Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Where God Guides, He Provides (Part 3)

This is the last in a 3-part series:
  1. A Slippery Excuse
  2. Where God Guides, He Provides (Part 2)
To sum up from parts one and two, sometimes where God guides, He provides immediately with financial resources. Sometimes He doesn’t. But the bottom line is that where He guides He does provide. I hit both sides of that concept in those posts, so now here a few “other ways” that God provides…

Sometimes God Provides :
  • An Idea. In Nehemiah 7:5 , God gives Nehemiah an idea to deal with an issue on the way to fulfilling the vision. I think of Mark Batterson and his prayer for two million dollars to pay for the construction of their coffee shop, Ebenezers. Instead of giving him the money, Mark says that God gave him a "two million dollar" idea, instead. If you were waiting for cash, but God gave you an idea, would you take it?
  • People. The apostle Paul was blessed by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus who made up for the help the Corinthians couldn’t send. [1 Corinthians 16:17-18] Paul also sent Tychicus to the Ephesians. We could go on and on here. Maybe it's people with money. Or maybe it's people who have a better idea. Or maybe it's people who know many people who can help make what God is guiding into a reality.
  • Stuff. Sometimes God just provides food for your stomach, a donkey for the road, or a room in the town. Instead of cash to pay for stuff, He just provides the stuff. For us it was free storage space at the Rec Center that was provided rather than money for a trailer…A much better deal. We've also received things like computers and nursery supplies rather than the money to purchase these things.
  • A Training Ground. The Disciples couldn't cast out a certain demon, even though they were generally doing what Jesus had instructed them to do. [Mark 9:14-29]– The provision was an experience that helped them understand that "this kind can only be cast out by fasting and prayer." Their inability to accomplish the task provided the training ground for dealing with the situation in the future. They needed additional information that was deeply ingrained in them by the experience itself.
  • A Lesson to Learn. Consequences of bad choices do not necessarily disqualify the mission or the “Guiding.” Jonah made mistakes and suffered for them, but the mission remained. He had to learn to go the right way. Moses, after throwing and smashing the tablets that had the 10 commandments inscribed on them by God, then had to go back up the mountain and chisel a new set the hard way.
  • Strength and resourcefulness. Philippians 4:12-14 – Surely no one would doubt that God was guiding Paul even when the money ran out. God provided extra strength and an amazing ability for Paul to do the best he could with what he had.
  • Wisdom. Ecclesiastes 10:10 - Sometimes God provides the "smarts" for making something work without having to buy a new ax to make it happen. "Sharper" is often better than "newer."
  • A call to persistent prayer. Sometimes God simply calls us to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. He intentionally withholds the provision for a time and provides a burden that will not go away until He satisfies it. [Luke 11:5-12] God knows what we need before we ask and He wants us to trust in Him more than His provision.
  • An Invitation to Know Him More Deeply. [2 Thessalonians 3:1-5] He is our goal, more than any task He guides us to perform and more than the things that He gives us to accomplish it. Whenever and wherever God guides, He always provides an opportunity to know Him in a closer and stronger way. The lesser, more "tangible" provision always follows. [Matthew 6:33]

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Cool "Web 2.0" Tool

I meant to add this to the last post, but it was already getting a little long, and the post before that was a mini-book. :)

As we have been tracking the list for our Team 100, we have realized that some of our team members' friends have been a little shy about sending an email to the pastor they have never met. However, they haven't been shy about sending that same email to their friend.

A simple way to for us to keep track of those names without a ton of double emails has been to use the online word processor called writely.

According to their website (and my experience), here's some of what you can do with writely:
·Share documents instantly & collaborate real-time.

Pick exactly who can access your documents.
·Edit your documents from anywhere.

Nothing to download -- your browser is all you need.
·Store your documents securely online.

Offsite storage plus data backup every 10 seconds.
·Easy to use.

Clean, uncluttered screens with a familiar, desktop feel.
Back to me:

It's like a "write board" on steroids.

I've used it in a number of ways so far, and it is very cool.

I uploaded a document from "Microsoft Word" and even added pictures and it worked beautifully. For our Team 100 list, I invited some team members to "collaborate" and now when they have someone to add to the list, they just go to that page in writely and add it themselves. No need for an email. One document in one place. I was working in writely the other day, and noticed that my lovely wife, Leona was there working on the same document at the same time. Pretty fun.

Writely is now a part of Google, so reliability isn't a major concern. You can read about it and follow the blog here:

I kind of like having the world wide web as my "company network" and extra external drive. :)

And yes, it's free.

Yes, you have to have access to the web to access the files, but you can also download them and take them with you if you're planning to go camping with your laptop in the mountains. But that would be kind of sad, anyway, wouldn't it? Oh, the possibilities...

Update: Terry Storch has mentioned a similar online word processing program called ajaxwrite. Haven't seen or used it but it could be another alternative if you're looking for options.
Update 2: D'oh! Apparently, Writely has "closed off new registrations" until they have completed the move to Google. Sorry for the teaser, but I still recommend that you get on the list and try it out. Thanks Terry, for the info.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Team 100 Friday Update: [3/24/06]

We are halfway through the "ENGAGE" series, and interestingly, we are about halfway to our goal of 100 prayer partners.

We are now at 53 people outside of our Church who are praying for us on Team 100.

Actually, we have had a number of responses that added us to a "praying team" of their church, but we only counted them once, unless we were given a list of names. Also, we haven't included spouses in our count unless they are specifically listed in a response. If you are praying for us and your spouse is on board as well, please let me know if you haven't already done so.

So maybe we are already to 100... :)

It's not too late. For those of you who have been faithfully praying for us, could you rustle up one other person around you to pray for us? If each person enlisted one, we would reach our "Team 100" goal today!

Since the last update, we have added people from the following areas:
  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Cedar Hill, Texas
  • Oak Hill, Virginia
  • Gillette, Wyoming
  • Lufkin, Texas
  • Texarkana, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Sapulpa Oklahoma
This "Prayer Team" thing is reciprocal, by the way. We'd love to pray for you as well. Send me an email to let me know how we can pray for you. Let's "unleash the power of prayer" together!

Thank you for praying for us. We have sensed your prayers in many ways as we have gone through this series! Very cool stuff.

God is teaching and growing us in so many ways and I am very excited about this weekend at Compass!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Where God Guides, He Provides (Part 2)

This post is a follow up to this one: "A Slippery Excuse."

Sometimes where God Guides, He actually provides with cold, hard cash. Just out of the blue. Here are two (of many) stories from my own journey where He did that very thing.

Story One:

When Leona and I first moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, it was because we knew that God was leading (or guiding) us to be here. He had guided us to a specific church and He had guided me to attend seminary. This was very clear to us. The provision for this to really work however, was not very evident. We moved anyway.

The "What" and the "Where" were settled in our hearts. It was now just a matter of "How."

Initially, I was paid a very humble part time salary. Leona, who is a teacher, had a hard time getting hired at first because we had moved in the middle of a school year. It was not long after our move before we were pretty much at the end, financially speaking. I had no idea how we were going to pay the rent. It was late, in fact.

We were where God had guided us, doing what God had guided us to do, but the provision was lacking. So we prayed.

Then it happened. Out of the blue.

A gentleman in our church approached me one afternoon and told me that God had impressed upon him and his wife to give us something. He then handed me an envelope. I thanked him for his kindness and generosity and after he left, I opened it, expecting to find cash for lunch or something like that. It stunned me to discover in that envelope ten crisp, new $100 bills. It was more than enough to pay (what seemed like a fortune at the time) our $415 rent, and then some. I was blown away.

Receiving that money caused a flashback . This “out of the blue” financial provision reminded me of another experience that I had had long ago as a teenager. It was the day I really learned to tithe and give with a generous heart, and it was the day my adventure with the “God Who Provides” really began.

Story Two:

I was sitting in a church service out of town and the speaker was talking about tithing and generosity. Up to that point, I had never really tithed or even given anything. I had only brought to church an envelope with a buck that my mom had put in it for me to give. I didn’t have any money of my own, so I never really had anything to give.

But by the time I was sitting in this service, I had recently earned a little cash. I had mowed some lawns and had amassed the great sum of around $40. But I hadn’t given any of it back to God. I hadn’t tithed at all.

During this worship service, I began to sense that God was guiding me to give. I also sensed that for some reason, I needed to give more than ten percent this first time around. So I began a silent “dialogue” with God. It went something like this:

Me: Ok, Lord, I get it. I know I need to give. I know You want me to give …So how much, Lord?

God: Ten dollars.

Me: No, really. I thought You said, “ten dollars.” Really, now. How much, Lord?

God: Ten dollars.

I think I’m just saying this to myself. Maybe I’m trying too hard here. God, please tell me how much You really want me to give.

Ten dollars.

So, You’re saying, “ten dollars.” That really is more than 10 percent, Lord.


Really? Ten dollars? I only have forty. That’s more like 25 percent.


Ten dollars. Ok, Lord. It’s Yours. (Foreshadowing of reality, here…) I don’t have it with me, but it’s on my desk at home. As soon as I get there, I’ll put it in an envelope, and bring it with me to church next Sunday.
This was all a very silent conversation with God. I wasn’t talking out loud, and I didn’t tell anyone what I was praying about. It felt great, though, knowing that I was clearly doing what God was guiding me to do, beyond the “letter of the law” and with generosity.

When the service ended a few moments later, I stood up and saw my sister in law, Debra, walking towards me from across the room. What happened next I will never forget as long as I live.

Debra said, “Johnny, during that last song, I really sensed God guiding me to give you this.”

She then handed me …tendollars.

My mouth slowly dropped open, and just as slowly I sat back down. Only God and I knew about the ten dollars. I had "goose bumps" as I realized that God was very, very close to me in that moment. Very, very real.

Unmistakably, powerfully and with little fanfare, God taught me that whenever He asked me to do anything, He would always provide what I needed to accomplish it. He would even provide what He asks me to give to Him, because He owns it all, anyway. He asked for ten dollars, then He gave me the ten dollars to give Him.

It was not so much a lesson about money and tithing (although that was clear), it was a lesson about trust. God wanted me to know that He is good, and that He is trustworthy. And as I have trusted Him, from that day till now, He has never ceased to be just that.

The Key

Sometimes God provides with cold, hard cash. But it’s not about the cash; it’s about Him. That’s why when God guides me to do something and the money doesn’t appear out of the blue, I still can trust Him.

Just to be clear, let me mention again that sometimes the lack of funds really is an indicator of God’s lack of guiding. God doesn’t provide it because He isn’t in it. Sometimes that is definitely the case. But again, it's not always the case.

This is why it is so vital to have a close, fresh, daily connection with God. To daily draw near to Him. [Hebrews 4:16, James 4:8] It’s the only way to make the distinction. A close connection with Christ helps us to see our circumstances more clearly and helps us to ask the right questions about provision and every thing else as we strive to follow His lead.

I love it when God provides “cash out of the blue.” I believe something like that will happen for Compass Church, very soon, in fact. "Instant" financial provision is incredible and necessary much of the time.

But I also love it when He provides in other ways. I’ll wrap up this "mini series" of posts with some of the other ways that "God provides" for "where He guides."

Monday, March 20, 2006

“Creative Podcasting” Addendum

When I first posted my creative podcasting ideas back in September, I was just thinking through ways that Compass Church could use podcasting to its fullest potential. I was surprised, however, when that post took on a small life all its own.

Here’s some of what’s happened to “the little post that could” since then:
  • It has become the #1 post on my blog, bringing new visitors weekly, even though the original post was made almost 6 months ago.
  • As of today, if you search Google for “creative podcasting” (even without quotation marks) it’s the #2 listing, and #1 is a post about it that links to it.
  • The post is included (along with Blogging Church) in an “internet in parish ministry” article in the online "Vincentian Encyclopedia" (A Catholic wiki devoted to material related to a 17th Century Priest and those who follow his example today. But no, I’m not Catholic, and I don’t know anything about this group.)
  • Since the first post, I’ve added 2 more ideas, bringing the total to 21.
So all of this begs the questions:
  • Have we implemented these ideas, yet? - No. Although we have made a few noble attempts. The guy trying to read his book at Starbucks who kept glaring at us over his glasses while we tried to do a little "live podcast" is still a funny memory. :) Oh, the hilarious, sweet irony.
  • Are we going to? - That’s the plan.
  • When? - Great question. We’re kind of “rolling out” features of Compass Church, right now. :) We’ll be trying each of these ideas at one time or another over the next year.
If that post has inspired you to actually implement any of the ideas, or you have any additional “creative podcasting” ideas, I’d love to hear about it.

How are you using podcasting in your church or ministry? Has anyone added the 2nd podcast?

Creative Podcasting Ideas

One More Podcasting Idea (or so…)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Snap Video Update - Thanks For Praying

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been praying for Leona! Enjoy.

Powered by Castpost

Monday, March 13, 2006

Quick "Snap" Update #2

Ok, we're back from the doctor, and I'm fairly amazed. If you had been in the room with my wife when she experienced the initial pain, I think you would be amazed, as well. Here's what we discovered.

Basically, something in her upper vertebral column has "slipped and jammed." But because of her stenosis of the spine (a degenerative condition) this cannot be repaired by a trip to the chiropractor.

The great news is that the doctor is hoping that within the next 48 hours or so following muscle relaxers and pain killers that it will "pop back" into place on it's own. (Ouch.) This injury apparently is not in the same area of difficulty from earlier this year which is actually a good thing in some ways. It was part of our biggest concerns.

I guess we really won't know for sure for a few more days, but Leona seems to be making great progress today. Much more mobile. She still can't turn her head much to the left or look down without experiencing a lot of pain, but the pain killers should help with that.

Thank you for praying! I fully expected a different result from the doctor, and I believe your prayers have made all of the difference in the world, today!

Oh, and I've decided to not say "surgery" again in this blog unless there is a scheduled date on the calendar.... :)

Quick "Snap" Update

Leona has a Doctor's appointment today at 4:30 p.m. After another MRI or something, we'll know a bit more. Fortunately, she has a lot more mobility, today and is in good spirits. She rocks.

She also laughed at the picture of the broken pencil in the last post and thought it might have been a little over the top. Little did she know that it referred more to me than to her!

Saturday, March 11, 2006


My lovely wife, Leona slipped and fell last week, and apparently weakened something in her neck. Friday night she was just sitting down on the couch and suddenly something snapped and she cried out in pain....

She has basically been immoblized, in pain and wearing a collar brace since then. Tomorrow we go to the doctor to discover what happened and figure out what to do about it. I'm thinking surgery may be unavoidable, now.

Our finances have been tighter than ever, I'm needing to be bi-vocational for a while and there has been considerable stress around the Leckie house this past week. This little incident just topped it off and left us asking, "Man, what else?" (Although I really don't want to know.)

I'm not sure what tomorrow or this week holds for us, but I'm sure glad we have a small army of people praying for us. :)

A few weeks ago when it was icy here, I received a great encouraging email from the cool and blogging trailblazer, Scott Hodge. He was letting me know that he had prayed for us that morning. Little did he know that moments earlier, I had slipped on the ice, landed on my shoulder, and slid down my driveway all the way to the street! My response to Scott while nursing a sore shoulder was, "Imagine what would have happened if you hadn't been praying! :-D

That's kind of the deal, here, also. Thanks for praying. Something in Leona's neck may have "snapped," but as of today, she and I have not. Although I am developing a slight twitch in my right eye...


How can we pray for you?

This post written while praying for daylight and caught between the tension of 1-10 and 11-20.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Team 100 Friday update (3/10/06)

Our growing list of prayer partners on our way to 100 is now at 42. (How Cosmic can you get?)

At this point, we have people who are committed to praying at least 2 times a week for 4 weeks from the following places:
  • Aurora, Colorado
  • Keller, Texas
  • Woodstock, Georgia
  • Richardson, Texas
  • Austin, Texas
  • Hurst, Texas
  • Abiline, Texas
  • Haltom City, Texas
  • Edgewood, Washington
  • Saginaw, Texas
  • Rhome, Texas
  • Watauga, Texas
  • Summerfields, Texas
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Anderson, South Carolina
  • Maryville, Tennessee
  • Azle, Texas
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Chicago, Illinois
Thank you to everyone who has signed on, so far! 3 more weeks to reach our goal of 100 people on our "Team 100." I'm particularly humbled by the senior pastors and fellow bloggers who have enthusiastically joined us in this effort. Pretty amazing.

If you'd like to join us, it's pretty simple. Download the simple prayer guide here, and zip me an email telling me where you're praying from! You can also just leave me a comment, here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Seeking 100 Prayer Partners

Tomorrow we are beginning a new series called, "Engage: Unleashing The Power of Prayer." I began thinking about the possibility of a series on prayer back in November of last year. Many of you may remember my personal request for prayer [here] and the update [here.] I was reminded then of the incredible power of prayer and what a foundational principle it is in the life of every Christ follower. I was also reminded how vital it is for every church.

Over the last month or so, I have been reexamining what is commonly known as the "Lord's Prayer," and have been really "praying through" how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. As I have been adjusting my praying to the form and sequence of Jesus' prayer, it has been rocking my world. Or maybe I should say "He" has been rocking my world. And that of course, is the point.

The bulk of the series will be walking through Jesus' model prayer. There is far more there than immediately meets the eye, and it is very cool stuff. I'm not the same because of it, and my prayer is that Compass will be pointing in the right direction and off to the right start as a result of this series.

Throughout the series we will be creating systems and creatively emphasizing prayer. One of these that I am most excited about is the opportunity to invite 100 people from around the world and country to become a prayer partner with us for the length of the series.

100 people committed to pray specifically 2 times a week for 4 weeks for me, my family, Compass Church and that God would be honored through this series. That's our goal. No need to send money, join our church, like edgy music, be a part of our denomination or anything like that. We just want people who will pray. You can read more about it here, but that really is about all there is to it.

If you'll pray for us this month, drop me an email [] and let me know where you'll be "praying from." You can also just leave a comment here to be a part. I'm keeping a growing list and will post our progress toward 100. I won't list names, just the number and locations.

I am convinced that the essence of real prayer is all about being fully engaged with the God of the universe and adjusting our life to His purposes. I'm ready to ENGAGE, and unleash the power of prayer. Will you join us?

By the way, if you want to see the video "trailer" for the series, check it out here: Engage Trailer It's a big file, [11.5 mb] so a high speed connection would be best. The music is by Flyleaf.