Saturday, October 31, 2009

Balloon Boy

October 31, 2009

It ticks us off when we get fooled.

It REALLY ticks us off when someone touches our hearts, gets us to pull for them and THEN fools us.

It REALLY, REALLY ticks us off when someone touches our hearts, gets us to pull for them, fools us and THEN we find out they did it for their own selfish intentions.

That’s what ticks us off at the balloon boy’s family. Thousands of people across the country were pulling and praying for this young fellow and his family, thinking he was frightened to his toes and in danger of losing his life. Then we discover that it was all a sham to get publicity and probably money for his parents. “How low can you get?” was a question being asked.

Sad. What must be going on in their hearts to go to all that trouble, risking everything for a moment of fame that would lead to money?

Same thing that goes on in our hearts. Okay, maybe we don’t send up a balloon claiming our kid is soaring into local flight patterns, but how many things do we do to get what we want at the expense of others? There’s a hole in our hearts we try to fill and we’re blind to it. You and I may never get the United States Air Force in our efforts, but it really is the same issue.

What are you doing to fill the hole in your heart?

Try this from Jesus: Gospel of John chapter 10, verse 10. (The Message) 10A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

And check with someone you trust before you launch the balloon.

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just because it's hard or painful doesn’t mean it's bad

October 29, 2009

Our generation has a problem. Well, okay, we’ve got more than one, but a problem that seems to get us into emotional knots is that we have adopted a couple of incorrect life formulae. The first one: pain = bad. The second is not as blatant, yet can be even more detrimental to balanced living is this: hard (as in difficult) = bad. One of the worst parts of that formula is that it lies underneath the surface, unspoken yet driving our lives.

“Wait a minute, Herb,” you might say. “I’m okay with some things being hard.” You’re right. We’re okay with it when we can choose what is hard such as athletics or education. But when we don’t get to choose – relationships, physical heath, financial struggles, (name yours), we default, consciously or unconsciously, to the formula: hard and painful = bad. We want to choose the times when life is and is not hard or painful; we want to be in control. But life (grrrr) somehow doesn’t give us those choices.

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

Part of the problem is that we have defined “good” as easy, comfortable, pleasurable… what we naturally like. What is your gut response to this scripture?
James 1:17 (NIV) 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Here’s my guess: when you read “good and perfect gift” your kneejerk reaction was “a raise, a promotion, a nicer house, a better car, kids’ success, health…” Am I close? I’m betting no one said, “pain, difficult times, hard things.” Am I right?

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

This week we’ve seen that one of the loving processes of Jesus is to disorient us to reorient us to truth (thanks Mark Batterson for that phrase!). Disorientation, without exception, means some kind of pain – emotional, physical, social, financial, circumstantial or otherwise. It also means it is hard.

Since God gives good and perfect gifts AND He sends us through painful and hard things, the conclusion we have to draw is that pain and hard times are sometimes His gift for our ultimate, greater good even though they cause temporary angst.

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

Have you noticed that a child who is exhausted, in desperate need of sleep, will often fight to stay awake? She cries, fusses, fights being held or rocked while we adults shake our head in wonder. “Man, I’d like to take a nap!” we muse. Why doesn’t she give in to this wonderful gift of rest? Because she doesn’t realize by trusting the “big people” to go where she doesn’t want to go and do what she doesn’t want to do she can experience something very good. Much better than how she is feeling now.

We are often like that child when we pain or hard things come. We fight against the very thing we need most, pushing against or pulling away, thinking it is bad. We don’t realize that by trusting the “big Person” to go through what we don’t want we can experience something so much better. We must give in to the journey that Jesus has us on even when it feels bad, TRUSTING Him in the middle of the pain and hard things.

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

I have a hunch (no Biblical proof), that the storm Jesus and his disciples ran into (Gospel of Mark, chapter four) was Satan trying to keep Jesus away from His destination because even the devil could see the indications of all the good Jesus was going to do there. If Jesus had allowed the painful circumstances or the hard things happening to deter or distract, the good on the other side of the storm would have been lost.

Don’t let pain or hard things deter or distract from the good God wants to do in your life. Ride out the waves, endure the high winds, trust the One Who controls it all because…

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


October 28, 2009

I love the scene in the movie “Evan Almighty” when Evan’s wife, Joan, and kids are sitting in a restaurant distraught and disoriented after leaving Evan because they believe he is certifiably crazy. The kids go to the bathroom and “God” (looking an awful lot like Morgan Freeman) shows up asking Joan what is wrong. God shocks her by observing that her crisis looks like an opportunity to him. As Joan sits stunned, he continues to ask how she thinks God answers prayer.

"If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage or does He give them the opportunity to be courageous? If someone prayed for their family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings? Or does He give them opportunities to love each other?"
— Morgan Freeman in Evan Almighty

I’ve noticed that is EXACTLY what God does.

PROCESS. Disorientation to Reorientation. From where we are to where God wants us to be. Painful and thrilling. Frustrating and fulfilling.

When God wants to do something in our lives He takes us through a process rather than zap us. He starts with circumstances that are opposite of what we want, seemingly ignoring or abandoning us. Though we feel that way, it is NOT TRUE! In those moments God is closer than we can imagine, rooting us on to exercise our spiritual muscles to seize the opportunity to experience what we really want. Those feelings are intended to disorient us so that we are open to His reorientation.

Joan Baxter, Evan’s wife, was floored by this truth. Then she pulled herself together and went back to seize the opportunity God presented to experience what she prayed for. (Okay, it is a movie but is exactly what God does!). God is doing the same thing in YOUR LIFE. What will you do?

What are you praying for? What are the opportunities to experience it that God is offering that look like crises? I challenge you to get up and seize the opportunity TODAY!

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


October 27, 2009


Storms are those times when the waves crash over us and the winds threaten to blow us overboard, never to be seen or heard from again.

They come in lots of forms, but one thing is for sure: EVERYBODY has storms! Financial storms. Relational storms. Physical health storms. Emotional storms. Sometimes they are predictable, but more often than not they catch us by surprise.

We tend to think of storms as bad. And they are painful, no question. But it is in the storm that we see what is bigger… what is most powerful. Or should I say “Who” is.

When Jesus sent his disciples into the storm (Mark 4), He was deliberately sending them into a situation that would challenge their previous understanding of power. He slept while his followers struggled to row toward shore, all the while hanging on for dear life in the teeth of a monsoon. Finally, they shook Him awake, scolding Him for not caring about them. He calmed the storm and asked them why they still had no belief in Him. Their response? They were terrified that their leader had such power. They were so disoriented by the whole deal that they had to think things through in a brand new way.

Mark Batterson contends that Jesus must DISORIENT us so He can REORIENT us. I agree. Jesus must force us through circumstances that get us out of “whack” so that He can align us with what is true. The disciples believed that the devil controlled the sea; Jesus had to show them that He did. The disciples believed the storm was going to kill them; Jesus had to show them nothing could even hurt them unless He allowed it. The disciples believed that Jesus did not care about them; Jesus had to show them He did even IN the middle of the fiercest storm.

Truth is every storm we go through is a gift for future storms. Every time we come through one, having been disoriented enough to be reoriented to Jesus’ truth, we are more capable to handle an even bigger storm. And, believe me, they WILL come. If we never went through storms and discovered that we can survive and thrive, the mildest wind would destroy us.

So let’s not bemoan the storms that come, let’s look for the reorientation that is a gift from Jesus.

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )