Monday, March 12, 2018

The View From The Top - A Lesson For Leaders

This morning while sitting in my hotel room in South Asia I made a cup of coffee with my AeroPress coffee maker, because if you want good coffee while you travel abroad you carry your own coffee maker. While sipping on my delicious, freshly brewed coffee I opened my Bible to 2 Samuel chapter 11. You know the story. It's the story of King David and his rape of the wife of one of his Mighty Men, the elite fighting force of David's army. This is one of his Special Forces men. A trusted warrior. A man of valor and honor.

David was a man who had fought his battles valiantly and won. He deserved a break. It was time for him to rest. So David sent Joab out to fight for him. Then the Bible records that David got off the couch  and went up to the roof to stretch his legs in the cool of the evening, and that's when things start to go south. David sees a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop. Now before you blame Bathsheba, step outside of your culture and into the culture of David's day.

The other day I was on the roof of a guest house in Kathmandu. As you can see in the picture, rooftops are a useful part of the home. This would have been similar in the time of King David, except for the satellite dishes. The roof is where the women would dry the laundry, but it is the roof where the family would go to bathe as well. The average person did not have servants to heat water and fill a soaking tub. They would take a bucket of water, usually room temperature, to the roof where they could enjoy some privacy. Bathsheba would have gone to the roof to wash the sweat of the days work off while there was still some daylight left.

King David went to his roof to survey all that he had accomplished and because his roof was higher than any other around him he was able to see this beautiful woman pouring water over her body in what we would call a bucket shower or camping shower. The problem wasn't that David saw her bathing, it was that David watched her bathing. It is so very ironic that David stood there in the fading daylight transfixed on that which did not belong to him as the sun was setting on his kingship. He did not see what he was setting in motion. He had let his guard down. He wasn't thinking clearly. He was lost in lust.

You know the rest of the story, but what struck me this morning as I was reading was the unintended consequences of his actions. David think he would get caught in his sin. He thought he was smarter than everyone else. But when Uriah has more integrity than David he decides he has to kill him in order to cover up his sin. But the unintended consequences were that Uriah was not the only one who was killed because of David's sin. Verse 17 of chapter 11 tells us that "some of the people among David's servants fell, and Uriah the Hittite also died." Uriah was not the only one who died because of David's sin. Other men died who were not a part of the story. David did not rape their wives, but he did orphan their children. What a tragedy!

When the prophet Nathan confronted David he told the king these words from the Lord:


2 Samuel 12:7–8 (ESV) Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.

David went to the roof to survey all that he had accomplished but he failed to see it was not his accomplishment, it was what the Lord had given him. And then these words, "I would have given you as much more." David settled for too little. He stole what did not belong to him with his own hand when the Lord was ready to give him so much more.

So here are a few things we can learn from David's mistake as a leader:

  1. Do not surround yourself with "Yes" men. Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth. I have a friend who told me over 30 years ago, "I love you enough to tell you the truth, even if it costs us our relationship." And there have been times that he has, and I love him like a brother.
  2. Never let your guard down. Guard your eyes. Guard your heart. Guard your mind. When you let your guard down the enemy will attack you at your weakest point, and sometimes the weakest point is where you think you are strong but you neglect you protection in that area. Your pride will be your downfall every time.
  3. Don't try to cover your mistakes. Take your lumps and move on. The coverup only makes things worse.
  4. Sin will cost you more than you want to pay. There is no such thing as a victimless sin. People who have nothing to do with your sin will also pay the price. Uriah died. Other innocent men died. And the baby born from David's sin died.
  5. Don't settle for too little. God wants to give you so much more than you can even imagine.
  6. Don't live in the failures of the past. When you were a child learning to ride a bike you probably fell off the bike at some point and scraped your knee. But you got back up and rode your bike like a boss. Learn from your mistakes, don't live in them. That is not your identity. The Lord said of David that he "is a man after my own heart" even knowing David would make a huge blunder. The Lord does not see your failures, He sees Jesus. Get back up, get back on the bike, learn from your mistake, and move on forward.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Heart of the Father

THE ORLANDO MASSACRE

On June 12, 2016, a gunman entered a nightclub in Orlando, FL that was frequented by members of the LGBT community with evil in his heart. By the time he was killed by police officers he had killed 49 and injured another 53. He believed he was doing God a favor and earning himself a guaranteed spot in heaven. My heart is broken for the victims and the families who have been devastated by a coward who raised his hand against a country and one specific community in particular.

The rhetoric has been flying around from many different perspectives since the massacre. Two statements have been made by some members of the Christian community that have been very disturbing to me that need to be addressed. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love. These two points of view do not meet this standard set forth by the Apostle Paul. The first goes something like this, "This is the judgement of God upon the LGBT community." or, "They got what they deserved!" The second is along the lines of, "Well, the Bible calls for homosexuals to be put to death."

I would like to deal with the second statement first. Does the Bible call for all homosexuals to be put to death? What does the Bible say about homosexuality? There is much debate within Christendom about homosexuality. You may disagree with me, and that's okay, but may we please disagree in the spirit of love.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY?

The first mention of homosexuality is in the book of Genesis chapters 18 & 19. The Lord sent two angels to Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy the cities for their wickedness. When the angels (in the form of 2 men) came to Lot's home the men of Sodom tried, unsuccessfully, to attack the angels intending to rape them, presuming them to be men. Lot escaped and the Lord rained flaming sulfur down upon the cities destroying the cities and all the inhabitants.

The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness but nowhere in the Bible does it state that the cities were destroyed solely because of homosexuality. Normally you hear people arguing from one of two poles. One group says God destroyed them because of homosexuality; the other side says they were destroyed for their lack of hospitality. I believe both poles lack fidelity to the scriptures. The Lord says in Ezekiel 16:49-50, "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it." God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for any singular sin but because they were totally corrupt.

In the book of Leviticus we read, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" Lev 18.22; and "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them" Lev 20:13. These passages do call homosexual relationships sin, an abomination in the eyes of God, and the latter calls for the death penalty, but is this a prescription for all people of all time? NO!!! These passages must be taken in their context.

What is the context? The Lord is speaking to a specific people group for a specific purpose. He is addressing the Children of Israel and He wants them to be a people separated unto Him. This is made clear in the following passages; "You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out." Lev 20:22 and "Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine." Lev 20:26. You cannot lift a verse or two out of it's proper context and make it prescriptive for every person, for all time.

I am not saying that homosexuality is not a sin. Romans 1:18-32 make it clear that homosexuality (along with a whole host of other sins which we don't seem to have that much of a problem with, i.e. greed, arrogance, unloving, unmerciful) is sin, but nowhere in the New Testament does it call for capital punishment for this particular transgression. If you want to apply this one punishment for this particular sin, please be prepared to apply all the Old Testament Law to your life as well. The Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the churches in Galatia that you cannot pick and choose. You must keep the entire Law or you can choose to live under the grace found only in and through Jesus Christ.

Now you might say, "But SEE! It is an ABOMINATION in the eyes of God!" You are right. It is an abomination in the eyes of God. But I did a quick search of what God calls an abomination and here are a few things I found that are also an abomination:

Arrogance - Liars - Murderers - People who devise wicked schemes - People who enjoy doing evil - False witnesses - People who try to divide others - Those who justify wickedness - Transvestites - The sacrifice of the wicked - Those with a crooked heart - Scoffers - Devious people - Unequal weights and measures - Wickedness - The unjust - and That which the world exalts.

That is quite a list, but one thing I noticed; the Bible does not prioritize sin on a flowchart of "Really Bad Sins" to "Not Really All That Bad Sins." God does not have a sliding scale like we do, and we make sure our favorite sins are not given much weight and sins we do not like are weighted very heavy. In our own minds we picture God winking at our sins and being disgusted by sins we don't find tempting to us.

You may be feeling justified in your own eyes as you don't feel called out by that list but just wait. Have you ever lied? Then you are a liar. Have you ever murdered someone? No? Really? If you have ever read the Sermon on the Mount you may want to reconsider your answer. In Matthew 5:21-25 Jesus tells us it is not a matter of the Law bought a matter of the heart. Jesus is saying if you hate someone you have committed murder in your heart. If you have a hatred in your heart for people who struggle with homosexuality, you are guilty of murder, and that is an abomination to God.

WHAT DOES JESUS SAY THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL FOR US?

Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexuality in His earthly ministry but He does have something to say about the first statement I pointed out, "This is God's judgement on the LGBT community." Jesus was asked about a situation where the Roman governor mingled the blood of some people from Galilee he slaughtered with the blood of the sacrifices they brought to the temple and also about how bad the people must have been who died when a tower fell on them. I find His response useful for us today.

Luke 13:2-5 "And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus goes on to tell a parable about a fig tree that didn't produce fruit. When the landowner came and saw the unproductive fig tree he wanted to pull it out and throw it away but the gardener talked him into waiting until he could work with the tree and fertilize it. The point of the story was about the mercy and grace of God. Jesus was pointing out that we should not be in the business of judging people, the point is you must be concerned about your sin. Jesus wants you to repent while you still have a chance. Those who were murdered in Orlando no longer have a chance to repent. Their place in eternity is sealed. Those who did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ will never a relationship with Jesus. That breaks my heart! That breaks the heart of God!

THE HEART OF GOD

We see the heart of God in the book of Ezekiel, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?" Ezekiel 18:23. "Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'" Ezekiel 33:11. And the Apostle Peter tells us, "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. God wants sinners to repent and turn to Him.

If God Himself does not take pleasure in the death of sinners why would we? We are to imitate our Heavenly Father, Eph. 5:1-12. We need be more concerned about loving people into the Kingdom who are enslaved to sin. We also need to repent of our own sin and get our own hearts right and in line with the heart of God.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bittersweet!

Well, this is it. My last day in the office at Calvary Community Church. I will be teaching a couple of classes on Sunday but this is my last day working in the office. I will clean out my office on Sunday and Monday but I am taking this day in and treasuring it in my heart.

I have often said, "If your Christian life doesn't feel like a free fall most of the time, you are probably not doing it right."

Right now I feel like I am in a free fall. But the thing the Lord has taught me along the way is that He is faithful. I can trust Him to catch me. He consistently calls me to step out of my comfort zone so I have to rely on Him. When He originally called me into full-time ministry I told Him He would have to show up BIG because without Him I would fall flat on my face.

I still feel that way. If Jesus doesn't show up BIG I will fall flat on my face. That is just the place I want to be...dependent upon Jesus.

I will miss working with the staff of Calvary on a daily basis but I am glad I am not leaving the fellowship of my Calvary family. You have all been a blessing to me in more ways than you will ever know.

The ministry the Lord is leading me into is a continuation of what you all have poured into me over the last 5 years I have been on full-time staff, 4 1/2 years I volunteered in the front office, and the last 22 years Denice and I have been attending Calvary.

Please continue to pray for us as we follow the Lord as we commit to pray for you. We love you all from the bottom of our heart.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stepping Out Of The Boat

When Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat Peter responded by stepping out of the boat. Jesus didn't call Peter to understand how he was going to walk on water, He just called Peter to step out.

Jesus has called us to trust Him and step out of the boat. I have had had the privilege of being trained for ministry at Calvary Community Church as a volunteer and full time minister for the past 9 years. I will be leaving the full time pastoral staff at Calvary on May 31, 2015.

If you have heard my heart over the past 4 1/2 years it will not be any surprise to you that the Lord has captured my heart for the people and land of India. I have been invited to join the staff of Global Training Network to go train pastors in the majority world. My primary focus will be South Asia.

What I mean by the term "Majority World" is the parts of the world where people do not have access to colleges and seminaries to get theological training; mainly Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It has been reported that 80% of the pastors in the majority world have little to no training.

What I will be doing is traveling to South Asia 4-6 times per year. I am being purposely vague do to the persecution and spiritual warfare that is present in these areas.

I will still be around Calvary when I am not traveling to the mission field or working on raising our support. We would greatly appreciate your prayer as we raise support and go do the work God has called us to. I am including information below as to how you can be a part of our ministry as we seek to build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points:

  • Health
  • Safety
  • Financial Support
  • I would like to take the first trip in July and August.
    • I know this is a tall order but the Lord is not just a God of the small stuff.
Here are the ways you could be a part of our financial support team.

You could send a check to:

Global Training Network

7558 W. Thunderbird Rd.
Ste. 1, P.M.B. 449 
Peoria, AZ 85381 

Please put #481 on the memo portion of the check and not our name.

You could visit our support page by clicking on our name:

Brian & Denice Gandy and choosing from the single gift, monthly recurring gift, and the annual recurring gift options.

The least expensive way to give (other than a check) is with the EFT (Electric Funds Transfer) option.

Or you could scan the QR Code with your phone to go directly to our support page.


Thank you for your love, prayer, and support.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Lay Down Your Burdens

Lay Down Your Burdens

This is the story of a man named Frank. Frank loved to hike. You could always find Frank hiking the trails through the mountains and hills around Phoenix, Arizona. He could be found hiking no matter what the weather was like. In the scorching heat of the Arizona summers he would hike in the early morning before it was too hot. When it was raining he would dawn his raincoat and out he would go.

Frank spent lots of money for just the right shoes and clothes for hiking. He would always take plenty of water to stay hydrated. He would take morning hikes; he would take evening hikes.

Frank always dreamed of one day hiking Mount Whitney in California. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain peak in the lower 48 contiguous states. His friends were always encouraging him to go for it. After many years Frank finally decided to do it.

Frank spent months training and preparing for this strenuous hike. He read books and blog posts about how to hike the high mountain peaks. He bought everything the books suggested for the hike. He even found people he could Skype with to pick up tips for the hike.

The long anticipated day finally came when he was to hike the mountain of his dreams. He set off on his hike early in the morning before the sun came up. Frank figured he would take his time.

He chose a route that would take him about seven days to hike in and back out. He would camp along the way and enjoy his time alone in God’s great creation.

As he walked the winding trail he met all kinds of interesting people. He soon met up with a man who was friendly and knew the trail well. His name was Lou. Frank had found a friend.

Lou was a bit of a prankster. He noticed Frank would pick up a rock now and then and put it in his backpack as they were hiking. Lou soon figured out he could slip an extra rock into Franks pack without him knowing it.

The morning of the second day started off well and without Frank knowing it, Lou stuck a note onto the back of Frank’s pack that read, “I bet you can’t slip a rock into my pack without me knowing it!”

The challenge was on. Because Frank and Lou were taking their time, other hikers would overtake them and as stealthily as possible they would try their hand at slipping a rock or two into Frank’s pack with him being none the wiser.

This went on for two entire days. Frank didn’t even notice the unusual number of rock accumulating in his backpack. The only thing Frank noticed was he was getting fatigued more than he had anticipated, but he pressed on.

The morning finally came when the two men were going to ascend to the summit. They got up early and started the trek to the top of the mountain. The destination was in sight and they figured they would reach their destination by noon.

The higher they climbed the wearier Frank became. Lou would walk on ahead of Frank and rest while his traveling companion struggled with every step.

Frank could finally go no further. He collapsed under the weight of the load he was carrying. He couldn’t make it to the top. He was exhausted. He faltered so close to the top of the mountain.

As Frank sat there completely spent and discouraged, Lou walked right by him laughing. He was heading back down the mountain in search of his next victim.

Frank’s story does not end with him sitting by the trail defeated, you see, another man came by. His name was Joshua.

Joshua looked upon Frank with compassion. He opened Frank’s backpack and started taking out the rocks, even the rocks Frank himself had picked up along the way. 

Joshua tenderly asked him why he carried these rocks. Frank didn’t have a good answer. As Joshua gave him water to drink, cast the weights aside, and said, "You don't have to carry that burden anymore. I'll carry your burdens."

Joshua picked up Frank's backpack and put it on his own back. He helped Frank to his feet and then carried him to the summit.

Let me introduce the characters to you:
  • The Rocks – That's the things we pick up along life's journey. Things such as: Hurts caused by others; Hurts we have caused others; Abuse; Forgiveness withheld; Bitterness; Sin; Habits; Materialism; Idols of all sorts; Etc. Your list of rocks will vary from mine.
  • Frank – That is me. I pick up rocks and put them in my pack.
  • Frank is you as well. You pick up rocks and put them in your backpack just like I do.
  • Lou – That is Lucifer. He is not a friend. He is an enemy. He will put rocks in your backpack. He wants to slow you down or even get you to quit altogether.
  • Joshua – That’s Jesus. He wants to help you purge your pack. He will help you reach the summit.


Hebrews 12:1-2 
  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne on God.[1]


Let Jesus take your story and make it His story.


Adapted from my message which can be accessed by clicking this link: Lay Down Your Burdens 

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Heb 12:1–2.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

One Of Those Days!

Have you ever had one of those days? Today I had one of those days...and it's not over with yet. Although it's been one of those days it is probably not exactly what you're thinking.

It started out with a breakfast meeting with a man who I've been meeting with while he is awaiting trial. His future is uncertain and he is seperated from his wife and children by thousands of miles of dirt and water. I have watched the Lord move in his life and transform his character. What once started off as a meeting with a man with no hope has turned into listening to him talk about the books he found at a thrift store that will help him learn to be the man-husband-father God has always intended him to be. Where he once was selfabsorbed now he finds ways to bless others. His countanance has changed from gloomy and depressing to bright and cheery. This was good for my soul.

Next I went to the children's hospital to pray for a 3 week old boy with Down's Syndrome. They are trying to fatten him up so he can undergo heart surgery to repair a heart defect. His mother was an encouragement to me as she so lovingly cared for her handsome little son. She smiled as she told me that God had specifically chosen her to care for this precious gift. This was good for my soul.

Now it was time for lunch with a colleague. I had the joy of sharing a good meal with a good friend. The lunch was Indian food. This was good for my soul.

I had the opportunity to pray for relief from demonic activity for a young lady who has suffered from abuse of all sorts from the men in her life who should have been protecting her. After we prayed for her she prayed to give her life to Jesus. This was good for my soul.

From there I drove to the far side of the Valley to pray with a beloved saint whose race is nearing the finish line. I met him and his dear wife in Israel 7 years ago. We prayed for him 4 years back when the doctors told him the cancer would take his life within 6-7 months. Four years later the doctors are still amazed. He praised his Saviour for His goodness. I told him I love him and that the next time I see him will be on the other side. He smiled and drifted back off to sleep. This was good for my soul.

Now I am having a good cup of coffee while I write this blog post. This is good for my soul.

In an hour I will be meeting with a group of South Asian leaders from various Indian fellowship across the Valley as we spend time in prayer together. Different ministries seeking the Lord's guidance as we reach out to the Indian community for Jesus Christ. Men on their knees crying out to the Lord. This is good for my soul.

This has proven to be quite a day. I could use more days like this day. "One of those days" like this are good for my soul.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Health Journey

On Monday, August 4, 2014, I will be going into Banner Good Samaritan Hospital to have major surgery. This has been a long time coming. First of all I want you to know I do not have cancer. And for that I am extremely grateful. But let me take a moment to tell you how I arrived here.

I have struggled with intestinal issues from my early teens. I have had many polyps throughout my life. Finally in 1998 I had to have my colon removed. The surgeon made a pouch out of my small intestine and hooked that up so I could go to the bathroom as normal, just 10-15 times per day. That worked well for the next 15 1/2 years. That is, until I went on my second trip to India.

Half way through that trip this past January, my internal pouch stopped working properly. Instead of going to the bathroom 10-15 times per day, I had to go every 20 minutes to an hour. I thought it would get better but it didn't. Now 7 months later I have to have all that previous work removed and have an ileostomy installed. That is an external bag. If you are unfamiliar with what I'm referring to just Google "Ileostomy" and you will get a pretty good idea what I will be dealing with the rest of my life.

I want to thank you for praying for me. It will be a very painful surgery and I will not only be recovering physically but I will be learning to deal with life with an ostomy bag. The good news is this will free me from being tethered to a bathroom.

I will have the freedom to do things I have not been able to do for the past 16 years. I will be able to go fishing with my dad. I will be able to sleep on an airplane. I will be able to go to the villages in India without having to worry about bathroom facilities. I will be able to go hunting.

These are all things I currently cannot do.

Thank you again for all your prayers. I should be healed up and on my feet in time for my daughter's wedding in late September. I was fearful that I would have to leave during the ceremony to go find a bathroom. I will be able to stay through the service and bawl my eyes out.

Let me know if you have any questions. I am more than happy to answer them. Not much embarrasses me anymore. Oh, and no, it has nothing to do with my diet. This is a genetic problem I have been dealing with for almost 40 years now.