Monday, November 24, 2008


My friend, Song, posted several weeks ago song lyrics on her page that moved her.
My wife, Lora, posted song lyrics just a couple of days ago that expresses her.

So I thought I'd post lyrics to one of my favorite songs--mainly because looking back over the last couple of years of my life it has become the theme song of my journey. I have struggled to say properly how to do ministry, life, things in countless talks and conversations. I've always been quick to point out how not to do something, while not so quick to point out my support to the person. I feel the last couple of years of my life were just on big debate.
A nuisance. A heartache. A misunderstanding.

So here we are in this same old spot
Knowing something needs to happen but our mouths are locked
Tongue tied closed tight sealed shut...yup,
I tried hard but it just wouldn’t come up
It’s on the tip of my tongue it’s in the front of my mind
Yet the words were still so hard to find
Finally the reality of things to come pushed me to the edge
I jumped off the cliff into the abyss as I said

I’m not trying to be a nuisance, I just think we can do better than this
that was simply my two cents, you can.... you can, take it or leave it

The conversation lingered on and on and
Before I knew it night had turned to dawn and
Were we searching for the truth in all of it
Or are we debating just to win the argument
Cuz none of us want to hear about where we go wrong
This song could easily be from me to you or me to (Vince)
Cuz I have the potential to be the guiltiest
My greatest strength is also my strongest weakness

Let’s think about this path that we’re taking
Let’s think about this future we’re creating
Let’s think about this life that is fading
Think about it, come on think about it now
Let’s think about this time that we’re spending
Investing in monetary things that are ending
Let’s think about it and let’s think together
And let’s think about what we can do to make it better.....

I’m not trying to be a nuisance, I just think we can do better than this
that was simply my two cents, you can..... you can, take it or leave it.

(Artist: John Reuben, Album: The Boy VS The Cynic, Song: Nuisance)

Friday, November 21, 2008


What did you think of when you read the title?
The T.V. show?
Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant's hit song of the 80's?
Or that person in your life who sticks closer than a brother?

One of the many things I'm thankful for this holiday season.
The Bible talks much about the subject of friendship, so it seems this would be an area of life to spend some time making sure some extra attention is given.

While I don't want to blog about the issues of what to look for in a friend or what not to look for in a friend, I would like to share something that I have discovered to help in knowing what to expect from a friend and how to make the journey of friendship less bumpy. I want to show you three people from the Bible that can give us some insight on the subject of friends.

I believe that healthy friendships will consist of a mixture of these three types of relationships.
"The Paul."
"The Barnabas."
and "The Timothy."

The Paul is someone who has "been there and done that" and had some success in it. Usually this person is older than you, but not always. The Paul is someone you greatly respect and allow them to speak truthfully and honestly into your life. The Paul is just ahead of the race, leading the way.

The Barnabas is an encourager. The very name means exactly that: one who encourages. Life brings disappointments. Do you have someone who inspires you with courage? Someone who spurs your spirit and builds your confidence? I dare to say most friendships we have typically fit into this category, but it's important to make sure you have the Paul's and the Timothy's.
The Barnabas is in the race right beside you.

The Timothy. Think of what I wrote concerning The Paul.....are you that to someone? The Timothy is usually the person younger than you (but not always) where you have the ability to ask them hard questions. Where you can speak into their lives. The Timothy is running the race and he's following your lead.

I count my life truly blessed to have many friends that fit these various characteristics. Anything outside these are nice acquaintances. Enjoyable, nice but typically just surface relationships.

If you have some friends that fit into these characteristics, take this simple Holiday Friend Challenge:
Write a card or letter (facebook, IM, text, email doesn't count) and tell them why you're so thankful for having them in your life.

John 15:14 (The Message Bible) I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Break Free Recap

Last weekend I had the honor and privilege of speaking to First Assembly of God youth ministry, Elevate, at their fall retreat in Pickwick, TN.

This was such an awesome time with some quality teens whom I really enjoyed getting to spend the weekend with. I found it so easy to talk to them---mainly because of their open attitude towards this stranger. It was just so nice to be around teens who truly seem to enjoy being around an old guy like me (yes, I know I'm not really old, but to some teens 32 is old) who they have no relationship with.

I've been really thinking about this trip and asking God if I'm really done with youth ministry. Honestly, I've felt like my youth pastoring days were behind me, and maybe they are....maybe.

I thought I'd share just a few thoughts from the message I spoke. Again this is just a taste of the over-an-hour message I delievered Saturday night. It was an awesome night, truly God showed up and many teens lives were touched.

Break Free.

Life has a way of shuffling us all down the same path and moving us into the same pattern.

Patterns have a way of making us fit into a standard that God rather not have us conform to.

Romans 12:1-2 says, "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

Tucked in this scripture is the basic understanding that the "outcome" of our lives is produced by the "choices" we make, which are driven by the "beliefs" we trust.

Many times we don't like the outcome of our life so we think if we make a different choice then that will make us happy. Rarely do we go back to the foundation of what we think and "renovate" what we believe.

This type of pattern is what causes frustration in our lives. Whether it's an addiction, bad habit, relationship, job or church....breaking free from the issue at hand starts with an inside adjustment. It's true what is said, "wherever you go, there you are." Many times it's not the outside circumstances that need to be tweaked, it's the inside condition our hearts.

Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Then Paul unlocks the key to being able to handle the outcomes of life, in verse 13, "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

Breaking free happens when you spend time in building a relationship with Jesus, you transform your thoughts to think like Jesus and you renovate your beliefs to line up with God's beliefs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shameless Plug

I just got word from one of the contest that I'm in that I'm inches away from being a finalist.
If you are able to vote today (Nov. 17) and tomorrow (Nov. 18) before midnight I would be so grateful.
(you'll need a youtube's easy and free to set one up)

Simply go to
Type LEADRUNNER in the search tab on their page
Click the "Thumbs Up" icon

That's it. Thank you so much for your support.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Life, The Root and Total Forgiveness

I've recently found a new TV favorite.
When I say favorite I mean, just knocked out the first season and got caught up on season two in three days. This show has quickly found a little home in my...well, in my life.


The show is about a detective named, Charlie Crews, who served twelve years of a life sentence for a triple homicide he did not commit. During that time, Charlie lost everything he had - his wife, his friends, and his fellow cops. Detective Crews, returns to the force, he brings his prison knowledge with him. He now knows the law from both sides, as cop and con. He also understands that his version of Zen applies to being a cop. Charlie believes everything is connected - victims, bystanders, witnesses, even his new partner, Dani Reese, who has a wall at which Charlie insists on picking away, not only out of curiosity, but also because it's fun. Regardless, she is his partner, and Charlie will back her up one hundred percent. But the badge and the new found wealth (somewhere around fifty million dollars) can't change what Charlie has been through. His world is a different one than the rest of us see, because his world lacks social pretense. And although there is darkness in Charlie's story, darkness in Charlie's job, Charlie will never stop trying to find the light.

Finding the light.

I've been slowly digesting a book, Total Forgiveness by R.T.Kendall. I say slowly because when you've been wronged and hurt, reading a book like this is much like picking at a scab that is trying to heal. But as I was reading the other day, I came across something that wants to take root in my life, in all of our lives, when we've been wronged.


In the show Life there are plenty of people who still don't trust Charlie Crews and think he's out for revenge. The fact that he has somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty million dollars makes it all that much more suspicious.
In one of the shows he's asked by the chief, "why are you here? Why don't you just take your settlement money and go somewhere away from all of this?"
Crews responds, "Because I'm a good cop. Don't you need good cops?"

It's been quite amazing to see this detective have all the opportunities to take vengeance, but time and time again he does what's right. He really is a good cop.
Bitterness seems to have no root in his life.

Bitterness will manifest itself in many ways----losing your temper, high blood pressure, irritability, sleeplessness, obsession with getting even, depression, isolation, a constant negative perspective and generally feeling unwell.
The absence of bitterness allows the Holy Spirit to be Himself in us. This means that I will become like Jesus when I allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in me instead of acting like I want to when I've been hurt.
I can honestly say after months of working through the issue, I've been able to let go of the situation and forgive. The root of bitterness has shriveled up.
Bitterness is gone when there is no desire to get even or punish the ones who did us wrong.

Life in prison is what bitterness sentences us to when we don't forgive.
Life is what we get back when we don't allow bitterness to take root in us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't Cut Off Ears

The election is over and the results are in.
I've been very outspoken concerning who I was voting for and why. Like so many out there, my pick for President did not win. With that in mind, I'd like to share some thoughts in regards to how to respond.
One of the great things about America is the freedom of speech. It's why I can write this today. But just because we can say things, doesn't mean we always should.

I want to point to two stories from the Bible that were so fresh in my mind this morning as I was reflecting on how we as Christians should respond. They deal with the subject of the church.

King David had a desire to build God a house. However, God would not allow him to do so. In fact, the only thing that David was allowed to do was draw up the plans and to start stockpiling the materials. This "man after God's own heart" was not allowed to build God a house. Why? God explains to David that he was a man of war, and that he did not want hands that shed blood to build Him a place to dwell.
I know that as follower of Christ I can sometimes be militant in my efforts to do good. Much like a lot of Christians.

Now flash forward to the scene where Jesus is in the Garden with his disciples. (Matt. 26:40-53)

Jesus is about to go to the cross and he takes with him some disciples, one of which he had recently renamed Peter. Peter, the man he called "rock."
He asks them to stay with him and pray, but they fall asleep.
Judas and the soldiers come.
A kiss of betrayal.
Peter cuts off the ear of a solder.
Christ puts back the ear and heals the guard.
Look at the symbolism here.

The church was sleeping when it should have been praying, and when things didn't turn out the way they thought, it takes out a sword and cuts off the very thing that is used for hearing.

If we are cutting off ears with our swords (the Word of God in our mouth) then how will the world ever hear about this "loving God?" It's time for us as a church to wake up and start praying. Seeking repentance for what we've done wrong personally, not other people's sins, not even for our nations sins. Scripture says, "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
This is a very personal prayer. The focus is on us, not others. However, others benefit when we are right with God. I've discovered when I "seek God's face" that I end up reflecting His values and ways of thinking. I believe God wants His house to be a house of prayer and His people to be lovers not sword-swingers.

It's time for Christians to honor the king, pray for our nation and put the sword in its sheath.

As for me and my house, we will not speak evil of Obama nor to others about Obama. He is our new President and has our support. (See Daniel 3:1-28 to answer all the "what if" questions)

God have mercy on the Farrell family.
God extend your grace on us as a nation.
Let our love for each other show others we are followers of you.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bigger than Coffee

Did you know when you vote today, Starbucks will give you a free tall cup of coffee?
I saw their promotion for it a few days ago.
It's true, in fact if you haven't seen the promotion, go here and watch it.
Go ahead, I'll wait, it will only take 60 seconds.

Honestly, I'm not a "huge" coffee person. I blame it on my two years in the coffee business where drinking eight cups of coffee a day was the norm.
But something inside of me wanted to go today.
I can't tell you how excited I was to wake up today, go vote, and drive fifty minutes to get my free coffee.

Oh, wait. Fifty minutes to get to the nearest Starbucks?
I could. I want to. I don't mind the drive. Gas...hmmn.
Not going to be able to go.
Depression sets in.
But why?

As I updated my status on Facebook and watched the number of people who went to Starbucks climb, saw the video promotion be passed around, watching the video again for the third time.....I saw it.

I saw what it was that is "bigger than coffee."
I saw what it was inside me that got me all excited.
I saw what it was that caused thousands of people to want to flock together.

Community built around a common goal.

Making community, country and the world a better place. It is that thought that I want to rally behind. It's huge, it takes more than one person to achieve it, it takes a tribe, a group of people who want to make it happen. People are doing it.
Starbucks has always known they don't sell coffee, they create community.
I saw one time in one of their stores a "now hiring" card. The back of it read, "When you work at Starbucks, you can make a difference in someone's day by creating an environment where neighbors and friends can get together and reconnect while enjoying a great coffee experience."

They see themselves as a company that purposes itself to create meaningful environments where people connect with one another.

This excites me because in the church world, I'm a small-group-open-transparent-change-the-world type of guy. This is why small things never stay small. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Big vision attracts. Anything that starts small and has big vision will become big. The key is not throwing stones at 'big." The key is making sure "big" remembers what's its purpose.

Selling coffee or connecting people?
Holy huddle or connecting people to Jesus?
Talking or doing?
It's bigger than coffee.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How does Jesus think?

One of my favorite books is Think Like Jesus by George Barna.
If you like numbers and surveys, then you definitely want to pick this up.

You may remember some time ago the WWJD (what would Jesus do?) movement came out and hit the ground running. Every Christian I knew had either a shirt or a hat or a bracelet with those four magical letters on them.


Youth pastoring at the time I noticed something unbelievable. Teens would put on the WWJD gear and all the sudden start making really good choices, treating others in love, disciplining each other in the ways of God. "To good to be true," you say.....well ,yes, it was. None of that happened. In fact it was quickly replaced with the "Live Strong" Lance Armstrong movement.

But something did happen.

For a brief moment in time, WWJD did cause (at least the teens I saw) some to stop and pause for a second and sincerely ask, just for a second, what would Jesus do?

Being able to stop and hit pause is very important.

In his book, Think Like Jesus, George Barna points out the differences and similarities between three types of people. They are; The Christian with a Biblical Worldview, The Christian without a Biblical Worldview and The Lost (people who do not profess Jesus as Lord)
By definition, Biblical Worldview simply means looking at the Bible and living by the principles found in it. It's much like the "Benjamin Franklin glasses" in the movie "National Treasure"--you know, look through one series of lenses and see one thing, put another lens on and see something totally different while looking at the same thing.
Now hang with me, don't glaze over....I've got to explain so you know where I'm going.

Each group of people were asked a series of questions that reflected three areas. They were:
1.) Behavior-last 7 days. (things like; volunteer time to help the needy, smoked, viewed porn, prayed for the President)
2.) Religious activity-last 7 days. (things like; read the Bible, participated in a small group meeting, attended a church service, volunteering at church, etc.)
3.) Religious beliefs (things like, while on Earth Jesus didn't sin, the Bible is totally accurate, the Bible condemns homosexuality, the devil is real and not just a symbol of evil, etc)

Without going over every stat, let me give you the gist of the research.
Out of 30 questions between those three categories, Christians without a Biblical Worldview consistently (24 out of 30 questions) sided with the "Lost" person. In other words there was little difference in the way someone who didn't know Jesus as their Lord thought and someone who confessed Jesus as their Lord.

I bring this up because here in just a couple of days we will elect a new President. I've been shocked to find out how many people who are Christians are casting their support for someone who goes against so much of God's Word. I'm not at all questioning their salvation, that's not my point. I'm just sending out these thoughts to hopefully cause all of us to stop and hit pause for a moment.

Stop and hit pause.

What guides your view? TV? Talk radio? Internet? Gas prices? Economic issues? War?
We all have a worldview, a set of lenses that we look through and decide how to act or what to do. "What would Jesus do?" is a nice thought, but it doesn't address the issue of "why" he would do it. "How does Jesus think?" is best found out by looking at things through a Biblical lens.