Monday, February 28, 2011

Living intentionally takes time...

Anyone who has ever read something I've written or talked to me knows that I'm a firm believer in intentional living. I believe everything we do as followers of Jesus should have a purpose behind it... that purpose is to give God glory and to spark an opportunity to be able to verbally share his love and grace with other people. The great thing about living intentionally is that there are no rules that come with it. You just bring that purpose to whatever you do with your daily life.

If your a mom, you intentionally spend time with other moms. If you're a college student, you intentionally sit next to someone you don't know in class. If you're a high school student, you intentionally sit with people at lunch who do not go to your church. If you're a business professional, you intentionally spend time with your employees and co-workers outside the office and during lunch so you get to share life with each other. If you're unemployed, you intentionally work on resumes and contacting potential employers while using the free Wifi at Starbucks instead of at home alone. When you live this way, the pressure is off because you just look for who God brings across your path and you start to get to know them. You may share the gospel the first time you interact... it may take longer... but if you live intentionally, God will respond.

This last week I was encouraged in an area of intentionality that has been somewhat discouraging for me. For most of the time that I've lived in Tacoma I've played basketball on Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons for two reasons: First, I love to play basketball and it's a fun way to stay in shape. Second, I knew it would be a great way to get to know guys in my city and hang out with them over and over again... week in and week out. Well, there are a variety of ways God has used this to open some doors but for the most part I haven't seen the "results" I've been looking for. However, this past Thursday I went to work on some stuff at a coffee shop in town called The Mandolin. When I walked in I saw Chris, a guy I've been playing ball with for a year. We got to chatting and I found out that he used to go to church and hasn't in a while because he bar tends at a hotel down town on Saturday nights and simply doesn't want to get up Sunday mornings. I was able to invite him to our worship service... Sunday's at 4pm. We'll see what comes of that, but I was encouraged to know that God is faithful and he is working behind the scenes in ways we see as well as ways we don't see. My prayer is not just that Chris would come to worship, but that I would continue to get to know him and take the opportunity to share the gospel with him. Then he will crave going to a worship service! Keep living intentionally and sharing Jesus every chance you get. Be bold. God will respond.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Most of you who have been following the Higginbotham's and The Pathway for any amount of time know about Tiffany. Tiff came to live and be a part of our family about a year ago now. She left us in December after multiple times of intentionally deceiving our family and refusing to stop. Several months before she left us we found out she was pregnant. It was a very emotional ride because we were so excited about the new life but so sad about how it came about and the reality that this child would not know her father.

A couple weeks ago Tiff called my cell phone just to check on us... interesting. Then we found out she attended one of our churches Community Groups with Becca (who had also become like family to Tiff). She then spent an entire afternoon at the house with Kelli. We didn't really know what to think. Our hearts are very guarded after being hurt by Tiff so badly but we also love her so much and want her to know the love of Jesus.

The baby was due on Valentine's day but Tiff's water finally broke this Saturday night. She had told us that she wanted us there when the baby was born but things were still very awkward and it is just so hard to know how to love her. Kelli visited her in the hospital immediately and I went up to see her on Sunday with the kids. When it became apparent that the baby was coming on Sunday night Kelli went back up to just "be there." Kelli texted me about 1:00am that Tiff had asked her Grandma and Becca to be with her in the room during the birth. Kelli was in the waiting room... hurt but also supportive and full of grace... the way Kelli always is for those of you who know her personally.

My heart broke for Kelli because I know how hard it is to have someone you love continually push you away. I rolled over in bed and prayed. I said, "God, I love you no matter what. Even though I don't understand why this is happening and why we have to keep getting hurt, I love you. But Lord, please give Kelli something by your grace. Please give her something to be encouraged by."

A couple minutes later Becca called me and told me that Tiff had asked for Kelli to be with her during the birth of her daughter. I was near tears as I lay in bed. I told God that I honestly did not believe he would do that. I thanked him so much for his grace and at 2:00am Pacific time, Payton Marie Clifton was born into this world. She is beautiful. She is healthy. She has a lot working against her already in life. But the grace of God is working for her and I believe that grace is sufficient.

Please pray that Tiffany would surrender her life to Jesus. Pray that Kelli and I would continue to be granted wisdom to know how to love her and pray that Payton would grow to love Jesus as well.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breaking the Cycle

We have to break the cycle. There is so much sin in our world and it is birthed from a cycle of sin by people who are ignorant of the reality of grace and the true impact it can have on them and their families.

This "sin" cycle is impossible to overcome... without the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Entire families have been believing the lies of Satan for so long that it just becomes natural for the next generation to believe it as well. All the time I'm meeting people who feel so guilty for their immorality that they find it unbelievable that God or the church could want them and welcome them. We have to break that cycle. We're all sinners and until the Holy Spirit breaks the cycle of guilt, generations upon generations of families will live in hopelessness and end up in hell.

Porn. Porn is a cycle of sin that is crushing men, young and old, in Tacoma. It affects their relationship with Jesus, it affects their ability to lead their families and it affects their ability to lead the church. It leads to other sin and it is a cycle that was passed onto them by men they looked up to and it's a cycle they will pass on to those that look up to them. Porn has become normal in our culture. I was listening to local sports radio the other day and the hosts were talking about the quarterback of the Seahawks, Matt Hasselbeck, who is promoting software for computers that holds men accountable to the websites they look at. They weren't bashing him, they just couldn't fathom why he would care if a man looked at porn. They didn't understand why that would be bad at all. I talked to one man whose addiction is so deep that he finds porn on cell phones at the cell phone store. I talked to another man who gets it at the library. My heart breaks. We have to break the cycle.

This weekend Kelli and I took the kids and the pup for a walk and 4 houses down from us we saw a couple arguing outside their car. We saw the man hit the woman and throw her into the car. I sent Kelli down another street with the kids and Addie and told her to call the police. As I approached the car I saw the woman inside the vehicle hitting the man. There was a toddler in the back seat and another adult in the front seat. As I yelled for them to stop the other adult said, "It's okay, they're married." That's seriously the view people have. The couple beats each other and people think that is okay. That's normal. We have to break the cycle.

I could go on and on but I think you see my point. Sin and therefore Satan is winning the battle. We know he won't win the war, but he is winning the battle. Even in our most clean-cut families in our "best" churches we know there is often sexual abuse at home or fraud at work. How do we break this cycle? Honestly, I know of nothing else that will work outside the reigning down of the Holy Spirit. I believe we will only see the Spirit come in power through pointed prayer by the church. Will you pray? Will I pray? Lets pray that the Holy Spirit would reign down in Tacoma, and in your city, and that this sin cycle would be broken and whole families would follow Jesus! It starts with prayer... and we have to allow the Spirit to break the cycle of sin that has been handed down to us. We must look at our own lives!

[14] if my people who are called by my name 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 ESV)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

When God put it on our hearts to begin meeting weekly for Community Groups and worship services, I overlooked the fact that our first worship service would be Superbowl Sunday. Normally that would not be a huge issue except that our worship service starts at 4pm... 30 minutes after the 3:30pm kick-off time. Ahhhhhh!

To be honest, in a normal situation we would have just had a super bowl party and gone back to normal worship services the next week. However, we had not had a service in 3 weeks, we had told everyone we would have one on the 6th, and frankly we were all excited about a time of gathering to worship Jesus!

Well, my attitude was not good. It's not like we have a massive amount of people to begin with and the thought of Superbowl Sunday had me envisioning maybe 6-8 people in attendance. Well, I was dreading it, doubting God and even a little frustrated to prepare for 6 people. What a sinner I am! Thank goodness for God's grace. Several days before the service God got a hold of my heart. By his grace I realized that I should practice what I preach. Our worship service is not a show for our people, it's an opportunity to bring praise and worship to Jesus in unity. God softened my heart, I repented, and became excited just to worship the Father. I also prayed that God would do more than I could imagine... which in this case wasn't very much.

Well, Sunday came and we had more people than we've ever had for a worship service!!! One of our newest guys had DVR'd the game and invited us over to watch it at his apartment afterwards. I told him we would probably have 10 people there. Well, after a fantastic time of worship, teaching and prayer we brought about 20 people to the apartment. We had a blast and no one ruined the score for us. God is so good and worshipping with his people is so amazing.

Thank you Jesus for teaching me to be satisfied in you while not remaining content with the lostness that's all around us.