Desires of Our Hearts

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

I love that God truly does give us the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him. I have seen two very clear examples of Him granting me the desires of my heart in these past couple of months. 

A while back the City of Corona informed us that that we would be allowed to have concerts on a limited basis on our campus. When I heard this, I remember praising God and dreaming of having great artists here. The first name that came to my mind was Jeremy Camp.  I told the Lord that I would love to have Jeremy Camp here with us. Then, two weeks ago we received a call asking if Jeremy Camp could use our venue for a concert! As we inquired further, we found out it would be a free concert for the release of his brand new CD!   Then it got even better: Not only was he going to put on a concert and have a release party, but Jeremy Camp asked to have a time of personal sharing with us where he would answer questions.   How cool is that?!

My other heart’s desire that God granted me came in the form of Tim Roberts. Two months ago we made the decision to hire a Pastor to lead our Worship Arts area. I asked the Lord to guide us to the right person for this position.   As I prayed and dreamed for our Worship Department, I kept thinking that we needed someone like Tim Roberts.  Tim is a man with a sincere faith in God who lives out a true Passion for Christ, the Cause, and the Community.  He has an amazing wife and son and a great marriage.   My plan was to take six months looking for someone like Tim Roberts.  God’s plan was different. Two weeks later we didn’t hire someone like Tim Roberts, we hired Tim Roberts himself to be our Pastor of Worship. 

On November 23rd, Tim will be leading worship in the 9:00 and 11:00 services and on November 25th, Jeremy Camp will be in concert in our Worship Center.   I already know that as Tim leads us to the Throne of God and Jeremy shares his heart, I will be praising my God, my Father, My Dad who truly gives us the desires of our hearts.

What are some of your hearts desires?  What is He about to give you?


I Am Amazing

I just spent one whole week finding out that in the eyes of my 2 ½ year old twin grand daughters, I am amazing.   

To Myra, I am a modern day Da Vinci.   She asked me to draw pictures of pirates on napkins and when I was done, she carried the napkin with her everywhere.   She hugged it to her face leaving smudge marks on her cheeks. But, there was no taking my valuable artwork away from her.  It was her treasure.

To both of the girls, I am very talented singer.  They repeatedly asked for me to sing to them.  The most requested songs were from the Sound of Music.  Surprisingly I knew most of the words to “Doe a Deer,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and “What Do You Do with a Girl like Maria.” They were captivated by my voice. When I sang “Jesus Loves Me” they sat in rapturous silence and when the song came to an end, they begged me for an encore. click here to hear Chuck sing

To Caroline, my kisses are magical and contain healing powers. When she hit her head hard on the corner of the table she melted my heart by calling out “Papa” with tear-filled eyes.  She ran to me and as I scooped her up into my arms, I kissed her little head.  The crying stopped immediately and she told me that it did not hurt any more.   I still can feel how incredible I felt holding her and her hugging me.

I would never call myself an artist, a singer, or a healer but to my grand daughters, I am all of these things and more. What a gift it was (not to mention the boost to my ego) to see myself through those little girls’ eyes.


Cast Iron

Well, since I have been “outed” in regards to my obsessive love of cookware, I thought I would put my obsession to good use by using cookware to illustrate some life lessons!

I am not embarrassed by my love of cooking and cookware.  Many of the world’s top chef’s are men.  And, when you cook, you get to play with really cool sharp knives (so sharp you can cut off the tip of your thumb in a moment).

My problem lies in the fact that I go “all out” when it comes to cookware.   I want the best and most expensive items. After much prayer and negotiating with Pam, I was able to get the La Crusset pans which are the best. However, despite the high cost and beauty of my La Crusset pans, my one true love is my cast iron skillet…well actually my three true loves. I love them so much that I have three of them! Cast Iron is awesome because it can take intense heat and cooks food evenly but, like I told Taleah, you have to take proper care of it and know its  strengths for you to be able to get the best use out of it.

 Pre heat

You must pre heat the pan before cooking.   If you do not, the food will not cook evenly and the pan will be harder to clean.   Believe it or not, this is one of those things that are tough to do because it takes patience and we usually want to cook our food “right now” instead of waiting 5 minutes for the pan to heat up.  

In life, we know that God uses trials to make us better and prepare us for great things.  While God uses trials to pre heat us; we usually want out right away.  Yet, when we let Him heat us up a little from time to time, we are better because of it.   See James 1 and Romans 5.

Cooks evenly and with each cooking the taste gets better and better.

When handled correctly, the Cast Iron cooks food very evenly.  One of the interesting aspects of this piece of cookware is that with each use, the food actually tastes better.   The pores in the pan retain flavor and while it does not taint the flavor of the dish you are making, it somehow adds to it.

In life, when we go through each trial correctly, we take on Christ- likeness.   That means that in each subsequent situation, we flavor the situation with the love, peace and strength of Christ.  We get better and better.   See 1 Peter 1:3-9   2 Cor. 2:14-16. 

Easy to clean if done right; Do not use soap.

This is the other place that people struggle with Cast Iron.  You are never supposed use soap on it.   Soap will get into the pores of the pan and will transfer a soapy taste to your food.  Also, if you use soap to clean it, it actually becomes harder to clean.   To clean the pan you use hot water, a brush, and every now and then a scraper.

Lesson for life: If we use man made methods (soap), instead of God ordained ways to seek cleaning and health, it will actually taint us.   God has ordained that it is only by the blood of Christ that we obtain cleansing and freedom.  He wants to not only make us better, but new.   He wants to purify us that we might be new creation progressing in Christ likeness.  For this to happen,  we must trust Him and His ways.  We must not add in man made (or man invented) ways of dealing with hurt, pain, forgiveness or life decisions.   See 2 Cor. 5:14-19 and Isaiah 55:8-13.

 Anointing needed

After cleaning the pan with hot water, you must dry it thoroughly.  This is done by drying it with a cloth and then putting the pan in the oven.  Set the temperature to 300 degrees and let the oven preheat with the pan in it.   When the preheating is done, turn off the oven and let the pan stay in there for 10 minutes.   Then take it out and with great care (because it is hot), anoint the inside of the pan with a little vegetable oil.   When spread evenly, the oil goes into the pores and keeps the pan from rusting and food from sticking the next time it is used.

Lesson for life:  The oil reminds me of the Holy Spirit.   We all need to be filled over and over again with the Holy Spirit.   In the Bible, oil is symbolic of the Spirit in and upon us.   In Zech. 4, we are told it is not by might but by the Spirit.   Then we see the symbol of the oil being continually being poured into the lamp stand.   It is not by our might, but by the empowering of the Spirit that we go through life.   See Eph. 5:18-21.

 

Spiritual lessons

  • We work best and are best because of the heat of trials
  • With each trial if handled correctly, our lives are flavored with the

Lord and His grace

  • We need to let God cleanse us His way
  • We need to be anointed afterward

 

Do I think about this when cooking? Yes, I really do.  I pray and think about how cooking and cookware apply to life.    I think this, in part, is what Paul was getting at when he said …..

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB95) Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.


Pam Booher is My Hero

A couple of Mondays ago, I was getting ready for the day and noticed Pam roll out of bed much slower than usual.  I could tell she was on the verge of tears.  Her head was pounding with an intense migraine and was making her sick to her stomach.   I tried to comfort her but she was in so much pain she couldn’t be touched. Despite her head feeling like it was about to burst, Pam proceeded to get ready for her Mom2 Mom meeting that morning. She picked up Taleah and Maia (our adopted Granddaughter) and headed for her Mom 2 Mom meeting where she serves as a mentor mom.

During the meeting, the headache became more and more painful. To make matters worse, the craft that the ladies were working on that day involved hammering!  Then, in the midst of the meeting, Pam saw that Peyton (Tony and Breanne’s daughter) was crying and Breanne was not able to enjoy the craft time or the fellowship because she had to tend to her daughter.  My wife knew Breanne had been sleep-deprived because of Peyton’s colic and that she had been enduring Peyton’s non-stop crying for weeks. Immediately, she went over and took Peyton from Breanne and attempted to comfort her so that Breanne could get back to her craft and receive a much-needed break for her crying baby.  Imagine holding a crying baby next to your ear when you have a pounding headache.   Add to that the sound of the hammering.  However, the only thing that mattered to Pam was comforting Peyton.

After Mom 2 Mom, Pam walked into my office with Maia.  She knew that I love seeing Maia and did not want to leave until I spent a few moments with her. “Isn’t she cute?” she said. Right away, I noticed Pam’s swollen eyes and could tell that she was in immense pain. As she stood there holding Maia, I admired her strength and beauty. I thought, Oh yes, she is cute, loving, caring, and incredibly strong. My beautiful wife Pam Booher is all those things and more. She is my hero and I am so blessed that I get to be married to her.


Passionate About Cookware?

I am going to let you in on a little known secret about Pastor Chuck Booher…he has an obsession with cookware. Yup, that’s right, the pastor of Crossroads Christian Church knows everything there is to know about pots, pans, appliances, and gadgets people use to cook. Most men get excited to talk about cars, sports, or motorcycles, but Pastor Chuck gets excited to talk cookware. It’s quite funny if you ask me…

  A few weeks ago, Chuck was telling me about that Frank’s Wing Sauce that he loves so much (refer to previous blogs). As he was telling me how to make the chicken tenders myself, he mentioned that I would need to use my cast iron pan. I stopped him and let him know that I did not own a cast iron pan. He gasped. Apparently it is sacrilege not to own a cast iron pan. He proceeded to tell me that I must get one right away and that the new Emeril Lagasse Cookware line had one of the best cast iron pans out there and they could be found at my local appliance store. I said that I would go out and get one because it seemed like if I didn’t say that, he would be disappointed in my lack of love for the cast iron pan.

   I must have not gone out quick enough. Two days later Chuck and Pam let me know that they had bought me the Emeril Lagasse cast iron pan along with a scraper (a special tool with which to clean the pan). When I picked up my pan, Chuck made sure to give me all instructions. It was as if he was handing me his own child, “Now make sure you do NOT use soap to clean it. It will get into the pores of the pan and ruin the flavor of your food. You will need to get a brush that you only use to clean that pan. Don’t use the brush to clean anything else. Make sure you season it with vegetable oil before you use it for the first time. And after you use it and wash it with NO soap and the special brush, put it in the oven on the preheat setting so that it dries properly. Make sure you store it in a cool dry place. You’re going to love it!” At this point, I was thinking that I was not going to love it because I was too scared to own it. It seemed to me that only a very responsible person with no children or pets to care for could own such a special piece of cookware. Later that day he sent me an email to let me know that there were cleaning instructions on the packaging of the pan and a website that I could visit. He wanted to make sure that I had not thrown the packaging away before reading the cleaning instructions.   

            When I finally gathered the courage a few weeks later to use my pan for the first time, I was very careful to follow all instructions given to me by the cookware guru, Pastor Chuck Booher. I must say I was a little paranoid that I would not do things the right way. The next time I saw Chuck, he asked if I had used my cast iron pan. I hesitantly said yes and then the questions began to fly. “Did you season it first? Did you get a special brush? Did you use soap? Did you put it in the oven after cooking with it?” Oh no! I forgot to put it in the oven. Did I dare tell him? I couldn’t lie to a pastor! Reluctantly I let him know that I did not put it in the oven to dry properly but I assured him I would the next time. I have never met anyone so passionate about cookware in my entire life.

  There you have it people; a little known fact about your pastor.

Witten by,

Taleah Murray

Chuck’s Assistant


Books That Rock

I was in a very unique bookstore recently.  It is one that specializes in literature for atheists, agnostics, and people of very extreme liberal political views.  As I looked through their materials, I could not help but wince because of the darkness I felt and the way it made my spirit grieved.   I looked over at the girl behind the counter and the customers who were obviously regulars and I wanted desperately to tell them how much God loves and cares about them.  

Then a book caught my eye on a shelf labeled staff recommendations: The Reason for God by Tim Keller.   It was in the very center and prominently displayed.   I love this book.   As I stood there, I felt like I was joined by a friend.  While I did not get a chance to share Christ with anyone, I left with hope.  I prayed that The Reason for God would shine out as a light and make a difference in the midst of the darkness of that bookstore.  I prayed that the discussions it sparked would draw people to the truth.  

The other Books that I wish were there are Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter Kreeft and Fear and Trembling by Soren  Kierkegaard


The Redwoods

Pam and I just got back from Big Sur for a visit with Pam’s father.  On our way up there, we expected to find ashes and burned down remnants of trees. With the fires that ravaged thousands of acres, destroyed homes, and caused thousands to be evacuated earlier this year there was not much hope of beautiful scenery. Instead, what we saw once we arrived was beautiful and breathtaking. In the midst of the charred mountains standing majestically strong and tall were huge Redwood trees. Their beauty radiated among the black ashes that surrounded them. They seemed to say, “The fires could not hurt me.” However, there were some Redwood trees that were damaged. These were the ones whose bark had been removed for the purpose of tanning leather. When their bark was removed, their God-given protection was not there to save them when the inferno came. 

In Proverbs, there are “30 Sayings of the Wise” (found in 22:17-24:22).   In my quiet time as I reflected on the scenery that I beheld, I was drawn to the 24th Saying in Proverbs 24:10: If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited.  It tells us that in the day of distress, when the fire encroaches into our lives, our true strength will be revealed.  Prov. 24:5 says that the wise are strong.   Just like with the Redwood tress, the fires and stresses of life tell us how strong we really are.  

I am currently going through a stressful time and the pressure has been building for a couple of weeks.   The last thing I wanted to do was leave everything going on here and head off to the Redwoods.  Yet, during the time with Pam and her father and in the presence of the beautiful Redwoods is where the voice of God called me back to Him and offered me the strength only He can give. 

Psalms 121:1-3 1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.


Secrets of a Truly Happy Life – 1

I have come to realize that one of the true secrets of a truly happy life is Low expectations. I really think that this is a gift that the Lord has given me. I know it sounds funny, but it’s true. 

Recently, I was talking with some people about a TV show that I enjoyed.  However, they did not enjoy the show nearly as much as I did.   As the conversation went on, I realized that the reason they disliked the show was because they expected far more out of the show than I did and it fell short of their expectations. I just turned on the show and enjoyed it.

Two days later we were at a particular restaurant where there were mixed reviews amongst the crowd I was with about the food and service. I went in to the restaurant knowing this would not be Morten’s or Flemings (my two favorite restaurants) therefore I should not expect excellent service and $100.00 a plate quality food.  My natural expectation was to get the food and service that we were paying for and the restaurant far exceeded my expectations especially since one of my friends picked up the bill!

Another example of this comes from a performance that I went to. I left this particular performance amazed at the talent and the show over all.  As my friends and I talked about our thoughts on the performance, someone brought up that at one point one of the performers did not hit the correct note.  Everyone noticed but me.  It even made some of them wince.  Being that I am a little tone deaf, all I heard was an amazing song and an amazing performance. Were my friends wrong about the note and that song? No.  But the cool thing for me is that I did not notice. 

This secret really works well in dealing with people.  Overall, I have found that people far surpass my expectations.  It is not that I am negative about them.  It is not that I encounter them with low expectations. I just know that we are all human.  I know that we all have our own struggles and weaknesses.   I know that no one is able to always perform at extreme levels of excellence.  When someone comes up short, I am okay because I know that very often I come up short.   When people rise up and exceed my expectations… I truly see the image of God in them. 

You may ask, is this Biblical?  I really think so.  Paul talked about learning to be content in all things: Philippians 4:11-13 (NASB95) 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Jesus talked of being careful not to focus too much on the speck in the other person’s eye: Matthew 7:3-5 (NASB95) 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

So, what about striving for excellence?  Well, the life of wisdom and understanding is one of balance.  While we strive for excellence, we also must have a balance.


KINDLE

I had been hearing about this new gadget that could be an incredible tool for my ministry and wanted to get my hands on one badly.  I tried to order one but they were back ordered, and then sold out.  After a few weeks of desperate searching and trying, my order went through.  I could have opted for free shipping, but Fed Ex meant no more delay and the cost was more than worth it.  The next day, my KINDLE, arrived on my doorstep. 

For those of you who do not know what KINDLE is, it is an Electronic Reader from Amazon and is the size of a paper back book.  The screen looks like a normal book and has electronic ink (no backlighting because that tires out your eyes).   You can order books, newspapers, and magazines wirelessly or on the Amazon website and they are delivered immediately. That is only the beginning! The font sized can be changed which means I do not have to wear my glasses to read.  KINDLE allows me to highlight sections then stores them in a special file and within the book.  This way they are easier to find and refer to.  The “highlighted notes are also on their website so my notes can be retrieved at any time from any computer.

Owning a KINDLE gives you access to their research assistants to whom you can ask any question you like.  You get three responses to each question from 3 different sources.   The answers come in around 30 minutes or less.  I found out  ….

–When is the running of the Wildebeests?  Now

–What is the Theory of Everything? “A putative theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena.”

–What  is USC’s Football Schedule?  It gave me a schedule of all the games

–What are the odds of drawing 4 aces in the first hand dealt to you?  I shared this in last week’s sermon.

On KINDLE, I carry a Library of books (of course led by the Bible in New American Standard Version). I can read anywhere and pretty much anything that I want to. Since getting my KINDLE on August 2nd, I have read 11 books! The first was Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  It is an amazing book that makes a clear call for us to live our lives with all out commitment to the Lord.  The second was Prayer, by Richard Foster.   I loved this book (although as with any book there are things I would disagree with).  It digs into the different ways we can practice prayer and deepen our connection with God. 

You may be thinking why are you going on and on about this new gadget.   I often wonder the same thing. I listened to a Sermon by Andy Stanley who I love listening to.   He also just got a KINDLE.  Andy shared that usually when he gets on a plane to travel, he goes into isolation mode.  He knows that other Pastors and Christians seek to use the opportunity to share about the love of Christ, but he just does not do that.  Then a couple of weeks ago, he boarded a flight and once they had reached the altitude where portable devices are allowed,  he pulled out his KINDLE and started raving to the passenger seated next to him about it. He was not sure what that meant. I am not sure what that meant either. Maybe it means that KINDLE makes pastors more talkative than we already are!!!


2,190

Pam and I love the Buffalo Style Chicken Tenders at Claim Jumper.  During our meal there the other night, I asked the server if she could tell me what kind of sauce they use to make the chicken.  I expected a secret recipe but to my surprise the answer was “Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce.”  That same week, Pam and I went out, bought the sauce, and made our own buffalo chicken tenders.  When we ran out of chicken, Pam started dipping carrots, broccoli, and other vegetables in it. Then, she licked the bowl to make sure she did not let any of that scrumptious sauce go to waste.  The more she ate, the more she wanted. She just couldn’t get enough because it was that good.

God’s Word is my Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce. I just cannot get enough of spending time with the Lord. On August the 26th, I completed my 2,190 straight days of consistently meeting with the Lord for at least one hour a day. I have not missed one day in the past 6 years. Adding all those hours together means that a little over 91 days of my life over the past 6 years have been dedicated to reading through the Old Testament 4 times and the New Testament 8 times.   In doing so, I have found Psalms 119:103 (NASB95)How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” to be true.   My desire for the Word of God has increased with each time of feasting.  The more I delve into it, the more I crave it.  Job understood this feeling: Job 23:12 (NASB95) “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

 I do truly love every minute that I spend with the Lord. I wake up looking forward to spending quality time alone with Him. Each day (almost always in the morning), I grab a cup of coffee, my Bible, and my journal and I sit in solitude with Him.  The time I spend with Him is wonderful and before I know it, the hour is up. The time flies and I am left wanting more. Isaiah 50:4 tells us that Jesus practiced something similar to this: “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.”

This practice has made a huge difference in my life. I have attained intimacy with my Lord. Prov 3:32 “He is intimate with the upright.” The word “Intimate” means to share secrets. According to my journal God shared one of these secrets with me on July 1st.  I was in Psalm 95 and verse 8 was used by the Lord as a sword that cut deep within to the depths of my being. Psalms 95:8 (NASB95) Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness. As I studied this and talked with the Lord, I found that Psalm 95 was referring back to Exodus 17:2-7.  The difference and the lesson hit me hard.  In Psalms and in Exodus the words have different meanings.  In Psalms Meribah = strife; while in Exodus it = test.   Massah in Psalms = temptation while in Exodus it = quarrel.  I could not write in my journal fast enough …

Where is our Meribah and Massah?  The danger is that we can find our hearts going hard.  We lose the ability to love with the depth that we should.  We become callous and less than who and what God intended for us to be. 

Our place can be when we are disappointed.  We don’t like our circumstances.  We do not realize it is a time and place of testing.  We turn from praise to complaining.  

Right then the Lord showed me how I was demonizing those who I felt at odds with; how my heart was growing cold, because in my mind,  I was at strife with certain people (of course I was keeping it in and not talking with them).  My thoughts were mean spirited.  I was in Meribah. 

I prayed and confessed and the Spirit moved.  The Rivers of Living Water flowed.  My wilderness became a place of beauty and my heart was filled with praise.  Love, genuine love for those that I felt hurt and disappointed by poured forth, giving birth to joy. 

It should be no surprise that after God dealt with me, I encountered those I had been demonizing in my mind.  As I did, I whispered to the Lord a huge thank you and He took over and righted the situation.

The best part of feasting on the Word instead of the buffalo wing sauce is that as the craving increases and I keep eating, I fatten my soul, but I don’t gain a pound!


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