a blast doing that. We play 2-Man Acoustic Jam stuff-James Taylor, Jackson Browne, the Eagles and a smattering of other fun tunes-and we have a great time doing it. One time, early on in our playing days, I remember I was having a rough night. My fingers weren’t cooperating, the music stand wasn’t holding up, my guitar cord got tangled, and I was just off. As the set wore on, I was losing my confidence and just wasn’t “with it”. I apologized about one song-that I had not got started right and I felt like I messed it up. He looked at me and said this: “Don’t worry about it. They won’t remember how you started a song…if you finish it strong!” Sage advice, that was.

Why is it every year we have New Year’s Resolutions…but we just try to “make it to the end of the year?” It seems we start each semester with notions that THIS year I won’t procrastinate…and we quickly here ourselves saying “I just want to survive to the end.” We often put the focus on how we START…but rarely put our energies into ENDING well!
When Paul saw the end of his life was near, he said, “I have finished the race.” But in another place, he said, “I run with purpose in every step!” (I Cor. 9:26 NKJV) He wasn’t just speaking of the end of his life…he was speaking of ending every PART of his life with purpose! He was trying to teach us to FINISH strong!
Let me ask you this: How have you been FINISHING assignments lately? Do you work your best to finish your tasks with gusto…or do you just try to survive it? We are coming to the end of a semester/school year: are you finishing strong? We are almost to the mid-way point of 2018-are you finishing strong? Some people are changing jobs, changing houses, changing seasons in their lives: are we FINISHING STRONG?
Please note this next statement: How you FINISH this assignment might determine your NEXT assignment! So I think what Paul is telling us is to look at ALL your steps and run them with PURPOSE! I wonder if we get started strong…but we get lost in the middle and we miss the concept of FINISHING strong! It’s easy to get distracted… discouraged…or see all of the work and not see the light at the end of the tunnel! I think Paul is encouraging you to see the end, and that will give you strength in the middle!
Maybe you started out rough…you can still finish strong! You might have had a few stumbles in the middle of your assignment…you can still finish strong! Make the choice today to run with purpose in EACH step…and you WILL finish strong!
Heavenly Father, give me strength to finish strong. Keep my eyes on the FINISH of projects, not just the start. Let the Glory go to you for projects and assignments. Help me to see that You are with me at ALL stages! And help me to live each day with purpose and to finish strong! In the name of Jesus, Amen!